Season One, Episode 13: Faces

Y’all ready for this?

You know it’s gonna be good when the episode’s cold open features a woman chained up by the wrists. A background voice babbles on about regeneration and reanimation and then tells us that the unfortunate woman in question is…our own dear B’Elanna:

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The shadowy figure in the background is Christian Grey

Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Good, because the next thing we learn is that Neelix made some soup for Tuvok. Whatever goodwill this gesture might have earned him is quickly squandered when Neelix hovers over him while he eats it, waiting for compliments. This is fucking riveting television.

An away team comprised of Paris, B’Elanna, and some guy named Pete are due back on the ship after exploring some “magnocyte formations,” but they stand Janeway up and the ship can’t find their comm signals. Tuvok theorizes that the aforementioned formation are blocking the ship’s sensors (which he pronounces “sen-SORS.” In my head this is an affectation that drives everyone else on Voyager up the wall. It annoyed me to hear it once, so 75 years wandering in space alongside that would probably lead me to murder). Harry’s scans reveal that the planet’s geological caves have shifted even though there’s been no tectonic activity to explain it. Chakotay volunteers to lead another away team to investigate. Janeway lets him, but tells him, “I want a transporter lock on you at all times.”

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You had a pretty good transporter lock on me last night in cargo bay 3, boss lady

We finally cut back to B’Elanna in the chamber of horrors, where it’s revealed that she’s been kidnapped by OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT

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DID THE LAST FIFTY SHADES BOOK END WITH A TERRIFYING KEROSENE ACCIDENT

He says he’s the chief surgeon of the Vidiians. Does that name ring a bell? No? How about “those dudes who stole Neelix’s lungs that one time”? Yeah, those guys. This one’s been up to some wacky Dr. Frankenstein stuff, because B’Elanna looks a lot more Kling-y than she usually does. He tells her he’s altered her genome (which he pronounces “JEN-ome.” Why all this affected pronunciation? Did someone decide that would make the show more sophisticated?) Long story short, he did it ’cause he thinks Klingon genes hold the cure for whatever’s making him and the rest of the Vidiians look like what’s left after a dumpster fire. He’s also infected B’Elanna with that, by the way.

Meanwhile, Paris and Pete — who’s not very hot, and I don’t remember seeing him before so I bet he’ll die by the end of the episode — are basically in a Vidiian prison camp. They immediately start planning their escape and are interrupted by a guy in an upper bunk who seems to be Neelix’s cousin. With a weird laugh and bad puns, he tells them no one ever escapes from Dumpster Fire Prison.

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This answers a burning question of mine: Yes, Neelix’s entire species is just as annoying as he is. 

In the caves, Tuvok finds traces of five humanoid life forms. Harry says, “Five? Only three in the away team,” with a pride that’s waaaaay out of proportion for his achievement here.

Dr. Dumpster Fire inquires gleefully about the pain B’Elanna’s in (this really is sort of S&M, huh) from the disease, but B’Elanna’s Klingon genes are working overtime to fight it off. He tells her she’ll be a hero among his people. She’s not real happy about any of this. Understandably.

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GOOD THING DETECTIVE KIM’S ON THE CASE, DOIN’ REAL BASIC MATH

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GOOD THING PARIS IS ON THE CASE, NAPPIN’ REAL HARD

Now shit gets a little weird, because Paris wakes up to find…B’Elanna. But it’s an entirely human B’Elanna. Kling Off. She’s totally freaked out by this, because she’s always had mixed feelings about her forehead. Paris tells her he understands her feelings because when he was a kid he used to hide the bad haircuts his dad gave him under a baseball cap. Then B’Elanna literally tells him that her dad left her when she was a little girl because she looked like a Klingon. Swing and a miss there, Paris.

Tuvok figures out that the cave walls are actually a force field concealing something, and that the signature of it matches the guys who stole Neelix’s lungs that one time. Janeway perks up and wants to know what the lung stealers are up to; but when some Vidiians turn up she beams the team out rather than risk her sugar muffin losing any parts.

Meanwhile, it’s becoming creepily apparent that Dr. Dumpster Fire is, ah, into Kling On B, and she decides to play that up, asking him if he knows that Klingon women are known for their “voracious sexual appetites.” Uh…well, any port in a storm, I guess.

