Date: September 12, 2020
Season 1, Episodes 10 and 11
Musical Accompaniment: Someone compiled their top 25 epic music tracks
Interstellar News: Today did not go quite as planned, but it was not the worst day ever.
“State of Flux” in TL;DR: An away team is exploring a planet when they encounter a masked Kazon ship. Everyone else beams back but Chakotay has to find Seska, she’s in a cave with some Kazon and they barely escape. Seska brings Chakotay some soup, he’s grateful until he realizes she broke the food rationing rules, and apparently they used to be an item. Soon after they receive a distress call from the same Kazon ship, it’s been in a terrible accident and there’s only one survivor. Unfortunately there are traces of Federation technology aboard the Kazon ship and Tuvok suspects a traitor in either Carey or Seska. Seska is hurt and the EMH believes she’s actually Cardassian, which Seska explains away as a by-product of a childhood disease. A Kazon captain named Culluh arrives to talk to the survivor, but they kill him instead before he could talk. Chakotay and Tuvok set a trap for the traitor and it’s totally Seska, who is totally a Cardassian spy that is fed up with Janeway and the Federation and is hellbent on setting up alliances and building up a power base. She beams out to a Kazon ship and they disappear as Chakotay wonders if anyone serving under him was actually a Maquis.
Culluh: If you attempt to remove anything from our ship, it will be considered an act of war.
Janeway: You know, I’m really easy to get along with most of the time. But I don’t like bullies, and I don’t like threats, and I don’t like you, Culluh. You can try and stop us from getting to the truth, but I promise you, if you do I will respond with all the “unique” technologies at my command. Janeway out.Janeway showing Culluh who’s boss.
Tuvok’s Truth:”How may I be honest with you today?”
“Was anyone on board that ship working for me?”: There’s a lot to unpack here but most of it is good. I’ve never liked Seska and I’ve written in my notes a few times that she’s got too bad of an attitude when they’re all supposed to be in this together. Granted they are supposed to be heading home and Janeway keeps having them do all the damn side quests so I understand the frustration, but Seska is then found out to be a Cardassian. Won’t she be surprised that the Federation and Cardassians are sort-of friends by the time they get home. I mean it’s certainly something I didn’t see coming, though her being a traitor to the crew and her reasons why make sense for someone who is so damn frustrated and never learned how to play well with others. I mean she even throws Chakotay’s animal guide in his face, which is totally not cool.
I feel for Chakotay who has now had two of his crew be revealed to be double agents, let’s hope Torres really is a half-Klingon with mommy issues. I loved when he and Seska were bonding over soup and his demeanor completely changed once he found out how the soup was made. One thing this episode fails to do is make Carey a serious contender for the traitor. Seska has always skirted the rules and more and more things keep adding up not in her favor. She never went in for her physical, she was closest to the Kazon down below, and she admitted to never being dumb enough to use her own login. Carey is given a stern talking to and then he’s sent to his room by mommy, daddy, and Uncle Tuvok, whereas we keep seeing Seska. Seska does an amazing transformation at the end, after she knows she’s been caught, where she totally has me believe Garak would be proud. I also love Torres, a lot. She tells Janeway she doesn’t pad her results and she demonstrates that if she’s given the time she’s asked for, everything can get done smoothly and without incident. It’s a nice break from the “miracle worker” engineering and a wonderful nod to how project management actually works. A great mystery, a nice twist, and a nice set up for a reoccurring enemy. This gets 8 jaw drops from me.
“Heroes and Demons” in TL;DR: Torres and Janeway beam aboard two samples from a protostar, though one has some trouble coming through. They decide to ask Kim for his help but he is nowhere to be found so they send Tuvok and Chakotay after him in the holodeck. Kim was running a holonovel of Beowulf, so our duo meets Freya, Hrothgar, and Unferth and learn Kim has “died”. A diagnostic reveals the matter beamed aboard interfered with the holodeck and as soon as Grendel approaches, Tuvok and Chakotay also disappear. In order to investigate they have to send the EMH in, where he also meets the same three characters and identifies himself as “Schweitzer”. He battles Unferth, eats elk, tells a tale, is shown the home of the King, and is kissed by Freya. When Grendel arrives we see it’s an energy monster and as the EMH is beamed back to sickbay, he’s also missing an arm. Paris and Torres replicate what they did earlier and Janeway realizes the “matter” the beamed aboard was a life form and her people are being held hostage by Grendel, who was taken over by the larger life form. The EMH takes the other sample back into the holonovel, is saved by Freya who dies, and then he negotiates a hostage release and the boys are back. Janeway puts a commendation in the EMH’s file, but he decides he doesn’t want to keep that name.
EMH: I can describe every detail of every piece of equipment in this Sickbay from biobed to neurostimulator, but I’ve never even seen a sky or a forest, let alone Vikings and monsters. I can’t afford to fail but I don’t know what to expect in that holodeck.
Kes: You’ve been telling me that you deserve to be treated like a member of the crew. Well, here’s your chance. And I can tell you that none of the crew knows exactly what to expect when they go on an away mission.The EMH explaining how he was only programmed to be a doctor, and only one that functioned in the confines of a starship.
“Before combat, it is most important to stay warm.”: This was such a fun episode. Before I go on let me say this, I’ve never read Beowulf or seen any adaption of it aside from when he was part of Once Upon A Time. That being said, I really enjoyed the use of the holodeck as kind of a live action video game. The mystery of what happened to Kim, then Tuvok and Chakotay, is interesting. Janeway, again, figures out she accidentally messed with another intelligent being but this time she kidnapped instead of assaulted. I still don’t understand why starships don’t have a constant scan on the crew in order to set up an alert when someone going missing, but that’s just me. It’s fantastic to see the EMH interacting with other holograms and getting to be the hero. As Kes and Janeway both point out, he’s done a lot of things other Starfleet officers have done… just in his own way.
I loved the goofiness of this episode, the humor and wit, and that Kim gets one whole line but delivered in a period costume. I didn’t think it made sense for Paris to be helping Torres, he hates science, but I guess he was motivated to help his friend and it’s a two person job. This Paris I like, the one who is there to be helpful and deliver a snarky line here or there. I really enjoyed the character of Freya, especially since she gave a double middle finger to the gender norms of the time and she also took her job seriously. The bit about the mushrooms was absolutely hysterical. I so enjoyed the end where Janeway explains that the EMH assisted with a strange first contact situation and he did it as good as anyone can expect with little to no training in hostage negotiation. This was a fun “the holodeck as a plot device” episode and I enjoyed it immensely, 9 Viking swords for the EMH!