“Star Trek: Voyager” (Season 2)

Introduction

I recently learned that VOY is the fave of all the ST series of Georgia politician Stacey Abrams! Her older sis (who had her own room/TV) got her into TNG starting from its first ep (1987); all the sibs eventually got into the show. In OCT (over quarantine), Abrams was on a panel of ST actors (incl. Kate Mulgrew) and politicians during a fundraising event for Biden. Andrew Yang and Julian Castro (who both ran for prez) are also Trekkies. Abrams said that she greatly admired Capt. Janeway; also VOY brought new viewers in (who weren’t familiar w/ ST universe).

Now, S1 is really nothing to brag about; you need patience when starting this show. The characters are not yet fleshed out; each ep has them behaving somewhat differently. Janeway (Mulgrew- already a veteran of TV/theater), the Doctor (Robert Picardo- a former Emmy nominee), and Tuvok (Tim Russ) seem to be most comfortable w/ their roles. Kes (Jennifer Lien) seems to be a natural, too. Some fans didn’t like how quickly Janeway and Chakotay became friends; they wanted to see more of her friendship w/ Tuvok (who worked w/ her for 7 yrs). It’s obvious that Neelix (Ethan Phillips) and- to a lesser extent- Kim (Garrett Wang)- are the comic relief. The writer-producers (Berman, Piller, Taylor) leave the door open for romance between Janeway/Paris, Janeway/Chakotay, Paris/Kes, and The Doctor/Kes. E15 (Learning Curve) wasn’t meant to be the S1 finale! Tuvok sees that the Maquis aren’t fully integrated into the crew; Janeway’s solution is to have him train some Maquis (selected by Chakotay) in the ways of Star Fleet. Those selected are pissed off about this and refuse to participate, but then Chakotay punches Ensign Dalby in the cafeteria “the Maquis way” (LOL)!

Season 2: Selected Episodes

Episode 2: Initiations

Chakotay goes off in a shuttle to honor his dead father; he is attacked for being in Kazon-Ogla space by a teenaged Kazon wanting to earn his warrior name. Chakotay defeats the Kazon vessel and saves the boy, Kar (Aron Eisenberg- Nog on DS9), by transporting him aboard the shuttlecraft. When Chakotay tries to return his prisoner to another Kazon vessel, Kar begs to be killed before they’re captured. After Kar reveals that he will now never earn his name, Chakotay escapes from the Kazon vessel, and Kar goes w/ him. Chakotay’s shuttle crashes on a moon (the same location- Vasquez Rocks- used in the TOS ep Arena where Capt. Kirk battled the Gorn) full of booby traps; it’s used as a training base for young Kazons.

Chakotay: It may mean something to you to die a violent death, but I’d like to get out of this without killing or being killed.

Kar: You’d rather die in your sleep, a wrinkled old man?

Chakotay: Sounds about right.

This ep is where we (finally) learn more re: the Kazon; we see the (fatherly) side of Chakotay (which I liked). Detractors online refer to these aliens (who don’t come off very interesting) as “discount Klingons”- LOL! Jeri Taylor explained that the Kazon were modeled after LA street gangs; there are several factions who compete for power. Some fans have also noted that the Kazon were like nomads (I think that’s more re: their clothing). I used to work w/ teens (tutoring and subbing) so it took me back to that time; they can be annoying, but are also in need of guidance. Kar found out a (clever) way to get his name w/o killing. In the final scene, Chakotay is saying a prayer- he includes Kar in it (which I thought was touching).

Episode 3: Projections

…delivers a mysterious sequence of illusions with a genuine sense of style and captivation. Finally, Brannon Braga has written a story that gives him a chance to do high-concept—his storytelling specialty—while shining with terrific character moments and witty twists and turns.

Picardo and Schultz both turn in exceptional performances and make a remarkable comedy duo. Their screen chemistry is one of the episode’s many strengths

-Jammer’s Reviews

The EMH is activated due to what the computer describes as a ship-wide emergency. When the Doctor asks the computer to scan for the crew, he learns that they were forced to abandon ship. Later, he meets Torres, who says that she and Capt. Janeway stayed behind to stop a warp core breach caused by a Kazon attack. The Doctor is sent to the Bridge, courtesy of new holo-emitters installed throughout the ship. After reviving Janeway, the Doctor is called to the mess hall to assist Neelix, who is fighting off a Kazon soldier. After the scuffle, the holographic doctor is astonished to learn that he himself is bleeding! When asked, the computer insists that the Doctor is actually Dr. Lewis Zimmerman (the human engineer who created the EMH program).

Lt. Barclay: Lewis, how would you rather think of yourself? As a real person, with a real life, with a family that loves you? Or as some… hologram, that exists in a sickbay, on a starship, lost in deep space?

TNG fans (well, maybe some) will be happy to see Lt. Barclay (Dwight Schultz) guest star in this ep, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes. This was the ep that Frakes submitted to get the Star Trek: First Contact directing job. Barclay was one of the few characters who struggled (not unlike real people) on TNG; he was socially awkward and relied too much on his holodeck programs. This is very well-done (as many viewers have noted); it shows us that the series has potential!

Episode 4: Elogium

Voyager encounters new life forms that have an unusual attraction to the ship; helm controls and shields are disabled. The crew try to escape w/o harming the swarm, but when the creatures begin attaching themselves to the hull, they cause more issues to the ship’s systems. Kes’s reproductive cycle (“the elogium”) is triggered; if she wants to have a child, it must be now. Throughout the ep, concerns arise over fraternization among the crew; Janeway and Chakotay discuss whether the ship is a good place to raise children. Ensign Samantha Wildman (Nancy Hower) reveals to Janeway that she’s pregnant by her husband (back on DS9).

Kes: [on becoming a parent] I’m not sure I’m finished growing; how could I help a child grow?