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Even if said port is adjacent to an oil rig explosion

But he reprimands her for playing with his feelings (uh, dude, what about you playing with her genome?) Then he basically says that it’s ok and promises that when her genes cure him, he’ll be totally hot.

Back in prison, some Vidiians show up to take Ensign Pete (called that one a mile away) and Tom tries to prevent it, to no avail.

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The Batman Device Returns!

Then Dr. DF tells B’Elanna, “I have something I want to show you.” The “something” is…OH GOD OH GOD IT’S ENSIGN PETE’S FACE

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The least believable part of this episode is that idea that someone looking to steal a face to be more attractive would choose Pete’s over Paris’s

This pisses B’Elanna off so much she breaks out of her bonds and chokes Dumpster Fire Pete-Face, MD (he went to med school on Granada, okay? It’s totally legitimate).

On Voyager, everyone’s trying to solve the problem of getting through the force-field. Technobabble et al. They figure out a way to get someone through it, but they’ll have no way to communicate with said someone once he’s in. What’s to prevent him from just being captured by the Vidiians, too? Chakotay says he has an idea.

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Chakotay’s idea of role play is not quite what Janeway had in mind

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But Tuvok went and made a real good costume, so she’ll try to get into it

Paris and Kling Off are stuck hauling rocks in prison camp, and turns out the human version of B’Elanna is super scared and weak. Kinda like…the opposite of the purely Klingon B’Elanna. This episode is getting really deep, guys. Tom gives her a lecture about courage and bravery and how he’s not a doctor but *probably* fucking around with her genome may have, you know, done something to cause this. Then Tom gets hauled off by the guards, presumably because Dr. Dumpster-Fire realized his mistake.

The nightmare version of Chakotay beams down to the planet. Kling On B’Elanna threaten’s Neelix’s college roommate to find the whereabouts of Paris. He tells her Paris is with “a human female.” Rather predictably, in a scrap with some Vidiian guards, the two B’Elannas meet.

The heart of the episode is supposed to be the scene that follows, when B’Elanna’s two warring inner selves have a dialogue about the challenges of Being B’Elanna. But it’s not terribly subtle, with lines like, “Do you realize that each of us is arguing with herself?”

 

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Not that this show is real big on subtle gestures

 

Anyway, smart but weak B’Elanna and strong but impulsive B’Elanna team up and work together to defeat the Vidiians, along with a little help from Paris and post-Hindenberg Chakotay. Kling On dies heroically, taking a phaser tase for Kling Off. The Doctor can fix Kling Off’s DNA so she goes back to normal, and she says she’s “more at peace than I’ve ever been before.” The End.

My favorite part of this episode is that when Chakotay shows up to rescue Tom from prison, the two of them just abandon the guy Neelix sat next to in third grade, who tells us near the beginning of the episode that he’s been stuck there for years watching all of his crewmates get murdered for their organs. They literally walk off without a backward glance.

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“No, Chakotay, he’s just like fucking Neelix, man.” 

So far as I can tell, that little vignette with the soup at the beginning serves no purpose but to remind us that Neelix is really, really annoying and everybody hates him. Then the guy who is clearly from Neelix’s planet – and who even sort of helps our heroes — gets left by the Voyager team in Dumpster Fire Prison to have his organs harvested.

I find this a much more compelling arc than B’Elanna’s, honestly.

Season One, Episode Ten: State of Flux

This episode begins with a mini-horticultural lesson on a strange planet, brought to you by Neelix. If you’re at home, this is a great time to go grab a beer or, this being Voyager, some Everclear. Luckily things get more interesting when Voyager picks up another ship in orbit. They do something wacky to disable its cloak and discover it’s a Kazon ship. Time to go back to Voyager…except, whoops, where’s Sesca?

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She’s probably not in Kerry’s pants. Nice try, Neelix.

Chakotay finds her in a cave. Unfortunately he also finds some Kazon, and one of them shoots him. But they get away, and he’s okay, and Sesca brings him mushroom soup. Sesca tells him she had to loot the food reserves to avoid Neelix’s shitty cooking, and Chakotay gets mad at her. She tries to sweet talk him with her body, but it doesn’t really work. I mean, come on, Sesca. Everybody know’s Chako is Janeway’s sugar muffin.

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Even her bun is inferior.

