The following is a SPOILER Review. If you have not seen the episode yet and do not want to have the plot (and everything else) given away, stop reading now. (But you probably know that by now.)
I reserve the right to be wrong, and to change my mind later. The following is my opinion at the moment I wrote it. And boy, do I have opinions. Kick back, roast up a s'more, because Fatherly Uncle Jim's got a story for ya, which may or may not resemble the episode that actually aired.
Chakotay takes on PREDATOR. Another shuttle bites the dust. Kenny dies.
Jump straight to the Analysis
Jump straight to the Analysis
Welcome to the jungle.
Guys in green military fatigues and remarkably familiar automatic weapons skulk swiftly through the jungle at night. Their Blue Light Special flashlights, strapped to the barrels of their boomsticks, light the way before them. There's a team of them, and they appear to be chasing down something, or someone.
What is this, a flashback episode of The Sentinel?
A flash of red draws their attention; they close in.
"Don't move!" one of these night warriors yells, flashing his light on his prey.
The creature in red and black turns around. Drenched in sweat, eyes wide as cantaloupes.
Oh, hi Chakotay!
* * *
Chakotay is led through the jungle under guard, bound and gagged but able to walk, to a makeshift camp where more soldiers are milling around. One approaches the returning team, a young guy with blond, feathered 80's hair and a sleeveless number designed to let you know he eats his Wheaties.
He must be the one in charge.
"What's this?" The leader says.
"We found him in the trunks a hundred footfalls past Grove Yellow," says the soldier who led the team back to the camp.
The leader orbits Chakotay once, optical scanners at maximum. "These colors?"
The soldier hesitates. "We didn't ask."
"He's no Krady beast, is he?" the leader asks in a tone designed to chide and instruct.
"No, sir, but he doesn't bear Vori colors, either." (Ah hah. Krady bad, Vori good. Write that down.)
The leader looks Chakotay in the eyes. The Commander does his best to look non-threatening--not a stretch with the gag and the tied hands and the half-dozen weapons trained on him. "Hmm... his glimpse is too tame to be a Kradin." (Ah hah. Krady is a nickname.)
"I hadn't fathomed that, sir." ("Fathom?" They look like army guys, not navy.)
"Well, fathom it now," says the leader sternly. "He's no Nemesis, is he?"
The soldier hesitates, aware that his prime catch is getting away. "I'm not certain what he is, sir."
The leader reverts to Drill Sergeant voice. "Weren't you drilled to fathom the Nemesis?"
"And we abhor none but the Nemesis?" the leader reminds him.
The soldier stands at attention, his voice going all formal. "No, sir. None but the Nemesis!"
"Then set him loose."
The soldier doesn't move, too shocked to believe his ears.
"Didn't you hear, Novice?"
The soldier moves, and removes Chakotay's restraints, then his gag. Chakotay offers his thanks; no hard feelings, right? The leader tells the novice to grab some grub; the guy apologizes, but is dismissed without further discussion.
Chakotay stays behind to talk with the leader, who introduces himself as Team Leader Brone, Fourth Vori Defense Contingent. Chakotay introduces himself, and says that his shuttle crashed (for the record, that's three weeks in a row a shuttle has gone Kablooey.)
Brone apologizes for his "defenders," saying they're new to the "clash" and "glimpse" the "Nemesis" all around them.
Man, these locals talk funny.
Chakotay figures out that the "clash" is a war, which Brone says he's "strayed into the fullness" of. Chakotay says his shuttle took some fire; Brone asks why he was flying so close "to this sphere."
"I was on a survey mission," Chakotay says. "I picked up traces of Omicron radiation in your atmosphere so I slowed down to look. As soon as I did that, I came under attack. I lost helm control and made an emergency transport to the surface."
Brone, not surprisingly, blames the Kradin, "our Nemesis." Chakotay said he tried repeatedly to explain he was a friendly, but kept taking hits. "The Nemesis crave supremacy in the air," Brone explains. "They fire on any craft that doesn't show Kradin colors."
Chakotay says he tried to contact Voyager, but his communicator isn't working.
That could explain why everyone's talking so funny.
Brone explains that "all dispatching in the clash zone has been suppressed."
Tell you what, folks; I'm going to translate for the idiomatically impaired from now on, unless it makes sense to quote the Vori directly. I'm already tired of it.
Chakotay says he needs to find his shuttle and fix it or strip it for parts. (Even an intact glove compartment is enough to clone another shuttle...) Brone doesn't offer much hope of finding anything left of it. He says the Fourth and Seventh contingents are going to rendezvous in two days (fourth and seventh...4 and 7...damn, them writers is sneaky) and Chakotay can signal his people then; the Seventh has the communications equipment.
Chakotay thanks Brone but says he can't wait two days. Brone says the Nemesis is crawling over the area where he crashed, and it wouldn't be sharp (smart) to return to the trunks (elephants? Oh, trees.) Chakotay he'll do his best not to be seen. Brone, realizing Chakotay won't change his mind, does convince him to wait until morning.
Chakotay pulls up a tree stump and sits down next to a fresh-faced, burly farm-boy youngster fresh outta boot camp with a high shaky voice and "dead meat" written all over him. Chakotay introduces himself, and the kid calls himself Rafin. (Shall we call him Kenny?)
Rafin offers him some Smurf trail mix (it's blue) in a tin bowl, apologizing for its lack of flavor. Chakotay accepts it graciously; after three years of leola root he's got taste buds that could rival a Bolian's (who have, remember, those cartilaginous tongues that no amount of culinary carnage can upset).
Rafin looks like a young man with a lot on his mind. He asks if Chakotay saw any Krady Beasts. Chakotay admits that he hadn't. The soldier who got chewed out seems to have his courage back, and has decided to pick on the New Guy's jitters.
Bravado Boy caresses his weapon like a lover; he's apparently a virgin. He speaks expansively.
"You'll glimpse them in the Soonafter (soon enough). When you do, you'll fathom (grok) there's no heart thumping beneath their flesh. How many beasts will you send to the Wayafter (hell), Rafin?" Rafin stammers out an insufficient answer. "Me, I'll nullify (kill) one for each brother and cousin that I've lost. And then one moreafter. True or not, my allies?"
A chorus of voices answer "True."
Bravado Boy asks again how many Rafin expects to kill. "As many as I'm able," Rafin stutters. The other soldier leans in close, as Rafin struggles to look less terrified than he is.
"You've got the trembles. If you don't wrestle your trembles to rages, Ally, the Nemesis will nullify you."
[That sound you hear is William Shakespeare in high-speed Spin cycle in his grave.]
The soldiers leave Rafin and Chakotay alone, preferring to thump their chests elsewhere.
Chakotay asks Rafin why the Nemesis are called beasts.
"It's told they all wear the same horrid face. Their flesh...is gnarled and blistery like the rotting trunks. Their glimpses flame like fire... and if you dare near enough, their breath stinks of muck."
Hey, cool--they're fighting Freddy Krueger.
Chakotay, the voice of reason, tries to put things in perspective. "Sometimes people say terrible things about their enemies to make them seem worse than they really are. There might be some young Kradin soldier out there who's more afraid of you than you are of him."
Rafin's trembles turn to rages. His eyes turn hard, his voice drops to an appropriately testosterone-influenced baritone. Even his buzzcut emotes.
This one is for the Emmy.
"Nemesis wasn't scared to fume my village...nor scared to nullify my cousins and brothers in their sleep. And my old mother's mother, too...who never told an unkind word nor nullified an insect in all her days and nights on this sphere...and who but a Krady beast would leave the nullified bodies of mine and ours upturned...so they'll never descend to the gloried Wayafter?"
Brone appears and asks for volunteers to take Chakotay back to the Yellow Zone. Chakotay says he can go alone, but Brone rightly points out that he's unarmed in unfamiliar territory. He again asks for volunteers.
He asks Rafin first. But apparently all his fire went into that speech, and he goes back to stuttering at the thought of having to put his hiney on the line for real. Suitably abashed, Rafin drops his eyes downward (toward the gloried Wayafter? Sacrilege! He should be looking skyward in shame!)
Bravado Boy--his name is Namon--steps forward and offers to kick some beastie boy butt. Brone gives him a thumbs-up, then tells the unit to catch some shut-eye--and to dream of their sisters and mothers.
I'm not touching that line with a 60 foot pole.
As Brone walks away, the camera fades from the face of the grim-faced, trembling Rafin.
In the daylight, an unarmed Chakotay and an armed Namon walk through the jungle looking for his shuttle, or what's left of it.
Namon asks if Chakotay has killed before. "Killing's the worst thing I've ever had to do," he admits. "Then the nemesis you nullified wasn't half so beastly as the Kradin," Namon says, inferring that the worse the enemy is, the easier it is to kill them. Chakotay's response is noncommittal, as visions of Kazon and Cardassians and Borg march through his head.
Namon continues to bad-mouth the Kradin. "In their glimpses, we're less than nothing. They flame our homes, take our plantings...make playthings of our sisters. If you were a Vori you'd crave to drive them from this sphere just as I do."
"Maybe I would if they did things like that to the people I loved," admits Chakotay. "But on the sphere I come from we try to find other ways to resolve differences--peaceful solutions, negotiations..."
Namon stops in his tracks and stares hard at Chakotay. "You don't fathom the Nemesis."
Chakotay stares back. "No. I suppose I don't."
"Beg the power you believe in that you never will."
Insert scary music here.
Namon says it's getting late and they should get back to the group. Chakotay says he prefers continuing to look for his shuttle. Namon says it'd be smarter to listen to him. Chakotay says Bite Me and keeps looking.
Taking the hint--he seems to react best when ordered around--Namon shuts up and sticks with the commander. And sure enough, they soon find the shuttle.
Or what's left of it. The collected debris wouldn't make a decent flying carpet, let alone a shuttlecraft. Chakotay grimaces at the remains, as Namon crouches beside him.
When Namon repeats Brone's original suggestion to meet with the Seventh and phone home from there, Chakotay doesn't have much choice. He turns back.
Namon doesn't have the chance to rise before a gunshot rings out, dropping him like a scoop of runny potato salad on the paper plate of mortality.
(Mrs. Stearns, if you're reading this, don't blame yourself--you tried your best to wean me off inappropriate analogies in tenth grade. But some forces are just too darned elemental.)
Two ugly dudes--seriously, if you wanna know what they look like, rent PREDATOR--appear, bearning arms.
Then there's only one; Namon's final act is to take some company to the Wayafter.
Chakotay charges the alien, tackles him to the ground. Chakotay rises first, grabbing the Kradin weapon and aiming it somewhere lethal.
"Don't make me kill you!" Chakotay shouts, his eyes blazing.
The Kradin puts up its hands.
Then a shot rings out, and another Krady bites the loam.
Chakotay whirls around to see a squadron of Vori soldiers from the Fourth Contingent swarming down on his location, led by Brone. Rafin and a few of the others see to Namon.
When Chakotay recovers his wits he rushes to Namon's side. "How is he?" he demands.
But we can see how he is.
Rafin looks up, his eyes hollow. "Nullified."
* * *
Namon has been stripped of his uniform and covered just below the shoulders with a blue sheet. His seven comrades-in-arms kneel in an oval around his face-up remains, their heads cast low, their eyes closed in reverence, their palms flat on the earth.
"We beg peace from the Power who made us Vori," Brone chants, "and we commend our brother, Namon to the gloried Wayafter." In unison, the men open their eyes, and carefully overturn Namon so he lies face-down--the way their Power intended it.
As the other soldiers gather stones to cover their fallen ally, Brone hands a neatly pressed bundle to Chakotay's chest. "They're Namon's," Brone answers when Chakotay asks what's the deal, and indicates that Chakotay needs a change of wardrobe. "It's sharper to blend with the trunks; your fleet colors will get us all nullified."
Chakotay expresses his sympathy over the loss of Namon. Brone shrugs it off. "They've killed us before; they're killing us now. But soon we'll send them scurrying from our planet and go back to our sisters and mothers." (No gender-integrated army around here, it would seem.)
Chakotay takes the clothes, but balks when Brone holds out Namon's rifle. "This isn't my war," he insists. "I'm not planning to shoot anybody."
Brone stares him down like one of his recruits. "If we greet the Nemesis in the trunks, you'll fire like the rest. As long as you're with us, you do my tellings. Fathom?"
Chakotay could take a lesson or two in intimidation from this guy. He could probably kick the guy's butt in a fair fight, but the Commander knows the importance of maintaining unit integrity and preserving the chain of command.
Well, most of the time.
(I know, I'm mean sometimes. Anyway...)
Chakotay accepts the weapon, and the order. He doesn't argue when Brone assigns Rafin to train him on Vori arms.
A clay pigeon does not go gently into that good night. Rafin (who in the light bears a striking resemblance to Christopher Penn) hands the weapon to a now locally-attired Chakotay and tells him to give it a try.
Rafin tells him that Vori arms tend to shoot low, and suggests he aim higher next time. He grabs the rifle back and shows Chakotay how, and another disk shatters.
"You're good," observes Chakotay.
Rafin goes nose-to-nose with Chakotay. "Don't mock me," he snarls.
"I was paying you a compliment," Chakotay says, not giving an inch.
Rafin says that Namon always said that wasting clay targets and wasting the Nemesis were two different things. Chakotay says Damn Straight, they're different; killing is never easy. Rafin said putting his butt on the line to spank the Nemesis right off the planet should be as easy as a good night's sleep. Chakotay doesn't laugh, but clearly doesn't think much of that thought. "Who taught you that?" he asks. Rafin says his brothers and uncles who have fought, Brone, his drill sergeant...and Namon, who died in his place.
Chakotay asks if he feels responsible for Namon's death. Rafin blames his coward's trembles for not going with Chakotay originally, and feels he should have been the one to take the bullet that claimed Namon. Chakotay tells Rafin that the young man didn't pull the trigger that killed Namon, and insists that there's no shame in being afraid of fighting.
Rafin doesn't believe that--but it's clear he wants to. "How do you fathom that?" He asks. Chakotay tells him about his own Nemesis, the Cardassians. ("Were they beasts?" "Let's just say they weren't very friendly.") "The point is, even though I believed in what we were doing, I always felt fear before a fight."
"But you wrestled your trembles to rages, didn't you?" Rafin asks. Chakotay admits it's so, but--
"I was told to drill you, Chakotay. But it's you who've drilled me--drilled me to fathom the rages."
Like a man who's seen the light, Rafin grabs the weapon back from Chakotay, takes aim, and in short order sends three more clay markers to meet their maker, striking a pose that would make any recruiting poster-boy proud. The enemy thus dealt with, Rafin does the Vori equivalent of twirling the weapon by its trigger guard and blowing on the muzzle, before shoving the weapon back at Chakotay--who realizes he's just helped a scared boy take that final manly step into warriorhood.
He doesn't look too happy about it.
Chakotay holds the weapon like a rancorous ex-wife. Familiar, but contemptible. At least he shows some bulging, sweaty bicep for the ladies out there.
It's night, and the Fourth is patrolling the jungle with guns locked and loaded.
Chakotay notices something and calls Brone over. His gun-mounted flashlight falls on the face of a fellow Vori--staked to the ground, neck held fast by cords, uncovered face and arms blistered and anguished in death.
"Neck-strapped and upturned. Left to be cooked by the glare," Brone mutters coldly. He identifies the corpse as a member of the Seventh.
"Desecrated by the Kradin," Chakotay notes. A man taught from birth to respect traditions--particularly burial rituals--the sight sickens him.
"He'll never turn his face to the Wayafter," Rafin whispers.
Brone returns to business; he says they're close enough to signal the Seventh with their communicators.
But nobody answers. Repeated efforts fail. Brone sends a couple of soldiers to double-time it to the rendezvous point.
Rafin volunteers to go.
"Well told, Novice," Brone says with approval. With a final word of advice (head down and eyes open), Rafin and the others hurry away.
They return soon enough. With terrible news. The Seventh--all dead. And what's worse, they're all, a score of men minimum, neck-strapped and upturned, staked face-up on the ground, denied the eternal cheesecakes and endless backrubs of the Gloried Wayafter.
"Those motherless Krady beasts!" Brone shouts.
He whirls on Chakotay. "Do you glimpse the fullness of it now, stranger?"
Chakotay's mouth has gone dry. "Yes. I think I do."
"Now you fathom why we name them Beasts and not Men?" You can tell he's speaking not to Chakotay alone, but to all his men.
Brone is not satisfied. "We're much more than sorry...aren't we, Defenders?"
"YES, SIR!" They shout in something not quite approaching unison.
Brone goes into full Revival Meeting mode. Right there in the jungle, enemy no doubt near, Brone erupts into the full flower of dramatic projection, playing to the back rows like Henry V at Agincourt.
"The Nemesis wants your plantings. He wants your homes. He wants your sisters! But does it suffice him to nullify you? No. He craves to shame you; mock you; keep you from the gloried Wayafter! We're wearied of it, AREN'T WE?!?"
WE'RE WRESTLED TO THE RAGES FOR IT, AREN'T WE?!
AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO SWALLOW IT--NOT IN THE NOW, OR IN THE SOONAFTER!
His pep rally is interrupted by incoming gunfire.
A firefight commences. We do not see the enemy this time; we just see the effects of their weapons. One by one, Vori fall, bleeding. Men fight back, displaying acts of uncommon valor and grim determination to give their all for field and family.
Chakotay fires as well, not hesitating to defend himself or his allies.
A soldier near Rafin falls, and the boy's composure flees. "Motherless beasts!" he shouts, and stands as he fires, ignoring Chakotay's shouted warnings. "I'll nullify you all!"
Naturally, he takes a shot in the gut. He goes down, face up.
Chakotay rushes to him, and attempts to drag him to safety--but takes a bullet in his shoulder.
Rafin's last request is for Chakotay to turn his face to the Wayafter. Chakotay gives up trying to save the boy, and honors his dying plea; he flips Rafin face-down in the dust.
Oh, my gosh; they killed Rafin! You BASTARDS!
(Cough) sorry about that.
But the gunfire continues, and Chakotay falls back--now utterly alone. The others are dead, or fled.
It's daylight again; Chakotay has been running all night. Now, it's all he can do to stagger forward and lurch his way through the jungle. His right arm clutches his weapon; his left hangs virtually useless, crusted in his own blood.
He lurches down a small hill...and finds himself at the entrance to a Vori village, bustling with activity.
"A defender!" an old man declares on seeing Chakotay. He gathers the townsfolk, mostly consisting of the elderly, and women and children, and approaches the bleeding man.
One, a young teenaged girl, approaches with a lei of hand-weaved grasses. "Welcome to Larhana settlement, Gloried Defender," she says, brightly. "You're brightly greeted."
Chakotay responds by collapsing, claimed by exhaustion and loss of blood.
* * *
Captain's log, Stardate 51082.4. After searching for more than two days we finally located what's left of commander Chakotay's shuttle. I can only hope the Commander has fared better than his vessel.
Voyager's hull is now completely Borg-free, but the patch plates where Borgstuff used to be is pretty obvious.
In the ready room, everyone's standing. It's not our average, orderly staff meeting.
"According to the ambassador, Chakotay's shuttle was hit by enemy fire and crash-landed somewhere on the southernmost continent," Tuvok reports, showing the crash site to Janeway on a wall monitor.
