Season One, Episode Eleven: Heroes and Demons

This is a special episode in so many ways. It’s definitely the most ridiculous episode of the first season, and I would put it up there as one of the top five weirdest episodes Voyager ever did. As might be expected, it starts with Ensign Kim fucking something up. Janeway needs him to do some bitch work but when she tries to find him the computer tells her Ensign Kim is…not aboard the ship.

It’s like she knows what’s about to happen next.

He was last seen on the holodeck, and now the holodeck is conveniently malfunctioning. Chakotay and Tuvok go in to investigate. They find out that the program Kim was running is based on…Beowulf. That’s right. Of all the fun things Harry Kim could be doing on a holodeck (and please don’t try to convince me there’s no such thing as holodeck porn – come on), Kim picked Beowulf.

A Brunhilde from the Met circa 1957 pops up and holds them at swordpoint. Since the holodeck is malfunctioning, they can’t get rid of her, so they have to negotiate with her. She says she’s seen Beowulf and describes him as, “like no other: hair straight and raven black, eyes bright with fierce fire, the burning gaze of a hero.”

LOL

 

She also says he’s dead. She takes them to the hall of the king to find out how he died. When they tell Janeway she’s very upset. They figure out that the problem was caused by the research matter she and B’Elanna were beaming aboard the ship earlier. They’re interrupted by the appearance of “Grendel” and next thing we know, Chakotay and Tuvok are gone, too.

What to do? Anyone who goes into the holodeck now faces the risk of being de-materialized…well, almost anyone. We almost forgot about…

…this asshole.

The ship’s resident whiny hologram is going in. While prepping, he’s nervous, and has a heartfelt talk with Kes about how awesome he is but also how nervous. Little bit of a humblebrag thing going on. Kes suggests that picking a name might help him feel more like part of the crew.

Once in the program, he meets Brunhilde again, and when she asks him his name he tells her it’s….

Schweitzer. As in, Dr. Schweitzer. Leave it to Voyager to make an actual social and historical reference in the middle of a wacked out episode about Beowulf in space.

“Schweitzer” goes with Brunhilde, who is clearly developing the hots for him, to the hall of the king.

Image

Weirdness bar status: raised. Note the mushrooms in the doctor’s hand.

The king challenges the doctor to a duel to prove his worth, so he has to put his mushrooms aside to borrow Brunhilde’s sword. But when the king tries to kill him, it doesn’t work, because he’s a hologram. Everybody’s amazed and takes up a cry of “ALL HAIL SCHWEITZER!!!”

In case I’m failing to convey the ridiculous of this, it’s a space show taking place in a hall full of poorly-costumed Vikings hailing a German doctor and organist most famous for establishing a hospital in Africa. On what other TV show does this happen??

The Doctor has lots of new material for his ego-masturbation fantasies now.

After a long and boring dinner with the Vikings where the doctor just fucking revels in being adored, the doctor gets some pre-battle nookie snuggles from the warrior maiden.

Now he has some for his actual masturbation fantasies, too.

Grendel shows up as a photonic energy burst that ensnares the doctor and forces the crew to beam him back to sick bay – minus an arm. After they fix him, they notice a synaptic pattern in the energy, and decide to try to replicate it in some of the energy samples they beamed up to study that started this whole mess in the first place.

B’Elanna, why can’t you just have a fish tank like normal people?

The energy bursts out of the containment field and zooms into an instrument panel ala Ghostbusters. It immediately wreaks havoc, like a gerbil loose in the pipes. A gerbil that can dematerialize people. They realize it’s alive, and when it gets through the hull they watch it get absorbed by a giant energy…lattice. I don’t know. There’s a lot of technobabble in this part. The end result is that they figure out the “energy” of the three missing crew members are trapped in the lattice. Janeway hypothesizes that these photonic gerbils are retaliating by manifesting in the holodeck and stealing crew members.

The doctor goes back into the holodeck to release the remaning energy-gerbil back to its people. The Vikings confront him, believing him to be in league with Grendel and attack him. Brunhilde takes a knife to the heart for him. They have a hilarious goodbye when she wheezes, “Farewell, Schweitzer.”