Before she leaves, Sesca threatens to seduce Ensign Kim. This hilarious image gets interrupted by a distress call from the Kazon ship. But is it a trap? Janeway decides to risk it. When a crew beams aboard, they discover lots of radiation and Kazon…parts. All saving one who seemed to survive. They take him to sick bay. Before they leave, B’Elanna notices something strange. Something strange other than Kazon parts. Apparently there’s some technology aboard the ship that only the Federation is known to use.

In sick bay, the Kazon is going to need new parts, even though he’s the only one who still had any. Meanwhile, Tuvok points out to Janeway that the most likely explanation for the Kazon’s possession of Federation technology is that someone on their ship has been selling secrets to the Kazon. Janeway is so disturbed she stops the elevator and gets all up in Tuvok’s face to tell him how disturbed she is.

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I mean, how can Sesca even think of competing with that? That bun takes no fucking prisoners.

Sesca is the prime suspect because of her disappearance on the planet. Chakotay isn’t pleased. In a staff meeting to get the technology back, B’Elanna sasses Janeway and she likes it. Sesca is not allowed on the team, and she confronts Chakotay in the hallway. And of course he tells her. Because it’s a *great* idea to tell someone under suspicion that they’re under suspicion.

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Girl, why don’t you take your inferior bun and your inferior attitude to the bridge like Chako asked you to?

We’re treated to a series of scenes whose sole purpose is to enhance the possibility that Sesca is a traitor. Then a new Kazon ship appears and – surprise – Sesca beams off Voyager to the original Kazon ship to get the Federation console against orders. She says she’s doing it to prove her loyalty (by disobeying orders, of course), but something goes wrong and she has to get beamed to sick bay.

Ensign Kerry from engineering is another suspect because the signal to the Kazon ship came from his station, so he’s confined to quarters. Chakotay and Janeway have a little lovers’ quarrel about it. The captain from the other Kazon ship beams aboard to see his sick bro. When Janeway refuses to turn over the damaged ship, he asks, “What gives you the right?”

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“Oh, I’m sorry. You must not have noticed my GIANT BUN OF AUTHORITY.”

But all goes awry; when Janeway turns her back for a second, the Kazon kill their sick buddy, obviously to protect the same information Janeway’s desperate to get: who gave them Federation technology? In the doctor’s office, Kes reveals to the Captain that Sesca’s blood does not match the genetic makeup of the species she claims to be. It seems like Sesca is actually Cardassian.

Chakotay is not happy. They all decide to wait and see if they can get more info from the console. Janeway radios B’Elanna to see how that’s going.

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“Good, Captain. We’re just about to give Kerry his enema, and then we’ll be on our way!”

Janeway wins a stare-down with the Kazon while they wait for the away team to return with the console. Turns out the technology was….a food replicator.

That’s right. A fucking food replicator used incorrectly blew alllll those Kazons apart and covered them with radioactive lava. Let’s just think about that for a second. Let’s think about how much better this episode would have been if they had just had the same malfunction on Voyager. Wouldn’t you rather watch Neelix get covered in radioactive lava? Show of hands?

Chakotay has an emotional conversation in sickbay, where he tells her she’s Cardassian. BECAUSE CHAKOTAY DOES NOT KEEP SECRETS, YOU GUYS. Sesca says it’s a side effect of a bone marrow transplant she had from a Cardassian woman when she was young. Chakotay says she has to wait until they finish checking what was stolen.

But…turns out telling her was a crafty Tuvok plan. He told the same thing to Ensign Kerry. And the Kazon are closing in. Tuvok notices a security hack and starts tracing it. The code being used is Sesca’s….which means it’s Kerry…which means it’s Sesca. Yeah, I don’t know, either. They go into detail about the ruse but frankly it’s boring. Like Murder She Wrote in Space.

Sesca’s all “I was doing it for us! I was doing it to forge alliances to get us home! I was doing it because Janeway stranded us all here a billion miles from home!!”

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Look at that eyebrow of disdain.

Sesca beams herself to the Kazon ship, and Janeway recognizes that they can’t fight all the Kazon ships. She won this battle. The episode ends with a heartfelt conversation between Chakotay and Tuvok about what a dupe Chakotay is. So it’s a feel-good for everybody.

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I know, Tuvok. I know.

W.T.F. Award:

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WTF is this dead Kazon part doing with my 6th grade Christmas sweater?

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