Star Trek: Voyager


2 stars

Air date: 3/13/1996
Teleplay by Jeri Taylor
Story by Jeff Schnaufer & Ed Bond
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'd like to apologize to anyone that I might have offended, especially Commander Chakotay; I gave him a pretty hard time...not that it wasn't a certain amount of fun, mind you." — Paris

Nutshell: The wrap-up of the Michael Jonas plot arc proves disappointingly mundane. Plus we get the added demerit of Neelix playing journalist. Not good, folks.

Rogue-of-recent Paris requests to be put off the ship with the intention of joining the Talaxian military because of his troubles of self-identity and getting along with the Voyager crew. Meanwhile, Morale Officer Neelix, who has given himself the new job of ship's talk show host with his daily program A Briefing with Neelix, suspects a traitor on board Voyager and hopes to expose it just like any worthy journalist would.

For simplicity's sake, let me announce it up front: Paris' belligerent behavior is all an undercover act that Janeway and Tuvok have manufactured in an attempt to uncover a spy whose suspicious actions were first noticed because of some log inconsistencies (and no, Chakotay doesn't know about it).

The spy, as we all know, is Michael Jonas (Raphael Sbarge), the guy who conspires with Seska and the Kazon Nistrim by feeding them information and even, as seen in "Lifesigns," made the agreement to sabotage Voyager so the Kazon can gain the advantage in a surprise attack. The way "Lifesigns" played out, it seemed obvious that the Paris and Jonas situations were going to merge (or collide) somehow. The only question was how. The answer is "Investigations," an action/intrigue episode that does indeed merge and resolve these two plot developments that have been brewing for over a month, and now throws in the added bonus (demerit would be a better word) of bringing Neelix into the picture.

Within hours of Paris' departure from the Voyager (which is marked with a nicely done segment where Neelix gives a tribute to Paris on his show), the Kazon attack the Talaxian fleet and kidnap Paris. Seska, supplied with Jonas' information on Paris' decision to leave Voyager, offers him a chance to join them. Paris stalls on the issue long enough to achieve his real mission, which is to search the Kazon's logs and find out who the spy is and what the Kazon are planning.

Meanwhile, Neelix pursues his own mission of tracking down the traitor on his end, by poking around in engineering, much to the ire of Michael Jonas, who sabotages the Voyager's warp engines and makes it look like an accident.

"Investigations" has a punchy-looking ending, but it also has a very lackluster resolution of two subplots which seemed to be headed for a major revelation. The more I think about this show, the more I'm disappointed, because it could have been so much more, particularly with all the build-up we've had over the last month and a half. The story, which should have been a lot bigger in canvas and consequence, is instead anticlimactic and can't really bear much scrutiny if examined for more than ten or so seconds.

For starters, I find it a little hard to believe that Janeway could predict with such certainty the Kazon's reaction to Paris leaving the Voyager, or even if they did decide to chase after him, that he would be able to cake walk through their computer systems for the necessary information. (If you think about it, Seska and the Kazon security seem pretty stupid for just leaving Paris in a room unguarded, with a computer console at his disposal.)

Granted, this is partially successful in that the writers come up with a way of keeping the audience in the dark about Janeway and Tuvok's undercover plan that's been going on all along, while still advancing the plot on Paris' end. But it's still just fabricated storytelling: it feels too much like "magical plotting"—events that, if you think about them, prove far too neat and tidy to have actually happened, or for Paris to have planned and acted on given the variables.

Then there's Jonas, who under Neelix's persistent badgering sweats too much and looks guilty as hell—hardly appropriate for someone who has been supposedly deceiving Tuvok's security for months now, and especially under the pressure of Neelix's hardly-intimidating persona. Sbarge should have put more subtlety in the character instead of going completely over-the-top with painfully evident looks of impatience and anxiety. The scene where he's about to kill Neelix with a laser-welder is an attention-getter, but if you think about it, how is he going to avoid blowing his cover if he kills someone in the middle of engineering? It's just a cheap thrill with little logic behind it.

Then again, this show isn't much about logic as it is about overblown spectacle. From Paris' escape of the Kazon ship to Neelix's big fight with Jonas once he's found out, "Investigations" puts action ahead of storyline more times than not—unfortunately, with limited success. Paris' escape from the Kazon is a derivative, lackluster exchange of fists and phaser-fire. Neelix's fight with Jonas, on the other hand, has a certain intensity you wouldn't expect to find in a plot involving Neelix. In fact, it seems almost excessive at times, with the ship shaking and rocking under Kazon phaser fire, and the warp intermix chamber leaking deadly plasma (or something) while Neelix and Jonas struggle above it on the second level of engineering.

This, of course, is an all-too-obvious setup for Jonas to take a predictable fall and vaporize in the inferno, which seems both too obvious and too easy—I think it would've been more interesting if the writers had dealt with the aftermath of a detected spy, rather than just erasing the problem by killing him off.

As an action show, I suppose "Investigations" is watchable, but as a caper show it's a failure. I found Neelix's investigation "in search of exposing the truth!" to be genuinely annoying. (Maybe that's the real reason Jonas couldn't handle the pressure.) Countless scenes where the Doctor asks to be put on Neelix's show and Neelix replies that he has a more important agenda sure aren't of any help. And the notion that Neelix helps to solve this case—when, rather, his actions always seem to be simply counterproductive to Tuvok's efforts—left me with mixed feelings of dumbfoundedness and Neelix-induced aggravation.

I really would have preferred more of an impacting payoff considering how long this situation with Jonas has been brewing. Unfortunately, what comes out of "Investigations,"—which is virtually nothing (plus non-stop Neelix fun)—is not at all what I was looking for.

Nevertheless, I'm still glad the series at least tried doing a continuing storyline in the first place (and I look forward to the creators trying it again, hopefully with more success). The best thing about "Investigations" is how it takes all those scenes from the previous episodes featuring Paris' irrational behavior ("Meld," "Dreadnought," "Lifesigns")—something which seemed completely out of character at the time—and makes some sense out of them.

Paris' "redemption" here follows somewhat from "Threshold," where he finally came to terms with his second chance in life. Could it be that after that experience, Janeway decided to enlist Paris for this undercover operation? That would be reassuring, and it stands to reason. It could be the only vaguely good thing to arise out of the disastrous "Threshold."

Previous episode: Lifesigns
Next episode: Deadlock

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83 comments on this post

Mon, Dec 17, 2007, 10:12am (UTC -5)
wow Morale Officer seems more and more like a job you give to mentally retarded people just so they can feel good about themselves
Dirk Hartmann
Sun, Mar 30, 2008, 4:57am (UTC -5)
That one wasn't so bad if seen as a single episode. Sure it somewhat depends on whether one does rather like the Neelix character or is annoyed by him, which is a quite subjective issue. (Even though I can't understand why, some people I know are majorly annoyed by the doc!!!)
The real letdown of this episode is how the story arc resolves - unexciting for such a long buildup.
Wed, Jun 4, 2008, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
One thing has always really bothered me about this episode. Janeway's plan depended on the Kazon attacking the Talaxians and kidnapping Tom. Lucky for the Talaxians, all the Kazon did was kidnap Tom...But they could have just as easily butchered all the Talaxians and took their ship to a Kazon chop shop. So Janeway basically puts these people in grave danger because she can't find a spy on her own ship? Yikes! I don't know...Maybe the Talaxians were willing participants in Janeway's plan. But I sure don't know why...Unless Janeway threatened to send Neelix to the Talaxian ship.
Mon, Jul 28, 2008, 7:57am (UTC -5)
I actually liked this episode quite a bit.

Perhaps that is becouse I never really got into the "everybody hates Neelix" -thing. Oh, sure he's annoying at times but when it goes right, he acts as a pleasant cataclyst to spice things up in Voyager's otherwise rather dry atmosphere.

I was disapointed at the decicion of killing off Jonas, as opposed to having a more challenging approach to dealing with the aftermatch. But then again, we could have been out for another of Janeway's speeches about not having the luxury of throwing someone to the brig for the rest of the trip.

Another thing: What about the Kazon? The end of the battle seemed to end in Voyager disabling the bad guys' engines. But none of it was adressed after that. Agreed, that getting rid of Seska would make the show in lack of a proper villain but I still found it bit magical how nothing really happened. Explanation would have been in order.
Mon, Sep 29, 2008, 9:15am (UTC -5)
This episode has everything I hate about Voyager.

Most egregious is the Paris escape:
1) As Jammer notes, Seska leaves Paris alone with a computer terminal - completely silly.
2) Paris, although he's presumably never used a Kazon terminal before, gets the necessary information.
3) Seska tries to capture Paris with only 2 guards, whom Paris easily overcomes.
4) Paris, who has never been on a Kazon ship before, quickly finds the shuttle (a shuttle he has never flown before, of course) and escapes.
5) Paris sees no other crew on the Kazon ship except for Seska and the 2 guards - apparently no one else is alerted to Paris letting off a bomb and phasering two guards.

And then there's fun on Voyager:
1) They know there's a spy on board, but never connect the spy to the disabled warp engines.
2) Again, despite knowing there's a spy onboard, they never think he might be in engineering.
3) They effectively let Jonas take over the ship at the end; without Neelix, Voyager is done. No one - Janeway, Tuvok, Torres - can lock out Jonas' disabling of the ship. Tuvok can't even unlock the door!

While I love some of the actors and characters on the show, it's this kind of silly, lazy plotting that really ruins episodes for me.
Sat, Jan 3, 2009, 2:17am (UTC -5)
Perhaps I missed something, but why didn't they just beam a security team into engineering if the door is stuck?
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
I watched the SF Debris review of this on youtube, and in the comments, someone mentions that a blue shirt that Harry was talking to in a scene was Prince Abdullah of Jordan (who is now King Abdullah II of Jordan), who I guess was a fan and wanted to get a cameo, unfortunately on crappy Voyager instead of the much superior DS9, but I understand his enthusiasm.

It reminds me of a delightful story of when Yassir Arafat was meeting with Bill Clinton in the 90s for the such and such whatever, and Yassir said that he was a beeg fan of Amereecan TV show Star Trek and how there were many ethnic backgrounds working together in the future, but he was concerned about the lack of Arabs, and asked Bill why there are no Arabs in Star Trek. Bill Clinton laughed that delightful Bill Clinton laugh(?) and, as Filbert did in the final episode of Rocko's Modern Life, said




Fri, Jan 8, 2010, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Definitely a lackluster ending to VOY's only real multi-episode arc of the series. Everything else was two-part episodes. Anyways, I did like Neelix's farewell message to Paris. It felt genuine and honest and made Neelix's change of opinion in Tom heartfelt and realistic.

Kes's expression to Tom as he beamed off Voyager also felt genuine. I had suspected that at some point she and Tom would get together. I think that's a more realistic pairing than Tom and B'Elanna. I found it interesting that it was Tom whom Kes married in "Before and After."

But the resolution to the Jonas arc can only be disappointing. Neelix's involvement aside, we never get to find out why Jonas was doing what he was doing. We saw him attempt to contact Seska over the course of a few episodes, and then we see him successfully sabotage Voyager. But his motivations are unclear. It would have been more interesting and more dramatically satisfying if they had saved the resolution of the arc for "Basics." There's Janeway and company stranded on the planet and just before Culluh and Seska take Voyager off into the great blue yonder, suddenly Jonas steps away from the rest of the crew and joins them.

It really would have been a better ending.

Also, I think it's so goofy how Neelix suddenly views himself as a journalist and a talk show host. If I was a crewmember on Voyager, Neelix's guaranteed promise of uplifting, good news on a daily basis would certainly bring down my morale. :)

Finally, I did like Mulgrew's delivery of the line "Get him up here." I just wished it had been followed up by a genuine tongue lashing.
Thu, Mar 24, 2011, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
I didn't mind this one- yes it would have been nice if they could have incorporated the attack and spy elements into the takeover plotline for 'Basics', but as a prelude to Basics and a continuation of the ongoing story I thought it was quite good. I also don't really mind Neelix.

Although to Jeffrey, above, are you not forgetting the six-part 'Hirogen' arc in Season 4?
Sat, Aug 20, 2011, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Sooo all they had to do to find their mole was look at the comm logs, which were butchered so badly they immediately made Neelix suspicious? Shouldn't someone have done that BEFORE setting up a convoluted sting operation involving handing a senior officer over to the knockoff Klingons?
Sun, Oct 30, 2011, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
I found this to be a flawed but welcome change from the mediocrity of most of this season. The biggest flaw was certainly Tuvok's incompetence, but I didn't mind Neelix in this episode.

It would have made more sense if Paris had been an apparent double agent, pretending to defect to the Kazon (and using the Talaxians as an intermediary, since the Voyager crew wouldn't publicly know about this). Then the Kazon's sparing of the Talaxians' cargo would be more likely, as would their trust of him.
Tue, Jun 11, 2013, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Ordinarily I can't abide Neelix but his determination in fighting the errant crewman at the end seemed really genuine. He put his whole little heart into that wrestling bout, and that really endeared him to me...

This was a nice, decent episode, instances of its illogic detailed by others notwithstanding.
Lt. Yarko
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 12:14am (UTC -5)
As has been mentioned - tons of trek-flavored flaws in this one. And, yeah. I wanted something more epic than this resolution. And, please. The guy basically throwing himself into the big green fountain with a little nudge from Neelix was just plain silly. My eyes would have rolled out of my head if I hadn’t seen it coming from a mile away.

I am really pissed about one thing that no one has yet mentioned. I had to go back to earlier in the episode to make sure I had heard Tuvok correctly. "We would keep an open comlink to you at all hours. My security team could act immediately if anything were to happen." So how the hell did they not act immediately when hearing Neelix say "What did you do?! What is this force field for?!" and hearing the bad guy shout "Please Neelix! Stay out of this!" Did the writers forget that they had Tuvok preparing to be more cautious with Neelix's life than he ended up being? What strange writing. I don't know what to make of it. I guess it's just piss-poor. Maybe they planned on having a less spectacular ending in which the security team does show up soon after they hear the bad guy give himself away, but then someone decided that they needed a Neelix fight and a bad guy vaporization but forgot to take out the sensible caution that Tuvok promised. Too weird.

Neelix didn't annoy me so much in this. I like his attempts at being uplifting. I was mostly annoyed by his fits of jealousy in previous episodes. Hopefully they will keep him more toned down in future episodes.
Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Season 2 of Voyager is really frustrating. It's the only season where the creators tried a sustained plot line -- the stuff with the Kazon, Jonas, Seska, etc. -- and they abandoned any hope of continuity when it didn't work.

But it's not as if it didn't work BECAUSE of the continuity. It was just badly done. A few examples in this episode.

1) The Paris-is-a-jerk stuff started happening right after 'Threshold'. Now, I'm sure that that's an episode we'd all like to forget, but why didn't they use the experience as part of the reason Paris went all mean? Even a line of dialog from Chakotay -- "You haven't been the same since your incident with the Warp 10 tests" -- would have been helpful.

2) Resolving the Jonas thread with a Neelix-plays-reporter bit was such a misfire. As Neelix performances go, this isn't terrible. But there were so many better ways to do this. Maybe have Torres make the discovery, forcing her to confront another Maquis? Or, maybe, have Chakotay do it -- and play up the part about how he's tired of spies on his ships?

3) The Kazon continue to be such morons. Paris is left alone with a working computer? Really? And, then, it's easy for him to steal a shuttle?

4) Most importantly. the idea of letting Paris leave Voyager in hopes that the Kazon would capture him on a Talaxian ship is just a ridiculous idea. Did Janeway not care if the Kazons just happened to kill some innocent Talaxians along the way? Did she know, for sure, that the Nistrim would be able to capture Tom before Voyager was too far away to help him?
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
In watching Voyager for the first time, and especially in this episode, I'm struck by how little Chakotay figures as the first officer. Thinking of Riker and T'Pol, who were given much stronger and more powerful roles on their respective ships, makes me puzzle over Chakotay. I really like the character, and hope that he will be given more scope for development as I go through the next five seasons.
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 7:05am (UTC -5)
A well-directed and pretty exciting episode to be sure. Unfortunately, creativity and logical progression is replaced by lucky coincidences and contrivances galore. To end several episodes of setup with a payoff such as this is insulting.

1.5 stars.
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
lizzzi...Chakotay doesn't get any more first-oficer-y later on. If anything, his role is more Troi-like than Riker-like.
Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
"If you think about it, Seska and the Kazon security seem pretty stupid for just leaving Paris in a room unguarded, with a computer console at his disposal."

They seem pretty stupid even if you don't think about it.

Another thing that strains credulity: Jonas and Hogan are in Engineering when Torres calls up and says, "I need the [technobabble] specs." Jonas pokes at the screen of his iPad mini a few times, then hands it to Hogan, telling him to take it to Torres. WTF? Couldn't Jonas have e-mailed the specs to her? Obviously they needed to get Hogan out of Engineering, but why couldn't they have had him go to the can instead?
Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
"I think it would've been more interesting if the writers had dealt with the aftermath of a detected spy, rather than just erasing the problem by killing him off."

They could have done an episode dealing with the aftermath of Jonas's death and called it "Sbarge of the Dead."
Dave in NC
Fri, Sep 5, 2014, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
@ navamske

What's really stupid is they've established that the Universal Translator only works on sound, so how is that Tom can even read the Kazonian language? (This happens ALL the time on ST and it's a big pet peeve of mine).

Anyways, I really enjoyed the Seska/Kazon arc and I was sad to see, after all the build up, that the only interesting thing the producers/writers could come up with was killing her. (Much like w/ Suder, Hogan, Carey, etc etc). Voyager may have a reset button, but it's more like an itchy trigger finger when it comes to the reappearing guest cast.

The episode itself is competently filmed and well-acted, however, I really dislike how the plot ended up turning out. (Not a big fan of the episode soundtrack either, very ho hum).

Conclusion: The journey was great, but the destination sucks ass.

** ½ stars
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Well, I really liked this episode. Jammer, I love your website and I read your reviews almost every time, but I'm afraid we just don't agree... I hate the Q episodes, the Klinglon episodes and you love them.
I really enjoyed this (of course, flawed like most ST episodes anyway) but fun little number, which I found captivating and funny (the doctor's subjects actually had me laughing out loud) and a reasonable conclusion of the spy-arc.
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
I know that, behind the scenes, there was some bad blood between Robert Beltran and the rest of the Voyager staff (to put it mildly), and that this negatively impacted Chakotay's character in the show. Well, I don't know when that bad blood started, but this is I think the start of Chakotay's decline. Or at least the first time I noticed it.

Look at what happened: Janeway, Tuvok, and Paris concocted some super secret under cover mission right on board the ship, and didn't bother to talk to Chakotay about it. Then, when Chakotay finds out, what does he do? He just pouts for a little bit. Just enough talkback to acknowledge it in the script, but that's about it. Is that realistic in the slightest? If Picard, Data, and Worf planned such a mission, do you think Riker would have been ok being in the dark? Would Kira? Absolutely not; they'd be pissed. But Chakotay just whimpers a bit and then accepts it.

Yet this is exactly the sort of scenario that would make Chakotay a great character. He already has to deal with this sort of thing; he should already have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to his position. He always has to wonder if Tuvok is the Captain's real XO, and he's just a figurehead. After all, Tuvok is Starfleet and was already a friend of Janeway's. This sort of thing came up once or twice before, and Chakotay had to confront the two of them about it. This SHOULD be the last straw, and Chakotay should force Janeway to decide once and for all if she trusts him or not. Is Chakotay's position as first officer a ceremonial one, meant to placate the Maquis? Is he just supposed to fill out duty rosters, or is he supposed to be Janeway's closest confidant and the person who provides an alternate point of view for her? Frankly, if I was Chakotay, I'd be pissed if I was just there as a bureaucrat with no real authority and dismissed as casually as Janeway did here. Yet nothing ever comes of this.

If there's one point in the series that points to the death knell of Chakotay's character, I think this is it.

Meanwhile, the Jonas plot comes to a close, and good riddance. Throughout this entire event, did we ever figure out why he's doing it? Is there ever any reason behind it other than to give the writers a story to play with? He was a plot device, no more. Seska's betrayal last year was interesting and exciting, because the character was interesting and exciting. Jonas was just a walking plot point. And thus the end of his story is greeted with a yawn. I don't think Voyager needs these serial storylines, but I don't mind them if they are there. But if you're going to have one, it needs to be better than this. At least Tom's part was marginally more interesting, even if it wasn't well thought out.
Tue, May 12, 2015, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Neelix kills a man in hand to hand combat, watches him vaporize in a plume of ignited plasma gas and the very next thing on his mind to Mr. Vulcan is: "- guess I'lllll have plenty of new material for tomorrow!"

Jesus Christ! Bad writing or Neelix is a stone cold killa
Tue, Jun 16, 2015, 8:11am (UTC -5)
Already we are seeing the lazy writing at full throttle. Voyager really is the worst high budget sci-fi ever put to television. I can't think of anything more lazy. The actors aren't trying either, but who can blame them with the crappy script. The characters don't even feel like people - it's like a bad B-rated soap opera. As others have noted, logic simply doesn't play ANY part in Voyager. If the writers want Tom Paris to be able to operate foreign ships, he can. If they want him to be able to read Kazon, he can. There's literally no effort being made. It's storytelling at its absolute worst and the fans should have turned their sets off and shown them the contempt they deserved.
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
I'm not with you on a couple points here Jammer.

"For starters, I find it a little hard to believe that Janeway could predict with such certainty the Kazon's reaction to Paris leaving the Voyager, or even if they did decide to chase after him, that he would be able to cake walk through their computer systems for the necessary information. (If you think about it, Seska and the Kazon security seem pretty stupid for just leaving Paris in a room unguarded, with a computer console at his disposal.)"

I don't think "certainly" is necessarily applicable here. Had Tom departed and they didn't bite, he simply comes back to Voyager. The Kazon have been "stupid" the whole time, so their lack of security is no shocker for sure. Tom did bring a super-wham-o-dine trek gadget to help him. At least he didn't have his answer in 5 seconds. If I had to blame someone, I might point the finger at Seska. But she probably doesn't have the authority.

I'll agree that Tom's escape could have been portrayed better for sure and Neelix's battle with Jonas was about as good as you're going to get with all that rubber on. Jonas vaporizing was fine aside from the fact we never find out why he's doing this ... an allegiance to Seska? ... who knows.

I think had Tom been off for a couple episodes, then we got this ending it might have seemed less "magical". He could have spent more time on the Kazon ship and we could have seen how he figured out how to steal the shuttle etc.

Neelix's little show is, well Neelix. As it worked out, it played nicely into Janeway's plans. Shunning the Doctor time and time again was pretty funny.

I personally think the biggest "thing" in this episode is that Janeway and Tuvok decided to leave Chakotay out of the plan all together. Then when they do reveal it to him, their reasoning's don't jive.

"CHAKOTAY: And the reason I wasn't let in on this little plan?
TUVOK: I was the one who recommended to Captain Janeway that you not be told. I suspected that the spy was a Maquis, and felt it was wrong to put you in a position of setting a trap for someone who had once served under you.
CHAKOTAY: In other words, you didn't trust me.
JANEWAY: Commander, the simple fact is, we needed a good performance. I'm afraid we used you to help Tom provide it. And you did a damn good job."

Now there is a HUGE difference between what Tuvok said and what Janeway said. If I'm Chakotay, I might accept Janeway's reasoning, but Tuvok's would infuriate me. Chakotay was exactly right to bring up trust. I can't remember if this is brought up later or not, but if it's not it's a shame. Major slap in the face to Chakotay.

I also scratched my head when Neelix blurted out the "code" to get into Tom's terminal. I thought there was some voice recognition thing required too.

Some missed opportunity here? Sure, but overall an enjoyable hour of Voyager.

I'll go 3 stars here.
Wed, Sep 9, 2015, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Chakotay, what a schlemiel.
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 11:12am (UTC -5)
@Yanks Slap in the face? hmm...I don't feel as if Tuvok's reasoning was off at all. With chuckles in the mix it wouldn't have been as nearly as authentic. He has too much respect for the truth and would have been too cool calm collected no matter what kind of ruse he wanted to set up. Seska had played chuckles, too. She was pregnant with his child (until the writers changed that in Season 3's opener) so that's all the more reason I accepted Tuvok's explanation about leaving him out of the deception. And like Janeway said he played his role very well.

Also, chuckles' actions were hardly those of a Starfleet First Officer in "Maneuvers". That only emphasized how deep Seska's mental hooks were into him. I agree totally with Tuvok's logic. The way they went about it was perfect. And if he did get angry with it then he has only himself to be mad at. He's already proven he can't handle public embarrassment to where he will eschew the rules to right his ego. In this instance you can't blame Janeway for not including him. He was on report for that incident if you remember. I'm pretty sure that also was discussed when Tuvok justified leaving him out of the plan with Janeway.
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 1:04pm (UTC -5)

"I suspected that the spy was a Maquis, and felt it was wrong to put you in a position of setting a trap for someone who had once served under you."

That's saying to Chakotay that he doesn't trust him to make appropriate decisions with regard to the Maquis. If that's true, you can't trust him to make decisions concerning Star Fleet crew members that have issues with the Maquis as well.

That's crap as we saw in Learning Curve and many other circumstances. If anything, they should assume he learned from his mistakes in 'Maneuvers'.
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 5:36pm (UTC -5)

Remember that Learning Curve occurred before we even knew the truth about Seska, let alone using her intimate knowledge of chuckles to steal a Starfleet component, even moreso her impregnating herself with his DNA. As for his learning from his mistakes there was no time to ascertain that. He was still on report and there were obviously still doubts as to whether he learned anything. They had a spy in their midst and the priority had to be to determine whom it was, not worry about hurt feelings.

I still agree with their decision that he not be included at that particular time. As chief of security Tuvok made a sound (not to mention logical) tactical call. Janeway obviously agreed.

And Vulcans do not involve emotions in their assessments so it wasn't personal. Janeway was obviously mindful of his feelings about it but the security of the ship had to take precedence.
Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 8:34am (UTC -5)
TJ, we can agree to disagree. We have an officer that is junior to and directly work for the second in command of the ship making leadership judgments about senior officers. Tuvok basically told the Captain that Chakotay couldn't be trusted in leadership positions over the Maquis. He was also wrong in assuming the bad guy was a Maquis. Not logical at all.

It's not right, period.

Janeway goes along and glosses it over... that's saying I don't trust you Chakotay. The "good performance" thing is crap... why couldn't have Chakotay played his part? Playing the part had nothing to do with it.

It's not right, period. Quite possibly could be Janeway's worst leadership decision as Captain.
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
I'm guessing you've never been in the military. You keep ignoring what he did in "Maneuvers". That was only a few episodes prior to this one. Ignoring that is like saying it's ok to disregard protocol whenever it becomes inconvenient. This is Starfleet, not Starbucks. He was on report for insubordination AND desertation, which is a serious offense in and of itself, particularly for a First Officer. Of course she doubted him.

You also keep forgetting they had a spy in their ranks. Her decision to leave chuckles out of the loop was also influenced by the fact they were losing time against the saboteur. Her first officer had already shown he was too close to the subject at hand to be objective. At that particular time she had good reason to question his judgement. He couldn't keep a level head against Seska. I'm not saying he didn't have good reason to be angry with her but as a First Officer his first duty was to the ship, the Captain and the personnel.

Tuvok is also Chief of Security. That means the security of the ship and it's people are his primary concern. Him being a Vulcan he would have also done the same to the Captain if the situation dictated it. Your reaction is based on strong emotions toward chuckles. Tuvok's reaction was based on protocol and logic, not his personal feelings towards him or anyone. That means he has the Captain's ear, he is responsible for Security. But it was the Captain's decision to ultimately leave him out of it because she agreed with his findings.

If chuckles wants to reestablish trust then the onus is on him to do that. He was the one that committed the offense. And he alone needs to earn that trust all over again. That type of infraction would not be tolerated at any level. You said it yourself he is the second in command of the ship. And he disregarded his duty just to settle a personal vendetta, putting himself and the rest of the crew in danger. He's lucky he wasn't hurled into the brig. At the very least she could have (and should have) stripped him of his rank. If they were in the Alpha Quadrant he most certainly would have faced a court martial.

He would have been court martialed in any event due to his activities with the Maquis if they hadn't gotten stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Voyager was originally launched to go after his ship and retrieve Tuvok.
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 11:25am (UTC -5)
I'm not forgetting or ignoring any of that and time wasn't an issue. Tom's playacting to place over WEEKS.

Never in the military?


Janeway had it out with Chakotay at the end of 'Maneuvers'. It was settled then. Chakotay rogered up to screwing up, Janeway "put him on report", blah, blah.

Now if Janeway thought he couldn't function as her #1 then she should have canned him. She didn't. By not doing so, she leaves him in that position of authority and responsibility and it's her job to allow him to do it and it's Tuvok's job to follow. Keeping secrets from him and going around his back to a junior officer because of a perceived lack of trust is hosed.

What Chakotay should have done at the end of this episode was resign from his position. Tuvok's "logic" is non-existent here and Janeway's leadership is absent. He can't operate as #1 in that situation, no one can. Your interpretation of these events appears to me as they are seen from those of a junior crewman or someone that thinks they understand the military by watching Star Trek...someone with little experience or knowledge of how rank and position are designed to function and operate in the real world.
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 5:17pm (UTC -5)

I don't know you. You don't come onto a forum and insult people just because they have an opinion that does not agree with your point of view. You can disagree and leave it at that.

In any case I am done. Good day.
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 7:53pm (UTC -5)

You mean we can "agree to disagree"?

...oh, someone said that already.
Fri, Oct 30, 2015, 5:41am (UTC -5)
@Yanks You said, "I can't remember if this is brought up later or not, but if it's not it's a shame. Major slap in the face to Chakotay."

I agree. You don't have someone as your second in command that you don't trust and then use him in a plot like that.

I will say one thing to defend it, though--I had to go look up and see if Resolutions was before or after this episode--it was after. If this episode had occurred AFTER Resolutions, after they went through all that bonding on the planet alone, then it REALLY would have been unforgivable.

Since it occurred before, I am willing to give Janeway a break on how awful this was. Her getting to know Chakotay has been proceeding in small steps, and maybe she still has a bit of lingering trust issues, especially where the former Maquis might be involved. Her choice of Chakotay as her second was more to bond the two disparate crews rather than because she trusted him absolutely.

It still sucks, but it doesn't suck quite as badly as it would have if it had happened after they bonded on disease-free world.
Sun, Nov 1, 2015, 7:06pm (UTC -5)

Still unforgivable in my book.
Tue, Dec 22, 2015, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
It seem a rather large design flaw that when Voyager gets moderately damaged, a massive rip opens up in the floor of Engineering exposing a raging plasma fire. I know there'd be a lot power conduits and such in and around Engineering, but right under the floor where everyone walks? And Neelix can apparently press a couple of buttons and the rip is completely sealed with no visible damaged when Tuvok walks in a few seconds later. The carpet isn't even frayed! That must have been a console from the Enterprise-E shuttles that during a battle, pressing the wrong two buttons will bring up a karaoke song...
Diamond Dave
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
An enjoyable actioner that wraps up the Paris and Jonas arcs - I for one didn't see where the Paris story was going so that was a tick in the box. I also found the Neelix element to be fun - yes, it ran the risk of becoming too broad at times (particularly with the Doctor) but on the whole it worked well enough. 3 stars.
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
When Voyager started experiencing engine problems identical to what Seska suggested to Jonas, I nodded at the welcome continuity and mini story arc.

When Paris wanted to leave, I bought that. I knew he'd be back but I didn't know how it would happen.

When he was kidnapped from the Talaxian ship I didn't know why. I enjoyed the thickening plot.

When he pulled that device out of his sleeve on the Kazon ship I suspected he was undercover, but was still open to the possibility that he was just being prepared like a good boy scout. I enjoyed this.

When it was revealed that he was undercover because Janeway and Tuvok suspected a mole, I enjoyed that as well. I was fully engaged up to that point.

But they shouldve stopped ther. In that same conversation when it was also "revealed" that all of Tom's erratic behavior was part of this overly elaborate scheme to put on a "convincing" act, I couldn't believe what I just heard. It completely destroyed all the enjoyment and tension up to that point. I literally said "oh come ON" out loud by myself when watching that.

Some truly awful and lazy writing was afoot here. One of two things happened: Either the writers weaselled their way out of closing Tom's recent story by adding this as some halfassed afterthought, or the entire plan was poorly executed from the start and could've benefited from even a small hint to us viewers about what was going on a few episodes ago. Either way, no good. Something went very wrong in the writing here.

Plus Jonas' ultimate end was a huge letdown. All those scenes of him feeding infonto Seska for what... An uneventful end to the Kazons elaborate plan and a death at the hands of *Neelix*. Come ON.

A strong start with a let down so big that it kind of takes a half star off the episodes leading up to this point, too. What a dud of an arc.
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
Plus they didn't even need Tom on the Kazon ship to find the mole. Neelix just did it. Sure there were indirect Tom-related events that filled Neelix off at the end (they wouldve had to find some other early end to the conflict besides the transporter thing), but they could've left Tom on the Talaxian ship, left his story interesting and independent of Jonas, and resolved it properly later. The whole thing was just... whack.
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
"filled" = "tipped" + autocorrect
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Ugh, and the way this totally retroactively nullified all of Tom's recent character development (his disgruntledness was totally in line with his character, his regression to his old ways and his loss of drive had so much potential)...

And re: this looking like an afterthought... Hell, based on janeway and Tuvoks reaction to Neelixs tribute to Tom, and Janeways captains log entry after he left, it almost looked like an afterthought that took place half way through this very script.

My disappointment knows no bounds. I better watch the next episode quick before I leave any more comments here.
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
They should have gone somewhere in between. Tuvok suggested to Janeway that they should take advantage of Paris' recent issues and have him go over the top with Chakotay. So make the really unforgivablely bad stuff a ruse but the rest of it be character development/regression
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
@Robert Or the extreme: Janeway and Tuvok suspected that if they were in the Delta quadrant, they'd end up having a mole. So to find him, they planted Tuvok on a Maquis ship, got Paris on the Voyager (knowing that he would want to leave eventually), arranged for the Caretaker to send them and Tuvoks ship to the Delta quadrant, knowing that the Kazon would attack them and that Chakotay would sacrifice his ship and end up on the Voyager. They knew there was a high probability of finding a Talaxian, and were already aware that Seska was Cardassians. They knew she'd defect and ultimately the mole would be uncovered.

It's been a setup since day one! All part of Tuvok and Janeways brilliant master plan to catch the future mole.

Now they're stuck in the Delta quadrant, although I'm assuming the next 5 seasons spent getting home are just the final part of their plan to catch Jonas. They really thought it through!
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and the entire crew is in on it. Except for Chakotay. You know, to make it look authentic.
Tue, Aug 2, 2016, 1:50pm (UTC -5)

"Neelix kills a man in hand to hand combat, watches him vaporize in a plume of ignited plasma gas and the very next thing on his mind to Mr. Vulcan is: "- guess I'lllll have plenty of new material for tomorrow!"

Jesus Christ! Bad writing or Neelix is a stone cold killa"

I still can't get over this...
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 8:52am (UTC -5)
So Paris is leaving the ship huh? I smell a rat
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Ah ha. still don't like Chikotay. episode was ok (***)
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 10:19am (UTC -5)
after reading some of the comments, Paris was obviously left with a computer console on purpose to see what he would do. The console was purposely altered so that he could read it. janeway's plan was risky and luckily, it worked out. No need for clairvoyance and the situation was worth the risk. I didn't need a huge resolution to the build up. This resolution was just fine.
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
The characters on Voyager are amazing despite how juvenile the writing is at times. That's what can make an episode like "Investigations" completely watchable.
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 10:12am (UTC -5)
The ploy to get Paris onto a Kazon vessel was inconceivable because Janeway would never have put Talaxian lives at risk to uncover a saboteur, nor put one of her crew (Paris) against such extreme odds.

These problems could have been rewritten as well. Paris could have gone to some backwater waystation and been kidnapped there, and could have been better armed and equipped for the task at hand.
Sat, Jan 21, 2017, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 21, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
This could have been a great episode (should have been a two parter) but sloppy writing resulted in a so so episode. They get points for trying in previous episodes and Tom's bad behavior as lead up. They lose a ton of points for the plot contrivances. But the biggest plot sin was having Nelix bumble his way into solving the spy problem (maybe they should make Tuvok the morale officer and Nelix can handle security.). So what was the point of having Tom risk his life and the lives of the Talaxians??? All they needed was Nelix and the comm history.
Garth of Izar
Mon, May 29, 2017, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Lol - is there EVER a spy, a plot, a secret plan, a surprise birthday party, a second helping of dessert that DOESN'T get past Chuckles? And this guy is supposed to have taught Advanced Tactical Training at Starfleet Academy? Gimme a break!
William B
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 1:24am (UTC -5)
This episode doesn't only have an idiot plot. It has a type of idiot plot in which both Janeway and Culluh seem to be playing 11-dimensional chess, where each player correctly anticipates the other person's move, assuming that every move every person makes is a move only an idiot would make. Janeway and Tuvok somehow believe that Paris will be captured by the Kazon from the Talaxian cruiser, but that the Kazon won't harm the Talaxians in any way. But not only does that happen, but the Kazon are also so stupid that they don't realize that not looting the Talaxian ship is something they would never do under normal circumstances, and thus they actually hurt themselves by not looting by giving away that they have a spy on Voyager. And they do this, because -- uh -- OK, actually, it's possible that the Kazon wanted Voyager to identify Paris as the spy maybe? Because of this line Janeway says to Neelix:

JANEWAY: The spy may be a little cosy now, since you took the bait and pointed the finger at Tom. But we don't want him cozy. I'd rather he feel some pressure.

So wait, Neelix "took the bait," so Janeway had...planned...for Neelix to disobey Tuvok's instructions, do his own investigation, and then foolishly jump to the conclusion that Paris was the traitor, which makes the real spy feel cozy. But actually Janeway didn't want him cozy and wants him to feel some pressure. So wait, why describe it as Neelix "taking the bait" since Janeway wants the spy to --

And so on. As far as I can tell, Janeway and Tuvok's plan was to make it seem convincing for Paris to want to leave the ship, so that when he left the ship, they would see if there really was a spy on the ship because if Paris was kidnapped by the Kazon, that would show that the Kazon really do have a spy. This relies on the Kazon actually being dumb enough to not be able to make their capture of Paris looks convincing. And it is basically an overt sacrifice of Paris -- except that, no, wait, the plan is actually to get Paris on the Kazon ship, where the Kazon are so stupid they'll just let him wander around and hack into their communications. Or wait, maybe it's Seska's secret plan to, uh...see if...Paris will hack into their system, thus proving that he's not to be Voyager, which he never said he would do, and it's unlikely he would agree to even if he's a malcontent. But anyway, Janeway also seems to say that it's good that Neelix flushed out the spy by doing his own investigation, which means apparently she and Tuvok knew? or expected? or liked? that Neelix continued the investigation after direct orders from Tuvok, suggesting that they...knew Neelix would disobey them and do whatever? And of course, none of the Paris thing would have mattered if the Kazon had managed to *not let him escape with a shuttle*. What's weird is the way in which the episode almost plays it as if Janeway and Seska are masterminds, where each time something happens that proves how stupid their plan up to this point has been, they act as if they expected and planned for it, to give the illusion that we are watching grandmasters, even though every move seems to depend on maximum stupidity.

Speaking of.... Neelix is maybe marginally less annoying here than in the early-season episodes where his jealousy was out of control, but this is really, really close. It's not just *normal* Neelix annoyances, either, but the fact that he does a kind of bad sitcom character having a sudden, overwhelming new interest, which comes out of nowhere and which the character irrationally insists is central to their identity (with his "journalist" persona), which in this case also includes big bits of "knowledge" about journalism he only even learned from Kim after Harry gave a few notes on his show. Genuinely Neelix had it in his head he was a fluff news celebrity and then talks to Kim for twenty seconds and then believes he's Woodward and Bernstein, and then as the episode goes on he *also* believes that he is qualified to run an entire criminal investigation *against the instructions of the actual chief of security* (and against his explicit agreement to Tuvok's instructions), because "journalists are supposed to be independent!" (What? Neelix isn't trying to uncover some malfeasance in the command structure; his goals are exactly Tuvok's goals.) More to the point, he even says that Tuvok will have egg on his face when Neelix gets to the bottom of it, which suggests Neelix genuinely seemed to view his own satisfaction as of high importance in this there's-a-traitor-on-board matter. I can't stress enough how irritating this is, and even more so that he then goes and broadcasts his half-digested conclusions on his show rather than going to Tuvok, and then even more so when he is *rewarded* for it, first by Janeway's positivity and indicating that is helping flush out the spy, then by him actually "getting to" expose Jonas and then even kill him in a vicious plasma fire. There's no reason for Neelix to even be the protagonist of this episode; the Paris and Jonas plots and the ongoing Kazon storyline have little to do with him. Even if he should be included, there are lots of ways he could have participated without becoming the focus of the story, and even he could have been the focus of the story without having a new hobby invented and then made him so self-important that he ignores all common sense and ends up repeatedly rewarded for it. And he responds to Jonas' brutal, horrifying death with a "boy, I'll have a story for tomorrow!" It's possible that there would be a way for this "Neelix gets a job" story to be less annoying if Neelix seemed to have some ability to recognize his limitations -- I could imagine a story in which Neelix did some innocent investigating and got in over his head in some farcical way sort of like Quark in Who Mourns for Morn? (not a favourite of mine, but not bad). And you know, to be fair to Neelix, it's possible that given how stupid Janeway and Tuvok's actual plan is, maybe he is justified in deciding that he knows better than everyone else on the ship. As far as I can tell, no one else even bothered to go to Engineering when the Kazon started attacking, so that, what, Jonas was supposed to run the whole thing himself while Torres worked on "electrodynamic load specs" or whatever some other place.

I find the fact that Janeway and Tuvok let Chakotay out of the loop on their hare-brained scheme incredibly funny. I love that the justification then given is basically, "We believe that the traitor is Maquis, and you are too Maquis to be able to deal with them," a kind of hilariously prejudicial statement that should have had Chakotay hit the ceiling. What happened to the guy from Parallax, the "I have no intention of being your token Maquis officer" guy?

So I never cared about the Jonas plot. The Paris plot of course ran into the ground; it's hard to even tell what to make of this "ah, it was all a trick!" plot; certainly I think we're meant to believe that it represented something real about Paris that he could play the malcontent so easily, and it's maybe some sort of character growth that he's at the point of playing a part without it overriding who he is, etc. etc. But man. There is a weird kind of anticlimax to it, especially with so much emotional buildup and Neelix' farewell broadcast; the fake-out doesn't really feel clever so much as cheap, since we're not going to get explicit work on Paris-the-malcontent anyway.

One of the season's worst for me. 1 star.
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -5)
William B,

HAHA.... I'll have to watch it again... I think you're missing something.

But a funny read nonetheless. Thanks.
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
As WIlliam B alluded to, in the climactic fight scene between Jonas and Neelix, all I could do was think "Where is the engineering staff? No one else is in Engineering witnessing this brutal struggle?"
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 1:44am (UTC -5)
I'll try and skip most of the nonsensical things already pointed out by others, but here are some more.

So Keska and the Kazon ship have been following Voyager around for weeks and Voyager didn't notice? Otherwise how did they show up 10 minutes after Paris left?

And this was all a big trap by Seska, who has ground troops on the planet's surface (what are they for anyhow?) and a fleet of ships on the way. So whatever happened to all of that then? Seska knew she would only have a limited time to capture Voyager after it was sabotaged, so where is everyone?

And Seska says that once they capture Voyager they will be able to take over the entire quadrant, sector by sector. Lol. Another terrible overestimation of how tough Voyager is. Just because they have one extra starship, they can suddenly defeat the all the other Kazon and the Botha and the Vidiians and the Borg and the Haakonians, etc. etc. Ok then.

And if Seska had this whole plan all set up long ago, why does she even bother kidnapping Paris? She was expecting to capture the entire Voyager crew anyway. Who gives a crap about Paris?

Jonas sabotages the ship, then stands in front of a console that he knows is going to explode and nearly dies. I guess that was to make people think he wasn't a spy? That's a good way to do it. No one will suspect him if he's dead maybe?

Then he almost attacks Neelix with a little blowtorch. I guess he was going to burn his hair off. Ouch.

And Neelix walks into engineering asking to see all the communication logs for the past 2 months. And Torres just says OK, here you go. Maybe ask Janeway first? Apparently that's not any sort of security risk. And when Neelix thinks he has found that the spy is Paris, instead of going to Tuvok or Janeway, he just announces it to the entire ship. Whatever.

The escape by Paris from the Kazon was all ridiculous. The Kazon ship can't even take out one small shuttle after literally about 10 minutes of shooting at it? And then Voyager beams Paris out through his and their own shields. Once again, the magic transporter of Voyager that either does impossible things, or doesn't work at all.

Speaking of transporting, Paris doesn't have his commbadge on (unless it's in his pocket or something) yet they beam him out fine. Yet when they try to beam Jonas out of engineering, all they get is his commbadge. They can't beam him out unless he is wearing it? But they beam all sorts of people and objects all over the place without a commbadge, so how does that work? They beamed a bunch of Kazon over to their ship (through the shields) several episodes ago. How? Did they beam over commbadges first? I never understood the whole commbadge/transporter thing.

Horrible episode. 1 star.
Thu, Nov 23, 2017, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
William B, you really misunderstood that scene where Janeway said Neelix took the bait. He took Jonas' bait. Tuvok and Janeway knew all about the dodgy log entries. However they'd hit a dead end because they were too well covered up. When Paris left, Jonas used that as an opportunity to frame Paris and take the heat off him (bear in mind he already had his final instructions from Seska, so he's expecting either to be serving under her and Culluh soon or for Voyager to defeat them and to be not found out as a wannabe traitor).

When Jonas knew Neelix was investigating - and remember he does know because he literally was there - he had to act. It was the kind of pressure Tuvok and Janeway were trying but failing to apply to the traitor. It caused him to make a move, which is something they wanted because it's more evidence, more chance to slip up. So, he goes and adds the fake signature to the doctored entries, because he doesn't know Tuvok and Janeway have already seen them, because they've been keeping very quiet until now (that's why Tuvok tries so hard to dissuade Neelix from doing any of this, because he thought it might scare the traitor back into hiding instead of scaring them into making a move). When Neelix announces Paris' guilt on his show, he's taking the traitor's bait, letting them get cosy again. That's what they were talking about. That's why she asks him to investigate again.

Apparently being fine with sacrificing the Talaxians is another matter, definitely. I can only imagine that it's because they could have held them off for a moment and called for Voyager's help as they weren't too far apart yet. Even so, that's pretty irresponsible of Janeway to endanger them like that when they thought they were doing her a favour! Endangering Paris, who is part of her crew and a volunteer for this mission, is one thing, but that's another entirely.

And I couldn't stand when Tuvok's idea of an open comm link is... not having an open comm link. "Omg are you doing sabotage???" and I don't know, Tuvok's on the bog? Even if he was, should he not have mobilised a team at that point and not later? It's annoying when they make characters less intelligent/powerful to serve the plot. Even if he sent the team but they didn't get to the doors before Jonas sealed them, it's the same outcome but less aggravatingly done! I can handle Jonas having weird powers over the ship (as he hasn't been previously shown not to, and he's not really important) but I can't handle Tuvok not keeping his eye on the situation when he literally promised he would. Tuvok isn't supposed to be an idiot or a liar. Anything! Like a scene on the bridge, Tuvok's lost his comm link to Neelix - which would suggest the traitor in action but still not precisely who it is. Whatever! I would still have thought it was stupid even if they hadn't written him to say he was listening, but as they did, it's unforgivable.
William B
Fri, Nov 24, 2017, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
@Ruth, you're right. I misunderstood whose "bait" Neelix was meant to have taken.

I'm still skeptical about many other elements of this episode, but looking again, it seems as if the primary (and perhaps only) reason for playing the Paris-as-malcontent plan was to get him onto the Kazon ship. Janeway and Tuvok don't state that they had any intention of smoking out the spy by having him frame Paris, and so it seems that it's a totally lucky coincidence that Neelix did get him to tip his hand. I think my problem was that in this scene, it seemed to me that Janeway largely acted as if it was her and Tuvok's brilliant plan that led to the spy inadvertently exposing himself in some small way. I thought that in this line, Janeway was making one "continuous" statement:

JANEWAY: Commander, the simple fact is, we needed a good performance. I'm afraid we used you to help Tom provide it. And you did a damn good job. Now it seems Mister Neelix's investigation has made someone nervous. Nervous enough to put a trail in the computer system for him to follow.

I.e., I read it as, "Chakotay, you gave a good performance. Now, CONSEQUENTLY, it seems Mister Neelix's investigation...," as if Neelix's investigation was caused by the whole Paris plan. But instead it was just a topic shift.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 11:32pm (UTC -5)
I liked this one even though Neelix's heroics are truly over the top. But finally the unprofessional Paris and Jonas spy subplots get resolved. Sure it appears as if the payoff wasn't as grand as the lengthy build-up deserved but one has to feel Seska and the Kazon aren't going away.

I liked how Chakotay has been used by Tuvok/Janeway -- a nice twist when it seemed for real that Paris was leaving Voyager. Chakotay seemed to take it well.

Now, Neelix as morale officer would certainly not improve my morale but it can make sense for his role on the ship given its unique situation. Give him credit for trying stuff. The bit about his journalism and Doc's wanting to get involved is good humor. I was actually really looking forward to Doc's "How to keep your nostrils happy" on Neelix's program...

As for Jonas, he delivered when the web started closing around him. His acts gave the Kazon their chance to cause serious damage to Voyager. I liked how this all played out with Paris decoding the subspace messages to find out it was Jonas and then telling Voyager just as Jonas started disabling weapons.

2.5 stars for "Investigations" -- nothing Earth-shattering but a good, entertaining action/adventure with a little Doc/Neelix humor and deception thrown in. As far as relatively mechanical action episodes go, this is a decent one, although somewhat hard to believe Neelix can be the big time hero that he was.
Sean Hagins
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 2:44am (UTC -5)
I REALLY like this episode! Now, I haven't read the other comments yet, and also I want to say that I do NOT think all white people look alike, but it took me awhile to realise that Hogan and Jonas were two different people! So, Hogan who suggested handing over Voyager's technology was NOT the traitor! It was Jonas! UGH-I thought he was! I really messed up in my thinking of the storyline of why Jonas turned traitor! (Although I guess their reasoning was the same)
Sat, Aug 25, 2018, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good. Clever with the surprise that Paris was faking, and actually, Tuvok and Janeway were right to keep it to "need to know." Chakotay accepts this because, after initial irritation, he realizes that.

I got irritated when Neelix had no open comm link after all . . . but that types of silly oversights just happen in weekly series, I'd say. Tom did have it a little too easy in the way he was able to get his answers, but overall, a fun and interesting episode.
Sun, Sep 2, 2018, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
How is it that Neelix and Jonas had engineering to themselves for all that time?

Where was everyone else that would normally be there? It seemed that Jonas had locked the door because Tuvok had to break in, but how is it that Jonas ever had Engineering to himself long enough to get the chance to lock everyone out?
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : **.5, 5%

“Binging With Neelix” or whatever his YouTube channel is called premiers before our eyes. Sadly, as we all know, for every good Hot Takes Channel, there are at least 100 other incel-ridden Dunning-Krueger low-res nonsense commentators talking about how chem-trails ruined Star Wars or how Ben Shapiro is seven feet tall. Neelix, as we could all have guessed, definitely falls on the bottom end of this spectrum. In conception, this is meant, I believe, to comment on the morning coffee news hour culture that has ruined many a middle-aged caucasian mind.

NEELIX: But most of all, it will make you feel good, because what you see here will always be the most uplifting, optimistic view of everything that happens on our ship.

...until we get to the part about how Jeremy Corbyn is a secret anti-semite or whatever. Neelix' plan to edify and uplift the crew will begin with some incredibly annoying gossip about crewmen flirting below decks and an off-screen juggling act. Oof. The ONLY redeeming feature of this is that, much like Whoopi Goldberg's minor victory in “The Offspring,” the dialogue about the “lovebirds” is ambiguous about the genders of these anonymous crewmen, and Neelix' use of the word “handsome” leaves the door open for a potential same-sex pairing on the Voyager. And a thousand fan-fics were born.

We see that Neelix is replaying the inaugural broadcast for the Doctor, as well as stroking his ego with about as much subtlety as a man juggling fire. He wants the EMH to start hosting segments on the programme, something sure to garner him popularity and respect amongst the crew. If he can learn to be completely vacuous and disingenuous on command, he could be as big as Meghan McCain or Rachel Riley! Ahem.

Neelix continues his tour of “please, everybody love me” by begging Harry for some positive feedback. Master Chef Neelix is surprised to learn that people might crave foods that are nutritious instead of saccharine once in a while—this bodes well for the crew's diet. The inadvertent effect of this little pep talk is to convince Neelix that he has a responsibility to be independent if he's to be considered a “serious journalist.” Yeah, that's what I think of on shows featuring cooking segments, ship gossip and juggling; journalism. Well, it would certainly pass for it on Twitter these days...

We complete the tour of inanity with Neelix receiving a call in his quarters from an old Talaxian friend of his; and this one managed to escape prison! No, I'm serious. He manages a convoy which is set to rendezvous with the Voyager in a few days to take aboard a crewman who is defecting. Hmm. Now that IS interesting.

Act 1 : ***.5, 17%

Neelix reports his discovery to Janeway, who asks Tuvok for his opinion on whether it's time to spill the beans. See, she already knows about the defection, and Tuvok says that there aren't any security concerns in revealing the identity of the person (remember that for later). It's Tom Paris. Without getting too far ahead of myself, this episode is criticised for putting Neelix at the centre of the conclusion to one of the show's subplots, and I sort of see why. But I think it makes some sense to draw upon the relationship between Tom and Neelix. Neelix was one of the most skeptical crewmates of Tom's alleged reform from early on thanks to that love triangle with Kes. Setting aside how fucking annoying most of that was, we saw that they resolved that conflict in “Parturition.” In that review I wrote about how Tom's attraction to Kes is probably related to his inferiority complex arising from his arrested relationship with his father. Since he's (probably) let her go, and sees no other prospects beyond one-nighters with the Delaney sisters on the Voyager, it is plausible that his role as helm-boy isn't cutting it (remember in “Lifesigns,” he told Chakotay that he felt very restricting in the performance of his duties). We saw in “Non-Sequitur” how self-destructive Tom can become, and Tom is probably the member of the crew least anxious to return to the AQ, where a disappointed father and only partially-commuted prison sentence await him.

So, Neelix pays Paris a visit in his quarters—he's been released from the brig to pack his bags it seems. I'm not entirely sure what he's supposed to be hemming and hawing about with regards to which outfits he's packing—this isn't a vacation. Tom's confession to Neelix rings true:

PARIS: This isn't about anybody except me. I've done this to myself, just like always. No matter where I go or who I'm with, I make a mess of things. The unmistakable conclusion has to be that deep down, I don't want any friends, or a family, or a home. Otherwise, I wouldn't keep sabotaging the possibilities.

We'll come back to this stuff.

The EMH has not only consented to appear on Neelix' stupid show, but of course, with these new developments, Neelix must be A SERIOUS JOURNALIST and postpone his segment. And so, Neelix delivers a voice-over that covers Tom's departure from the Voyager. It's pretty well-handled, as Phillips is able to be subtle and warm instead of boisterous and overbearing; the camera shows us Chakotay, Janeway and Tuvok, Torres and Jonas, and finally Paris beaming away with Harry, Kes and Neelix seeing him off. The text of his speech covers Tom's growth from “Caretaker':

NEELIX: I first met this man almost a year ago, and tell you the truth, I didn't like him much. He seemed a little too cocky, a little too sure of himself. A lot of people had questions about him. He'd proven he'd pretty much sell himself out to the highest bidder, go wherever the wind blew him, so people wondered, could you trust this person when things got tough? Would he stand side by side with you, or would he let you down when you needed him most? But the fact of the matter is, he proved himself right from the beginning.

Act 2 : **.5, 17%

We resume with a rather mundane briefing covering the usual ship BS in which Janeway makes it clear that they are to move on from Tom, replace him and move forward. Jonas calls to inform Torres that, somehow that thing Seska told him to do while he was masturbating in his own subplot has happened! What are the odds? Neelix invites himself along to cover this “news of substance.” The Rick Berman approved danger music informs us as they enter Engineering that this problem is becoming kind of serious. So, they babble some technos at each other, but Jonas and several others are injured by those nifty Starfleet exploding consoles.

In the Sickbay, the EMH and Kes repair the injuries and the Doctor, hopelessly infected with the fame bug thanks to Neelix (sigh...) is being more puffed up and pompous than usual. Before he can interview Jonas to death, Neelix is called to the bridge to help with a new problem. Torres had to vent the nacelles to save the ship from exploding but this caused irreparable damage to the warp coils...which of course was the plan. And Neelix' suggestion as to where they might find replacement material (Hæmorrhoid IV) is the lynch pin in Seska's plan. So, thanks again, Neelix. There's additional news of substance: Neelix' friend contacts them to inform the Voyager that the Nistrim has attacked and abducted Tom.

Act 3 : *.5, 17%

And so, we find Paris being interrogated by Seska under that same impractical blue light we saw Chakotay endure in “Manœuvres.” Instead of giant needles and sexual innuendo, Seska just parades her swollen belly around and expresses suspicion about Tom's defection. Again though, the big problem is the writers failed to give Seska a reasonable plan with all this. They captured Tom, okay. For what? Command codes again? His piloting? She says he has “information,” but that's just a flimsy bit of spackle on the forced plot mechanics. The writers need Tom to get aboard the Kazon ship to discover who the traitor is, and Jery Taylor couldn't come up with a reasonable scenario to justify this action, so whatever, they're the bad guys. 'Nuff said. Equally implausible is the fact that Tom is able, thanks to being left alone, unguarded and equipped with fancy tech somehow, to start decoding their past transmissions.

Neelix, meanwhile, is suspicious that the Nistrim were able to track and capture Tom within a few days of his departure like this. He hypothesises that there's a mole aboard the Voyager, and not the kind he can make into lunch. Because now he's a SERIOUS JOURNALIST, he considers it his responsibility to ferret this person out himself instead of informing Tuvok of his suspicion. Great. A harried Torres consents to grant Neelix access to the comm logs for the purpose of his investigation. Okay. Michael Jonas overhears Neelix' snooping...okay. Torres takes the only other person in Engineering at this hour into the Jeffries Tubes and leaves Jonas and Neelix alone...isn't that CONVENIENT? Jonas pops over to offer his “help” to the chef/talkshow host, clumsily trying to throw him off the scent. Neelix spots some gaps in the logs and Jonas claims that THIS WAS NOT A BOAT ACCIDENT or whatever. I think Sbarge would make a good Joker with that smile. Finally, he picks up a plasma torch, I guess planning to murder Neelix. Way to think things through, buddy. Ah, but then the Doctor calls—and not on the comm, but via video on the screen right in view of Jonas. Isn't that CONVENIENT? The EMH has gotten especially irritable with his continuing postponement and Jonas is looking grim.

So here's the major problem with this subplot, which has now become The Plot. Who the hell is Michael Jonas? Why did he join the Maquis? What was his relationship to Seska? Why is he the only former Maquis besides her actively subverting Janeway's efforts? With Seska's own defection in Season 1 (which this story echoes), we understood from her past in the OO, her relationship to Chakotay and her own complaints about Starfleet and Janeway in particular why she acted the way she did. Jonas is just a plot element. So when he goes for the plasma torch, I have no idea whether he's just another psychotic like Suder, or has become desperate like Hogan, or feels conflicted like Torres...the story's focus is on Neelix. And as much as one may be tempted to complain about this on its face (Neelix suuux...or whatever), the problem is in taking the focus away from the person who has a stake in this events.

