Date: September 9, 2020
Season 1, Episodes 4 and 5
Musical Accompaniment: Trying something different with some Wild West music
Interstellar News: My body hurts, that is all.
“Phage” in TL;DR: Voyager tries to find dilithium to add to its supply and Neelix has taken over the captain’s private dining room to build a galley. Chakotay, Kim, and Neelix beam down to survey the planetoid, discover some strange readings, and then Neelix is attacked and his lungs have been removed. The EMH creates holographic lungs to help Neelix breathe until his lungs can be recovered, but he also has to remain very still. They track down the Vidiians who are suffering from a disease known as ‘phage’. They usually take their organs from those who have just died but sometimes the situation is dire, like in Motura’s case. Janeway decides she can’t stoop to their level and in appreciation the Vidiians help do a lung transplant, as Kes dontates one lung to Neelix. Janeway allows Neelix to keep the kitchen.
Neelix: Well, if I’m going to be in here a while, now’s as good a time as any to tell you. Your ceiling is hideous.
EMH: I didn’t design the room, I just work here.
Neelix: Something with a bit of color would help. Maybe a nice tapestry or a painting. Could you dim the lights a little?
EMH: I’m a doctor, Mr. Neelix, not a decorator.Neelix not holding back and the EMH not giving a shit.
“One of these days I’m going to surprise you, Tuvok, but not today.”: I am totally Neelix in the kitchen sometimes, though I’ve only set fire to a kitchen ONCE. This is why I don’t attempt to deep fry things anymore. I also totally feel for Torres who had to do all this work to set up a refinery and then there wasn’t anything for them to refine. I mean they might come across what they need at some point, so it’s not bad to have… but still. You have to feel bad for Neelix. He studied and is trying so hard to be useful and he gets his lungs stolen on his very first mission. This, however, allows for several things to happen. Kes gets to be compassionate, the EMH gets to be a miracle worker and explain the gravity of his situation, and Paris gets to be a creep… oh wait, he would have been anyway. I also don’t understand why they didn’t just keep Neelix sedated until they could either reinsert his lungs or come up with a different plan. I am also in love with the fact that absolutely no one took the time to explain to the Vidiians that the EMH is a hologram, it was wonderful.
There’s a lot of action followed by inaction, which really slows down the episode for me. While it was cool to see Voyager fly into the “asteroid” and do the trick with the phasers, it went on for longer than I would have liked. The crux of the episode is when Janeway lets the Vidiians have it. She is frustrated, pissed, and several other emotions at once and she lets them know that this would not fly in the AQ. She doesn’t really have the jurisdiction or the choice to do anything but let them go and make sure they understand Starfleet is off limits. Thankfully they pay her, and Neelix, back by fixing Neelix with their superior technology – but that leads to several other questions. Why not use artificial organs? 3D printed ones? Replicated ones? I get that they are desperate but that doesn’t excuse them taking a life to prolong their own and that makes them very bad people. I also heartily disliked Neelix berating Kes about Paris flirting, like it’s her fault what comes out of Paris’s mouth. I absolutely hate it when someone tells me they trust me but not someone else, then go have that conversation with them and also – I can take care of myself. 6 trips to Candy Mountain for me (please watch the whole video below, it’s totally worth it… I promise).
“The Cloud” in TL;DR: Voyager needs to increase their energy supply so Janeway can feed her coffee addiction, I mean so they can get home, and they decide to enter a nearby nebula for some of its omicron particles. The nebula is actually a living entity and their entering and then leaving caused it damage, so they fix it so it’s no worse than when they found it. Janeway is also worried about the crew so she has Chakotay teach her about animal guides, hers is a gecko. Meanwhile Paris introduces Kim to his sleazy holodeck program (a pool hall in France), the EMH and Torres work together to fix the nebula-entity, and Neelix makes himself the morale officer and feeds everyone like the good Italian Grandmother he is.
Janeway’s Jam: “There’s coffee in that nebula”
Janeway: You strike me as the bear type.
Chakotay: Thank you. The bear is a very powerful animal. It has great pokattah. But he’s not my animal guide. The creature that guides us doesn’t define who we are. It merely chooses to be with us.
Janeway: Okay. If not a bear, then what?
Chakotay: I can’t tell you that. It would offend my animal guide if I spoke its name.
Janeway: But he guides you well?
Chakotay: Actually, it’s a female. But yes, she usually guides me very well.Janeway, wrong at every turn. Sigh.
“Dismissed. That’s a Starfleet expression for ‘get out’.”: There’s a little bit of “One Of Our Planets Is Missing” and “Where Silence Has Lease“, which I just referenced yesterday. There’s a big cloud entity that the crew mistakenly beat up and then they have to figure out how to fix it and not explode in the process, which is the “new” part of the plot for Voyager. I found it funny that I made a Pinocchio reference and minutes later Janeway makes the same reference, but to Jonah and his whale instead. I love that Neelix totally lost his shit, did not get the reaction he expected, and then stress cooked and tried to use humor as a tension reliever on the deck. My absolutely favorite part, however, was when the EMH was muted and he keeps going the whole time. He knows he’s muted but he’s pacing, muttering, and getting more visibly frustrated even though no one is paying attention to him. Finally he waves his hands around and gets the attention of everyone and proves just how useful he can be, as long as they can put up with his snark. Robert Picardo gives great face and just acted his ass off even when the camera wasn’t on him.
I didn’t like the way Janeway reacted to Chakotay’s ritual, she was almost irreverent. Now she’s not doing it on purposes, she’s simply ignorant as to how spirtual and important it is to Chakotay and his people. She’s genuinly interested in knowing more about the animal guide, but it sort of comes off the same way when people say something about “oh, that’s my spirit animal”, cringey. I did like, however, how Chakotay presented his custom, was patient, was grateful that she wanted to know more about it, and made it sound so important to him. The first bit in the holodeck was stupid, why did he have to wake Kim up? Just to rub it in that he can make out with to holograms? Sigh. The ending, however, where Janeway totally hustles them at pool is fantastic because I totally believed she didn’t know anything until the last second and then I caught on right before she hit the ball. Sinking the green 6 means I’ve got solids, and I’ll call the eight-ball in the corner pocket.