Star Trek: Voyager

"Basics, Part II"


Air date: 9/4/1996
Written by Michael Piller
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Sticks and stones won't break my bones, so you can imagine how I feel about being called names." — Doc to Seska

Nutshell: Some well-executed adventure, but the episode too often feels like a pre-determined, calculated exercise.

"Basics, Part II" is a show I tried to enjoy. And, at times, I did enjoy pieces of it. It's sort of a brainless adventure romp with some well-directed action sequences that hold reasonable entertainment value. Unfortunately, the problem with "Basics, Part II" is that it is merely the painfully obvious and predictable resolution of "Basics, Part I," a somewhat entertaining episode in itself that, nevertheless, probably should never have been used as a season cliffhanger simply because of how pointless the underlying premise is.

I mean, come on. Did anybody have the slightest doubt in their mind that Voyager would be retaken? That somehow Doc, Suder, Paris, and the Talaxian convoy would outsmart the Kazon with a clever plan? That the crew would not be marooned on the planet forever?

No, of course not.

Well, one reason the two "Basics" shows aren't all that compelling is that they don't really give us many character dynamics to ponder. "Basics I" gives us an extreme situation, "Basics II" quickly resolves it, and the two shows sit there and hope that we'll genuinely care about everything that happened in the progress.

Well, I tried very hard to put aside my cynicism and thoughts of how silly the first part's setup now seemed, and, for a while, it kind of worked. Like I said, "Basics II" has a number of worthwhile moments. In fact, part two is more fun than part one was.

The show picks up exactly where the first half left off, with the crew stranded on the planet, searching for food, water, and shelter. Some of the hassles the crew faces in its new planetary environment include a primitive tribe of humanoids whom cannot be easily communicated with, and that dwells in a cave and promptly eats Ensign Hogan when he ventures too near its habitat in the episode's opening minutes. (Hogan, who has been a reliable extra character in several past episodes, finally meets his now-obviously-always-inevitable demise. I couldn't help but chuckle at the fact.)

Meanwhile, Seska and Culluh set the ship on a course for who-knows-where (so long as destruction with their newfound arsenal is possible), distancing themselves from the planet. Paris turns out to be (surprise!) alive and well in his shuttlecraft and, with the help of the Talaxians, is ready to perform trickery to retake the ship. Doc tracks down Suder (who's been hiding in the ship's vents) and informs him of Paris' plan: Suder must go to engineering and rig the backup phaser couplings (or something) to overload so that after Paris uses his hotshot piloting skills to disable Voyager's primary couplings, the Kazon will overload and burn out the phasers the moment they try to return fire. The problem: Engineering is full of Kazon, and if Suder goes down there, he will have to kill or be killed.

The one character I did care about in both "Basics" episodes was Suder. Here is a guy who is completely torn up inside, and in order to do what is right for his ship and crew, he will have to resort to violence. Suder does not want to kill again; he has worked so hard to get where he is now—to a point where his inner demons have been nearly silenced and his lust for violence quashed. Brad Dourif again carries the role terrifically, bringing the sense of detached instability and personal torment to the character—a character that we can empathize with.

The Doctor also comes across as quite interesting in this episode. The situation gives him the chance to take initiative, and his acerbic, sarcastic responses to Seska's interrogations are always amusing, especially when he claims to be the sole effort against her plans.

So as the episode switches back and forth between the A/B-stories, the show gives us some decent, albeit derivative, action scenes. The best is a sequence where Chakotay, Tuvok, Neelix, Kes, and some unnamed crewmen are forced to hide in the monster's cave after they're chased by angry members of the primitive tribe. The monster, evidently a computer-animated creation, is an impressive special effects display. (No points, however, for guessing that it's one of the unnamed crewman who will be eaten by it, and not Chakotay, Tuvok, Neelix, or Kes.) And, of course, the respectable, even if predictable, Star Trek mentality dictates that the primitive tribe and the Voyager crew will eventually become friends once Chakotay risks his life to save one of them from falling into a pit of molten lava (Oh yeah, did I mention this planet has active volcanoes?).

The scope of the episode is impressive. The planet scenes are all shot on location, and every time the crew survives one crisis, there's another—progressing from the lack of fire and water, to kidnappings, to fleeing from angry tribes, to fighting big monsters, to leaping from rock to rock across a pit of molten lava. This planet has everything.

One thing, however, about "Basics II" that really began to annoy me was how carefully every scene seemed measured and calculated to resolve the setup pieces from part one. At times, I felt more like I was watching a pre-determined, pre-programmed exercise playing out than I was watching a real story unfold. The events are tidy—too tidy. "Manufactured" would be most accurate.

For example, after the Doctor's further examination, it turns out that Seska's son is not Chakotay's son, but Culluh's. That's a cop-out—a loose end from which the writers so easily let themselves off the hook. Here it is—the source of all the exposition that caused Chakotay to turn the Voyager into this trap in the first place—becomes an issue that, with a few lines of dialog, never needs to be addressed again.

And how about Suder? Here's the only truly interesting character we can care about, and after an eye-opening scene where he phasers a roomful of Kazon in engineering and completes his mission, one of the dying Kazon shoots him in the back and kills him. That made me angry, because it was so obvious and easy for the writers to do, sealing all options concerning what to do about his life sentence in his quarters. I somehow expected this all along, but I was hoping I might be wrong. I wasn't.

And Seska? She dies an anticlimactic and arbitrary death, apparently caused by injuries from the phaser overload. Considering her villainy, Seska's death is an event that just sits and shrugs. I personally think it would've been more interesting to keep her alive and have her caught by the crew where she would answer for treason. Nope. Wrote her out of the picture in ten seconds flat.

And the damage to the ship after all this? A non-factor (despite the fact that the overload practically made the Voyager look like it was on fire). Once the crew retakes Voyager, the ship, of course, looks practically like new.

Really, under scrutiny, Michael Piller's teleplay for "Basics" looks like little more than a machine that gives us all the parts in the first half, and then brainlessly assembles them in the second half. This is too bad, because "Basics, Part II" has many strengths, including some standout performances, one of Dennis McCarthy's better scores (even featuring some themes), good special effects, and a first-rate direction by Winrich Kolbe, who sets the show at a fast pace and uses some impressive photography and interesting camera angles on the locations.

I dunno. Perhaps this show and its abrupt wrap-up is all a statement that Voyager is moving on. "Basics, Part II" is reported as the last time we will see the Kazon (which is just fine with me). I suppose as wrap-up it works okay, but a less obvious and calculated approach might have been nice.

Previous episode: Basics, Part I
Next episode: Flashback

◄ Season Index

40 comments on this review

Wed, Oct 28, 2009, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Too true. I read somewhere that in Piller's original teleplay, the baby's father WAS Chakotay. The baby died, while Seska survived and escaped. That might have been better
Mon, Aug 23, 2010, 4:57am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I had read (in the last day, as a matter of fact) that Piller revealed in a chat different intentions - the baby was indeed Chakotay's, the baby would die, and both Suder and Seska would survive this two-parter. Memory Alpha has the transcript with the details:

Interesting stuff. Who knows if it all would've worked, but the changes certainly didn't benefit this episode and the two-parter as a whole. Picardo and Dourif were solid, though.
Fri, Sep 24, 2010, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
I never really liked Fresca, but I thought it was cool that they were able to bring her back a couple of times through the magic of holotechnology and time travel, especially because we didn't expect to see her again. If she had survived "Basics II" and escaped the ship, I think it would have been too much like Vader's just happening to be off the Death Star when it blew up: "Yeah, we're gonna see him again."
Mon, Oct 25, 2010, 10:23am (UTC -5)
Paris: "I do know what makes an interesting story & that's unexpected plot twists."

