The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"The Fight"

by David E. Sluss

28 March 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: An undercard bum with a glass jaw; Voyager takes a dive.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 2.5 (F-)

QUOTABLE OF THE WEEK: Chakotay on technobabble: "It doesn't make any sense! I can't understand it! I'm scared I'm losing my mind!"

RETROCHARACTERIZATION OF THE WEEK: Chakotay a boxer? That's certainly out of the blue, much like Paris' love of the sea in "Thirty Days." And it doesn't seem to fit the character, who has generally been portrayed as a man of peace turned reluctant warrior.

RETROCHARACTERIZATION OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: So someone "switched off" Chakotay's crazy gene before his birth. That raises two serious questions. First, why didn't they "switch on" his personality gene while they were at it? Second, how does that square with the notion of genetic engineering being illegal in the Federation (c.f. Deep Space Nine's "Doctor Bashir, I Presume," and its sequels)?

VOYAGER CLICHES OF THE WEEK: There's quite a laundry list. We have an in media res opening, a Spatial Anomaly, DNA Trickery, and bizarre blinking devices attached to the head of a lead character. All we're missing is a shuttle crash.

WALKING CLICHE OF THE WEEK: It's a close race between Boothby and Chakotay's grandfather, but I'm going with Boothby. In fairness, that isn't entirely the fault of Voyager; Boothby always was a walking cliche, even on The Next Generation, a crusty but benign old fart who could spout useful, if obvious, gems of wisdom on cue, in homily form. However, Voyager's writers have managed to turn the Boothby character into a parody of himself, aided and abetted by Ray Walston, who did little more than phone in his Burgess Merideth impression this week. And that Boothby really is all-purpose plot dev --  excuse me -- person, isn't he? I mean, he's Starfleet Academy's ethics expert, a de facto faculty adviser for the cadets, and a boxing coach. When does he have time to mow the lawn?

BOXING CLICHE OF THE WEEK: Aside from Boothby's various tired old saws, I'd have to go with the Super-Slo-Mo shot of Chakotay being knocked out in the holodeck. Has any knockout scene filmed in the last twenty-five years not been shot in Super-Slo-Mo?

CLICHE AVOIDED OF THE WEEK: I could hardly believe that "Kid Chaos" didn't turn out to be an Eeevil Chakotay when he was finally revealed, which would have been eye-rollingly obvious, especially in light of all the "Your real opponent is yourself" crapola. On the other hand, the opponent turning out to be a humanoid manifestation of chaotic space itself was rather laughable. And I'm not sure whose get-up was more ridiculous: Kid Chaos' stars and space enclosed in a gold robe, or Chakotay's shimmering pink Victoria's Secret T-shirt. Presumably, Beltran's paunch (as opposed to his punch) dictated that he wear a shirt, thus robbing UPN of a good "female demographic" ratings stunt.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: The cavalier use of the transporter in chaotic space struck me as kind of strange. The transporter is a device that fails to work if there's a high wind on a planet's surface, or if you look at it cross-eyed, and yet, in chaotic space, where The Laws of Physics Do Not Apply, beaming corpses and tech from the alien ship is apparently no tribble at all. On the bright side, I suppose that if the crew had had to modify the transporter, the viewers would have been subjected to even more mind-numbing technobabble.
 

Previous: "Course: Oblivion"
Next: "Think Tank"
NEXT WEEK: Voyager visits the Planet of the Stunt Casters.

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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