Monday, August 1, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Blood Fever"

A few reviews back, I mentioned there would be two running themes in many episodes of the back half of season three. One would be darker stories. The other would be the reintroduction of the Borg as villains. “Blood Fever” is about as far from the former as possible, and features only the latter in the final scene. I went ahead and screen capped it for you, not only because the Borg skull is pretty cool looking, but because it is the only redeeming factor of the episode. Why explain what is good when I can just show you the one thing?

“Blood Fever” is another of a handful of VOY episodes in which the premise itself is so bad, there is no reasonable way even a skilled writer could make something worthwhile out of it. This being VOY, scripting duties fall to Lisa Klink, so they did not even bother to find a skilled writer. I picture the writing staff lounging around a conference table and smoking pot until one of theme, probably Brannon Braga, but do not dismiss the possibility of Kenneth Biller, says, “say, remember back in high school when you told a girl if you didn’t have sex, you were going to die? How about this--for Vulcans, that’s true!” Thus “Blood Fever” is born.

Votager discovers some techno babble doodad material in some underground mines beneath the ruins of a civilization which has been abandoned within the last fifty years. The material is a perfect warp core sealant, so Janeway decides to send an away team to swipe some. The mining tunnels are difficult to detect with scanners, so the away team has to go down the hard way by spelunking. Torres is going to be in charge. She wants to take Vorik, Neelix, and tom with her.

Vorik has been a minor character in a couple episodes thus far. In his brief scenes, we have gotten a fair hin the has a thing for Torres. His puppy love blows wide open here when he reveals he is going through pon farr and wants her to do illogical things to him. She refuses with surprising politeness, but vorik is no longer in control of his emotions and insists upon having her. The Torres we all know and love does her usual things and knocks him on his rear end.

It is too late, however, as Torres is infected with the pon farr blood fever by the physical contact. She rapidly begins losing control over her emotionas, too, though inconveniently not until they are in the mining tunnels and neelix, supposedly a rock climbing expert, nearly kills her with his incompetence. That talking warthog cannot do anything right. It pays to remind all that Star Trek is aimed at horny, fourteen year old virgins and the issue of sex is always dealt with on their level. If there is any justification for turning the idea of Vulcan sex into an episode, then giving junior high kids something to snicker at at school Monday morning is the only thing I can figure. The plight of Vorik and Torres ought not be comedy gold, and yet it is because of how badly the situation is handled.

The Doctor offers Vorik the solution of a hooker in the holodeck. Vorik is skeptical at first, but being a young guy, opts to not let a freebie pass him by. Later, it seems to work, so the Doctor suggests this might be a fantastic solution for Vulcans on deep space voyages. I find it difficult to believe a space faring race like the Vulcans have not already thought of something over the years. Anytime there is a human innovation, someone decides how to tie it into sex. Maybe Vulcans are not quite as superior as they would like to think. It also seems implausible the pon farr can still be such a mystery to Starfleet medical. Every vulcan does this every seven years. How can it be such a big secret? Regardless, Vorik did not actually do the deed because he is still warm for torres’ form.

She is in dire straits, as well. She has bitten Tom, which is Klingon foreplay. She also beats up three indigenous aliens, which I think is also part of Klingon foreplay. The aliens are upset a passing ship has discovered anything of interest on their planet because they are spent the last two generation wetiing their pants over the prospect of the original invaders coming back. Chakotay and Tuvok, who have come down to the tunnels in order to retrieve Torres before she rips off tom’s arm and beats him with it in yet another act of Klingon foreplay, promise to help hide better what they discovered as soon as they handle this how have sex or die thing .

Pause for a moment and realize these poor alien survivors have had two visitors in sixty years. One committed the genocide of their race in a matter of hours. The other brought an overaggressive nymphomaniac to cause havoc. No wonder they want the no trespassing sign to be more conspicuous.

If all this was not ridiculous enough, Vorik sabotages the transport so the away team cannot beam up. Tuvok suggests Tom go through with the deed in order to save Torres. Trooper that he is, Tom says he will do it. He and Torres go behind some nearby bushes while Chakotay and Tuvok lean up against some ruins and shoot the breeze a few feet away. I kid you not. Vorki appears from out of nowhere to challenge tom to a duel for the right to mater with Torres. You may recall from TOS’ “Amok Time,” it is a duel to the death, but that is ignored here. Torres says she will fight for herself, but not before tom offers to kick vorik’s butt. Once you go Klingon, you never go back, I guess. Torres and vorik fight while the three enlightened 24th century Starfleet officers watch intently, seemingly this is a battle for the right to rape Torres. It does not matter. She beats the snot out of Vorik, and that ends the blood fever for both.

Those invaders from decades ago? Borg. Does a near rape spark off a romantic relationaship between Tom and Torres? This is Star Trek where romance is synonymous with sex, so of course it does. Thus was born thousands of fan fictions. Their relationship will take a while to get off the ground, but “Blood Fever” has the first strong hints of a bond between Tom and Torres.

“Blood Fever” is very bad, but I have to give it two stars. That is my score for a bad episode with a redeeming factor. I have to do that because you just have to see it to believe it. The only point at which Vorik’s plight is taken with even an ounce of serious thought is when he is counseled by Tuvok in his quarters. The two stand shoulder to shoulder, never making eue contact, and talking in strained whispers. To them, it is that sensitive an issue. To the rest of us, sex and comedty, baby! What was the creative staff thinking? At least they brought back the Borg.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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