Neelix: [the prospect of fatherhood] It’s just all happening so fast. I don’t know what to think.

Wildman was named after a real little girl who died in an accident; her organs were transplanted into the wife of Voyager writer Jimmy Diggs. A young guest writer (Kenneth Biller) brought in an original script; the producers were impressed and he joined the show as executive story editor. The cold open has an (unusual for ST) scene- the turbolift opens and two of the crew are kissing; this surprises and concerns Chakotay. He goes to the captain to discuss the matter (which is a very interesting topic, as many viewers commented). The ship (w/ a crew of about 150) was only supposed to be away 3 weeks.

Janeway: We’re a long way from home. Everyone is lonely, and… all we have is each other. I think, eventually people will begin to pair off.

Chakotay: Including you?

Janeway: As Captain, that’s a luxury I don’t have.

It looks like fans are divided on this ep; some thought it was enjoyable, others thought it was cliched. For those who are “shippers” of Janeway and Chakotay, there are a few fun moments. (FYI: A shipper is person who discusses, writes about, or hopes for a romantic relationship between fictional characters or between famous people). I find the relationship (they are dating, but don’t share quarters) between Neelix and Kes to be weird! Also, Neelix has a jealous side- thinking that Paris is interested in Kes. I liked the scene in the mess hall where Neelix (nervous re: being a father) asks Tuvok re: children and family life. I read that this story was meant to draw comparison to teen pregnancy.

Episode 8: Persistance of Vision

The Doctor: I’ve checked Starfleet regulations. The chief medical officer outranks the captain in health matters. Now, I realize this may be the first time a hologram has given an order to a captain, but… I’m ordering you to report to the holodeck – now!

Janeway: Aye, sir.

As Voyager readies for a (potentially dangerous) encounter w/ a new alien race (the Bothan), the Doctor orders an exhausted Janeway to relax in the holodeck. Before long, she is called back to the Bridge; the Bothan representative sets up a rendezvous to determine whether or not they’ll allow Voyager to pass through their space. Janeway starts seeing characters and objects from her holonovel; she goes to sick-bay, but The Doctor cannot find anything wrong w/ her brain. She goes to rest in her quarters, but soon is attacked by a character (holding a knife)! It turns out that Kes also sees what the captain sees; she’s not losing her mind. Janeway puts Chakotay in charge, while the Doctor runs more tests.

In an attempt to take over Voyager, an alien presence is manipulating the thoughts of the crew by distracting them w/ elements of their own sub-consious. Janeway sees her fiance Mark; Tuvok talking to his wife; Paris being called a loser by his father; and Torres allowing herself a passionate affair w/ her version of Chakotay (umm, that was unexpected). Before long, the entire ship falls under the spell, except for Kes and the Doctor. Three ships come out of nowhere and surround them.

I don’t mind this holo-novel nearly as much as others seem to… Janeway isn’t a secret masochist who enjoys being the victim of Victorian misogyny, she’s interested in the quieter drama of household life- something denied her in “real” life.

Janeway’s holonovel is a poorly disguised allusion to Jane Eyre… a strong female character in a time when females had no rights. The novel appeals to women because there is mystery, romance, fancy dresses, and British accents. Not the same type of fantasy men seek, but educated women love it. It fits Janeway’s character.

-Excerpts from commenters (Jammer’s Reviews)

This ep was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series. It aired the day before Halloween; the two kids and housekeeper- Mrs. Templeton (Carolyn Seymour)- are quite creepy. This provided some TNG- era weirdness, but I wish it had been more focused on Janeway. She seems to feel a bit guilty about kissing Lord Burley (Michael Cumptsy), even though he’s not a real man.

Episode 9: Tattoo

While on an away mission, Chakotay finds symbols and structures similar to ones he saw when he was 15 y.o. on a trip through the Amazon w/ his father. When the weather, plants, and animals of the planet seem to be opposed to the presence of Voyager and its crew, Chakotay seeks a way to gain the trust of the inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Doctor programs himself with flu symptoms in order to empathize with his patients.

Kolopak: From the day you came out of your mother – upside down – I knew the Spirits have chosen you to be a contrary.

Young Chakotay: No one chooses for me. I choose my own way. And if that makes me a contrary, I’ll have to live with it.

Kolopak: If you have no spirits to guide you, I fear you will lose your way.

…his pseudo-American Indian talk of spirit guides and the like sounded to me more like some white person’s idea of what a native sounded like than anything else.

-Excerpt from a comment on IMDB

This is a character piece (written by Michael Piller) for Chakotay which would’ve fit better in S1; it has several flashbacks. Young Chakotay (Douglas Spain) is sullen and doesn’t care re: spirituality; his father, Kolopak (Henry Darrow), wants him to be connected w/ his ancestors. Eventually, Young Chakotay reveals that he was sponsored by a Capt. Sulu to attend Starfleet Academy (a reference to TOS). It turned out that the Native American consultant who was hired to provide input on the show was a fraud; he’d changed his name and was of Armenian heritage! This con man had also tricked foundations into giving him thousands of dollars in grants (bringing to mind Rachel Dolezal and Jessica Krug).

Episode 10: Cold Fire

Tuvok: If you are to succeed in honing your telepathic abilities, you must learn to control these emotional outbursts.

Kes: Outburst? It was a giggle!

Kes and the Doctor notice a change in the remains of the Caretaker (10 mos. after being trapped in Delta Quadrant); they seem to be resonating in response to some energy source. Remembering that the Caretaker mentioned a female of his kind, Janeway wonders if she may be nearby; a meeting w/ her could be their ticket home. Tuvok develops a toxin that could debilitate this lifeform (if she poses a threat). Following the energy trail, the crew comes upon another array (also inhabited by Ocampa); they fire on the ship. Kes acts as the crew’s liaison to the Ocampa; their leader, Tanis (Gary Graham), comes on board and she assures him that they come in peace.

