In the twelfth episode of the fifth season of Voyager, what the HELL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
This is a fun episode, mainly due to the fact that Kate Mulgrew KILLS it while chewing every piece of scenery in the room. That’s intentional, of course, and watching her struggle to immerse herself in Tom’s 30s-era pulp is an endless delight. Otherwise? I wouldn’t say that this episode is all that memorable. It introduces PHOTONICS LIFE FORMS!!! Star Trek canon now has OTHER PHOTONIC LIFE FORMS. This was such a cool and exciting thing, especially since the Doctor got a chance to meet other lifeforms more like himself than any other species he had met.
And yet, they’re barely in this episode. The potential for a first contact relationship to be developed is lost amidst the absurd drama of “Bride of Chaotica!” At times, I didn’t feel it mattered that much. I expected that by the end of the episode, someone on Voyager would get to talk to the unnamed beings about their world or dimension. I’m realizing now how impossible that is, but still. I feel like I was teased with this possibility, and then it was taken away from me.
So what do we have left? Well, first of all, there’s plenty of evidence here that Janeway is much better at role-playing than Tom Paris is. HANG ON, I’LL EXPLAIN. Every time we’ve seen one of these Captain Proton holodeck stories, Tom barely commits to his character. More often than not, he’s making commentary about the story and its relevance to the time period. In fact, this episode made it seem like he’s seen every installment of this serial, so much so that nothing about it surprises him. I even wondered aloud during the video what sort of value this had for Tom Paris. If he knows it all, is any of it fun to participate in? Does Harry care that Tom constantly spoils the plot, or is knowing the whole story part of the joy of immersion? Look, I’m not saying I needed the show to address these sort of questions, especially since this episode isn’t all that meta. However, once Janeway strutted majestically into this episode, I felt that Tom was simply not having the same kind of fun she was. Her costume was better; her accent was better; her character felt like an actual part of this universe. OH MY GOD, I AM JUDGING TOM PARIS BECAUSE HE DOESN’T COSPLAY AS WELL AS JANEWAY.
Look, I honestly don’t care about this in any real-world scenario. Instead, I’m obsessed with the fact that Janeway just upstaged Tom in this episode. SHE WAS THE BEST THING HERE. It’s too bad that there’s not much more here than that, but hey. Janeway as a femme fatale villain named Arachnia was totally awesome.
The video for “Bride of Chaotica!” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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