Oh, you mean like, Paris & B'Elanna hooking up, Kes getting kicked off the show rather than Neelix, Harry leaving his beautiful fiancee for no reason yet going apesh!t over being apart from the chick in "The Disease," 7's parents knowing about the Borg years before "Q Who," and (the biggest doozy) Paris & Janeway having sex after going Warp 10 in "Threshold."
Yeah, Voyager was full of unexpected plot twists, wasn't it?
Mon, Oct 25, 2010, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Sorry, I meant to put that on the "Worst Case Scenario" board and accidentally hit the link to this one.
Mon, Aug 22, 2011, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Actually, there was one scene of genuine character development this episode and that's when Cullan tenderly scoops up what he still thinks is Chakotay and Seska's baby and walks off with it. I'm almost sad we'll never see him again just when he finally exhibits something beyond cartoon villainy.
Thu, Mar 8, 2012, 3:25am (UTC -5)
Poor Hogan!

1) Why did he have to call Neelix "yes sir"? Since when Neelix had been a Starfleet officer?

2) And why the hell didn't Neelix stay and collect these damn bones and been eaten himself instead of poor Hogan?

And of course, the biggest question still remains alive: Why, oh why, had Janeway and Chakotay to go after Seska's baby, putting in risk the whole crew and their starship? Bad writing... :(
Tue, Mar 20, 2012, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Having the baby not be Chakotay's was one giant copout by the writers. And it made his vision-quest converstion with his father completely meaningless.

The episode could have played out exactly the way it did except Doc never tells Seska it's Cullah's baby and Cullah leaves it behind in the Captain's ready room once he finds out Seska's dead.

Then Chakotay could have raised it - either by himself or with Janeway's help. Or B'elanna's. How interesting would it be for two Maquis to raise a half-Cardassian child? Answer: very - IF the writers and producers had the balls to explore it instead of playing it TV safe.

Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 4:23am (UTC -5)
Both the first part and second part were ok to good but I must agree that killing off Suder was pretty stupid. An excellent character that was more worthy than being just shot in the back. Kinda reminded me of the lame death of Capt. Kirk in, Generations. I would have loved to have seen him more in upcoming episodes and if he were to eventual be killed off, I would hope that it would have been much better than what this episode had to offer.
Mon, Dec 3, 2012, 11:03am (UTC -5)
What's depressing is Voyager, arguably, got less ambitious after this episode and after the second season.

I'm in the extreme minority, but I like second-season Voyager (as a whole) better than any other season. It's the only time when the creators decided to deal with the central premise of the show. There were a LOT of problems ("Deadlock" is still inexcusable and "Threshold" was ridiculous).

The problem with season two is that the creators got gunshy about this kind of storyline because they picked bad guys who were kind of stupid. Had the Kazon been more interesting -- and they could have been, with just a few tweaks -- the second season would have been pretty good. Had a few details not been reset, the second season would have been very good.

But instead of making the continuing storyline concept work, the creators went for less continuity. The "Hunters" arc was especially bad and the Borg were so badly neutered.

For the rest of the series, the best we could hope for with Voyager was a good one-off episode every now and then. The continuing arcs were really bad after season two and the lack of resources/struggle to survive wasn't done with much authority. Even lines like Janeway's from part one about not having torpedoes to waste are gone from the later seasons.
Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 4:36am (UTC -5)
I was very angry with the deaths of Hogan and Suder. I like to see familiar faces, recurring characters and Hogan's death was senseless. As for Suder's, it's a shame because of the wonderfull arc they could have done with him. Not only was the character interesting, but the actor was stellar !

I also don't understand why the captain would make Neelix or Kim leader of a team. Agreed, Neelix knows a lot about basic survival but he's not an officer. And Kim is just an ensign, there are many on the crew who outrank him.

What redeems this episode are the doc and Suder. Too bad, it had a lot of potential.
Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
"Agreed, Neelix knows a lot about basic survival but he's not an officer."