Tanis: Captain, are you aware of how your ship is regarded, that when Voyager appears, people fear destruction?

Ocampa Man: Your ship is known as a ship of death.

I saw this ep… and realized that (wow), this series has the potential to be good! Graham (who does a fine job here) was one of the actors considered for Janeway (back when UPN wasn’t sure if they’d have a female captain). Tanis’ Ocampa seem to be more confident, live much longer than Kes’ group, and have stronger telekinetic powers. Also, when you learn that their Caretaker is named “Suspiria,” you know it’s not going to be positive- LOL! We see the dark side of Kes- that was unexpected; it’s unlike what we’ve come across in TOS and TNG.

The scenes where Kes uses her new skills on Tuvok and later on Tanis are much darker than one usually sees in Star Trek…

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Kes’ powers disappear as soon as Tanis leaves, illustrating another example of Reset Button Plotting – how to change characters just so they can change back 30 minutes later.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 11: Manuevers

After Voyager detects a Federation probe, the bridge-crew wonder if Starfleet has been looking for them. After setting a course for the beacon, they find it in an ion cloud and grow suspicious. The Kazon-Nistrim attack, matching their beams w/ the shield-harmonics of Voyager. The Kazon ram and puncture the hull of Voyager w/ a small craft, enabling them to steal one of the transporter modules. This event causes a destabilized warp-field; to prevent the Kazon from escaping, a tractor-beam locks on, and Maj Culluh (Anthony De Longis) hails them. Seska (Marth Hackett), now reverting back to her true (Cardassian) form, has allied w/ Culluh. She calls Chakotay predictable and causes a feedback-loop which breaks the tractor-beam entirely. Voyager, unable to sustain a stable warp-field, can’t pursue. Janeway explains the ramifications of allowing Federation tech to be in the hands of the Kazon.

Torres: [referring to Seska manipulating the Voyager crew] You’re taking this all very personally, aren’t you?

Chakotay: Why shouldn’t I?

Torres: You are not responsible for what happened.

Chakotay: Oh, no? I let her join the Maquis. I took her into my confidence. I even got… intimately involved with her.

Torres: So you have lousy taste in women.

Chakotay (reverting to his lone wolf/Maquis roots) goes after the Kazon-Nistrim ship to retrieve or destroy the tech; he gets captured! He’s taunted by Seska, then tortured for info on Voyager, but he doesn’t give up anything. By the time Voyager turns up to rescue him, the Nistrim ship has been joined by other Kazon sects (who Seska brought together). I thought this was a good ep w/ some well-done action. Seska makes a decent villain; she may betray Cullah (who is under-developed), as Chakotay points out. Her final message to Chakotay showed how bad she can be; it will remind you of a soap opera plot! Hackett was pregnant (in real life) when she shot that scene.

Episode 14: Alliances

[Hogan has suggested that Voyager give the Kazon some of their technology to resolve the conflict w/ them]

Janeway: I appreciate your concerns, Crewman. But let me make it absolutely clear: I’ll destroy this ship before I turn any part of it over to the Kazon!

A Kazon attack results in the death of a well-liked Voyager crewman, ex-Maquis Kurt Bendera. Stakes are high now; there have been several (heavy) attacks in recent weeks from the Kazon. Chakotay, a good friend of Bendera, delivers the eulogy. After the funeral, Jonas (Raphael Sbrage) and Hogan (Simon Billig) approach Janeway and suggest that Voyager share their tech w/ the Kazon. Of course, Janeway is not having it! Chakotay voices the proposal of forming an alliance w/ one or two Kazon factions. Janeway goes to have a talk w/ Tuvok; he talks re: peace formed by the alliance between the Federation and Klingons. Should Voyager (alone- far from Starfleet) compromise its regulations in order to survive?

Janeway: [to Tuvok re: banding together with the Kazon] How can I consider it? I can’t just walk away from the precepts Starfleet has laid out for us. You don’t deal with outlaws. You don’t involve yourself in the political machinations of other cultures. It goes against everything I believe, everything I’ve trained for, everything experience has taught me.

Janeway decides to meet w/ Seska and Maje Cullah (who is a total mysogonist jerk); when Cullah asks for an exchange of crew, she rejects it. Meanwhile, Neelix decides to use some of his contacts to propose an alliance w/ a different tribe (Kazon-Pommar). Eventaully, Janeway decides to ally w/ the Trabe (former enslavers of the Kazon); they created the ships and tech that were stolen by the Kazon. The Trabe insist they only want to find a new home world and leave their past behind. Their leader, Mabus (Charles Lucia), urges Janeway to gather the heads of the Kazon sects for a peace conference. Well, how can Janeway resist this (as a by-the-the book captain)!? Neelix tips her off that there might be danger during these talks, but Janeway decides to proceed (in the hopes of brining stability to the region).

Janeway: I hope there’s a lesson for all of us in this. Although some of the species we’ve encountered here have been peaceful, others seem governed only by their own self-interests. This appears to be a region of space that doesn’t have many rules. But I believe we can learn something from the events that have unfolded. In a part of space where there are few rules, it’s more important than ever that we hold fast to our own. In a region where shifting allegiances are commonplace, we have to have something stable to rely on; and we do: the principles and ideals of the Federation. As far as I’m concerned, those are the best allies we could have.

Captain Janeway’s resolve to strictly adhere to the prime direction is strengthened in this episode after being tested by Chakotay and Tuvok’s well intentioned counsel.

To Chakotay’s credit his idea of a mutual protection pact makes sense and, as a first officer, his duty is to provide the captain with options and recommendations.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 16: Meld

Tuvok investigates the murder of a Voyager engineer. Former Maquis and Betazoid, Lon Suder (Brad Dourif- best known as Grima on LOTR), quickly confesses to the murder w/ no explanation or remorse. Tuvok, curious to find a reason for Suder’s behavior, performs a mind-meld (to find himself losing his usual Vulcan control and descending into violence). Tom is disrespectful to Chakotay, beginning an important subplot of S2.

