Friday, July 15, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Resolutions"

“Resolutions” is a Janeway-centric episode written by Jeri Taylor, there fore we know the theme is Janeway is Awesome! If you did not have that message loud and clear before watching the episode, you will definitely have it hammered home to you by the end. That does assume you stay until the end, which is a feat. There is a lot of stuff going on here that ranges from the laughably bad to the inexplicably pointless. Basically, it is a typical Taylor script.

But it is atypical Star Trek. “Resolutions” is essentially a Harlequin romance novel wherein janeway plays the prim, proper school marm stuck and the frontier while romanced by the native American savage. Or as savage as Chakotay gets. Frankly, he is the one who wants to play house from the very beginning. I assume Taylor intends for this to mean he is madly in love with Janeway, because who would not have the hots for Janeway the Awesome, but it feels more like Chakotay’s urge to cook, clean, and decorate comes across as a little light in the loafers. Then again, I am noty certain this is the first time Janeway has been a beard, so it may be working out better than I assume.

There is so much about “Resolutions” that does not work. It starts from the beginning teaser. Janeway and Chakotay are bitten by insects while surveying a planet. The bites infect them with a disease that will kill them if they leave, but they will be fine if they stay. Forget the sheer stupidity of the captain and the first officer both beaming down to a planet with unknown perils. Does that set up not sound like a con job Chakotay cooked up to have janeway all to himself? Good grief.

Janeway puts Tuvok in command and orders him to guide the ship back to the Alpha Quadrant. She specifically forbids him from contacting the Vidiians for assistance because of the danger contact would pose. So we know right off the bat the Vidiians must have a cure. This is beginning to sound like a scam cooked up by both Chakotay and Janeway. Tuvok leaves them with shelter, supplies, research equipment--because Janeway is an awesome biologist--and a shuttle just in case. Voyager then departs.

The episode is now split into two stories, but both have the same running theme. Yes, Janeway is Awesome.

The primary story is Janeway and Chakotay’s life on what they dub New Earth. How original, huh? Janeway spends all her time looking for a cure while builds a house, decorates it all pretty-like, cooks the meals and otherwise sees to all her creature comforts. There is not much to say about this stuff until a fourth act shoulder massage suddenly gets her attention. Sadly enough, fans still debate whether they had sex during the commercial break, but thankfully not as many who assumed a lesbian relationship between Janeway and Seven later on.

Since I am not into the whole Barbie Dream house thing, I am going to discuss two other points. The first being, ironically, how pointless the filler of this story is. There are three scenes in which a monkey shows up. Yes, a monkey. The first is when Janeway is bathing in the yard. The monkey is a peeping tom. Hard up for nookie, too, if seeing Janeway naked is a thrill for him. He runs off when she beckons him. Obviously, her reputation precedes her. This scene happens two more times. None of the three go anywhere. The monkey just shows up, and runs off when Janeway speaks to it. I can see no reason for this as far as the narrative is concerned. The only thing I can figure is the writing staff was sitting around smoking pot one day when one of them--probably Brannon Braga, but I would not be surprised by Kenneth Biller--said, ’Hey, let’s rent a monkey for the day!” Thus a stupid idea was born. A storm blows through, too. There is not much point to it, either.

The second point has to do with Chakotay and Robert Beltran. I have mocked Beltran before because he has been vocal in his distaste for VOY, which I have considered arrogant considering what a bland actor he is. But I am a fair guy, so I will admit Chakotay is being treated as an awful character. It is not just his playing house while literally groveling for Janeway’s affection here. He has not been a prominent character since the first third of the second season. At best, he has had a few lines in episodes in which he has gotten less than ten minutes of screen time. At worst, he has been beaten to a pulp by Culluh, tricked by Seska into a fathering a child, lied to by Janeway and took in a plan to root out a traitor, and undermined by Tom as part of that plan. To top it off, the one time Seska shows up on Voyager carrying his baby, he is forbidden to see her by Janeway. I do not blame Beltran. Chakotay in “Resolutions” is the rock bottom result.

Honestly, the other half of the episode is not much better. The episode covers a period of twelve weeks, which amounts to six traveling away from New earth and six heading back with the inevitable cure. The first six weeks is nothing but the crew moping about over the loss of Janeway. Not Chakotay, mind you. Janeway. It is the Starfleet crew that are on the verge of mutiny because Tuvok refuses to disobey orders and contact the Vidiians.

I want to put this in the perspective I have heard from many Trekkies. The crew has know Janeway for about a year, which is not a whole lot of time. The Maquis members do not like her in the first place. Her decision to destroy the Caretaker ruined everyone’s lives. Just last episode, she murdered a crewmember herself because the doctor felt it was unethical to do so. Yet the entire crew has mourned for her over a month now. In contrast, the TNG crew had known Picard for over three years when they were ready to sacrifice him in order to stop the Borg. The only explanation for the desperate attachment is--you guessed it--Janeway is Awesome!

The Vidiians do have a cure. Tuvok contacts them to avoid mutiny. Denara, the doctor’s chickadee, helps them out. The Vidiians attack regardless, so Torres has to devise an escape plan. It is the only action sequence in the episode. The Magic Reset Button is pressed, and we do not hear much more about a Ianeway/Chakotay relationship until Taylor is allowed near a keyboard again. Skip this one, folks. You are not missing anything. The monkey does not even have a big, pink butt.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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