VOY: “Elogium”

Date: August 19, 2020

Season 2, Episode 4

Musical Accompaniment: A neat playlist to accompany a short story that features all of these songs.

Interstellar News: I thought I was going to watch so much more Trek today, but I just couldn’t. Life has been very stressful these last few months, but more so this last week.

TL;DR: Chakotay interrupts two of the crew smooching which leads to he and Janeway having an academic discussion about fraternization policies, free will, and having babies while lost in space. Voyager encounters some space dwelling lifeforms and goes to take a closer look. Neelix is an asshat to Kes because Paris is being nice to her, but later she is seen eating beetles and stuffing her face with anything she can find. Neelix brings her to sickbay where she finally tells Janeway and the EMH that she’s going through elogium (puberty), which only happens once, and if she ever wants to procreate, it’s got to be now.

"My body says no, but my hormones say yes", a woman crying while eating a lot of food.
“I can’t stop eating it. I’ve had six bowls. And the reason it tastes so strange, I’ve put a container of nitrogenated soil in it.”

Voyager gets stuck in the midst of the life forms, who mistake it for a potential mate. The other potential mate gets mad but Chakotay pulls the submissive card, the ship turns blue and does a barrel roll, and they are able to escape. Kes asks Neelix to be her mate, he goes to Tuvok for advice, but then she starts freaking out and decides to not go through with it. Eventually the EMH speculates that the elogium was false and brought on prematurely from the energy field created by the life forms. Janeway worries about the environment of a starship for a child’s upbringing when Ensign Wildman comes in and reports she’s pregnant, although her husband is back on Deep Space Nine.

Favorite Quote:

Neelix: A daughter? I don’t have anything to teach a daughter.

Tuvok: Why would it be any different from what you would teach a son?

Neelix: It just would. She’d learn more from her mother.

Tuvok: I have three sons and one daughter. I can assure you she benefits as much from my presence and guidance as my sons do. It is unfortunate that I must be so far removed from all of them now.

Tuvok, the OG feminist of the starship Voyager.

“It appears we have lost our sex appeal, Captain.”: This episode was… weird. I liked that the one story caused the other story, as the life forms messed with Kes in a way that she thought she was going through the Ocampa version of puberty. We learn more about the Ocampa here, that they only live for a decade or less, and she’s not even two… but that makes everything super freaking creepy when you think about her and Neelix’s relationship. I don’t have anything against an age gap as long as it’s past a certain age (like 21 or 25 in humans, before that the frontal lobe is still forming and you should just enjoy life until then). The EMH is super fascinated by the pre-mating ritual and I love his enthusiasm for learning, looks like I found my Ravenclaw.

THE REPLACEMENTS movie poster
Such a fun movie and in no way related to anything other than finding replacements…

Janeway and Chakotay discussing fraternization, a potential replacement crew, and mating rituals is quite possibly one of the funniest things considering a comment I made a few episodes ago about “mommy, daddy, and Uncle Tuvok“. It’s a real conversation that needed to happen and one I am very surprised did not happen sooner. I got a little bit of a “Galaxy’s Child” vibe from this episode, only this one was more sexual in nature. I disliked how Janeway said people were going to start pairing off, because some people might not want to. They may be in a committed relationship and prefer to remain monogamous. They might be asexual or could be the only one of their kind on board and unable to mate with the other crew. It’s a hard ask and goes way above the call of Starfleet duty, let alone those who are Maquis. Though, if there’s any hope of getting back to Federation space… sigh. I’m not sure how I feel about the Kes and Neelix story line. One one hand I hated the “I trust you not him” bit by Neelix, it’s a bullshit excuse and line, but I did absolutely love Tuvok and Neelix’s conversation.

I also think it’s a great little Easter egg that Ensign Wildman is the one to tell Kes about mashed potatoes, and then she’s the one who winds up pregnant at the end. Wildman is in several scenes throughout the episode and it’s a nice touch. I also geebled at the end by how much garlic Neelix has in his kitchen. He would make any Italian grandmother very proud. I’m very torn on my feelings for this episode, so it’s 5 bulbs of garlic for this one.