Like what? He wasn't able to make fire, didn't know there are bugs under rocks you can eat - and this is important - Wasn't able to keep anyone alive! His stupidity got Hogan killed (his death BTW proved he was 100%ˇright in Alliances) and partially caused conflict with the natives. The asshole would get himself killed if Chakotay wouldn't come to save his ass.
Joe Joe Meastro
Fri, Mar 1, 2013, 8:22am (UTC -5)
Does Suder kind-of remind anyone else of Barclay; in terms of his facial features and his neurotic, nervous body language? He just had a Barclay look to him hehe.

I did love the adventurous spirit of the episode, taken on a 'fun' level rather than on a serious one because as Jammer rightly says the plots' conclusions were never in doubt.

I'm in two minds about the death of Suder and the fiery conclusion of the Kazon arc. There was a nice irony in the fact Suder dies in a pretty glorious bloodbath after all of his efforts to become a peaceful person, his end has a twang of tragedy in it. The same with Seskas' death leaving Culluh to care for a baby he might never know is the father to.

Perhaps the writers should have went all Blakes' Seven on our asses and upped the tragic/ironic/grisily/dark ending to epic proportions! Or maybes that's just me revealing my inner Suder *gulp*!

On the whole, a cool 2-part adventure even if it fails to be anything particularly spectacular.
Lt. Yarko
Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Wormtongue dies again! Poor Brad Dourif. Because of his unique look he always gets cast as the psycho evil dude since all the way back in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. He is so good at it though. This is actually the first time I have seen him as a sympathetic character, and, yeah, he was the only character I cared about in this two parter! Tragic.

One thing that annoys me is, how did Paris survive? I guess just not showing it is enough of an explanation? And did his original plan make any sense? In the middle of a battle in which Voyager is already half-way to dead he is going to take a shuttle to go get someone to help? Huh? Voyager would be taken and long gone by the time he even got to the Talaxians. I know that this was just a way to get Paris off the ship to save it later, but it just made no sense to me.

I really have a lot of sympathy for the writers of shows like this. They have to try to come up with original epicness regularly and fit it into a very limited format. It's no wonder that a really good result is rare.
Wed, Sep 25, 2013, 10:28am (UTC -5)
I noticed a problem at the end - Paris and the Talaxians beam onto the bridge, with Culluh still in the Ready Room where he found Seska and the baby. He then orders the Kazon to abandon ship, but he has no way of actually leaving the Ready Room other than through the Bridge.

I guess he could've beamed onto an escape pod but they should've at least shown the beam out.
Wed, Sep 25, 2013, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@Awful--it's not terribly important, but there is another door to the readyroom which leads off to a corridor to deck 2.
Sat, Oct 19, 2013, 7:45am (UTC -5)
Story A: Crew on the planet.
Awful ... just awful. Pointless and boring.

Story B: Taking back the ship.
Pretty entertaining, but with lots of missed opportunities for thrills and excitement. If we'd followed Suder more closely around the ship - hiding from the Kazon, killing one of them etc. - it could've been excellent. Instead we get lots of "this is what happened" explanations.
This, to me, is a trait of the series - not showing key dramatic moments, but having the characters explain that it simply happened (or just skipping it altogether), then quickly moving on. It's terribly bad drama and horrible storytelling. A good example is the ending of an episode - how many episodes have ended without addressing what ended up happening with big chunks of the main story? It just seems so sloppy and messy.

Not a terribly riveting episode in my eyes. But, then again, I'm afraid not many Voyager episodes are. There's just too many gaping plot holes, nonsensical decisionmaking and bad, bad writing/directing/editing of the stories to really ever make the series good. To me, that is.
Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Chris, it's even worse than that. Neelix was made a team leader because of his "survival skills" which have never been seen. Neelix told Hogan to collect the bones because they might be useful (true); however, he neglected to notice they were at the mouth of a cave which usually means a predator that ate that creature. Later in the episode Chakotay tries to make nice with the natives by speaking calmly and acknowledging they can only understand his tone and not his words. What does Neelix do in this tense situation? Gets right in their faces and starts yelling. Not to mention the Kazon became Voyager's enemies only because Neelix started a fight with them in the very first episode!
Fri, Nov 8, 2013, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Watched this two-parter again last night. It might be the single most frustrating example of Voyager. And not just because it used the reset button, but because it was used SO BADLY.

