Date: September 14, 2020
Season 1, Episodes 12 and 13
Musical Accompaniment: Star Trek music from 1966 – 2020
Interstellar News: Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had in a long time. Today was better but not all is well in the world. Tomorrow, however, I will finish Season 1.
“Cathexis” in TL;DR: Chakotay and Tuvok return from a mission where Tuvok has a concussion and Chakotay is brain dead. They try to head back to the nebula but Paris, Torres, and others are taken over by “the alien” that Tuvok suspected came back with them. Kes feels the presence of something on the ship but she and Tuvok are assaulted in the turbolift and now she’s unconscious. After a phaser shootout on the bridge, Torres tells Janeway that Tuvok lied and Tuvok is revealed to be the alien trying to get them back to the nebula so his people can eat the crew’s neural energy. The “alien” floating around the ship is really Chakotay’s essence trying to warn the crew from heading into the nebula. Janeway runs the scan that breaks loose the alien hold on Tuvok, they pick up the warp core, and the EMH merges Chakotay back with his consciousness and he explains what he was doing.
Torres: How did you manage to reintegrate his consciousness?
EMH: It involved three neural transceivers, two cortical stimulators and fifty gigaquads of computer memory. I would be happy to take you through the process, but it would take at least ten hours to explain it all to you. Needless to say, it was a remarkable procedure. I would consider writing a paper about it if there were a convenient forum in which to publish it.The EMH being super smug about his awesome accomplishment.
“I’m telling you, it wasn’t me.“: The episode begins with Janeway exploring a holonovel and then, it’s absolutely never discussed again. I completely forgot about it until I was rereading my notes and went, huh I wonder why the hell that was in there then. I loved that, for most of the episode, you think the “alien” is the things taking over people and Tuvok keeps getting picked on, but even when he’s revealed to be the bad guy he still stays in Vulcan character, it’s fantastic. I thought it was a nice touch that Torres tried to help Chakotay by using his medicine wheel and that the EMH knew what it was, though I don’t know why either of them would have known its use. I was also glad they went back to pick up the warp core, I was worried for a minute that they’d forget about that little detail.
Parris and Torres getting taken over makes you think the aliens didn’t want Voyager to go back to the nebula, which convinces Janeway they’ve got to check it out. The big Tuvok reveal is great. All the while I thought it would be easier for an alien to take over a human’s brain and thought maybe a Vulcan was too much, but it was the opposite here and Tuvok was easily taken over and the alien adapted so well no one knew anything was wrong. As soon as the EMH explained what happened to Kes, however, I knew Tuvok was the culprit… but I assumed he had be taken over. The dance of giving the EMH the ship codes and then Tuvok disabling the EMH and then Janeway being like “okay let’s go tell the crew… whack” was awesome. I was truly hoping Janeway suspected Tuvok and she wasn’t that naive, but she also didn’t see everything that we did. Kim got suspected for daydreaming and Janeway was never taken over because Chakotay didn’t want to give the actual alien any leeway. The bit about taking over Neelix and using the medicine wheel to plot a course back out of the nebula was a little far fetched, but overall a fun mystery with a twist. 6 Vulcan neck pinches for Tuvok, see how he likes it!
“Faces” in TL;DR: Voyager is headed back to pick up Torres, Paris, and Durst but can’t find them so Chakotay, Kim, and Tuvok beam down to find them. Sulan, a Vidiian surgeon, splits Torres into two people: her Klingon half and her human half). He does this because he believes Klingons can survive the phage and, if they can, he can use it to cure his people. Paris meets another Talaxian in jail who has been there for six years and Durst is taken away to be killed for his parts and skin as Sulan uses his face to try to calm Klingon Torres. Human Torres is a hot mess but does try to bring down the force field. When she’s caught, Klingon Torres saves her and they rant about their differences and then decide to work together. Chakotay is altered to look like a Vidiian, he rescues Paris, and the Torres halves work together to bring down the force field. The Klingon half is killed but the EMH is able to gather her DNA so as to restore Torres because she can’t live without her Klingon self.
Neelix: It is zesty, isn’t it. I tried following the recipe in the computer’s databank but it seemed so bland, so I took the liberty of spicing it up a bit. Call it plomeek soup a la Neelix.
Tuvok: I must point out that if you take the liberty of changing a time-honored recipe you are hardly presenting a taste of home.Tuvok is not wrong.
Today is a good day to die: “I know I’m the first Klingon you’ve ever seen, so I’ll tell you that Klingons find honor as warriors on the battlefield, not as guinea pigs in a laboratory.”
“Courage doesn’t mean that you don’t have fear. It means that you’ve learnt to overcome it.”: So we have a callback to “The Enemy Within“, kind of. In TOS Kirk learns that he must balance both sides because they both help him in equal measure be the captain he is. Here Torres learns that both of her sides give her strength and she needs to learn how to channel what she needs in order to get through whatever situation she’s in. It’s a great device for Torres to really do a self introspection and come to terms with her two halves. She blames her Klingon half for all the trouble and her temper, but I know plenty of human women with a temper (she says as she avoids looking at a mirror) and it’s not so far fetched that her Klingon self could have been the engineering whiz and her human self was the “punch first, punch second” kind of woman. I thought both Torres depictions were spot on, though I could tell she was having trouble talking with the prosthetic teeth. I also liked that no one asked the Talaxian if he knew Neelix. I absolutely hate when people hear I’m from New Jersey and ask if I know a specific person they know… dude, Jersey is a big damn state.
I am pissed, however, that Janeway didn’t bring the fury of Voyager down on the Vidiians. She made a badass threat in “Phage” and then didn’t back it up?!?! She didn’t get them on the view screen and ream them a new one. She didn’t order all of the prisoners to be saved, what kind of Starfleet operation is that? I mean they could have used some new crew members or at least transported them somewhere safely. Also, no one mentions Durst at all? He was even in the last episode, he spoke a few lines and everything, and there’s no nothing about HIS FACE BEING USED and his organs being stolen? This could have been better as a follow up episode and it just fell short. 5 tacos for you, but every one is missing one thing that you ordered.