In the ninth episode of the fourth season ofÂ Voyager, I just feel way too much about Janeway. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Star Trek.Â
Trigger Warning: For genocide
Iâ€™m not surprised that time was â€œerased,â€ so to speak, by the final moments of â€œYear of Hell, Part II.â€ The show had progressed so far into this nightmare that it was barely sustainable beyond where theyâ€™d taken it. But thatâ€™s a large reason why this two-parter is so impactful and important. If the writers were not going to commit to the changes after this year, then at least the show could commit itself to the premise and give us theÂ actualÂ Year of Hell.
And good lord, I truly wasnâ€™t ready.
The writers manage to attain a balance with Annorax so that heâ€™s still a wretched antagonist, but heâ€™s one with a rich and complicated story. I donâ€™t feel sorry for him, nor did I find my sentiments in line with how Chakotay fell about him. For once, I was completely in agreement with Tom Paris. At the same time, I appreciated the writing for Annorax, and it wasÂ brilliantÂ to stick Tom and Chakotay on the Krenim ship in order for us to get that insight. We watch how Annorax latches on to Chakotay. Is his interest in the man genuine or just a manipulation? Probably both, Iâ€™d say, though above else, it was clear to me that Annorax just wanted someone to believe in him. HeÂ hadÂ to have known his crew no longer truly supported him anymore, right?
But thatâ€™s just speculation. I was fascinated by how the show drove a wedge between Tom and Chakotay since it showed us how time calculations could easily consume a personâ€™s life. After months of tests, look how quickly Chakotay takes to the calculation process! And look how rapidly he begins to obsess over the idea of getting thingsÂ justÂ right, despite that perfection in this context is so impossible. Itâ€™s Tom who is the voice of reason, who points out that Annorax has no true understanding of what heâ€™s doing. Perhaps philosophically he understands his destruction, but he still dispenses of civilizations with ease. Thereâ€™s a stunning hypocrisy demonstrated here, since he shows Chakotay that a single comet can affect thousands upon thousands of civilizations. And yet, he argues that the genocide of a whole race of beings is inconsequential. How can that be so? Itâ€™s not, but thatâ€™s how Annoraxâ€™s obsession gets the best of him.
My only complaint is that I wish we could have seen more of Obrist. I WAS FASCINATED BY HIS CHARACTER SO MUCH. Whatâ€™s it like to live for 200 years, never aging, all forÂ someone elseâ€™s dream??? FUCKED UP.
There is no bigger star of this two-parter than Kate Mulgrew, who transforms into a Janeway thatâ€™s inspiring and frightening, often times in the same turn. I amÂ stillÂ unnerved by her performance and the way the writers parallel her obsession with Annoraxâ€™s. Obviously, her obsession is survival and the well-being of her crew. Itâ€™s a different context. But her behavior here regularly shows a lack of self-preservation; she cares about the survival ofÂ others. When faced with poisonous gas from a nebula leaking into the ship, she pushes herself and Harry far beyond the Doctorâ€™s requirements. Then, she refuses full treatment for herself! When sheâ€™s injured yetÂ again, she not only disobeys the Doctorâ€™s orders, but she defies literally everything he says.
Iâ€™ve seen Janeway as a bit of a rebel in general â€“ itâ€™s a great aspect of her character â€“ yet what we see is Janeway pushed to an extreme end through extreme circumstances. Frankly, Iâ€™ve never seen so much of her crew openly disagree with her. And if theyâ€™re not doing that, theyâ€™re looking upon her with a terrified sadness that was DEEPLY UPSETTING TO ME. But the writers ground all of this in her love forÂ Voyager, which gives us one of the more moving scenes in the entire series: Janeway explaining to Tuvok why she has such an emotional attachment to an inanimate object. That monologue is so wonderful because itâ€™s true:Â VoyagerÂ is very much a character on this show. Itâ€™s theirÂ home. Itâ€™s the way that theyâ€™ve become a family. WhyÂ wouldnâ€™tÂ Janeway defendÂ VoyagerÂ until the very end?
And that end is really something else. She orders her crew to other ships, remains behind onÂ Voyager, and after all attempts to stop the Krenim time ship are exhausted, she does the one thing she has left: SHE RAMS THE KRENIM SHIP WITHÂ VOYAGERÂ AND SACRIFICES HERSELF TO RESET THE TIMELINE. The scene is awe-inspiring and scary and sad and I donâ€™t care if these characters wonâ€™t ever know what she did for them. I WILL. I WILL REMEMBER IT FOREVER.
Janeway for President.
(I am writing this review on November 2, so it’s prior to my country’s election, so I’m leaving it up. It’ll either be a neat little statement or me begging for the Krenim to institute a new timeline in America.)
The video for â€œYear of Hell, Part IIâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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