This is the first ST ep whose development involved Michael Sussman, a writing intern at the time who later wrote/ co-wrote 10 subsequent eps of the series. We also see the brig on Voyager for the first time; there is no death penalty (according to the rules of the Federation). Russ does a fine job, as does Dourif, making this one of the must-see eps of the season.

Star Trek is generally at it’s best when it tells a personal story. The heart in battle with itself is a term I hear thrown about quite a bit and that fits in this particular case. The performance of Suder was fascinating. The way he is written is excellent… he is ultimately just a naturally violent man who harbors no hatred for his victim; he just enjoys releasing his rage. …Suder is sympathetic in his own way, as he caringly tries to talk sense into Tuvok when he enters the brig with the intention of murdering him.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 18: Death Wish

Q learns that Voyager is lost in the Delta Quadrant.

Q: Well, I guess that’s what we get for having a woman in the captain’s seat.

[Janeway suggests a hearing]

Q: A hearing? You would have me put his future into your delicate little hands? Oh!… so touchably soft. What is your secret, dear?

I think I’m one of many who like Q (John de Lancie); this is his first appearance on this series. Yes, it deals w/ a serious issue (another Q’s right to die), but there is also humor. We get a guest appearance by Frakes; Janeway is excited to meet him. Mulgrew and de Lancie were friends (in real life); they have good chemistry. Looking back now, there are a few problematic lines/moments (such as when Q pops into Janeway’s bed). Of course, she is not having it!

Episode 19: Lifesigns

To help save the life of a Vidiian scientist, Dr. Denara Pel (Susan Diol- who I know from One Life to Live), who’s dying from the Phage, the Doctor creates a holographic body to preserve her mind. It’s the first time she is experiencing life (w/o the disease) in years; the adaptive programming opens up the Doctor to romance. Meanwhile, Tom’s growing insubordination lands him in the brig, and Jonas balks at an order from the Kazon-Nistrim to sabotage the ship.

This is the ep where the Doctor falls in love- which is surprising, yet a happy, incident. Tom gives him advice re: planning a romantic date. We see how a healthy Vidian would look (for the first time). Dinara’s final decision is opposite to the one chosen in The Cage by Vina in TOS, who chose to continue living her illusion of beauty rather than return to her people in her disfigured state.

Episode 20: Investigations

Looking for some serious news for his “A Briefing with Neelix” ship-wide broadcasts, Neelix learns of Paris’ immanent departure from Voyager. Shortly after Paris disembarks for a Talaxian convoy, problems develop with the ship’s warp engines. Word of his abduction by the Kazon-Nistrim arrives; the swiftness of Paris’ capture leads Neelix to suspect a traitor aboard. Journalistic interest leads him to press on and, w/ Lt. Hogan’s help, brings to light a suspect- Paris.

Earlier in the season, some viewers wondered whether Hogan or Jonas was going to be the traitor; we’ve known for several eps that it was Jonas. He’d been asking to speak w/ Seska, but had to deal w/ a Kazon-Nistrim who was her assistant. I was a bit surprised that Janeway and Tuvok kept that plan re: Paris leaving from Chakotay. Paris acting like an immature jerk for several eps had a purpose after all.

…this show isn’t much about logic as it is about overblown spectacle. From Paris’ escape of the Kazon ship to Neelix’s big fight with Jonas once he’s found out, “Investigations” puts action ahead of storyline more times than not—unfortunately, with limited success.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 21: Deadlock

A “spatial scission” causes Voyager to be duplicated; one of the ships is under heavy attack from the Vidiians while the other remains impervious. Both Janeways work together and (eventually) one decides to sacrifice her ship to save the other. Before the auto-destruct happens, the doomed Voyager sends its Ensign Kim and baby girl (born to Ensign Wildman) to the other ship, thus to replacing the Kim that was killed and the baby who dead from complications.

Two Janeways are better than one- esp. when they get to be badass! This was one of my fave eps so far in the series; it’s fun, fast-paced, w/ good action scenes. Yes, it’s written by Braga, but it’s one of the good ones! The directing is well done; they used one of the TNG veterans (David Livingston).

The raw energy of this episode makes it a winner, and, by the end of the show, everything feels like it more or less adds up in its own bizarre way, even if my brain doesn’t want to buy it. Braga shows the talent, I guess, for making things clear and confusing at the same time. Livingston shows the talent for turning it all into a gripping hour of science fiction.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 25: Resolutions

An incurable viral infection forces Janeway and Chakotay to part from Voyager and take residence on a planet (which they name “New Earth”) that negates their symptoms. Their departure weighs heavily on the crew, almost to the point of insurrection against now Capt. Tuvok, who won’t consider contacting the (organ-harvesting) Vidiians for help. While Tuvok deals w/ the crew, a plasma storm threatens Janeway’s research to find a cure.

Fans are mixed on this ep (which could be relatable in quarantine life); shippers or Janeway and Chakotay love it, others aren’t as excited about it. Jeri Taylor (writer-producer) wrote this ep, talking inspo from (no doubt) romance novels. The characterization of Chakotay as a homemaker was way ahead of its time, as the (male) hosts of The People vs. Star Trek Voyager podcast commented. I loved the chemistry between Mulgrew and Beltran in all their scenes. I’m not sure why the needed to have the spider monkey; it turns out Rick Berman found this animal to be amusing- LOL!

