Star Trek: Voyager

"Resolutions"

2 stars

Air date: 5/13/1996
Written by Jeri Taylor
Directed by Alexander Singer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"We have to talk about this ... I think we need to define some parameters about us." — Janeway to Chakotay

Nutshell: A few good moments, but mostly a contrived premise that becomes a wasted opportunity with the blatant pressing of the Reset Button.

While scouting a planet for resources, an insect bite infects Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay with a virus for which Doc cannot find a cure. Somehow, by staying on the planet, they are protected from the virus' deadly effects. But leaving the planet would mean certain death and on-ship stasis could risk infection of the rest of the crew, so after weeks of searching for a cure without success, Janeway puts Tuvok in command of the ship and orders him to leave orbit and continue Voyager's journey to the Alpha Quadrant without them.

After Voyager beams down the necessary supplies for Janeway and Chakotay to build adequate shelter and the equipment to research their condition, Voyager heads on its way.

But, of course, not before Janeway makes a "poignant" good-bye speech to her crew. Sure, the speech is a decent concoction of cliches, but come on—do you really believe that this is it? That Janeway and Chakotay are going to have to live out their days on this planet that they name "New Earth"? As the trailers say, "Hold your breath for an entire hour for Janeway's farewell." Yeah, right. Funny how the previews don't even mention Chakotay's "farewell." (He doesn't even get to deliver a good-bye speech for the crew, which is too bad; it might have been interesting to hear a speech aimed at Voyager's Maquis population.)

Forgive my speech-bashing—I'm in a kind of cynical-sarcastic mood. But my mood has little to do with why "Resolutions" doesn't work as a show. The problem here is that this is yet another frustrating Voyager example of Reset Button Plotting: a show that wanders for an hour to a conclusion that means virtually nothing in terms of story or characters.

And the thing that's so disappointing is that this episode has every opportunity to do some effective character analysis and development, but it almost always refuses to take advantage of them. Consider the premise—it's a decent starting point (much better than, say, "Tuvix"). The idea of two characters forced to live alone and change their lives to fit their new situation is potentially compelling (although I thought the explanation of why they couldn't return to Voyager was quite weak. It's awfully convenient that the planet "protects them somehow" from all effects of this "incurable" disease. Also, why in the world would the ship's two highest-ranking officers both beam down and put themselves in such a position? It seems pretty silly to me. The set-up serves its purpose, but it could've been done better.)

But what does the episode do with its premise? Not nearly enough. There is entirely too much focus on scenes which, for lack of meaning, seem to be filler material, and there's not nearly enough focus on relevant characterization.

One big example: What in the world is the significance of the primate that Janeway keeps encountering in the forest? As far as I can tell, there is none. She sees it, tries to beckon it over to her, and then sighs when it runs back into the trees. Every scene involving this creature is utterly pointless. Maybe it could be helpful in finding a cure to the disease, Janeway says. After all, it has to deal with bug bites too. Well, I say, it's not leaving the planet is it? So it's probably just as safe as you are. (Janeway's reasoning here ranks alongside the 2D ring that "surrounded" Voyager in three-space in "Twisted," and the only-one-child-for-Ocampa-women notion in "Elogium.") In any case, the whole thread is a complete dramatic dead-end.

Then there's the Violent Plasma Storm Scene. Again, here's more filler that boldly goes nowhere. It seems more like an excuse for some green lightning effects and camera shaking. I guess one could argue (and I'm reaching here) that this conveys the sense that Janeway and Chakotay have to learn their new environment, but I'm not about to say that I found such an angle the least bit interesting.

And throughout the show, which spans at the very least six weeks, Janeway spends the majority of every day searching for a cure and denying that the possibility exists that a deus ex machina will, in fact, not save the day (even though we all know it will). What does she hope to achieve? Does she think she will actually find a cure even though Doc couldn't with better technology? And if she does, then what? As Paris said, it would take them about 700 years to get home in their shuttle. Would they find a neighboring society to help them? Could they contact Voyager? The episode doesn't care, simply because it knows the plot won't be going in that direction.

Chakotay's philosophy seems much more rational given the circumstances. He wants to build a home—accept that the disease is not curable and move on. And that's the one interesting question "Resolutions" brings up—the subject of moving on, and the nature of the relationship which will form between Janeway and Chakotay in their isolated society of two. After weeks of denial, Janeway realizes that they have to discuss the personal effects of their situation, and where the future will take them. Janeway's line, "I think we need to define some parameters about us," was one of the episode's few genuinely interesting moments, and Chakotay's response, "I'm not sure if I can define parameters, but I can tell you an ancient story," rang very true. Subsequently, Chakotay's "ancient story" was terrific—a standout in the episode. It was moving and personal—something we don't get to see much from the character, and Robert Beltran shined.

Unfortunately, the writers settle for a compromise with the ambiguity of showing Janeway and Chakotay holding hands and then fading to a commercial break, leaving much to the imagination in terms of subsequent discussion or otherwise. As ambiguous as this scene is, the matter does not feel closed or complete. The only idea conveyed here is that the series has a knack for raising intelligent, interesting questions, but that it can't effectively deal with them.

The B-story centers around Voyager's troubles adjusting to life without its captain and first officer. One option arises—contacting the Vidiians and asking for medical assistance in treating the disease. But given the destruction of one of their ships in "Deadlock," Tuvok doesn't think this would be prudent and abruptly closes the case. This leads to a conflict between Tuvok and Ensign Kim, who thinks they should at least try to contact the Vidiians through Dinara Pel, the Vidiian who Doc treated in "Lifesigns."

It's nice to see Kim actually do something for a change, and I appreciated that he actually fell into conflict with another character for probably the first time in the run of the series. Still, Tuvok's actions feel a tad overstated—he turns on a dime from an adamant "no" to "well, okay" after a two-minute discussion with Kes. And while it's also ironic that Tuvok's logical assertion of the situation turns out to be correct—that the Vidiians do indeed set a trap for Voyager after agreeing to help them—it allows for yet another routine, boring battle confrontation where Voyager is able to get the Vidiians' vaccination and escape overwhelming odds with the use of a convenient antimatter container that Torres improvises on cue.

This all amounts to very little. The filler is wearisome. The dialogue is mostly routine. The discovery of a cure is a foregone conclusion, as is Voyager's return to retrieve the captain and commander. So all the episode comes down to is characterization, but the creators botch it because they so carefully tiptoe around the interesting subjects for fear of having to actually deal with them later. The final closing in which Janeway and Chakotay are back on their bridge is completely unrevealing of anything except a return to the status quo. The biggest consequence seems to be that Voyager lost a couple months of travel time.

Push that reset button.

Previous episode: Tuvix
Next episode: Basics, Part I

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66 comments on this review

Chris Langert
Wed, Oct 17, 2007, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
"So all the episode comes down to is characterization, but the creators botch it because they so carefully tiptoe around the interesting subjects for fear of having to actually deal with them later."

B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o!!!

VOY pulls that crap like no other trek series did, not even ENT. (ENT's speciality was in destroying continuity.) No trek series was immune from it, but DS9 was more immune than all others by many light years.

