The following is a SPOILER Review. I tell you pretty much everything that happened in the episode, so if you want to be surprised when you finally see it, leave now. Otherwise, welcome aboard, pull up some shuttle debris and enjoy the ride.
I rate each episode based on how much I enjoyed it, not necessarily on how good I think it is; I leave the objective takes to others. I don't claim to be accurate or objective, though only on occasion will I deliberatly try not to be. But with luck, you'll enjoy yourself along the way.
So kick back and roast up a s'more. Fatherly Uncle Jim's got a story for ya, which may or may not resemble the episode that actually aired.
Harry dreams of Seven, and sleeps in.
Jump straight to the Analysis
Jump straight to the Analysis
Harry is walking through the corridors of Voyager--all by himself, but smiling like someone who just got off duty and is looking forward to some quality time with his clarinet. His plans are interrupted when Seven of Nine intercepts him from a side corridor and matches his stride, hands him a PADD and requests his assistance in Jefferies tube 37 Alpha (yes, I know, Alpha equals one, therefore...) Harry asks if it can wait--he's got some leisure time to enjoy. "It is urgent," she insists. Harry shrugs and follows.
Tuvok is sleeping when a hail arrives, requesting his presence on the bridge. He acknowledges and rises. As he does so, we discover that at least one Vulcan, raised on a desert world, is not accustomed to wearing much to bed.
Janeway walks through strangely deserted corridors through the ship until she reaches the mess hall, which she finds dark and deserted. The lights do not come on at her command. Neelix does not magically appear when his name is called. "Is anybody here?" she asks the room.
Paris is in a shuttlecraft, making the final pass on an orbital survey mission of a nearby planet. Chakotay calls in for a status report, a pleasant and routine exchange. Chakotay signs off, and Paris continues manipulating the controls.
Tuvok walks through Voyager's corridors toward the bridge. The crewmen he meets along the way--all women--do their best to avoid looking directly at him. He frowns but says nothing, used to the illogicalities that abound onboard.
Seven leads the way down the stairs to Jefferies tube 37 Alpha. Harry does a quick scan, but if there's anything wrong, his tricorder doesn't see it. "It looks to me like you aligned the power couplings perfectly.," he says.
"I did," she says.
Harry scratches his head. "If you're so sure then why did you need me to look at them?" I didn't, she says. Even more confused, Harry asks what's going on.
Seven shuffles her feet. "I've learned from observing Lieutenants Torres and Paris that humans sometimes require a...pretext...for being intimate with one another."
Hold the phone there, Sparky. Did she just say what I thought she said?
Harry's jaw drops. "Intimate?"
Seven, who already knows by now that Harry is at least one instrument shy of a quartet, sighs. She grabs Harry's shoulders and slams him backward into the wall.
Harry's eyes go even wider as her attire changes, as if by magic, into--
"Sweet Barbara Eden!" Har3ry squeaks at three octaves above normal.
Four centuries later, I Dream of Jeannie is still in syndication--and its star the first crush most boys ever remember.
"Resistance is futile," rasps a harem-girl outfitted Seven, navel strategically obscured, eyeing him like a cheetah sizes up a gazelle, slinking toward him in a way that mocks the TV-PG rating the episode was given.
"As if!" says Harry, high-fiving the gaffers and launching himself toward her.
A particle accelerator couldn't slam their bodies together more impressively. Dang.
[Okay, not really. But a boy can dream, can't he?]
What actually happens is this. She slams him into the wall, puts her hands on his shoulders so her forearms drape over his chest like boy scout sashes, and tells him resistance is futile while he's still trying to figure out what the heck is going on. He seems to catch on when she finally latches onto his lips with hers.
The wide-eyed fool actually does resist--for about two seconds.
Sparks fly. Steam escapes. There's a whole lotta shakin' going on.
Whoops, that's the next scene.
Sparks fly. Steam escapes. There's a whole lotta shakin' going on.
Paris' shuttle is in trouble.
He calls for help, but Chakotay's responses indicate his cries for help are not being heard. The situation looks more and more desperate as the planet looms ever larger.
Janeway's calls to Neelix are finally answered. He walks calmly out from somewhere and asks what he can do for her.
"Where is everybody?"
"Didn't you see them when you came in?" Neelix asks, clucking his tongue a little. She says she didn't. He takes her by the elbow and leads her over to a table near the window.
"Computer, activate lights," Neelix says, his voice all creepy.
Janeway gasps. Seated at a table are five crewmen. Blue as Bolians. Covered in dust. Not eating their dinner.
Not breathing, either.
Just a guess: they're dead. They look like extras in a Michael Jackson video.
One of them looks a little like Paris, only with a bit more hair up top. I hear death can do that for you.
Something funky is going on....
The turbolift stops, and Tuvok enters the bridge, reporting for duty.
All the familiar faces--including the busted-shuttle-and-dead-in-the-mess-hall Paris, the finally-getting-some Harry, and the shocked-speechless Janeway, are here, without a care in the world. Even Doc and Neelix are here. (The only notable exception is Seven of Nine, who is nowhere to be seen.) Along with a few nameless crewmen. They turn around in unison--and commence laughing uproariously. All but petite one olive-skinned, red-shouldered crewgirl to the left, who jumps a bit in shock, then purses her lips lasciviously.
"Is something wrong?" Tuvok asks, not getting the joke.
"I think you forgot something, Tuvok," says Paris between giggles. The bridge staff dissolves into even more laughter.
The camera finally pans down--and we see that Tuvok reported to the bridge in the same condition he was hailed in--Vulcan sleepwear.
With all the dignity he can muster, Tuvok reports, "It appears that in my haste to report to the bridge I neglected to put on my uniform."
They laugh even more. Even B'Elanna, not known for her laughter, smiles broadly and laughs demurely. (She's adorable, isn't she?)
Tuvok does a quick 180 and walks back into the turbolift. The cameraman does not provide the obligatory parting shot of his backside--sorry, ladies.
In the solitary safety of the turbolift Tuvok allows himself a green-tinted blush and shudder of embarrassment.
Then his eyes narrow as he realizes he's not alone.
An ugly alien stares at him. It's not a friendly look.
In the Mess Hall, Janeway's voice is barely a whisper as she asks Neelix what happened to the dead people at the table. "They died," Neelix says. "Why?" she asks, devastated.
"You didn't get them home in time."
Her eyes widen. She looks at Neelix--and at the ugly alien staring at her. She gasps.
Paris can't help but see the surface of the planet rushing to greet him. All his efforts to restore power and the safety of an orbit fail.
Then things get weird when he notices an ugly alien rising into his line of sight. Which, given his velocity, should be impossible. His panic yields to confusion.
Harry and Seven continue kissing in earnest--and the slow learning Ensign has warmed up considerably under Seven's tutelage. When they finally break, Harry collapses against the bulkhead, smacking his lips in satisfaction.
He opens his eyes to look at Seven--
And sees an ugly alien mocking him with its glare where she ought to be. He kissed that?
And you thought Ocampa screams were painful. Harry lets out a blood-curdler.
Naturally, it's a bad dream. In his bed, Harry screams and fights off an imaginary suitor, his dreams evidently taking an unpleasant turn. Then he settles down a little bit, his eyes vibrating rapidly in REM sleep.
Tuvok, wearing a bit more this time, wakes up in his quarters, clearly agitated.
In her quarters, Janeway does the same.
So does Tom Paris in his. (He's wearing a blue-gray T-shirt to bed, though I'm sure nobody cares...)
It would seem that whatever Neelix served that evening--won't have any takers when it makes it to leftovers.
As teasers go...this was a doozy.
* * *
From the way Paris puts on his robe, it's a safe guess he's not a morning person. Kasparov plays chess faster. His door chimes, and he staggers in that general direction. The door slides open, revealing a moderately peeved Torres.
Like Paris could tell. He's still rubbing five-pound blocks of Sleep from the corners of his eyes, and regards her with half-lidded incomprehension.
It's not that he's not happy to see her. He's just really really groggy.
"Sleep well?" Torres asks him with an edgy smirk.
"Not really. What are you doing here?" It turns out they had a breakfast date at 0700...which he missed because of his "wild nightmare." He says he'll hurry and get dressed, but she says it's too late--it's now 0740. Her shift's over and she's headed to bed; Paris is due on the bridge at 0800. She waited and waited, she called--he never responded. So here she is to kick his sorry butt out of bed.
Dang. "I hate this!" he rages. "We never see each other." She says she's off Friday night. He suggests skiing at Saint-Moritz, but she suggests something warmer than "30 below zero." Fiji, Samoa...
Human or Klingon, the eternal battle seems to be based on the universal constant that men are always hot and women are always cold, whatever the temperature. Paris wants snow he can frolic in; Torres wants sweltering island paradises where they can "do nothing, and be warm while you're not doing it."
Wrapped in each other's arms (as arguments go, this one is downright cordial) Paris suggests a compromise: spring skiing in chile. She suggests a compromise: water skiing in Tahiti.
They warm each other up with a kiss. Not the hungry, making-up-for-lost-time kisses of "Scientific Method," but the comfortable, practiced kiss of a couple comfortable with each other.
Then Torres smacks him on the hiney and sends him scurrying to the shower so he can at least grab some coffee before his shift starts. She heads off for her quarters and he calls after her, See you Friday night.
From her parting look, Friday night can't come a moment too soon.
Paris, hair mussed and neck kinked, stumbles into the mess hall, only running into a couple of crewmates on the way to the counter. He's still trying to wake up.
"Morning, Tom," Neelix says. He looks almost as bad as Paris, who grunts something about coffee. Neelix offers eggs, but Paris repeats the plea for coffee. Neelix points out that it's the most important meal of the day, but Paris grabs him by the tunic and lifts him off the floor and says in a demonic voice, JAVA NOW. Neelix has seen the captain like this enough times to stop arguing and start pouring. The flames stop shooting from Paris' nostrils as soon as the cup is pressed into his hands.
One swig, though, and he's back to the counter.
"Did you have a rough night or something?" Tom asks Neelix.
"Why do you ask?" Neelix asks.
"Because you just poured me a steaming cup of cooking oil." Bleechh.
Neelix admits he did--nightmares. Paris says he did too. Neelix blames it on the "three full moons" they passed the day before, but assures the lieutenant that the coffee will "clear the fuzz out of your brain." Paris suggests Neelix should gulp down a pot or two while he's at it.
The bridge crew looks as sunny as a February in Anchorage. What there is of a bridge crew. Janeway appears, looking like she could use a few shots of raktajino, gesturing as enigmatically as a Tak Tak as she plods to her seat. She plops down in the big chair, noting that they look a little shorthanded.
"Tom and Harry are both late," Chakotay says. "I was going to give them another five minutes but I'll call them now if you'd like." She says not to bother; "I'm a little late myself, aren't I?"
"I wasn't going to mention it," Chakotay smiles as he taps at the console between them. "Burning the midnight oil?" Janeway says she got to bed early for a change but a nightmare kept her up all night. (I can relate--where do you think that I Dream of Jeannie bit came from?)
"I had a bad dream last night, too," Chakotay admits. "Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?"
"No," says Janeway. "And stop quoting Real Genius. Or I'll start," she adds, hammering her point home. Chakotay blushes.
"You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine," Janeway says, gesturing oddly again.
Paris arrives, sipping at his coffee, apologizing for being late. Janeway acknowledges his arrival wordlessly, then hops up onto her knees in her seat, leans over like a little girl, and demands that Chakotay tell her his dream.
"I was in the forest with my father. We were hunting deer, which was odd because that was something I always refused to do. We cornered the animal. I looked to my father to see if he was going to kill it but he wasn't my father anymore. He was a vicious-looking alien."
Janeway perks up at this. "There was an alien in my dream, too. And it wasn't from any race I've seen before. He had...sharp ridges on his forehead and on the front of his neck." And a Freddy Krueger sweater and Michael Meyers' machete in one h and and a Pauly Shore video in the other, and --
"That's what mine looked like!" Chakotay says, surprised.
Paris, who was listening to the exchange, turns around. "I don't mean to be eavesdropping, but...I had a nightmare last night, too. And I'm pretty sure i saw the same guy."
Kate loves a mystery...
The captain gets a mischievous smirk on her face as she looks at Chakotay. She slides off her chair, gleeful menace write large on her face. She slinks over to Tuvok's station and asks if he had any bad dreams last night. Tuvok admits, reluctantly, that he had an unsettling dream that included an alien like she had described.
Janeway decides there's more to this than a bad meal. She orders the senior staff assembled for answers. "Which reminds me--Where's Harry?" Chakotay hails him but gets no response. The computer confirms that he's in his quarters, though. Janeway takes Tuvok with her to investigate.
In the turbolift, Janeway suggests Harry is dreaming about the same guy the rest of them did. She presses her old friend for details about his unsettling dream.
"Where exactly did you see the alien?" she asks. In this very turbolift, he says, not volunteering more. "What happened?" she says. "The alien simply stared at me as if scrutinizing my appearance." Janeway says the alien did the same to her.
"What did you do?" she asks. "I returned to my quarters," he says, refusing to look at her.
"Did the alien follow you?" she asks. "He did," he says, clearly making her earn every new revelation.
"And then?" she continues, suspecting whatever he's hiding has got to be good.
"He watched me," he parries.
"Doing what?" she thrusts.
"Getting dressed," he admits, nowhere left to go.
Janeway's eyes go wide. "Getting dressed?" she asks, curious.
Yes, he admits.
"I don't suppose I should ask why you were undressed," Janeway says neutrally.
"I would prefer that you didn't."
It will take several minutes of screen time to wipe that smile from her face.
They arrive at Harry's quarters. He doesn't answer the chime, or Janeway's knock. Tuvok uses a security override to get them inside. Where they find Harry still asleep--and unable to wake.
The amusing mystery is no longer so amusing.
And wouldn't you know it? If something bad's gonna happen--it's gonna happen to Harry first.
It is apparently a little while later. In Sickbay, a sleeping Harry is joined by several other sleeping crewfolks. Doc says they're not comatose, they're just in a hyper-REM state, their sleep too deep to awake from. "I've tried every method of waking them-- from drugs to direct cortical stimulation-- but nothing works." He hasn't found any cause so far, and gives an impressive list of medibabble he's already checked for. "They're simply...asleep."
Janeway surmises that the alien from their dreams is somehow related; the conscious staff is brainstorming to identify him. "In the meantime, what's your recommendation?" she asks the doctor.
"Large doses of animazine," he says. ("Animazine?" Oy.)
"I thought you said drugs weren't working," Janeway says.
"Not for them. For everybody else. Until I can determine what's happening I'd suggest the rest of you avoid going to sleep."
In a conference room, Torres and Paris, Janeway and Chakotay, Tuvok and Seven all stare at a screen, the Mug-Shot-O-Matic program in full swing. They tell Torres what they want changed, and she tells the computer in more technical terms. Finally, they come up with a recognizable composite sketch.
Janeway asks if anyone recognizes the species. "While awake, I mean." Nobody does--not even Seven, who never forgets an assimilated face. They consider and reject the possibility that this is a telepathic First Contact; Janeway thinks of the half-dozen snoring crewmen in sickbay and considers it an attack more than anything.
"From where?" Seven asks. Astrometrics didn't find any planet nearby capable of sustaining life.
When they ask each other where to look, Chakotay suggests they go back to where they first saw the aliens: in their dreams. Naturally, nobody likes that idea--those dreams were not the sort they want to return to. But Chakotay clarifies: lucid dreaming, where you can control what's happening to you. Paris has experienced that, he says; he once dreamed he was falling, realized it was a dream, and found himself able to fly.
Chakotay smiles. "What happened to you by accident is something some people can do by design. I've been able to have a lucid dream by using the same technology I use for a vision quest. I may be able to use it to communicate with this alien."