Chakotay’s philosophy seems much more rational given the circumstances. He wants to build a home—accept that the disease is not curable and move on. And that’s the one interesting question “Resolutions” brings up—the subject of moving on, and the nature of the relationship which will form between Janeway and Chakotay in their isolated society of two. After weeks of denial, Janeway realizes that they have to discuss the personal effects of their situation, and where the future will take them. Janeway’s line, “I think we need to define some parameters about us,” was one of the episode’s few genuinely interesting moments, and Chakotay’s response, “I’m not sure if I can define parameters, but I can tell you an ancient story,” rang very true.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 26: The Basics, Part I

Janeway: [the problem with Seska allying with the Kason] She knows you, Chakotay. She knew how you’d react when you saw your son in danger.

Chakotay: I have a duty to this crew. I can’t just leave and go looking for the child.

Janeway: And I’d never consider letting you go into a Kazon-Nistrim stronghold by yourself. If we do this, we do it together. That’s something else Seska would know, too.

Seska’s distress call announcing the birth of Chakotay’s son puts the Voyager crew in a bind. We know that Seska and her Kazon-Nistrim allies are violent and untrustworthy. Chakotay must decide whether or not to accept the baby, as DNA for the conception was taken against his will (Manuevers). As Voyager gears up for confrontation w/ the Kazon, Suder (confined to quarters; undergoing therapy w/ Tuvok) begs Janeway to allow him to contribute (bio-engineer vegetables to increase food supply).

Cullah: [to Federation crewmen about Seska] What is it about the women from your quadrant? You know, she contradicts me in front of the senior askara? My own woman, disputing her Maje in front of others. This is your fault. You’ve let your women get out of control.

Piller wrote this ep (the finale of S2), which is a cliffhanger. I expected more, though I thought the pacing and direction were good. I liked the scene in Chakotay’s dream w/ his father; the actors had good chemistry. I liked all the stuff w/ Suder and Tuvok; we’re living not unlike Suder’s in quarantine- LOL! In my opinion, the most shocking moment was Culluh slapping Janeway on her own bridge- oh hell no!!! I wished that Seska had killed that guy already.

Here are some issues which critics/viewers bought up. Why is Voyager still near Kazon space (after mos. of travel)? Why aren’t the Kazon written as more interesting villains? After the crew finds the wounded Kazon, Tierna (John Gegunhuber), on his damaged shuttle floating in space, why do they trust him? He should’ve been watched 24/7, so he couldn’t do the suicide bombing. Though the special effects are OK (I’m on my first watch), why aren’t they close to being on par w/ DS9 (which I’ve been re-watching recently)?

It’s shocking to see Voyager commandeered by the Kazon and the crew forced off their ship. I could see the writers had no idea how to resolve this, but I could also see they left their options open with Tom, the Doctor, AND Suder all being wildcards.

The episode provided a gripping conclusion to the second series; with the crew stranded on a prehistoric planet and the Kazon in control of the ship it will be interesting to see how they can retake it.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episode 26: “The Jem’Hadar”)

Quark: Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever. [Rule of Acquisition #102]

Sisko wants to spend more time w/ Jake; he encourages his son to think of a challenging science project. They decide to make a trip to a planet (in the Gamma Quadrant) which is like Earth was in its early stage of development. Jake wants to bring Nog along; his friend needs to better his grade. When Quark hears Nog is coming, he wants to come along also- (LOL). Quark thinks he can change Sisko’s mind re: using the station’s screens for advertising. After some research of the planet’s soil and dinner by the campfire, Jake and Nog go off for a while. Suddenly, an alien woman approaches Sisko and Quark. She shoots Sisko w/ a telepathic weapon and says she’s running from the Jem’Hadar (soldiers of the Dominion). She tells Sisko and Quark to run, but all three are captured!

Nog: I’m telling you, Jake, something’s happened to them. Maybe they were attacked by a wild animal.

Jake Sisko: You heard my dad, there aren’t any wild animals, just insects and plants.

Nog: Maybe they were attacked by a vicious tree.

The alien woman, Eris (Molly Hagan), has a collar which prevents her using her telepathic powers to deactivate the containment field they are held in. Third Talak’talan (leader of the Jem’Hadar group) informs Sisko that the Dominion will no longer tolerate the presence of ships from the other side of the wormhole. He reveals knowledge of the Alpha Quadrant, but refuses to allow Sisko to speak with the Founders (leaders of the Dominion). Eris then claims the Founders are a myth. After some hours, Sisko makes some progress on removing Eris’ collar and gets Quark to pick the lock.

Many viewers have commented on the resemblance of the Jem’Hadar to the Tosk (S1 E5). The original script for this ep notes that the Tosk were created as a gift to the Hunters (as a reward for loyalty to the Dominion). So, the Hunters and Tosk were Dominion members; Robert Hewitt Wolfe confirmed the connection.

Quark: The way I see it, Humans used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We’re a constant reminder of a part of your past you’d like to forget.

Sisko: Quark, we don’t have time for this.

Quark: You’re overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi: slavery, concentration camps, interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We’re nothing like you… we’re better.

It’s up to Jake and Nog to get help and rescue the grown-ups, so they return to the runabout. They aren’t able to beam the captives off the planet or bypass the ship’s autopilot to break orbit. When they finally gain control of the ship, they realize that w/o the autopilot, they’ll have to learn to fly it themselves!

On DS9, a ship quickly flies through the wormhole; Talak’talan materializes in Ops, even though shields are raised. He informs the crew that Sisko is being detained by the Dominion, then transports away. Capt. Keogh (Alan Oppenheimer) and the Federation starship Odyssey arrive to assess the situation and mount a rescue mission. He allows the station’s two remaining runabouts, crewed by Kira, O’Brien, Dax, Odo, and Bashir, to accompany the Odyssey.

Third Talak’talan: A Ferengi, and a human. I was hoping the first race I’d meet from the other side of the anomaly would be the Klingons.

Sisko: I’m sorry to disappoint you.