Think about it: Culluh and Seska get Voyager, finally. The Nistrim is apparently able to repair the entire ship relatively quickly and know how to run it (hard to swallow, but maybe Seska prepared them well enough). Then, they dump the crew on some planet.

If you were the Kazon, what would you do next?

I'd set course for my nearest base where I'd dissect Voyager for all its secrets. I'd make sure that whatever happened to the ship that the Nistrim would have replicator and transporter technology. I'd make sure not to delay, for fear that another sect or maybe even someone like the Talaxians the Trabe or the Vidians, would try to take Voyager from me. And, I'd certainly make sure the four ships that helped attack Voyager would be with me at all times.

What do Culluh and Seska do?

At warp speed, they head for some unknown destination. They must either not have gone very far or moved very fast, because Paris and the Talaxians are able to catch up with them. Granted, Suder and the doctor disable the warp drive, but it takes them a while to do it. And, without the four Kazon ships that attacked Voyager (or the four others that retreated in part one) they're an easy target. Why not keep their strength in numbers?


Meanwhile, why are the Talaxians so OK with helping Paris? The Kazon are known for being ruthless and they hold grudges. Even if they like Paris's plan, aren't they worried about retribution? Granted, Voyager apparently gets out of Kazon space after this episode, but the Talaxians have to go on living there. Honestly, this might have made more sense if Neelix were with Paris.

Also, it's amazing that the Kazon don't put up more of a fight when Paris and the Talaxians board the ship. Culluh orders everyone to abandon Voyager, but he must know that his 80-plus crew could put up a fight. Culluh's been trying to capture Voyager's technology for nearly two years. He gets it, and then gives up so easily?

Lastly, it seems like Voyager gets back to Janeway et. al pretty quickly. So, either Seska and Culluh were dumb and didn't make it very far or a lot of time passes between Chakotay saving the native woman and when Paris flies the ship back to the planet.

Some of the reset stuff at least makes logical sense (like the stuff with Seska's baby) even if it doesn't make a lot of sense in a dramatic way. But, like so much of Voyager, there's not enough logic or continuity.

What a waste.
Thu, Dec 26, 2013, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
The death of Hogan hit me.

Not that I was bawling on my couch, but more that I was disppointed that this "small" crew of ~150ppl, which seems so intimate, gets so few recurring characters to make it feel intimate. Hogan was one of those - and yes, he looked like a nice guy to have a synthale with.

Look at the list of recurring characters on Mem A's wiki/Recurring_characters

And see how few Voyager recurring characters have more than just a handful of episodes compared to people like Yeoman Rand, Leeta, or even Spot the Cat. They didn't need to have entire episodes dedicated to them, but just seeing some of the same faces regularly would have helped add to the feeling of being "lost" with these same people.

PS. Farewell Mr. Piller!
Dave in NC
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Why would they kill off Souder and Seska?!?! The two best guest actors on the show (my favorites, anyways) and they both get offed . . . this has to be the worst decision the producers ever made.
Sat, Aug 23, 2014, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Entertaining and visually well done. My issues with part one effect part two but this does seem more like its own entity overall. I agree with Jammer that everything that transpires in front of us actually feels more manufactured than organic. I could almost hear the wheels turning as it progressed.

As a wrap-up to all things Kazon it could have been better, but then the quality of writing concerning the species was never that good to begin with. So, unfortunately, as it stands, that means what we got here is to be expected based on everything before it. Kind've makes me sad. At least we are finally done with being near the "heart of Kazon space" (whatever) after months of warp travel.

