Date: December 8, 2020
Season 5, Episode 4
Musical Accompaniment: Songs that start with “I”, we’re really trucking through!
Interstellar News: This morning was hectic and this evening has been not great.
TL;DR: Voyager finds a station that looks an awful lot like Starfleet headquarters but turns out to be a simulation run by Species 8472. Chakotay infiltrates and meets Boothby and a woman named Archer who fancies him. He goes on a date with Archer while the EMH and Seven work on some nanoprobe torpedoes, just in case, but then Chakotay is found out and captured. It turns out the 8472 thinks the Federation wants to invade fluidic space when, in reality, they have no idea 8472 exists. The sides decide to meet and exchange information and set aside misconceptions. They avoid a military conflict and Boothby promises to talk to his superiors about abandoning the need for war with the Federation.
Paris: Do you always arm yourself before a first date?
Kim: You’ve never had a date with species 8472.
Paris: Personally, I don’t go out with girls from other galaxies.
Kim: You’re a true explorer, Chakotay.
Paris: Is she cute?
Chakotay: In her human form, anyway.
Kim: I’ve always wondered what it would be like to date an alien.
Chakotay: I’ll take notes.This whole conversation is wholesome and adorable, given that his mission is dangerous.
“You picked a lousy time for an ethical debate.”: I actually really enjoyed this episode. Chakotay is very good at undercover work and he flirts like he breathes with Archer, who is clearly digging him. Janeway is on top of things, as usual, from checking to make sure none of her crew is 8472 in disguise (anyone getting flashbacks to the changelings in DS9?) to getting ready for battle but also not forgetting diplomacy first. She’s likely remembering the alien who just wanted to get home on top of her training and she’s also trying to set an example for Seven that not all aliens of the same species are alike. This is such a great example of how two sides just clearly came up with the wrong idea about the other and that talking about it openly and honestly helped resolve a conflict before it really started. This absolutely happens in real life when you don’t talk to the people involved. I get complaints about classes all the time but the students almost never tell the instructor, which is the only person who matters in making change.
The others all get to play wonderful roles in this. Seven is still mad at8472 for kicking Borg ass, the Doctor makes good points about weapons being used as deterrents, and Kim and Paris help Chakotay and sound the alarm when he’s in trouble. My biggest problem with this whole episode is this. In order for 8472 to attack the Federation, they need to get to the Alpha Quadrant. I assume they have a plan to do so. SO WHY DOESN’T JANEWAY ASK THEM FOR HELP IN GETTING HOME?!?!?! 8 puppies peacefully sleeping for this episode, it really was a lot of fun.