Here we are at the beginning of the third season of Star Trek: Voyager! 42 done, 130 to go. Well, that’s a lot… We’re only a quarter of the way through! Well, let’s get to it. This beginning of the season is the first after a cliffhanger, as it was traditional in the sister series The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. But, contrary to many of the cliffhangers seen in those two wonderful series, this first Voyager cliffhanger wasn’t impressive. In other words: the resolution was so obvious that I found this second part of Basics very predictable and unexciting.
Do you remember where we left off at the end of the first part? Most of the Voyager crew had been abandoned on a desert planet (Hanon IV) and the Kazon-Nistrims advised by Seska had taken possession of the Starfleet ship. On the planet, the crew is behaving in the worst possible way endangering the lives of many of its members. For example, I understand that Neelix is an advisor on board due to his knowledge of the Delta Quadrant, but… why should he lead a team on the planet? Not surprisingly, somebody gets hurt, with the death of the good Hogan (Simon Billig), an extra that we had already seen in a good number of episodes. And yes, of course I can list those episodes: Alliances, Meld, Investigations, Deadlock, Tuvix and Resolutions.
In short, the episode has some fairly routine action on the planet (the natives reminded me a little of the TOS episode The Galileo Seven) which also includes a giant monster in a cave, and the much more exciting saboteur hunt on Voyager, as Seska soon realizes that the Doctor is hiding something, namely the fact that the Betazoid Lon Suder (Brad Dourif) is on board. The latter is certainly the best part of this final part of Basics: the poor Betazoid was working hard with Tuvok to erase his violent instincts, but here he inevitably has to awaken them and the resulting conflict almost makes him mad. Unfortunately, I suppose Dourif didn’t want to become a regular character in the series, or maybe the writers didn’t feel like adding a murder-guilty character to the cast, so of course good Suder dies as soon as his sabotage job is done. What a piety.
The ending is back to routine: of course the Doctor and Suder succeed in sabotaging the ship, of course Tom Paris finds help (from the Talaxians, to emphasize once again the usefulness of Neelix), and of course Janeway survives together with 99% of the crew on the hostile planet and returns aboard her ship. Surprisingly, Seska (Martha Hackett) dies, so I think that it’s the end of the Kazons. Culluh (Anthony De Longis) leaves with his son (Chakotay isn’t the father), so there’s nothing between Voyager and the Kazons anymore. This probably ends the story arc that began with the first episode Caretaker which had its good moments, but more or less wasn’t memorable. And we could say the same of the whole series so far: Except for a few great episodes (Death Wish, for example), it wasn’t memorable. We’ll see what this third season can do! Ciao!
PS: The Delta Flyers podcast shout out: Garrett Wang told an amazing story about the shooting of Basics. The exterior scenes were shot in Lone Pine, California, and the production alerted the cast and the crew that they could have met hostile and / or racist locals. Thus, the recommendation was to always be in a group. At a certain point, Wang (Asian) found himself with Tim Russ (African American) and Jennifer Lien walking back to the hotel at night. When a pickup truck stopped in front of them, he was afraid that some locals could decide to free the blonde girl from his non-white kidnappers!
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