The Doctor has to go back to the hall and retrieve the gerbil cannister, which looks like a radioactive French press, from the Vikings.

English majors have confirmed there were no radioactive coffee makers in the original Beowulf.

 

“Grendel” appears, the Doctor gives him back his friend, and all three of Voyager’s missing crew members are returned safely. Janeway gives a commendation to the Doctor, who decides not to retain the name Schweitzer out of respect for his dead holo-girlfriend.

My sentiments exactly.

WTF Award:

WTF? Were the costume guys on strike? The guy on the right has a beard that looks like they just shaved a Pekingese and pasted the hair on his face.

Body Count: 0, but Albert Schweitzer is definitely rolling over in his grave.

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Season 1, Episode 8: Emanations

The Voyager crew may have found a new element in an asteroid belt. They fly down to investigate a cavern full of spiderwebs, where they find a mummy. And then another mummy. Lots and lots of mummies.

 

I think they have wandered into the Halloween Party Outlet down the street from me

The new element is emanating from the mummies. Chakotay wants to leave them undisturbed but Ensign Kim wants to plunder them for all they’re worth. Chakotay puts on his “token spiritual Indian” hat and lectures them about burial rituals before shit starts to get weird. When they beam back to the ship, B’Elanna and Chakotay show up with a mummy and no Ensign Kim. They decide to revive the mummy in the hope that it can give them some answers. I guess they forgot about that whole respecting the dead thing.

Kim, meanwhile, crashes a burial ceremony for a race who believes they are sending their dead into “the next emanation,” which sounds like real life but cooler. Kim makes a grand entrance by banging to be let out from inside the coffin. I hope that happens at my funeral.

Actually I think the guy in the background is wearing the "token spiritual Indian" hat.

In 3 seconds of conversation with these guys Harry manages to destroy their religion by casually mentioning that where he came from he saw dead bodies.

Voyager is doing the same thing by waking up the mummy, who is crushed to discover that she’s not in the afterlife, just Voyager.

"You're saying we just...decompose on an asteroid?"

 

"Weeeelllll...yeah. Yeah, pretty much."

This tender exchange is interrupted by some banging around and then B’Elanna finds another mummy just hanging out in engineering. Somehow, Voyager has become the new depository for the planet’s dead bodies.

Harry has a heartfelt conversation with an alien preparing to die. The upshot of this is that nobody knows what happens after anybody dies, death is a great mystery, death is just another part of life, und so weiter. When Harry finds out that this alien is electing to die because his family found his disability too much of a burden, he tells the alien, “It’s not my place to judge your culture” and then proceeds to judge the f*ck out of his culture.

Voyager’s warp core keeps attracting bodies like moths to a bug zapper. B’Elanna has an idea – maybe they can send their alien back and exchange him for Harry. Also: Janeway touches Chakotay a lot in this episode. Like, enough that I’m noticing it.

Look at his face. Tell me they're not making secret love in cargo bay 3

They try to send the alien back through one of the subspace vacules, but it doesn’t work, and the alien dies. Meanwhile, her people won’t let Harry try to get himself home. That’s when he gets an idea – maybe he can trade places with the alien preparing to die, and thus get sent back to the asteroid Voyager is orbiting. Sure, he’ll die during the process, but NBD, the Doctor will just revive him. Probably.

Remember back in episode 1 when I picked a scene that set the bar for weirdness in future episode? The weirdness bar has just been raised.

Just as Voyager is considering leaving to avoid becoming a morgue, Harry’s capsule lands on Deck 12 and the Doctor revives him and all is well that ends well and Janeway and Chakotay can focus on the more important business of banging each other senseless. Oh, and Harry gets two days off from work to reflect on his experience. The end.

Harry contemplates his mortality.

Best Line: “No artifacts, no inscriptions, just naked bodies.”

W.T.F. Award:

W.T.F. is up with his body proportions?

