Star Trek 586: Dragon's Teeth

586. Dragon's Teeth

FORMULA: The Thaw + Contagion + Sanctuary + Darmok

WHY WE LIKE IT: Good use of Neelix. The effects. A new threat.

WHY WE DON'T: And they were never heard from again.

REVIEW: Voyager introduces a promising new species and then follows up by doing absolutely nothing with it. But in Dragon's Teeth, there's no reason to believe the Vaadwaur won't become this season's featured foe. An interesting premise fuels them - a newly resurrected race trying to recapture their old empire - one that could easily have plugged into Maquis themes. And with their underspace corridors, they wouldn't seem out of place wherever Voyager goes. Physically, they remind me of the Cardassians, but the collar bone is that of a cobra, about to strike (quite appropriate). Right from the start, they are also portrayed with complexity, not all of them on the side of "wrong", and with a warrior culture akin to the Klingons', but where dignity is prized above honor. All this effort in creating a new alien species AND having Janeway assure us we hadn't seen the last of them, and they never appear again. What went wrong?

On its own the episode remains strong in a number of ways. The effects, for example, are very good (as usual). The starship battle through the destroyed city is a particular highlight. Also interesting is Neelix's etymological research, leading to discoveries about the true nature of the Vaadwaur (a DQ version of the Iconians). Though the Vaadwaur ARE planning to take Voyager, Janeway's smart enough to hatch a counterplan.

On the flip side, it IS one of those episodes where the Prime Directive gets badly mangled. Sure, Seven revived Gedrin, and she's not a Starfleet officer, but the rest of the crew was more than willing to help them rebuild on another world. But it's a sign of where Voyager's at that this kind of thing hardly seems to matter anymore.

LESSON: We should trust in Naomi Wildman's bad feelings.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Could have gone much higher had the Vaadwaur's promise been fulfilled. As it is, we're stuck with a one-off alien and yet another episode whose point seems to be that Seven learns a lesson about checking with Janeway first.

3 comments:

Jeff R. said...

This was one of the episodes where Chakotey's anthropologist duties (explaining the title of the episode) come strongly into play; I remember him showing up in a largely pointless scene to do so (it's not even that close a fit to the Aliens of the Week), and I vaguely think that he had pretty much nothing else to do in this episode, although that could be faulty memory speaking...

Siskoid said...

Other than that, he's on the bridge and acts as Janeway's sounding board, as usual.

He's got a whole more to do in the next episode, but Beltran was reportedly peeved that his character spent half the episode recovering from injuries while Seven was given all of his stuff to do.

Jayunderscorezero said...

Apparently this was originally supposed to be a two-hour episode and then was cut down. I'm just speculating here, but maybe the full story was supposed to give a definite conclusion to the Vaadwaur plot and explain why they'd never be seen again. Who knows?

 

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