The following is a SPOILER Review for "Cathexis." If you have not seen the episode yet and do not want to have the plot given away, stop reading now.
The SASR [Short Attention Span Review] is the creation of Jim Wright, who watches the episode no more than twice before preparing the review. This gives me the opportunity to review and recap with a combination of memory and creativity (when memory fails). The result is an experience that is similar to, but not exactly the same as, the actual episode. Consider it a revival of the ancient oral traditions passed on through the generations. I make no claims as to accuracy, but I hope I got enough of it right to keep your attention.
Janeway goes Victorian, Tuvok goes Postal, and Chakotay goes Casper.
Jump straight to the Analysis
Captain Janeway has decided she needs a break from the stresses of command, so she begins a new innovation in Trek: the Holo novel. Something you can return to again and again, a chapter at a time. (I'm writing this several years after the fact. As an experiment, this turned out not to be very popular. Nice concept, but it made one tragic assumption: that the MTV Age has not left the audience's attention span in tatters. This particular Holo novel spanned the first and second seasons, usually appearing anew when we thought it had been forgotten--or put mercifully to sleep.) So anyway, Janeway dons the garb of a British governess named Miss Davenport, arriving at the estate of Lord Bernie (I haven't read this particular novel, so I may be wrong on the details.) She has a starchy conversation in the stormy darkness of the sitting room with Mrs. Templeton, a librarian-from-hell who would make a Cardassian Gul wet himself spontaneously. They match wits briefly, and Janeway holds her own. Templeton leaves, Janeway allows herself to get spooked by the Gothic environs, shuts a window that the window has blown open, and is frightened by the sudden appearance of Lord Bernie's hand on her shoulder. He introduces himself with the standard infodump (I'm a widower with two kids, not a pleasant guy to be around, more so since my wife died; here are your responsibilities, and never ever ever go on the fourth floor), which Janeway takes in. She seems to like the aristocratic type.
Her novel is interrupted by Ensign Kim, who reports that the shuttle with Tuvok and Chakotay is coming in, but it looks like it's damaged--and the two officers inside it appear to need medical attention. She inserts the bookmark and heads to Sickbay. Holodoc says the two officers sustained an attack of some sort. Tuvok appears to be recovering, but Chakotay's entire bioneural energy--his consciousness, or his soul (easier to type)--has been sucked out of his head. Doc can keep the first officer alive through artificial means, but he is effectively brain dead.
* * *
A conscious Tuvok reports. They were returning from negotiations from some species we'll never hear from again, and passed near a "dark nebula." (Here there be dragons.) There, he says, they were attacked by a ship that scrambled the shuttle's logs and injured both of them with some sort of weapon before moving back into the nebula itself. His memory is fairly skimpy on the details.
Holodoc says he needs to know more about the weapon before he can figure out how to restore Chakotay's consciousness. Tuvok says he has a good idea about where the ship had gone, and recommends they go back and hunt the puppy down. Janeway agrees. They set a course for the nebula.
On their way to the nebula, Janeway and Tuvok look at the nebula from stations on the bridge. Janeway notes that there's a lot of interference, and begins working some of her old science officer magic on the sensors to cut through the gunk...when the image disappears. She demands to know what happened. Paris reports that they've changed course somehow. He doesn't know who did it. Kim says the changes came from Paris' station, but he swears he had nothing to do with it.
In sickbay, Torres has hung a decorative hunk of leather on the wall by Chakotay's head. She is performing some sort of ceremony--holding engraved stones over his forehead, chanting, and attaching the stones to the hide in deliberate positions. Holodoc walks in and notices her activities. "You might have asked before adorning my sickbay with animal remains," he sniffs. Torres goes into a halting but sincere explanation of what she's doing--it's a medicine wheel, used by Chakotay's people to direct the soul back home, with the rocks providing markers along the spiritual trail. Holodoc listens with exaggerated patience, then frowns as she places another stone on the Wheel. Finally, when Torres finishes, Holodoc speaks as a stern schoolmaster to a recalcitrant student.
