Friday, 16 May 2014

Review: Voyager 2.21: Deadlock

http://trekcore.com/gallery/albums/harrykim/deadlock_494.jpg
Alternate!Harry and Alternate!Naomi are brought over to
replace their counterparts. From Trekcore
Star Trek Voyager - Season Two, Episode Twenty-One - Deadlock
Written 15/10/13. "Mr. Kim, we're Starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job."

Deadlock puts me into a state of great disquiet. It holds quite an important position in this season, as it sees the birth of Naomi Wildman, a character who would later go on to act as a funny sidekick to both Neelix and Seven of Nine. It's a big point of canon, is what I'm saying. And aside from that point of canon, this episode is about as batshit crazy as Voyager gets, with temporal-spacial duplication, the return of the Vidiians, another miraculous reset button and the third death of Harry Kim, for good this time. (Don't worry, Garrett Wang wasn't out of a job. Not yet, at least.) This of course means that I can initiate Kim Death Count - 3. Hurrah.
      Voyager is caught in an Anomaly Of The Week and their fuel reserves cut in half. While preparing to analyse the problem, Voyager seems to come under attack from an unknown source, leading to a series of complications including the death of Ensign Wildman's baby post-birth and the unfortunate loss of Harry Kim to the cold void of space, minus the expected cartoon-like explosive decompression which in hindsight would have made it even funnier. Kes wanders through a portal and finds a second Voyager, almost identical to her own, except that their analysis has been causing the "attacks". The two Voyagers attempt to work together, but the "good" Voyager is attacked by a ship full of Vidiians and the "good" Janeway is forced to send her Harry Kim and Naomi Wildman through the portal so that the damaged Voyager can escape unscathed.
     The birth of Naomi Wildman feels very oddly placed, and the dilemma of the two Voyagers places a rather awkward and somewhat black-humoured spin on the entire episode. Long-story short, a baby dies. Despite all of the awesome medical tech of the future, Star Trek has to make up new conditions, and one of these conditions killed that baby dead. Ensign Wildman? She's just experienced something ridiculously traumatic, something that I don't think a show like Voyager is equipped to deal with. The way that the baby is brought back from the other ship and the whole death thing was just glossed over made me feel very uncomfortable, because despite the fact that these quantum doubles are very useful, there's still a god-damn corpse in sickbay, the corpse of Ensign Wildman's real daughter. That's a bit sick.
http://www.startrek.com/legacy_media/images/200303/voy-137-voyager-finds-itself-i/320x240.jpg
The two Voyagers seperate. From StarTrek.com
     That said, the idea of two "quantum" Voyagers existing in the same space at the same time was quite a fun one, and the practical aspects were executed well enough, even if the split screening for the two Janeways looked incredibly tacky, and I'm talking about a franchise which does duplicates more than it does same-sex romances. This proficiency is the execution of the concept did give the writers an excuse to throw in some of Voyager's astounding technobabble along the way. Luckily David Livingston's direction keeps it all together and despite a yard of extra material that had to be bolted onto the episode, the pace is fairly well-done. There are no points in the episode that I could call boring.
     And that's the thing, do I get to harp on an episode like this? Early Voyager has an atmosphere that takes getting used to, and right now I'm a few months out of the loop. Was this episode boring? Did it do anything to really annoy me beyond a few problematic elements? Not really. And that's why Deadlock gets me a little rattled, because I do enjoy it, even though its silliness and the sheer oddity of its premise stinks to high heaven of things that I've berated Voyager for in the past. And that makes it, if not entirely perfect, certainly memorable.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK; Tuvok gets some lessons in parenthood when he fights for the Innocence of three alien children.

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