In the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of Voyager, it’s like Inception only it came before Inception and the ending is not nearly as frustrating. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For consent
Okay, Inception jokes aside, this is a pretty neat episode. I think it actually has a lot more in common with “Scientific Method” from this season, though that episode was far more focused than this one. They share a similar set-up in that the crew experiences something bizarre, and they must band together in order to fight back against a species they can’t see.
But “Waking Moments” drastically departs in many other ways. The crew is quick to figure out that something is amiss, and there is some genuine humor here, such as Tuvok’s embarrassment over his very, very human dream, or Harry’s continued attraction to Seven of Nine. I love how this episode is rooted in Chakotay, not Janeway, and that it’s his creativity and riskiness that saves everyone. It’s also a very creepy idea: what if a race of aliens could trap other beings within a collective unconscious state, one that they could never wake up from, one that they would eventually die from?
That’s horrifying, and it’s why the layers to the dream world work well in this context. It is absolutely necessary that these characters wake up, and since Chakotay is the only one of them to be able to lucid dream perfectly, then the resolution of this nightmare is up to him. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) It’s a lot of fun to watch, and I certainly would not argue that it’s a bad episode. However, the more I think about this unnamed species, the less I understand them. There’s one question left unaddressed in any believable sense:
Oh, sure, there’s that moment where the main alien complains about the “waking species” invading the dream world of their own species, but what does that actually mean? Are there species out there attacking them in the dream world? Or were they just annoyed that random creatures kept popping into their reality? Even if that’s the case, why go after Voyager? What do they gain from taking their ship? Was this just petty revenge and nothing more? I can’t tell! I don’t feel like it was explored in any significant way, and it bothered me. It made the dream aliens come across as evil just for the sake of it, which isn’t like Voyager.
Still, I honestly did enjoy “Waking Moments.” JANEWAY’S SMIRK WHEN SHE REALIZED TUVOK WAS NAKED IN HIS DREAM = WORTH THE WHOLE EPISODE, HONESTLY.
The video for “Waking Moments” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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