Thursday, August 30, 2018

Episode Review - Future's End: Part 1 (Voyager, Season 3)

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

Overview – It’s a regular day on Voyager when a temporal displacement arrives, bringing a ship from the 29th Century along. Its captain, a man by the name of Braxton, is intent on destroying Voyager in order to prevent a catastrophic event that destroys Earth’s solar system in the 29th Century. The battle that occurs propels both vessels back in time to 20th century Earth. The timeship ends up in the 1960s where it is discovered and commandeered by Henry Starling, who uses the technology he discovers to launch a corporate empire. Voyager arrives in the year 1996, and they begin to search for a way back to their time. Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, and Paris beam down to Los Angeles and begin their search. Paris and Tuvok meet Rain Robinson, a young astronomer who detected Voyager’s presence and alerted Starling, who is now trying to kill her. Janeway and Chakotay find Captain Braxton, who informs them that Starling is the one who will set off the devastating explosion in his century when he attempts to use the timeship to return to the 29th Century. He has spent the last 30 years in L.A. living the life of a homeless man prophesising the end of the world. When Janeway and Chakotay try to infiltrate Starling’s building, he captures them. This forces Harry Kim to bring Voyager into orbit to rescue them, leading to a showdown between Voyager and Starling that results in an unexpected loss to Voyager.

Score: 8/10 – I always enjoyed time travel stories that bring the crew of Star Trek to Earth, especially in our present day. “Future’s End” does a great job in this regard. It reminds me of “Star Trek IV: The Journey Home” by taking our crew and putting them in a “fish out of water” scenario. It is quite entertaining seeing Paris try to act like he knows everything about the 20th Century (although he is off by about two or three decades), and Tuvok’s attempts to interact in this time frame provide some equally enjoyable moments. Captain Braxton is a bit of an odd character as he seems to be a bit too undisciplined to be a temporal agent, as seen by both his relentless efforts to destroy Voyager and his crazy-homeless man persona he has in 1996. The other two main guest stars, however, are very enjoyable. Renowned actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. is ironically cast as the greedy corporate tycoon intent on making as much money as possible. Comedian Sarah Silverman plays the loveable Rain Robinson, who will serve as a love interest for Tom Paris. Both of these actors are quite famous for work outside of Star Trek, and both add great performances to this episode. There are many subtle gags throughout the episode that makes it fun to watch, and Starling is a very tough villain for the Voyager crew to be challenged by. For a 20th Century former-hippie, he gets the upper hand on the Voyager crew due to his intelligence, resourcefulness, and access to advanced technology. There is also some fun character pairings here. Kim and Torres on the ship debating whether or not they should disobey Janeway’s command to not do anything that would risk detection is pretty straightforward. Chakotay and Janeway have a few good moments on Earth, but it is Tom and Tuvok that seem to steal the show a bit with their interactions. It is almost in a charming, odd-couple way. The end of this episode is almost perfect as it leaves the audience wondering how Janeway and her crew are going to get out of the tough situation they are in, especially with the realization that Starling has kidnapped the Doctor. This is definitely a highlight of the third season.

Relevance – 2 points. Captain Braxton is introduced in this episode, and the character will return in a fifth season episode (although a different actor will be cast). Coinciding with Braxton is the existence of a future division of Starfleet that monitors and protects the timeline, something that is brought up again in the return of Braxton in a couple seasons. It is suggested that this department may have evolved from the department of temporal investigations, which is introduced to us in DS9’s classic “Trials and Tribble-ations”. We also are given the first appearance of Ensign Kaplan. She will make a few more appearances in this season before her character meets an untimely end in “Unity”.

Continuity – 3 points. Universe continuity is good here, although there is the fact that this episode occurs mostly in the year 1996. This is supposedly during the Eugenics war, which was established in the Original Series episode “Space Seed”. While not necessarily canon, a Trek novel series on the Eugenics Wars provides an explanation that the war was largely a covert war and happened unbeknown to the general public. That works for me. Story continuity is always tricky in a time travel episode as the writers have to be careful not to back themselves into a corner. This episode seems to avoid that, so I can give it a point here. Character continuity is a fun one to examine in this episode, as we get to see the different characters interact with 1996. Paris prides himself on being a history buff yet uses phrases and concepts that are close but not quite matching up for his time frame. What’s even better is how oblivious he is to it. Tuvok channels a bit of Spock from Star Trek IV as he makes some clever observations of our time. My favorite is noting that they could have stayed in their uniforms and blended in with the colorful apparel of 1996 Los Angeles. Neelix and Kes become addicted to TV, and Harry gets his first assignment in command of the ship. Everyone acts in a way that makes sense.

Character Development – 2 points. Harry gets his first taste at command and manages to use impeccable timing to save his captain and first officer. Tuvok and Paris go on a rescue mission to save Rain Robinson from a 20th Century goon with a 29th Century phaser, posing as secret agents. Janeway and Chakotay weigh the risks involved with their important mission. While many of the main cast are given some great moments and adventures, very little is done to significantly develop any of them in a meaningful way. Such is the fate during some of these big event two-part episodes.

Social Commentary – 1 point. Here is another category where we have a sacrifice made for an exciting story. Other than the “don’t mess up time” or “greed is bad” there is not a lot to say. Yes, Los Angeles circa 1996 is a weird looking place, but again, nothing too profound to comment on in this episode.

Cool Stuff – 3 points. Seeing our characters from the future interact in our world today is always cool. We often wonder how our crews would fare if they were placed in our time. This is probably why such episodes are so popular, and it is enough for the first cool point. A cute example of this is a funny yet subtle gag when the away team is first on the planet. While the four of them are walking along a street, Janeway’s communicator pin beeps. Every person around them immediately checks their phone. Good stuff. Second, when Tom and Tuvok are in Robinson’s office you may notice a familiar action figure on her desk. She has a Talosian from the Original Series pilot “The Cage”. It is almost surreal to see. Finally, there is the footage of Voyager flying through the night sky that just seems so real.

Rank – Captain (19 points). With a little more significant character development and a more thoughtful message/theme to explore, this could have ranked higher. Having said that, “Future’s End” is a delightful episode that is fun, entertaining, and leaves us excited for next week’s conclusion. I think it is one of the highlights of the season and is a must see for anyone going through the series.

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.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Episode Review - The Expanse (Enterprise, Season 2)

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

Overview – A probe of unknown origin suddenly appears in orbit of Earth and opens fire, cutting a swath of destruction from Florida to Venezuela, killing over 7 million people in the process. Enterprise is recalled to Earth. En route, Silik momentarily abducts Captain Archer and introduces him to the mysterious entity that has been guiding the Suliban in the Temporal Cold War. Archer is informed that the attack came from the Xindi, and that it is because of a different temporal faction that is intending to wipe out Earth. After being returned to Enterprise, Archer resumes the course to Earth. Upon entering the solar system, the Klingon Duras attacks the Enterprise. He is driven off by the Intrepid and two other Earth vessels. After arriving at Earth, Archer is able to convince Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command to allow the Enterprise to find the Xindi, who are apparently building a more powerful weapon with the intent to destroy Earth entirely. It is revealed that the Xindi homeworld is in the Delphic expanse, and dangerous and unpredictable region of space where few Vulcan ships have returned from. With the threat of the Xindi ahead of them, and the threat of Duras behind them, Archer and his valiant crew begin their mission with the literal fate of Earth at stake.

Score: 8/10 – Enterprise took a major gamble on the third season, and they set it up almost perfectly with the second season finale. From the opening moments, the viewers are given a clear message that Enterprise is about to change its tone in a big way. While Archer has to deal with both his Klingon adversary, Duras, and the destruction done by the Xindi probe, he and his crew prepare themselves for the biggest challenge they have faced yet. Tucker becomes the face of those traumatized by the attack, as he has to cope with the loss of his baby sister. T’Pol is forced to choose between her loyalty to the Vulcan High Command and to Archer and the Enterprise. We have the Temporal Cold War woven into the story, and some pretty cool ship-to-ship battles. There is a lot on the line, and it sets us up for a great look into the next season. My one complaint is that they seem to be trying to push a lot into this episode. We have an attack, and then a Klingon council meeting about Archer. We have several weeks go by in seconds. There is a refitting of the Enterprise and Archer wondering how many of his crew will be leaving. A brief reference to the Macos is made, and other than the main three characters (Archer, Trip, and T’Pol), there is little time given to the other characters. I get why it is overloaded, but it does take away a little from the overall story.

Relevance – 3 points. Point scored for resolving the issues that Archer and his crew had with Duras, son of Toral. An obvious nod to his TNG descendent, Duras is on the hunt to kill Archer and regain his honor. It is a fitting end to his story. Another point is scored for the fact that T’Pol chooses to remain with the Enterprise and resigns her commission with the Vulcan High Command. For the duration of the Xindi mission she will be a civilian, although she is still the second in command and science officer. Finally, and most importantly, we begin the XIndi story arc. This will take the entire third season to resolve. Basically, if you are following the story of Enterprise, you cannot miss this episode.

Continuity – 3 points. Story continuity is good. A lot of time passes, and they address it all in a good and sensible manner. We see character continuity intact as well. Reed tries to console Tucker in his grief, and Trip doesn’t handle it well. This makes sense and is likely why Tucker was chosen to be the crew member who suffers a personal loss in the tragedy. I also liked how Phlox showed his loyalty to Archer in not only choosing to stay on the mission but becoming verbally aggressive towards Fer’at, the Vulcan psychiatric who was being deceitful in his “scan” of Captain Archer. Universe continuity is also good here.

Character Development – 3 points. This episode marks a significant course adjustment for the main three characters. Trip has lost his sister in a surprise attack. This will have a lingering impact on him for a log time to come. T’Pol has furthered her distance from the wishes of the Vulcan High Command by rejecting their orders and resigning her commission in order for her to remain on Enterprise. This, too, will have lasting repercussions which will ultimately lead her to joining Starfleet. Finally, the mission to find the Xindi and stop them from attacking Earth again will take Johnathan Archer down a long and sometimes darkened path. He tested himself here, trying to give Duras chances to leave them in peace before making the ultimate decision to destroy him. As the heaviness of this mission will begin to wear on him, we can expect that Archer will have a lot to deal with in the upcoming season. All three of these characters are going to be put through the ringer in the next year, and this episode sets up the board for it.

Social Commentary – 1 point. This episode aired first aired in May 2003, over 20 months after the World Trade Center was attacked on 9-11. There are some strong parallels between that real-world event and this fictitious one. It reinforced the idea that in times of tragedies of a grand scale it is important to band together in unity and of making tough decisions to protect oneself. Having said that, the message is quite muted in the action and the preparation for the mission that it is more of a passing notion. The idea will be revisited in future episodes, but for now it only tickles at our awareness as we are experiencing the anticipation of what looks to be a stellar season.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. A point is scored for the space battles between the Klingons (mainly Duras) and the Enterprise. The final battle in particular is quite entertaining, and the visuals of the L-4 maneuver is excellent. A second point is scored for the Xindi attack. The scene is void of dialogue or characters, but it is a powerful image to see Florida carved up like a turkey. The following scenes that show the extent of the damage are equally powerful.

Rank – Captain (20 points). Star Trek has a pretty good track record with season finales that leave the viewers wanting more and building anticipation for the next season. From “The Best of Both Worlds” in TNG’s third season, to the meeting of iconic ships in the first season of “Discovery”, there is a fine tradition of this. “The Expanse” does not disappoint in this case and does a fine job at establishing the theme and tone for the third season.

If you would like to check out my other episode reviews for Enterprise, simply click 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.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Episode Review - Sons of Mogh (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)

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

Overview – Worf’s brother, Kurn, comes to the station, demanding that Worf perform a ritual killing on him to allow him a chance to regain his honor. After being prevented from successfully completing the Mauk-to’Var ritual, Kurn takes to living on the station, trying to find a place in the universe outside the Klingon Empire. As Worf quickly learns, some people cannot simply move on from the hardships in their life, and Worf must find a way to help his brother. Meanwhile, Kira and O’Brien discover the Klingons are up to something just outside of Bajoran space. As they investigate they find that the Klingons are laying a cloaked mine field, and Sisko must find a way to disable the mine field and prevent the Klingons from cutting DS9 and Bajor off from help and assistance.

