In the twenty-fifth and penultimate episode of the third season ofÂ Voyager, THIS EPISODE IS SO COOL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.Â
OH MY GOD, WHAT A GLORIOUS EPISODE OF TELEVISION. WE HAVE SO MUCH TO DISCUSS.
I admire how outright confusing the opening scene is of this show, especially since the editing, costuming, and story cleverly disguisesÂ whenÂ this is taking place. An offhand comment from Tuvok, Kes’s hair, and the appearance of Seska – pre-reveal of who she really is) â€“ all helped me to figure out when this might have occurred, but theÂ howÂ was still a mystery. A flashback? A dream? Something else?
The Newest Fad
NO, IT’S A MYSTERIOUS HOLONOVEL WRITTEN BY SOMEONE BACK WHENÂ VOYAGERÂ LEFT THE ARRAY AND NO ONE KNEW IT WAS THERE. Y’all, this is absolutely one of theÂ bestÂ ideas in anyÂ Star TrekÂ episode, and you know what’s even better than that? The fact that it is executed so well. Let’s talk about how this trendy holonovel affects the crew because it’s so fascinating to me! Initially, B’Elanna accesses it and keeps it to herself becauseâ€¦ well, it’sÂ controversial, isn’t it? The whole idea behind the novel â€“ that Chakotay led a Maquis uprising onÂ VoyagerÂ â€“ is so deliciously offensive that B’Elanna feels kindaÂ wrongÂ about it.
Yet it’s written in such a compelling light, one that proposes a possible set of realities from that premise. I gotta say that “Worst Case Scenario” gave me a real sense of why holonovels are so addictive to the crew, and I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen more of them. They’re a combination of LARPing and choose-your-own-adventure stories!!! AND YOU CAN START BACK AT THE BEGINNING EACH TIME, TOO! Which is what Tom does when he gives the story a chance, and despite that many elements of the story remained unchanged, it was still a treat to see it eventually morph into something new once Tom tried to defy Chakotay instead of joining him as B’Elanna had done.
On top of that, the popularity of the holonovel creates a new mystery: WHO THE HELL WROTE IT? My initial guesses were Chakotay and Janeway. Janeway was taking a risk in trusting Chakotay at the start of the series, so it made sense that she might prepare for the worst case scenario if Chakotay and the Maquis could not integrate into the crew. Then, I theorized that perhaps Chakotay authored this as a gesture to Janeway, to show her he was serious about becoming part of the crew. Thus, he provided her with a resource for a training exercise! Right? It makes sense!
But there was a clue the whole time, one I ignored because I didn’t see Tuvok as being capable of writing such intense emotions. Tom notices the rigidity of Tuvok’s clinging to logic and protocol within the holonovel, and that should have been the hint that Tuvok was the author, that this all was a training exercise he started in case things went badly.
Started. Did not finish, y’all.
Which means that “Worst Case Scenario” then turns into one of the funniest thingsÂ VoyagerÂ has ever done: multiple characters arguing about the best type of fiction. Is it high drama? Suspense and tons of plot twists? Emotional drive? OH MY GOD, EVERYTHING THESE CHARACTERS SAY SOUNDS LIKEÂ STAR TREKÂ FANS ARGUING OVER THIS VERY SHOW. It’s beautiful. Hilarious. Tragically meta.
But you know why else I loved it? Yes, it’s a clever way for the show to talk about narratives, surprises, plot twists, and character motivation. Yet as each of these characters approached Tom and Tuvok to ask for what they wanted in the next installments in the novel, it became painfully obvious that these peopleÂ cravedÂ entertainment. We take this for granted because we have so much of it available to us. However, the people aboardÂ VoyagerÂ have a limited amount of programs and novels on the holodeck. Tuvok’s program is the first “new” thing they’ve gotten in YEARS. LITERAL YEARS.
Oh my god, I hope a huge holonovel community springs up after this. Can. you. fucking. imagine. It would be like AO3 but in the holodeck. THIS IS TOO GREAT, SOMEONE WRITE THIS FIC.
Admittedly, the final third of “Worst Case Scenario” is the weakest of the episode. Seska isn’t exactly the most intimidating antagonist, though I was amused by her being so petty that she hid this whole program within something else, just in the hope that one day, Tuvok would open it and she could get her revenge. Likeâ€¦ that isÂ petty. I respect that!
But there’s just so much depth to the other parts of “Worst Case Scenario.” There’s the tension of the very existence of the holonovel, which almost feels like literary contraband. Then, there’s the beauty of watching the crew fight over how to end it. Yet the conclusion comes from a lot forced tension and a clever twist to take Seska out. It was cool seeing Janeway figure out that she could edit the story in real time to keep Tuvok and Tom alive! I enjoyed that. But the scenes that came before this one were the best parts for me.
Oh god, I have become these characters complaining about a holonovel, haven’t I? IT’S TOO META.
The video for “Worst Case Scenario” 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. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.Â Â 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!