FORMULA: Attached + The Galileo Seven ± Lifesigns
WHY WE LIKE IT: What might've been.
WHY WE DON'T: RESET BUTTON!
REVIEW: After a number of episodes where he is sidelined, Chakotay gets to do a little something. I do wish they'd think of something more than have him spout Native axioms and legends, but he's here represented as an outdoorsman and a builder of things. The predicament is an unusual one, a Gilligan's Island inside a Gilligan's Island, you might say: Janeway and Chakotay have gotten a disease that prevents them from leaving a planet, so they stay behind and rough it.
Janeway's determination prevents her from stopping her efforts to find a cure, while Chakotay is more acceptant of the situation and like the wise man he is, lives for the present. And is he looking to pull off a little Adam and Eve while he's at it? This remains ambiguous, but the situation does bring the two characters closer together and Chakotay will allow whatever happens to happen. If Janeway's goal is to find a cure, his is to devote himself completely to the only other person on the planet. If that leads to something (and given the circumstances, it's probably inevitable), so be it. Unfortunately, the relationship that develops is abandonned by episode's end. When they are eventually rescued (we were of course expecting it), they get right back to business and "commander" and "captain" as if nothing happened. This leads us to think that maybe something DID happen, but while it's fine not to show your hand to the crew, why was it necessary to avoid the issue even behind closed doors for the rest of the series? (The producers, when interviewed for DVD extras, are big on saying they took risks with this series. Well, I say they didn't take ENOUGH risks. Or at least never followed through on the risks they did take.)
Meanwhile, back on Voyager, it's like we're back on TOS as nobody trusts a Vulcan in command. At least this time the crew doesn't act criminally. There's no racism, and there's no talk of mutiny. That's refreshing, to be frank. They convince Tuvok to change his mind through good old-fashioned talking. The Vidiians make their last appearance on the series, and for once, they think of contacting Denara Pel, the one friendly Vidiian, for help. Not that it prevents the rest of her people from jumping the ship. Not a bad little battle either.
Other notes: This episode takes about four months to resolve itself, which is good justification why we're still in Kazon space. Why Tuvok never changes into a red uniform is never explained however. One thing that bugged me is the plasma storm on the planet. Why not just a hurricane? This seems like SF terminology gone out of control. Plasma is super-heated gas and would probably destroy a planet's ecology a lot more. Nice monkey though.
LESSON: What happens on the away mission, stays on the away mission.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: Sadly, Voyager is getting good at ignoring its own character continuity (even though it mentions event continuity when possible), so while this episode shows four months' worth of growth on the part of two key characters, it won't make a lick of difference. Still, a well-crafted piece if you know nothing of the show's future.