Neelix gets a chance to shine as Paris looks like his star has dulled in the episode that originally aired on March 13, 1996. This is Investigations.
Captain’s Log Stardate 49485.2 Investigations
Neelix starts a daily tv series and begins to discover some uncomfortable truths about the crew.
I am not kidding with that description. That is literally the plot of this episode. I almost don’t feel like I have to describe the events of the episode to you because that is this entire episode in a nut shell. So, if you want to read on, here you go!
So Neelix starts a regular propaganda series broadcast to the ship using his self appointed position as the ship’s Moral Officer. Determined to get more people on the ship to participate Neelix tries to convince The Doctor, Harry Kim and others to join in. Kim suggests adding some serious content and Neelix begins investigating information the crew may be interested in. Soon he receives some information from an old contacts that indicates one of Voyager’s primary crew-members is leaving the ship.
Armed with this info Neelix confronts Janeway who informs him that it is Tom Paris that is leaving as their conn officer is just not happy there any longer. Distraught Neelix dedicates his next episode to Paris and informs the ship of the news. After Paris leaves Janeway begins trying to determine who will take his spot. Their decision is cut short when a plasma overload threatens the ship with a warp core breach. Jonas finds himself injured in the process and the ship is stalled due to the damage to the warp coils.
After Neelix attempts to interview Jonas concerning the accident the ship is contacted by Paris’ new assignment only to discover that the Kazon has attacked them and captured their former crew-mate.
On the Kazon ship Seska meets with Paris and explains that she has heard of his issues aboard Voyager. Informing the former Starfleet officer that they plan to take over Voyager, Seska makes it clear that they are planning an attack and his skills are needed to accomplish this task. Tom, clearly up to something, secretly attaches a device to one of the Kazon consoles.
On Voyager Neelix begins connecting the dots and soon discovers that someone has been sending signals to the Kazon only recently informing the Kazon about Tom Paris’ departure. Jonas, afraid that Neelix will discover him, begins to plan a way to deal with this Talaxian nuisance. Neelix soon discovers that it may have in fact been Paris contacting the Kazon explaining his sudden departure from the ship and subsequent ‘kidnapping’. Reporting his findings to the ship via his News Series, he is immediately summoned by Janeway and Tuvok who inform him that this evidence was placed recently as a way to cover someone else’s tracks. Janeway and Tuvok inform Neelix and Chakotay that Paris is actually conducting an undercover mission to ferret out a Kazon spy on the ship. Chakotay is angry but Tuvok informs the Commander that there was every possibility that the traitor was a Maquis and wanted to avoid putting Chakotay in a compromising situation. Janeway uses Neelix’ unexpected broadcast to their advantage expecting the spy to slip up now that the heat is off of him.
On the Kazon ship Paris discovers that Jonas is the spy they are looking for and manages to plant a bomb on the ship before being discovered by Seska and her guards. Paris manages to escape in a fighter and contacts Voyager to inform Janeway of his discovery.
As Paris informs Janeway Jonas makes his move blocking Paris from being transported to Voyager while also disabling the weapons system. Jonas soon renders Neelix dazed but, just as it looks like he is about to render Voyager vulnerable to the incoming Kazon ship, Neelix recovers and inadvertently kills Jonas by knocking him into the plasma stream of the recently rupture plasma conduit. Fixing the damage, Neelix saves the ship from attack and Paris returns to the crew back in good standing.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This episode is a solid one but honestly seems to have been such a waste of a good opportunity for some serious drama on this series. Honestly, this episode should have been drawn out over the course of the remainder of the season with the audience believing Tom Paris was a traitor. Imagine the story they could have told building the tension only to have Paris pull off the last minute triple cross in the finale? To me , the writers missed out on a prime opportunity to give this series something that only DS9 had been able to pull off unfortunately creating a quick ‘one and done’ episode that had so much incredible setup prior to it.
That being said It was pretty great to see Neelix have the spotlight in this one although he has been less than useful throughout the series thus far. I guess an ongoing tv series for the Talaxian ‘Moral Officer’ makes sense….then again.
Now, how about that elephant in the room? Janeway left her first officer out of a vital investigation to…wait for it…spare him from facing an uncomfortable situation. Yeah. So what you are telling me is that Janeway, at Tuvok’s recommendation, agreed that Chakotay may not be able to handle one of his own former crew betraying Voyager to the Kazon. The dude has already had two members of his crew, Seska and Tuvok himself, reveal themselves to be traitors to him so if he isn’t strong enough to face a third then why the hell is he second in command of this ship? I mean seriously this is some low down and ridiculous logic even on Tuvok’s part. If I didn’t know better I would think a certain Vulcan is trying to undermine the authority of Chakotay on this ship. The fact that Janeway went for it really shows me that she appointed Chakotay as her second in command more as a placation for the former Maquis crew than due to her belief in his abilities. If I were him I would not be happy and certainly wouldn’t just let this go. Heck, I’d take the first Kazon ship I could get and pull any of my remaining loyal Maquis members from Voyager saying ‘see ya, figure it out on your own!’ Chakotay is not the Commander this ship deserves and Janeway seriously wronged this guy. Okay rant over but seriously…
Overall this is a fun episode that, in addition to the the blatant Chakotay abuse, unfortunately wasted a wonderful opportunity for long-form storytelling. Frankly they should have stretched this story out over the course of the remainder of the season but it seems the writers wanted to get this particular story line out of the way for some reason. What is to come isn’t bad but it could have been sooooo much better.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 32 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, 5 remaining.
- This marks the conclusion of the Paris is a Jerk story arc but you have to feel bad for Chakotay being left out like that. Janeway really doesn’t trust him does she?
- One cool thing is that the then Prince of Jordan Abdullah bin al-Hussein made a cameo in this episode as one of the Voyager crew-members.
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: Deadlock
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Late To The Game 6/22/2020
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.
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