Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"One"

“One” is an interesting critter. It is a Seven-centric episode in which there is some actual charactetr development for her. Jeri Taylor wrote it even though Janeway has only one act of screen time. Poor Taylor must have suffered from the shakes over the prospect. Kenneth Biller takes a break from his competition with Lisa Klink as the Worst VOY Writer Evah in order to direct. It all works to decent effect.

Voyager comes across a nebula that would take them a year to go around, but one month to go through. Shortly after entering the nebula, all but Seven and the doctor are affected by radiation. I dig the over the top reactions that bring back memories of the TOS crew’s exaggerated reactions to pain. Chakotay is my favorite. He falls back into his chair, balls up his fists, and begins pounding his temples. I imagination that is the same reaction he had to learning VOY was going to go the full seven seasons of his contract.

A plan is reluctantly devised to place the crew in stasis for the month long journey while Seven and the doctor run the ship. No one is thrilled with the idea of being in stasis, but Chakotay is also worried that Seven cannot handle a month long isolation with all the responsibility of keeping the ship in order. Fortunately for Taylor’s state of mind, she gets to slip in a Janeway is Awesome moment with the captain lecturing Chakotay, probably more forcefully than is necessary, that her decision to allow seven to remain in charge is unquestionably fantastic. One day, when children sing songs in janeway’s honor--funeral dirges, no doubt--this decision will most certainly qualify for a chorus on its own.

What could go wrong? I am glad you asked.

Remember the whole point of keeping the crew in stasis is because the radiation from the nebula has a negative effect on biological organisms? Voyager is partially powered by biogel paks which immediately begin deteriorating. Why no one saw that coming is beyond me, but Seven is caught unaware by the circumstance when it occurs, so obviously, no one thought about it beforehand. No wonder the ship nearly ran out of fuel no where near assistance in the previous episode. These bozos are worse than the Red Dwarf crew.

There is also a bit off comic relief with Tom escaping his stasis chamber. He is getting out because he has a severe case of claustrophobia, which is incredibly strange considering he is know to be an expert spelunker. You really do not want to crawl down a deep hole in the Earth when you hyperventilate at the prospect of enclosed spaces. Seven discovers Tom has gotten out because the door to the room his chamber is in will no longer close. She finds his unconscious body lying across the threshold. The automatic door is not constantly thumping him in the head while trying to close, but I cannot help but visualize it happening, which cannot be an accident.

The radiation begins affecting the non-biological technology as well, including the Doctor. For a while, the Doctor has been providing Seven with someone with whom to interact. (It is a fairly well accepted rumor that Robert Picardo is being allowed to write his own dialogue by this point, too, rather than what the writers are giving him. It makes one wonder how many of the actors are rebelling by this point.) Seven is left alone as the doctor’s mobile emitter stops functioning and he is confined to sickbay. This is the point at which the episode really begins to shine.

Seven begins hallucinating. She is naturally losing her mind because this is the first time in her life she has ever been alone. Her current situation is the extreme opposite of her time spent in the Borg Collective. Seven is terrorized at first by a pilot traveling through the nebula from the other direction. Trajis needles her over her beginning descent into madness, as do hallucinations of crewmembers and Both drones when various disasters appear to occur which may lead to crewmember deaths, or perhaps her own. She finally passes out when life support goes minimal, but when she awakens, she discovers Voyager is out of the nebula and everything is back to normal.

I have a minor nitpick that could go unmentioned, but considering the visualization of the automatic door slamming into tom’s head over and over again, “One” is asking for it. Trajis says he is attempting to be the first person to completely cross the nebula. He tells Seven that he has tried twice already, but failed both times. His remark brings to mind the joke about the man who decided to swim across a wide river, but halfway there decided he could not make it and swam back. Since Trajis was a creation of Seven’s mind, I can forgive a stumble or two, but I have to tell you what comes to mind in these opinionated reviews.

Voyager has stumbled quite a bit this season when it has come to character-centric episodes except for episodes regarding the Doctor or Seven. “One” is no exception. At least the writers are actuating doing something with a character other than having him or her stand behind a console and react. Seven will be about the only character who will have a story arc for the remainder of the series. For that, “One” is quite metaphorical. She takes center stage with the rest of the crew served as little more than background decorations. At least it works well here. Lots of other times, Seven’s character building is going to be terribly forced.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment