Star Trek: Voyager

"State of Flux"

3.5 stars

Air date: 4/10/1995
Teleplay by Chris Abbott
Story by Paul Robert Coyle
Directed by Robert Scheerer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I want it ready by the end of the day."
"No, Captain. When I say tomorrow, I mean tomorrow. I don't exaggerate."

— Janeway and Torres

I think one of the reasons "State of Flux" works so well is because, under scrutiny, it makes a hell of a lot of sense. It's an episode that considers Voyager's premise, builds on the Kazon which were introduced in the pilot, has an interesting plot with ends that meet, and makes a character deal with a tough personal situation.

The last item in particular is what Voyager has done best so far this season. The season's best shows to date—"Prime Factors," "Eye of the Needle," "The Cloud"—all work because they put characters in tough emotional situations that they must deal with and put behind them before continuing with their long voyage.

In "State of Flux," the crew encounters the Kazon while on an away mission. After beaming up and leaving the area without a major incident (aside from Chakotay and Seska exchanging some phaser-fire with some Kazon in a cave), Janeway receives an urgent distress call—it's from the same Kazon ship encountered at the planet.

Some new technology has apparently blown up in their faces, and after a rescue attempt that retrieves only one Kazon survivor, Torres finds that the technology was a food replicator taken from the Voyager. There's only one explanation—a traitor on board. Somebody gave the Kazon the unit so it could be analyzed and transporter technology could be brought to the Delta Quadrant.

But who is the traitor? It could be anybody, but most likely someone on the engineering team. Was it Carey, who may be angry because he was passed up for the chief engineer position? Or perhaps Seska, who may have actually been in the cave to rendezvous with the Kazon?

Most of the show centers around Chakotay and Seska (Martha Hackett returns in the role of a Maquis crew member who has always been outspoken with her dissatisfaction of Captain Janeway). The show makes it clear that Chakotay and Seska were once intimately involved in the old Maquis days, before they were pulled into the Delta Quadrant. But a sensible scene where Seska brings Chakotay some mushroom soup—which she has stolen from Neelix's storage—shows Seska in a position with responsibilities and guidelines which she has no desire or intention of following, whereas Chakotay has adapted and accepted his Starfleet job.

The question "State of Flux" poses is whether or not Seska is guilty of treason—and, for once, this is a question that is successfully mired in a complex plot that (1) is not always obvious, (2) cannot be predicted so easily, and (3) works plausibly given the events and the past actions of the characters. As a mystery, the show works well, because the plot carefully holds back just enough information so that we aren't sure whether or not Seska is guilty, but we can follow and fully believe the events and revelations that unfold as Tuvok and Chakotay's investigation progresses.

For example, there's the mystery of why Seska hasn't "gotten around" to having her blood sample put on file. When Doc finally forces the issue, he discovers that Seska is missing key Bajoran properties. He tells Janeway that Seska is not a Bajoran—probably a Cardassian (who possibly infiltrated Chakotay's Maquis crew). But the episode throws several subtly-played smokescreens at us, playing the event down so that we're not completely sure what exactly it means, if anything. Seska claims the blood anomalies were caused by a childhood Bajoran disease that swept through her camp during the Occupation. And when she explains this to Chakotay, she's so convincing and innocent-looking that the scene makes us wonder if Seska is truly the guilty party, or just a victim in a framing scheme.

Ultimately, the mystery's solution hangs on a trap Chakotay and Tuvok devise, based on some information Chakotay feeds both Seska and Carey. As the traitor's computer-hacking cover-up attempts reveal the guilty party, the show comes together in a closing scene that skillfully ties all loose ends together.

Actually, the show could've ended in one of two ways, and still worked: (1) Seska could be the victim of a framing by Carey, or (2) Seska could be a very guilty and clever traitor. The former option would still be believable, but the latter option, which the show wisely takes, is much more powerful. Seska dealing with the Kazon follows, to the letter, from what we've seen from her character in past episodes. And when we learn that she is, in fact, a Cardassian spy altered to look Bajoran, it has a real reason: it gives the character an added edge of attitudes—attitudes that explain everything she does.

You can't just give the Kazon technology like this, Janeway says. It could shift the balance of power in the quadrant. But if we forge an alliance now, Seska replies, the shift would be in our favor. "That is all that matters at this point," she says icily. And once she's found out, Seska turns on a dime (in a charged dialog scene) from a soft and innocent-seeming Bajoran to a glaring, menacing Cardassian personality who calls the captain a fool to her face, and calls Chakotay a fool for following her. "I can't imagine how I ever loved you," she says to him, and then beams onto a Kazon ship and escapes. Ouch.

Hackett's performance is one of the show's highlights, particularly in this final scene. But I don't find just her performance enjoyable—I'm also pleased in the way the episode uses it to turn the plot into a cohesive whole, because it takes a character who has never been understanding or supportive of Janeway's Starfleet methods ("If this had been a Cardassian ship, we would be home now"), and uses her in a believably devious way. There are larger series-impacting statements here, too—the show demonstrates that the Voyager is still at least partially divided in its Starfleet/Maquis mentalities, and that maybe not all of the crew is willing to just lie down and accept its situation.

Then there's Chakotay's problems. Not only does he have to deal with integrating his rough-edged crew into a Starfleet environment; now he has former-lovers turning out to be crafty Cardassian agents who despise his Starfleet sentiments. At least Tuvok, who was also aboard Chakotay's Maquis ship, was fooled by Seska's treachery as well. Strange, Tuvok wonders, that Chakotay would find this failure comforting. "Misery loves company, Tuvok," Chakotay replies. Indeed.

Previous episode: Prime Factors
Next episode: Heroes and Demons

◄ Season Index

39 comments on this review

stallion
Thu, Oct 23, 2008, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
I was watching this episode today on spike TV. It's a great episode and made me think what if Voyager had a recurring character that was a cardassian spy and she was expose. It would be interesting to see what the crew would do with her considering being a Cardassian isn't a crime.
Jake
Mon, Aug 24, 2009, 10:26am (UTC -5)
I still crack up when Chakotay asks if there were reports of other missing starships & Janeway replies, "Not to my knowledge."
Ummm...what about the Hera (which disappeared a year earlier in TNG's "Interface") or even the Equinox (that two-parter never makes it clear whether it arrived in the Delta Quadrant before or after Voyager)?
navamske
Mon, Sep 20, 2010, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
@Jake
"Ummm...what about the Hera (which disappeared a year earlier in TNG's 'Interface') or even the Equinox (that two-parter never makes it clear whether it arrived in the Delta Quadrant before or after Voyager)?"

What about it (the Equinox)? Chuckles asks Janeway if there were any reports of other missing ships, not if she omnisciently knows about every Federation vessel that got yanked into the Delta quadrant. Evidently there were no such reports where the Equinox was concerned.
Carbetarian
Fri, Apr 8, 2011, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
I agree, this was a good one. The only thing I had a little trouble believing was that no one noticed a replicator go missing. Aren't they always talking about how they have to ration out their replicator use? And didn't Janeway say in Caretaker that the replicators were fully integrated into the ships systems? It seems to me that it would be difficult to just remove one from the ship without anyone noticing.

Other than that though, I enjoyed this one a lot! Three and a half stars from me too!
Matthias
Fri, Aug 12, 2011, 5:16am (UTC -5)
I'm watching all this for the first time just now but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess nobody on the bridge will take note of the fact that an unshielded replicator makes for a terrifying makeshift bomb. Because that's not at all relevant information to a trouble magnet of a ship lost 75 years from home with only eight photon torpedoes left (or was it seven?).
Nebula Nox
Thu, May 31, 2012, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
Love the title of this episode! Many relevant meanings
Tony
Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 6:54am (UTC -5)
navamske:
"What about it (the Equinox)? Chuckles asks Janeway if there were any reports of other missing ships, not if she omnisciently knows about every Federation vessel that got yanked into the Delta quadrant. Evidently there were no such reports where the Equinox was concerned."

So Starfleet wouldn't have reported that ship missing? If Janeway didn't 'omnisciently' know about it or any other missing ships, couldn't she do that non-complicated thing called 'looking things up'?
eddie
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
This was a good episode. Its too bad that as the series went ahead, Seska's motivations were not as clear. Here she's trading Voyager's tech to keep the Kazon of their backs. Can't really argue against self-preservation. Obviously, she has to get away when found out. But later on, I never quite understood what her point was. Did she give up on ever returning home and just building a base of power with the Kazon?
Shane
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Hey folks, the reason Janeway didn't know or didn't mention the Equinox is because the writers don't think that far ahead!

If they had been on the ball Janeway could've mentioned the Hera (La Forge's mother's ship) and that would've been a nice touch for Trekkies. Lost opportunity as so much of Voyager was.

As for the rest of the episode, I didn't find myself captivated by Seska's lying. I knew for a fact she was indeed lying because I saw this episode well after the fact. I guess if I had caught it during the original run I'd have liked it better. Unfortunately it just came off as a waste of time waiting for the truth to come out.
Jack
Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Well after Neelix described the consequences of eating those "apples", I'd think Carey should have run back to the other crew members he said were picking them to warn them...it's not hard to imagine one of them biting into one.

As for the leola root...if this is the planet they are indiginous to, they must have harvested a heap of them...Neelix mentions them in his cooking for years to come.
Adam
Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 1:06am (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this episode. It used the premise of the show, and showed consequences of Janeway's actions in 'Caretaker'. Seska had a good point in her speech near the end. I think the first two seasons, for everyone's complaints, did have a story arc of sorts. There was the Kazon/Seska arc, and the Vidiian arc. I wish more had been done with the show's premise, ultimately.

But episodes like this one were a step in the right direction, as was 'Equinox' in seasons 5 and 6. Interestingly enough, Janeway doesn't know about the USS Equinox's disappearance in this episode, but then again, I guess she isn't omniscient.
K'Elvis
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 8:37am (UTC -5)
If you want to talk about missing ships, there is the Defiant: the original Defiant, from the TOS episode The Tholian Web. It disappeared into a some strange area of space. It might not have been taken by the Caretaker, but I always thought it would be interesting if it popped back into normal space sometime.
Peter
Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Actually the original Defiant's disappearance is explained in the season 4 episode of "Enterprise", "In a Mirror Darkly".

The anomalies of Tholian space pushed the Defiant into the Mirror universe more than a 100 years earlier where the mirror Jonathan Archer and the crew of ISS Enterprise NX-01 hijacked it and took back to Earth (or at least the mirror universe Ensign Sato did that, after she took over control of the two ships from Archer.)
Vylora
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 12:36am (UTC -5)
Another standout installment that smartly utilizes not only the Kazon (in this case the Nistrim sect), but also a secondary character known for her outspokenness against the captain. Everything in this episode flowed logically from what the first season has built up thus far and brought us to what is now a defining moment for several future episodes.

Despite a bit of by-the-numbers plotting, this was well-conceived and smartly executed with some of the best characterizations of the first season. This is, in my opinion, the closest yet that Voyager has knocked it out of the park.

3.5 stars.
Skeptical
Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
Best episode so far! State of Flux is a good name for the episode. It really does show how unstable everything is. Even though I knew who the traitor was, the show still did a good job of casting doubt. I agree with Jammer; Seska's pleas of innocence were very convincing, all things considered. When she went to the Kazon ship to retrieve the replicator, it is perfectly logical that she's doing it to remove evidence... AND perfectly logical that she did it to prove her innocence. We already knew she doesn't play by the rules, and we already knew she thought this was a good way to extract the replicator...

And then there was the revelation that she was possibly a Cardassian. Honestly, I sort of wish that she had stayed on. After all, being a Cardassian spy doesn't make you a traitor... And hey, having a lone Cardassian stuck with the humans worked on DS9, maybe it would work here? But it does make sense that she would then be the least willing to play by Janeway's rules. So I guess I understand why they went the way they did. Having Seska be a Cardassian spy yet not actually betraying the crew would have been a risky plot to take, but perhaps not the most realistic.

In any case, one thing I liked about this episode was that Seska wasn't being a mustache twirling villain here. Her motives were clear; protect Voyager. It was almost noble in a way. And now the reason the Kazon never attacked Voyager since Caretaker is made clear. Seska's rant at Janeway after being caught had a certain amount of logic to it. I'm not saying she's right, but it does certainly make sense to her. And it again touches on a theme that has come up multiple times in the first season: should you sacrifice your principles to get home? In fact, here it's not even about getting home. Should you sacrifice your principles in order to stay alive in a dangerous world? Seska obviously has no problem with it, Janeway obviously won't. And that's why Seska directed a lot of her rant at Chakotay.