"Right in the middle of the war zone," notes Janeway. She asks if Harry can get a lock on him; the Ensign says all the weapons fire has resulted in too much atmospheric radiation. (Not to quibble, but how do your standard gunpowder-propelled bullets, which is all we've seen so far, produce radiation?) He adds that they can't even scan the surface because of the interference.
"Which means we don't know if he's still alive," says Tuvok.
"Why don't we assume he still is?" whispers Janeway in a voice so cold that Tuvok's uniform flash-freezes--only to melt right off his body by the wave of heat radiating from her glare. Naked and lightly singed but unapologetic, Tuvok regards her with a Vulcan lift of the eyebrow that suggests she really needs to work on that Irish Redhead temper of hers.
"I should have gone with him," says Paris, kicking himself for reasons unknown. Janeway dismisses his guilt; "we couldn't have anticipated this. What we've got to do now is figure out how to deal with it." She orders Torres to work on cutting through the static.
Janeway asks Neelix what he knows about the war (I assume he was assigned to grill the Ambassador for details.) "It's vicious," Neelix says dramatically. "Ambassador Treen's people have been defending themselves against a savage aggressor for more than a decade." He says the Ambassador's willing to help them find Chakotay, but their resources are limited; if they do find Chakotay, he says, he'll be treated and brought in for later transport.
"Let's hope he doesn't meet up with these "savage aggressors" first," says B'Elanna.
Paris offers to lead an away team, but Janeway says they'll take it a step at a time. She tells Tuvok to contact the ambassador and ask for tactical data--maps, weapons analyses, intelligence reports.
Janeway looks at her senior staff. "Before I risk anyone else's life I want to know exactly what we're getting ourselves into. Understood?"
A lone reviewer raises his hand from the back of the conference room. "Ummm...which species is Ambassador Treen, anyway? Kradin, or Vori"
Janeway glares the poor chump naked. "Don't get ahead of the story, Review Boy."
Chakotay, his arm now bandaged, sits in a torch-lit cave snacking on Smurfberries as townspeople look on in admiration.
"By your coverings, you're a Novice Defender," the old man who first greeted him notes. Chakotay insists that he's not a defender, but an alien who got caught up in the hostilities when his shuttle went down. He picked up his outfit from a dead Defender, he says. They ask which Contingent; "The Fourth," Chakotay answers.
"The Fourth? They're sturdy clashers," says one woman named Marna in awe, and a little lust. (This episode is, after all, about the manly men of warfare and the women back home who love them.) The old man asks if the Fourth kicked Nemesis hiney out of the forest. Chakotay, diplomatically, says, "we put up a brave fight."
"Then you're a gloried defender even if you claim not to be," gushes Marna, and the old man agrees. "You are welcome among my neighbors," he says, and Chakotay accepts this.
"Do you crave anything more? Drink? Warm coverings?" asks Marna, eager to do something to the Defender.
I mean, for the Defender.
Chakotay says what he really needs is a phone, but the locals don't have one. "The Kradin drove us from our homes and plantings and took all the machinery we had," he is told.
Chakotay asks where the nearest communications equipment is, and is told there is one at a re-stock unit, a good 10,000 "footfalls" (meters?) away...through the thick forests...currently held by the enemy. Chakotay says he ought to be on his way, but the town urges him to stay the night, at least. Chakotay considers his current condition, and decides that' a good idea.
The old man suggests they leave Chakotay to his rest, and the community departs, with one last longing look from Marna. Chakotay sighs, and tries to settle in--never, I noticed, letting the rifle leave his hands.
A lone figure appears in the cave entrance--the same young girl who gave hm the lei before he passed out. She asks if he's still hungry. Chakotay says no--but assures her it was delicious, turning her frown instantly to a smile. She asks about the blossoms, whether he liked them.
She's a cute kid. The sort of sister a Vori would strive mightily to defend.
She asks the natural questions. Is it true the Kradin leave our dead defenders upturned? Chakotay is evasive, says the Kradin don't respect her beliefs. The girl calls the Kradin beastly, and reaffirms what everyone on this planet says: we're the victims, the defenders; they kill us when we never did anything bad to them, ever. (Uh huh.) "So why do they hate us?" she asks.
"I wish I could tell you. Hate's not something I understand very well," Chakotay admits.
The girl tells Chakotay her brother is a defender--a strong, handsome guy named Daryo who left for the clash two years earlier. With the Seventh Contingent.
Chakotay blanches at the telling of that. He does not tell her of her brother's fate; she will know soon enough. When she asks him to take a letter for Daryo when he leaves, he relents. She smiles, she kisses his cheek, and she scurries off to write the letter to her brother the Defender.
Alone, Chakotay sighs and cradles his weapon.
It's daylight again, and Chakotay is packed and ready to go. He and the old man walk towards the hill that led him here. Marna hands him a bag filled with provisions. He thanks both for their hospitality. The young girl arrives with a datapadd, containing her letter to her brother. He promises to do his best to see they arrive. "Your best will be enough," she assures him with the faith of the young.
She points to the lei around his neck; "the pretty smell of the blossoms will hold the Nemesis far away," she says. Chakotay takes one, smells it, then hands it to the girl. "Then keep one for yourself," he says with a kind smile. With that, he bids the village farewell and hikes back up the hill.
Chakotay doesn't get far when he hears a rumbling overhead. He sees two jets, likely Kradin, heading in the direction he just left. He turns and runs back to the place and people that welcomed him as a hero.
He arrives to find the village in flaming ruin, and Kradin soldiers roughly pushing the elderly, the women and children around like animals. The outrage is plain on Chakotay's face as he lifts his weapon and takes aim.
"Offer no opposition or you will be nullified," the Kradin tell him; he feels a muzzle digging into his ribcage. With impotent rage, Chakotay is led away.
* * *
Voyager continues its orbit around the planet. In Janeway's ready room, Paris and Tuvok report on their findings so far. The shuttle did not have any traces of dead Commander in it, so Chakotay's survival is still a possibility, Janeway notes hopefully. "Unfortunately, the wreckage was found inside enemy territory," Paris reports.
"So there is also a chance he has been captured or killed by the Nemesis," Tuvok notes, for the second time this hour. (You don't think Tuvok's sounding a little bit hopeful about the possibility, do you? Naah. I'm sure it's a coincidence that the bad news about the Commander keep coming from him....)
"There you go looking on the bright side again, Tuvok," Paris notes drily, sparing us another use of The Look by Janeway.
Janeway asks about this "Nemesis" everyone keeps talking about. Tuvok says it's the term used by Ambassador Treen's people to identify their enemy.
"Apparently, they're vicious," Paris adds. "They shoot without warning, use biochemical weapons, routinely massacre civilians. If we run into them it's safe to say they won't be hanging out a 'welcome' sign."
Janeway says she wants a team on the surface as soon as possible. "I was hoping you'd say that," says Paris, acting WAY more gung-ho than usual; the testosterone must be in the air vents or something this week. "Tuvok, let's get moving," he orders--his macho-on-the-brain momentarily making him forget that Tuvok outranks him.
Tuvok, not surprisingly, doesn't budge. He tells the captain that his tactical analysis suggests a direct assault would likely result in heavy casualties, and does not recommend a full-scale away team.
"Are you saying we should just abandon Chakotay?" Paris asks, disbelief in his voice.
On the contrary, Tuvok begins.
"I suppose you've come up with an alternative plan?" Janeway says.
"Indeed. I have concluded that the least risky course of action is for a single crew member to make the infiltration accompanied by a commando unit that Ambassador Treen has agreed to provide." It does make sense, and neither Paris nor Janeway disagrees.
"Fine with me," says Paris. "When do I leave?"
What is WITH that boy today? I know he wants to be the hero, but the only thing I can figure is that he's been celibate for so long waiting for B'Elanna to break through her permafrost (this episode was supposed to air before "Day of Honor") that he's just gotta go out and kill something before he explodes.
Janeway gives Tuvok a hard look. "Something tells me that's not what Tuvok has in mind," she says evenly. Why she'd be mad at her security chief, I don't know.
Unless she's still pissed at him for repeatedly bringing up Chakotay's death.
Tuvok says he is the natural, logical choice for the mission.
"Naturally," Paris repeats sarcastically.
Tuvok frowns, flashes a look at Janeway, then neck-pinches Paris.
And I can't say I blame him a bit.
It's night on the planet. Three Kradin soldiers toss Chakotay into the cave--now dimly lit and under heavy Kradin guard--near the young girl.
She calls his name. She sees he is hurt. Badly. He is still hyperventilating from the stress of it.
Chakotay explains that he came back when he heard the explosions. She asks what the Kradin have done to him. "They interrogated me," Chakotay says with classic understatement, but probably more to avoid remembering the experience himself than to spare her feelings.
Chakotay asks about her grandfather, but she doesn't know. She's very worried about him because of his age and his failing heart. Chakotay calls out to a guard, demanding to speak to a superior, to find her grandfather to reunite the--
The guard smacks Chakotay with the butt of his rifle. He sprawls out, adding one more bloody wound to his already well-worked-over face. The girl calls to him, and helps him over to a log. She tells him, "Penno always tells, 'It'll be brighter when the new light comes.'"
Chakotay, his eyes out of focus, lies down. "Your grandfather is a wise man," he mutters, as unconsciousness reaches out to him. He lays his arm out, and the girl takes the hint--it's naptime.
She asks if he'll care for her through what is to come. "Close your glimpses," Chakotay says before drifting off. "And dream of your gloried brother."
If it wasn't his war before...it is now.
They're still sleeping when the light comes. But the gunfire soon awakens them.
Chakotay and the girl run toward the noise, and see the old folks being herded like sheep. Marna explains that they'll be marched to "the extermination facility" because they're too old to make good slaves "like us."
The girl calls after her grandfather, Penno. He calls after her, and we learn her name: Karya.
He says his goodbyes, but Karya rushes toward him before being grabbed and headlocked by a Kradin soldier.
Chakotay doesn't like that one bit. He rushes forward, only to be stopped by a gun-wielding Krady.
The Kradin holding Karya taunts her, tells her the old man won't suffer for long. She continues to call after her grandfather, until the Kradin decides she's too irritating to keep alive, and orders her taken to the extermination facility as well
"Chakotay, set me loose!" Karya begs. "Chakotay, help me!"
A gun to his gut, Chakotay makes his decision. He smacks the soldier aside and launches himself at the taunting alien. "You motherless beast!" he yells, pounding the ugly alien again and again, until a rifle butt to the back of his head sends him off to dreamland yet again.
Janeway and Tuvok arrive in the transporter room right on schedule. Ambassador Treen and his people are ready to beam aboard. She gives the order, and three people dematerialize.
"Welcome aboard, ambassador," Janeway says. "Thank you for agreeing to help us find our crewman."
We get our first good look at Ambassador Treen and his people as they step off the platform. Tall, wearing black uniforms, their long black dreadlocked hair cascading over their shoulders, and their outer and inner mouths brimming with nasty teeth.
But they seem pleasant enough.
"Your thanks are unnecessary, Captain. Any victim of our bloodthirsty Nemesis the Vori will always find friends among the Kradin people."
Show of hands, people--who didn't see this coming?
I didn't think so.
* * *
The day may be brighter...but when you're staked, "neck-strapped and upturned" on an anthill, that isn't necessarily a good thing.
Chakotay looks like hell. Bleeding from a dozen facial wounds, lips chapped and cracking, bruises nearly obscuring his tattoo. The boy has definitely seen better days.
Then Brone comes along and rescues him. He cuts Chakotay's neck-strap, helping him breathe, then works on the arm restraints. "Sorry to leave you upturned so long," Brone says, "but I had to shroud myself in the trunks till the Kradin walked on." In the light, he looks like a slightly more earnest Keanu Reeves.
Chakotay asks about the villagers from Larhana settlement. Brone says they were marched to the extermination facility. And the Fourth contingent? All "nullified."
Chakotay thanks Brone for returning for him. Brone thanks him in return for fighting by their side, despite being a stranger, risking his own life to save Rafin two nights before.
"You tell the truth when you name them beasts," Chakotay mutters, hate filling his damaged face. He asks what Brone will do next; the drill sergeant says he'll join the Fifth, who are trying to rescue the villagers. "It doesn't go brightly for them," he admits.
Chakotay offers to join the battle. Brone says he'll take Chakotay to Command so he can contact his people.
"That can wait till the soonafter," Chakotay says, sounding just like one of the Vori now. "In the now...you need my help to nullify the Nemesis."
It is as much his war as theirs now.
The night was sultry. Smoke and death added to the smells of the jungle as Brone commanded the brave and mighty defenders of the Fifth Contingent to fall back and regroup.
Chakotay's is the last gun to fall silent.
The Vori move through the jungle to a new location, arms at the ready. They are overcome when a brilliant flash of light and the sound of an explosion drops them all to the ground. Many are blinded; others are wounded. Brone groans, and Chakotay struggles to his knees and crawls toward the man who saved his life.
An amplified voice calls out to them. "Vori soldiers! You are surrounded. Lay down your arms and surrender. Hold your fire!"
Chakotay scrambles to his feet, weapon at the ready, crying havoc and swearing on all he holds dear that his trigger finger will stop twitching only when the last shred of life has left his body.
Okay, he said "death first." Same thing. Either way, he starts firing, and keeps on firing.
"Hold your fire, Chakotay. Do not fire, Commander." The alien voice seems aimed right at him. Chakotay looks as an unarmed Kradin, hands raised in surrender, approaches.
"How do you know my name?" Chakotay demands.
"I am Lieutenant Tuvok," the Kradin says.
Funny...it doesn't look like Tuvok. Doesn't sound like him either.
Chakotay keeps his gun aimed where the motherless beast's heart would be, if the Kradin had any.
"I've come to bring you back to Voyager," the Kradin Tuvok says.
"Nullify him, Chakotay! It's a Kradin tactic," the bleeding Brone shouts.
"I assure you, Commander, this is no ruse. It is Lieutenant Tuvok. Don't you recognize me?"
Well, frankly, no.
Two more Kradin come and haul Brone to his feet, carrying him off into the jungle. "He's the Nemesis!" Brone yells, his voice fading into the night, his words echoing loudly in Chakotay's skull.
"You're a Kradin beast. You destroyed that village...nullified Penno! Took away Karya--She was only a child!" His grip on his weapon intensifies.
"They've brainwashed you, Commander. Look closer." The Kradin takes a step forward, and Chakotay flinches as the image before him shifts, and the voice becomes a little less alien, a little more familiar. "Try to recall. Your shuttle was shot down. These people--the Vori--they captured you." The more he speaks, the more Tuvok's voice breaks through the Kradin interference. It sounds more like a real person and less like a bad fast food drive-thru speaker.
"NO," Chakotay insists. "They rescued me."
The creature takes another step forward. "That is what they want you to believe. They have been indoctrinating you--training you to fight their war." The Kradin mouth seems now to obscure, not more Kradin teeth, but a distinctly Vulcan mouth. Tuvok's voice is obvious now.
"Take one more step and I'll nullify you!" Chakotay growls.
"You are commander Chakotay of the Starship Voyager. You are a scientist. An explorer. You are not a killer."
Good thing he left out angry Maquis warrior.
The image shifts again. All Kradin facial features fade, and the familiar head of the Lieutenant pokes out from the Kradin uniform.
Chakotay does a double-take. "Tuvok," he breathes. But doesn't lower his weapon.
"How can you wear those colors? The Kradin...They're beasts, murderers."
"On the contrary," Tuvok says. "They are the ones who helped us locate you. We tracked you to a Vori training camp. We infiltrated the facility, but you were gone. They had already brought you here to fight this battle."
Tuvok would deny it to his dying breath, but he seems to enjoy delivering the bombshell: "Before today, nothing you experienced here was real. It is the method the Vori use to conscript and train soldiers."
Wrong thing to say, Vulcan dude.
Chakotay's weapon goes up, and Tuvok will never know just how close to death he just came. "I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!" Chakotay shouts.
"I will prove it to you if you will lower your weapon," Tuvok replies with that infuriating Vulcan calm.
It takes a long moment for Chakotay's gun to stop aiming at Tuvok's head.
Either the days and nights pass quickly on this planet, or those jungles are thick. Tuvok and Chakotay travel in the light, and walk down a hill that looks familiar.
"Do you recognize this place?" Tuvok asks.
Chakotay nods. It's Larhana settlement." He takes a few steps alone, and enters the town's limits, amazed at what he sees.
The settlement. Bustling with life. As Penno gathers the townsfolk around and greets Chakotay warmly, and Karya places the blossom lei around his neck, each using identical words as they had before, welcoming him to their notably undestroyed village.
It's hard to argue with that.
Captain's Log, Stardate 51096.5 Although Lieutenant Tuvok has managed to bring Commander Chakotay safely back to the ship, it may be some time before his psychological wounds are fully healed.
In sickbay, Doc tends to Chakotay's wounds. He's back in uniform, but the haunted look in his eyes makes it clear the battle inside his head is far from over.
"My guess is the Vori used a combination of mind control techniques," Doc says pleasantly, "including photometric projections, heightened emotional stimuli, and highly sophisticated psychotropic manipulation. From the condition of your hypothalamus, I'd say they had you so mixed up they could have convinced you your own mother was a turnip."
Gotta hand it to Doc; his bedside manner hasn't flagged a bit since Kes left.
But don't get me started on that.
"Everything I experienced was some sort of simulation?" Chakotay asks, still not quite believing it.
"Except for the battle you were fighting when Tuvok found you. Apparently, attacking a simulated Commandant marked your graduation from Basic Training," notes Janeway drily.
"And the men I fought beside? None of them was real? Namon and Rafin weren't killed in front of me?"
"As far as we can tell, they were part of the simulation. The idea was to make you bond with your fellow soldiers as well as the villagers, so their deaths would enrage you."
And it certainly worked. Imagine what Vori Holodeck designers could have done for B'Elanna's Day of Honor program...
Chakotay stands, his eyes still clouded with roiling emotions and Brownian thoughts."Why me?" Chakotay asks, rhetorically.
Janeway answers anyway. "Luck of the draw. You happened to be passing through their space and were as promising a recruit as anyone. We've been told the Vori have dozens of these training facilities where they conscript their own people--and any aliens they're able to capture."
"In short, Commander," Doc concludes, just in case the folks in South Bend didn't pick up on this, "you've been subjected to a highly sophisticated form of propaganda."
Chakotay has to ask the question. "Then the Kradin don't kill innocent civilians? They don't desecrate the Vori's dead?"
Janeway shrugs, though her face is utterly serious. "I don't know. But the Kradin accuse the Vori of the same kinds of atrocities."
"I cared about the Vori, but I hated the Kradin. I wanted to kill every one of them." From the tone of his voice, past tense is not appropriate.
"Evidently," says Janeway with a trace of a smirk, "that was the point."
Neelix enters, with a visitor. "Captain. Ambassador Treen would like a word with the Commander."
What the HELL were they thinking?!?! Chakotay tenses at the sight of the huge, hulking Kradin walking toward him.
"I wish to tell you how pleased my people are to hear of your recovery," Treen says, his voice exuberant and sincere. "I'm only sorry we weren't able to rescue you sooner from our Nemesis."
Chakotay looks ready to sink his teeth into the Kradin's throat.
Treen looks at Janeway, then back at Chakotay, then back at Janeway, looking very uncomfortable. "Have I said something wrong?" he asks.
"I don't know," admits Neelix, oblivious to Chakotay's mood.
Chakotay's eyes never leave the Kradin's. "If you'll excuse me, Captain," he says abruptly, then stalks out of sickbay.
Janeway offers a helpless shrug to the ambassador and follows.
"Chakotay?" Janeway calls after the Commander, who stops walking and turns half towards her.
"I wish it were as easy to stop hating as it was to start," Chakotay says, his voice haunted.
He walks away, leaving Janeway alone in the corridor.
I didn't like this one much the first time I watched it.
The Vori word choices bugged the snot out of me. A little too "poetic" for my tastes. Too obviously different for difference's sake. I understand why it was there--I just found it distracting.
The storyline was obvious, too. From the moment the Voyager crew discussed the folks they had contacted on the planet, without once referring to the species of their contacts, I knew they were chatting with the very people Chakotay was being turned against. It wasn't a big surprise when we finally saw the Ambassador, or that he wasn't the sort of monster Chakotay was seeing on the planet below.
But perhaps I was just being picky.
Shocking, I know.
This episode takes us on a journey. A fairly obvious, manipulative journey, at once transparent and effective. We see all the elements of your standard war film--brave comrades honing their skills and steeling their courage against an enemy determined to destroy them. Jittery Cherries and hardened Drill Sergeants and boastful patriots who are itching to kill and die for a worthy cause. Innocent and peaceful civilians, supportive of their troops, the sisters and mothers and grandparents the boys in uniform are out there putting their lives on the line to defend, and innocent victims of past atrocities whose lives they must avenge.
Every group in the history of humanity has used a story like this to rally troops to the flag against an enemy. In good causes and bad, against enemies real and imagined.
Demonizing the enemy and claiming victimhood is a time-honored tactic. It's easier to hate Them when they are abusing Us and hating Us and destroying everything We hold dear.
The Causes need not be military. Read the Op-Ed pages of today's newspapers, and you get the feeling that on any given issue, there are people on each side who claim the world as we know it will end unless they gain a total philosophical or legislative or electoral victory.
Every issue in Washington is debated--if it can be called a debate--by those who seem as likely to come to an agreement as they are to be consumed by wolverines where they stand. And frankly, the more someone's arguments resemble a crusade, the more every opinion is subjected to their ultra-focused litmus tests, the less inclined I am to listen to them.
More on this in a moment.
Chakotay starts this episode as a detached observer. He just wants to get out of there and back to Voyager as soon as possible. Early Vori efforts to keep him around are subtle, and generally reasonable ("at least wait until it's light.") The more he's around the Vori, the more he hears about their cause in their own words, the more they take hold in his mind. They give their side, and speak in generalities and extremes, which remind Chakotay of his own battles against the Cardassians. They don't throw him into battle right away; they pace the action a bit here, a bit there. At each point, testing Chakotay's level of commitment.
First they tell, then they show. They describe and explain things every step of the way. When a Vori is found staked face-up on the ground, they explain the severity of the desecration--a violation of burial ritual that a faith-bound man like Chakotay would find loathsome. When comrades Chakotay has bonded with start dying, their battle slowly becomes his own. When he's interrogated and beaten, it becomes even more personal.
And when a village of innocents are dragged off to extermination, Chakotay's sense of honor can take no more.
They took Chakotay carefully down the path of commitment, a crash course in hate that very few people could resist, particularly considering how tailor-made the training appears to be. They find your buttons, and they push them again and again until you respond exactly as expected.
One point brought up by some folks who have e-mailed me already is this. The Kradin are shown as beasts in appearance, and it turns out to be their true physical form. But when Chakotay saw Tuvok as a Kradin, we have to ask--did the Vori really look like Chakotay's saw them? Or were they projections from Chakotay's mind, deliberately made absolutely human in appearance--no nose ridges or forehead bumps or funky ears to mark them as your typical Trek aliens? They looked as human as Janeway and Paris and Kim.
But were they, really? Would a passing alien who looked like, say, McGruff the Crime Dog, see Brone and Rafin and the little girl as humans? Or as patriotic canines? We didn't see Brone's appearance change, but Chakotay was still under a cloud. They could well look just like the Kradin. In fact, judging by the emphasis on colors, it could well be that they do--that only the color of one's outfit distinguishes friend from foe.
Kinda like certain parts of Los Angeles.
Humans have a hard enough time telling the armies apart if their uniforms are too alike. Yet we hate "them" when they wear the "wrong" colors, or patterns, or flags, when they are the aggressors...but might root for them if they are wearing our own. Out of uniform, Japanese-Americans fighting Germans in Europe in World War II look very much like the Japanese fighting Americans in the Pacific. Same race, different location...different response.
If that's too touchy a subject, consider sports. (Actually, this could be even MORE divisive...) If you have a favorite team, you cheer for their victories, and you rain down curses on whoever they're playing that day. Or there may be a team that you hate with a passion and hope loses badly every time they step out in uniform. You may have your favorite players, the heroes of the gridiron or the diamond or the hardwood, the legends who drive Our Team into places of honor in the rankings and record books. And the Demons in Human Form, the guys who beat your team on a particularly important game or betrayed your team by signing with The Enemy.
Then they switch teams, and now the Scum is now not so bad, or the Hero is suddenly a bum. Or maybe you still like the player, but hate the team. And whenever players face their old teams, you're now rooting against one or the other, never noting the irony of altered loyalties.
And they say we Treksters need to get a life....
It's a simple principle at play. To quote Beavis and Butthead, "we hate stuff that sucks." What sucks is defined as whatever we hate. QED.
No wonder aliens haven't made themselves known to us publicly--and why they're so fond of employing anal probes on us individually. Too much of the time, that's where our heads are.
I got yelled at a lot for being so hard on Chakotay in my review of "Scorpion II." I don't apologize for my take on the character; I think Chakotay's a man of deep feeling, who will do what he believes in--but who, it has been shown repeatedly, can be found to believe in something else more, if only for a short time.
It's both noble trait, and a weakness. Most powerful character traits are. As Torres pointed out to Doc in "The Darkling," the very traits that made Lord Byron and T'Pau so memorable were double-edged swords. It made them both great--and insufferable. Chakotay's is that when he devotes himself to a cause, he does so with everything he's got...until something more important comes along, and he'll redirect his whole being in that direction in a heartbeat.
It can be argued that every time Chakotay's done so, it was the right decision to make. Leaving his family for Starfleet puts him in good company--no less figures than Spock and Picard disappointed their fathers by heading for the Final Frontier. He left Starfleet for the Maquis because his homeworld was threatened, his father killed--and the Federation cared more for preserving the treaty with Cardassia. (But that's another debate entirely.) He was not alone here, either--many good and loyal officers, including high ranking friends of Ben Sisko, joined the Maquis because they felt the Federation had abdicated a debt of honor to those former Federation worlds.
And so on.
When you like Chakotay, these are arguably honorable acts, with understandable, sympathetic motivations. When you don't, they're evidences of character flaws. And, not surprisingly, that's exactly how my mail turned out--those who liked Chakotay defended him vigorously; those who didn't, considered his actions far less honorable.
And so we have this week's episode to help put that into perspective.
The Vori assign the most despicable motives to Kradin actions. The Kradin do the same with the Vori. Both consider themselves victims and the other aggressors. Each side's "defense" is considered yet another "outrage" by the other. And they end up "defending" themselves to the utter extinction of both.
Hmmm. Sounds like certain global hotspots I could name. Not to mention a few congressional and computer advertising campaigns.
Yeesh. Too much about the meaning of the episode, and not enough about the episode itself. Sorry.
I was impressed by Robert Beltran's performance. He shows quite well the slow descent from impartial observer to committed warrior, down the slippery slope, not taking the next step before it's believable for him to do so. Beltran's a quiet actor, but his expressions nicely portray his emotions, and he's got quite a few to play through here. He doesn't overplay the part at all.
Which is more than I can say for Tom Paris. I know it was written this way, but come on; what's with all the gung-ho crap? I'm used to seeing Paris volunteer for assignments, but this was way over the line for him. It was as if he had something to prove--but what is never adequately explained. ("I should have been in that shuttle with him" does not cut it.) McNeill does a fine job with it--but it was out of character, and it grated. As I said in the breakdown, it was more chest-thumping than Paris is known for, and seemed included just to give McNeill more screen time. I don't mind seeing Paris--I just wish he'd been used in a more believable way.
Russ did a nice job--infuriating Janeway with gloomy projections about Chakotay's likelihood of survival, and later effectively rescuing Chakotay from his own state of mind. I hate to say it, but Tom Paris could not have pulled this off--Chakotay would surely have shot him. Tuvok had the right blend of logic and earnestness that helped awake Chakotay from the fog of propaganda. I get the feeling he and Chakotay still don't get along--and though it can be and has been overplayed before, I thought it worked well this time out.
I liked how the politics of the planet were taken at face value because it wasn't really their business--all they cared about was getting Chakotay back, and to do that they danced with the one what brung 'em. They did accept what the Kradin said--but they didn't take action against the Vori outside of the rescue operation. The true politics of the planet remain a mystery, as the Prime Directive recommends. Chakotay would have done the same, had he not been conscripted--he fought hard to maintain that distance from local politics until the training was almost complete.
Neelix, however, took sides a little TOO easily, and I was tempted to reach through the screen and slap him silly for bringing in the Kradin ambassador for a face to face with the just-out-of-the-jungle Chakotay. (What did he EXPECT would happen?) Janeway and Doc can also be blamed for this; it was an absolutely idiotic idea (though dramatically it worked). I can excuse Neelix for his ignorance, but Doc should have been able to predict the results of that encounter a lightyear away, and strongly warned against it; and Janeway should have known the danger of it, especially knowing (and telling Chakotay) that he'd passed the Vori training and was fit to kill every Krady Beast he set eyes on.
I think she knew it, too, though too late; when Chakotay left sickbay and she followed, her look and tone was of concern for his condition, rather than irritation at his lack of diplomacy. It was at that moment that Janeway realized just how deeply he had been impacted by the experience, and she wisely gave him the distance he needed.
As to Chakotay's final words, "it's easier to start hating than it is to stop." In some ways, this episode is true to the tradition of Classic Trek. There's a strong moral here, and we learn it by watching a character we care about (if you don't, I do) experience it first-hand. It's the sort of episode we frequently saw Kirk face.
We can first ask, what does this mean for the character? It wasn't addressed directly, but we can point to one obvious source of animosity for Chakotay--the Borg in Cargo Bay Two. The transparent anti-Borg sentiment of "Scorpion" and "The Gift" was gone in "Day of Honor," and we know that this episode was filmed first--this could well explain his change of heart towards Seven of Nine in "Day."
My big complaint against Chakotay in "Scorpion" was that he had lost much-needed perspective in their crisis of the time, ignoring the Species 8472 threat because he was consumed with the Borg threat. The Borg threat WAS real. His suspicions HAD foundation. But his hatred for the Borg was a blind spot in his ability to command effectively. He learned part of his lesson in "Scorpion II" when Seven of Nine's words came back to haunt him in his argument with Janeway.
He may well have learned the rest of the lesson this week. Learning to hate is far easier than learning to stop hating. It's very close to the lesson Kirk learned in STVI: The Undiscovered Country, and that Picard learned in First Contact.
That lesson: HATE HURTS THE HATER.
Hate corrupts. It poisons. It clouds your judgment, twists your ethics. To combat that which you hate, no outrage may be deemed too extreme. This is why "holy wars" and "civil wars" tend to be the most brutal.
The current polarized moral climate highlights similar outrages. Politics has never been known for rational, reasonable discourse, but the prominence of loud, angry, single-issue activists has fragmented the landscape even more than usual. The propaganda showcased in "Nemesis" is used by countless lobby groups on every point of the ideological spectrum. They know that the best way to be recognized--and supported--is to turn every issue into a crisis, every opponent into the Enemy, every vote into the Apocalypse.
I'm sure you've read the fund-raising brochures. It's the same diatribe; only the names have been changed to increase your likelihood of hopping on the bandwagon and opening your checkbook.
But I digress.
I told several people, "maybe I'll like this more the next time I watch it."
Turns out, I did.
On a 0-10 scale, I give this a 7.50, or (* * * 1/2). It is consummate, classic Trek--a little preachy, a little melodramatic, one of the stars rips his clothing and bleeds on cue, and learns a valuable lesson about himself.
Harry Kim's got a crush on Seven of Nine--who happens to need a lab partner for her class on the Birds and the Bees.
Still aching for more on this episode? Check out Julia's, or head on over to the lounge where Kris and some of her pals offers their musings from the Rec Room O' Reviews.