Saturday, July 2, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Resistance"

Welcome to VOY’s version of the combo breaker. Savor the moment. Not only will I rarely praise an episode of the series in general, but the enjoyment of a script written by Lisa Klink is a one of a kind experience. “Resistance” is the best episode of VOY thus far. It features everything the series was supposed to be; a desperate situation in which the crew has to violate its Federation principles in order to survive. They act like literal people rather than archetypal representatives of some idealistic notion no reasonable person could ever maintain in reality. This is what being lost far from the comforts of the federation is all about.

Voyager has run out of some material needed to power its warp engine. If they do not resupply within a few hours, the engines will go offline and can never be restarted. The crew has no choice but to play ball with a group of resistance fighters battling a fascist government run by the Mokla. The exchange for the material is successfully made, but mokla security forces attack the away team during their getaway. Took and Torres are captured. An unconscious Janeway is dragged away by Caylen, an insane old man who believes she is his long lost daughter.

This is all the set up for an episode far more personal than most. Janeway is desperate enough to rescue took and Torres that she indulges the old man’s fantasy. She soon realizes he has created the idea that his daughter has returned so the two can rescue his wife from Mokla custody. I am not certain if it was intended to be clear from the beginning his wife had long since been killed by the Mokla, but I recall suspecting that when “Resistance” first aired fifteen years ago. The idea that everyone, janeway included, knows that makes her actions to appease the old man more poignant. He has had to create this illusion in order to keep going. Even though he is more a liability than anything else, Janeway insists he be part of the rescue mission.

While Janeway and Caylen are the heart of the episode, Tuvok and Torres get some good character moments, too. They are imprisoned in the same cell taking turns at torture sessions. What is interesting is how supporting one another between interrogations bridges the gap between their respective Starfleet and Maquis loyalties. Took attempts to hold Torres’ impulsive need to lash out in check, while she expresses sympathy for the indignities Tuvok suffers as he screams in pain under torture. This is how to emotionally connect the crew, not by saying Starfleet and Maquis have to do routine ship duties together and that is good enough to bond them.

The rescue is a guns blazing affair that ends with Caylen being killed. Janeway allows him to believe they have successfully rescued his wife so he can die happy even though it is revealed she died under torture twelve years prior. Janeway continuing the illusion she is Caylen’s daughter right until the end is very touching. It is a rare Janeway moment. More often than not, she makes decisions negatively effecting those around her out of some higher principle which may or may not be arguably worthwhile.

“Resistance” has some flaws. It makes no sense for a Talaxian, Klingon, and a Vulcan to be wandering around undisguised on a planet covered in secret police. The ship being put in danger by planetary defenses is a contrived and unnecessary element. I am far more interested in what the characters stranded on the planet were up to than wasting time with the ship dodging missiles. The only problem is see planetside is Janeway plays a prostitute in order to distract the prison guards. How much of a credibility stretch is that? In spite of those flaws, “Resistance” earns the first four stars a VOY episode has gotten. If te ship in peril subplot had been dropped, it might have even gotten five. This episode is what VOY should be, but all too rarely is.

Rating; **** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment