Finally someone stood up to Janeway, what a moment! It happened in the eleventh episode of the first season of Star Trek: Voyager, State of Flux.
Here’s the plot. Part of the USS Voyager crew is on a planet looking for food when a Kazon ship approaches the Starfleet vessel orbiting the planet. The away team led by Chakotay is alerted, the Commander tries to evacuate everyone in a hurry but doesn’t find Seska (Martha Hackett), the Bajoran who was part of his maquis crew (and who played an important role in the previous episode, Prime Factors). Finally, Chakotay finds her picking some mushrooms in a cave (for him), but there are two Kazons to take out before returning to Voyager! The two make it, and Chakotay gets away with just a minor injury. Immediately afterwards, Voyager receives a distress signal coming from that same Kazon ship. What to do? Neelix rightly points out that it could be a trap, but Janeway has no doubts: she must help the Kazons, no matter how aggressive they are.
When our heroes reach the Kazon ship adrift in space, they find out something incredible: there was an accident on board and there’s only one survivor who’s barely alive. The cause of the accident? A piece of technology coming from Voyager! Someone made a deal with the Kazons, but who? There’s a traitor on board!
The episode plays this card perfectly. There are two big suspects: Seska, who was found in the cave with the Kazons, and Carey (Josh Clark), who had access to the technology (the Kazons were interested in the replicators due to their need for water). Carey had disappeared on the planet for about an hour and his possible motive could lie in the fact that he had been demoted to make way for Torres as chief engineer (see Parallax). Also, we find out that there was a story between Seska and Chakotay, and that someone on board is not at all happy with the merger of the two crews which took place shortly after arriving in the Delta quadrant!
Things get more complicated when another Kazon ships arrives and Janeway finds out that they’re even more devious and evil than they initially seemed. This is truly a remarkable episode: I had serious doubts on who could be the traitor and the Deep Space Nine elements used in this series worked very well (I’m talking about the maquis origin of both Seska and Chakotay).
And then… well, the finale is absolutely spectacular! A potentially recurring character emerges who’s potentially very dangerous as she knows the USS Voyager and all its crew perfectly. Furthermore, her outburst against Captain Janeway makes perfect sense: if the latter hadn’t made questionable decisions based on Federation rules that now (perhaps) no longer make sense, the ship would’ve already returned to the Alpha quadrant! Not to mention the consequences for Chakotay and Tuvok who weren’t able to read the situation and solve it in time. In short, for now I’m really happy about this first season, especially the most recent episodes. Ciao!
PS: The Delta Flyers podcast shoutout: Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang talk at length about Robert Scheerer and his uninspired direction: born in 1928, he was almost 70 years old when he directed State of Flux and nothing innovative could be expected from him. I also laughed a lot at the ironic remarks about the Kazon and their numerous beauty salons where they fix their showy hair!
Previous episode: Prime Factors
Next episode: Heroes and Demons