Well, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into Chakotay….at least that is what Janeway was probably thinking when the entire crew finds themselves stranded on an inhospitable planet with the Kazon in control of Voyager.  Anyhow, Thanks to Chakotay’s maybe baby, Originally broadcast on September 4, 1996, this is Basics Part II.

The Episode:

Captain’s Log Stardate 50032.7 Basics Part II

Thanks to the completely unnecessary and ill-advised  rescue attempt for Seska and her child, the crew of Voyager find themselves sans ship and on an inhospitable planet.  Meanwhile, Paris, Suder and The Doctor attempt to take back Voyager from the Kazon.

The Story:

Okay, this is the season premiere but seriously, it is exactly how you think it is going to pan out.  I am not going to bother giving a full run down of events as I usually do because man it is just silly that they were in this predicament to start with.  Instead we are going to do hit the big beats and then discuss the episode below.  Cool? Cool.

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  • The crew need to find a way to survive on the planet and realize they are in mortal danger when Hogan is eaten by a large carnivorous predator.
  • Tom Paris, trying to find help via his damaged shuttle, manages to defeat a Kazon ship.
  • After mourning Hogan the crew decide maybe weapons would be nice. Plus they have to start eating bugs because…no replicators.
  • On Voyager, Seska has her kid checked out by The Doctor who informs her that The Child is in fact, NOT CHAKOTAY’s.  She’s pissed because she actually thought it was…huh.  okay. The Doctor then discovers that Lon Suder is still on the ship.
  • The crew on the planet continue to suffer and it looks like Ensign Wildman’s baby is getting sick. Trying to help, Kes and Neelix find themselves captured by the local natives.

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  • The Doctor and Suder make a plan to take back Voyager.
  • The crew negotiate with the natives in order to get Kes and Neelix back only to cause an altercation.  The crew runs back to the caves where Hogan died hoping the natives don’t follow. The Natives instead start a fire at the mouth of the cave trying to ‘smoke’ them out.
  • On Voyager the Kazon begin experiencing issues with the ship and Seska suspects sabotage…but they can’t detect anyone else aboard…
  • The crew run into the creature in the cave and another crew-member is eaten.  They soon escape the caves after Torres manages to distract the natives from the cave entrance. But, after making camp in a safe spot, they soon are faced with an earthquake which causes them to flee.
  • Paris gets a message to The Doctor and the Doctor begins working with Suder despite the fact that he might have to kill to survive. Paris sends a fake message to Voyager indicating that he is dead and Cullah falls for it.
  • Seska realizes that someone is on board and, after the Doctor refuses to help she deactivates him.

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  • Chakotay makes peace with the natives by saving one of their kids from lava because for some reason none of the natives could jump over rocks like he does. This causes they two groups to work together to survive because of course it does.
  • Suder manages to damage Voyager only to get himself killed just as he finishes his mission.
  • Paris returns and attacks Voyager in his shuttlecraft, with the help of Talaxian ships, and Cullah discovers that Voyager has been disabled from within.
  • Seska, mortally wounded from the battle, dies just before she can get to her child. Cullah finds them and takes the baby with him as he abandons Voyager to the invading Talaxian forces.
  • Janeway and crew are surprised when Voyager returns for them with Paris at the helm.  Janeway learns of Suder’s sacrifice and Chakotay learns that the child was not his.
  • They head back into space leaving Kazon space behind…

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

eh….I mean it’s not a bad resolution to a story that shouldn’t have happened to begin with but it’s hard to enjoy knowing how ridiculous the entire situation was.  Yeah, sure, it actually establishes that Seska believed she was pregnant with Chakotay’s kid but, if it wasn’t actually his kid, why did Chakotay’s ‘dream dad’ tell him it was.  Ohhhh yeah, that was all in his head and wasn’t actually a ‘vision’. Or it was a vision but not a legit one, personally, I think it was wishful thinking on Chakotay’s part.