2.5 stars.
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
It's interesting to see that by season 3 Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise were all force to shake up their shows. They obviously decided just like Deep Space nine did to move a more stand alone adventure show. Maybe Trek would had been a lot more easier on the creative staff if they had to produce 13 episodes a season instead of 24. After completing Battlestar Galatica Ronald Moore did comment on how grueling is was doing TNG to produce over twenty episodes a season. Manny Coto did comment on how tough it was on Brannon Braga to produce season worth of episodes.

With the exception of Darkling, Rise and a few more epsidoes I don't mind season 3. I understand how upset fans when Voyager abanadon 80% of it's lost in space premise.
Sat, Sep 13, 2014, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
@ Arachnea

"And Kim is just an ensign, there are many on the crew who outrank him."

Yeah, why is Kim always at the staff meetings with "the senior staff"? Maybe because he's a bridge officer?
Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Without their communicators and universal translators how did the crew understand each other? I can imagine Tuvok knowing english but what about Neelix and Kes?
The Dreamer
Sun, Mar 22, 2015, 8:27pm (UTC -5)

Very good observation. Another suspension of disbelief


Galactic Basic
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Well, I guess you can't really expect a high quality 2nd part when the first part only rated a 2.5. Many times we see that the best part of the 2-parter is the 1st part, especially a season ender.

Hogan - You know, I didn't want to see him go because he seemed like a good actor to me, but if you're dumb enough to perch yourself over a pile of bones at the mouth of a cave... then so be it. Jesus, Daniel Boone-Neelix didn't even notice that lunch had been served many times there.

Seska - I would have liked to just erase this whole story line with her. I love Martha too much to not want the character on the ship. But I think her death here was probably the right thing to do. Is she going to fly shotgun forever here? I would have been better for Chakotay to have to kill her though.

Suder - Awesome character played incredibly well by Brad Dourif. He just nails these types of parts. I was screaming "NOOOOOO!!!!!" when I saw that tree-head moving in the background. I didn't want him to die. Why hasn't this guy ever landed a leading role? Is it because he's too damn good at bit parts?

The baby - So glad the baby didn't die. I actually felt sorry for Culluh at the end.

I too wondered how he was going to get off the ship. The Kazon don't have transporters you know.

I wanted to see Janeway pop one of those worm-thingys in her mouth when she was barking out that she didn't want to see anyone turn up their noses. :-)

Funniest line?

"CHAKOTAY: Trapped on a barren planet and you're stuck with the only Indian in the universe who can't start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. I was never good at this as a child and I'm still not good at it."

:-) :-) :-) Nice... I laughed out loud at the screen here.

A fun action packed season opener... couple head-scratchers, but there were some in part 1 as well. I too am tired of Aliens just popping on Voyager and seeming knowing how to run everything.

Wonderful observation about the universal translator Toony!! That would have been a nice monkey wrench to throw in there on the planet.

I enjoyed the actions/dilemmas on the planet. I've seen worse B stories for sure. The cavemen weren't half bad. As large as that monster was, it seemed pretty real to me. It could have come across much worse.

2.5 stars for me.

...are we out of Kazon space yet?
Thu, Oct 15, 2015, 11:18am (UTC -5)
"Computer, what is the crew complement?"
"There are 89 Kazon... and one Betazoid on board."

Spoken by the writers rather than a computer and proving the writers don't know how to count. The writers can't count crew, torpedoes, available shuttles, food stores, warp cores, or any other consumable because Voyager is apparently good at being the most heavily resourced starship that Starfleet ever deployed.

Seska was a crew member and she's 100% Cardassian, which the computer would know how to identify but apparently forgot to count. Perhaps the cuteness of the first Cardassian/Kazon baby interfered with the targeting scanners...
Thu, Oct 15, 2015, 10:21pm (UTC -5)

It's a testament to their laziness. Or as Beltran put it "Cavalier attitude towards the show".

