Our Klingon friends return in Alliances… uh, I mean our Kazon friends! And that’s their fifth appearance after Caretaker, State of Flux, Initiations and Maneuvers. Now the fact that there are many clans is much clearer than before, each being led by a Maje. But the plot begins with a fight in which a member of the crew of the Voyager loses his life, and it is revealed that two others have died in the last two weeks due to Kazon attacks. The situation is not sustainable!
Some cracks in the chain of command even begin to appear: on board, there are those who begin to doubt Captain Janeway and the goodness of the principles of the Federation. I’m thinking of Hogan and Michael Jonas (played respectively by Simon Billig and Raphael Sbarge), and even Chakotay, so far loyal to the captain! And the doubts are so many that in the end, after an enlightening dialogue with Tuvok, Janeway is forced to give in: perhaps the right thing to do is to find an ally in the Delta quadrant. It might even be a Kazon clan, without agreeing to share Federation’s technology, but simply to increase its power and in the same way gain its protection. At the same time, Seska, adviser and lover of the first Maje Culluh of the Kazon-Nistrims (Anthony de Longis), is contacted to look for some sort of agreement, and Neelix is sent on a mission to the planet Sobras to negotiate a possible alliance with the Kazon-Pommar clan.
In short, both attempts fail miserably, and Neelix is taken prisoner by the Kazons, who put him in a cell with various members of the Trabe race, who are apparently forced to live as nomads because they are persecuted by the Kazons. The leader of the Trabe is the reassuring Mabus, played by Charles Lucia. Too reassuring, and not surprisingly Lucia had also played another similar character in Man of the People (sixth season of The Next Generation). In short, Mabus convinces Janeway to organize a peace conference with the Maje of the various Kazon clans. She follows his advice, despite news of a possible sabotage, and of course things go horribly wrong, Braveheart’s style.
In short, and maybe it’s clear from this summary, Alliances is a dense episode! Too dense, I would say, and I think it would have been better to make it a double episode. There are fights, political intrigues, betrayals, well-known characters returning, new characters introduced… all this would’ve deserved an hour and a half, not the 42 minutes of a single episode. This lack of time affects the development of the plot (especially the introduction of the Trabes and their past history with the Kazons) and, above all, the ending. I was not at all convinced by Janeway’s beautiful speech about the fact that the best allies are the Federation principles! The initial problem of too many enemies in the Delta quadrant is now more present than ever, actually there are new enemies! What will happen when Voyager suffers more attacks? Not to mention the crew members who would rather make a deal with Seska instead of continuing to run away from danger with a ship that is breaking down little by little!
The only thing I hope for is that these events won’t be forgotten in future episodes and interesting developments will continue to come out of Alliances. I want to be optimistic and say that I expect great things from now on in regards to the main mythology of these first two seasons regarding the Kazons (we’ve seen them more than we’ve seen the Vidiians, who have appeared only in Phage and Faces, so far). Ciao!
PS: what an amazing special effect that of the Trabe ship firing on the building where the peace conference is held (a clear reference to The Godfather part III, 1990)! I would’ve expected far more devastating effects from the three torpedoes launched by Voyager immediately afterwards, but that’s nitpicking…
PPS: Am I the only one thinking that an alliance with the Kazons is a stupid idea since Voyager is going full speed towards the Alpha quadrant and an alliance would force her to go back to help the allies, something unacceptable given the everyone wants to go home?
PPS: The Delta Flyers podcast shoutout: in this episode, Robert Duncan McNeill mentioned Braveheart just like I did in my review! And he revealed how the Kazons were conceived by Michael Piller as a sort of Star Trek version of the Los Angeles gangs of the 1980s and early 1990s (see also Predator 2, 1990, to get an idea of what was going on)!
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