Mark Watches ‘Voyager’: S02E21 – Deadlock

In the twenty-first episode of the second season of Voyager, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

You know, I’m pretty fine with the idea that Voyager is going to be the show that goes for the weird and lives on the fringe of it. Yes, that means I have to accept that “Threshold” is a part of that weirdness, but hey, every episode of this show can’t be tolerable! (I’d say I’m jesting, but oh my god, I thought about that episode again, and I really can’t deal with it.) “Deadlock” is certainly a bizarre one, one that highlights the willingness of Voyager to give us high-concept science fiction stories.

Because seriously, Harry’s final scene in “Deadlock” is an appropriate reaction to all of this. I know that these are the same characters and that in the grand scope of things, they diverged for only the briefest of moments. But that span of a few hours still matters, and there’s a quiet and unnerving reality to what happened here. The Voyager crew split and occupied the same space as another version of themselves. Now, that’s definitely not the first time we’ve seen this general concept on a Star Trek show, and yet? This still feels so new to me. Why is that?

That’s partially because of the relentless nature of the first act of “Deadlock.” Y’all. Y’ALL. Who thought this was okay? Look, I didn’t think any of this would stick, and it still didn’t make me feel any better. I didn’t exactly enjoy watching Voyager get blasted to pieces, nor did I enjoy knowing that Ensign Wildman’s newly-born child died. NOR DID I LOVE WATCHING HARRY GET SUCKED OUT OF A HULL BREECH AND INTO SPACE. But now I understand why the show went so far in the first third of the episode. By doing so, we’d be shocked by the image of the clean, undamaged Voyager that snaps onto our screen. Thus, the two realities are clear, as are the pulses that destroyed so much of the other ship.

I appreciated that there was an obvious visual difference between the two Voyager ships so that I could identify the crew on sight. But y’all, let’s just be real with ourselves. “Deadlock” is so terribly good because of motherfuckin’ Kathryn Janeway. THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THIS. My god, what a horrifying moral choice she’s dealt with here, and the creepy part is that it’s the same person who decides to kill off LITERALLY EVERYONE. Again, I did not expect a Farscape turn of events here. At some point, the Voyager crew would either have to be rejoined with themselves or one crew would have to be eliminated. How could you have both at the same time?

Thus, when the first attempt at rejoining fails miserably, “Deadlock” felt hopeless. If the two ships couldn’t be made one, then… what the hell was Janeway supposed to do? SHE CROSSES INTO THE OTHER REALITY TO ARGUE WITH HERSELF. Okay, maybe “argue” is a strong word, but y’all, what a delight this whole experience was. See, you can’t ignore that Janeway beat herself at her own game, and I can see why that’s so haunting to the surviving Janeway. Once the Vidiians go after the undamaged Voyager and the crew is unable to hold them off, Janeway knows she has a single chance to save the other ship and take out the Vidiians at the same time.

Does that make her death and the death of EVERYONE on that ship (minus Harry and the Wildman baby) less disturbing? No, it doesn’t. It’s the same decision the surviving Janeway would have made anyway, because that’s the same person. (I swear, my head hurts the more I think about this.) Thus, “Deadlock” is both a disaster episode and a chance to examine what kind of leader Janeway is. She demonstrates her willingness to make a strategic sacrifice to save others. Granted, it’s the same people she’s killing off, and… my gods, my head hurts again.

But damn, y’all. This was great. INCREDIBLY GREAT.

The video for “Deadlock” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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