Friday, August 5, 2011

Star Trek:Voyager--"Rise"

Thanks to my injured elbow, I am going to have to bird wing this review. It should be amusing to see how few times I have to press the shift key. Make a drinking game out of it, if it is not too early for you to indulge. It is doubtful you will get drunk regardless. Pain makes me quite creative. It should be amusing. More so than the episode itself, at any rate.

The crew is assisting a race of friendly aliens destroy a dozen or so asteroids before they pummel the surface of a heavily populated colony. For whatever reason, they wait until the asteroids have nearly hit the atmosphere in order to blast them, thereby causing fragment to crash into the planet’s surface. Knowing Janeway, she is probably doing that on purpose.

“Hee hee! Look at them scatter like ants, Chakotay! I love my power over life and death!”

The ship recives a transmission from a scientist on the surface, but thanks to the asteroid fragments crashing down, there is a lot of interference. He can only get off that he knows the truth about the asteroids. Janeway inexplicably pairs up Tuvok and Neelix to go rescue the guy.

You should have guessed already the asteroid plot is next to meaningless. This is another story about Neelix being arrogantly dismissed by another character until he wins the guy’s respect. Previously, it was Tom for whom Neelix had a problem with that bordered on the psychotic because of jealousy over Kes. It was difficult to sympathize with Neelix then. It is not much easier now. In spite of Tuvok’s abrasively arrogant attitude towards Neelix, he has a point about him from the very beginning.

Consider this somewhat ironic. Tuvok crashes the shuttlecraft. Subsequently, his only plan is to repair the communication device and hope the ship hears them. It is Neelix who comes up with the better idea of using a nearby space elevator to reach a height enough to contact the ship. Neelix’s plan is based on the falsehood that he has worked a space elevator before. In fact, he has only played with models as a kid. Tuvok is committed by the time he discovers the truth. He has to rely on Neelix regardless, which is too bad since he seems more interested in chatting up his new lady friend instead.

Neelix’s only saving grace is how he demands his instincts be followed when one of the passengers is murdered trying to get on the roof of the carriage. Tovuk, who is not keen on the idea, goes outside anyway and discovers a device with the schematics of a large warship. It turns out the asteroids were artificially created by an invading alien race that creates “natural” disasters, then moves into evacuated areas and refuses to live. With the schematics, Voyager defeats the warship and thwarts the invasion.

There are no lessons learned. Tuvok has no reason for newfound respect for Neelix. The little warthog lied about his experience and shirked his duties engaging in what little experience he had. The success of following his gut instinct was dumb luck. When Tuvok tells him so at the end, Neelix disagrees, but it is hard to argue with Vulcan logic.

It is also hard to recommend this episode. We do not care about the invasion story at all. Presumably, that was by design so the emphasis would be on the personal conflict between Tuvok and Neelix. The thing is it is difficult to blame Tuvok for not liking Neelix. He exhibited every bad quality fans complain about. He earns no redemption, either, because Tuvok is right about how following his instincts was a gamble that just happened to pay off. So what is the point of “Rise?” darn if I know.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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