Star Trek 604: The Haunting of Deck Twelve

604. The Haunting of Deck Twelve

FORMULA: Lower Decks + The Begotten + Are You Afraid of the Dark?

WHY WE LIKE IT: The framing tale.

WHY WE DON'T: Worst escape sequence in Star Trek history.

REVIEW: Haunting is an efficient horror story about Voyager picking up its own version of DS9's "pup" who then proceeds to try to kill the crew. Malfunction and possession plots are nothing new to Trek, of course, but the episode gets a boost from the way it's told. By making it a third person narrative - Neelix telling it to the Borg kids as a spooky campfire story - it's allowed to go a little crazier than it normally would. The nebula gas has a skull-like face, Neelix has disturbing dreams, and the direction includes a number of scares. When the "pup" uses the computer's voice and vocabulary, it's quite creepy too.

The kids inject a lot of humor into the episode, interrupting, speculating and reacting in fun ways. Only in part because they're Borg, they're in no way as anxious listening to the story as Neelix is telling it. Shades of his fear of nothingness, the dark, etc.

The episode also includes a second (though chronologically first) appearance by bumbling ensign Tal Celes from Good Shepherd. She's always fun to have around, here in an early instance of Seven thinking she screwed up (she didn't). Speaking of Seven, her walking away from nebula gas rushing into her cargo bay is laughably staged. Even for Seven, there's a severe lack of urgency in that scene. Of all the characters, Janeway fares the best, coming to an unusual agreement with the "pup" in the nick of time, fighting frustration at every turn.

LESSON: Kids will disbelieve anything.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Pleasant enough in the way it threads between horror and humor, but it's still a run of the mill story.

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