Star Trek 502: Basics, Part I

502. Basics, Part I

FORMULA: Maneuvers + Meld + (Rascals - kids)

WHY WE LIKE IT: Suder's back. Seska's back.

WHY WE DON'T: Culluh's back. (Seriously? The Doctor's trip outside.)

REVIEW: The Kazon finally make some progress, running Voyager through the kind of gauntlet this part of space should always have been. Dangerous and nasty. Of course it helps that Seska is with them and running things from behind the scenes. (Indeed, Culluh is never more than just an impatient bully and far less interesting.) She's got Chakotay running after his baby, and the Kazon ships hitting non-vital systems, mystifying the crew. She's sent a pretty convincing Trojan horse to blow himself up at an opportune time. By the time the auto-destruct has failed because it was a non-vital system, you know Voyager has well and truly lost to a smarter opponent.

Leaving them all on a harsh, volcanically active planet, Culluh makes a good point. Can they survive without their toys? Voyager has been entirely too much about bling and bling words. It's a nice location too, what we see of it here, though not quite as harsh as it seems flying in. They're not all left behind of course. The episode makes sure to save a few "rebels" to resolve the situation in Part II (thankfully, it's not set up as a deus ex machina in the making). Tom Paris is off to get help, the Doctor deactivates himself for the time being, and then there's... Suder.

Yes, Brad Dourif is back, continuing his story on from Meld. Still an interesting character, here he hopes to help the ship somehow (as a gardener), though he must still keep his temper in check. More on him next time. Though heavy on plot, other characters do get sensible scenes, including Chakotay's well-handled vision quest to speak to his father's spirit.

Basics is a perfectly good season finale with a better cliffhanger than most. Really, if there's one scene that grated on my nerves, it's the one where the Doctor is projected into space and "comically" dodges a phaser beam. There's a continuity snafu with his idea to install exterior holographic projectors too. It was something mentioned by other characters about mid-season. And would that even work as a ploy? Just another example of Voyager being a miracle ship that can somehow adapt technology in ways no one back home ever thought of. And then the idea is used for a gag. Meh.

LESSON: Be careful about overrelying on... STUFF.

REWATCHABILITY - High: An ingenious plot hatched by a good recurring villain leads to one of Trek's better cliffhangers. Basics is as good as Voyager gets.


Matthew Turnage said...

Basics was one of Voyager's best two-parters, and a fitting final televised writing credit for the great Michael Piller. He said that Basics was also his message to the writing staff, to remember the basics in crafting their stories.

Although DS9 already had (and would continue) to thrive without him, VOY didn't hold up so well in the long run without his guiding hand.

De said...

The exterior hologram projectors don't make a whole lot of sense to me either. I'm guessing the inflatable starship from "The Practical Joker" (TAS) has since been taken out of Starfleet service.

Stephen said...

brad douriff really shines on the show he's one of the most interesting characters on voyager it would have been interesting to see him survive and become a memeber of the crew again. that would have been an interesting main character.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine