This sixth episode (the first one was a double episode) is another entry in the series: “Captain Janeway enters into things“. After the space-time anomaly and the artificial meteorite, now Voyager enters a nebula (as the title says: The Cloud)! After I complained about the lack of serial elements in the fourth episode Time and Again, here’s a paper thin and predictable story whose real focus is character development. And am I happy, now? No, not too much. This is the first episode of the series that I didn’t like too much. Let’s talk about it!
Janeway is in dire need of coffee. The screenwriters didn’t even try to make it more science fiction (in DS9 everyone is crazy about raktajino, which of course is nothing but Klingon coffee!): like any self-respecting adult, the captain cannot live without coffee. With the excuse of looking for a source of energy to restore all the ship’s systems, including the replicators, Voyager enters a nebula containing omicron particles and I spare you the technobabble. In a nutshell, the ship enters the inner part of the nebula, exits with some issues, then realizes that the nebula is a living being, and finally tries to repair the damage done in full Star Trek spirit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just that everything felt extremely predictable.
The problem is that there’s little material for an entire episode, and so there are a lot of character development scenes (or fillers, depending on how you look at that). Some are good, some are not. Neelix and Kes continue to function well together: she’s very excited for being part of a ship of explorers and he’s a little more fearful but not to the point of being annoying. However, the part with Janeway in search of the spirit guide with Chakotay felt a little bit forced and hasty to me. But the icing on the cake is the holodeck! Energy is lacking everywhere, it’s sought at the cost of enormous risks (just think of what happened to Neelix’s lungs in Phage), and Paris takes his friend Kim to Chez Sandrine to play pool!!! And how come everyone is wasting energy in the holographic French bistro at the end? Something is very wrong on board!
In any case, I’m not complaining too much: this is the first sub-par episode (at least for me, of course!) after five medium to good quality ones. Let’s see what the rest of the season has to offer! Ciao!
PS: The The Delta Flyers episode dedicated to The Cloud centered entirely on the manifest insensitivity to issues such as sexism and racism. Robert Duncan McNeill made an interesting comparison between Star Trek: Voyager’s poorly done work (with respect to these themes) to a show he is working on now, Resident Alien, almost thirty years later.
Previous episode: Phage
Next episode: Eye of the Needle