Date: November 29, 2020
Season 4, Episodes 18 and 19
Musical Accompaniment: Continuing with Vampire Weekend, Shinedown, and Lifehouse… among many others.
Interstellar News: I started writing this the night before Thanksgiving (where it was just the two humans, four cats, and one dog… but I still made a feast) and then was so worn out for the last three days. Glad I’m getting back to writing today. Also, a dear friend called these two episodes “the cosplay episodes” and boy was he right.
TL;DR: The Hirogen have captured Voyager. For the last three weeks some of the crew are inserted into the holodeck as pre-programmed characters for the Hirogen to “hunt”, others are locked in their room, and some (like Kim and the EMH) are being forced to keep Voyager running. They run a World War II simulation where Seven is a lounge singer, Tuvok is the bartender, Janeway is the owner, Neelix is a package boy, and Torres is a pregnant spy… they’re all part of the French resistance. Later we find out Chakotay and Paris are part of the American infantry and Neelix is transferred to a Klingon program after he “dies” in the WWII simulation. Karr believes the Hirogen could use holodeck technology to reinvigorate their race but Turanj and some others are not as insightful. Kim and the Doctor develop a plan, temporarily wake up Seven to tell her, and then put her back in the simulation so she can disable from within. They succeed, Janeway “wakes up”, and the holodeck simulation begins to degrade.
Janeway and Seven enact a plan while the Americans and French work together to destroy the Nazis/Hirogen. Janeway gets the EMH to her and Neelix, where they later convince the other Klingons to join the holographic fight. Karr and Janeway discuss his objectives and they come to an agreement to exchange Voyager’s freedom for some holodeck technology. Turanj, however, has other ideas and kills Karr and tries to kill everyone else. Kim overloads the holo-emitters and the fighting comes to a standstill. They eventually call a truce and Janeway decides to uphold her original agreement with Karr and the Hirogen depart Voyager.
EMH: You are their Great Warrior. Lead them.
Neelix: Pardon me, gentlemen. I wonder if I might have a word with you.
EMH: They’re Klingons, not kittens.The Doctor does have a point…
“I hate to waste good wine. Give him the ’36.”: Part 1 starts with the Klingon program and someone who sounds/looks just like Janeway and then we realize it is her but she has no idea and it’s a big shock. The slow reveal where everyone is during Part 1 is fantastic. The senior staff, of course, is part of the big holodeck program but Kim is still on the outside making sure all of the ship’s systems still work and the EMH is being asked to care for all of the wounded so the Hirogen can keep hunting and studying their prey. Everyone is cast wonderfully in the World War II epic and, of course, it’s Nazis. This is all, of course, a set up for Part 2 and each time you’re wondering how they got themselves into this mess and how they’ll get out. There are just enough oddities among the crew, like a holographic doctor and a former member of the Borg collective , that make the crazy plan work.
“I’ll reattach any severed limbs. Just don’t misplace them.”: Part 2 is the culmination and it wasn’t as grand as I thought it would be. For one of the first times the battle is a draw and both sides split amicably. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what we’ve come to expect from the crew of Voyager. I think it’s finally starting to get real that they aren’t the most advanced group in the DQ and they aren’t always going to win or get away scott free. This part was wonderfully humorous though, especially all of the bits with Neelix and the Doctor, there was just something between them that really worked for me. I also toally got what Karr was trying to do when he questions the Nazis and his methods of “studying” the crew, but he’s very much like the lead scientist in “Distant Origin“… he just didn’t have the buy-in from others to support his theory. He gets killed for his trouble, as does the cease-fire and the possibility of Voyager gaining another ally in the DQ. It’s absolutely wonderful that they wrote in the pregnancy and even made fun of it, Torres is great once she remembers who she is and isn’t the pre-programmed version of herself. Janeway, though, is at her best when she improvises to Chakotay (who’s still under the influence) all of the “strange” things he’s about to see. That must be part of the Captain training, as Picard, Kirk, and Sisko all had the same knack for doing so.
As a two-parter and a “cosplay episode”, I really enjoyed it. It’s a nice break from their voyage home without it really detracting from the overall story. As one of my former regulars used to order, a 7 & 7 for this one. Bottoms up!