Star Trek: Voyager #2

Previously, on Star Trek: Voyager… (my take on it anyway).

I’ve just started season 5 so I thought I’d offer some more ruminations.

I continue to love Janeway. I think I particularly love that I don’t always like her and the decisions she makes – she’s allowed to be flawed, and occasionally vicious, and the sorts of things I dislike in other captains: egotistical, mildly imperialist, and so on. I am unconvinced by the number of away missions she herself leads, and especially when she and Chakotay both go. Really? you’re taking your entire command structure to an unknown planet? That seems… unwise. Anyway, “Night” is an amazing episode for suggesting Janeway may not always cope, although the fact that it comes back to her being all self-sacrificial due to guilt was a bit passe. She’s had a few awesome Ripley moments, too, which I enjoyed very much. She can be both a cerebral scientist and a gun-toting soldier.

I have nothing much to add about Chakotay. My love for him remains pure and unsullied. The opening of “Worst Case Scenario” therefore had me very worried, at the idea that he would be a mutineer, although it was clear something hinky was happening… the revelation about the holodeck story and how that all plays out is magnificent. “Year of Hell” was exceptional and I was hugely impressed by the stress everyone, but perhaps especially Chakotay, was put under… although less impressed by the “it was all a dream!” retcon. “Unforgettable” made me deeply uncomfortable because I was never entirely sure that the alien who claims Chakotay used to be in love with her was actually for real. At this point I can absolutely see why there are people who ship Janeway and Chakotay; especially after their little holiday alone on a planet that kept them alive. I am reserving judgement.

I was so sad that Kes left, especially so abruptly. I was particularly sad that it happened literally as Seven of Nine arrived, making it seem like only so many women are allowed to have the screen. Kes had some great episodes – I am very ambivalent about “Before and After”, though: while I enjoyed Kes having centre stage, I was unconvinced by either the Tom or the Harry relationships. In fact I found them a bit squicky. I’m glad the show had a place for someone like Kes, even if she didn’t continue for the whole series.

And so, Seven of Nine. My first question is about how Jeri Ryan felt about acting in a body stocking with her underwear clearly visible. I think she’s fantastic, and working in that sort of situation just makes her even more remarkable. I was grumbling a bit about the costuming and then discovered that apparently her appearance on the show made ratings rise 60% so… yeh. Guess that worked out for the show and Ryan just had to put up with it, right? I think Seven is a fabulous character. I love her development as a character, and as a human; I love her struggle with human inefficiencies, like politeness, which let’s face it a lot of us get impatient with occasionally. “One” was fantastic in the way it examined what it would be like to go from part of the collective to completely alone; almost every interaction between Seven and Janeway is a delight to watch.

“Retrospect” nearly made me stop watching the show. In it, Seven exhibits anxiety during a routine medical, and the Doctor works with her to uncover repressed memories of having been assaulted and Borg nano-stuff taken from her by an alien Voyager is currently trading with. Said trader denies it all, there’s a chase and the trader ends up dying. People start by believing Seven, but then everyone gradually changes their mind. The analogy to rape cannot be ignored, and neither can the all-too-familiar story of a woman’s word being ignored. Seven’s distress is ultimately dismissed. There is no further help for her in dealing with the memories – and even if they’re false, they’re still present and still distressing. All of that is horrifying and basically had me sitting there thinking “this is 45 minutes explaining why #MeToo was necessary.” And then, to top it all off, the show ends with a focus on the Doctor, not on Seven: the Doctor feeling remorseful about trying out his new psychologist subroutine, and “oh no maybe I did something terrible I feel so bad.” So the show manages to make a rape-analogous narrative coming back to being about a man and his inadequacies.

I decided I would keep watching, obviously. And there are a lot of good reasons to do so – not least Seven herself who keeps being awesome (although I am ambivalent about the episode “Drone” where she kinda gets a weird version of the Magical Pregnancy).

I have little more to say about the rest of the crew. Tom manages to be slightly less annoying as things progress although he’s still a pain in the butt; the way he treats B’Elanna infuriates me. B’Elanna continues to be awesome, Harry is fine but rarely stands out, Neelix is never going to be a favourite. I remain keen to watch the rest of the series and look forward to discovering what happens to them all. I assume they get home but I have no idea how!

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