Anyway, when it comes to tiptoeing and then ignoring and resetting, this ep of VOY may be just about the worst ever (though "Human Error" gives it a run for its money). The greatest offense though, is in *how much* potential was lost. It would have been absolutely grand to see a Janeway-Chakotay romance develop (and in "Human Error" and "Endgame" Seven could have been with Harry instead of Chakotay, and much more believably). Oh well, at least it wasn't utterly godawful, and I can certainly imagine lots of ways it could have been. Not a total waste of time, but god, what it *could* have been...
AJ Koravkrian
Wed, Nov 7, 2007, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
You are right. The story that Chakotay makes up is terrific...and when Janeway and Chakotay hear about the cure that Tuvok is bringing, we even see regret on their faces. It seems almost like a crime to create something so beautiful and then press the reset button! They keep hinting about possible J/C throughout the series only to spring that Seven/Chakotay crap on us. I mean where the hell did THAT come from ??

I can see their fears of this turning into a soap opera if they follow through with this romance, but that just shows their own limitation as writers. Very disappointing.
Tim
Mon, May 5, 2008, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
See I loved this episode. Because, to me at least, it was obvious that Chakotay and Janeway were really starting to have feelings for each other. And on the planet, that would have been okay. But back on Voyager, where she was the Captain and he was the first officer, it would have been totally inappropriate. So they had no choice but to bury the whole thing. Which made it kind of sad.
grumpy_otter
Wed, Jul 2, 2008, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
I agree with most of Jammer's review and the comments. This episode got its two stars solely because of Beltran's "Warrior" speech. If a man had said that to me, I would have been on the floor in about two seconds. The rest, eh.

I just wanted to add that Seven should have ended up with the Doctor. My only consolation about the Seven-Chakotay crap is that it was in an alternate future, so didn't happen (didn't didn't didn't!!!).
impronen
Mon, Jul 28, 2008, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Definatly a weak episode. The monkey was the thing that did it for me. Complete waste of time. And I actually found the story about warriors utterly boring. I fail to see the purpose of it and it seems not to have any real effect on things. Kim standing up against Tuvok is the only thing that makes it worthwhile but otherwise, just crap.
Mike
Thu, Oct 16, 2008, 6:51pm (UTC -5)
Wow, I'm surprised at all the hate for this episode, which I enjoyed a lot.

1) AJ is right - Chakotay and (especially) Janeway are half-regretting having to leave the planet at the end. This is really interesting for Janeway in particular, as she has always been the most adamant about returning home. But when the crew is out of the equation, she half wants to stay and start a life with Chakotay. We learn something about Janeway that is apart from her usual Captain role, and that is almost unique in the series. Once she's no longer a Captain (and she's out of the uniform and in those atrocious dresses), she really changes personality in a very interesting way.

2) While the "Reset Button" issue is a problem in Voyager, I don't think you should blame "Resolutions" for that. This episode breaks real ground in exploring Chakotay's feelings for Janeway. It's always been a bit unclear why C accepts Janeway's leadership, and the Starfleet way, so quickly. Here with his Warrior story, he makes it clear that he is madly in love with Janeway, and is willing for that love to be unrequited. That is serious character development action. It's not the fault of "Resolutions" that the C/J relationship barely gets explored later on, and C himself becomes a minor character in season 4 onward.

3) Ok, the monkey is cheesy. But it's apparent at the end that the monkey represents the lost possibilities of living alone with Chakotay. I agree that this isn't the best metaphor ever, but it's not completely random.

4) The Tuvok vs. the Crew narrative is also fairly interesting, although it's true that it's been covered before. ST likes to make it clear that Vulcans shouldn't be Captains, and once again Tuvok shows why. It's also interesting that Kes is the one who changes his mind - one wonders if this implies his feelings for her which have as yet gone unexpressed. Unfortunately this also gets lost in later seasons; obviously Kes is gone is season 4, but it's not really present in season 3 either.

To sum (sorry this is long) - I'm fine if you dislike the episode, but it's not a Reset Button example. It's not as if the ship was 2/3 destroyed, and then fully functional by the show's end; or as if they've run out of shuttles, but boom they magically have more shuttles. This character development stuff could have been explored later on, but it wasn't - that's not "Resolutions" fault, that's the fault of the writers of later episodes.
Bill T
Thu, Jan 15, 2009, 1:22am (UTC -5)
To me, the absolute worst thing about this episode is its placement in the season. Janeway and Chakotay get stranded, living in a primitive environment, and eventually and finally rescued, with a poignant moment on the bridge that they were returning to a life in space. And next week THE ENTIRE CREW (basically) gets stranded, living in a primitive environment etc etc. Man oh man.
Nic
Tue, Oct 13, 2009, 11:16am (UTC -5)
As has already been mentioned, this episode is the prime example of wasted potential. The whole reason for the contrived plot (which in general I don't mind if it puts our characters in interesting places) was to address the Janeway/Chakotay attraction, but all we got is one scene where Chakotay shares his feelings, and as you said is so ambiguous we don't know how Janeway feels. I don't mind that once they were back on Voyager they decided not to pursue a relationship, but we deserved to see a scene where they talked about it.

Another wasted potential was with the Kim/Tuvok conflict. First of all, Tuvok should have worn a red uniform. It's like the writers were saying "Look, WE know they're coming back, YOU know they're coming back, so we're not even going to go through the trouble of changing his uniform". Also, I don't think Tuvok would have been convinced by Kes (that was the easy cheesy way out), I think he would still follow Janeway's orders, which could have Kim & co. could have MUTINIED! This would have provided for fantastic character development, especially for Kim.
However, the one thing I don't agree with in your review is the plasma storm scene. I don't think it was filler, I think it was what Janeway needed to force her to stop researching a cure. I think that however low her chances were she would still have continued, it was in her nature. So destroying her equipment in the storm was part of making her accept her new life.
Given all of the above, this could easily have been a two-parter. Hell, it could have been a SEASON FINALE!
Elliott
Fri, Aug 27, 2010, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
This episode solidifies for me the great paradox of Voyager as a series. The simple answer is (not so simply) there is a kernel of truth behind the characters and premise of the show in the contexts of sci-fy, star trek, drama and mythology. Frequently and unfortunately, the writers often convolute the point by trying to hard to "make" something, but when they release the reigns, the truth behind the story shines through (as is actually discussed in season 6's "Muse"). What is the premise of Voyager? Well, it is manifold, but it centres around the idea of home. What is it? How does it change? Why is it important? And of course, will we ever get there? Here is an opportunity for the two leaders of the disparate crews to redefine that notion for themselves. No one looks up to them for guidance or strength, their responsibilities are only to themselves. There is a very deep tragedy here; Voyager's burden of returning home resonates when the "reset button" which receives so much criticism palpably destroys a very real happiness. It is similar in that regard to season 7's "Workforce"; many see the reset as a naïve writers trick on Voyager, but how else could its premise be fulfilled? In order to achieve its ultimate goal, the crew must sacrifice their freedom to choose alternate paths, as must we all.

This is a continuing issue which goes back and forth continuously and wonderfully throughout the many coloured seasons until it is finally brought to task in the series finale (5 years in this episode's future). The writers definitely did the show disservice on many occasions for this series, but the truth of the mythology makes it one of the best incarnations of Roddenberry's vision (compare to DS9 which was all about making a statement [Gene was wrong, guys]--it was more focused in a literary sense, but mythically dead--thus we got "What you leave behind" which apparently is nothing).
Destructor
Mon, Mar 28, 2011, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Disagree, disagree, disagree! I *love* this episode, I love it! While I agree that the writers could, and should, have explored the seeds this episode laid, as a standalone it is a very fine piece of character development, deepening both Chakotay and Janeway. All the bits that Jammer found so boring are actually just part of the drama, it just unfolds slowly. And I thought the space battle at the end was easily the most tense battle of the season, and it was awesome to see Tuvok being such a badass Captain during the battle.

I think Chakotay's speech WAS actually a good conclusion for the relationship- that, only by fighting for her, not by being her lover, could he find peace for himself. I think this is a wonderfully romantic notion- somewhat tainted by the pointless, awful 7/C relationship in season 7- but that is five years from now and does not effect the quiet power of this ep.
Matthias
Mon, Aug 22, 2011, 9:19am (UTC -5)
See, I knew Chakotay was making half of that indian crap up as he went along, finally he admits it. Also apparently he doesn't even have a first name. I know I'm late on that one considering we've had one person he used to sleep with and one person who fantasized about it both simply call him Chakotay but he was a commanding officer to both so it kind of slipped under the radar.
Also also pleeease don't tell us about the backrubs you used to give your mother while in the actual process of giving someone a sexy backrub.


The idea of being the only two people on a wild, alien planet for life was kind of fun to toy around with but that was pretty much all I got out of this one. Engineering remembering half the crap on the ship is wildly destructive if pressed into service as a makeshift weapon was kind of a nice change of pace from Voyager getting its butt kicked at least.
V
Sat, Jan 14, 2012, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Tuvok made a badass captain during the battle-reminded me of those scenes in 1700s? British navy battles where the captain is unflapably strolling on the deck giving orders and not sweating through cannon balls hitting the ship.

But of course the best part of this episode is the Janeway/Chakotay relationship and how J is more than that Captain we know. I'm with a few people here - 7/C was an alternate timeline... I'm in denial, cause it shouldn't have happened! Should b 7/doctor and J/C. Just as EVERYBODY knows uhura is to spock! Glad tng and the new star trek managed to fix the love angle. .
Jay
Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
How is going toe to toe with the treacherous Vidiians in probably the most intricately planned out battle sequence of events since BOBW2 remotely a reset button?
Ghostwheel
Mon, Mar 19, 2012, 8:00am (UTC -5)
There are so many plot holes in this one, you could steer a Borg Cube through them.

Janeway is pretty cavalier about Tuvok and the rest of the crew disobeying her orders. It was pretty clear she didn't want one hundred fifty lives endangered by organ traffickers on the off chance that the crew could beat back the Vidians and save her and Chakotay.

Kim rallying everyone around his personal opinion that Tuvok should be pressured to change his opinion is only a step away from mutiny. Is this how Starfleet officers behave? Don't like the Captain's orders, so go around the ship and talk everyone into confronting the Captain into changing his mind?

Also ignored is that an engagement with the Vidians could easily cost lost lives. How many dead crew members are worth getting Janeway and Chakotay back? How many Vidians is it acceptable to kill in order to effect their daring escape and get away with the cure for two people? (While it's true the Vidians made the decision to betray Voyager, that was entirely predictable; the crew knew that contacting them would result in battle and killing.)

Zero stars for complete failure to explore or even acknowledge these points.
Ghostwheel
Mon, Mar 19, 2012, 8:36am (UTC -5)
The point about Janeway's cavalier attitude above is that it raises a question: if you disobey a Captain's direct orders but get a good result, does that excuse the disobedience?

What does Starfleet protocol say? If this kind of behavior is allowable, it will only encourage officers to disobey their Captains whenever they believe themselves to be in the right. Could Starfleet as a whole function like that? Can any starship function like that?

That the characters never once consider these issues speaks to grotesque oversight on the part of the writers and editors.
Justin
Tue, Mar 20, 2012, 1:14am (UTC -5)
There is one big thing about this episode that that both the review and the comments above failed to point out:

That poor monkey.

"Feel free to use the house," Janeway said. Yeah, but then she and Chakotay made a big show of DISAPPEARING right in front of his eyes! The poor little guy couldn't handle it! Gee, I guess the Prime Directive doesn't apply when it comes to freaking out little tree-dwelling primates, does it??
duhknees
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
I used to be kind of annoyed with Chakotay's self-righteousness, but that story ... Oh, my!
Grumpy
Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
A lot of reviews and comments on this site decry the Reset Button (ENT "Vanishing Point" also comes to mind) without much agreement on what it means or how it shouldn't be used. Jammer offers a broad definition here: "Reset Button Plotting: a show that wanders for an hour to a conclusion that means virtually nothing in terms of story or characters."

Even stated so negatively, the Reset Button is not bad in all its forms. In the simplest sense, episodic stories start with the status quo, such as a detective who's always ready for a new case. This becomes more egregious when events demand more follow-up than is given in subsequent episodes, as with the damage sustained in VGR "Deadlock" or DS9 "To the Death" or the life-altering experiences of TNG "The Inner Light" or DS9 "Hard Time." Sometimes follow-up is pre-empted within the story, whether by a magical "I wish none of this had happened" or, say, a judge decreeing that no one will speak of Armin Tamzarian ever again.

The latter resets are part of a broader category of a deus ex machina solving the characters' problems for them. This is why most "it was all a dream" stories feel like resets: waking up wipes out any adventures inside the dream. So writers struggle to make these stories relevant by how they reveal what characters would have done in real life. For instance, "Frame of Mind" shows Riker resisting interrogation, even though he did so unconsciously (he's just that badass!). Braga tried the same trick in "Projections" and "Vanishing Point" to varying success.

All that said, does "Resolutions" depend on a reset button? Well, the Janeway/Chakotay relationship never receives the necessary follow-up (and, contrary to the title, is not resolved here, either), but that's Voyager for you. As for the rest of the episode, the crew struggles mightily to rescue their beloved captain (and the other guy), so that's actual drama. We knew the episode wouldn't end with Janeway marooned (or that Sato wouldn't completely dematerialize), so restoring the status quo is to be expected.

Which is to say that "Resolutions" does not deserve criticism for its reset button. When issues are raised but not revisited, blame subsequent episodes, not the story that raises them. Abuse (as opposed to fair use) of the reset button occurs not only when an episode restores the status quo but when the entire journey is revealed as a waste of time or a shaggy dog story. In this case, Jammer is right to point out that "Resolutions" raises issues without the courage to explore them fully: "they so carefully tiptoe around the interesting subjects for fear of having to actually deal with them later." But jerking the audience around isn't the same as a reset button; it's just phony drama.
Starpollo
Sun, Aug 4, 2013, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
I absolutely loved this episode. But as a science fiction writer, I would have done at least two things differently:
1. Harry should have led a mutiny, which is always an interesting scenario to explore, especially when dealing with the circumstances.
2. After the warrior speech, J should have kissed C which should have led directly to a love scene. It had already been hinted at anyway. Chakotay trying to stare down her towel when she got out of the bath for crying out loud! He wanted her!
In conclusion, J/C forever, and J/7 was utter crap.
Bb
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 5:20am (UTC -5)
Were I a woman, that speech would have made me wetter than a slip-n-slide, too.
Dave in NC
Fri, Feb 7, 2014, 12:42am (UTC -5)
I'm rewatching the series in sequential order and I just saw this episode for the first time. I was entertained, especially by the crew's near mutiny.

I thought it was pretty obvious that Chakotay and Janeway did the nasty, which definitely will change the way I watch the rest of the episodes.
Corey
Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 9:39am (UTC -5)
I disagree with the negative review and comments. I found this to be a tense and touching episode, and the "reset button" only added to the poignancy. Janeway isn't just "reset", but is tragically whisked away from family/home life. She's tragically "relegated" to the role of captain/mother, a "victory" that is bittersweet.
Amanda
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 7:51am (UTC -5)
I disagree. There was no reset button. Look at Mulgrew's face in the final shot. She's trying to be the reset button :-). But we know better. And their unshakable friendship is dabbled throughout the series thereafter.

"I can see their fears of this turning into a soap opera if they follow through with this
romance, but that just shows their own limitation as writers."

mmm, actually blame Mulgrew on that note and the writer's lack of ability to pull off a complex connection beyond sex. If the writer's weren't hinting at sex but a beautifully orchestrated connection between j/c as comrades out of the gate vs tossing her in bed, I think Kate might have more readily gone along for the ride.
Vylora
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
"Resolutions" aka "Two Officers and a Monkey or How to Consistently Have Good Ideas and Half-Ass Execution" is a tepid episode with a couple of bright spots. Most of what takes place on the ship plods along as expected but is pretty good. Planet-side, however, is cute at best; timid and pedestrian at worst. It is more often the latter.

If you want to kill forty minutes and see Tuvok in command, Janeway gardening with a monkey, Kim growing a pair for two minutes, Chakotay talking mostly random nonsense until his tattoo gets bigger, and Janeway in a bathtub (without the monkey); then this is right up your alley. Oh and Denara Pel is back for the Most Under-Utilized Minor Character As Part of a Major Antagonist Species That Is a Also a Missed Opportunity for Good Episodes of the year award.

Watchable, but frustrating.

2 stars
SlackerInc
Sat, Aug 23, 2014, 3:20am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, and I mostly agree with Mike--except that I'm not necessarily in agreement with the idea that Vulcans shouldn't be captains. I think the humans should be better at following the chain of command and not mutinying! Surely in the top militaries (navies, I guess, would be the closest analogue) in the world today, most of the lower ranking crew would accept it if both the officers left behind and the acting captain both were adamant that "we're not going back".

That aside, I absolutely agree that it was not the fault of the writers of this episode that the ground broken between Janeway and Chakotay was not explored in later episodes.

And Nic is right that the plasma storm did serve the purpose of getting Janeway to "let it go". However, I'm not sure what purpose the monkey served--but can't some elements just sort of add flavor to an environment?

We also got some interesting backstory on Janeway in terms of her family dynamics.

I also agree with Destructor that the space battle was actually pretty tense, and that Tuvok was awesome in the way he established a precise sequence of events and made sure everyone was clear on them before putting them into motion. I mean, if the objection is that "We knew the ship wasn't going to be destroyed; they were outnumbered and outgunned but used strategy and technobabble to save the day" then you basically are just dissing Trek, period.

Also really liked Corey's comments:

"I found this to be a tense and touching episode, and the 'reset button' only added to the poignancy. Janeway isn't just 'reset', but is tragically whisked away from family/home life. She's tragically 'relegated' to the role of captain/mother, a 'victory' that is bittersweet."

Yup, when they have that final scene discussing the systems checks they are each assigned to do, that's not really "reset". They both are carrying regret and hiding/burying their feelings as we watch. I'm sure things are truly "reset" in the next episode; but that's not this ep's fault.

Amanda, are you saying Kate Mulgrew refused to be involved in a romantic plot?
Robert
Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 10:18am (UTC -5)
"Amanda, are you saying Kate Mulgrew refused to be involved in a romantic plot? "

I can answer this.

Yes. It is well known that the writers wanted to eventually "go there" and Kate Mulgrew basically said "no way in hell". She felt the first female captain should not be sleeping with her XO.
Elliott
Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 11:10am (UTC -5)
And to that point, look what happened on BSG between Adama and Roslin. While their relationship was very touching, by the end, the authority of both in military/political matters was all but totally wiped away. I think the show did enough to show that these feelings never really went away (Year of Hell, Scorpion, Timeless, Shattered, Endgame and other spots), but I would certainly have preferred a more explicit followup to this episode. In fact, I think it should have been "Workforce"--rather than having Chakotay keep his memories and be on the ship mediating Kim and Doc, he should have become Janeway's lover after their memories were wiped. In the end, they would of course have to give up that relationship, but it would have been an explicit acknowledgement that what kept these two apart was their positions and not their feelings, and it would have fitted in nicely with Endgame.
Skeptical
Wed, Jan 14, 2015, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Enh, boring.

For one, I didn't care much for Chakotay's speech that everyone is going gaga over. Maybe it's because I tend not to care so much about the romantic relationships in shows, even though I know it's a popular issue for lots of people. Maybe it's because I'm so sick of Chakotay's magical Indian ways that whenever he starts off with one of his "let me tell you a legend from my people" shticks my eyes tend to roll. Of course, this time it was a subversion, but it's still annoying.

Or maybe it's because we're just randomly told this for no reason. Why, exactly, is it Janeway that gives Chakotay peace? Based on his backstory so far, Chakotay was torn between his traditional ways and the modern world. Of course, this is all backstory; we never see any conflict from him in Voyager. From the beginning of the show, he seemed to be at peace with himself. He is also torn between his desire for a career in Starfleet and his desire to honor his father and his tribe, which leads to him abandoning Starfleet and joining the Maquis. And then his career in the Maquis ends when his fight becomes irrelevant, and Janeway lets him back in to Starfleet (essentially) because she needed him.

So is that what made him at peace? The fact that, thanks to the Caretaker, he now has the life he really wanted, as a Starfleet officer, without betraying his father? Hardly anything specific to Janeway, now, isn't it?

The problem is we never see Chakotay at war with himself, so we never see how or why or even if Janeway's presence brings him to peace. Sure, there are hints earlier that he's attracted to her, but why did she have such a large impact on him? We have no idea. We are simply told that she did. Well, sorry, that's bad writing. Janeway is magically awesome and everyone totally loves her because, well, because she's the star of the show. So we'll just give Chakotay this sudden heartfelt message without any hint that there's anything real behind it.

Meanwhile, the Tuvok/Kim plot was lame too. The whole "emotionless Vulcan can't deal with an emotional human crew" thing seemed way overplayed. I would have much rather seen Tuvok effectively command the ship with minimal disturbances. I would have rather seen him come up with a plan on his own to contact the Vidiians rather than have to be cajoled into it by Kes. What a weak leader he is if he ends up getting mutinied in a week's time. Also, the fact that the episode sided with Kim annoyed me greatly; he shoulda been tossed in the brig over his insubordination.

The entire episode wasn't a waste. Mulgrew did a great job acting here. In particular, there was a nice wisp of regret when she learns that Voyager has returned with the cure. Sure, it's what Janeway actually wants, and she certainly is glad to return. But there is that tiny part that is going to miss this place, and miss the opportunity to build a life alone here. It's understated, but Mulgrew makes it clear that that's what Janeway feels. Likewise, the fully professional return to the bridge was a nice touch rather than some sappy scene of Chakotay and Janeway in private. I think the last 5 minutes of the show was the best.
Yanks
Mon, Aug 10, 2015, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
HAHA!! Great point about the Monkey and bug bites Jammer! I actually looked crooked at the screen when she said "They must have to contend with insect bites too."

I too don't think the reset button applies here. This episode is nothing more than a "J/C" episode for all the shippers. Same for The A/T'ers in Enterprise with Twilight (a much better episode I think). Jesus, the writers throw the fans a bone and they growl.

Chakotay's story to Janeway was an instant classic. Personally I would have loved to see a tear from Janeway with her staying "I'm just not ready to give up yet"

It wasn't just a two-minute talk from Kes that turned Tuvok, it was the culmination that did it.

I thought Tuvok's command time here was outstanding. He should have used the ole Vulcan nerve pinch on Harry.

Aside from the primate gaff, I thought the entire time on the planet was very good.

Good fun hour of Trek here.

3 stars from me.
John
Thu, Oct 15, 2015, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Did anybody catch Janeway's last line in this episode? She told Chakotay that he is responsible for fixing the premature firing of the phaser cannons! I'm not kidding!

Okay so they did have sex and he is a premature ejaculator. Good to know. Actually, I would have been okay not knowing that.
Andrew
Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
This was an OK (use of) reset button episode, not as good as "Future Imperfect" or "The Search, Part II" or "Cold Fire" but a lot better than "Elogium". The characterizations and emotions felt pretty real and worthwhile, the sudden, near-complete-reset ending was very disappointing, the real shame was the lack of following up later.
Andrew
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 12:26am (UTC -5)
On the other hand, referencing various past encounters with the Vidiians was some very welcome continuity.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Jan 16, 2016, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Enjoyed this in a quiet sort of way. It was kind of touching to see Chakotay embracing rural idyll and finding peace in it, and seeing Janeway move to that position I thought showed some terrific character points for both. The dynamics on board ship were also interesting, and giving Denara Pel a role was also a nice callback. 2.5 stars.
Amanda
Tue, Feb 16, 2016, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
john> no she didn't. she was basically explaining the prefire temperature (prior to firing) was off for the ship's phasers. I still laughed though. if you still want to crack a joke, it would be that he couldn't fire at all. he's got ed... :(
Ivanov
Fri, May 6, 2016, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
This was the episode that convinced me that Janeway and Chakotay were going to get together before the show ended. But then Seven showed up and the writers just forgot about him.
Nerull
Fri, May 6, 2016, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
The nagging question I had when watching this episode was: What ever happened to transporter biofilters? A virus can't transport up with them.

They didn't even come up with an excuse why it wouldn't work, it was just never mentioned.
Skywalker
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Freaking Harry! I love the look on Tom's face when Harry has his outburst. He seems to be saying. "Dude... Not cool." From Paris, that's saying something! His insubordinate tone is completely out of line. Pike would send him "back to the Academy" for something like this! This should have come from one of the Maquis. Not Harry.

Tuvok's pajamas have the Vulcan/Romulan style of broad shoulders. Nice touch, costume designers! Best of all, in that scene Harry recalls not one, but TWO previous Vidiian episodes! What?! Continuity on VOY?! I love it!

And why the hell is a mere ensign part of the senior staff anyway? I don't mind him being a main character, but there are at least a dozen people who outrank him! I'm sure they would appreciate being consulted from time to time.
AA
Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 12:32am (UTC -5)
"Also also pleeease don't tell us about the backrubs you used to give your mother while in the actual process of giving someone a sexy backrub."

LOL I thought this, too! How un-romantic!

Yeah, writers really copped out on this one. All we get is some speech by Chakotay about respecting her feelings. How nineties sensitive. I was expecting something more like, "Look. We're here together now. We're going to get to know each other pretty well. Each other's snoring, BO, gastrointestinal distress. It's cute you want to 'define our parameters' but there ARE NO parameters. By the time this is all over, you won't even know if you're YOU or ME. So let's not be coy, okay?"
But I guess that wouldn't have been Chakotay.
And no, I don't believe he built a bathtub!
That monkey? What was that all about? Are we Land of the Lost all the sudden?
mephyve
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
Skipped right to the end of the Tuvix debacle. Thank goodness for the reset button. It's as if that nonsense didn't happen.
And now a hospital episode. no thanks
George Monet
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Another show that has to be pretend that Starfleet takes place during the Dark Ages instead of the 24th century in order for the story to take place. If the writers accepted the level of medical technology and knowledge that the Doctor has available to him then they'd have to admit that there is no way that he couldn't cure this disease in short order.

The episode itself out of the science is good because it focuses on the characters and let's the actors talents shine through. I think that most of the best Voyager episodes are character driven episodes like this. Tuvix last week was another good example.

However as many have pointed out above, reset button episodes like this are a big problem for the show's premise which is supposed to be about Voyager's journey back home and the many trials and tribulations it encounters during that voyage. If the writer's constantly hit the reset button at the end of every episode then there is no continuity and thus the failure to execute the premise of the show.
Mikey
Thu, Oct 27, 2016, 8:32am (UTC -5)
I thought it was a passable episode. I liked the ambiguity of the J/C relationship.

What I'm most happy about is that Chakotay got to make his warrior speech without any pan pipes. I used to like panpipes on occasion but this show has ruined them for me. I do love Voyager (particularly the later seasons) but the way they deal with Chakotay's heritage always annoys me. It reminds me of Avotar which I hated. There is no subtlety in the metaphor. It's as though the writers have absolutely no faith in the intelligence of the viewer. In the case of Avatar it seems they were right (as most people liked it. But I would hope that Trek fans would be treated with more respect...
Ardax
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 5:29am (UTC -5)
I am amazed how no one noticed that this Reset Button wasn't a total one. I don't agree that the characters didn't get any development. In my opinion, this is the episode where Chakotay and Janeway call each other on the first name basis for the first time, this is a beginning of a strong friendship, even Kathryn later says that she doesn't trust anyone on Voyager more than Chakotay. THIS episode is the starting point of that enormous trust she has for him.
MM
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
I'm watching Voyager again as an adult female scientist, which is what Janeway was before she became a captain. From that perspective:

- research is just what scientists do. I would keep trying to find a cure too. Plus it seems to get C to clean house and make dinner. Double win.

- the thunderstorm scene under the table was C keeping J from leaping out after her sample. I've got a burn scar on my arm from going headfirst into a freezer after a sample.

- the monkey was useful to show her adjusting to her new situation. First she treated it like a research subject, by the end more like a pet

Also- the backrub. Did y'all catch that he starts by playing with her hair, putting his hands over hers, almost kisses her head and then starts in with the talk about his mother? I totally took that as a "think about baseball, backrubs don't have to be sexy " moment for him, which he fails at since he does kiss the top of her head as soon as he stops babbling about his mother. She pulls away, stands up and goes to bed right after.
Richard
Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
I think Jammer is a little harsh in his review. This isn't a great episode, but I think it's worth more than 2 stars - perhaps 2.5 or even 3.0.

Yes, we all know Janeway and Chakotay will eventually be rescued. The drama doesn't come from this, but from how Janeway and Chakotay will react to their enforced isolation. Also, how will Tuvok perform as Captain, and how will the crew react to him as Captain. Perhaps this would have worked better if drawn out for 4 or 5 episodes, so there is at least some doubt regarding their eventual resuce.

A couple of salient points I will grant Jammer is that it does seem silly for the two highest ranking officers to beam down together. Then again, in TOS, Kirk and Spock beam down together all the time . (Of course, this was mainly because they had good chemistry and were the stars of the show.) Also, as Jammer points out, Tuvok's about-face regarding going back for them does seem rather hasty and arbitrary. Then again, this is a one hour television program. Do we really want to see another 5 or 10 minutes of Tuvok wrestling with this decision?
SteveRage
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
More Jeri Taylor crap, where she's laothed to touch anything controversial or anything with any substance. You can tell when her hands have been over a script - very little happens. Awful writer - 1.5 stars.
Markus
Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
"Our captain was bitten by an insect on a planet 70 light years from here. I don't have any other information that I can provide you beyond that. Can you help?"

"Oh yes we know exactly what you're talking about! We'll send you a serum."

Besides the absurdity of the above exchange, it was also ridiculous that the doctor gave up when they already knew there was something in the environment of the planet protecting the patients. I'm normally not a nit picker but this episode suspended credulity beyond belief. Just pure lazy writing - they could have easily come up with a slightly more reasonable reason to abandon Janeway on the planet with just a little effort.
Eli
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 2:17am (UTC -5)
Charming story! Good character development. Well done. I loved the back rub and Chakotay's story. I liked the monkey too. It was all rendered in a subtle way.

As others have mentioned, the setup was hard to believe: not only are the captain and first officer put in harms way, no one else has been affected by this issue. A better setup would have been less distracting.

Still, overall a very fine episode.
Eli
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 2:20am (UTC -5)
oops backrub is one word not two
William B
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
I was floored by Melgrew in this episode, and by the characterization of Janeway generally. I think that the scenes on the planet between her and Chakotay were mostly strong, and of course were the main draw of the episode. This really does give "Kathryn" an opportunity to figure out who she is outside the command structure, and to be able to genuinely treat Chakotay, whom she has the potential to see as an equal, as one. The way in which she gradually lets go of her old life while still clinging to her insatiable scientific mind (and her need to see their problem as solvable) until the plasma storm dashes their hopes is conveyed very well, and the way in which the loss of hope frees her to be a person that she could have been -- open and warm, ready for new experiences (including to the possibility of romantic love) on a slower, gentler pace -- makes the very ending heartbreaking. I hadn't really thought about how the monkey's change from "science test subject" to "pet" works in Janeway's interaction in general until MM pointed it out, but I like that element too.

I'm a little less enthralled by Chakotay's characterization, not so much because I don't buy it as that over the course of the season I've sort of lost track of who Chakotay really is. As, e.g., Skeptical points out, the problem with Chakotay's story about how he came to know peace by joining with a female warrior doesn't quite work because it's unclear how exactly that happened, and IMHO we didn't really see it happen on screen. Chakotay apparently used to punch people for discipline (Learning Curve) and doesn't anymore, and he used to date crazy-angry Seska and doesn't anymore, so that's something; and certainly we know about his "angry kid" backstory. But how exactly did being on Voyager soothe him? Was it just that he loved Janeway -- but if so, is that really it? Is that, by itself, enough to explain it, without some greater sense of how his role on Voyager is significantly different than previous roles? And outside of the mostly-botched "arc" episodes like Maneuvers/Alliances, we haven't really seen much of Chakotay since Tattoo outside of being the stern disciplinarian (kept out of the loop) in the Paris-rebellion plot. I guess I just don't quite know what to make of this guy anymore. So I enjoyed Chakotay's quiet presence on the planet and even his speech, but in some ways it mostly only worked for Janeway's story -- we can see why she would start to fall in love with this guy, and also see him as being a model of what she could be if she actually gave up needing to solve the problem (and Get Home) and started to nest and build a small life together.

That ending, though -- the sadness as the two of them have to go return to their old lives, and the way they can't even seem to express it, in words or otherwise. The masks back up on the ship. It's a real gut-punch.

And I think that gut-punch is maybe what animates the whole of the Tuvok-crew material. The thing that the whole crew fail to consider even for a moment is that maybe Janeway and Chakotay don't actually need them to save them. It's not their fault, for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that Janeway's order to Tuvok not to contact the Vidiians was explicitly stated as being for the crew's good rather than for hers and Chakotay's. Additionally, of course, had they gone to rescue Janeway and Chakotay *before* Janeway had finally given up hope of finding their own cure, it would have been much more welcome. But what sort of happens on the planet is we eventually get the sense that Janeway holds onto her need to be there for the crew because she thinks they need her, rather than because she genuinely totally needs them, and she imagines on some level that it's the reverse. Kim and the others obsess over saving Janeway because of loyalty and criticize Tuvok as heartless and unfeeling, but even there there's a slight edge when Tuvok says that they don't understand what it's like being in command. I didn't particularly find the stuff on the ship all that insightful, and I think that the episode could have done better by emphasizing this particular point: the fact that Tuvok gets isolated, and is put under considerable pressure by the crew, and that he becomes an unpopular figure of scorn for failing to live up to the crew's limitless demands, informs why it's such a relief, ultimately, for Janeway and Chakotay to be on the planet away from them. As is, the conflict just seemed kind of forced and unfair; I get why Kim et al. want to contact the Vidiians, but they seemed inexplicably unwilling to remember that the order Tuvok was going under came from Janeway.

On a small note, I am sad that the Vidiians ended up attacking, because there was a moment when it seemed like that storyline (not really effectively done) might end on a grace note wherein the Vidiians being more than *mere* bad guys would be acknowledged, via Danara, and the fact -- present in the story since Faces -- that Torres could maybe help them cure the Phage. At least Danara has a moment with her "Shmullus," which is nice, but the Vidiians' hard-headed approach doesn't even make that much sense (isn't the chance of getting a cure a genuine draw?) but mostly is dramatically unsatisfying as what is apparently the close to the story.

Despite its problems, I think that the Janeway (and some of the Chakotay and even some Tuvok) material is strong enough for the episode to have a low 3 stars from me. A quiet, understated tragedy.
Yanks
Tue, Sep 19, 2017, 6:45am (UTC -5)
Just caught this one last night.

I really enjoy this one; always have.

Harry should have been thrown in the brig! :-)

Kes actually serves a meaningful purpose.

I do have a problem with Voyager just flying into the Vidian's plain as day trap... but Tuvok's solution was a good one I guess.

Still 3 stars in my book.
Dave
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 12:51am (UTC -5)
Looks like they left all the equipment on the planet. They could have easily beamed it up. If they left the replicator behind, it defeats the purpose of all the Season 1 to-do about keeping the Kazon from getting that technology.
Neely Fan Forever
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
I love this story. One of the main things that makes this episode good is the music that is played when they are defeating the Vidians while getting the antidote from Denarra. It's brilliant and rousing. And Chakotay's story is cute. Especially, when he admits he made the whole thing up. Great story.
Skinflint
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 12:13am (UTC -5)
I'm surprised no one mentioned the similarity to TNG's 'Attached' where Picard and Crusher were stranded together. That was a much better episode in how it dealt with the mostly unspoken feelings that two characters have for each other. Though of course in that episode they were linked telepathically, but still. That was mostly a reset button episode too, but at least it seemed more meaningful than this one.

Now on to this episode specifically.

Why were Chakotay and Janeway in stasis to begin with? They were on the planet, in no danger from the disease, since there is 'something' that keeps them from getting sick. So why stasis? I would think the two of them would have liked to have remained awake so they can find out what's going on. Beam that shelter and other stuff down right away.

They were infected by an insect bite. Everyone knew this. But they were in stasis for 17 days and the Doc (Shmullus, lol) had been working on the solution for over a month. And no one had collected a sample of the insect in that time! You'd think that would be, you know, a priority. Why not? Why not keep them out of stasis so they can find the bug? Or send down teams in spacesuits to find it, or start beaming up bugs, or something? It's only after Voyager leaves that Janeway says basically 'Boy I better catch one of those bugs! That's our only hope!'. Ridiculous.

Sidenote, because it's not just Voyager that does this. It annoys me that every planet in the galaxy looks just like earth, same animals (a monkey!), same plants, same sky, etc. At least in TOS they put in purple trees and pink skies and shit like that a lot of the time.

Everyone on the ship is so sad :( because they are gone, and morale sucks. But it's been six weeks. You'd think they would have gotten over some of that by now, but no. Everyone is testy and can't focus and so on. Pfft.

So Kes makes a very emotional plea to Tuvok, and asks him to think about his feelings. That is about the worst way to convince a Vulcan to do anything. She, or in this case, Neelix (though I hate to say that), since he's the 'morale officer', should have convinced him that morale is bad because they are gone and so logically they won't make it home or some such thing. Kes's appeal about emotions makes no sense.