"You've placed the Coyote Stone in the crossroads of the fifth and sixth realms, which would divert his soul--his consciousness--into the Mountains of the Antelope Women...According to his tradition, an extremely attractive locale. He might not want to leave."
Torres asks how he knows--hastily removing the stone from the road to Valhalla--such things. He says it's his business to know. His programming includes an extensive database of psycho-spiritual healing techniques, including those of Chakotay's people. His voice takes a more kindly turn. "Unfortunately, there's not enough of his mind left to work with." He leaves Torres to her ministrations; she can do no harm.
"Find your way home, Commander," Torres says.
In her quarters, Kes reads a real, hardcover, paper-by-golly book. A large stone Buddha rests on a table above her head. She suddenly stops reading as though she hears something. She calls out, but nobody responds. However, we do notice an amber FuzzyCam hovering above her, aware of her as she is peripherally aware of it.
Kes tells Neelix about the sensation as he prepares dinner in the mess hall. He asks her if it's her telepathic senses manifesting themselves again, as when she entered sickbay asking about an ensign who had been there not long before. She says it's different, somehow; the event in sickbay was an echo of the ensign's need, but this--she felt the presence in her very quarters. Neelix, at this point in the series still a hideously jealous little rodent, immediately becomes an Attack Talaxian, demanding to know who would dare visit her in her quarters. Kes smacks him upside the head with a conveniently-available olive loaf until the green-eyed monster subsides.
On the bridge, another unexpected course change away from the nebula is noted; not only that, but Harry's locked out of his Ops station. Janeway's starting to get angry. She knows something funky is going on.
* * *
Tuvok tracks down the place where Harry's station was locked out, on Deck 12. Paris appears on the turbolift, asking what's happening. Janeway calls Torres and asks who's been near that station on Deck 12, and she reports that Paris was just there. Paris says he didn't go near that particular place; he passed by it, but had no reason to go there. He protests his innocence, but not too much (protesting too much is a sure sign of guilt.) Janeway assures him he's not up for mutiny charges yet, but to be on the safe side she orders him to sickbay for tests. He goes without hesitation. Durst replaces him at Conn. (Durst also appears in the following week's "Faces.")
While Holodoc examines Paris, he remarks fondly about his old family physician, Doc Brown, a kindly old soul who once brought him garlic soup when he was feeling gunky. Tuvok appears a few moments later and asks how Paris is. "Other than his irritating lapses into nostalgia, he seems to be fine," Holodoc sniffs. Paris feels vindicated, but Tuvok has evidence to the contrary: Paris was indeed the perpetrator. But Paris has a hard time accepting this; he looks absolutely flabbergasted at the charges.
Tuvok shows Janeway the ion-trail that the alien ship apparently followed through the nebula. There are planetoids in the nebula, and the course seems to wind its way around them, probably to avoid the gravimetric and other technobabble pitfalls the nebula appears to have. He recommends they follow the course suggested by the ion trail. Janeway agrees.
The ship goes dead. Energy drains are reported all over the ship.
Janeway calls Engineering, but there's no response. She and Tuvok head down there, where Torres greets them. Janeway's not nearly so happy to see Torres. "You just shut down the warp core," she accuses. "I did?" Torres asks. She was the only one who could have, but she seems oblivious. "What the hell is going on here?" Janeway demands to know. (Fortunately, she doesn't chalk it up to Maquis trickery.)
Holodoc tells Janeway that he's got a possible explanation. Showing Paris' brain waves over the past 12 hours (does this concern anyone, that they can read your mind on a Starship?) And points out that for brief periods--corresponding to the anomalous events Paris is accused of--another memory "engram" appears to coexist with Paris--effectively, during those periods, he was thinking like someone else. Likewise was Torres, during the warp core shutdown. Apparently, an alien consciousness is on board.
Tuvok calls for an intruder alert and security mobilization. Because the consciousness can seemingly jump from person to person, the only person they can trust on Voyager is a nonperson--Holodoc. Janeway transfers her command codes to him, since if she gets overtaken by the alien she is untrustworthy as captain and Holodoc can override her and take command. She asks if he's up to the challenge. "Of course. I make life and death decisions every day," he says, with more assurance than his face seems to merit. "I feel better already," Paris deadpans. But at least he and Torres have been vindicated--they weren't themselves at the time. They are released.
As they leave sickbay, Kes appears. She confirms their suspicions that another presence is on board. (It hovers over the group in the hallway as they talk.) Tuvok suggests that Kes' telepathic skills are untrained, but that he might be able to focus them through a mind meld. Kes is willing to go along with that, and Janeway approves it.
Later, Kim and Durst walk the corridors of the ship, talking about the security lockdown. Durst notes the difficulty of tracking a non-corporeal being--it can slip through solid matter without difficulty. They reach a turbolift, and inside they find Kes and Tuvok, both unconscious. Kes has a bruise on her neck.
* * *
Apparently Tuvok and Kes were hit by an energy discharge that knocked them both unconscious, Doc says in sickbay. Tuvok has recovered, but Kes is in a coma. It was a different attack than occurred on the shuttle craft, though. She is merely unconscious; her soul is still inside her body. As Tuvok discusses their situation in a darkened briefing room (the shutdown of the warp core has substantially reduced energy levels throughout the ship, and much of the work is being done in darkness while it's brought back online, an effort of several hours) Janeway asks for options. One is a Magneton pulse, which they think might zap a non-corporeal being into submission, if only temporarily. They ask Harry a question, but he seems to be spaced out. Repeated calls of his name elicit no response. Suddenly Torres whips out a tricorder--and Tuvok whips out a phaser. When Harry finally notices everyone, he's shocked to find all eyes -- and a deadly weapon -- trained on him. "I was just thinking about the problem," he insists.
Janeway is very disturbed by what just happened, and says so. The one thing they must not succumb to, she insists, is paranoia.
It's already claimed Neelix. He notes that Ensign Parson usually takes his chocolate milk hot, but today he's taking it cold. He says it like he found the good Ensign with a bloody glove and a slow-moving Bronco. Holodoc scolds him: "Just because someone changes his drink order doesn't mean he's possessed by an alien!" Neelix turns his paranoia elsewhere. "It sounds to me like you're defending Ensign Parson!" he accuses. Doc notes that Neelix is simply being paranoid...then, adds with mock suspicion, "a little too paranoid, if you ask me." he arches his eyebrows. Neelix protests that he would never do anything to hurt Kes, who still lies unconscious, and his paranoia dissolves into concern for his Sweeting. That's something he and Doc can both agree on.
Tuvok comes into Sickbay to "reconfigure all the sensors on the ship." Doc is irked by this; nobody told him such operations were underway. But he agrees to it. He mentions Kes' injuries to Tuvok.
In Janeway's darkened ready room, Tuvok reports the effect the magneton sweep will have on the crew, so she's aware of what to expect. He also reports what Holodoc told him about Kes--that she was the victim of a physical assault. Janeway points out that he was the only person with her at the time. She asks if he might have been under alien influence at the time, and he admits it is possible. His demeanor has been a bit more sinister lately, Janeway seems to know (though she says nothing to him about it). She calls to Sickbay for further word on Kes, but there is no response. She tells the computer to activate the EMH, but the computer says it can't do so; the initialization sequence has been locked out.
She and Tuvok ask what this means. It means, among other things, that the command codes revert to her--and only her--which means the alien could control the whole ship if it inhabits her. She decides she needs to split up the command code access since it seems the alien can't occupy more than one person at a time. She decides to tell the crew that she and Tuvok will share the command codes for the time being.
They enter the bridge. The amber FuzzyCam is there too, peering down on the entire crew. Janeway says she has an announcement, and the FuzzyCam approaches her. Before she says she's sharing control with Tuvok, she stops talking. Tuvok asks what's wrong.
She smacks him upside the head.
Tuvok pulls out his phaser, and she deftly kicks it aside. Tuvok yells, "stun her, she's the alien!" and Paris is the first to do so. Janeway crumples to the floor before she can shoot Tuvok.
The FuzzyCam moves from Janeway into Harry Kim. Harry shoots at Tuvok but misses. Paris clocks Kim with a Kung Fu move.
The FuzzyCam moves about the ship. Shots are exchanged as the bridge dissolves into chaos. Tuvok finally recovers himself and his weapon, which spits out a wide-angle stun burst that knocks the entire bridge complement unconscious. Tuvok stands alone.
* * *
In Sickbay, Paris gives Janeway a shot of stimulant and tends to her wounds. Kim, already up and around, says it will take several hours to break through the encryption codes to get Holodoc back. Janeway names Paris the official ship medic until Doc and/or Kes are functioning again. For once, he doesn't complain about the assignment; he knows he's the only one even semi-qualified for the job.
Torres hails Janeway and asks her to come to engineering. Once there, Torres tells her that the shuttle craft's logs were not damaged in a firefight, but rather were deliberately erased and then scrambled to LOOK like they were thus damaged. Torres says the evidence is clear: Tuvok has been lying to them.
The bridge announces they're nearing the nebula. Janeway tells Torres to make sure the magneton pulse is accessible on the bridge, and will sweep the bridge on command, then heads for the bridge.
Tuvok shows Janeway the course the alien ship took, and tells the helm to plot the same course. Paris arrives from sickbay with news that he's reviewed Holodoc's logs just prior to his deactivation; Kes was the victim of a Vulcan nerve pinch to the neck. Janeway looks at Tuvok, almost ready to uncover the Vulcan completely.
Tuvok suggests he must have been under alien influence at the time. Janeway notes that when everyone else was under the influence, they went out of their way to attack him. On at least three occasions, Tuvok was the target. And when they weren't attacking Tuvok, they were trying to prevent Voyager from entering the nebula.
Tuvok accuses Janeway of succumbing to paranoia. Janeway pulls up the ion trail Tuvok has shown her, and points out that the ion trail is not accompanied by anything else that a ship would leave in its wake. "It's a ship without engines," she says coldly. She orders them to change course and steer clear of the nebula.
Tuvok pulls a phaser and tells Kim to take the ship into the nebula. Janeway urges him not to. Kim follows the captain. Tuvok tells Janeway and the rest of the bridge crew that his phaser is set on wide-beam, and set to kill. He crowds everyone into the center of the room, and begins making course changes himself. Durst whispers to the captain, "we've just entered the nebula."
* * *
Though they aren't at their stations, they can read them from where they are. Kim reports that alien life forms are approaching the ship. Janeway asks Tuvok who he is--or rather, who the alien is who's using his body. "We are the Komar," he says, "this is our domain." His voice doesn't take on any vocal special effects that usually accompany the unmasking of a possessive alien (thank goodness; I always thought that was a cheesy thing to do).
The FuzzyCam enters Torres. She makes a series of swift entries on a control panel, and the ship lurches. Kim reports: "The warp core has just been ejected!" Tuvok doesn't take this news well. "No! We must continue!" he says. He begins typing furiously.
Paris notes that Tuvok and the Alien that's inhabited everyone else seem to be operating at cross purposes. Tuvok has been unflagging in his efforts to get them into the nebula, but the alien they've been chasing has been trying to keep them out. There must be two aliens rather than just once, Kim adds. Janeway suddenly remembers that ejecting the warp core is something that Torres doesn't have authorization to do. She orders the computer to tell her who authorized it. "Commander Chakotay," the computer responds.
Ting! The epiphany. The alien is in actuality the first officer! The alien is our friend!
Noting the energy readings approaching the ship, Janeway asks if the Komar are the same soul-sucking creatures that initially attacked the shuttle. "Yes," Tuvok responds. "The collective neural energy of this ship's crew will sustain us for years." The nebula is like the petals of a Venus Flytrap. "We'll swallow your souls!" the voice of a Sam Raimi creature speaks in the back of my head. It's an unscientific voice, but it amounts to the same thing.
The Komar have arrived. They begin bombarding the ship, attempting to breach its shields. There is no physical manifestation; they are creatures of coherent energy. This means they're intelligent, but not very nice. They don't call it "dark nebula" for nothing.
Janeway takes advantage of the bad news to duck under the group of huddled bridge crew and punch a button on her command chair. The magneton pulse courses through the bridge, disorienting everyone...and paralyzing Tuvok. Paris recovers first, and yanks the phaser from Tuvok's hand, resetting it to narrow beam and nonlethal settings. He looks ready to Spank Ray Tuvok into dreamland, but the magneton pulse seems to have done the job all by itself. Tuvok slumps to the ground, and dark matter rises from his body, coalesces into a ball of anger, and disappears into a bulkhead. He's unconscious, but he's no longer possessed.
That's just one of the dangers. They're still in the nebula with only thrusters to power them out of there, and they're being besieged on all sides by soul-hungry Komar. And they have no idea how to get out--the tortuous course through the nebula plotted by Tuvok means that they could end up even deeper inside if they try leaving.. The Starfleet manual describes such situations as TARFU, rapidly approaching FUBAR.
The FuzzyCam (now renamed SoulCam) inhabits Neelix, who is hovering over Kes in sickbay. The possessed Neelix approaches the medicine wheel, and starts rearranging stones. (At this point I half expected Chakotay to stand up, his soul suddenly reintegrated into his body, ready for action.) When Neelix comes to, he notices he's not where he was, and calls the bridge. "Uh, Captain? I think the alien just made me do something. I messed with his medicine wheel."
Janeway orders a visual of the map. She has an idea, after the initial confusion. She orders up a map of the nebula, and transposes the data over the wheel. It's a map, with the stones representing the planetoids in the nebula.
That's one major hurdle overcome. Janeway orders a course plotted following the medicine wheel (over the river, through the valley of the antelope women...) At maximum thruster speed. The Komar are still pounding their way through the shields, and are trying to get through the hull. They wanna start brain sucking, and they want it now.
Janeway orders the rerouting of all power, including life support, to thrusters. They finally make it out of the nebula, beyond which the Komar cannot go (unless they inhabit a body, which they no longer do.) The ship and all aboard are safe.
Captain's log, stardate 48375.9. The crew has recovered the warp core and put the ship back together. Now it's time to check up on Holodoc, to see if he's managed to do the same with the first officer.
Under the able ministrations of the Best Dang Holodoc Ever Created (and he'd be the first to tell you that), Chakotay opens his eyes, his soul back where it belongs--inside his own head, instead of the heads of everyone else on board.
Torres asks Holodoc how he managed it. He says it was a long and complex process, involving several devices and over 50 gigaquads of computer memory. "It would take over ten hours just to explain it all," he says with justifiable pride. Nobody seems up for the tale, though. He stops smiling, his feelings slightly hurt. "Needless to say, it was a remarkable procedure. I'd consider writing a paper about it, if there were a convenient forum in which to publish it."
Kes and Tuvok are also conscious now, but their recovery didn't require such medical heroics. Only Neelix is with Kes, who sits up on her biobed.
Janeway asks Chakotay what he experienced. Chakotay says that after the initial attack in the nebula, he found himself floating over his body. He thought he was dead. But he stayed with the shuttle as it returned to Voyager, and he found himself able to move about at will. Then, bit by bit, he found that by concentrating on a particular person he could share their thoughts, and gradually he learned to get them to do things. He looks at Tuvok. "Sorry I had to knock you around, Tuvok," he says...though were I to guess he enjoyed the heck out of the experience. Tuvok assures him that no apologies are necessary.
Yeah, right. There's no love lost between these two.
Janeway congratulates and thanks Chakotay for a job well done. She also welcomes him back.
"I feel like I never left," he admits.
[Original Review]Aside from the Chakotay Cam camera angle shots, I found most of this episode to be predictable, derivative and boring. In my opinion, the worst episode to date. A few amusing moments with Holodoc prevent this from being a total waste. On a 0-10 scale, I'd give this a 6.00.
[Updated review, December 7, 1996] In my initial, abbreviated review, I reported that I didn't much like this episode.
I still don't.
Granted, there are some good lines--mostly Holodoc's--and the episode did introduce the Holo novel that Janeway revisited a few times in the first and second seasons.
This episode is largely a rehash of the TNG plot where Data, O'Brien, and Troi were overcome by noncorporeal nasties, and did their best to accomplish by guile what was eventually uncovered. Here, the treasonous Tuvok remains undiscovered until right near the end, and by means that to me indicated brain damage on the part of the rest of the crew. It took them entirely too long to put all the pieces together. Add to this Tuvok's increasingly martial response to everything (he was always the first to draw his phaser) and I would have been screaming Intruder Alert long before they did. In fact, I probably would have confined Tuvok to quarters or sickbay almost from the beginning. But that's just me. I tend to distrust Tuvok out of habit, so I suspected him before the opening credits finished rolling, even the first time I saw it. The signs were there in abundance, but people tend to trust Vulcans and security officers.
Me and Fox Mulder agree: Trust No One.
I just don't like Tuvok much anyway. He's got a bad attitude, and his ego writes checks his body can't cash. As Vulcans go, Tuvok fails to impress. I always suspect his motives, so making him a bad guy in this (possessed or not) wasn't effective for me, since I always look to him first when things go wrong. And I'm not a bit surprised when he turns out to be the evil one. Others may not have this problem, and may accuse me of being biased against the 100+ year-old lieutenant with a chip on his shoulder.
Dang right I am. But since I let you know it...you can take my gripes with a grain of salt. If I Hate it because of Tuvok, and you like Tuvok, you might like it better. I don't mind if you disagree; I expect to be wrong or at least biased every now and again, liking something everyone else hates just because it matches my tastes, or spitting on an episode everyone else wants to hail as a Trek Classic. I'm not trying to persuade. I'm just trying to explain how it affected me.
Sorry. Back to the review.
Kes here doesn't have a great deal to do, other than sense Chakotay and get pinched into oblivion by Tuvok before she can rat on him. Neelix is here mainly as the concerned and jealous boyfriend, and comic foil for Holodoc. This was back when his character hadn't been clearly defined, and my idea for Neelix was to strap him to the outer hull for the duration of the trip. He's grown on me since, but it's taken a while.
Paris gets to play hero here, of a sort. Chakotay uses him first to delay the ship's entry into the nebula; he fights off the attackers of Tuvok before the Vulcan was known to be the real villain; he handles himself well as medic in the absence of Kes and Holodoc, pulling up key evidence against Tuvok from Holodoc's records; and makes the observation that Tuvok and the alien that inhabited everyone else couldn't possibly be the same creature, leading to the identification of Chakotay's noncorporeal assistance. He was a leader, a fighter, and a thinker here, and he pulled it off without irony. Aside from his "irritating lapses into nostalgia" with Holodoc, which I found amusing, Paris was an officer, a gentleman, and a professional throughout.
Chakotay's (Beltran's, rather) role her is mostly implied; we get a FuzzyCam view of the ship every now and then to know where he is and who he's targeting. Though I had Tuvok's role pegged early on, Chakotay's role had me guessing until well into the episode. I thought it was another alien--a good alien, but an alien rather than Chakotay himself.
