Star Trek 574: Juggernaut

574. Juggernaut

FORMULA: Night + Extreme Risk + Empok Nor + The Enemy

WHY WE LIKE IT: Giving the Malon a face.

WHY WE DON'T: A bit late.

REVIEW: This isn't a bad episode, but it should have aired way earlier. For one thing, it follows up on B'Elanna's death wish from Extreme Risk, which was 17 episodes ago. On the one hand, I'm glad to see any kind of coherent psychology to these characters, but on the other, it makes it seem like there's a missing piece of the puzzle in between the two episodes. A better paced season might have shown Tuvok take her on as a pupil earlier, making her attempts at meditation here more organic, and her attempt to resolve things with talk rather than action (doomed to failure though it may have been), a rather good culmination of that arc. All in one episode, it still works, mind you, the Vihaar holding up a mirror to her own rage.

It's also too late to give the Malon a proper face. Voyager's multiple DECADES-saving jumps through space should have left them behind a long time ago (unless they have access to a lot more wormholes than seems possible). For the first time, they are presented as people, people who have families, a culture, a sense of duty and self-sacrifice, and a faith. And then they were never heard from again.

The plot itself is merely the motive force behind these two ideas and it does the job. Going through a derelict ship deck by deck while SOMEthing is in pursuit is nothing new, and the "toxic" urban legend made real is a two-dimensional monster, rather ordinary. Just a radioactive zombie, really. The climax is meant to be really suspenseful, but suffers from geography issues. Always nice to see Neelix get a shot at some action though, and for the first time, we see what a sonic shower is like (it left me underwhelmed).

LESSON: Polluters need love too.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Earlier in the season, it might have resonated more and helped build future stories. Out of context, it's a good episode for both B'Elanna and the Malon, though the story just goes through the paces.

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