Thursday, 30 January 2014

Review: Voyager 2.6: Twisted

http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120507204036/memoryalpha/en/images/7/74/Kes_Birthday_locket_Tom.jpg
Probably the point where you realise that Neelix has a tinypoint,
even if he's being a dick about reacting to it.
Star Trek Voyager - Season Two, Episode Six (Season One, Episode Nineteen) - Twisted
Written 17/6/13

Spatial god-damn anomalies. It's one thing to have crazy alien schenanigans, but it does take the biscuit when your main problems arise from something as silly and non-explainable as "spatial anomalies". Twisted was the penultimate episode of the produced first season, but was the last of the four "hang-overs" to be produced, supposedly because of the producers' and the network's opinion of its quality. However, as being contrary is as part of my soul as is apple tea with a hint of cinammon, I love this episode and all of its fun little faults.
     While holding a surprise party on the Sandrine's holoprogram for Kes' birthday, the ship encounters a spatial anomaly that takes out the comm system. Neelix is jealous of Tom again, because he gets Kes a necklace. As the characters attempt to get to their respective posts, the position of rooms on the ship seems to curve aoround in on each other and they all end up back on Deck Six, outside the Holodeck. As the anomaly warps the ship's dimensions and slowly approaches the Holodeck, the crew become increasingly frustrated and distressed as all of their attempts to halt its progress fail. They slowly accept their possible deaths, facing a last stand and telling people their last thoughts, before the anomaly washes over them and leaves them unharmed - it was simply a method of communication, sent by an unknown alien species.
     The writers apparently didn't like the way that having this episode just after Elogium made Neelix look like an absolute cock, but the simple flaw in their concerns is that Neelix looks like a cock no matter what he does in what order, and so putting this episode back is not really very useful. If anything it's great, because he vanishes for unknown reasons for half the episode, leading the rest of the cast to do some very nice acting. A lot of the script was padded to make up the time, and what results are quite a few really nice character scenes, one or two even including Neelix, with yet another sensible character (this time Chakotay) putting him in his place.
http://voy.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/2x06/twisted196.jpg
They spent all the money on landing the ship in The '37s.
Give 'em a break.
     And those character moments were what won it for me. A little like The Cloud, this episode feels like a multi-centric one that revels in the joy of a "normal day" under its premise, and so all of the characters get development in various directions. The killer scene is that one near the end where after arguing with Tuvok, the Maquis-minded Chakotay and Torres stop fighting him and the entire group seems to accept the possibility of their death with this brilliantly executed poignancy.
     Twisted feels like a finale. It does, it really does in the way that it reflects a lot of the overarching themes of the seasons what with Chakotay and Torres and the Maquis versus Starfleet thing being done right for a change with subtle differences in principles and attitudes and then seeing them come together and accept one another and say what they've always wanted to say. If you wanted to keep The '37s as the new season premiere, then that's fine. Twisted is not as bad as the writers and the contemporary viewers made it out to be, and despite some of its shoddy effects it allows our characters a much more subtle set of relationships than elsewhere in these early seasons can ever provide.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK: For you, we sort out all of this jealousy business with yet another Neelix episode, where he and Tom are of course stranded somewhere and forced to work out their issues, in Partuition. For me, I'm going to go and write The '37s and finish this original first season off.

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