Holodoc was fun, as usual, getting all the best lines, and accomplishing the highly improbable with only the occasional request that his genius be given appropriate recognition. We now know that it requires about "50 Gigaquads of computer memory" to hold a soul. When Holodoc was deactivated, my first question would have been, "who done it?" They tracked Paris' actions down in minutes. They should have had Tuvok pinned for the act, and had him try to undo the action...and been suspicious when he didn't deliver.
In this first season, it seemed clear that Janeway's closest friend and only confidant was Tuvok. She trusted him implicitly, and that was a mistake. In space, anyone can be possessed at any time, and Tuvok was acting fairly suspicious very early on, but she didn't say anything or even suspect anything. Shame on her. But once she opened her mind to the possibilities, she handled things well, and Action Kate had her moment in the sun.
Ensign Durst played a fairly large role in this episode. Who, you may ask? Read next episode's "Faces" review and find out. Voyager seems to think we need to get to know the people whose names aren't in the opening credits. All I can say is, if they give you actual dialog...tell your agent to start pounding the bushes for more work. You might be wearing the Morn suit soon.
There's something about nebulae that make me want to stay out of them. It never bodes well for a Starship that goes into one. It's almost a law of nature: enter a nebula, someone's gotta die. And a "dark nebula" fairly screams "abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
The Holo novel concept...didn't do much for me. Holodeck programs are nice for a couple of reasons: they foreshadow the theme of the rest of the episode, or they're a nice diversion (Sandrine's Bar.) They can also be used as a plot device (Harry being swallowed by an alien in a Beowulf situation; a malfunction causes a program to go haywire, and suddenly anyone can die at anytime, etc) but I'm not quite as enamored of these. (Holodecks and transporters would not be relied on nearly so much if they actually malfunctioned as often as they do in Trek series.)
The Holo novel is pretty much the same thing as a regular holo diversion, but Voyager's innovation was to use the same novel over time. Thus Janeway is in some Jane Eyre or Jane Austen Victorian thriller, where everyone gets to act like a stuffy Starship captain...and we're supposed to keep mental bookmarks. This was chapter one. Months later, we get chapter 6. Like we're supposed to REMEMBER? It didn't work for me. It was completely unrelated to the episode, and chewed up valuable screen time that could have been devoted to actual plot or subplot. (In contrast, Harry's Beowulf simulation had a purpose directly related to the episode.)
I read in an interview with Jeri Taylor between the second and third seasons that she still likes the Holo novel concept. I think the idea is sound, but they need to handle it better. Refer to it weekly rather than spend one-to-five minutes every week (or every other week, or every month) showing us. Let Janeway come to the bridge in period costume; let us fill in the blanks. Or let Chakotay guess which chapter she's in by the outfit, for example. And maybe pick a book that more people know. Perhaps I'm just nekulturny, but I am unfamiliar with the story in question. Let them pick a more universally known Holo novel. Something by Mark Twain, or something that's also known as a movie or TV show. Maybe "Bridges of Madison County" or some cheesy but familiar romance novel. The concept of Holo novel is one thing; what will make it or break it is the novel chosen to holo. (How about Curious George?)
The mood of this episode was dark, and the lighting didn't let you forget it. Dark matter. Dark nebulae. Dark lighting. Dark attitudes. It worked well with the mood, but since the episode didn't do much for me, it just got annoying after awhile.
Oh, one more thing. Janeway's hair. Ick. I far prefer it when her hair is down.
On a 0-10 scale, I'd give this one a 6.00, or (* *). Fairly predictable, and it failed to grab my attention. No wonder it took me a couple of years to review it fully. I've been hoping to forget it ever aired. Thanks a lot, people, for forcing me to acknowledge it. I need to watch "Trials and Tribble-ations" again just to cleanse myself.
Next Week: Torres is beside herself. And we ain't talking Doublemint Twins.
(Who you gonna trust? Some long-winded guy with too much time on his hands, or some long-winded woman with too much time on hers? You've heard Jim's opinion; now check out Julia's.)