Janeway asks how he'd awaken. "It's kind of like self-hypnosis. Before I go to sleep, I choose a visual cue--something to let me know I'm dreaming--Earth's moon, say. Once I see it, I can wake myself by tapping the back of my hand three times." Janeway balks, but Chakotay says it may be their only way to get to the root of the mystery and wake up their colleagues. "We can't stay awake forever," he reminds her.
Janeway agrees, but says it will happen under Doc's supervision in sickbay. "The rest of you keep scanning the region. Analyze this ship from stem to stern. Wherever he is, find him."
"Normally, I consider a good night's sleep an important part of any health regimen," says Doc, "but in this case, I can't recommend it." He grabs a piece of medical equipment and moves to the bed where Chakotay lies, holding his well-used Dream machine. Janeway hovers over him.
"I respect your medical opinion, Doctor," he says. "But at this point, we're out of options."
Doc doesn't argue. He attaches the equipment to Chakotay's head. "This will regulate your hypothalamus. But in all probability I won't be able to wake you. You'll be on your own." Chakotay nods his understanding.
Janeway leans in close and rests a concerned hand on his chest. "Pleasant dreams," she urges, then leaves him to his trance.
"ah-koo-chee-moya...far from the sacred places of my grandfathers, far from the bones of my people. I seek to sleep to meet the one who has visited us in our dreams...." His breathing slows, establishes a rhythm. His eyes close.
The Akoonah works its magic.
Chakotay finds himself walking through Voyager's corridors, eyes closed. He opens them and notices the weight in his right hand. It's a spear. A deer scampers through the ship; Chakotay follows. He hunts as his people trained him to, tracking the deer into the mess hall.
He looks out the window and notices Earth's moon hanging there like a beacon, reminding him that it's a dream. He smiles.
As he skulks toward the far door, the moon is no longer there, having done its job. The door opens at his approach, revealing the deer.
Which promptly morphs into the ugly, and unhappy, alien.
Chakotay raises the spear. The alien slaps it aside and looms over him.
* * *
When we return from the commercial break, the alien's hands are wrapped around Chakotay's throat.
Eventually Chakotay remembers that this is his dream, so he breaks the chokehold and slams the taller, beefier alien into a convenient pole. Dazed, the alien looks at Chakotay with new respect but even more dislike. He launches himself at Chakotay--and finds his arm pinned behind his back.
"I know this is a dream-- my dream," Chakotay hisses. "I'm in control."
"You're mistaken. This is more than a dream. It's my reality and you're no different than the others--the waking species. For centuries, you've come and found us in a state that you call 'sleep' and tried to destroy us, but not anymore. Now we are in control. One by one, you will fall asleep and enter our reality where it is you who will be destroyed."
For folks who get plenty of sleep, they sure have a lousy disposition.
Chakotay insists they mean this guy and his people no harm. "Tell me how I can wake my crew and I promise we'll leave."
"As long as you're asleep, you're no threat to us," the alien says scornfully.
"I can wake myself anytime I want. And if I do...I'm going to start looking for you in the Waking World--find where you're sleeping. You wouldn't want that."
The alien considers this. "Leave our space. Once you're beyond it, your people will awaken. There's a six-planet system less than a parsec away. It marks the nearest border of our space."
"We can be past it in one day," Chakotay assures him.
"Then wake yourself...and pray you never dream of us again."
Tap three times
With your finger
If you wanna wake...
Chakotay taps the back of his hand, and wakes up in Sickbay. Janeway and Doc are there, pleased he's back so soon.
Janeway asks if he saw the alien. He nods. "It was certainly one of the most interesting away missions I've ever been on. I'll tell you about it on the way to the bridge."
The bridge is all abustle with activity when they exit the turbolift. Janeway, fully briefed, tells Tuvok to scan for the six-planet star system. Tuvok easily locates it, and Janeway orders Paris to plot a course.
"Do you mind if I ask where we're heading?" Paris asks after complying. "Past the alien's territory. Once we're clear, Harry and the others should wake up," Chakotay says.
"And the rest of us can finally get some sleep," he notes with a smirk, apparently back to his old self.
"One step at a time, Tom," Janeway scolds gently, and they share a smile.
Janeway turns to Chakotay, who tells her more. "From what the alien told me it sounds like they have corporeal form but they communicate through their dreams. For them, it's as real as the waking world....It reminds me of the Australian aborigines. They believed the dream world was no less real than the waking world. In fact, their creation mythology says their ancestors dreamed the universe into existence."
He has many questions, but Janeway points out that "Sometimes first contact is last contact."
I normally expect this sort of banter to come at the END of the episode.
Some time later...
When they approach the border of the aliens' space, Janeway tells Tuvok to inform the doctor.
Doc wakes up Harry, who is dazed and confused. "What's going on?"
"You were napping," says Doc with rare understatement.
"In sick bay?" He learns he's been out for 17 hours, and asks about his nightmares. Harry nods earnestly. "Oh, yeah." Doc asks for details. Harry gets a big ole grin and begins, "I was, uh, in the corridor, and..."
Before he can get into the tale, Seven walks in. Harry's enthusiasm for the tale is instantly doused. She hands Doc some data from Astrometrics that may help him determine the nap attacks among the crew.