I'm not a woman, so I don't know if Chakotay's story would have gotten me all hot and bothered were that the case, but to me it was pretty lame. 'You make me at peace'. Pfft.

Then Denara contacts the Doc directly in sickbay when the Vidiians are attacking. How? And why didn't she just send over the formula or chemical compostion for the cure when they communicated with her in the first place? Let's suppose they had to have the actual vial of it, whatever. But the Vidiians were planning to attack, and I assume take Voyager and the crew, so why would the Vidiians bring her along to an attack? Why would they bring the cure with them? Wut? Makes no sense.

Then they use the antimatter trick to win the battle. Apparently they didn't care that Denara was on one of the ships that might be destroyed. But I guess they knew that a massive antimatter exposion would only disable the ships and not destroy them or something. And that's a good trick. Too bad they never used it before or ever again. Another Voyager contrivance.

Most of this episode makes no sense, but if they had used it for some good character development between Janeway and Chakotay, I could almost forgive them, but of course they didn't and it's all forgetten by the next episode.

1 1/2 stars.
Rahul
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 12:20am (UTC -5)
VOY can come up with all kinds of contrived scenarios but it didn't really get anywhere with "Resolutions" -- of course we know Janeway/Chakotay are going to get cured and rejoin the ship but even if they had some good, refreshing moments on the planet, the ending didn't seem to show anything had changed between them or them and the crew.

Actually, I really didn't like the ending -- no big emotional scene welcoming Janeway/Chakotay back and then the captain is promptly ordering this, that and the other thing. Thought it was a good plan from Tuvok to get the medicine from the Vidiians and it was well-executed but it all seemed ho-hum (and maybe a tad fortunate).

The best part of the episode was Chakotay/Janeway on the planet and some of the questions this raised -- although we didn't get much in terms of answers. I think Chakotay became attracted to Janeway shortly after their quarantine. All he did was try to make her comfortable in any way he could and she would eventually come around. But I think this develops naturally when 2 people work together closely. So we learn Janeway hates camping and would rather be a science geek but Chakotay was far more interesting in accepting the situation. And also, what's the point in Janeway finding a cure when Doc couldn't and even if she does, where's she going to go? There were some filler moments (the monkey, the storm).

Seemed kind of sudden for Tuvok to decide to contact the Vidiians and absolve the crew of any responsibility. So Kes says a few words that Tuvok was already familiar with and he does a 180? He gave no impression of changing his thinking based on all of Harry Kim's bitching. I think Tuvok was absolutely right in not letting the emotions of the crew dictate his decisions.

Barely 2.5 stars for "Resolutions" -- a real mixed bag here. Definitely a very contrived episode, but with all the contrivances, it didn't pay off. I think it made sense for Kim to challenge the new captain (doubt he pulls that shit with Janeway). I liked the contrast between Chakotay and Janeway on the planet in terms of their philosophies on the new reality -- but I take it the closest they got was just holding hands. The episode could have been much stronger, given all the risks it seemed prepare to take.
navamske
Sat, Jul 7, 2018, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
"While scouting a planet for resources, an insect bite infects Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay.[]"

An insect bite was scouting a planet?
Springy
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 6:32am (UTC -5)
Good stuff on the planet, not so good stuff on the ship, as Tuvok's quick turnaround was not very believable. I did like Harry showing some guts.

Chokotay is patiently trying to get Janeway to relax and trust him, while Janeway is doing the same with the monkey.

What's the confusion on why there was a storm? That was to damage the equipment and force Janeway to accept the situation.

Also, I don't understand the constant criticism regarding the reset button. Most Star Trek eps have a reset, if they involve any particular realized-danger/change to crew or ship, and they very often do. Even when it's not a danger, they often involve reset - Dr Danara leaves, and the Doc is alone again, naturally. The main components and characters rarely experience significant, lasting change. So maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't get it.
John
Sun, Sep 2, 2018, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
If "something in the planet's environment is sheilding them from the effects of the virus", why did they need to be put in stasis?
John
Sun, Sep 2, 2018, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
And...can research be "drastic"?

Surely Jeri could've found a more appropriate word.
Aaron M.
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 12:06am (UTC -5)
How are Janeway and Chakotay SUPPOSED to act after they returned to Voyager?

I think they DID become a little closer after this episode. If they were on the planet a little longer, than maybe something might have developed. But they got rescued, and we'll never know. They'll never know. And after returning to the ship, maybe they would be too afraid of rejection or something.

I thought this episode was awesome. One of Voyager's best.
Trish
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Okay, everybody, about the monkey:

The line that tells you what it's doing in the story is when Chakotay says it can't be domesticated, at least not easily.

It is a metaphor for Janeway settling into domestic life, something that apparently attracts her enough to get her to flirt with it but then always withdraws from her. That's why when she bids the monkey good-bye, she tells him to use the house. That's what he's all about: making yourself at home.

And that's something she leaves behind when she returns to the ship.
Elliott
Mon, May 6, 2019, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***, 5%

In a freshly-shorn meadow, by the looks of it, Janeway and Chakotay are awoken inside two class-4 Starfleet coffins. They're contacted by the EMH from the Voyager which is in orbit. The Doctor informs them, regretfully, that he's been unable to devise a cure to whatever they need to be cured of over the last seventeen days. He lays out the other plot contrivances to make things work—which as others have pointed out, are scientifically rather silly—but which work in a narrative sense. The Doctor thinks the only alternative which might yield results would be to contact the Vidiians, who have advanced medical tech. Otherwise, the two coffin-dwellers are going to have to remain on the grassy knoll indefinitely. Of note is Jennifer Lien's wordless performance while the EMH reports to the captain. The Doctor's explanation is clinical and blunt, per his idiom, but in her expressions, we see the exhaustion, depression and dread that accompany this news.

Janeway and Chakotay discuss the option briefly, but they know that sending the Voyager after the Vidiians deliberately would be suicidal, so she calls Tuvok to relinquish command to him permanently. An intriguing start.

Act 1 : **, 17%

The remaining senior staff—and Neelix and Kes of course—discuss the situation in the conference room. Most of the crew seem distraught over the decision to leave their leaders behind. And it's true that it's difficult, based on what we've seen, to picture the Voyager without *either* of it's command leads.

TUVOK: I'm not certain what it is you expect me to do, Lieutenant.
PARIS: I guess clearly something you can't do, which is to feel as rotten about this as we do.
TUVOK: You are correct that I am unable to experience that emotion. And frankly, I fail to see what the benefit would be.

I'm reminded a bit of the secondary plot in “Gambit,” where Data assumed temporary command and his emotionless approach to decision-making butted up against Worf's, erm, Klingon approach.

Janeway and Chakotay are provided with a great deal of survival gear, but Janeway is only interested in the research equipment, which she thinks will help her devise a cure for their condition—caused by an insect bite, if you care. I think that it's in the bones of the story that the characterisation of Janeway is meant to show us that, once again, she's hiding behind her blue-shirted persona to avoid confronting more difficult, existential issues that come with command, or in this case, relinquishing it “permanently.” This research equipment is a placebo. Where I think the way this is realised is a bit weak is in Jeri Taylor's unwillingness to put that sentiment in the dialogue. I would have liked a scene where Tuvok consults with the Doctor about the the equipment before it's beamed down to the planet. The Doctor quietly informs the Vulcan that there is simply no chance that Janeway working on her own without the laboratories on the Voyager can hope to develop a cure. Tuvok says he has learnt humans require time for their emotions to catch up to their logic, even brilliant ones like Janeway. I think Taylor was worried that such dialogue, which would serve to highlight the Janeway/Tuvok friendship, Tuvok's growth, and gel with the development of this story, would make Janeway look irrational. And you know, female sci-fi leader in the 1990s looking irrational would be bad for the show, I guess.

