Date: August 15, 2020
Season 1, Episodes 14 and 15
Musical Accompaniment: I had to listen to this because it has my favorite drink and one of my favorite cat’s names in the title: Whiskey Jazz
Interstellar News: Today was a long and productive day, and tomorrow will probably be just as long and likely not as productive.
“Jetrel” in TL;DR: A Haarkonian ship carrying Dr. Jetrel hails Voyager and wants to speak to Neelix. Neelix explains that his people were at war with the Haarkonians but they detonated a weapon on one of their moons disintegrating everyone, so the Talaxians surrendered. Jetrel was the person who created the weapon. Jetrel explains that Neelix likely has a fatal disease and he wants to scan for it. After much convincing Neelix acquiesces and is found to have the disease, which Jetrel wants to cure (and also has himself). Jetrel thinks the transporter system will help him find a cure, but then he disables the EMH and tries to do something else… he is trying to bring the victims back because their DNA is still floating around. Neelix begs Janeway to try, but she and Tuvok can’t get enough power. Neelix forgives Jetrel who dies shortly after that conversation.
Kes: So, you put your life at risk for something you believed in, and you think that makes you a coward? I don’t understand.
Neelix: It makes me a liar! I’ve lied about it all these years, to you, to Jetrel, to everyone.Kes asking the same question I did. If you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall for everything.
“Outnumbered and outflanked. All right then, I surrender.”: This was a gut-wrenching episode at every turn. Clearly this was meant as an allegory for what happened in real life at Hiroshima and the episode makes sure you know, several times. War is horrible and horrifying and every day I wish we could find a better way to share this planet. Neelix’s true colors came out when the chips were down, he admitted that he was angry with himself and he found it in his heart to forgive the man responsible for the development of the weapon. The problem of creating something is that someone else can always use it and sometimes that reason is not ethical, humanitarian, or even legal. At the end Jetrel admitted he has been exiled by his own government and was trying so hard to right his wrongs, he had lost everything and was trying to find balance. Kes and Neelix discussing their relationship was something I also felt was much needed, as you rarely see them together.
The hope at the end that it just might work was palatable, and hurt so much more when it wasn’t enough. It’s hard to think that there are people still suffering the cloud. There are a few things I didn’t understand, though. Why couldn’t the EMH have given Neelix the exam, I mean he’s a pretty fast learner. Also, why was the EMH unable to turn himself back on? He was supposed to have control over his on/off switch. It was awesome to see him turn himself off for the first time, it was great to see Janeway had that done for him. Speaking of Janeway, she’s waaaaaay to damn trusting. She’s an eternal optimist and sees the good in everyone, she needs someone to balance her out with some skepticism. Anyway, an otherwise excellent episode that shows us more about Neelix and how live in the DQ is not so different from that in the AQ. This episode earns 9 small, stuffed animals with personalized bandanas around their necks.
“Learning Curve” in TL;DR: Janeway is back in her holonovel when the children disappear because of power fluctuations, there’s an issue with a gel pack. The gel packs all over the ship start failing because of a bacteria from, reads my notes, cheese. Neelix made cheese so he could make macaroni and cheese for one of the crew and that got into the ventilation and then there was a virus in the bacteria. Tuvok, meanwhile, is tasked with whipping four Maquis into shape… they are not integrating well. The first session ends poorly but a right hook from Chakotay helps the second session go a little better. There’s physical training and then a war game situation that they fail. Tuvok tries to get to know the crew, but they want nothing to do with him. When the ship begins to have issues the good news is they can heat up the ship, the bad news is they all almost die. The bridge has to cut off life support and the four Maquis and Tuvok are stuck in the holodeck and it fills with gas. Tuvok saves the kid and the other three save Tuvok, so they all decide to play nice.
Neelix: I feel that my services as Morale Officer are required.
Tuvok: I assure you, you are wrong.For once, Tuvok was actually wrong.
“Get the cheese to Sickbay. The Doctor should look at it as soon as possible.”: I loved the mystery of the gel packs. One goes wrong, maybe it’s a Maquis plot to take over the ship? Dalby was being all mysterious and then snarky with Tuvok… mayhaps. More gel packs start to fail, Torres gets a second opinion… and the EMH was fantastic. He tries to pull HIPPA in the guise of being more understanding of his patient’s needs. Neelix was trying to be helpful and cheese, unfortunately, was the downfall of the apparently lactose intolerant gel packs. It was a mix of medical and engineering solutions that helped save the ship and the crew. Ships were likely not designed with the thought that actual cooking would go on in them and it’s no wonder what happened, happened. When your engineers don’t plan for every contingency, like being stuck 70,000 light years from home and someone wanting macaroni and cheese, then they likely did not go to an accredited engineering school.
I liked some parts of the Tuvok plot. He makes Chell do laps, he doesn’t sweat one bit after all of the physical exertion, and he delivers his lines and facial expressions just so. I wasn’t sure why Tuvok didn’t tell them Chakotay hand selected them until the very end, and even then he only tells Dalby. Tuvok or Chakotay should have explained it better, though Chakotay belting Dalby was also fantastic. Tuvok tries to get to know Dalby better during a game of pool, but I don’t understand why no one mentions his time on the Maquis ship? Shouldn’t he know them? Shouldn’t they be pissed because he betrayed them? Why are they so salty about what’s going on… they’re stuck in the DQ for fucks sake. They can’t go home so why are they making it more miserable on themselves? The more I look at this part of the plot, the more I have divided feelings about it. I spy, with my little eye, 5 red objects staring down at me.