Once again we get a good Chakotay episode. Once again he is torn between his Maquis loyalty and his desire to keep this a Federation ship. And this time, his Maquis loyalty was wrong. And we get to see him get punched in the gut repeatedly. I liked that he was taking his frustrations out on Tuvok. He may have accepted Tuvok's betrayal by now, but he hasn't forgotten it. And he's perfectly entitled to be frustrated and venting some steam here.

So yeah, I enjoyed it. This was a show that was truly Voyager's and didn't feel like a bad TNG rerun. It may have come a bit too early in the season, but really, even that isn't too bad. We would have been wondering about the Kazon eventually. So maybe it's best that Seska was revealed so soon.
Marmota
Tue, Feb 17, 2015, 10:11am (UTC -5)
Re: leela root: I imagine later on, they grew them. They did have a hydroponic bay, right? (Except that I noticed it was, if I remember correctly, cargo bay 2, which later houses Seven of Nine? I may not remember correctly.)
Jeff Bedard
Sat, Apr 11, 2015, 11:10am (UTC -5)
Having recently rewatched this episode and "Alliances" from season 2, I can't help but find Janeway's change of mind regarding establishing alliances mildly amusing. Here Janeway tells Tuvok that any alliance could be helpful even the Nistrim, despite Neelix already informing her that the Nistrim is the most violent sect. Granted, at the time Janeway makes this statement she hadn't met Mage Culluh yet. But then in "Alliances", at the end of the episode, Janeway tells the senior staff that the only ally they need is the Federation rulebook. Which is it Captain?
Yanks
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Jeff Bedard,

Maybe that's an underlying reason why Janeway agreed with Chakotay in Alliances. She has known all along they might need to explore that route. It is obvious that AFTER the events that too place in Alliances her mind is now made up. I give her credit for giving it a try.

Break...

Not too much to say about this wonderful episode, especially after Jammer's outstanding review.

All I could think watching this was "poor Carey", first he get demoted, now the Captain and XO suspect him of contacting the Kazon... eeesh... because THEY think he has motive?

One of the reasons I love this episode is it has Martha Hackett in it. Wonderful actress.

I love her scheming and love how they caught her.

I also love this exchange at the end between Chakotay and Tuvok. Not just because it's humorous, but because Chakotay had the courage to approach Tuvok here. He could have easily been too embarrassed to bring it up.

"CHAKOTAY: Can I ask you to be honest with me, Lieutenant?
TUVOK: As a Vulcan, I am at all times honest, Commander.
CHAKOTAY: That's not exactly true. You lied to me when you passed yourself off as a Maquis to get on my crew.
TUVOK: I was honest to my own convictions within the defined parameters of my mission.
CHAKOTAY: You damned Vulcans and your defined parameters. That's easy for you.
TUVOK: On the contrary. The demands on a Vulcan's character are extraordinarily difficult. Do not mistake composure for ease. How may I be honest with you today?
CHAKOTAY: I'd just like to know, from someone else who pulled the wool over my eyes, was I particularly naive? Was I not paying enough attention? What the hell was it that let all you spies get by me?
TUVOK: Like all humans, you depend on feelings and instincts to guide you, and they invariably let you down. But particularly naive? No, Commander, and I've always considered your attention span to be adequate.
CHAKOTAY: Did you ever see anything about Seska that make you suspicious?
TUVOK: No. She quite expertly pulled the wool over my eyes as well.
CHAKOTAY: Well, that makes me feel a little better. Thanks.
TUVOK: Curious.
CHAKOTAY: What?
TUVOK: That my failure, added to your own, should improve your feelings.
CHAKOTAY: Misery loves company, Tuvok."

"How may I be honest with you today?" had me in tears :-) :-)

I'll go 4 stars with one. Great episode.
45 RPM
Wed, Dec 2, 2015, 4:52am (UTC -5)
I can only watch this one these days all starry eyed...I sho loved Seska. (Though I admit it's weird hearing them refer to her as 'Ensign' Seska. I forgot she was part of the crew like this back then.) I generally watch her after she'd defected and restored her Cardassian physiology, so going back to episodes like these is such a treasure.

There really isn't much more to add to what Jammer said. Outstanding. Well paced. Never overdone nor underdone. This ep introduced us also to Mage Culluh. Obviously someone we will forsee again in the future. But at this point we didn't know much about his sinister ways. Though we would learn very quickly in this episode alone.

I just can't help but gush over Martha Hackett as Seska. I think the reason I stopped watching this one as much was because I was reminded of how she could have been quite a...diversion...if she had stayed a part of the chain of command. And let's face it, it made for some compelling storytelling.

Still, I can't believe the writers decided to write her out. She had so much character and presence...easily on the levels of Tim Russ and Robert Picardo. I just can't forgive the writers for that guffaw. And yet they had no issues keeping the other ensign? Come on, How many times can you not get a lock on something the size of candlestick park? Not to mention his acting. Jack Nicholson is in no danger of losing an Academy Award to this guy. (ok, not many people could compete. Maybe Dustin Hoffman or Harrison Ford, but you get the point)

But no sense beating that dead horse, you good folks know your feelings on it.

Back to Seska. I also keep forgetting the Bajoran look was just a ruse. I admit there was something about her as a Cardassian that made her more sinister in appearance. And irnoically we kept seeing her in all her maternal radiance at that point. Which I didn't mind. Made her all the more compelling I would say. I just don't understand how the producers could just let her go. Her acting never once felt wooden at all, even at this point.

I really enjoyed seeing how she played chuckles like a fiddle. Call me sadistic but she ripped right thru his self righteous shields like those temporal missiles ripped thru Voyager in S4's Year of Hell. And she'd pour salt on those wounds in Maneuvers.

I do like how the show played with those utopian ideals and showed that not everyone was going to be in agreement with them.
I believe that was why the maquis were created in TNG. To shake the status quo up just a bit. Show external/internal strife.

I haven't watched DS9 as of yet but if i'm not mistaken (please correct me if so) it dealt moreso with the politics of Starfleet. Not just black and white fundamentals like TNG. But the 'gray area' issues that were the cornerstone of orders and missions doled out by Starfleet command.

But with Voyager they decided to downplay the maquis dissidence. To try to adhere to the original ideals Gene Roddenberry laid out in TOS. But then they let Janeway break the prime directive whenever it became inconvenient. Talk about being unclear on the concept.

They still could have shown a less ideal environment in the first two seasons alone regarding the two crews. Seska wasn't the only maquis who felt the way she did. She just went a little farther than the rest. And let's face it, it made for some awesome storytelling.

And the fact that it was the captain herself who stranded both crews in the Delta Quadrant was the perfect catalyst for some kind of mutiny. And yet all we got out of it was Seska defecting. meh. Looking at it some 20 years later Seska's reaction seemed more realistic than chuckles, who jumped into the first officer role a little TOO readily. He seemed to suddenly forget why he joined the maquis in the first place. Truthfully he never came off as any kind of malcontent to begin with.

I can somewhat see B'elanna trying to fit in with Starfleet. She would always default her disagreements with it to her Klingon side. Being in Starfleet even under forced circumstances might be her way of feeling in control of her temper. And thus, defeating her Klingon half.

And yet the writers couldn't decide how to fit Seska into this motley crew. *facepalm

We probably should have guessed where Seska was headed based on the previous Ep. Still, I never saw her siding with the Ka-zon coming. They sure didn't seem all that powerful. Or intelligent. And she seemed far too ahead of them intellectually to put up with that primitive way of thinking. Starfleet, Cardassian and Maquis experience. Quite the resume she put together. Should've made her the Captain.

Strong 3.5 to a solid 4 stars is where I put this one.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Another strong episode, rooted again in a uniquely Voyager perspective. Plenty of twists, some nice re-direction, plenty of revelations regarding Seska, and Chakotay wondering whether any of his Maquis crew were actually real Maquis.

Seska is the standout here, and her impassioned monologue at the end gives a very Cardassian spin on how to handle Voyager's plight. Good stuff. 3.5 stars.
MartinB
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 10:27am (UTC -5)
On the comment asking if Equinox arrived in the Delta Quadrant before or after Voyager; clearly Equinox arrived first and had already started its trip home when Voyager arrived. Voyager was the last ship the Caretaker abducted as he died shortly after while Voyager was still at his array. Why Equinox, heading from and to the same places as Voyager would completely miss the Kazon and the Borg on its journey which Voyager spent years dealing with and encounter an entirely different set of aliens is another question as is why the Caretaker didn't send Equinox back as he still had time left...
Skywalker
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
"Do not mistake composure for ease." Tuvok is an awesome Vulcan! For some reason I remembered people criticizing his Vulcanness, and had it in my mind he wasn't a good character. 15 years sure makes a difference in perspective! Tuvok rocks. "How may I be honest with you today?" That whole scene was a real highlight.

But I'm bothered that Tuvok wears lieutenant commander pips while he is constantly referred to as "Lieutenant Tuvok," and later gets promoted to LDCR. WTF, costume people?! Basics.

I also think it's odd when Voyager gets the new type of fancy shuttle in later seasons (though let's not get started on shuttle anomalies!), as well as the new type of STFC tricorders with the slanted front face. I guess they were just using the old ones until they wore out! Or maybe they replicated the prototype in the ship's computer?
George Monet
Tue, Aug 2, 2016, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
This episode simply didn't do it for me. Ceska was so obviously guilty from the very first moment that it was obvious she was up to something fishy even before we knew anything fishy had happened. The problem here is that Ceska has always clearly been playing for a different team and the show focused way too much on her character for me to ever believe that she was just a red herring. The writer's have demonstrated that they simply aren't capable of writing with that much subtlety. Dropping hints of another lost ship in the Delta Quadrant would have been a great red herring and would have given the writers material for later seasons but again the writers aren't capable of that kind of foreward thinking.

Thus from my perspective, the writers spent 30 minutes focus on the character we knew was always going to be guilty so it felt like the episode was running in place for 30 minutes and simply stalling for time.

In terms of long reaching implications, why does the crew assume without any justification that no other species in this quadrant uses that kind of technology? They just got to the Delta Quadrant and they know there are species out there they have never met with unknown technology. There was no reason to assume that no other species uses that material in its technology. And since this was a replicator, wouldn't the replicator technology basically be the same in every species so shouldn't every species replicator technology use the same basic components? That was another problem.

Finally, how is growing and transporting food less energy intensive than using the replicator to simply make food? If anything, replicating food should be less energy intensive than growing it or transporting it, especially since the hydroponics bay is in an area of the ship that receives no natural sunlight and there are no sewage lines running throughout the ship so all the water and fertilizer for the plants would have to be replicated anyways.
mephyve
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
recap: Episode 1 - sleep inducing
Episode 2: feminist drivel (Didn't finish)
Episode 3: nice story (**)
Episode4: boring hospital show (Didn't finish)
Episode 5: boring hospital show (Didn't finish)
Episode 6: Pointless get off the island show
Episode 7: Nice mystery (**)
Episode 8: Nice story (**)
Episode 9: Pointless get off the island show {Skipped to the predictable end)
And now episode 10
Nice bit of espionage. nice story (***)
RandomThoughts
Fri, Sep 30, 2016, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
Heya heya Everyone!

Upon first viewing in the 90's, I had been rooting for Seska after her impassioned plea toward the end. That she turned out to be a Cardassian spy, I felt it was a bit contrived. It was interesting, no doubt, but it just didn't feel right to me.

Now, upon viewing again after these many years, I had to wonder about something. Voyager knows more baddies are going to show up, but after getting their console/technology back, they just sit there. Were they going to scold the Kazon? (They wouldn't care, and would try to get the technology any way they could, because it was their space, after all). Were they going to attempt to question them? (Not likely they'd get any answers, because of my above note). So why did they just sit there? I'd figure they'd get the replicator back, then get the heck out of there at high warp. There was no reason to stay, except to give Seska a place to beam to. Period. Seemed silly to me they hung around until the last moment...

Overall, I really liked the episode, I just can't get past the fact they stayed right there...

Enjoy the day Everyone! RT
JohnC
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 10:34am (UTC -5)
From a viewer's point of view, I'm glad Seska's gone because I found her to be a conniving backstabbing b**** . But if I step back, I wonder why the writers decided to take the character off of Voyager - she definitely added some spice to the mix and Martha Hackett did a great job portraying the character. Someone else noted that it might have provided fodder for many interesting episodes to leave her on the ship as a Cardassian spy... (incidentally, I couldn't remember Hackett's name so I googled the character and glanced at Hackett's wikipedia entry. Cum laude from Harvard/Radcliffe. To quote another sci-fi baddie: Most Impressive.
Ildaf
Wed, Feb 8, 2017, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Easily the best episodes for Season 1

"I had my eyes on young ensign Kim" -- Seska
Haha.. Even as early in the series, Kim already destined to doom with women

I love this episodes. It has every part of what Voyager needs. Correlation and consequences to it's main premise, character growth, internal conflict based on reasonable development, and formidable intellectual opponent (not your weekly hard-headed-alien of the week). Hackett doing impressive job taking role of Seska.

Apart from straying out from it's main premise (lost in delta quadrant with limited resouce and renegades crew) over the series. Another thing that I think Voyager lack is presence of an equal opponent. Opponent with moral & politically complex, a cunning and intectually challenging opponent who can do battle of wits, battle of deception. Seska with Kazon help can provide this nicely (at least for a while).

I know Beltran having quarrel with the way writers and his character treated later on the season. But is he already lost interest as early on first season? He's having poor performance in this episodes. Even Lt. Carey doing a better job when being cornered as suspect.
Chakotay/Beltran on the other hand, looks indifferent throughout the episodes, and this should be his show! He doesn't look much worry, troubled, threatened when Seska accussed, or when he's talk to Seska.
Even on the closing scene with Tuvok, he just casually talk "Misery loves company, Tuvok". But nothing on his voice or body languange shown someone that has just gotten through big ordeal of being fouled, betrayed, lost, depressed. It's like he doesn't care and just doing his line.

3.5 stars
Mertov
Sun, Feb 26, 2017, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
Best episode of the series thus far for all the reasons Jammer and most others already said..

Two bad moments for the Chakotay character because of Robert Beltran's limited acting skills --->
One in contrast to Martha Hackett's Seska in their dialogs and the other in contrast to the masterful skills of Tim Russ in portraying Tuvok in that last scene. Delivery of lines in a believable and authentic-to-the-character manner are very underrated (see also the dialog between Garrett Wang's Kim and Jerry Hardin's character in "Emanations" for another example)
Justin
Wed, Jun 28, 2017, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
If this were a 2017 show this episode would have been one of many comprising a solid story arc. But alas, this was 1995. The Seska arc was mediocre at best.
William B
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
So this is a good episode as (mostly) everyone agrees; it's suspenseful and tight, gives Chakotay something to do, and plays on the realities of Voyager's precarity in the quadrant and the risks from both inside and outside the ship. The episode pays off some of the Starfleet/Maquis material that has been otherwise mostly forgotten, from Seska's getting Chakotay the soup at the episode's beginning forward through to the acknowledgment of what discovering that Tuvok is a secret agent must have done to Chakotay's feeling at the episode's end. Not only that, but the episode also follows up from material from DS9 -- the reveal about Seska makes sense because it follows on Second Skin (obliquely referenced since it's stated that it's known that Cardassians send out surgically altered spies) and adds an interesting new player. While I think Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok are really overstating it in claiming that Carey had "motive," I like the idea that some of the personnel decisions Janeway et al. made could ruffle some of the crew and that there's some real possibility of discontent on this ship.

I guess I'm still a bit reluctant to be *too* enthusiastic about the show, though. I think that the double-whammy reveal of Seska as both Cardassian spy *and* traitor to the ship is in some ways a bit less than the sum of its parts. Cardassians are complex, sure, but they're still to some extent designated bad guys. It would have been very interesting to see a Cardassian spy try to integrate onto Voyager, alongside people she had been betraying and who actively hate her species. And by having the person to make the "we need to survive out here, by forging alliances and dropping your principles" argument be neither Starfleet nor Maquis, both organizations which operate under a kind of idealism in different ways, but Cardassian, a culture of explicit dominance, gives the impression that this is a take that was a little beyond the pale for anyone else on the ship. It's not a huge letdown, and I think it's worth noting that it makes sense that neither Janeway's nor Chakotay's original crews are really going to be full of people already after a couple of months planning on making their own individual plans; Seska was *already* an independent agent of sorts, and so it makes sense that she was much more ready than anyone else on the ship (besides the two captains) to make her own gutsy calls. Anyway, it's a good trick to have sensible if uncomfortable observations placed in the mouth of a designated villain, but it also can feel a bit like a strawman.

More to the point, I guess the *emotional* story for Chakotay gets a little blunted; he doesn't have to try to understand or defend Seska's actions, even if they were partly meant to help save the ship, from loyalty to his own crew member, since she was a traitor -- not to Starfleet, like Tuvok, which Chakotay can at least understand and respect, but to the *Cardassians*. Chakotay's role as Maquis ends up getting dropped in a way as the episode goes on and it becomes his role as (jilted) lover that is the only thing that matters -- and that's the part that was only introduced at the beginning of the episode. Taking part of Jammer's review, "the show demonstrates that the Voyager is still at least partially divided in its Starfleet/Maquis mentalities, and that maybe not all of the crew is willing to just lie down and accept its situation," I guess this sort of is my problem. For both Chakotay's story *and* for the story of Voyager-as-a-whole, revealing the most rebellious Maquis to be a Cardassian impostor sort of prevents this from being an actual Starfleet/Maquis story, and as such it's more personal and maybe interesting but seems less important to the series as a whole.

What *might* have been interesting is the idea of Seska's fitting in so well in the Maquis, while apparently mostly operating on a Cardassian set of values. The Maquis were created to fight Cardassians, and one common problem in war -- which was articulated by O'Brien back in The Wounded -- is to start to mirror one's opponent, to take on their tactics and premises. A Cardassian fit in, right in their midst, and indeed Seska's behaviour here, justified in terms of Cardassian values, seems continuous with her actions in Prime Factors, which were then ostensibly justified by Maquis values. That's another interesting element the show didn't really explore, at least not here.

I could see going to 3.5 stars, but for now I feel like a high 3 is more appropriate. A good mystery and emotional story, with a nice gut-punch ending, and an effective piece for exposing Seska's villainy -- but I feel like it's limited by some of the choices made.
Skeelo
Mon, Sep 11, 2017, 12:35am (UTC -5)
So replicators are actually weapons of mass descruction now? Install one wrong and everyone gets melted into the ship apparently. Another voyager plot invention, never seen anywhere before, or after, this episode.

Decent episode though. 2 1/2 stars.
Ruth
Sat, Nov 4, 2017, 7:53am (UTC -5)
The danger of incorrectly shielded replicators is horrifying (and everyone’s sleeping next to them!), but they’re only space microwaves in practice and you want those properly shielded too
Startrekwatcher
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
3 stars solid episode that played to the more unique side of the series

I enjoyed the invocation shoot I liked seeing the crew searching for food. I liked that the episode jumped right into it with the discovery of a Kazon ship in orbit. I personally liked the Kazon and the Vidiians they managed to rise above the stock threat of the week.

The episode was well written with a lot of nice details and a tightness to the script—the mercasium letting them know Federation tech, the bio neural giveaway that it could have only come from voyager, the way the subject of blood arose with regards to seska due to the need for transfusion in the Kazon, the nifty idea hatched to gain access to the tech, seska’s riskier subspace personal bubble that ultimately landed her in sickbay and her true identity unearthed, Carey being a suspect makes sense from “parallax”, continuity from ds9’s “second skin” nicely set up the seska reveal organically.

Janeway continued to shine in season one. Here with her telling Culluh like it is with her “I don’t like bullies and I don’t like you Culluh” or her reaction when Tuvok suggests someone onboard Voyager betrayed them.

I also enjoyed when Seska finally dropped all pretense and not longer tried keeping up her con and laid into janeway. Seska really was a great early Voyager baddie. She was cunning and smart as evidenced by her trying to frame herself or having an out by beaming over to the Kazon ship

Also this episode added some personality to the delta Quadrant by showing their a little behind on tech and how Voyager’s tech is coveted by them

The only part that didn’t work was the romance between Chakotay and Seska.

But the final scene between Tuvok and Chakotay was pitch perfect and I can definitely see Chakotay feeling better after Tuvok, a logical Vulcan, got hoodwinked by seska too
Startrekwatcher
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
2 stars

I couldn’t stand this hedonistic culture. The early part of the episode seemed like fluff and dragged. Kim
And his love interest were MEh

Things kinda pick up towards the end when their request for the tech falls through. Tuvok being the one who breaks the rules and gets the tech was a surprise. Ultimately when it is revealed that the tech would never work on the ship it felt a little too self righteous in making Janeways decision the rught one
Startrekwatcher
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
The last post was meant for prime factors
Rahul
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 12:15am (UTC -5)
A mystery, a traitor, the main enemy's involvement, Chakotay getting "stabbed in the back" -- so much to like about "State of Flux". A second-straight great episode for the Seska character after the brilliant "Prime Factors". This one really works on multiple levels given the aforementioned elements, creating an intriguing and cohesive episode but also some good questions for the future.

The Kazon are back and while less technologically capable, they have numbers and pose a serious threat. Janeway doesn't back down and is genuinely surprised at how quickly Torres and the away team do their bit to recover the replicator -- could have been ugly had they not done the retrieval work before reinforcements for the Kazon arrive. Voyager need a credible enemy and here the Kazon play the part more than adequately.

Nice twist with Seska being Cardassian and having infiltrated the Maquis under Chakotay's command. Her being the traitor does make sense as she's been the most vocal, I think, about disagreeing with Janeway and the Federation principles. The mushroom soup incident is one small example. But it really comes out in the heated exchange when Chakotay confronts her for treason and she calls both him and Janeway fools -- an excellent scene.

How she beamed herself out is a bit of a mystery (just by uttering 3 letters?) but clearly Seska's a strong character that sets up some interesting confrontations in the future -- well done Voyager writers.

Good enough for 3.5 stars -- Seska had some good arguments (from her perspective) re. Janeway stranding the crew and how doing things the Cardassian way would be better. The whole melding of 2 crews has to be questioned after this episode so it's definitely something of a landmark episode for Season 1, I'd say. And how is Seska now going to make out as part of the Kazon when she wanted to get back home so badly? Compelling stuff here.
Silly
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
This was pretty solid, though with the problem that the Kazon always came across as embarrassingly cheap Klingon knockoffs. Wtf? They looked like costumes someone out together from a particularly crappy thrift store.

Seska's motivations make a life of sense here... Then she the runs off with the Kazon so that, uh, wtf, made zero sense.

The maddening thing is that had she remained on the ship, she could have been one of those Dr. Smith on Lost in Space or Dr. Baltar in BSG characters, where half the time they are helping you, half the time plotting against you sort of, but still with the goal of getting home etc etc. Think of Seska being a third wheel in the Voyager (Janeway)/Borg adventures, for example.
John
Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 1:02am (UTC -5)
This was a decent episode, but if they already knew Seska was the guilty party when they confronted her in sickbay, it seems that Tuvok should have anticipated her transporter escape, and put some kind of dampening field in place in sickbay. They knew there was a Kazon ship nearby.
Elliott
Tue, Oct 16, 2018, 8:24am (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***.5, 5%

After having his dreams of re-uniting with his wife and kids dashed in last week's climax, Lt Carey is very enthusiastic about discovering some sort of alien apples on an unnamed planet. Now, this may seem ridiculous, but we are reminded quickly enough that the crew has had to endure the lethe that is daily meals in Neelix' kitchen. A sweet apple would probably, and appropriately, taste like paradise. And speaking of, Hell's chef is quick to point out that these particular apples are horrifically poisonous. Chakotay cuts him off before describing the way in which they will cause your dick to fall off (I'm not kidding), and consents to try a Leola root instead. After one bite, Chakotay is insulted by the idea that the disgusting vegetable is only reason the crew is scouting this planet.

Meanwhile, Paris notices an odd reading in orbit with the Voyager, but the sensors can't get a clear reading for some reason. To play it safe, Janeway orders the away teams return to the Voyager. Tuvok is finally able to use a torpedo or something to identify the vessel—Kazon. Ah...the space hobos are back! Seska is missing, and so Chakotay resolves to find her while the rest beam back to the ship. He tracks her to a cave where he observes several Kazon milling about. Finally, he runs into Seska, who had picked some mushrooms before being cornered by these Kazon. There's an exchange of phaser and Chakotay is injured before Seska is able to clear their path. So, right off the bat, the lingering problem characters from “Prime Factors” are introduced to the story, along with the villains from the pilot. Chakotay, who never had a chance to weigh in on the goings on last week is also being featured. The music is good...it's a promising start.

Act 1 : ***.5, 17%

Janeway's logs inform us that the pair managed to return to the ship without further incident, and that the Voyager escaped the planet without conflict. In his quarters, Chakotay is inscribing that one ubiquitous Indian symbol onto a piece of shale or something when Seska lets herself in. She's taken the liberty to make him a pot of mushroom soup from the supply she collected. Neelix wanted to stretch their supply with Leola root, leading to a little story of Maquis insurrection. Chakotay is all chuckles and grateful spoonfuls of soup right up until the point that Seska reveals that she and another former Maquis actually stole the mushrooms from the kitchen. Chakotay is incensed, and right on cue Neelix calls, complete with recommendations on punishment for the conspirators. Chakotay continues his Neelix theme of cutting him off mid-sentence and ignoring him, thankfully. Chakotay determines to punish Seska, the other Maquis and himself by suspending replicator privileges. Seksa—master manipulator that we've learned she is—gets very close to the XO, eluding to a casual, but amiable sexual relationship the two had before being stuck in the DQ. All of this—the minor infraction involving old allegiances, the callbacks to a relationship that defined a life before being re-conscripted into Starfleet, and the cocky, mischievous disregard for the rules—all of this points to the fact that Seska and perhaps a few others are wont to let go of the pointless divisions which so many seem to want this series to be about. More on this later. For the time being, Seska coyly threatens to bang Harry instead. Yeah...good luck with that one.

Janeway calls the senior staff to the bridge to observe a Kazon distress call. Neelix points out that this sect, called the Nistrim, is especially violent. I wonder if they know how to make water. Janeway, on the other hand, sees that responding to the call could help them make an ally (this is a different sect than the one in “Caretaker”), besides being the right thing to do, of course.

So, Chakotay leads an away team to the damaged Nistrim vessel and, in keeping with Voyager's penchant for effective horror, we see that several Kazon have been melted directly into the bulkheads of the ship. Wonderfully disgusting. There's some sort of crazy radiation in the area, as well as one living Kazon whom they beam to the Voyager. Tuvok and Torres examine a device whose tech tech is almost certainly Federation in origin. Hmm.

The EMH reports to Janeway; the Kazon survivor has been chemically fused to parts of their ship. Tuvok and Chakotay deliver even more disturbing news regarding the Federation tech, and the radiation levels are too high to attempt transport. Tuvok—in his wonderfully Vulcan way—concludes that, among only a few options, only one explanation as to how the Kazon obtained this tech is likely; someone on the Voyager gave it to them. Kate Mulgrew gives us a performance reminiscent of some of her scenes in “Caretaker,” displaying an almost panicked concern. This is consistent with the Janeway who is trying to cope with command crises that aren't about science (her field), or personal relationships. Tuvok corroborates his theory by pointing out how the Kazon vessel over Planet Mushroom Soup was able to evade the Voyager's sensors, suggesting the ship had some of their access codes. Seska is immediately considered a suspect as (one of) the saboteur(s), but Chakotay points out that at least a dozen people would have had the ability to make contact with the Kazon. Overall, the scene is well-handled and directed. While just last week, Janeway was feeling a little more comfortable and pleased with crew morale, now she is having covert conversations with her first and second officers in the elevator, realising that someone within their midst may be betraying them all.

Act 2 : ***, 17%

In Engineering, Seska, Carey and Torres volley some technobabble solutions around for retrieving the tech. We get a small moment for Torres where she informs Janeway that, in flagrant violation of Starfleet tradition going back at least 85 years, she doesn't exaggerate her timetables to the captain. Torres organises a team, but Chakotay pulls Seska off the team because of the suspicion Tuvok has on her. He tells her—genuinely—that he pulled her off to keep her away from the action, to provide her an alibi, essentially. She's not exactly grateful to him. Seska stops in to sickbay briefly to check on the status of the Kazon patient, claiming his testimony is the only thing that can exonerate her. Before she exits, Kes asks after the fact that Seska never got around to providing them a blood sample for their records (Kes is checking the crew for blood donors for the Kazon). Apparently, Seska's blood was tainted as a child of the Occupation. Mhm.

In the ready room, Tuvok confirms that a covert signal was indeed sent from the Voyager by someone in Engineering. Another Nistrim ship is approaching the distressed one, and only a few hours away from it and the Voyager. Before Janeway can even deal with that, Kim informs them that Seska has taken it upon herself to retrieve the Federation tech on her own. Why is still unclear—we have seen her, three times now, show little regard for Federation protocol or Starfleet command structures, but each time, she had a reason, an honest motivation. Chakotay sees this situation as similar, having witnessed her react to him divulge the suspicion on her. Tuvok, of course, suspects that she may be trying to cover her tracks. Well, it quickly becomes rather moot as we hear a scream indicating she had an accident on the Kazon ship. She's beamed to sickbay, where we see she's been severely burnt.

Act 3 : ***, 17%

Carey is brought before the command trio in the ready room where he's questioned. Janeway follows up on the events of “Parallax,” concerned that Carey may be having troubling accepting Torres as his superior. Tuvok asks directly whether he has contacted the Nistrim. It turns out that the signal to the Kazon was sent from Carey's workstation in Engineering. It's difficult to assess so long after broadcast if a mystery like this holds up, but the show has provided us a couple of reasons, in two episodes so far, why Carey might actually be the traitor: first was the incident in “Parallax.” We saw him and Torres put their differences aside, but it can't have ingratiated him to Janeway to be denied a command I'm sure he feels he deserves. Then in “Prime Factors,” we saw that he was again willing to defy the chain of command if it meant getting home to his family. We don't know much about the Kazon at this point—it is still possible for Carey to be the guilty party. For now, Janeway restricts him to quarters. Chakotay sums things up nicely:

JANEWAY: What do you think?
CHAKOTAY: He had the motive and the opportunity.
JANEWAY: He's also had a distinguished Starfleet career. Seska has spent most of the last two years as an enemy of the Federation.
CHAKOTAY: So have I.

Meanwhile, the other Nistrim ship arrives, commanded by a man called Caligula, or whatever. He insists on being allowed to see his crewman in the Voyager's sickbay. Before long, she brings him and an aide to the patient. The EMH and Janeway explain how volunteers from the Voyager provided donor blood to the man to save his life. Janeway is forthright with Caligula, refusing to release the ship him until they have concluded their investigation. Well, the Kazon are so grateful to the crew for saving the patient's life that they kill him with a poisoned needle. Janeway of course, has Caligula locked up in the brig whe...no, no, she tells him to get off her ship. Huh?

