Star Trek 557: Extreme Risk

557. Extreme Risk

FORMULA: Day of Honor + Threshold + Hollow Pursuits + Starship Down

WHY WE LIKE IT: The first appearance of the Delta Flyer.

WHY WE DON'T: The probe is what now?

REVIEW: A "good olf-fashioned space race" is set into motion when Voyager and a Malon ship each rush a super-shuttle into production to retrieve a probe from the crushing atmosphere of a gas giant. It's actually a fun little idea, surprisingly left unexplored until now. If there's a flaw it's that the importance of the multidimensional probe they're going after isn't explained very well. I'm thinking it probes for wormholes better than a normal sensor package does, but without more, it sticks out clearly as a MacGuffin.

Voyager's answer to this problem: The Delta Flyer. It's a nice, fat shuttle with extra bling. I really don't have either great love or any distaste for it. The Captain Proton control panels are a bit silly, but otherwise, it's fine. Wow, I really don't have much to say about it.

The space race is just background for B'Elanna's story though. The death of the Maquis has hit her hard and she feels progressively disconnected from her life. She lacks enthusiasm for both her job and her boyfriend, and has been spending an inordinate amount of time in the holodeck with the safety protocols off. Might this be an on screen explanation for her missing episodes during Dawson's pregnancy? Among the dangers she puts herself through "to feel SOMEthing", there's a really cool orbital jump - Kirk's planned stunt from Generations finally realized.

She gets caught and though Chakotay says he's no counselor, of course, he really is. His shock therapy, dragging B'Elanna down to the holodeck to face her fears is old school, which I think is how I like Chakotay. It works maybe a touch too well, though on episodic television, that's no surprise, and it's not played unrealistically. We buy it. When she turns into MacGyver on the mission, it's actually exciting and interesting, and her first smile is a lovely moment. Not so much the syrupy ending with the pancakes, which seems redundant after that first one.

LESSON: When faced with the possibility of B'Elanna breaking your arm, you gladly give up the holodeck credits.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: A strong character-driven story set against a plot with actually important ramifications (the Flyer if not the probe).

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