Neelix looking at Kes and Paris, while he has a SLEEVE of garlic bulbs behind him.
I mean… JUST LOOK AT ALL THAT GARLIC!!!!!

TA Out!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Date: September 18, 2020

Interstellar News: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today at the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (Shanah Tovah, my friends). Since 2020 is the year the just keeps getting worse, I thought I would take some time out of my “Year of Trek” to reflect on how far we still need to go to get to that 24th century life where we are all happier people on Earth.

In reply to “Black Lives Matter” some people say “All Lives Matter”. Unfortunately, I think those people have forgotten the definition of the word “all”. ‘All’ encompasses Black people, so it’s totally silly to have that as a reply. But when you really think about what someone says when they say “All Lives Matter”, I have to ask:

  • Do you also mean murders? rapists? pedophiles?
  • Do you also mean drug addicts? abusive parents or spouses?
  • What about Hitler? Osama bin Laden? Did their lives matter?

Where do you draw the line? Do you really mean “Some Lives Matter”? “White Lives Matter more than others”? What is it that you really mean?

Personally, I do believe that all lives matter… but it’s Black lives that are most at risk today. I don’t believe in the death penalty, we might get it wrong and it’s also not up to us who lives and who dies. I believe a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body, but I think they should really explain that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to stop becoming accidentally pregnant. Education needs to be better across the board and that will alleviate much of what happens. I believe that people of color in America and around the world have been treated horribly for too long and we’re constantly in this cycle of fighting for the rights of everyone. I believe everyone should be able to love without limits, express themselves they way they want, true to their feelings and inner self, and should be kind to one another.

Black Lives Matter. More to the point… Every Life Matters, even if they are the world’s biggest Fred. Be excellent to each other, party on dudes, live long and prosper, and may the Force be with us all.

Remembering this Giant of Justice

TA Out!

VOY: “Projections”

Date: September 17, 2020

Season 2, Episode 3

Musical Accompaniment: Instrumental rock and heavy metal

Interstellar News: Apparently Voyager is taking a page out of TNG and the season finale will be a season-spanning two-parter, so one episode today allows me to continue on the path of two a night.

TL;DR: The EMH is auto-initiated because of a ship wide red alert but no one is on board. He plays back the bridge’s log and sees Janeway ordered everyone to abandon the ship so he goes to deactivate himself but Torres arrives explaining a Kazon ship attacked. She’s also been working on holo-projectors to allow the EMH to move about the ship and transfers him to bridge where he revives Janeway. She then ships him off to the mess hall to help Neelix fight off a Kazon, but then he’s bleeding and returns to sickbay. He’s experiencing lifesigns and his program is not on file, the CMO is listed as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. Janeway asks the computer to shut down all holographic systems and everyone disappears except for the EMH.

Barclay: “Doctor, I’m sorry I have to do this.” EMH: “How DARE you?!”

Suddenly Barclay appears and says Zimmerman is real and has been running a simulation that got out of control. Barclay says if Zimmerman doesn’t end the simulation, he’ll die, so he has to blow up the ship. The EMH tries to figure out if he’s for real and eventually comes to believe him when Chakotay shows up and explains the EMH was in the holodeck enjoying some time off when a radiation surge caused issues and they’re almost done, he just needs to hold on. Eventually the EMH is restored to sickbay .

Favorite Quote:

EMH: Did I program Mr. Paris to be so annoying?

Barclay: Actually, I programmed him. I modeled him after my cousin Frank.

EMH: Hmm. Computer, delete Paris.

Very satisfying indeed.

