In the third episode of the seventh season of Voyager, I am very confused. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
I have so many issues with the writing for this episode, y’all. It’s a strange story to begin with because it clashes with itself. Is it a story about a race? About political sabotage? About the future of a difficult relationship? I certainly don’t mind when this show combines multiple storylines, especially when they mesh really well with the overarching themes.
Where exactly are those themes within “Drive,” though? All three of these stories are introduced, smashed into one another, and then hastily resolved in a way that doesn’t seem to acknowledge just how complicated the issues were in the first place. This episode establishes two conflicts right at the start – Tom’s decision to enter the Delta Flyer into a challenging race, followed by the fact that by entering this race, he must cancel on B’Elanna’s intricately conceived vacation – and then posits that the former is far more important than the latter. Oh, there’s significant time given to the possible destruction of the relationship between B’Elanna and Tom, but that’s not the same thing as actually resolving their problems. One of the major reasons B’Elanna is so dejected by what Tom did is because he has consistently been inconsiderate towards her. It’s not contained to just this episode, either! We’ve seen him forget dates and social events before; we’ve seen him make crucial decision without consulting B’Elanna; we know that B’Elanna requires more attention and affection that Tom does. Has he changed?
Well, the end of “Drive” would like us to think so, and yet, the episode never walks Tom through his problems. Instead, he is the one to escalate the big argument during the race. Not once does anyone in the episode even tell him that B’Elanna spent weeks trading around holodeck time so that she could have an entire weekend to herself with Tom! That’s a huge reason why she’s upset, but the show never brings this back up again. Instead, it came off as if these characters just had to tell one another that they loved one another, and that’s it? No, relationships are work, and they are even more so for couples who are not “automatically” compatible. Some of my partners were very agreeable all the time! Others were not! You can’t just resolve conflicts like this with flashy words and marriage proposals.
Even the race plotline suffers from things brought up and then never addressed. Was Assan a red herring and nothing more? Okay, let’s say I accept that and assume that this show was never going to delve into him as a character. Irina is revealed to be a terrorist who was willing to kill EVERYONE AT THE FINISH LINE just so the peace treaty would fall apart. Was she arrested? Did the other people who were apart of this alliance ever find out? Was this alliance made stronger or weaker by the events of this episode? Who the fuck knows??? The story is dropped as soon as the Delta Flyer drops their warp core and Assan wins the race. There’s no followthrough whatsoever, and it’s infuriating. Did the show not even care to resolve this stuff?
AND DID B’ELANNA AND TOM GET MARRIED AT THE END OF THIS EPISODE? Did this marriage literally happen off-screen and all we see is the Delta Flyer traveling to… where? Where is their honeymoon? Do they get one? What about the ceremony? At this point, the only one we got was between those weird metallic liquid people whose name I forgot. SO WHAT GIVES.
The video for “Drive” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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