Score: 8/10 – A somewhat controversial episode that provides us some closure to the character of Kurn and yet more inner conflict for Worf. More so than in any other, we see how Worf’s actions have impacted more than just himself. Whereas before he was able to protect Kurn from sharing in his personal dishonor, this time he no longer has that luxury. Kurn is a shell of his former self, and he turns to Worf for what he believes is his only hope of regaining his honor. In essence, Kurn’s mental health is deteriorating as he is unable to come to terms with his families lost honor. At the same time, the Klingons are up to shenanigans as they leave a cloaked mine filed, which could be trouble for DS9 if a real war breaks out between the Federation and the Klingons. While this B-story gives O’Brien and Kira some screen time, it also provides necessary plot points for Worf and Kurn to reach some essential understandings. While the mine field story does not initially connect to the main story with Worf, it eventually and nicely connects to the main story. The end of the story is what divides the fan base. Some felt let down by erasing Kurn’s memory, while others felt that it was a way to save Kurn and still kill him. I like the character and had hoped that he would be back again in his new persona, but there is a part of me that wishes that Kurn could have met a glorious death in battle.

Relevance – 3 points. A point for the fallout of Worf’s actions in “The Way of the Warrior” hitting close to home, by literally destroying his Klingon home. Kurn is now sharing in the disgrace of his family, and there’s little that can be done about it. Another point is scored for the conclusion of Kurn’s story. While some have argued against the decision to erase Kurn’s memory and give him a new identity, it is the last time we see this character. A final point will be scored for the seeds being planted in what will eventually blossom into the Worf-Jadzia romance. From their training in the holosuite we see that at least Jadzia is developing some strong feelings for Worf.

Continuity – 3 points. Story wise everything makes sense, although I think it might have been a better idea to have this story happen sooner in the season rather than more than halfway through. Universe continuity also works. While the Klingons claim to be honor, their use of cloaked mines shows the inherent corruption within the Klingon Empire. Character continuity also checks out here. Worf’s dilemma is notable, and Jadzia’s understanding of Klingon culture fits what has been previously established. We also see little glimpses of characters acting the way we would expect. In particular, we see Miles try to speak to Sisko about Worf, with Sisko cutting him off before the Chief can say anything. It is typical O’Brien to try to speak in defense of his friends. Continuity is well established in this episode.

Character Development – 3 points. Naturally this is a Worf-central story, and we see him go through significant development. Worf loses his brother in this episode. He sacrifices Kurn in a way to save his brother but loses him at the same time. There is a point in the story where he indicates that the Klingon Empire is no longer his home, and that Starfleet seems to be the only home he has left. More than ever before, Worf feels that he is not truly a Klingon. For now, at least, Worf has severed his ties to the world of his birth once and for all. The last time this happened he at least had Kurn on the home world supporting him. That is no longer the case. Dax gets some attention, and we see the beginning of a romantic interest in Worf. This will, of course, develop into a full-on love affair culminating in their marriage. O’Brien, Kira, Odo, and Sisko all get some attention as well. There is definitely some good character development in this story.

Social Commentary – 3 points. There is a lot to unpack in this episode. We see the right to die first and foremost. Kurn wants out, and a ritual killing at Worf’s hands is the way to do it. Tie that into the cultural aspects of being a Klingon and we can examine when certain cultural practices cross the line of general acceptance. Sisko claims that there is a limit to his tolerance of cultural diversity, and the Mauk-to’Var ritual was his limit. Likewise, in many countries we see immigration bringing together many different cultures, and some would argue that not all aspects of all cultures should be openly welcomed. On top of all of that, there is the concept of sacrifice for the good of others. Worf, in allowing Kurn to either die or have his memory wiped, sacrifices his brother and his only real connection to his Klingon heritage. He did this for his brother. Often we see people sacrifice greatly for the ones they love, and like Kurn (now Rodek), they may never truly know what was done for them.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. I am a big fan of Tony Todd and of the character of Kurn. It is always a lot of fun to have Todd in an episode. His presence is powerful and memorable. So, having Kurn’s final appearance in the franchise, it is cool to see him one last time. I am also scoring a point for the cloaked mines that the Klingons used. It is an interesting type of mine and from the damage done to one of the Klingon ships they are quite dangerous. Similar mines will be utilized by both the Federation to keep the Dominion from sending re-enforcement through the wormhole and the Dominion in the Seige of AR-558.