Act 4 : **, 17%

Well, Neelix finally reports his findings to Tuvok, who appears somewhat skeptical. But we will soon see this is by design. For the moment, Tuvok appears highly suspicious of Neelix' “journalism,” but agrees to look into the matter, considering the seriousness of the implications. He “asks” Neelix to withdraw from the investigation, but Neelix cites the journalistic responsibility he has to continue looking into things. I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I very much support the free press (and no, that's not FOX or MSNBC or the BBC)--the actual free press who, for example, expose the actual political situation in places like Venezuela and how our corporate media do the bidding of the CIA. On the other hand, we're talking about Neelix, not Glenn Greenwald. I guess we'll call this a wash. I take that back, I'm siding with Tuvok in this case because when Neelix starts mumbling to himself on his walk to Engineering, it becomes clear that Neelix' interests are not in being a good journalist, but in upholding the *reputation* of being a good journalist. As I've discussed before, this ego problem is something he and Paris actually share, which is why they are rather arrested in their development; but such personal issues do not justify risking ship's security. Obviously.

So, Hogan is assigned to help Neelix in his digging. Because Jery Taylor is kind of a hack sometimes, Hogan is able to access these logs with a generic “Engineering authorisation,” instead of calling on Torres or whomever to provide it. We'll see how stupid this is soon. Anyway, Hogan confirms that the messages between Jonas and the Kazon were cleverly hidden in some technobabble. He's able to point Neelix towards deck 4 and Neelix is off to go searching people's quarters without a warrant. Again, I respect the freedom of the press more than I do privacy rights, but Neelix IS NOT A JOURNALIST. Sigh...

Neelix is able to break into Tom's old files thanks to that generic authorisation (yeah...) and makes a startling discovery, which he shares on his YouTube Channel...Janeway isn't pleased with this, and orders Neelix dragged before her. Here's where the subplot is finally broken wide open. Tuvok mentions to Janeway that this correlation between the logs and Tom's files was obviously planted after the fact, since he found none before. See, he and Janeway already knew about the mole (again, borrowing from “State of Flux”) and used Tom to try and figure out who it is. But this time, they decided to to keep Chakotay in the dark about their plan. Chakotay is pretty pissed off about this, and I have to say this threatens to undermine the mutual trust between him and Janeway we saw developing in “Lifesigns.” However, Tuvok makes it clear that it was he who insisted on keeping Chakotay out of the loop, for tactical reasons. This is in character both in terms of Tuvok's job and executing it with cold logic, and his history of deceiving Chakotay. It also makes sense that, at this point, Janeway would still side with Tuvok in such a matter. But we had better see this conflict come to some sort of resolution beyond “we needed a good performance.”

The Quartet determine to use Neelix' bullshit to try and ferret out the spy, by having him continue his investigation, and cast doubts on his suspicions about Tom. Chakotay notes that this would be kind of dangerous for the “journalist.” Meh, whatever.

We pick up with Tom on the Kazon ship, discovering the identity of Jonas via some footage of “Lifesigns.” And right on cue, Seska re-enters the room *now* with security backup. Yeah. Ah, but more implausible crap...Tom's data device doubles as a bomb, which goes off and gives him a chance to escape the guards. Naturally, he doesn't shoot anyone in the leg or use pregnant Seska as a hostage, opting instead to roam about the ship and duck and roll a bunch. Yawn...

Act 5 : *, 17%

Neelix dutifully reports to Engineering to continue his investigation. Torres calls for a missing data PADD which must be delivered by hand, which means that Engineering is vacated of all but Jonas and Neelix AGAIN! ConVEEEEEEEENient, no? Meanwhile, red alert is called and Janeway reports to him—the only engineer in the room, that they have a shuttle on its way in and Tom Paris may be aboard. Right, because Janeway always, always, gives the specific mission specs on important covert operations to whoever the fuck happens to be on duty when she needs to increase transporter power. Right. Oh yeah, Tom has managed to steal a Kazon shuttle somehow. He is able to contact the Voyager and warn them away from the ambush planet. Jonas is obviously not working on the transporters, and instead contains them in a force field. Tom is finally able to reveal the identity of the spy to Janeway, who sicks Tuvok on him. Jonas relieves Neelix of his combadge...Janeway is able to recover Paris...Jonas continues to sabotage the weapons systems...Tuvok can't accomplish a damned thing it seems, so SERIOUS JOURNALIST Neelix takes Jonas on in hand-to-hand combat. Of especial absurdity is the fact that Neelix grabs ahold of a giant crescent wrench (yeah those are super necessary to 24th century tech). Then there's a massive green fire for some reason and Jonas, for whatever reason, hurls himself at Neelix and ends up being vaporised in the fire. Jesus Christ. Neelix also restores the weapons and give Janeway her mojo back, enabling her to fire on Seska's ship. Do they try and capture her or Cullah? Don't be stupid, Stupid.

We end with yet another segment of Neelix' stupid programme, where Paris apologises for his behaviour during the subterfuge, and we are promised many more updates to come. Thankfully, we'll only see this once more.

Episode as Functionary : *.5, 10%

The final couple of acts are pretty shitty. No doubt about it. Because we have been given no motivation for Jonas, the actions are entirely about fulfilling the plot mechanics, which I noted were incredibly contrived this week. I think the solution to this episode, and consequently the subplot, would have been to scrap “Innocence” (a pretty shitty episode in its own right), and insert one more episode before this one focusing upon Jonas and Tuvok. We could have had Tuvok performing his investigation in the background, maybe misdirecting Chakotay as he smarted over Paris' behaviour—maybe Chakotay and Paris have another row in the brig, even. Most of the story would be about Jonas' history with the Maquis. He and Hogan and Carey and Torres can reminisce about some late nights in Engineering before Seska left, about how fun she would make things. We could learn that Seska, for all her faults, was someone Jonas implicitly trusted to look after them, who no matter what, was tough and always had your back. Hell, maybe he was jealous of her and Chakotay's romance. We could see that Jonas felt that Janeway didn't really trust the Maquis crewmen thanks to the way she shut Hogan down in “Alliances.” Then in this episode, when it's revealed that Janeway kept the plan a secret from Chakotay in order to manipulate him, Jonas' fears seem somewhat justified. This gives him something to fucking say during the climax, instead of just acting like a fool and falling off the balcony to his death.

The Neelix/Paris material is pretty good, and I think the Tuvok/Janeway/Chakotay issues have potential. The JOURNALISM thread was mostly just annoying, despite having a message I agree with in principle. Whoever decided to make the resolution to this subplot about plot fuckery instead of character really let down the potential for the series as this level of serialisation would be laregely abandoned in future seasons, which is a shame. And honestly, I think the way this episode came together (or rather, didn't) is to blame. What's even more frustrating to me is that the material surrounding Tom's departure from the Voyager actually works, but we don't really address it again, thanks to cluttering this story up with nonsense. I would have appreciated a more substantive followup to his departure conversation with Neelix besides a joke about ribbing Chakotay. Maybe we'll see this again.

Final Score : **
William B
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:06am (UTC -5)
@Elliott, you're right that there's some good moments in the Paris/Neelix material early on, and some potential in the Janeway/Chakotay/Tuvok stuff. I found the plot contrivances, Neelix and the ending so awful that it was hard for me to see any pros in the episode at all, but there are some.

I'm not a full-on Neelix hater, but I find him *agonizing* in this ep. ("On the other hand, we're talking about Neelix, not Glenn Greenwald." Yep.) Well, in much of season 2, but at least in Elogium and Parturition e.g. he's "only" long-term hurting his own story and Kes' and Paris', rather than ruining serialization for the rest of the series.
Sleeper Agent
Mon, May 6, 2019, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Sloppy writing aside, this episode turned out to be quite entertaining. Neelix managed not to be irritating, Seska shined and the Doctor nearly stole the show! I also loved Janeway's impeccable delivery of the line "Fire at will" at the end. Unfortunately Paris still annoys me, and I would have liked to see Tuvok and Chakotay not being utterly useless. Jonas was a big waste of a character.

2,5 Stars.
Mon, May 27, 2019, 7:08am (UTC -5)
Funny, I'm usually commenting because I found an episode worse than Jammer, but here is one of the odd exceptions. I liked this episode a lot and found the conclusions to be satisfactory. It does make assumptions about what the Kazon will do, but....they've been pretty predictable in the past so this doesn't bother me. It's also feasible that in the original plan Paris would have contacted them if they didn't come after him, either way would have worked for their plan, and I found the action to be pretty good.

Neelix's dabbling and general flaky nature actually work for me in this episode, because I can accept making a morning TV show is something he would do on a whim...and something he would abandon two weeks later as his attention was drawn elsewhere. In the meantime, aggressively and annoyingly pursuing something to the chagrin of others is kind of his thing, so he was basically already a Journalist, this just lets him have plot significance.

And to top it all off Voyager actually won a space battle for once, which is quite the miracle.

So yeah, I liked this one a lot. I was a little surprised they just killed Jonas off, but they weren't going to execute him so this is a nice clean way to end his story line and give him his just desserts. I'll also say that like someone else said, I got Hogan and Jonas confused at first. But overall, good episode.
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 4:54am (UTC -5)
Keeping your prisoner in a room with control over your entire ship is just such an enormous plot hole that is totally inexcusable. How did this get on tv
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
Voyager isn't always kid-friendly (nor should it be), but my daughters enjoy the show when episodes are suitable for them to watch. My 10 year old decided "this was a good Neelix episode." I have to agree, his role in the story is pretty much what it always is: he goes around the ship, poking his nose cheerfully into things that aren't really any of his business, but this time it was significant to the plot. And the running gag with the Doctor's terrible ideas for show segments made me laugh every time.

I also like the fact that Tuvok and Janeway have been aware that there is s spy on board for some time now. Security on Voyager is like swiss cheese when the plot needs it to be, so it's good to see the opposite here. Allowing Tom to leave the ship and act on his own is a very risky plan, and honestly far more likely to fail than succeed, so it seems very much like a desperation move on Janeway's part. It does give us a chance to see Seska again, and I always enjoy her appearances on the show, so that's a plus.

I'd like to have seen more Voyager like this, with ongoing plotlines and recurring supporting characters. It worked well on DS9 and could have worked well here. And the Maquis play more of a role in the second season than I remembered. I found this an enjoyable episode, though it could probably have packed more punch in wrapping up the Jonas storyline.
Sarjenka's Brother
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
Not sure a crew of roughly 140 needs a "journalist" sending out news reports.

I liked the story arc even if the conclusion was the least enjoyable segment. Too bad it didn't go over that well. If it had, we might have had a very different Voyager.
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
This was an entertaining episode. My only problem was that the Paris spy mission just wasn't believable. Most of Paris acting out of character happened only on the bridge...yet the majority of the crew wasn't on the bridge so how would they know Tom was acting out of sorts? Why would Janeway endanger an entire ship of Talaxians just to out one spy? What assurances did they have that the Kazon wouldn't kill Tom? Voyager is a FAST ship even by federation standards and is almost always flying in one direction toward the alpha quadrant. How does Seska constantly catch up to them with supposedly inferior Kazon tech? What assurances did Voyager have that Tom would have unsupervised access to the exact Kazon console that could recreate the logs from Voyager? How does Tom know how to work a Kazon console? What assurances did Voyager have that Tom would be able to escape the Kazon, communicate a message, and to be able to reach voyager before being caught? I liked the Neelix journalism story...but the Tom story just wasn't believable.
Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Okay it’s admittedly stupid but I like “A Briefing With Neelix.” If only to see the Doctor keep getting bumped like he’s Tony Randall and Sickbay is the Green Room 😂
Mon, Oct 26, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
So, I'm watching Voyager for the first time and just finished this episode and I ultimately find myself agreeing with the rating for the most part. First, I want to lead off with the statement that I don't hate Neelix or Tom Paris as much as a lot of people seem to on this website. I generally find him to be amusing and a welcome presence when the show decides to give him a chance to be more than the stereotypical jealous boyfriend. The same goes for Tom. I've always had a soft spot for roguish characters.

Anyway, I think this episode could have easily been worthy of three stars if three things had been done differently. One, I'd nix the entire Neelix the Journalist plot point. I realize that one could consider it a natural extension of his job as morale officer, but the way it went about doesn't make much sense to me. Neelix went from hosting a light, fluffy daily news show to accessing what is almost certainly classified coms logs. I don't remember if Neelix learned how to operate the more complex systems on Voyager (I tend to watch Star Trek in bursts), but I found it somewhat unbelievable that he would recognize that Jonas wasn't accessing the transporter systems. More fundamentally, though, it just kind of came out of nowhere. Maybe it would have made more sense if Neelix had shown interest in journalism before this episode, but I suppose this is the least important aspect of the episode that I'd change.

Second, I'd change how the Tom Paris insubordination arc resolved itself. You can still keep the spy stuff, but I think it would make for much more interesting characterization if Paris' insubordination was routed in existing feelings and animosities towards Chakotay and the rest of the crew. I would have preferred a better explanation for why he was always late to his shifts than simply "it was part of his cover". Previous episodes have shown he has self-esteem issues.

Third, and most importantly, I'd have changed how the Jonas arc resolved itself. As Jammer indicated, Jonas' death was far too neat and far too predictable. Ever since the arc started I've been truly perplexed by the idea that an ex-Maquis guerilla who's only way home is to remain on the Voyager would ever ally himself with a Cardassian spy who masqueraded as a fellow Maquis and seeks to destroy/take over the very ship that is his ticket home. Sure there are traitors in rebel groups in the real world, but this particular set of circumstances borders on the silly and ridiculous. Sure, Jonas appeared to be disgruntled at the beginning of the arc, but no real explanation for why he would betray his friends and ideals so readily was offered before he got offed. That leads me to the next part of this arc that I would like to have been different. Instead of being tossed over the railing by Neelix (which was a good action scene, in my opinion) I would have preferred Jonas being knocked unconscious and imprisoned. Following this, I'd have either dedicated the remaining few minutes to extracting Jonas' reasoning for his betrayal or, and this is a much better option in my opinion, dedicated the entirety of the next episode to revealing the causes for Jonas' betrayal. And to avoid the issue of having another crew member in the brig like @impronen suggested you could end the episode with a Kazon-Nistrim attack that ends up killing Jonas.

On the bright side, I enjoyed seeing the Doctor grow angrier and angrier at being snubbed by Neelix.
Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
This episode almost plays like TNG's "Lower Decks". We focus on the relatively low ranking Neelix as he bumbles about in the dark, always oblivious to the thoughts and schemes of the command staff above.

That core idea - a story which focuses on a morale officer, and his day-to-day attempts to enliven the crew - is pretty cool.

Unfortunately we don't get that here. We get instead another Kazon episode, with more Seska, and more Chakotay's baby, and more Paris-the-spy.

People deride this for being "bad serialization", but I wonder if that's a blessing in disguise. Such "action/thriller" arcs tend to age worse, and be less rewatchable, than a good standalone. Season 2's utter failure at being "Battlestar Galactica" probably inadvertently gave us standalone episodes which stood the time better than the serialized stuff Trek fans dream of.
Tue, Apr 5, 2022, 9:41am (UTC -5)
I think a simple tweak to the ending would've made a big difference.

We didn't get to see Jonas have a chance to acknowledge his losing position or a chance for Starfleet ideals to shine regarding the death of a person. He was just unceremoniously tossed over the side without a thought. Here's what I would've liked to have seen:

1. Neelix throws Jonas over the edge, but instead of falling he's got one hand on the rail.
2. "Neelix! Help me! I can give you information about the Kazon plans!"
3. Neelix has the consider the benefits of helping him quickly. (Ideally we'd have had an emotional reason for Neelix to let him die set up already).
4. Neelix goes to help and pull Jonas up. But Jonas's own sabotage causes the green plasma (unexplained in the episode) to flare and pull Jonas slowly in.
5. "NEELIXXXXX!!" Jonas cries and the plasma slowly creeps up his legs disintegrating them until Neelix has to let go to save himself from being consumed too.

Bit more gruesome and memorable I think.
Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
I did like Neelix climbing the ladder under Jonas and knocking his leg out from under him by hitting him behind the knee with that wrench.

It's just rare to see in Trek a fight tactic that would actually work and make sense under the circumstances.
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
In addition to the stupidity of Seska leaving Paris in a random room with computer access (instead of in the brig), there were other plot machinations that seemed smart at first, but made no sense when you thought about them closely.

Hogan tells Neelix that he can't recover the erased messages from the Subspace comms log, because they weren't sent out using the subspace antennas. Instead, the messages were simply encoded as fluctuations in the EPS power grid. I agree with Neelix's reaction: that *is* pretty ingenious. But if Jonas didn't even use the comms system to send out the messages, *then they wouldn't have been in the comms computer log in the first place.* So there would have been nothing to erase.

It would be like if I used the LED flashlight on my smartphone to send you a message in Morse code, and then wondered why that message didn't appear in the list of "Outgoing Calls" or in the history of SMS texts. Ridiculous. The writers didn't think this one through at all.
Fri, Aug 5, 2022, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the above comment: some of the more technically minded visitors to this site might protest that Jonas was still using 90% of the comms system, including all of its software, and that he only rerouted the data away from the antennas and into the power grid at the very end. So the software still logged that he was sending a ship-to-ship comms message from his terminal. But if so, that's *extra* stupid, because if he really wanted to cover his tracks, he should have bypassed the comms software entirely, and just sent the bits into the power grid directly using his own hardware or a non-networked computer terminal. He's an engineer, after all. Granted, Jonas isn't depicted as being particularly smart in this episode (cf. his brilliant plan to kill Neelix with a laser torch right in the middle of Engineering). But it's still aggravating that they were so close to writing smart techno-spy stuff, but missed the mark.

Plus, another science flaw with this idea is that fluctuations in the power grid would probably produce ordinary EM waves that a) would be very weak, and b) would only propagate away from the ship at the speed of light (compare to fictional subspace signals that are faster than light). So when the hell were the Kazon even going to get his message? Not till years later.
Sun, Sep 4, 2022, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
Instead of Paris saying that giving Chakotay a hard time was fun, it would have been nice to hear him say that he didn't enjoy it because he had come to respect Chakotay. But that would have involved some character development, which was never VOY's strong suit.
Andrew Lloyd
Mon, Dec 19, 2022, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
3 out of 4 stars. Seems like people pick and choose which episodes to nit-pic with regard to the classic Star Trek contrivances, sleights of hand, and science mumbo-jumbo hand waving away of problems. Seems very much like people just don't like the Neelix character. If that is so, then just say so. Don't go on about how plot holes and contrivances ruin the episode when all of Star Trek is littered with these very plot holes and contrivances.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Dec 20, 2022, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
"Seems like people pick and choose which episodes to nit-pic with regard to the classic Star Trek contrivances, sleights of hand, and science mumbo-jumbo hand waving away of problems...Don't go on about how plot holes and contrivances ruin the episode when all of Star Trek is littered with these very plot holes and contrivances."

If it's a good story with compelling characters and relatable motivations then plot holes and technobabble can be put aside. Everything gets nitpicked but a good episode transcends it. In an already weak story those problems are even more noticeable and they drag it down further. It becomes a multiplier of sorts, rather than just a background irritant.

"Seems very much like people just don't like the Neelix character. If that is so, then just say so."

The people who don't like Neelix or Wesley Crusher are not shy about saying so. But just like my first point, if they're insinuating themselves into an already lackluster episode, then they make it worse. I hate Wesley Crusher when he's being an insufferable wunderkind who shows up his mentors and acts like a twat. When he's just a normal but smart kid he's fine. Same for Neelix. When he's being genuinely insightful and helping the crew, that's great, but when he's meddling in things that are none of his business while also being irritating and buffoonish, then no thanks.
Tue, Dec 20, 2022, 10:23pm (UTC -5)

"unfortunately on crappy Voyager instead of the much superior DS9"

Your hate is disgusting.

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