“I’m not programmed to bleed.”: This episode is a hell of a roller coaster and I am here for it. We start off with a mystery and a very snarky EMH who is totally sad no one said goodbye. This is followed by scared out of his uniform EMH when Torres breaks into sickbay but mixed with his snarkiness when he’s been kept out of the loop. At first I thought the Doctor was going to be bouncing around from disaster to disaster, just like the camera did in “Disaster“. I love that the EMH totally turned into Rapunzel in the mess hall and Neelix isn’t the one hurt, it’s just tomato paste after all. His confusion over his own life signs, the way he tries to figure out what the hell is going on, and the way all of the other crew is exactly as they should be make it an even bigger impact when they all disappear and are shown to be holograms… but not the EMH.

Rapunzel from TANGLED with a frying pan.
“My best sauté pan. Good work, Doctor.”

I was totally not prepared for a Barclay episode, and it’s wonderful that they found a way to include him as a reoccurring character. I can totally believe he has a cousin Frank that acts just like Paris… don’t we all? I also enjoyed that the EMH was super skeptical of Barclay for quite some time. He wants to cross all his “t’s” and dot all his “i’s” before exploding Voyager, and it’s exactly what any other senior officer would have done. All of the things that Barclay did, though, were very convincing. Slapping the doctor, reasoning things out with him, bringing him back to the events of “Caretaker“, and even pulling in Kes as his “wife” were all brilliant strokes of the program. The whole time I was guessing as to what could have happened and I truly thought things were over when he woke up in sickbay with Kim and Tuvok standing over him, but nooooooo there was one more twist to be had. Thankfully it was the last one and I’m sure the Doctor won’t be taking any more vacations on the holodeck for a while. I would have loved if the holo-novel he was in was about a disaster or something, but otherwise this was a very fun and twisty-turny episode and I loved it. 8 large bottles of Manhattan Special, but only the “good” kind thank you very much.

TA Out!

VOY: “The 37’s” and “Initiations”

Date: September 15, 2020

Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2

Musical Accompaniment: Instrumental Rock

Interstellar News: I’m finally resuming Charmed and I’m almost done, just started the last season after taking a break for a few months. I better finish before they take it off Netflix on October 1, though.

“The 37’s” in TL;DR: Kim reports that’s there are traces of rust but Janeway is confused because there’s no oxygen in space, so how can there be rust? They find a 1936 Ford floating through space whose AM radio picks up an SOS from a nearby planet. On the planet they find the signal is coming from an old plane with an alien generator attached and there’s a cavern with several cryogenic containment rooms. They find one with eight people and decide to revive them and ask them what happened. The survivors are all from 1937 Earth, including Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred, a Japanese military officer, and a farmer. Fred takes them hostage but Janeway convinces Earhart to trust them and they head to the surface to look at Voyager. Chakotay and Tuvok were heading to the rescue when they’re attacked by folks in grey suits… who turn out to be humans! Apparently the Briori captured over 300 humans in 1937 and brought them to the planet to be their slaves, but there was a slave revolt and the Briori never returned. They thought the eight bodies in stasis were dead and explain to Janeway that they’ve built three wonderful cities. After a tour they offer the 37’s and the crew of Voyager to stay. The 37’s all decide to, they’ve been asleep for 400 years, but the entirety of Voyager‘s crew stays aboard to continue the mission home.

3's and 7's single from Queens of the Stone age
“3’s and 7’s” by Queens of the Stone Age: https://youtu.be/BgVfjXA_QY0

Favorite Quote:

Paris: Captain, I think I should tell you I’ve never actually landed a starship before.

Janeway: That’s all right, Lieutenant, neither have I. 

Janeway doing her best to be supportive.

“So is this an early hover car?”: This was a very fun episode. I’m so glad Janeway was the one to deliver the history of Earhart to the rest of the crew. Often you’d have Spock or Data reading the Wikipedia entry to the rest of the crew, but here it makes so much sense that a human female captain would have been inspired by Earhart, even if it was 400 years before her time. I love that Paris knew the parts to gasoline, I mean airplanes did use to run on them, and that he had a hobby that involved vintage vehicles because that’s a totally Paris thing to do. Kim was the child that everyone was educating this episode and if Janeway was from the South she’d have called him a “sweet summer child” and I would have giggled. Tuvok had the absolute best reaction when the car backfired, he whipped out his phaser like the good security chief he is.

