The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"The Voyager Conspiracy"

by David E. Sluss

27 November 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Way off the plausibility meter, but tolerable as clip shows go.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.5 (D)

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Seven to Naomi: "Your physiology is... different from mine." As if she hadn't noticed...

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: Seven says that Voyager encountered a "former Talaxian colony" a few weeks back. Say what? Voyager is something like 30,000 light years away from Talax(ia) and they're still running into them? Not only is it obvious that the Talaxians are largely bumpkins who don't seem to be running an empire in the Delta Quadrant, but Neelix himself said years ago, in "Fair Trade," that Voyager had left space known to the Talaxians. Once again, we seem to have Voyager's writers forgetting how much progress Voyager (the vessel, not the show) has made.

NOSTALGIA OF THE WEEK: Mentions of Kes in this episode were surprising, considering how rarely she has been mentioned since leaving the ship; even in episodes screaming for a namedrop, like "Hour of Hell," Kes has seemed to be a permanent resident of Voyager's "continuity ashcan." Although some retconning seems to have taken place (i.e. Neelix's claim Kes that "always thought" something was going on with the Caretaker despite no indication in three years that she harbored any such suspicions), it's nice to know she hasn't been erased from Voyager's history (even though that means we're stuck with such dreck as "Cold Fire" and "Elogium").

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: It's amazing how blase Voyager's captain and crew are about unauthorized shuttle launches. Here we have Harry phoning the Captain: "<yawn> Seven ripped the Delta Fryer" and Janeway replying: "<sigh> Lay in a pursuit course," as if this happens every week (which it does, now that I think about it).

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Janeway and Chakotay prove to be all-day suckers and buy into Seven's cock-and-bull conspiracy theories all too easily. I particularly think that the Maquis conspiracy that Janeway heard about was flimsy. Chakotay "compensated" the alien of the week with what exactly? Chakotay got the cloaked ship that tractored the reactor where exactly? Chakotay, the second-in-command has guided Voyager 30,000 light years to this precise location how exactly? Chakotay planned to use the catapult to attack the Federation using what ships and weapons exactly? Chakotay planned to resurrect the dead-as-doornails Maquis resistance fighters using what Amerind ritual exactly? The Federation conspiracy that Seven told Chakotay about is at least possible, though not plausible, but the Maquis story doesn't play at all, and Janeway was a fool to believe any of it.

DISCONTINUITIES OF THE WEEK: With so many references to past episodes and Voyager's appalling track record of consistency, there were bound to be glitches. For instance:

  • "The Caretaker was looking for a mate." Voyager's first episode has the Caretaker looking for a "genetically compatible replacement" for himself. Now, unless Banjo-man intended to go where no man has gone before with Ensign Kim, that is not the same thing as looking for a mate.
  • "The Caretaker returned all those hijacked ships back to their homes." That doesn't square with the experience of the Equinox, as far as I can tell, although one could argue that this was screwed up in "Equinox" and not here.
  • "Commander Seska." As I recall, Seska was a lieutenant (fanwanks with tapes can check "State of Flux," "Prime Factors," etc.).
  • "Seska impregnated herself with Chakotay's child." No, that was a scam. Seska copped to the fact that the child was Maje Cullah's (in "Basics II").
  • "Janeway allowed Kes to leave." A euphemism perhaps, but in "The Gift," Janeway more or less had to get Kes off the ship so she could Evolve to a Higher Level without destroying Voyager.

FUNCTIONING WITHIN NORMAL PARAMETERS OF THE WEEK: During the test of the catapult, Harry says the gizmo is set for 100 light years. The Forehead Alien and his ship are launched. A couple of hours later he phones, saying he went 5,000 light years! First, a piece of technology so unreliable that it was off by that much would require a hell of a lot more testing before being used; otherwise Voyager could find itself back in Kazon country, and no one wants that. Second, 5,000 light years seems to be pushing even Star Trek's Magical Tech as far as real-time communication goes.

MYSTERIES OF THE WEEK: Seven's conspiracy theories turn out to be a total crock, but they bring up a few issues that are never addressed, such as:

  • Why did Voyager have the non-standard tri-cobalt devices on board?
  • What was that blue light in the Array video that Seven though was a tractor beam?
  • Where did that forehead alien get the Technobabble Reactor, if it's such unusual tech?

Everyone seemed to lose interest in these supposedly troubling issues after the heart-warming Seven/Janeway Delta Fryer scene, perhaps because they all fell into a diabetic coma as a result.

EXPEDIENCY OF THE WEEK: In "Caretaker," Janeway was willing to strand Voyager by destroying the Array in order to keep it out of the wrong hands. This week, all indications are that Voyager used Caretaker-level technology to get a relatively small jump and left the catapult right where it was, for any of the trash of the Delta Quadrant (like, say, the tech-needy and sneak-attack-prone Voir Dire from "Dragon's Teeth" just two weeks ago) to scavenge and abuse. I guess a lot changes in five years...

Thanks to Jamahl Epsicokhan, whose website, Star Trek: Hypertext, was an indispensable resource as I was tracking down past Voyager episodes that blatantly contradict this one. Jammer's too positive, but his reviews are more useful as reference material than mine are. :-)
 

Previous: "One Small Step"
Next: "Pathfinder"
NEXT WEEK: A Next Generation crossover sweeps onto your screen, but despite the shameful name-dropping in the preview, I doubt that Captain Picard will be making an appearance.

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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