|The second Array. From Wikia|
Every plan needs to have a contingency. Should the first few episodes of Voyager have bombed so hard in the ratings that there was no hope of ever keeping it going, Cold Fire was outlined as a flexible story that would allow the production team to wrap things up after a respectable 26 episodes. As that obviously didn't occur (although God knows why not), this episode instead stands as a funky episode to develop Kes' character and pick up a plot point that's been hanging for a good six months.
Ten months after the alien Caretaker brought Voyager to the Delta Quadrant, the ship begin tracing lifesigns in the alien's remains, which point them towards another array occupied by a bunch of Occampa that, unlike Kes' people on the homeworld, have developped into snooty and all-powerful being capable of transcending the laws of physics. The suspicious Tanis teaches Kes some nifty tricks, but Kes' lack of control only leads to her burning through her Hydroponics bay and accidentally boiling Tuvok's blood while it was in his face. The array's controller is The Caretaker's mate, Suspira, an equally powerful being who attempts to take revenge upon Voyager for "killing" her companion. When Kes fights Tanis off, and the crew manage to fight off Suspira, she leaves them alone and yet another chance to get home is pissed down the drain.
Kes' character arc is continuing quite nicely, what with the development of her powers to be able to do funky shit. In the pilot her people were somewhat pathetic, with their ridiculously short lifespan and, as of Elogium, fucking bizarre biology which includes a swelling tongue and a uterus on their back. Not that these guys are any better, the only representatives channelling what I can only describe as Elven Snobbery with their pointed ears and professed greater understanding of reality above mere mortals. As if we didn't already have enough of that with the Vulcans, we get a wooden and slightly creepy Tanis to add to the mix. (Who would later play an important Vulcan in Enterprise.)
|Would copper-based blood have a higher or lower boiling|
point than iron-based blood? idk. From Wikia
But Jennifer Lien's charm as Kes does manage to deliver the episode through some of its more misguided moments (even with the weird screams) and the joy of all that background exposition as to Kes' potential (which we eventually see at the beginning of Season Four and then to a ridiculous degree in Season Six) is enough to mark it down as something more notable than the end that never was. I'm both grateful that this wasn't the end of the series, as its highest points are yet to come (in their droves), but I'm also saddened that this is yet another episode where a promised way home turns out to be a depressing disappointment.
NEXT WEEK: We return to the Kazon plot as our lovely friend Seska returns in Manuevers.