Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Episode Review - One (Voyager, Season 4)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Encountering a nebula that has deadly effects on the crew, Janeway is forced to make a difficult decision. She can add a whole year onto their journey home by traveling around the nebula, or put the crew in stasis for a month with only Seven of Nine and the Doctor left to care for the ship and crew as they travel through it. Taking the shorter route, Seven finds her sudden solitude quite disturbing and more challenging that she had anticipated. As the nebula starts to have a debilitating effect on both her and the ship, Seven must make a difficult decision of her own.

Score: 7/10 – This episode is very similar to a future episode of Enterprise, “Doctor’s Orders”. Swap out Seven of Nine for Doctor Phlox, change the setting a bit, and it is essentially the same story. I would have to say that I liked the Enterprise version better, but this is an OK episode in and of itself. I really only have one issue with it, and that has to do with how some of the hallucinations were executed. I find that often, when a character is hallucinating their crewmembers, the way it is presented seems a bit cheesy. I am not sure if it is the writing/dialogue, or the acting, but it just did not seem to work for me. Some of the “whispers” were a bit over the top. When I compare it to “Doctor’s Orders”, nothing that happens in “One” was surprising to me. I was able to figure out that there were several things that were supposed to be a surprise or twist, such as the alien captain that Seven imagines up, that were too easily telegraphed. Regardless, it is a heavy Seven of Nine episode that shows a lot of growth for her. There is some great banter between her and the Doctor, and we get some nice moments. We have some fun, mostly at the expense of Tom Paris. There are some notable plot holes, which I will touch on shortly, but overall the episode is good.

Relevance - 0 points. Try as I could, I just could not find anything that connected this episode to anything else in Star Trek. We had allusions to things like Torres’s reasons for joining the Maquis and Seven having been separated from the Collective before, but there is not a whole lot that makes it relevant to the overall Star Trek story.

Continuity - 2 points. Character continuity checks off here. Chakotay expresses concerns to Janeway (in private, of course) as to having Seven in charge of the ship for a month. Janeway returns with a feeling of trust and faith in Seven. Seven herself responds to the situation in a way that shows the great turning moment for her character. Universe continuity seems to check out as well. I am going to dock the story continuity a point for a couple of things. First, how could a nebula so large not be detected by the ship sooner, and the fact that Tom Paris had escaped from his stasis chamber on several occasions should have caused some significant damage as they were in the thick of a nebula that on the outskirts of it killed a crew member after being exposed for a mere couple of minutes. Both are plot holes that can be easily overlooked for the sake of the story, but not for the scoring of points in continuity.

Character Development – 3 points. Definitely a turning point for Seven of Nine. For the majority of the season leading up to this episode, she had been very much at odds with various members of the crew. Each time, she grew a little. Here, she grows up a lot. The Doctor also shows how much he has grown since the beginning of the series and the relationship between him and Seven are greatly developed. I think that this is an essential episode for Seven’s progression, and for that alone it makes it a must see episode for fans of the character.

Social Commentary – 2 points. The weight of solitude for someone who is so accustomed to being connected to others is a heavy one to bear. Seven went from being one in a collective to one among a crew of individuals to simply one (hey, that’s where the episode’s title came from!). Seven must deal with the intense loneliness and isolation for a month. Many of us may experience a day or so, but I think we all would struggle with such isolation.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. I scored a point for the cool alien pilot that we see in Seven’s hallucination. We never learn if he is based off of an actual species or if he is purely the product of Seven’s imagination.

Rank – Lieutenant (15 points). There are definitely some great moments in this episode, and fans of Seven of Nine should definitely watch this episode as it provides a great turning point for her character. However, I think that “Doctor’s Orders” from Enterprise is a far better telling of the isolated crew member dealing with hallucinations. So, you may skip this one and not miss on much that is important, but you would miss out on a fairly solid story.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Voyager, click on the link here.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

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