Star Trek 487: Maneuvers

487. Maneuvers

FORMULA: State of Flux + For the Cause + Prime Factors

WHY WE LIKE IT: The daring raid. Seska's back.

WHY WE DON'T: Voyager's detours.

REVIEW: Seska returns with her Kazon boyfriend and makes a pretty good villain thanks to her Cardassian wiles. The Kazon have a rather limited worldview, after all, and throwing in Cardassian deceit and strategy, as well as a flair for uneasy alliances, makes the Nistrim sect a bit more interesting. As a group that is, because Culluh himself is only Seska's tool, and barely ever outgrows this status. He's a chump.

The episode starts out big, with the Kazon piercing Voyager's hull with a shuttle and boarding her that way. It's a clever way to get around the fact they have no transporters, and surprising that it's Seska's idea. What do the Kazon usually do? She's making them try new things all over the place, including trying to negotiate agreements with other sects, in a scene that can only be described as the meeting of dons. Except the moll is the real boss. Cool transporter tug of war at the end too.

But the Kazon and their harsh white lighting are only set dressing for the real conflict, a chess game between Seska and Chakotay. He knows her well and has his own tricks, but she's just a little bit better and captures him. It's nice to see him use psychology (and his own humiliating treatment at the hands of this femme fatale) as a weapon. Hm, it just occurred to me that this engineer suddenly shows a lot of medical know-how by reconfiguring her DNA back to the original Cardassian (plus impregnating herself with Chakotay's non-sperm DNA). She might just be TOO competent, but then Voyager is perhaps too powerful, taking massive damage here and yet being able to win the day against multiple Kazon ships (despite Tuvok's rather shoddy work throughout).

A perfectly good conflict despite some logic flaws and the disappointed mom routine at the end that is almost exactly that of Prime Factors, and the episode makes it clear Seska and Culluh will return. Given the level of drama and action presented, that would seem to be a good thing, but it underscores the fact that Voyager is evidently not getting home in a straight line. Somehow, a Kazon ship they met months ago can get in front of them and plan an ambush. And will again. Is Culluh keeping pace with the ship, leaving his own territory behind, unprotected? If his sect is small, is it believable to think Nistrim territory stretches out this far? So Voyager must be making detours that keep it in the same small patch of Kazon space, and we aren't getting anywhere at all. An example of how Voyager is ignoring its own premise.

LESSON: If you're going to share spinal fluid, use protection.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Hums along at a good pace, with some original strategies on both sides, but kept from being a High thanks to some large plot holes.


Unknown said...

Hate Voyager ! Tonight on TV

Deep Space Nine .
Siege of AR558-
One of My Top 3 Episodes

Matthew Turnage said...

Since Voyager has had to resupply itself on occasion, and they have been reliant on Neelix's knowledge of the area to find the best places to trade, it does make sense that they wouldn't necessarily be moving in a straight line. They'd just be heading towards those places they can get what they need that are progressively closer to the Alpha Quadrant.

Anonymous said...

Although they don't outright say it for another few seasons, one of the reasons they're going in a far-from-straight path is clearly to delay and minimize the time they have to spend in Borg territory...

Exactly how they know the boundaries of that territory can be attributed to a mixture of Neelix's knowledge and possibly some acquired in 7-of-9's retcon/origin...

Siskoid said...

We'll see if that pans out Jeff, but it's a good working theory.


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