Sunday, August 14, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Scorpion, Part II"

“Scorpion, Part II” is the premiere episode of the far superior to season three season four. It is also the conclusion to what has thus far been the best story VOY has yet featured. The conclusion is weaker than its first part. Whether that can be blamed on the frequent habit of the writing staff preparing a cliffhanger with no idea how to resolve it. It is not as obvious with “Scorpion I/II” that is the case, but subsequent VOY cliffhangers have openly been so. Make up your own mind. “Scorpion, Part II” offers some quick resolutions, crazy and murderous Janeway, and a long introduction of Jeri Ryan to the cast as Seven.

We pick up exactly where we left off. In fact, Janeway contacts Voyager literally seconds after they and the Borg cube have fled Species 8472. They are no longer big on demands regarding the bioweapon, so they are willing to give Voyager anything they want in exchange. Janeway agrees to work on the cube because the lab there is more efficient. She has took beam over because the two of them pal around any time she is mad at Chakotay. The Borg force a communications device onto their necks which will temporarily link them with the collective. Janeway threatens to terminate the alliance over the issue. Remember this. It will be important in a minute. A compromise is reached in which a representative will speak on the Borg’s behalf--Seven.

Meanwhile on Voyager, Harry has become one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world according to People, so he is miraculously cured by the nanotechnology that is about to be used as a bioweapon. Lucky him, for once. What is unlucky is Species 8472 has strengthened their telepath tic link with Kes and learned of the bioweapon’s existence. Efficient critters that they are, Species 8472 sends one ship to destroy the cube.

The cube sacrifices itself to destroy the species 8472 ship in the attack, but beams over the entire lab and everyone in it to Voyager to continue working on the weapon. Janeway suffers a serious brain injury in the attack, perhaps offering up a get out of jail free card for future erratic behavior, and must be placed in an induced coma for surgery. She leaves Chakotay in charge with the admonition, should she never awaken, to do everything to get the crew home.

The first thing Chakotay does is break the alliance over seven’s demand to turn around for a five day’s journey to the nearest cube. That is too much for him even though the Borg sacrificed a cube, 100,000 lives, and saved took And Janeway in the name of preserving the alliance. He plans to dump Seven and the remaining Borg on the nearest planet along with the bioweapon research and wish them the best of luck. Seven says this is a crap idea, and opts to assimilate Voyager instead. All the Borg onboard get blown out into space, save for seven, because Jeri Ryan, because she not only has a contract, but is sleeping with Brannon Braga. Well, maybe not yet. But soon. The contract is definitely in place now.

Here is the kicker; Janeway awakens from her coma perfectly fine, but ticked off at Chakotay. He has severed the alliance because he refuses to hit reverse, killed all but one Borg, and has halted the crew’s work on the bioweapon. We he snaps at Janeway what she would have done under the circumstances, she says the exact opposite of everything he has done. Preserving the alliance is paramount. But wait…remember a few paragraphs back I told you to remember Janeway was ready to terminate the alliance over temporarily being connected to the collective? Basically, she is scolding Chakotay for doing exactly what she was going to do. As an added bonus, he is supposed to read her mind and just know what the breaking point would be in her estimation. What a narcissist!

With Janeway back in business, the alliance is back on. It should come as no surprise the plan to deliver the bioweapon via missiles is changed to one, big WMD. This is Janeway, after all. If there is any way to maximize casualties, she is going to find it. The episodes peters out a bit here as species 8472 begins to communicate through Kes in order to save money on CGI. The bioweapon works, destroying thirteen ships in one blow, and causing Species 8472 to retreat. Seven attempts to assimilate Voyager, but janeway and chakotay have kissed and made up conveniently, so they had a plan to disable her. Taking responsibility for her, they decide not to return her to the collective. More on that tomorrow. Voyager travels warily through Borg space with no guarantee they will not be assimilated. Ironically, that is exactly what they would have been doing in the first place. But who is counting, right?

The tension level of “Scorpion, Part II’ certainly does not match up with part I. Harry is saved during the first act with no fanfare at all. It is quite clear he was supposed to die for the sake of drama, but People caused a course correction. Instead, there is the telepathic connection affecting kes which will be the catalyst for Jennifer Lein’s departure instead. So much time is spent establishing seven, the resolution to the war between the borg and Species 8472 is rushed. Ditto the conflict between Janeway and Chakotay, which is patched up quickly for no other reason than the episode was running out of time. Still, it is a pivotal, must see episode. Not as good as the first, but the Borg are to Star Trek what the Daleks are to Doctor Who. even flawed episodes featuring them as villains are better than most.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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