In the twenty-first episode of the second season ofÂ Voyager, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.
You know, Iâ€™m pretty fine with the idea thatÂ VoyagerÂ 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 â€œThresholdâ€ is a part of that weirdness, but hey, every episode of this show canâ€™t be tolerable! (Iâ€™d say Iâ€™m jesting, but oh my god, I thought about that episode again, and I really canâ€™t deal with it.) â€œDeadlockâ€ is certainly a bizarre one, one that highlights the willingness ofÂ VoyagerÂ to give us high-concept science fiction stories.
Because seriously, Harryâ€™s final scene in â€œDeadlockâ€ 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 thereâ€™s a quiet and unnerving reality to what happened here. TheÂ VoyagerÂ crew split and occupied the same space as another version of themselves. Now, thatâ€™s definitely not the first time weâ€™ve seen this general concept on aÂ Star TrekÂ show, and yet? This still feels soÂ newÂ to me. Why is that?
Thatâ€™s partially because of the relentless nature of the first act of â€œDeadlock.â€ Yâ€™all. Yâ€™ALL. Who thought this was okay? Look, I didnâ€™t think any of this would stick, and itÂ stillÂ didnâ€™t make me feel any better. I didnâ€™t exactly enjoy watchingÂ VoyagerÂ get blasted to pieces, nor did I enjoy knowing that Ensign Wildmanâ€™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, weâ€™d be shocked by the image of the clean, undamagedÂ VoyagerÂ that snaps onto our screen. Thus, the two realities are clear, as are the pulses that destroyed so much of theÂ otherÂ ship.
I appreciated that there was an obvious visual difference between the twoÂ VoyagerÂ ships so that I could identify the crew on sight. But yâ€™all, letâ€™s just be real with ourselves. â€œDeadlockâ€ is so terribly good because of motherfuckinâ€™ Kathryn Janeway. THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THIS. My god, what a horrifying moral choice sheâ€™s dealt with here, and the creepy part is thatÂ itâ€™s the same person who decides to kill off LITERALLY EVERYONE.Â Again, I did not expect aÂ FarscapeÂ turn of events here. At some point, theÂ VoyagerÂ 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, â€œDeadlockâ€ felt hopeless. If the two ships couldnâ€™t be made one, thenâ€¦ what the hell was Janeway supposed to do? SHE CROSSES INTO THE OTHER REALITY TO ARGUE WITH HERSELF. Okay, maybe â€œargueâ€ is a strong word, but yâ€™all, what a delight this whole experience was. See, you canâ€™t ignore that Janeway beat herself at her own game, and I can see why thatâ€™s so haunting to the surviving Janeway. Once the Vidiians go after the undamagedÂ VoyagerÂ 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 doesnâ€™t. Itâ€™s the same decision the surviving Janeway would have made anyway, because thatâ€™s the same person. (I swear, my head hurts the more I think about this.) Thus, â€œDeadlockâ€ 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, itâ€™s the same people sheâ€™s killing off, andâ€¦ my gods, my head hurts again.
But damn, yâ€™all. This was great. INCREDIBLY GREAT.
The video for â€œDeadlockâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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