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To say it’s a bad episode isn’t fair though as it was very well produced and really took the characters out of their element.  For the first time the crew of Voyager faces the real possibility of not being able to make it back home.  While they don’t really have time to explore the emotional impact of this revelation, it is something that is a real thing the crew have to be facing.  Had they been stuck there any longer, I honestly don’t think they would have survived long even considering the ‘survival training’ they have.  I mean seriously, thus crew was pretty doomed until Paris showed up in the end. Sure they conveniently made friends with the natives but there was no way everyone would have survived…heck they lost two crew-members day one.

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One serious standout in the episode is that of Brad Dourif in the role of Lon Suder.  There was no way they could have a serial killer remain on board so for this character to have a rather significant part in the recapture of Voyager was, to me, the perfect way for them to close his story-line.  Dourif, as always, is one of the best and it was awesome seeing him on the show in such a dark yet heroic role. While it’s a shame he could not join the crew as a regular, I can’t think of a more fitting end.

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One big issue I have with this issue, besides it being the results of a horrible plot line, is that the Kazon run Voyager with ease.  For a species who can’t seem to run a stolen replicator without killing themselves, how the heck are they able to operate Voyager without blowing it up?  No, Seska being on board isn’t a good reason, there is no way she could teach an entire crew every aspect of how to run the ship and I HIGHLY doubt that operating a Kazon ship is anywhere near the same.  Plus, when Cullah realizes that he is going to lose Voyager, why did he not take some of the tech with him upon his escape? I mean, that was what they wanted to begin with right? Federation Technology?  I am shocked he didn’t have a team of Kazon collecting supplies and weapons on one of their ships in order to further take over the quadrant.

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Oh…and one more thing.  How the heck is Janeway going to justify the significant damage they did to a prewarp civilization?  They seriously changed the course of this planets evolution by actively interacting with the clearly Neanderthal-like people.  There is no way that Voyager is not now part of this groups myths and legends with the ship itself being touted as some large beast that abandoned and then claimed it’s children who ‘saved’ a young girl from certain death.  In fact, that kid that was saved will probably be worshiped now causing a complete cultural shift for these people.  Oy…I would hate to see the report on this situation.

Overall, this premiere is essentially a contrived escape switch for a story that clearly had no planned ending.  Sure they do a decent job in getting Voyager back to Janeway and her crew but in reality, the Federation crew would still be stuck on that planet mating with the local natives and starting a new civilization.  Well, those that didn’t get eaten by the local wildlife that is.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

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  • 0 photon torpedoes fired, 29 remaining. Okay…why did Culluh not use any? Seriously? Maybe he didn’t know how???
  • 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, 5 remaining. The fact that the Kazon fled and DIDN’T steal any shuttles is a testament to their deep rooted integrity….heh.
  • This marks the end of Seska’s story-line.  The fact that she made it this far is a testament to the idiocy of the Voyager Crew, honestly she should have shared a cell with Lon Suder back when they had all of the Kazon leaders trapped on Voyager.  Seriously, did they not think she would come back?
  • Voyager loses escape pods in this one as the Kazon crew flee the ship.  This is never brought up again implying that somehow they made more?

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  • Tom Paris should have been promoted to Lt Commander for his efforts in rescuing Voyager and it’s crew.  The dude did more than both Janeway and Chakotay combined and what does he get?  A simple ‘Well done’.  Yeah, that’s Star Fleet for ya.
  • I really hope Chakotay felt like a fool when he learned the kid wasn’t his own.  I mean dude, you did this.  THIS is all your fault.
  • Interestingly we never hear from Cullah again despite the fact that Voyager just cost him his wife, reputation and the knowledge that the child is in fact his own.  Sounds like the makings of a nemesis for Janeway….nah.

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: Flashback

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  7/8/2020

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KIM: What’s that Captain?  JANEWAY: Ensign, that is a plot line being fixed so we can continue the series without any serious ramifications to the ship or the crew.

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.”

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