[The actor felt that the people who must bear much of the blame for Voyager's poor performance are the writers. "[They] had a whole year to prepare, but they waited until the final two episodes to fix things. To me, that’s just a symptom of their uncaring cavalier attitude towards the show."]
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode but a lot annoyed me;

Neelix. Why couldn't they have eaten him to survive? He can't find water. He can't find food (child of the 24th century Janeway does in 5 seconds though). He can't negotiate (shouting at aliens during a tense standoff while outnumbered and out-speared) and this "survival expert" got 2 people killed on that planet (Hogan and the blueshirt as they only ended up in the cave due to Neelix shouting at the natives). Its sad when the "morale officer" is doing more to destroy the crew of Voyager than the Kazon!

Janeway not knowing why the Kazon were firing at starboard ventral when she studied the specs for weeks before taking command is a major lack of judgement right up there with Hawk in First Contact saying the Borg stopping at Deck 11 that only has deflector control on it was stupid as it wasn't a "vital system". Least he paid for his stupidity, its the crew that pays for Janeways.

And Seska dying by exploding console was such an anticlimax. All that stuff with Chakotay and it just stops.

Funny how no one prattled on about the Prime Directive after the natives saw Voyager land on their planet... why weren't they beamed up anyway? Surely it can't use more power than landing the whole ship. Twice.

And I've always wondered how much precious Starfleet tech the Kazon got away with when the abandoned Voyager? They literally could have started stripping the ship or at least copy the database. I'd have laughed if when Neelix got back he found Baxial missing!
Diamond Dave
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 5:35am (UTC -5)
A step down even from part one, which was no classic in and of itself. The whole thing just feels flat, and there's no tension because we all know they will be retaking the ship at the end of the episode anyway.

What I find most irritating is how some of the more interesting plot lines are just thrown away. Suder, Seska and Chakotay's baby are tossed aside, and without even much ceremony at that. This seems like a big missed opportunity, and the episode suffers because of it. In a smaller way, even Hogan is thrown to the wolves without remorse.

But at least there was some good Doctor action. "I'm a doctor, not a counterinsurgent" indeed. 2 stars.
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
Forgive me for not wishing to suffer through Janeway's brainlessness that occurs whenever the kazar kazon whatever their name is, come around. I skipped part 1 and went straight to the end of part 2 where they, of course, got the ship back.
George Monet
Sun, Aug 21, 2016, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
" Jesus, Daniel Boone-Neelix didn't even notice that lunch had been served many times there."

Actually he did. Hogan says that the bones looked like they were placed there intentionally and postulated that the local tribe were cave dwellers presumeably living in that cave. Neelix points out that the bones look like a "do not disturb sign" and then orders Hogan to pick up the bones at the mouth of the cave, the one with the "do not disturb sign" in front of it. What exactly did Neelix plan on using a bunch of rib bones for? A pelvis? Hogan's death was painfully forced and painfully artificial as are many deaths in tv shows.
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Is it possible that Dourif had enough of a career outside of Trek that they weren't sure he'd be available for future appearances as Suder? I agree that keeping the character around would have been preferable, but I'm wondering if they'd have been able to have him appear regularly after this.
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
Points for Hogan being eaten as opposed to 100% red shirt but the poor bastard's last words were 'Yes sir'; to.... Neelix. XX@@X!!
Fri, Oct 28, 2016, 5:58am (UTC -5)
Didn't mind seeing the back of Seska or the Kazon, but killing off Suder was just awful. They should at least have given him a dying conversation with Tuvok and the captain where he gets some appreciation for his heroism. I really thought they were going places with Suder: can a sociopath be "cured" by mind meld and Vulcan techniques. Those are the sorts of questions Trek should be asking.
dave johnson
Sat, Jan 14, 2017, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Would have liked a Suder episode once a year... he was an interesting character. That guy played someone in B5 that was an evil person who was mind wiped as punishment and put into an order of monks and it was an interesting episide.

They didn't have a budget to commit to someone being signed as a recurring, and I think they wanted to keep the focus on the main group and not have people pay attention to extras. They had very few recurring crew members unfortunately.