Quark removes Eris’ collar, allowing her to disengage the force field, and they all escape. O’Brien beams aboard Jake and Nog’s runabout and assumes command, then beams aboard Sisko, Quark, and Eris. The starship arrives at the planet and the Jem’Hadar attack mercilessly. Even when the badly-damaged Odyssey turns to retreat, a Jem’Hadar ship rams the ship and blows it up! This was one of the most surprising moments in ST history. Back at the station, Quark discovers Eris’ collar is a fake; she is a spy for the Dominion! Eris beams out to parts unknown, leaving them w/ a warning of what’s yet to come.

Kira: She’ll be back. The question is who she’ll bring with her.

Sisko: If the Dominion comes through the Wormhole, the first battle will be fought here. And I intend to be ready for them.

This exciting ep is the S2 finale of DS9 and features the first appearance of two new alien races (the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta). The new villains are scary, arrogant, powerful, and have contempt for the Federation. Most of all- they don’t play fair. The Odyssey is a Galaxy-class ship (so it looks exactly like The Enterprise); to a regular viewer of TNG, seeing it destroyed could be very shocking! The “kids” (Ira Stephen Behr; Ronald D. Moore) have freedom from the “parents” (Rick Berman; Michael Piller) now. This is the start of the producers’ strategy of leaving the audience in suspense and building on events in previous seasons. This led DS9 to take on a serial-like feel, unlike the episodic feel of TOS and TNG.

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 20 & 21)

Episode 20: The Maquis, Part I

As the Cardassian transport ship Bok’nor prepares for departure from DS9, a man in a Starfleet uniform makes adjustments to some equipment. Moments after departing, this ship explodes, killing everyone on board! It doesn’t look like an accident; The Federation and Bajor expect retaliation by the Cardassians. Cmdr. Calvin Hudson (Bernie Casey- who went from the NFL to acting) arrives to discuss a tense situation; he is the attache to the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone. He is also an old pal of Sisko (Avery Brooks) since their Starfleet Academy days; he has no kids and is a widower. Hudson tells Sisko that the Federation’s decision to give away territory to the Cardassians was a bad idea. However, Sisko believes the treaty made after the Federation’s war w/ the Cardassians is reasonable.

Hudson: [of Dax] That woman knows more about me than any woman ever has. More than my wife even.

Sisko: Tell me about it.

When he returns to his quarters, Sisko is surprised to find Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo), who says that Federation citizens were responsible for the attack of the Bok’Nor. Dukat and wants to show Sisko something in the Demilitarized Zone. On the way in a runabout, they receive a distress call from a Federation merchant vessel under attack by Cardassians. The attackers ignore Dukat’s orders to stand down, but before the runabout can intervene, an unidentified Federation vessel appears and destroys the Cardassian ships!

Dukat: Now do you begin to see, Commander? That without any help from either one of us they’ve managed to start their own little war out here.

A beautiful Vulcan woman (associated w/ the saboteur), Sakonna (Bertila Damas), approaches Quark to talk business. He plans a fancy dinner for her that night, trying to “melt her cold heart.” After he toasts the Vulcan people as “a very noble race,” Sakonna explains that she wants to buy weapons! Quark almost can’t believe it. Somewhere on the station, the saboteur is abducted.

Quark: Rule of Acquisition number 214: Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.

Sisko and Dukat arrive at a colony in the Demilitarized Zone to find Hudson and several others in a heated debate w/ Gul Evek (Richard Poe), Hudson’s Cardassian counterpart. Evek shows them the video confession from the alleged saboteur, William Samuels, then brings in his corpse (claiming it was suicide). This outrages the colonists; Amaros (Tony Plana) leaps across a table to attack Evek. Hudson calms everyone down; he later tells Sisko that Samuels may have been guilty, but these colonists “have a right to defend themselves.” He warns Sisko about the Cardassians, saying they’ve been smuggling weapons to their colonies. On the way back to DS9, Dukat denies that the Bok’Nor was transporting weapons.

Dukat: Of all the Humans I’ve met, you strike me as the most joyless and the least vulnerable.

Sisko: I am when I’m with you.

O’Brien confirms that the device that destroyed the Bok’Nor was of Federation origin. Sisko has Dukat’s quarters secured, but Sakonna and several colonists kidnap him. A group called “The Maquis” claims responsibility. Sisko, Kira, and Bashir track the kidnappers to a planet in an area known as “The Badlands.” They beam down and are captured by armed Maquis members; Hudson (now out of uniform) is their leader!

Hudson: I’m glad to see you had no trouble finding us, Ben. It seems that one disaster after another keeps bringing us back together again.

The teleplay for Pt. I was written by James Crocker. This ep marks the first appearance of the Maquis, whose origins are shown in TNG: Journey’s End (1994). The Maquis are named after the French Resistance against Nazi occupation (1940-1944), but their situation is more similar to French citizens in Algeria during that country’s war w/ France in the 1950s. The Maquis usually wear bright colored outfits, including vests and unique accessories. At the suggestion of the director (David Livingston), costume designer Robert Blackman made a revealing outfit for Sakonna. When Berman saw it, he told Blackman to tone it down; the form-fitting gown is a different look for a Vulcan.

Now if you’ve only seen TOS and TNG, then seeing a suicide mission on a ST show could be shocking! If you are re-watching the series, then you know that the Maquis aren’t the only group who resort to such (extreme) tactics. Another bold move was having members of the Maquis in Starfleet uniforms; a few had previously been in this organization. Starting w/ TNG, the writers wanted to introduce people different from Starfleet, while creating an opportunity to do cross-overs and enhance the franchise.

Episode 21: The Maquis, Part II

Sisko demands to see Dukat; Hudson accuses Sisko of siding w/ the Cardassians over him. Hudson claims the Maquis want only peace, while Sisko says they want revenge. The two officers try to convince each other, but when Sisko refuses to join the cause, Hudson stuns all three of them w/ phasers!

