In the twenty-fifth and penultimate episode of the second season ofÂ Voyager, I now command this ship, and may there be happy sailing forever. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.Â
I really hope this show doesnâ€™t ignore me and my very specific demands because I HAVE A GREAT NEED.
First of all: YES.Â Yes. I do love getting to see different characters helm the captainâ€™s role across the variousÂ Star TrekÂ entities, and this is no exception. Tuvok makes a fascinating captain, and the writers take advantage of the opportunity to give us a fantastic story. Granted, I think â€œThe Quickeningâ€ drops us into the action in a jarring way. Perhaps that was intended, but I admit that it allows the writers to spend way more time on the ramifications of the virus that Janeway and Chakotay have than on the set-up.
Which allows us to get a glimpse of the multi-week drama that comes fromÂ VoyagerÂ leaving the commander and the captain behind. I appreciate that even though theyâ€™re returned in the end, the two crew members are gone for nearly two months time. It gives the experience far more depth than I expected, and therefore, the emotional toll on the remaining crew makes even more sense. The near-mutiny that Henry Kim leads comes from the fact that they all get further and further away from both the people they left behindÂ andÂ a possible solution to that conflict. On top of that? Tuvokâ€™s leadership style lacks any emotion, and it makes him seem cold and uncaring.
Of course, we know thatâ€™s not true. (And that scene with Kes is so goddamn powerful, too. I loved that we were reminded that he lost a very close friend in the process.) Tuvok may be able to control his emotions, but that doesnâ€™t mean he canâ€™t understand why theyâ€™re important. His decision to go after the Vidiians for possible help is evidence that he cares about the emotional well-being of his crew, especially since the majority of themÂ wantÂ to put themselves at risk in order to save Janeway and Chakotay.
Itâ€™s a satisfying story about compromise and duty, and itâ€™s also a great chance for many of these characters â€“ Kes and Harry in particular â€“ to shine.
Again, I found the opening of this episode quite jarring, but the story justified it once the writers moved into the experience of Chakotay and Janeway spending nearly two months isolated from their crew. But this isnâ€™t just about isolation. After spending that much time trying to find a cure for the virus theyâ€™re infected with, they both struggle with hope. Should they entertain the hope of finding a cure? Getting home? Reuniting with their friends? Or should they plan to survive alongside each other?
I understood Janewayâ€™s insistence in trying to find a way to cure herself. And it made sense to me why she was so uncomfortable with Chakotayâ€™s behavior. Every time he made something that added comfort to their living arrangement, it felt like him conceding defeat or admitting that their predicament was hopeless. So I found it illuminating that these characters approached this conflict from such different places. How charactersÂ reactÂ to a conflict can be a brilliant experience for the audience, you know?
Now, Iâ€™ve been dancing around the obvious part of this, but I wanted to talk about why this story works just from a writing standpoint first. Itâ€™s a weird conflict that you know will be resolved positively in the end, so the tension and entertainment had to come from somewhere. And â€œResolutionsâ€ finds that by sticking Chakotay and Janeway in an environment where their affection for one another can flourish, and OH LORD, DOES IT EVER. Look, I didnâ€™t go into this show ready to ship Chakotay/Janeway (whose names make for difficult yet coincidental portmanteaus because LOOK AT THEM, THEIR NAMES ALREADY INCORPORATE THE OTHERS), but Iâ€™ll be damned if I ever disembark this ship. EVER.
How? How can I? This episode depicts two people who are not only attracted to each other, but who respect one another deeply. Thatâ€™s more of the reason why I believe they have such good chemistry. Itâ€™s rare that I am into ships without friction, but here I am, ready to declare myself completely overwhelmed by these two. He built a headboard for her! He made her cry with a totally bullshit legend from his people (WHO ARE HIS PEOPLE, STOP DANCING AROUND THAT,Â VOYAGER) just so he could tell her that he would doÂ anythingÂ for her! They planned on building more rooms! HE WAS GONNA BUILD HER A BOAT.Â HE BUILT HER A FUCKING BATHTUB WITHIN THE FIRST COUPLE WEEKS. Come on, the fics write themselves!
If thereâ€™s any flaw here, itâ€™s in the distracting lack of any acknowledgement at the end of â€œResolutionsâ€ that this actually happened. Itâ€™s like that one episode ofÂ The Next GenerationÂ where Picard and Dr. Crusher went through a somewhat similar experience, except instead of a bullshit copout, no one says anything. Perhaps their stoic return to the captain and first officer chairs in the final scene was them trying to say that theyâ€™re just gonna ignore everything, but I donâ€™t know that I find that all that convincing. Itâ€™s a subtext I had to pull out of the text, you know? Does that really count?
Otherwise, I enjoyed this episode a lot. Whew, my emotions.
The video for â€œResolutionsâ€ can be downloadedÂ 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.
– IÂ will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!