Amelia Earhart
Kim: “Who’s Amelia Earhart?”

I thought it made sense that the “37’s” decided to stay on the planet, there’s nothing for them back on Earth. All the people they knew are dead, the world they knew only exists in history books, and it’s not their mission to return to Earth 400 years too late. Yes, Voyager could use the extra bodies but you’d have to train people from scratch. It would have been cool if Earhart wanted to explore space in a starship, but it’s totally not the same feel as her airplane, I mean you can’t even feel the wind in your hair. Maybe she wanted to start life over with Fred or maybe she just wanted a rest. Either way, it was incredibly touching when Chakotay and Janeway walk into an empty cargo bay, even I teared up. I do have a few dings for this episode. Why is it ALWAYS the third planet? Why didn’t they give Kes a hat? Why didn’t they leave guards if the “alters” were so “sacred”? How did the Briori travel so quickly from the DQ to the AQ and back again, and why did they go so far for slaves? Why only people from Earth? Why only one Briori ship left and why was it destroyed? Also, it’s a “Class L” planet so how are they all breathing okay? 7 unanswered questions for me and this episode.

“Initiations” in TL;DR: Chakotay is in a shuttle craft performing a ritual to commemorate the anniversary of the death of his father. A Kazon-Ogla ship sees him in the distance and sends one of their sons off to “earn his name”. Chakotay tries reasoning, but to no avail, so he destroys the ship and beams aboard the kid, Kar. He can’t get in touch with Voyager so he contacts the Kazon ship, but they tractor beam him in. Razki, the Maje, orders Chakotay to kill Kar as that is the punishment for failure but Chakotay instead steals his shuttle craft back and invites Kar to join him, though the eventually have to transport to a Kazon training moon that’s booby-trapped with weaponry as the Kazon ship shoots at them. Voyager finally catches up with them so Tuvok and Janeway beam down to the moon and are “helped” by the Kazon while Neelix and Paris hold down the bridge. Chakotay instructs Kar to kill him as he knows the EMH can revive him, that way Kar can earn his name and return to his people. Kar, however, decides to kill Razik and leaves Haliz in charge. Kar is now known as Jal Karden and Chakotay finishes his ritual in the confines of his room.

"That's no moon" from Star Wars
Well, actually it IS a moon, just one that has a TON of things that go BOOM on it.

Favorite Quote:

Chakotay: It may mean something to you to die a violent death, but I’d like to get out of this without killing or being killed.

Kar: You’d rather die in your sleep a wrinkled old man?

Chakotay: Sounds about right.

Kar is shocked, shocked I tell you!

“I ask you to continue to watch over me as you’ve always done.”: I get that the ritual needed to be completed in solitary, but his room could have been just fine. Set it up where your combadge is off, your room is locked and no one can request to even knock, and you’re golden. Also, what was Voyager off doing? Anyway, aside from that, this was a great episode. It was wonderful to see “Nog” again giving us the pain of someone who was now on the outs with their people, but eventually made a choice he thought was best for him. Chakotay shows his compassion and you almost forget why he became a Maquis until you hear him talk about the land and how people can’t possibly own it, just live with it. Neelix and Paris do a pretty great job on the bridge while the EMH continues to be hysterical about all the “junk” in his lab. I don’t really have a lot to say about this episode other than it was generally good and a wonderful way to have the crew continue to work together to help each other. It was also fantastic to see how the different Kazon sects really worked and how they have no a clue how to interact with one another. 8 hours of silence, please.

TA Out!

VOY: End of Season 1 – “Jetrel” and “Learning Curve”

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.

Favorite Quote:

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.

"That's so crazy, it just might work"
“I’m afraid I have to agree. It all sounds very implausible.”

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.

Favorite Quote:

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.

A dog says "I notice you have cheese. I also enjoy cheese."
“Ensign Ashmore asked for something called macaroni and cheese.”

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.

TA Out!