Admiral Nechayev refers to the Maquis as “a bunch of irresponsible hotheads” and instructs Sisko to talk w/ them (unaware of the gravity of the situation). The Cardassian legate (a very high official), Parn (John Schuck- a veteran of ST movies/series), arrives w/ a message that Central Command won’t tolerate the smuggling of weapons to Cardassian colonies, which is what was done by Dukat. Sisko and Kira don’t believe it; Sisko realizes that Hudson was telling the truth. Meanwhile, Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Sisko interrogate Quark in a holding cell. He admits he arranged for Sakonna to acquire weapons, unaware then of the Maquis; he believes an attack will come very soon.

Sisko: …It’s easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the demilitarized zone all the problems haven’t been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints, just people-angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not.

At an unknown location, Sakonna attempts a Vulcan mind meld w/ Dukat, which doesn’t work (as he can block his thoughts). Sisko, Bashir, and Odo arrive and try to resolve the situation peacefully, but Dukat gets impatient, causing a fight. The Maquis are captured, but Sisko lets Amaros go to deliver a message to Hudson. They bring Dukat back to the station, where he learns of Parn’s accusations. Then, w/ Dukat’s help, they catch a Xepolite trader transporting weapons on behalf of Central Command.

Quark: Look, I know the Cardassians can’t be trusted. I know the Central Command would like nothing better than to wipe out all the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone.

Sakonna: Then you agree with our position.

Quark: Not for a second. Because your position is illogical.

Sakonna: Do you propose to lecture *me* on logic?

Quark: I don’t want to, but you leave me no choice.

Quark talks Sakonna into revealing to Sisko that the Maquis are planning to destroy a Cardassian weapons depot in the next 52 hours; she doesn’t know the location. Dukat promises to find out the location. Sisko visits Hudson again, asking him to reconsider abandoning his career. Hudson declines, symbolically destroying his Starfleet uniform.

The DS9 crew is waiting in three runabouts when the two Maquis ships arrive at the weapons depot. They attempt to disable one another; finally, only Sisko’s runabout and Hudson’s raider remain, with Sisko’s engines and Hudson’s weapons offline. Sisko allows Hudson to escape, much to Dukat’s dismay. Sisko wonders if he has prevented a war or merely delayed it.

The teleplay for Pt. II was written by (future showrunner) Behr; he’s very proud of this ep and considers it to be one of the most important early eps in establishing the darker ideology for which the show would become famous. It’s not all topsy-turvy, but ST is getting more complicated; Dukat and Sisko (former enemies) team up, a Vulcan (from peace-loving race) buys weapons, and a farmer/family man becomes a saboteur. The admirals in Starfleet can’t relate to problems faced by those living a different reality than theirs back on Earth, as Sisko comments to Kira. It’s true that every problem can’t be solved w/ a treaty (as Hudson says). His jaded view of Starfleet hints at what he eventually becomes- an outlaw. Behr intended to have Hudson die at the end, but Piller opposed it; Piller later commented to Behr that he was right.

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 7-10)

Episode 7: Rules of Acquisition

Quark: [smiles] I see you know your rules.

Pel: [nods] All 285 of them. And the various commentaries as well… I don’t plan on being a waiter forever.

A group of Ferengi are playing a game of Tongo w/ Dax (Terry Farrell). Pel (Helene Udy), a new Ferengi waiter in the bar, has an idea to ensure that customers are always thirsty. Suddenly, Quark (Armin Shimerman) gets a message on subspace from Grand Nagus Zek (veteran actor Wallace Shawn), who has chosen him as the chief negotiator for new business opportunities in the Gamma Quadrant. First, Quark must prove himself by negotiating w/ the Dosi to acquire 10,000 vats of tulaberry wine. Zek believes this can be the key to opening other markets. Zek convinces Sisko (Avery Brooks) and Kira (Nana Visitor) to have this conference on DS9.

Zek: Most of my information consists of little more than hints and whispers, but it’s enough to convince me that whoever learns the secret of the Dominion, whatever that may be, will learn the secret of the Gamma Quadrant.

This ep was written by Ira Steven Behr from a story by Hilary Bader and edited by (TNG veteran) Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Behr was responsible for fleshing out the Ferengi (one of his favorite aliens). It’s the first ep that mentions “the Dominion,” the Gamma Quadrant power which will dominate later on in the series. Shawn is always fun to watch; even under layers of prosthetics, he still has a big personality and twinkle in his eye. Even in his advanced age, Zek has an eye for women; he hits on Kira several times! The Ferengi were often used as comic relief, but this ep is deeper (focused on gender equality).

Episode 8: Necessary Evil

[In a flashback scene]

Kira: Unofficially or not, you’re working for the Cardassians. Sooner or later you’re gonna have to choose whose side you’re on.

Odo: I don’t choose sides.

Kira: Everyone has to choose sides, Constable.

Quark is on Bajor negotiating w/ a glamourous woman, Pallra (Katherine Moffat), who wants him to retrieve a hidden strongbox from DS9. Quark and Rom (Max Grodenchik) have no problem finding the box, but Quark’s curiosity makes him open it. He finds a list of Bajoran names, but before he can copy it, he gets shot! Odo (Rene Auberjonois) is immediately reminded of a case several yrs back, when he was forced by Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) to investigate the murder of the owner of a chemist’s shop, Vaatrick (husband of Pallra).

Odo: [voice-over] Nobody ever had to teach me the justice trick. That’s something I’ve always known. A racial memory from my species, I guess. It’s really the only clue I have to what kind of people they are…

This great ep was written by a veteran of TV series, Peter Allan Fields; it’s a mystery w/ elements of film noir (a genre I’ve been watching a LOT in quarantine). There is murder, a detective (Odo), a femme fatale (Pallra), and secrets to be uncovered. The elaborate costumes and headpieces worn by Pallra reminded me of the 1940s. This was Odo’s first case as a (unofficial) lawman and the first time he and Kira interact. The lighting and mood of the flashback scenes showed us how dark and depressing DS9 used to be under the Cardassian occupation.

