It’s a lesson in the birds and the bees on Voyager as a certain Vulcan Ensign finds himself going through…’that special time’ and brings someone else along for the ride. Originally broadcast on February 5, 1997 this is Blood Fever.
Captain’s Log Stardate 50537.2 Blood Fever
Ensign Vorik begins his Pon Farr but when he tries to mate with B’Elanna Torres things don’t go according to his plan.
As Voyager plans to mine an uninhabited planet for Gallicite, They find what looks like an abandoned colony. Placing Torres in charge of the operation, she soon runs afoul of Ensign Vorik in engineering when he proposes marriage and then tries to forcefully mind meld with her. Breaking away, the half-Klingon Engineer punches Vorik landing him in sickbay with a broken jaw.
In sickbay The Doctor deduces that Vorik is experiencing his very first pon farr and, despite the Ensign’s discomfort in the matter, fits him with a cortical monitor. Vorik is clearly embarrassed at the situation so The Doctor discusses the matter with Tuvok who seems just as uncomfortable. Tuvok only provides three options, taking a mate, fighting for a mate or intense meditation.
Paris and Neelix join Torres in the transporter room to head on the mining expedition. Learning that Vorik will not be accompanying them they head down to the colony where they find it to have been abandoned for some time. As they explore the cave, Neelix gets hurt and Torres begins acting erratic. Things get stranger when she bites Tom Paris on the cheek and runs off. After the issue is reported to Voyager, Janeway plans a rescue mission for her stranded crew-members. Before leaving, Tuvok confronts Vorik who reluctantly admits that he tried to establish a telepathic mating bond. Unfortunately this only caused Torres’ Klingon side to go into overdrive and she now may pose a danger to others. Despite Vorik’s plea’s to help out, Tuvok insists the young Vulcan remain on the ship.
Taking the matter to heart, The Doctor begins to work on some options for the young Vulcan, including a holographic mate for Vorik to…appreciate. Vorik reluctantly agrees although she is ‘fake’ and, when the Doctor returns some time later he finds a much calmer and relaxed. Feeling good about the situation, the Doctor suggests more tests but promises that he will keep the matter private.
Chakotay and Tuvok soon find Torres and the team on the planet but they are all surprised when they find evidence of an active civilization. Confronted by aliens, they learn that the aliens are peaceful and are hiding from something. Just as Chakotay is about to learn more an earthquake hits separating Tom and B’Elanna from the rest. Unable to detect the others due to a life sign jamming field.
Alone together, Tom tries to explain what is happening to her thanks to Vorik. Clearly upset at the situation, Torres begins to act aggressively toward everything eventually trying to fight with Paris over a phaser rifle. Paris realizes that she is trying to mate with him and tells her that she needs to fight her urges as they are not her own.
As Torres and Paris try to figure out how to survive together, Chakotay and Tuvok are questioned by the Aliens. They learn that the Aliens are extremely interested in Voyager’s technology and the fact that Tuvok has an artificial joint. Soon they learn that the aliens are the Sakari and have hidden underground since the destruction of their civilization some time ago. Chakotay agrees to help them improve their situation as much as possible the aliens help them find their friends.
Before long Tuvok and Chakotay clear the rocks and are able to get to Paris and Torres but Tuvok notices something isn’t right with the Chief Engineer. Informing them that she will need to mate soon or she will die, Paris reluctantly agrees to participate and Torres practically drags him off into the woods. Just as they are about to give in to their feelings, they are interrupted by an enraged Vorik who is determined to either mate with Torres or fight to the death. Vorik targets Paris as the threat and challenges him to the death but Torres steps in determined to take care of herself. After a brief fight the two appear to have gotten past the blood fever, leaving them more at peace but a little bloodied for it.
Back on the ship Torres and Paris run into one another and it is apparent things will be awkward. Tom suggests that he is not afraid of her Klingon side indicating to Torres that he and she might actually be good together.
Down on the surface, however, Chakotay makes a startling discovery as to who the Sakari have been hiding from. Informing Janeway of his discovery, Chakotay shows her the desiccated body…of a Borg drone… It seems that they are not alone in this part of the Delta Quadrant after-all….
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
The entire purpose of this episode was literally the last few moments, okay that and to set up one of the best relationships in Star Trek history but yea…it’s all about the Borg.
Before we get into that let’s talk about the story-line itself. While we have had a young Vulcan on Voyager for the past couple of years, this season is the first we have seen of Ensign Vorik. Now, it’s been a while since we have encountered the Pon Farr so let me remind you what it is exactly. You see, Vulcan’s mate once every seven years and, when that time hits, they get rather…excited. This event breaks down their logic and they must return to their home to release this tension. The options in releasing this ‘blood fever’ is one of three things, Coupling with their chosen mate, a battle to the death with someone, or INTENSE meditation. The last time we encountered this certain biological event was on the Original Series with Commander Spock. Spock, like Vorik, had to go through a battle with one of his crew members and, while it didn’t end quite like this, the results were certainly similar.
What surprises me is that Tuvok, who you know had access to the crew roster, didn’t think to prepare for the possibility that Vorik may have to go through this. Sure, it’s a ‘deeply personal’ issue but as head of security Tuvok was in a rather interesting situation. Knowing how disruptive this event could and would be for the crew, Tuvok should have alerted Janeway to the possibilities or at least prepared himself to handle the situation when it arose. In many ways, this could have all been avoided if Tuvok had done his job. Especially seeing that Voyager would be no where near Vulcan for what could be up to 70 years. I mean…he’s gonna have to go through it too at some point.
That aside, there is another interesting development in this one outside of the Borg. That one…the budding relationship between Tom and B’Elanna. Sure, the two have rubbed each other wrong throughout the series so far, but if you have watched carefully you might have noticed them warming up to one another. Through out the last season there have been numerous small moments and glances between them. Innocent conversations that could be taken different ways. The problem is, neither of them really wanted to admit it, especially B’Elanna.
You see, B’Elanna is afraid. Yeah, I know, she’s a Klingon she can’t be afraid, but it’s not that kind of fear. She is afraid to be abandoned again like she was when her human father left her and her mother. For years she has put up a wall preventing anyone from getting close because she really didn’t want to risk hurting again. The subject of her father has come up from time to time and we have learned that it was her Mother that was Klingon and, although her father loved them deeply, he could not handle her mother’s Klingon nature. For years B’Elanna blamed herself and thought that her own father hated Klingons making her hate herself more and more every day. Due to that pain, she refused to get close to anyone for fear she would once again drive them away. Enter, Tom Paris.
Tom is used to rejection and things not going exactly his way so a tussle with a half Klingon woman probably wouldn’t faze him much. In fact, it is B’Elanna’s aggressive attitude and fierce independence that attracts Paris to Torres making them both very well suited for one another. This is only the start of a really great relationship and one that will certainly have it’s ups and downs. I look forward to discussing it more as the series progresses. Plus, you know, you have to really admire Tom Paris in this one, dude did the right thing and didn’t take advantage of a situation. Good man. We don’t see that kinda thing enough.
Now…about that ending scene.
We have always known that The Borg came from ‘somewhere else’ and, when they didn’t pop up in the Gamma Quadrant in DS9, it should have been no surprise that Voyager would see signs of them here in the Delta Quadrant. What makes it even more frightening is that this sector could be the birth place of the Borg themselves. While we have seen much of the Borg in the past, this is only the start of an epic battle that Janeway and her crew face for sometime to come. Some of that story even finds some resolution in the latest series Star Trek Picard!
Overall, this is a great multilayered episode that is directed by none other than Garak himself Andrew Robinson. Robinson and writer Lisa Klink really have a way to pull everything together balancing just the right amount of humor and action creating a really solid episode through and through.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 28 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, 5 remaining.
- We learn that Tuvok has an artificial elbow.
- This is not the last we see of Vorik, although I imagine he will be avoiding Engineering for a while.
- We never learn any more about the Sakari people other than they got really good at hiding from The Borg.
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: Unity
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Late To The Game 8/12/2020
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