Thursday, August 11, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Worst Case Scenario"

Leave it to VOY to remember to do a story involving tension between Starfleet and Maquis crew, but make it a holodeck malfunction story. “Worst Case Scenario” can really be split in two. The first two acts, in which we watch a Maquis insurrection unfold, is quite exciting up until it is revealed to be a holonovel. The second half descends into typical holodeck malfunction fare when we learn Seska discovered the holonovel a month before she joined the Kazon and made some deadly modifications. I could have done with more of the former and none of the latter.

Once the holonovel becomes popular among the crew, Tuvok reveals himself to be the anonymous author. It was not meant to be entertaining, but as a training exercise for security officers in the event the Maquis attempted to take over the ship. He now wants to delete it in order to avoid any friction between the crew, but Janeway says no. Everyone seems to be enjoying the new entertainment option.

Tom decides to complete the novel. Allegedly emotionless Tuvok feels territorial and opts to co-write the ending. It is comedy gold as everyone puts their literary two cents worth into it. The funniest bit/ tom wants Janeway to put down the insurrection, then summarily execute Chakotay and Seska. Took protests Janeway would never kill anyone in cold blood. Hell…Tuvix? Where have you been Tuvok?

The attempt to further edit the holonovel triggers Seska’s changes wherein her holographic representation entraps Tuvok and Tom in an attempt tp kill them. Her original intention was to kill only Tuvok in revenge for ’betraying’ the Maquis. Kind of flimsy motivation considering she betrayed the Maquis, too, but whatever. The episode stumbles from here on out as the crew rescues took and tom while preventing a boody trap self-destruct sequence.

“Worst Case Scenario” is a fun, light episode. If nothing else, it at least proves the writers have not forgotten this is not one big, happy Starfleet family on Voyager. There are still lingering Maquis resentments. Too bad the writers had to resort to the holodeck in order to explore the issue. No surprise Kenneth Biller wrote this one, then. It is good, but not great. Too uneven.

I do need to make an addition to running VOY character themes here. We have Jane is crazy, Janeway is awesome, Hard Luck Harry, Chakotay is a sucker, and Neelix is a lying idiot. Add to that Tuvok is a jerk. He has been one from the beginning, but he has really had a stick up his butt during the third season. He has been jealous of Chakotay’s position as first officer. He has been condescending to Kes while teaching her mental abilities. At least one of those abilities has been generally reading the thoughts of the entire crew without their knowledge or consent. He has dismissed Harry’s romantic trouble while urging vorik to rape Torres in order to alleviate the pon farr. He has been so brutal towards Neelix, an entire episode was written to deal with the subject. There is plenty of evidence to establish a new running theme here.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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