Mark Watches ‘Voyager’: S04E04 – Nemesis

In the fourth episode of the fourth season of Boyager, WHAT THE FUCK, HOW DARE YOU. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

Trigger Warning: For extensive talk of manipulation, brainwashing/gaslighting, consent, PTSD, and trauma. 

I am fucked up and I am going to be fucked up for a long time. I don’t think the show will actually address the PTSD or trauma that Chakotay experienced, but I’d be pleased if they did. Still… I am in shock. I had a whole review ready in my head, all about how oppressors lie and fabricate and do everything they can to hide the fact that they are awful, violent people. I suppose much of that commentary still applies, but even then… it’s twisted. At the end of “Nemesis,” we never quite know the full context of everything we’ve seen. We don’t find out what started the conflict between the Vori or that Kradin, nor we do we know why it’s lasted for so long. All we know is that it got bad enough that the Vori instituted a new form of indoctrination.

And y’all, it’s downright horrifying. How do I even talk about what I just watched when THE ENTIRE THING WAS ONE EXTENDED, VIOLENT, NONCONSENSUAL PIECE OF PROPAGANDA? Before the big reveal, even I hated the Kradin. How could I not??? They sought out the Vori, hunted them down, desecrated their bodies in death, kidnapped them, threatened sexual violence towards their women, murdered children, ran extermination camps… everything about them was textbook oppressive overlords. In hindsight, I should have realized that they were too perfectly awful, but in the moment, I get why I fell for this. Initially, I thought it was odd that “Nemesis” was so immersive. Until over twenty minutes into the episode, we saw nothing but what Chakotay was dealing with. Because of the format of this story, I began to accept what I was being told. The Kradin were bad, and then, by the time they showed up, I saw they were bad.

Yet everything here – from the nullification of countless Vori to the tragedy of Penno and Karyo and Daryo – was all crafted to make me believe in the Vori’s cause. God, I’d even argue that the way this episode itself was written contributed to that. The Vori are given a complete personification. We learn how their soldiers work with one another; we get a sense for their cultural beliefs; Kenneth Biller’s script provides them with a unique was of talking and phrasing things! Everything exists so that I felt sympathetic towards them.

And it was all a lie. I don’t even know if anyone aside from Brone is actually alive or real. How many of these people were holograms? Fake? Real? Was anything Chakotay told or shown actual reality? Given the way “Nemesis” ends, no one will ever know. Which makes this one of the most haunting Voyager episodes ever. We will never know.

I’M SO FUCKED UP.

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

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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