Friday, August 12, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Displaced"

Oh, dear Lord--not Lisa Klink again! Someone take this woman’s computer away from her for the good of humanity! Klink pens the penultimate episode of the up and down, but mostly down, third season. As such, you should watch ‘Displaced”--but only if you must--with your brain turned off. I would recommend being heavily medicated. I am back to Alleve now that my elbow has gotten back to normal size, but still twinges every now and then at the sorest spot. You should choose your drug of choice.



Like most Klink scripts, “Displaced” is poorly thought out. A bunch of aliens called Nyrians begin appearing on Voyager. With each Nyrian’s appearance, a member of the crew disappears. The Nyrians appear to be innocent bystanders throughout the first act, but it is soon revealed this is their motif. They takeover ships, colonies, and space stations by replacing people one by one. They eventually have the entire Voyager crew trapped in a virtual Earth environment until the standard and convenient escape and eventual rescue of all 97 (!) different kidnapped alien species.



If that does not sound bad, the devil is in the details. The Nyrians are a bunch of short, old men dressed in robes and funny hats. You are supposed to get the impression they are harmless monks, but they look more like members of the KKK. I am absolutely certain that was unintentional, but it is an unavoidable comparison, particularly when they begin chasing Tuvok through their ship in the climax. It is one of those things that makes VOY such a cluelessly awful show.



Speaking of clueless, there is so much of it here. The Nyrians have a giant ship in which they have built artificial environments for everyone they kidnap, then leave the ship unguarded like the aliens are a bunch of caged hamsters. When the Voyager crew modify the Doctor’s eyes to find a glitch in their prison, they are free to roam the ship for an entire (very boring) act while the handful of Nyrians on board panic and request help from the grand wizards on Voyager. The stealing of Voyager echoes its easy capture last season by the Kazon. Also like the Kazon, the Nyrians have no clue what to do with the ship once they have it other than cruise. Delta Quadrant aliens are like a bunch of dogs chasing cars. What do they do once they catch one?



I think the episode is nothing more than an excuse to further the Tom/Torres relationship along. The two have a love/hate quarrel from the teaser on up until they are standard in a frigid alien environment by some KKK guys wherein they have to survive until janeway and Tuvok can rescue them. Speaking of, took essentially replaces Chakotay halfway through the episode as Janeway’s right hand man. He is no where to be found in the last twenty-five minutes or so. I am definitely beginning to see why Robert Beltran hated this show.



There are myriad other issues. A big to do is made of the Nyrians need to be in a hot environment. A cargo bay has to be converted for them to live comfortably. Yet two of them chase tom and Torres into the frigid environment. Naturally, they freeze to death during the chase. Naturally again, the unarmed tom and Torrs do not think to pick up their weapons to use against the others. Why did the Nyrians not just seal them in instead of killing themselves by following? My favorite bit is the young ensign near the end of the second act. She has replaced took as security chief. Once the jig is up, a Nyrian shoots her. Poor girl much have just earned her SAG card, because she clutches her chest and crumples to the floor in such dramatic fashion, a TOS extra would be embarrassed. I expected her to add, “Ugh…you got me, copper,” like some kid plating cops and robbers.



Sometimes I half-heartedly recommend episodes that are so bad they are amusing, but “Displaced” does not qualify. It is just plain dumb. The villains are completely incompetent. The action is mindless. Too many convenient things happen in order to help the escape attempt. I am not particularly interested in the tom and Torres relationship, either. “Displaced” might merit two stars if you are inclined towards such, but I cannot be that generous.



Rating; * (out of 5)

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