Rank – Admiral (22 points). A strong episode with a somewhat controversial ending to a popular character that serves to move the character of Worf further down his path. It is one that gives the viewer a lot to think about in addition to some fun moments.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Episode Review - New Ground (Next Generation, Season 5)

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

Overview – The Enterprise is headed to Bilana III where they will be assisting in the testing of a new form of propulsion called the soliton wave. Worf receives a communication from his adoptive human mother who is coming to the ship with Worf’s son, Alexander. She informs Worf that due to their age, she and her husband are unable to raise Alexander anymore. Worf suddenly finds himself to be a single parent. As he adjusts to his new responsibilities, the soliton wave causes an accident that endangers the entire ship.

Score: 6/10 – Well, Worf finally has to take responsibility for his son, something I personally thought he should have done when he first met Alexander. It makes sense that his adoptive parents cannot care for him any longer (side note, this is one of the last performances by actress Georgia Brown who played Worf’s mother. The actress passed away in 1992, shortly after the episode aired). This was always one aspect of Worf’s character that I felt the writers had difficulty developing. Worf was great at a lot of things, but being a father was one that this father had difficulties with. I don’t blame the character himself, but he did seem like a fish out of water when it came to his son. This episode does have some good moments, but it is a bit slow at times. It is refreshing to give Worf something more than just losing fights and offering sensible solutions that few pay attention to. The side storyline involves the new theoretical way of moving a starship, and it is this story that provides a dilemma that resolves aspects of Worf’s discomfort with raising his son. It is a convenient way of getting Worf to embrace his new parental responsibilities. Their bonding at the end is touching, it just takes a while to get there first.

Relevance – 1 point. This episode is important in introducing the element of Worf having his son on the ship. This will be significant for the several episodes to follow. It also is the last time that we see Helena Rozhenko. Besides that, not much that is relevant to the rest of the series.

Continuity – 3 points. Worf is definitely out of his element, and it shows here. He is responding the way we would expect him to. He wants to do what is right by his son, but I bet a big motivation for him to send Alexander to live with Worf’s parents had a lot to do with how uncomfortable parenting was to Worf. Other characters are also acting how we expect them to. Picard being first irritated by Worf’s lateness and later amused by his security chief’s new role fits, as does Geordi’s excitement about the new technology they were about to test. Story continuity and universe continuity are also intact here.

Character Development – 2 points. This is a Worf-centric episode that makes him a full-time parent. This is very significant in his development. It sets the stage for several father-son conflicts to arise in the years to come. Establish Worf’s uneasiness with being a parent and send him through the typical motions of one caught up in his situation. First, there is discomfort, followed with a by-the-book approach that shows limited success. Then there is the resignation at the first sign of trouble. There is then a threat or dilemma that forces the two together which brings them closer together. There is finally acceptance and a promise that things will get better. Pretty standard stuff here, but it is a first for Worf, so it amounts to a significant growth for his character.

Social Commentary – 2 points. Parenting is never easy. In fact, it can be quite intimidating. Worf, like many of us, is thrust into it with little warning and is not prepared for its challenges. At the end, he shows that there is no easy way to parent, but it is necessary to show the child that you love them and will be there for them. Once that has been achieved, it becomes more manageable. Something many parents (especially single parents) can relate to.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. It’s a cool idea to replace warp drive that gives a cool effect of the Enterprise being caught up in it. It gives us an interesting visual effect that sadly does not get further developed in the future.

Rank – Lieutenant (15 points). A mediocre episode that tells a good yet typical parenting story. It adds an element to Worf’s character that will make him more interesting in the future, and it is an episode that should be viewed to explain why Alexander is now aboard the Enterprise.

If you would like to read other reviews from the Next Generation, click this link.

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. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Episode Review - Unity (Voyager, Season 3)

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

Overview – Chakotay and Ensign Kaplan arrive on an unknown planet and are attacked. Kaplan is killed and Chakotay is injured. When he awakens, he finds himself under the care of Riley Frazier, a human from Earth. He soon learns that Riley, like all the inhabitants, is a former Borg drone. Their ship, which Janeway and Voyager have discovered during all of this, was suddenly cut off from the Collective. Since then, they have begun to fight among themselves. They help Chakotay heal by forming a mini-neural link that functions a bit the way the Borg Collective did. They request that Janeway and the crew of Voyager assist them in restoring the neuro-electric field generator on the Borg vessel to assist them in re-establishing the neural link and unite all of the former Borg on the planet. This is met by resistance from Janeway.