Body Count: 2 if you count Harry. Okay, maybe 1.5

Season 1, Episode 1: Caretaker, Pt. 1

Voyager is for real channeling Star Wars at the beginning of this, complete with text scrolling up the screen and a space battle with lasers. Tuvok and the Maquis (band name, anyone?) get caught by a “massive displacement wave” (on second thought, that’s a much cooler band name) and the screen fades to white. After the opening credits we descend upon the Federation Penal Settlement (band name #3) where Tom Paris is looking pretty hot. No wonder Janeway wants him to tag along to find the Maquis ship.

Janeway is rocking a severe bun:

Girlfriend's gotta use a ton of hairspray

It’s also Harry Kim’s first day of work, and in true Harry Kim style, he gets himself into trouble 3 seconds after he appears on screen by pissing off a Ferengi. Paris sweeps in and saves his ass, and now they’re BFFs. Man-style.

Janeway is Skyping with her boyfriend and we learn that she has a pregnant dog. Harry shits his pants when he sees the bridge. We see some new characters who are shortly going to die so they can be replaced by bigger actors. And they’re underway.

It's like the Ferrari of spaceships

Tom and Harry have the first crisis of their budding bro-ship when Harry learns that Tom lied about killing a couple of his colleagues and then got caught aiding the Maquis. But Harry decides that other people don’t get to choose his friends. He’s a big boy now. And saving Harry from buying some overpriced Ferengi trinket > manslaughter.

Voyager gets sucked into the same displacement wave that caught the Maquis ship. We can tell that it’s bad because of what happens to Janeway’s hair.

Utter devastation

Also, some people are dead and there’s a fire in sick bay and the warp core might explode. Amidst all this chaos Janeway somehow finds the time to get her hair back into a perfect bun. That was probably part of her Captain test. We get to meet the Doctor for the first time, too. Then shit gets seriously crazy because everybody gets transported to a farm in Iowa and Walt Disney’s grandmother offers them lemonade and sugar cookies.

Ya'll have some cookies!

Paris kinda wants one

All the neighbors come for the “Welcoming Bee.” There’s a dude playing a banjo. There’s dancing. There’s a big friendly dog. This is Lawrence Welk’s wet dream. Tom and Harry discover some weird readings in a barn and turns out there’s an alien passageway in the back of it. Or it could be that weird tunnel in the Detroit Airport. Either way it’s somewhere they don’t want to be.

This way to Terminal E

B’Elanna, Chakotay, Tuvok, and inexplicably, Harry, are suspended in a weird medical laboratory having painful tests done on them and the rest of the crew gets to go back to Voyager. This begins my theory of Ensign Kim. The theory is pretty much that if something is going to get f*cked up, nine times out of ten it’s going to happen to Harry Kim.

Chakotay and Janeway decide to work together to get Harry and B’Elanna back (it’s never explained how Tuvok and Chakotay are suddenly OK and not in the Detroit Airport anymore). Tuvok’s like, “Oh, BTW, I was a Federation spy this whole time, NBD” but it doesn’t really matter now because clearly some more important shit is going down.

Chakotay, Paris, and Janeway go back to Grandma Disney’s house to try to figure out what the hell is going on. They interrogate the old banjo player.

This image sets the bar for weirdness in future episodes.

He’s grumpy and says they can’t give him what he wants and sends them back to the ship. Meanwhile, Harry wakes up in the Mayo clinic with disgusting lesions all over his body. So does B’Elanna, but she’s more angry about it and punches all the doctors.

Janeway is feeling guilty because Harry’s mom asked her if he could bring his clarinet and now she’s gone and lost her only son. We learn that Harry went to Juilliard. Good to know Juilliard is still around several centuries from now.

SO here’s the cliffhanger: What’s Janeway going to do? Where are Harry and B’Elanna and what’s going to happen to them? Who IS the old man with the banjo?

Technobabble Award: “What’s the warp core pressure?”

“21oo kilopascals.”

“Lock down the magnetic constrictors!”

“If we lock them down, we might not be able to re-initialize the dilithium reaction!”

Most Ridiculous Line Award: “Do you always fly at women at warp speed, Mr. Paris?”

“Only when they’re in visual range.”

W.T.F. Award:

WTF is that thing?

BODY COUNT: at least 5 ( first officer, head of engineering, doctor, nurse, and pilot) but it’s okay because we never got to know them and they’re going to be replaced.