Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Warlord"

Nice outfit.

The poor development of Kes is one of VOY’s biggest losses. The detriment is no more evident than with “Warlord.” It is not that it is a particularly good episode. story wise, it is run of the mill. What it does well is establish Kes as a far more powerful and aggressive character than she has been before. Kes has more or less been the T roi of Voy. No one really knows what to do with her, so they do everything--make her a nurse, make her a telepath, or make her a love interest, none of which becomes her niche. It would be far more interesting if she were to continue developing her mental powers as demonstrated in “Warlord,” but alas, it does not happen.

Voyager rescues three people from a damaged ship. Unfortunately, one of the crewmembers is beyond medical help and perishes. Before he goes, he secretly transfers his conscious into Kes. He uses his new identity to carry out an assassination attempt, then escape to his home planet to overthrow the government.

The guy’s name is Tigan. He was once a brutal dictator eventually deposed by a upper class family. Utilizing kes’ mental powers, he kills the remaining members of the family, save the youngest son to solidify loyalty, and takes his place as the leader yet again.

All that is incidental to the real plot. There is an internal struggle raging between tigan and Kes as she tries to reassert control. She is horrified how she has been reluctantly used as a murderous weapon, and desperately digs deep to use the mental abilities she never knew she had in order to defeat him. It is a maturing experience for her. Much of her naïve and adventurous nature subsequently disappears not that she has seen the dark side of what she can do.

After dealing with her character development for two acts, “Warlord” descends into a men on a mission firefight to oppose the coup and rescue Kes. The previous two episodes have been heavy on action in order to solve the dilemma, and it feels like the same old, same old here. It would be more interesting for Kes to defeat Tigan on her own rather than a phaser battle and a techno babble device restoring her to full form. The existential struggle is far more interesting than the guns blazing resolution we got.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with “Warlord.” It is a typical, character centric episode. Quite a bit of what is done with kes is interesting viewing. But there is no real follow up to any of her developments, save for dumping Neelix. Really, was it not puzzling she liked him in the first place? If the point of the episode is to empower Kes, then it makes no sense that she has to be rescued by mindless violence. But like I said above, none of the writers seem to know what to do with the character.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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