Chakotay faces a threat like no other in the episode that originally aired on November 20,1995. This is Maneuvers.
Captain’s Log Stardate 49208.5 Maneuvers
Seska returns in full force after helping the Kazon steal transporter technology from Voyager. With Chakotay in pursuit and Voyager unable to follow, it is up to the Commander to make things right.
After being hailed by a Federation signal, the ship is drawn into a trap and attacked by Kazon vessels. Crashing a shuttle into the side of Voyager, the Kazon manage to not only steal transporter technology but incapacitate the Federation ship in the process. Revealing themselves to be the masterminds behind the attack, Seska (who is returning to her Cardassian appearance) along with First Maje Culluh, manage to escape while leaving a shuttle lodged in Voyager preventing Voyager from going to warp.
As the crew of Voyager attempt to find a way to remove or bypass the damage allowing them to go to warp in pursuit, Culluh indicates that he plans to unite more of the factions in order to eventually claim Voyager for their own. Meeting with the enemies of Kazon-Nistrim, it seems that Culluh is not making the progress he desires with the Kazon Relora. Just as negotiations begin to collapse, Seska finds a way to reach common ground with the opposing Kazon faction using very unorthodox techniques.
Back on Voyager, after removing the lodged shuttle, Torres and team find a way to track and deactivate the stolen technology but they will have to get very close to the ship containing it. Soon the ship encounters the bodies of the leaders of the Kazon Relora indicating that Seska and Culluh have already started using the transporter tech as a weapon. Calling the staff for a meeting to determine their next steps Janeway discovers that Chakotay has taken a shuttle on his own in an effort to hunt down Seska and return the stolen tech.
Cullah explains to Seska that he plans to be the first leader to reunite the Kazon Sects strengthening them all under one banner. While he is disappointed in her suggestion to partner with the Relora, Cullah is pleased when she indicates that now the weaker Sects may join them after Cullah showed his power by killing the First Majh of the Relora. Seska admits she has already sent messages to some of the weaker sects and that they have responded well to her requests.
As Cullah and Seska discuss their plans, Chakotay beams aboard their ship just after sending a probe toward Voyager. Chakotay disables the transporter and send a message to Voyager indicating his position. Soon, however, he finds himself captives of Seska and the Kazon.
Voyager soon retrieves the probe and receives Chakotay’s message warning them to not attempt a rescue. Although Tuvok suggests following Chakotay’s advice, Janeway, never to leave a crew-member in peril, orders Paris to find Chakotay’s shuttle and mount a rescue.
Facing an interrogation from Seska and Cullah, Chakotay informs Seska that he has destroyed their chances to use the transporter or even his shuttle as he has rendered them useless. Seska, not to be outdone, demands that Chakotay give up his command codes but the Commander refuses. As Chakotay goes through more interrogation, he tries to convince Cullah that Seska will be the death of the First Mahj. Seska manages to dissuade Cullah of Chakotay’s claims and informs the former Maquis Captain that she has no plans to kill Cullah at the moment. She then pushes a needle into his neck.
Approaching the Kazon ship, Janeway is determined to find a way to save Chakotay without sparking a battle with the multiple Kazon ships. Torres proposes a way to transport the Commander while at warp despite the risk. Although Janeway is not sure it is possible, Torres assures her that she has done it before in her Maquis days.
Approaching the ship Torres realizes that they can not get a lock on Chakotay due to a dampening field. Soon Voyager is under attack against several ships and is in danger of losing the battle. Knowing that waiting to find a way to save Chakotay may result in their destruction Janeway orders the leaders of the Kazon sects to be beamed aboard the ship. With the first Mahj’s captured the battle ends quickly and Tuvok works out a trade for Chakotay and their shuttle craft.
The Kazon leave the sector bruised but not fully beaten. Janeway pulls Chakotay in to discuss his punishment for disobeying orders when the ship receives a message from a nearby beacon. Activating the message in front of the crew Chakotay is shocked to find a message from Seska who claims that she has taken some of Chakotay’s DNA and is now pregnant with his child.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
When the series started I really didn’t care for the Kazon. To me they were really just basically a nomadic Klingon knockoff and frankly until this point I saw no point in their existence. This episode, coupled with Initiations, gave me a slightly different outlook of this new alien species.
The Kazon are a race of nomads not by choice but necessity. For the second time we hear a reference to a race known as the Trabe. Who or what the Trabe are is still a mystery at this point but they seem to be the reason why the Kazon are who they have become. In fact, it seems that a revolution of sorts occurred some time in the past that freed but ultimately fractured the Kazon creating sects of which we have only seen a few. Although having watched this series before I know who they are, I look forward to the mystery unfolding as we progress through the series with these reviews.
Now the episode itself is a very strong entry for the season. Not only do we get a solid Kazon story but the return of a character that had been left in limbo at the end of the previous season, one Seska. Seska is by far one of the most dangerous opponents Voyager currently has in the Delta quadrant solely due to her combined knowledge of Cardassian, Maquis and Federation tactics. While the Kazon do not take her completely serious, she is an incredible tactician and master manipulator who will stop at nothing to get her way. Her apparent infatuation with Chakotay only fuels her need to destroy him although there are moments she seems to actually care for the former Maquis member. To assume we have seen the last of her would be folly as she will undoubtedly return.
Now let’s talk about Chakotay. Seriously why did he think running off like that was a good idea and what is it with him and being captured by Kazons in a shuttle craft? This is twice he has been captured like this and thankfully only lost one shuttle so far. That aside, we get to see the more sporadic and wounded Chakotay here who is more reactionary than we once believed. Having been shamed by his belief that both Tuvok and Seska were loyal members of his Maquis crew he has harbored some deep resentment for them both. Although he has mostly come to terms with Tuvok, albeit professionally, his pain when it comes to Seska runs much deeper. Here was a woman he was actually in love with at one point and, as far as he could tell, she him. The problem is that when you devote love for someone there is always a part of you that cares for that person no matter how much they wronged you and the fact that Seska keeps coming back makes this even more painful for Chakotay. Imagine you have an ex who just keeps coming back opening old wounds and attacking your new friends. Yeah, that’s what Seska is to Chakotay and it is almost painful to watch him struggle with it.
So when Seska hits home with a theft from the ship Chakotay reacts in the only way he knows how fully knowing that it may be a one way trip. Now in most cases this would be seen as a brave and honorable thing to do but, when you think about it, what the hell was he thinking? For one the crew isn’t that big so losing him would be devastating to not only the numbers but to the moral of the crew itself. Janeway is struggling to keep this ragtag crew together and this could have been a massive blow to that struggle. Second, dude there are only 5 shuttles left on the ship…why the heck would you take something that you might not be recovered costing Voyager even more supplies. I mean, selfish much? That being said, damn does Chakotay know how to take a beating and, while he does give up the command codes eventually you know he held out until Voyager had time to deactivate them. I mean, it is standard OP for a starship to deactivate command codes of any captive officer. Heck that happens so often it is probably automatic by now.
Overall, I really dig this one. Not only is it a pretty epic adventure it really sets up things to come with the Kazon and their relentless pursuit of Voyager. The episode is densely packed to making it feel like it is feature length rather than just a 45 minute adventure of the week.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 37 remaining.
- 0 shuttles lost or destroyed, 5 remaining. Although this was a close one.
- There is a great moment between Torres and Janeway as the former tries to defend Chakotay’s actions.
- One think I do wonder is why they let Seska and the rest of the Kazon go? They could have easily taken Seska as part of the exchange and Cullah would have been happy to let her go. I guess Tuvok isn’t as smart as he claims.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Resistance
If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!
Late To The Game 6/1/2020
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”