A deal with the devil and Seven is the price. Originally broadcast on March 31, 1999 this is Think Tank.
Captain’s Log Stardate undetermined. Think Tank
An alien ‘think tank’ offers Voyager a solution to a new problem but want Seven of Nine in exchange for their help.
Voyager becomes entangled with a bounty hunter race known as the Hazari and things look difficult. No sooner does Voyager look to be facing defeat when they are approached by Kurros who claims to be willing to help, for a price. The cost is simple, the quantum slipstream drive, the piece for Chandre’kab, Chakotay’s Olmec figurine and Seven of Nine herself. Seven is okay with being traded for the safety of the ship but Janeway isn’t so sure. Janeway ultimately leaves the decision up to Seven and Seven eventually decides not to ‘sell herself’ after realizing that she has found her home. Things take a turn when Janeway discovers that the Think Tank is behind the bounty and she decides to use Seven as bait in order to reveal the Think Tank for who they really are. Making a deal with the Hazari, Seven ‘defects’ to save Voyager fooling the Think Tank into thinking they won.
In the end Seven disrupts the Think Tank preventing them from being able to communicate with each other and allow the Hazari to handle the Think Tank on their own as Voyager continues on it’s way.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Despite the short description, this is actually a pretty interesting, if not fully predictable, episode. I mean, really, out of the blue Voyager is attacked by Bounty Hunters only to be offered a way out? Completely and totally predictable. However, as I said, Think Tank is actually a pretty solid episode. Despite it’s predictability, the episode is a very well paced, well produced and well performed episode that really showcases the talents of the cast as well as a fun guest appearance by Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame.
That being said, I do have a few issues with the plot. For one, Janeway even considering ‘letting’ one of her crew-members act as payment for a job seems very out of character for her. Even if it is left to Seven to decide if she wants to sacrifice herself for the safety of the ship, such a thing would never even have been considered prior to this, so why now? Well, for plot of course, but it really doesn’t sit right with me every time I watch this episode.
The other problem is the fact that Voyager leaves the Think Tank to fend for themselves risking that they might survive only to continue their grift. This group is a salacious and basically evil group who, should they survive, will continue to negatively impact the Delta Quadrant for who knows how long. They are essentially the Space Mafia that use their rather clever cunning ability to manufacture problems to use to their advantage. So, to leave them with a possibility to survive, well, that in and of itself is technically a violation of the Prime Directive. Janeway and Voyager have a duty to end the Think Tank’s coercive control over the sector. They don’t though, they just leave with the idea that the Think Tank will be destroyed.
Despite these rather frustrating issues, the episode is still very well made and works in spite of itself. Jason Alexander does a tremendous job in his role as the spokesperson for the Think Tank giving a rather sinister organization a fantastic representative.
Overall, This episode is a conundrum of it’s own. It is a really well done episode that works even though it really shouldn’t. It is fun although predictable and and somehow remains one of my favorite episodes. Maybe it is the simplicity of it, maybe it is the fact that I love Jason Alexander as an actor but, regardless, it is one that is worth the watch despite it’s many flaws.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 4 photon torpedoes fired, -14 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- We learn that the Vidiians have been cured, implying that the Think Tank themselves may have been responsible for the Phage itself.
- Sadly we never see or hear from the Think Tank again although they would have made a fantastic reoccurring enemy. We know that they had to have survived and are sure to have had a vendetta against Voyager, so to me, this is yet another missed opportunity for the series as a whole.
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: Juggernaut
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Late To The Game 12/16/2020
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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