Score: 8/10 – As was eluded to in a previous episode “Blood Fever”, the Borg were going to become a major part of Voyager’s story. “Unity” takes the first real plunge down that path. What we get is a fascinating look into what life for a bunch of Borg who used to be united in a collective suddenly regain their individuality. It is interesting to note that this episode was designed to be an analogy to the break up on the Soviet Union, and it does bear some resemblance. There is mystery and danger and we see a side to being in the collective that we have never truly faced. It seems that for some, the unity found in the Borg Collective has some positive attributes to it, or at least for those who have been a part of it. Chakotay does have some great moments, and Robert Duncan MacNeil does a great job in the director’s chair. While we will not fully encounter the Borg until the season finale, this is a good way of getting our feet wet in what will ultimately become the best antagonist for Janeway and her crew.

Relevance – 3 points. A point is scored for taking the next step in the slow and steady Borg introduction. We went from discovering a Borg corpse to now finding a deserted ship and a word of former drones. The neural interface that they use on Chakotay will come into play in the fourth season opener, so that also scores a point. Finally, we see the death of Ensign Kaplan. Wait, who? Well, she’s the plucky ensign that we had seen filling in various roles in “Future’s End” and “Macrocosm” and never really got much to do or say. In the beginning of this episode, she actually gets some decent dialogue and action. That, of course, means she’s about to be killed. Like so many characters from Voyager, she was there and then killed, which led to a disappointing payoff. Ah, well. At least her death gives this episode a relevance point here.

Continuity - 1 point. Universe continuity is good here. Some plausible explanations for how the Borg have not reclaimed the damaged vessel are provided. Character continuity is not as clear cut. Chakotay gets duped a bit by Riley and the Cooeprative. We have sadly seen this trusting nature of Chakotay before, and like before he learns his lesson the hard way. Where I am deducting the point is due to a throw away line for Chakotay. When given the choice of accepting the linking into the collective or death, he mentions the “happy hunting ground”. In truth, I was surprised even when it first aired how stereotypical that line was. Chakotay did embrace his Native American ancestry and culture as he saw fit, but I don’t recall him stooping to such dated stereotypes, even in jest. I also have to take away a point for story continuity. I love the idea of many different species being assimilated by the Borg, and how they respond when they are separated from the Collective. There are many ways they could have incorporated Riley Frazier as a human into this. The writers chose to go with Wolf 359. I have to admit that this is one sticking point with me when it comes to continuity. The ship that wiped out the fleet at this battle was destroyed at the end of “Best of Both Worlds: Part 2”. There was no plausible explanation that anyone assimilated at this battle were sent back to the Delta Quadrant before the cube was destroyed. While I like tying things together, this one just does not add up for me. Yes, there are possible ways that this could have been accomplished, but I have yet to see one established in Trek canon, so the point is lost here.

Character Development – 2 points. Lots of development for Chakotay. As I mentioned before, he has been duped by Frazier, who some could suggest only did it as a last resort and was not truly malicious in her intent. This gives Chakotay a chance to really think about the ethics of her actions and how it might play out in the future. This episode also gave him a romance as well as a unique experience that will come into play in the near future. This is quite a good episode for Chakotay.

Social Commentary – 2 points. As mentioned, this episode was meant to parallel the breakup of the Soviet Union. Today, we see some even more startling parallels that make this episode even more topical today. The former drones desire to have the unity that they once had when they were part of the Collective. They think that if they get that unity back, they can still maintain their individual goodness. We see some similarities with the break-up of the USSR, and how some felt that things were better in their communist days (looking at you, Vladimir P). We see how the Cooperative quickly broke with their ethics to achieve what they desired, and Chakotay rightly wondered how long it would be before the Cooperative became more like the Collective. Well, the former Soviet Union seems to be working its way back to the old ways. Interesting commentary on how the nostalgia for what once was can cause us to make some of the same mistakes as was made in the past, despite “knowing better”.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. Seeing what happened to a bunch of former Borg is always interesting. Here, we see them several years after it happened. When we saw the effects of re-introducing Hugh to the Collective in TNG’s “Descent”, we see something quite recent. Seeing how the group evolved and how they tried to establish the Cooperative is an interesting foil to the Collective.

Rank – Captain (17 points). A solid third season episode with a lot of setting up for the Borg vs. Voyager. It’s always good to have some Chakotay time, and the concept of the former Borg trying to take the “best of both worlds” is a little ironic considering that we are dealing with the Borg here.

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.