Star Trek 601: Muse

601. Muse

FORMULA: Blink of an Eye + Who Watches the Watchers + lots of fanfic

WHY WE LIKE IT: The postmodern twists.

WHY WE DON'T: The community theater.

REVIEW: People have complained for years that Voyager just wasn't about anything. An episode like Muse makes me disagree with that. No, Voyager was the point at which Star Trek came to be about itself. The previous episode seemed to deal with the convention scene, and Muse is clearly about fanfic. Both are episodes that deal heavily with the "Voyagers legend", something the writers have been fascinated with for years. Voyager has to leave a culture-altering trail behind it, just as Star Trek did. Hate to break it to them, but the "Trek that changed the world" sure ain't Voyager. Harping on this idea only makes them look insecure about the show. "See? We're as good as TOS or TNG or DS9! Better in fact!"

In Muse, a playwright from a relatively primitive culture turns a shipwrecked B'Elanna's stories about Voyager into plays. The two of them have good interaction as he helps her repair the Delta Flyer so long as she tells him more about the "Eternals" from "Shining Voyager". She treads carefully, painting things with a myth and magic, only at the end indulgently inserting herself into the play to prevent her character's death. It's a little silly, and is there a good reason why no one notices her Klingon ridges?

On the surface, the plays have an interesting look, with a Greek chorus and half-masks. But the fact is, they're not very good. In fact, they're awful, which takes a lot of steam out of the concept of having the Star Trek stage play stop a war with its philosophy. Kelis is a very bad fanfic writer, hoping to melt his patron's warrior's heart with Janeway kissing Tuvok, and Seven kissing Tom Paris, etc. There are some weird postmodern twists that I appreciate as an outside observer - the chorus writing the patron's reactions into the play, the real B'Elanna showing up to interrupt the play - but it's very messy storytelling for the play's audience. Not that anyone could understand these many alien concepts devoid of context. There's also a damning sequence in which an older actor talks about how Kelis and all these young writers are lazy and use formulaic tricks to achieve their ends, like sudden reversals, etc. Is writer Joe Menosky pointing at someone else in the writer's room, or himself?

There's an odd subplot concerning Tuvok running himself ragged to find the missing away team, which seems a little out of character for him. Even worse is the bit where he falls asleep on the bridge. Ridiculous. And I'm struck by the appearance of Kellie Waymire as the jealous actress. She appeared as Elizabeth Cutler in Enterprise, a lovely character whose life got cut short when Waymire died suddenly at age 36. I'm always saddened by her loss.

LESSON: If you're going to make an episode that's about making the show, you might want to make sure you have something nice to say about it.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: Some good B'Elanna bits, but ultimately a train wreck of an episode.

1 comments:

Andrew Gilbertson said...

Not really seeing all the symbolism here (and from the perspective that the Voyager-as-myth angle seems more aimed at the fact that they're the only... Equinox nonwithstanding... Starfleet presence in the Delta Quadrant, a unique entity that does affect many species across many sectors) I found this to be an excellent episode- on its own merit, as opposed to its symbolic fan-fic meaning.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Arak Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Lois Lane Dating Princess Diana Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear 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 Iron Man Jack Kirby JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Liveblog Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries Old52 Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play 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 SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox 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 Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing 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-Men Zine