Seven turns to Harry. "Ensign Kim, now that you're awake I require your assistance in Jefferies tube 21-Beta."
Harry goes white. His eyes bug out. He shakes away the image of Seven in a Jeannie costume with great difficulty. He says he's still too groggy to work; he just woke up.
"I'll wait until you are fully recovered," she says--and stands there. Doc encourages Harry to continue with his dream.
Not with Seven in the room, he's not.
He jumps up, ignoring the fact that he's not wearing pants. He runs to the door and says he's famished after 17 hours of sleep, and since he's a growing boy and breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all, well, you understand--
"Very well," Doc calls after him. "Go eat, get some clothes on, and report back in an hour.
"Later, doc! You too, Seven!" Doc and Seven share a look, and an unspoken thought: That boy ain't right.
Harry leaves a dust cloud in his haste to escape.
The chief topic of conversation in the mess hall, naturally, is What You Dreamed About.
"...and the next thing I knew I was being boiled alive in a pot of my own leola root stew," Neelix tells a fascinated Torres.
"Talk about a nightmare," she says.
"It was perfectly seasoned," he assures her.
Harry arrives, back in uniform and ready to eat.
"Well, if it isn't Sleeping Beauty!" Torres drawls teasingly.
"I do look well-rested, don't I?" Harry smirks. Neelix asks if everyone's awake, and Harry says everyone's up and accounted for. Torres offers him a seat. "We were just trading dream stories. Tell us yours." He hems and haws, and avoids the subject.
Torres cuts to the chase: "Who was she, Harry?"
He flinches. Stone cold busted. He finally shrugs. "The woman of my dreams."
Everyone laughs--except Tuvok, who has studiously avoided the banter. Harry decides to deflect attention from himself by speculating about Tuvok's dream. Torres and Neelix join in, asking themselves the worst that could happen in a Vulcan nightmare: "Alone, exiled on a planet where the only form of communication...is laughter."
Gee. Tuvok's fully dressed--and still getting laughed at. I think he's tempted to pinch himself to make sure he's not still dreaming.
The levity is interrupted when the ship shakes. Janeway announces a ship-wide red alert; they're under fire.
Tuvok and Harry stumble to their stations on the bridge as the attack continues. Things are not going their way; shields go down, and power drains all over the ship.
"We're being hailed," Harry yells. Janeway tells him to put it onscreen.
The same alien appears. He nods at the captain, Kim, and Chakotay.
And calls them by name.
"I'm glad to see you all up and about."
* * *
Janeway finds that the ship is not responding, and the alien is gloating.
Chakotay accuses the alien of lying to him, deceiving them, entrapping the ship and crew.
Well, duh, the alien says. "It appears you're learning more about my people after all."
He tells them to prepare to surrender. Janeway, naturally, says the aliens have gone to too much trouble to destroy her ship now. She hails the crew and orders "defense procedure omega."
But the bridge is suddenly filled with well-armed aliens, and the crew is told the same is true on every deck. "the ship is ours."
Janeway and company are herded into a cargo bay along with the rest of the crew. Chakotay's kicking himself for being duped. Janeway doesn't blame him, though. They discuss what they know--or at least suspect--about the aliens. It isn't much. They seem to exist in dreams and reality; they may use the former as intelligence-gathering.
"We need to retake the ship," says Janeway. "That means leaving this cargo bay." They realize they need a diversion. "Any ideas?" Janeway asks.
"I have one, captain," Seven offers.
She walks over to Harry--and throws him to the ground.
I doubt the captain would have approved, but it sure tickled my funny bone.
Harry angrily demands to know what the hell she's doing.
"Creating a diversion," she says under her breath, grabbing his tunic and hauling him to his feet with one hand. She loudly accuses him of getting them into this mess, and delivers a nasty backhand.
Harry looks at her, dazed. Seven gives him a disgusted look. "I suggest you fight back."
Weenie Boy throws a punch Strom Thurmond could have blocked. But at least he's finally on the same page. They grapple for a while until the rest of the crew tries to pull them apart. Or join in.
Janeway hands out orders--Chakotay and Torres to the jefferies tubes, Paris and Tuvok to the power grid. She'll jump in and take care of the fight.
Chakotay and Torres begin working in silence at a control panel when Chakotay notices in the display screen--
The reflection of Earth's moon.
"I'm still asleep!" Chakotay whispers, loud enough for B'Elanna to hear. She doesn't know what he means, and says so.
But two armed aliens appear from nowhere; they do seem to know. They grab his arms.
But not well enough to keep him from tapping the back of his hand three times.
Chakotay wakes up in sickbay, breathing rapidly. He bolts upright.
"Commander, you're awake!" Doc says, rushing to his side.
Chakotay grabs Doc's arm. "Am I? Are you sure?" He demands, panic in his voice.
"Of course you are."
Chakotay jumps up and begins looking at every reflective surface in sickbay.
"What are you looking for?" Doc demands, confused.
"What?" asks Doc, who wasn't in that scene.
Chakotay gives up the moon search, taps his hand several times, and decides he's really awake. "Where's the captain?" he asks.
"Asleep-- along with the rest of the crew."
Everyone is asleep but Doc. "No rest for the never-weary. As soon as you entered your lucid dream they all began falling asleep one by one. I've been trying every method I can think of to revive them but nothing works. It's been 39 hours. If I can't wake them soon I'm going to have to start feeding them intravenously."
Once again, Chakotay has to rethink the recent events. "They let me think I was awake but I was still dreaming."
"You weren't the only one," Doc tells him, and shows him a brain scan. "A neurogenic field created by heightened electrical activity in the brain. It's been occurring in all the sleeping crew members-- and that's not all." He punches up a control that looks like a seismograph. "This is Ensign Kim's brain wave pattern, indicating that he's dreaming in a hyper-REM state. This is Crewman Foster's pattern."
Chakotay doesn't need any expertise to note that they're identical brainwave patterns. Or that the patterns of Janeway, Torres, Tuvok, Wildman and others are also identical. Doc doesn't know what it means...but Chakotay does.
"Not only are they dreaming--they're all having the same dream."
* * *
"It was a communal dream. Everyone's REM patterns are identical. They're experiencing the same images--each from his or her own point of view. I saw the rest of the crew--interacted with them. We were all working together to fight off an alien attack."
"Which wasn't real," Doc says.
"Oh, we're under attack, all right. Maybe this is the way these aliens fight their enemies. They exist somewhere in our reality as physical beings; but they must be asleep, unable to defend themselves against what they call 'waking species.' We'll never defeat them in their Dream Reality, but if we can find where they're sleeping we'll have the advantage."
Doc doesn't know where they'd begin looking, but Chakotay does. He notes the strong, shared neurogenic field among the crew--presumably, any other group dream would be producing something similar. Which they should be able to scan for.
Chakotay heads to the bridge.
On the bridge, Paris is asleep at his post.
But so is everyone else but Chakotay.
Doc enters with a hypospray and a Double Gulp of Mountain Dew. "Time for a little energy boost, Commander. We don't want you drifting back to sleep. Sorry about the mess but this is what happens when my repeated requests for a larger sick bay fall on deaf ears."
Not his best line, but oh well.
Chakotay's attention turn to the sensors, which have detected what he's been looking for. He nudges Paris out of the way at Helm. "Excuse me, Tom, but I need to change our course." Paris doesn't stir; his eyes just go back and forth like a fast-forwarded ping pong match.
Meanwhile, the crew struggles to understand what's happening to them. Torres reports Chakotay's last words. "He said something about still being asleep and tapped the back of his hand like he said he would to wake from his lucid dream....and then he disappeared."
Some think the aliens took him. But Tuvok suggest he may indeed have awakened--and that they are all still asleep. It still confuses several of them, and they argue about whether they're all just dreaming this--whether this is all just "my" dream rather than "our" dream--but Seven finally provides a concept they can all (uncomfortably) grasp: "collective unconsciousness."
Janeway puts it all into perspective, though. Whatever's going on, they're under attack and they need to fight back.
Paris arrived with news that a Jefferies tube is now available.
"Good work," says Janeway. "Neelix, Seven, Kim--do what you can to distract the guards." Seven smiles and cracks her knuckles; poor Harry flinches. "I'm going to find a way to retake the ship."
Janeway, Torres and Tuvok reach Engineering. The engines are shut down. They have their work cut out for them. Janeway orders Tuvok to pull Betsy out of the weapons locker, and to grab a boomstick for himself and Torres as well.
"Something tells me that when we try to disable the dampening field we're going to get the aliens' attention," Janeway says drily.
Torres, more easily than expected, gets the warp core moving again.
The computer then announces a warp core breach.
"Maybe a little too easy," Janeway notes, beginning to like the Collective Dream theory even more.
They are unable to eject the core. Torres does manage to put a containment field around engineering so it won't hose the whole ship, though. They run away--then Janeway changes her mind, adding up all the "just not right" elements of the past few hours, and runs back into the breach. She makes it a direct order before Tuvok can phaser her into changing her mind.
They watch the captain run into the closing doors of Engineering, choking on plasma and smoke.
Ten seconds later Engineering explodes.
Two seconds after that, Janeway emerges, looking way too pleased with herself.
"Either I've become impervious to antimatter explosions," she says, not dismissing that possibility completely, "...or we're still dreaming."
* * *
"Things just weren't adding up--Chakotay's disappearance, the warp core failing to eject. And as Chakotay said, 'lucid dreaming is about taking control.' So I...took a chance."
Janeway may be smug about her discovery, but Tuvok is furious. "There must have been a less extreme method of testing your assumptions. As captain, you shouldn't be taking chances with your life." He may be her subordinate, but he's old enough to be her grandfather--and if ever a too-spunky-for-her-own-good captain needed to be taken to the woodshed....
"I'm touched by your concern, Tuvok," Janeway says with an impish smile. Making antimatter blink seems to have cheered her up immensely. "I suggest we find a way to regain consciousness." She looks at the backs of her hands.
Chakotay is surprised to see Janeway enter the bridge with Doc. "How did you wake yourself?" he asks. "The same way you did," she says, and taps her wrist. He asks about the others, and she says they should all be starting to wake up. Doc rouses Paris to prove the point. Janeway tells him to get them out of there.
Chakotay begins making the course changes--and freezes.
Blue moon...I saw you floating alone....
"This isn't real," Chakotay whispers.
Janeway argues with him. And since Doc is with her, she orders him to give Chakotay a little jolt from the Happy Hypospray. "I need to wake, not slee!" he insists, to no avail.
The first officer struggles, but the newly-"awakened" crew hold him long enough for Doc to spritz him. His last act is to howl in frustration.
"It's all right, Commander. You're awake again. You dozed off." Chakotay tells Doc he hadn't been able to wake himself with the tap-tap-tap. Doc says they're near enough to the planet (which now fills the forward viewscreen) to make staying conscious very difficult.
Chakotay decides the time to act is now; he jumps up to beam down to the planet. Doc halts him long enough to hand him a hard-core variant of the animazine stimulant, the only thing that might keep him awake. "And Commander, I suggest we keep an open com line. I may need to provide you with a verbal splash of cold water every now and then."
While Tuvok and Torres and Janeway stride through the corridor, Janeway taps her hand. But it doesn't work for her.
"It's safe to assume that Chakotay and the doctor are making every effort to wake us from our sleep," Tuvok says.
"We have to let the rest of the crew know that as long as they know they're in a dream they can't be harmed," Janeway says.
"and if the aliens try to stop us?"
"Then we turn this dream world of theirs..." Janeway says, grabbing Betsy from Tuvok, flicking off the safety, and letting her mouth twist into a feral grin.
"...Into a nightmare."
Chakotay materializes in a large and dusty cavern. "Okay, doctor...i'm in."
His tricorder takes him to the source of the neurogenic field--a monstrous cavern filled with thousands of sleeping aliens. It's like a national kindergartner convention at nap time.
The sight of sleeping aliens would look far less daunting if Chakotay didn't know exactly what they were dreaming about.
Janeway and Tuvok take the lead, weapons at the ready, while Torres walks behind them.
Two aliens guard the entrance to Cargo Bay 2. "Stand aside," orders Janeway.
A third alien appears out of nowhere. "Your weapons are useless against us."
"You're not fooling anyone. We know this is a dream," Janeway sneers.
"You're confused," the alien sneers right back.
"Actually, I'm finally seeing things clearly."
The alien ends the inane exchange by ordering his guards to fire on the Starfleeters. Two twin bolts of booger-green energy lashes out at Janeway and Tuvok, striking them in the chest.
And just as in "Spectre of the Gun," since they know it won't hurt them...it doesn't.
"Now stand aside," Janeway says smugly. The guards part to let them into the cargo bay.
I'm sure the crew is encouraged by the sight of their captain entering the room with her favorite weapon in hand.
"All of you, listen closely. What we have to do is stay in control of the dream. If we can do that the aliens shouldn't be able to hurt us."
I know we the audience know they're dreaming...but most of the crew probably doesn't. Only a few heard Tuvok and the gang debating their current situation. Most of them don't seem to know what the captain is talking about.
But she's holding Betsy, so they nod their heads vigorously. "Control the dream. Okee doke. You got it, cap'n."
Seven throws Harry against a bulkhead just for old times' sake.
The head alien decides that force is no longer the best weapon in their arsenal, and switches to psychological warfare. "You sound very sure of yourself, captain. Have you thought about what's happening to your bodies in the waking world? How long do you think they'll survive without nourishment? Without physical activity? Your bodies are withering away as we speak. You can't stop it."
But if antimatter can't intimidate Action Kate, nothing will. "Don't be so sure," she drawls.
Chakotay tells Doc he's found the source of their problems: a neurogenic amplifier and transmitter. He can't turn it off, though, and his phaser couldn't penetrate its force field.
And as we watch, he finds himself struggling mightily to stay awake. Doc has to shout him back to consciousness. Doc tells him to take the hypospray.
Chakotay pulls it out...then he gets an idea. He starts asking questions about animazine, hovering over one of the aliens, clutching the hypospray like a weapon. As he talks, Doc repeats his insistence that Chakotay shoot up.
"Commander, I'd be happy to discuss comparative pharmacology with you after you administer your injection."
But Chakotay has other ideas. "I'm going to give it to one of my sleepy friends here. If I can wake him up I might be able to get him to deactivate this generator."
Doc doesn't like that idea at all. "There's not enough animazine for two doses! If you fall asleep again, I can't revive you."
Chakotay sighs and squeezes his eyes shut. He tells Doc to go to the bridge and prepare a photon torpedo to launch into the cavern. Doc protests, but Chakotay makes it an order, and his command voice will not be denied.
But that never stopped Doc before.
"You're delirious. You're asking me to incinerate you."
"Not just me...these aliens...and their transmitter, too. But only if you don't hear from me in five minutes. Understood?"
"Commander..." Doc tries one last time.
Doc relents. "Aye, sir."
Chakotay shoots up one of the aliens, who promptly disappears from Cargo Bay 2 in Dream World. He wakes up, and freaks out when he sees Chakotay's phaser staring him in the face.
"Tell me how to deactivate this transmitter, or I start shooting."
"What happened?" the most annoying alien demands of his colleagues.
"Looks like he woke up," Janeway says as if she expected this all along.
Chakotay holds the gun as the alien continues to shake.
"I'll give you five seconds. four...three...two..."
Chakotay collapses on the ground, fast asleep.
Chakotay appears in Cargo Bay 2.
The annoying alien smiles unpleasantly. "Who's going to help you now, captain?"
Chakotay takes over the conversation. "I found the cavern and your people. I'm there right now in the waking world. And it will all be destroyed in less than two minutes unless you deactivate that transmitter."
The alien snorts. "If you are there, you'll be killed, too. I think you're lying."
You know, I really don't like that guy.
Neither, it seems, does anyone else. Chakotay matches his gaze. "Oh, believe me, if I don't contact my ship you and I are both going to die in our sleep."
For a species that lost too many of its people exactly that way, the threat is the worst imaginable. The alien, and his people, blink.
Chief medical officer's log, Stardate 51471.3. With the neurogenic field neutralized I've been successful in reviving the entire crew. Unfortunately, the experience has produced a troubling side effect for many of them: acute insomnia.
Chakotay tosses and turns. Finally, he gives up and gets up.
He enters the mess hall in his sleep clothes, working away at a PADD, ordering lights on.
He reaches for a piece of greenish fruit from a bowl. Neelix pops up from behind the counter, making him jump a little before he can grab it.
"Sorry, Commander. I didn't mean to frighten you."
"You're not starting breakfast this early, are you?" Chakotay asks, grabbing the fruit and beginning to peel it with his fingernails.
"Just rearranging the supply cabinets. I couldn't sleep."
"Neither could I," Chakotay admits.
"How about a soothing cup of tea?" Neelix offers.
"Sounds good," says Chakotay, putting the partially-peeled fruit back in the bowl. (Eww.)
"I know it's silly," says Neelix as Chakotay sits down, "but every time I'm about to doze off I become terrified that I won't be able to wake again."
Chakotay seems to know exactly what he means.
The door slides open, admitting a very sweaty Paris and Kim. Paris is in sweats; Kim is in cutoffs.
"You, too?" Chakotay asks.
"We just finished a little late-night hoverball on the Holodeck. Three games in a row. We were hoping it would wear us out."
Neelix arrives with the tea and takes a seat. "You know, I could learn to enjoy these late-night get-togethers."
"Speak for yourself," says Paris. "I would kill for a good night's sleep."
When Tuvok enters, yawning, in his night clothes (the blue Zoot Suit number), Chakotay suggests it's time for Neelix to fire up the grill.
They all share a tired laugh.
When Tuvok starts the episode nekkid, you know it's gonna be a fun hour of television.
This scene was no doubt inspired by the famous behind-the-scenes prank when Kate Mulgrew stole Tim Russ' clothes--so he walked around without them.
We haven't had a nekkid Vulcan on the bridge of a Starship since Kim Cattrell. And nobody has those pictures anymore.
But it was tastefully done--as several fans have already complained to me.
The use of lucid dreaming was pretty cool. And the concept of a species that lives in a dreamworld was also very cool. The sleep state versus dream state was also well handled, keeping me guessing, not giving everything away at once, and not taking the easy way out. I like that they got creative, providing new twists and turns along the way, leading the crew along as needed.
Truth be told, I haven't had this much fun watching Voyager since "Worst Case Scenario." It's been a long wait.
The first thing to note is that Chakotay was written very well this week. He had good ideas, he contributed a strong plan of action, and he carried the day by thinking on his feet. The only thing I could have done without was the self-sacrifice; it wasn't strictly necessary, though it did add drama to the scene.
Janeway had a similar moment of "calculated risk" that seems more like suicidal tendencies. Yeah, it worked, but it makes you wonder if she's playing with a full deck. Much as I like to play up the Action Kate moments, the truth is that this sort of self-sacrifice is not encouraged in Starfleet captains. And for a good reason--they're far more useful alive. They cost too much to train to let them jump into antimatter explosions whenever they feel like it. And in this case, janeway is utterly irreplaceable.
Janeway said the explosion should have taken out the whole ship, so she could have just waited there with Torres and Tuvok.
But it's more dramatic that way, I suppose. And as they say, nothing succeeds like success.
Other great moments: Harry. You gotta love the kid, but when it comes to Seven he's a complete doofus. Even in his dreams, he has to be slammed into a bulkhead and practically ravished before he realizes it's okay to kiss back. He's agonizingly bashful around Seven, who appreciates candor above all else. And when she begins a "diversion" by taking their relationship into Ike Turner territory, he doesn't even think to defend himself.
Seven, sweetheart--you can do much, much better.
The nightmares in the teaser were all well done. Tuvok's Most Embareassing Moment. Paris' Death By Shuttlecraft. Janeway's greatest fear that she failed in her effort to get her people home alive. And Harry's dream that was great for him--right up to the moment the alien appeared.
This compares a little to the episode "Persistence of Vision" in the second season--where the crew were paralyzed by visions of their innermost thoughts--fears, anxieties, desires. The ones portrayed at that time were mostly of home--loved ones far away, that they worried they'd never see again. Or as in Paris' case, those they hoped never to. That episode had its moments.
This episode had a lot more of them.
It was fun, but it wasn't merely fun. The danger was real, and it took courage and ingenuity and endurance to overcome it. Everyone helped, though the stars of the hour were Doc and Chakotay, the only one who could control his transitions from wake to sleep. The aliens, though completely unnamed, had a good deal more coherent motivation for their actions--preservation from "the waking species"--than the "Persistence of Vision" alien's "because we can."
And it helped that the aftermath was addressed--the insomnia was shown, as was the variety of ways they were dealing with it. The final scene in the mess hall, with just the men, was very cool.
I highly recommend this one.
On a 0-10 scale, I'm giving it...what the heck. Give it a 10.
Next week: Romulans, predators, more fireworks between Seven and Torres, and a real Dick. Andy Dick, that is.
If you want a second opinion, 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.