Monday, September 5, 2016

Anna's Reaction the Star Trek:Voyager Pilot "Caretaker," Part One

Initial Thoughts

Voyager was the Star Trek incarnation present during my formative years, along with reruns of Deep Space Nine, TNG, and a few episodes of Enterprise sprinkled in later for good measure. When I was a kid, my Dad watched Star Trek on a more regular basis than a lot of men watch football. I remember that quite fondly despite my five-year-old mind not quite comprehending everything that was happening on screen. In the spirit of revisiting that curiosity and in honor of Star Trek's 50th anniversary, I've decided to watch Voyager and share my thoughts on the pilot with all of you.

Part 1

The opening crawl discusses the Cardassians. I can't remember if we like them or not. Something tells me that they aren't exactly the warm and fuzzy type. So far the Maquis seem to be a ragtag bunch of life forms trying to protect themselves since apparently they're the only ones interested in the job (the familiar dichotomy of civilization on the outskirts of a territory). I remember Tuvok, the Klingon lady (also known as Torres), and the face tattoo guy (Chokotay). I don't remember much else about them aside from a vague sense of familiarity. Aside from that, this plasma storm looks like a blender making a bubble gum milkshak; whatever is happening, it can't be good. 

*Break for title credits featuring the Voyager in a variety of space conditions in lovely 1990's CGI*

KATE MULGREW <3 excited="" her="" i="" in="" see="" so="" to="" was="">Orange is the New Black, 
and I'm even more excited to visit her as a Starfleet captain. At this point in the viewing, Dad explained to me exactly why The Doctor is his favorite character and provided insight that I intend to use later in this commentary. Where's Seven of Nine? I remember her being in this...right?

The shot focuses on an angry lady and then pans to an ankle tracker that goes quite well with the prisoner's jumpsuit ensemble. Janeway is already 99% done with this kid's crap within five minutes of acquaintance. Dude, she's trying to save you from whatever the heck you're doing here. This vaguely Ewan MacGregor looking guy is at odds with Starfleet because he got mixed up with something that I'm sure will be revealed later. All we know now is that he has previous ties with both Starfleet  and the Maquis. Beyond all that, he's more than willing to consider Janeway's offer as it both gets him out of the  Penal Colony and offers a paycheck.

That being said, Paris has barely been on the transport to Voyager for five minutes and is already hitting on someone. Their introduction quickly segues into discussing the Voyager's specs. I think the writers really just wanted a quick way to divulge the existence of Bio-Neural circuitry: biological material that replaces wiring and makes transfer of information and response time much faster.

Next, we meet Ensign Harry Kim, a new Starfleet officer about to embark on his first mission with the Voyager. A Ferengi salesman is trying to what the Ferengi do best and sell him something. Kim struggles nervously as one would expect and accidentally offends the merchant. He's digging himself into a hole quite rapidly.

But Paris just happens to be watching the whole exchange from nearby and yanks Kim out of said metaphorical hole and simultaneously appeases the Ferengi. I think I'm really going to like this friendship.

At this point, Janeway is basically face timing her partner/boyfriend/husband to make sure that her dog is being taken care of while she's gone. It's a rather cute exchange, and I can see that he truly cares for her and supports her career. (Yay for positive relationship examples!)

Later on the ship Janeway meets up with Kim and Paris.
"Ensign, despite Starfleet protocol, I don't like being addressed as Sir. " -J
"I'm sorry, Ma'am--"-K
"Ma'am will do in a crunch, however, I prefer Captain."-J
You go Captain Janeway. Okay, so Cavit sort of looks like Fred Armisen, and it's throwing me off a little bit. There are so many redshirts in this scene, I'm sort of concerned that everyone is just going to die. I have to admit that I like all the dramatic panning shots of the ship flying through space. The CGI is alright.

 As for life on the ship: Paris's experience with the food service replicator is probably exactly what mine would be. There are fourteen different kinds of Tomato Soup--it can't even get plain right by his estimation. As Paris eats with his fellow crew-mates, his backstory is again hinted at; he just wants everyone to let go of it. I can see how his generally sassy attitude could have landed him in some trouble in the past, but there's definitely a heart of gold in there somewhere.

And now, a return to the bubblegum blender plasma storms! Which apparently contains some force field of doom that kills off everyone wearing a red shirt that isn't a main character. Everyone else wakes up to find that they're suddenly on the other side of the galaxy. The warp core is broken, the medical staff are dead, and chaos is imminent. Luckily there's a nearby star system, and the ship is equipped with a more than capable hologram doctor (who keeps asking for nonexistent backup).

Just as things begin to settle, the entire crew is beamed elsewhere by an unknown force that believes hospitality should be shown by reenacting small town life in late 1800's-early 1900's America. Where's Laura Ingalls when you need her? Janeway isn't falling for any of the old-fashioned hospitality presented by the lovely hologram townspeople.

Meanwhile, Paris and Kim explore the town searching for signs of life and perhaps the missing Maquis crew. A townswoman doesn't seem too keen on the idea and attempts to make advances on both men.

Would ya'll like some deviled eggs?
She asks in a last ditch attempt to keep them from going into a supposedly empty barn.  Her warm inquiries turn into a snarl.

I'm not ready for you yet!
The older lady who first greeted the crew reveals row upon row of unconscious people being sedated with giant needles. This startling revelation ends abruptly as the crew is beamed back to their ship. Paris notes that they've been gone for three days, and everyone leaps into action immediately to figure out their course of action. (Seriously, no one has to pee?) The Maquis ship has apparently also been released from what Janeway refers to as the Array (the technical term for happy hologram land).

 She reaches out to them to make diplomatic contact in hopes that they can take on whatever is going on as a team. (I totally thought she called the ship captain Commander Chipotle.)

Tuvok reveals that he's been a mole for the Federation all along, and Chokotay isn't very happy with him or really any of this situation. But he agrees that it is in their best interest to work with the crew of the Voyager to save Torres and Kim (the only two crew members from either ship that are still missing).

I like that Janeway is pragmatic and adaptable. She's willing to work with whatever she has available and just goes for it. Her immediate suggestion is that they jump back into the Array and demand answers from whoever they can find. Naturally, all the townsfolk have vanished aside from an older man carelessly plucking a banjo. Never trust the guy with a banjo is the lesson here, I guess? The guy is the source of all the turbulent nonsense that's taken place so far. He insists that sending everyone back to where they came from is much too complicated (all the while calling them minor bipedal life forms). He has a debt that cannot be repaid, and in his mind there's no possible way that Janeway could help him despite her multiple offers. The running theme of this exchange is that the man is running out of time to do something, and he rudely beams everyone back to their ships when he's done reiterating that sentiment.

As this exchange goes on Kim and Torres wake up in some sort of hospital to find that they've been implanted with something. It's giving me One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest vibes. Wherever they are, it's clear that they aren't being given much freedom of choice.

 Before I go on, I'd like to mention that Janeway is not only a badass captain, but she gained her status through her noteworthy work in science. She is one of the few, if not the only central characters of a Star Trek series to do so.

This explains her methodology: she jumps right into the next task following protocol until she achieves some form of result. Janeway tracks the energy pulses emanating from the Array to a nearby planet and hypothesizes that it must be where their missing crew members have been taken. It seems to be an uninhabitable planet, missing key parts of the atmosphere. But there's a chance that the missing crew members could be there as well as the true source of the Array; it's definitely worth investigating.

But first, we nap. Tuvok insists that an exhausted Janeway get some rest before they begin the next course of action. She tries to delay his suggestion by talking about a call she received from Ensign Kim's mother soon after their journey began. Janeway expresses that she regrets not taking the time to get to know her crew better and soon realizes that she's found a silver lining to being stranded so far from home. Tuvok is right, she needs sleep.

The crew will not benefit from the leadership of an exhausted captain.

We could all stand to learn that lesson. On that note, part two will be posted tomorrow

To be continued... 


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