Someone in the thread went on about how they had translators when way from the ship. There was an episode in DS9 where the Ferengi said they had chips in their ears that did the translating... one can assume everyone had that technology.... although they didn't explain how the humans without any translators could understand Quark when his chip was working.... :) Trek was against having alien languages other than Klingon and a very minimal amount of snippets from beings they met. We just have to suspend belief on that one.

I don't get Jammer bitching about the predictability (everyone surviving, voyager saved, etc)....... what do you expect? This is a long term series and so no matter what premise you have, the ship and the main cast are likely to survive.. that doesn't make perilous episodes a joke. Sure, they could kill off a main character but that is not what they were about. Everyone survives unless their contract is not renewed.

I do agree on the ship always being nice and fancy and brand new after the most devastating of circumstances. Show us 3 - 4 episodes where things are still being fixed and broken, etc. I know this is episodic and they wanted it to be a situation where you could watch any show and not be lost...however, they did have some recurring stuff like Kazon or Phage ,etc and certainly could have done that from tiem to time.

I often have wondered why they chose to make Harry Kim such a dull and empty character who made no progression in the show. Even a promotion one rank up would have been something..... nobody of good merit in Starfleet stays an Ensign that long as far as we can tell. They gave him shifts running the bridge and he was considered a senior officer because he was on the bridge, yet never got promoted. Hell Tom got commissioned back into starfleet, demoted and re-promoted. was he intended to be an inside joke? Was it a slight on asian characters? was the actor so soft that they didn't care to develop him?
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Really enjoyed this episode and Part I asides from the bits with Neelix. Agreed with one of the former posters that the Voyager crew should have eaten him. The man's a walking and talking liability, not to mention irritating to the extreme. Enough's been said about poor Hogan's demise; I think it's basically the first chapter of 'Outdoor Survival 101' that you do not loiter near the entrance of an unsecured cave, least of all one with ominous humanoid bones at the entrance, which as other people have pointed out indicates a carnivorous presence. What was Neelix thinking when he ordered Hogan to pick them up - oh wait, he doesn't have brains.

The scene where he wandered off during the night, away from the campfire by himself (another basic rule of outdoor survival that a self-professed aficionado like Neelix should have known well) and got himself caught was eyeroll inducing but oh so predictable. Then of course Kes had to go looking for him and get herself caught too, and a major rescue mission had to be mounted in order to save them both, during which Neelix throws a tantrum at one of the natives and provokes them, and jeopardises the lives of several dozen more crew members, one of whom gets eaten.

Apart from an annoying scene where Neelix laments Hogan's death and is comforted by Kes and Janeway, there is no retribution for his actions. Imagine what Hogan and the other redshirt's families would have to be told back in the Alpha Quadrant: 'Yes your son/husband/brother is dead because an annoying and completely useless alien, whom Janeway somehow decided to take on, asked them to carry out orders which completely went against basic safety regulations/ provoked aliens due to lack of self control. Was he punished? No of course not - and he remained the darling of the crew and the captain in particular.' I want to like Janeway, I really do, but episodes like this make that very difficult.

TBH I can't see anyone else on the ship getting away with the amount of stuff Neelix does - they'd probably be threatened with a court martial or something. The man's a menace and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever that I can see - bad cook, petty mean nature, and just generally irritating. When he delivered soup to Lon Suder's quarters I was mentally pleading for Suder to murder him.

Speaking of Suder, the series would probably have been a lot better if the producers had cut out all of Neelix and given his screen and plot time to Suder instead, who is a truly fascinating and charismatic character, despite the fact that he's a psychopath.
Wed, Mar 22, 2017, 12:50am (UTC -5)

Not having the baby be Chakotay's
Not letting the baby die
Killing off Suder because he's "not interesting"
Killing off Seska in the weakest way possible

I hate Jeri Taylor - 1.5 stars
Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 1:29am (UTC -5)
You'd think a member of a tribe that evolved on a highly volcanic planet would know not to get stuck on a rock surrounded by lava.

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