Episode 9: Second Sight

It has been 4 yrs since Sisko’s wife died and he is a bit down lately. He’s walking late one night on the Promenade, when suddenly he gets approached by a beautiful woman, Fenna (Salli Richardson). Sisko talks w/ her, but she disappears suddenly. He sees her again the next day, but when he asks personal questions, she disappears again! Sisko asks Odo to investigate. Meanwhile, Dax is working w/ the brilliant/egotistical Prof. Gideon Seyetik (veteran actor Richard Kiley; the dad from The Thorn Birds), famous for terraforming planets. He’s on DS9 to prepare for his most ambitious project- re-igniting the dead star (Epsilon 119). Terraforming technology is based upon the Genesis Device (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Some viewers commented that this ep isn’t very interesting (I agree); it reminded some of TOS (not in a good way)!

Episode 10: Sanctuary

Haneek: Men are far too emotional to be leaders. They’re constantly fighting amongst themselves. It’s their favorite thing to do.

DS9 beams aboard four aliens who just traveled through the wormhole on a damaged ship. The universal translator has a hard time picking up their language, but eventually they identify themselves as Skrreeans. The female, Haneek (Deborah May), tells they are a race conquered by the T-Rogorans, who in turn were recently been conquered by the Dominion. Most of their leaders were killed; now 3 million Skrreeans are looking for a new home. According to legend, their ancestral home is located behind “the Eye of the Universe” (the wormhole). Sisko and Kira agree to help and soon hundreds of refugees visit the station. While Sisko thinks he found a fine planet to relocate them- Haneek makes a discovery of her own.

Odo: It’s gonna get awfully crowded around here, Commander.

Sisko: I know, Constable, but it’s worth it. Just look at them. They’re experiencing their first taste of freedom.

The music Varani (veteran actor William Schallert; dad of Doogie Howser, MD) is playing in Quark’s bar is a variant of the DS9 theme song. Schallert played Nilz Baris in TOS (The Trouble with Tribbles). Andrew Koenig, who plays Tumak, is the son of Walter Koenig, who played Pavel Chekov in TOS. Kitty Swink, who plays the Bajoran minister Rozahn, is Shimerman’s wife. This is also the first appearance of Leland Orser on a ST show.

This ep contains the second reference to the Dominion; the race which Haneek mentioned as having conquered the T-Rogorans were presumably the Jem’Hadar. It starts out somewhat light/comedic, but then the aliens get developed and the tension builds. I got invested in the story, which brings to mind the real refugee crisis (in our modern world). I’m not sure why it has such a low rating! Michael Piller decided to write a downbeat ending to this ep and invert the happy one in Frederick Rappaport’s teleplay. Piller felt the story would carry more resonance; Behr liked the dark conclusion.

Hitchcock’s 50th Film: “Torn Curtain” (1966) starring Paul Newman & Julie Andrews

Prof. Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman- the hottest scientist ever) is heading via boat to Copenhagen to attend a conference w/ his assistant/fiancée, Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews). Once they arrive, Michael informs her that he’ll be staying for a while and she should go home. Sarah follows him and realizes Michael is actually going to East Germany (behind the Iron Curtain). She is shocked when Michael announces that he’s defecting; the U.S. government cancelled his project after 6 yrs. In truth, Michael is there to get info (which a professional spy couldn’t understand) from another nuclear physicist!

I did not have to act in ‘Torn Curtain’. I merely went along for the ride. I don’t feel that the part demanded much of me, other than to look glamorous, which Mr. Hitchcock can always arrange better than anyone. I did have reservations about this film, but I wasn’t agonized by it. The kick of it was working for Hitchcock. That’s what I did it for, and that’s what I got out of it. -Julie Andrews

The idea behind this film came from the defections of British diplomats (Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean) to the Soviet Union in 1951. Sir Alfred Hitchcock was very intrigued re: Maclean’s life in the Soviet Union, incl. about Melinda Marling (his wife) who followed her husband a year later w/ their three children. In the end, Hitch was so unhappy w/ this movie that he didn’t make a trailer w/ his appearance in it (as was his habit). Bernard Herrmann (composer) wrote an original score, but Universal execs convinced the director on something more upbeat. Hitchcock and Herrmann had a big fight and never worked together again! Steven Spielberg admitted on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) that as a young man he snuck onto the soundstage; he was there for 45 mins. before an assistant producer asked him to leave.

I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off, but the script kept getting in the way. -Paul Newman

The working relationship between Hitch and Newman was problematic; the actor came from a different generation than Cary Grant and James Stewart. He questioned the director re: the script and his characterization, which Hitch later said he found “unacceptable and disrespectful.” As a Method actor, Newman consulted Hitch about his character’s motivations; Hitch replied that his “motivation is your salary.” Also, no romantic chemistry developed between Newman and Andrews (another disappointment to the director). Though the screenplay drags along, the colorful Eastern European supporting actors do fine w/ what they are given. Many critics/viewers recalled the (memorable) killing scene where Gromek fights Armstrong and a housekeeper in the farmhouse.

[1] Pity. I love Hitchcock. There is a detachment here never seen before in a Hitch flick. As if the master was tired or uninterested.

[2] The main thing about Torn Curtain is the photography. It’s full of pretty pictures- one of the most beautifully filmed of all Hitchcock’s films, with lots bold swaths of primary colors and attractive and constantly changing locations…

[3] This was Alfred Hitchcock’s last star vehicle. At the time this was made Julie Andrews was fresh from Mary Poppins and had all kinds of roles offered her. …she and Newman really have no chemistry at all.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews