Friday, 9 May 2014

Review: Voyager 2.20: Investigations
Hating Neelix keeps me young and fresh. From Wikia
Star Trek Voyager - Season Two, Episode Twenty - Investigations
Written between 21st August and 14th October 2013 (Mainly on the latter.)

Voyager's writers did their best over the years to make me hate a certain Mister Neelix, a character whose boundless annoying enthusiasm, nosiness, cowardice and general stupidity have led Voyager both in and out of universe into a world of pain. However, despite the fact that this arc-centric episode places him at the very centre of what's going on, it works somehow. Mainly because, apart from a few agonising scenes here or there, the focus is very niftily shifted onto those running plotlines we've been wondering about - Jonas talking to the Kazon in secret, and Tom Paris acting like a douchebag for no appreciable reason.
      Neelix launches his cheesy daytime show, which leads Harry to tell him about the power of "real journalism". Stumbling upon something he wasn't supposed to stumble upon, Neelix uses his show to advertise the fact that Tom Paris, after a month or so of behaving weirdly, has been sent off the ship to work on a Talaxian Mining Colony. After a moving edition of his show saying goodbye, Neelix finds planted evidence that Paris was a traitor, leading Janeway to clue him in on the real plan, which was to allow Paris to be captured by the Kazon in order to allow him to find the spy currently operating aboard Voyager. Of course, they find that it's Michael Jonas - he cocks up, and Jonas ends up getting incinerated by accident. Tom is back on good terms, the spy is gone and Neelix gets to claim all the credit for it.
      "A Briefing With Neelix" is endlessly crappy in all of its incarnations, with Neelix' blundering both playing into the crew's master plan and, in the true Neelix style, hindering it at every step. In this interim where I've not been writing much, I've been watching some more of Deep Space Nine, and compared to the more serious atmosphere over there, Voyager's second season feels laughably trivial. We're supposed to be feeling the strain of the continued battle with the Kazon, of a crew still coping with being on the other side of the Galaxy. It still feels far too early for everyone to feel so acclimatised to their new environment, and Neelix's cheap and cheerful breakfast show.
Neelix badgers a good character.
     While the culmination of Paris' plot was fairly clever, it did fall into the status quo, with the end result being that the possible character development he could have had has been thrown away for the sake of the plot. Michael Jonas, in his final episode, continues to occupy a cartoon villainy which Voyager is particularly adept at delivering, to the point where there are several scenes in which he can be found rubbing his hands together in glee. It's a neat way to tie everything together, but the overall effect when coupled with the larger role given to that hairy-faced yellow-eyed motherfucker Neelix is greatly diminshed. What should have been a tremendous end to an arc came down with all the epic proportions of a graceful butterfly.


NEXT WEEK: Harry Kim dies again, this time for real. Not that anyone will mention it after the fact. Two Voyagers are caught in a Deadlock.

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