Well, that stupidity aside, the EMH and Kes report to Janeway about the oddities in Seska's blood, now that they have had a chance to examine it. It turns out she's actually a Cardassian. Yikes.

Act 4 : **.5, 17%

Tuvok suspects that Seska infiltrated the Maquis to spy on them, but Chakotay can't believe it. Best line of the episode is definitely :

CHAKOTAY to TUVOK: You were working for her. Seska was working for them. Was anyone on board that ship working for me?

Caligula hails, angered about Torres and her away team having returned to the other ship for their salvage operation. Janeway's finally had enough of his bullshit, flat-out threatening to destroy him if he doesn't knock it off. Amusingly, when Janeway calls Torres to let her know there's a ticking clock (those approaching Kazon reinforcements), the engineers have already completed their salvage and beamed back to the Voyager. That's a cute way to subvert clichés. Janeway is impressed.

Well, irony of ironies considering this all started when that poisoned apple fell, the mystery tech turns out to be a food-replicator, and it definitely came from the Voyager, since it contains those gooey bits unique to her (see “Caretaker”). Side-note, so a replicator, benign tech that it is, will turn you and your comrades into a horror show of melted flesh if your interior shield casing isn't thick enough. Got to love the future.

Meanwhile, Chakotay confront Seska in sickbay. He tells her about the replicator and asks her what she was trying to accomplish. She has an explanation about that Cardassian blood—a bone marrow transplant that she received as a child. While Beltran and Hackett pour their hearts into this scene, it falls pretty flat for me, and we can pretty much trace this back to the underlying problem with the Maquis. Without the sophistic web of bullshit surrounding their motivations, *and* the still unexplained motivations of the Cardassian paramilitary in the DMZ, there just isn't any there there regarding their conflict. Seska tells Chakotay that his Maquis secrets wouldn't be worth the effort for a Cardassian agent. And, well, yeah. What a fucking waste of time that would be! And so, the scene relies entirely on the actors' chemistry—which is good, don't get me wrong—but there isn't a lot of staying power to it, unlike other relationships we've seen.

Chakotay reveals that they're close to solving the mystery, reassuring her that they'll clear this issue up soon. Outside, Tuvok confirms that this chat was Chakotay setting a trap for Seska, a process which Tuvok mirrored with Carey.

Act 5 : **, 17%

Tuvok and Chakotay are playing gin, which is sort of fun, when someone sets off the trap. Someone is falsifying evidence—poorly. It appears that Carey is trying to frame Seska for the crime. Ah, but Chakotay quickly reveals that he knows the truth. He awakens Seska in sickbay to let her know that she's been caught. He explains the trap to her, which is sort of tedious. The scene is finally rescued by Robert Picardo who is activated and explains that he is certain—in a way only a medical genius like himself could be—that she is indeed Cardassian. Chakotay finally asks her outright why she did it.

SESKA: I did it for you. I did it for this crew. We are alone here, at the mercy of any number of hostile aliens, because of the incomprehensible decision of a Federation Captain. A Federation Captain who destroyed our only chance to get home. Federation rules. Federation nobility. Federation compassion? Do you understand, if this had been a Cardassian ship, we would be home now.

She has a point, which is good—bad guys should never be strawmen. But the point is, we already knew this. It's not a mystery that Janeway could have gotten them all alone in “Caretaker.” The only thing which makes her decision there “incomprehensible” is the lack of a moral centre. It would have been good to have Kes in this scene, so Seska could look her in the eye and tell her her people deserved to have the Kazon enslave them so that Seska could be home right now. She gets in some clichéd closing lines before executing a command which transports her to the Kazon ship. Well, good thing she planned on getting caught when they were so close by. Yeah...With the approaching reinforcements, Janeway is forced to let her go, I guess.

In the epilogue, Chakotay asks Tuvok for a little tough love. Tuvok earns the second-best line of the episode:

TUVOK: The demands on a Vulcan's character are extraordinarily difficult. Do not mistake composure for ease. How may I be honest with you today?

The Vulcan points out that, like all humans, our emotions are what make us susceptible to deception and errors, but admits that Seska was able to fool him just as easily. Chakotay is comforted by this. Emotions are weird.

Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%

Isn't it interesting how Seska's values as a Cardassian spy (OO?) made her gel so well with her Maquis compatriots? Without those mean Cardassians to fight, B'Elanna found herself questioning the kind of rudderless antiauthoritarianism which bound the two women together in friendship. In this episode, Chakotay is at first lured by fond memories and “strictly Maquis operations.” In “The Maquis,” I touched on the idea that, lacking a clearly-realised motivation, the individual Maquis we get to know, like Cal Hudson, end up living out hyper-Romanticised fantasies. Kira took Thomas Riker to task for this very folly in “Defiant,” and (spoiler) Michael Eddington will prove to be the most Romantic figure of the movement. Seska has clearly preyed on these kinds of emotions in order to nestle herself within their ranks. Now, on the Voyager, with the ostensible purpose for the Maquis existing slipping further and further away from daily life, it is Seska who plays up Holden Caulfield snubbing of authority in order to keep the crew divided. Her efforts undermine the progress Janeway is beginning to make in establishing a Starfleet ethos amongst the crew. Unfortunately, this episode rushes her development and fails to give her a purpose. Yes, she is clearly motivated by philosophical differences with Starfleet and Janeway in particular, but what exactly is her goal, here? Did she think giving the Kazon replicators would stave off their attacks? Is that why we haven't seen them since the pilot? Well, that didn't prevent Chakotay from getting shot, did it? For proving to be such a master spy, this whole scheme seems poorly thought out. I would have preferred Seska remain aboard, hiding in plain sight, for longer.

The Kazon were put to okay use here, especially as a looming space-submarine threat in the opening acts. Caligula receives no particular characterisation, which is kind of a let down. The main characters fare better, especially Tuvok and Chakotay, whose conflicting personalities and agendas from “Caretaker” are effectively set in parallel without losing their defining qualities. For his part, Chakotay seems to realise that he needs to stop treating his former crew like they're still Maquis; all this does is invite discord and create opportunities for their enemies. They had better resolve these lingering Maquis issues soon, because the underlying problems with their conception will continue to plague the series until they do.

Final Score : ***

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