Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Star Trek 564: Counterpoint

564. Counterpoint

FORMULA: The Enterprise Incident + The Raven + Relics

WHY WE LIKE IT: Playa gets played.

WHY WE DON'T: Prime Directive blues. (Am I repeating myself?)

REVIEW: Counterpoint is an episode with a strong hook (Janeway complacently lets the space gestapo ransack Voyager in search of telepaths they've hidden in a transporter beam to get through their space) that develops well, has memorable guest characters, and makes the cast look smart. It also has sizeable plot holes that I find incredibly distracting.

What works: Kashyk provides a good romantic foil for Janeway. Has he really fallen for human culture or for Janeway? Or is he still working for the Devore Imperium? Maybe a little of both? He and Janeway get enough quiet moments to let you believe something could develop between them, and there's a really nice moment when a security guard notices their chemistry. You can hear the rumor mill start spinning its wheels. But of course, he IS playing her and it's all a grand con game, but as in the best con stories, the con men end up getting conned. Janeway covered her bets well, and screwed Kashyk out of his victory. Nice. I also want to mention my favorite make-up in all of Trek: Torat's. The inflatable nose bags aren't just funny, they also give him alien mannerisms.

What doesn't work: First of all, what is this wormhole worth to Voyager? While it might seem (without being explicitly said) that it would take Voyager out of the Imperium and closer to home - reason enough to help the telepathic refugees - Janeway's endgame precludes them from ever using it. Even worse, they give up two shuttles and are left stranded in the middle of enemy space. How could she know her ship would then be spared? How far to the border anyway? And isn't Tuvok, a telepath, right there on the bridge when the Devore return? Questions, questions.

And then there's the Prime Directive. Voyager keeps breaking it and to make matters worse, they keep mentioning it just so we notice. Here we do get an explanation however. Janeway admits to playing fast and loose with Starfleet Order #1 and usually letting the Board of Inquiry handle it. In fact, she infers she's been in front of the Board many times, as she's on a first name basis with those admirals. Knowing that she ends up as an admiral herself, the story paints the picture of a political animal. Get in good with the bosses, get yourself out of courts-martial, climb that ladder right to the top. I'm not against the characterization, but in light of other comments she's made about following Starfleet rules, it does make her a hypocrite.

LESSON: Mahler knew his subspace harmonics.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A strong episode for Janeway, but the refugees could have just escaped through that massive plot hole at anytime.


Doctor Mi said...

This one was Mulgrew's choice for the Captain's Log anthology. Indeed a strong Janeway episode. I do give it points for the suspense and love/betrayal buildup.

Man the replicators must be functionning full time to replicate the shuttles one piece at a time. How many shuttles lost/destroyed now, Siskoid?

Siskoid said...

I've lost count. That's how many!