What does work is these two starting to re-assess how they interact with each other. Janeway suggests they could probably drop the formality of addressing each other by rank, and Chakotay makes little jokes.

Meanwhile, Torres berates one of her engineers for delivering a shitty report in the midst of the shipwide grief over the loss of their leaders. Kim pulls her aside and polls her on the feelings of “the Maquis.” This brings up another missed opportunity—the stability of the Voyager crew depends upon the alliance between Janeway and Chakotay. That's been clear since “Parallax.” Unlikely as it may seem, in order to maintain that alliance, Tuvok should have made Torres is first officer. Instead, it's Paris, whom the Maquis are likely to resent as much as Tuvok himself. Good call. Anyway, Kim notes that the Starfleet crewmen he's been talking to want to “do something,” not that anyone has a clue what that might be.

We cut back to the planet, where a couple of days have passed. J&C are in civilian garb and Janeway has set up her insect traps to keep her impossible dream alive. It's quite clear that she believes she will devise a solution to their ailment before the Voyager is even out of hailing range. Chakotay, however, has some sort of surprise waiting for her in the woods—a project he's been toiling at to pass the time. Their frolicking is interrupted by a call from Tuvok. They are about to leave communication range, so it's time for them to say goodbye for ever. Definitely.

Between some now-expected Mulgrew radiance in delivery and Tuvok offering an olive branch to his former rival in the form of the signature Vulcan farewell, the goodbye speech manages to be effective, if unoriginal.

Act 2 : **, 17%

We see that after nearly a month on “New Earth” (ick), Chakotay has built Kathryn an outdoor bathtub so she can relax in her preferred method. She soaks under the stars while he paints in their glamping shelter. She hears a rustling and Chakotay leaps to her rescue—literally—with a phaser to thwart whatever evil creature is lurking nearby. We soon see that it's just a badly-trained monkey who's come by to say hello, I suppose. Janeway wants to dissect it or something to further her research, but it's only interested in being a metaphor. With the danger past, Chakotay becomes aware that his former captain is sopping wet and naked next to him, so he excuses himself. In response, Janeway gets dressed and turns on her laptop, deciding that they've been wasting time not hunting for other monkeys, damn it!

CHAKOTAY: My people have a saying. Even the eagle must know when to sleep. Maybe it's time we both considered that.
JANEWAY: You mean quit, give up?
CHAKOTAY: Why do you have to see it as defeat? Maybe it's simply accepting what life has dealt us, finding the good in it.
JANEWAY: There may be a day when I'll come to that, Chakotay, but, I'm a long way from it right now.

We'll come back to this. Meanwhile, Tuvok is still giving “Acting Captain's” logs, which also seems like a strange choice. We all know that Janeway and Chakotay are going to get rescued in the end, and that's fine, but why not put Tuvok in a red shirt and give him four pips? Maybe, as a Vulcan, he doesn't stand on such ceremony, but I think it would have been a more effective illusion for the audience to see that Tuvok is trying in every way to establish this new normal for the crew, to dissuade them of notions that they might go back for J&C. Kim excitedly detects a Vidiian vessel within hailing range and essentially begs Tuvok to ask them for help, but of course, that's not happening.

In a surprising turn, Kim loudly asks the rest of the bridge crew why they don't commit mutiny against Tuvok. It seems like the experience with the Clown has given Harry something resembling a spine. Paris quietly shakes his head signalling his friend to back down, or perhaps, letting him know that he's not very good at this sort of thing. Kim is relieved of duty and pouts as he leaves the bridge.

News of Ensign Backbone's little tantrum has reached the lower decks. In the Mess Hall, he's approached by Hogan, who has a history of being skeptical of command decisions, and that engineer who couldn't complete her report. They all agree that there's consensus among many in the crew that they should try and contact the Vidiians. So, the three of them ambush Torres to present a plan—oh and Neelix is also a part of the conversation because he's fucking Neelix.

Kim comes to Tuvok's quarters to apologise for his behaviour, and to offer his suggestion on behalf of “a lot of people.” Kim brings up the events of “Lifesigns” as points in their favour with the Vidiians, but Tuvok counters that the events of “Deadlock” make these points moot. Again, I must lament the wasted opportunity here. Tuvok and Kim are now the only senior officers on the ship who graduated from the Academy. In addition to putting Tuvok in a redshirt (it's been over six weeks already), shouldn't we be promoting, say Lieutenant Carey to a senior position? Who's the new tactical officer? The dynamic between green emotional Kim and experienced emotionless Tuvok is a really interesting idea, but it all feels pointless because the episode keeps insisting to us that none of this is permanent.

Act 3 : **, 17%

On New Earth, Chakotay confronts Janeway about her resisting his efforts to make their lives more comfortable. Comfort = acceptance, which we've firmly established is not on Janeway's to-do list.

CHAKOTAY: I can't sacrifice the present waiting for a future that may never happen. The reality of this situation is that we may never leave here. So, yes, I'm trying to make a home. Something that's more than a plain, grey box.

While Janeway checks her insect traps, she has another encounter with the Metaphor Monkey. It's here to warn her of a fast-approaching storm of some sort. No, seriously. Janeway ends up getting thrown to the grown by green lightning as she tries to bring her traps back to the shelter. Once again, Chakotay and his big strong man arms are there to rescue her.

On the Voyager, Kes decides to confront Tuvok with some of her backstory. She compares her Vulcan mentor here to her own father, who apparently inspired her to leave the Ocampan city in the first place. She suggests that he's not looking after the crew's emotional needs alongside their physical ones. And like that, she convinces him to talk to the crew.

TUVOK: In general, I believe it demonstrates faulty leadership to be guided by the emotions of a distraught crew.

If this story were willing to dig into this premise properly, his speech would have ended there. Instead, he's decided, for no apparent reason, to start heeding the demands of his subordinates and contact the Vidiians. And there was much rejoicing. If I'm being generous, I can point out that this action is consistent with his behaviour in “Prime Factors,” and there are a number of echoes to that stronger story. I can see how logic might dictate that he make the “wrong choice” in this situation, as he did with the Sikarians. He cannot bring his logic to Janeway obviously, so he's again acting on his own. He tells the crew that he is taking full responsibility for this action, as he did before.

On New Earth, the storm has caused a lot of damage and totally destroyed Janeway's research equipment. Do you get it? She has to let go now. Do you get it?

Act 4 : ***, 17%

In Tuvok's log, he reports that the Vidiians responded positively to their hail. They agreed to contact Dr Pel from “Lifesigns” and meet with the Voyager to pass along the cure. She contacts them directly, which makes for a nice little cameo—and perhaps explains why Joe Carey isn't to be found this week.

Janeway and Chakotay clear away the debris from the storm and Janeway manages to say something optimistic about their life on New Earth, which catches Chakotay off guard. Metaphor Monkey is back to mark the character beat.

CHAKOTAY: I doubt that he can be domesticated, at least not very easily.
JANEWAY: Well, we have plenty of time. The rest of our lives.
CHAKOTAY: That's a long time.

*ahem*

That evening, Janeway consents to let Chakotay give her a should rub. There's soft lighting, sensual flute music...mhm. Sensing some stirring feelings, she stands and says goodnight. I think there MIGHT be some sexual tension in this room, but I don't know...better consult the monkey.

We cut briefly to the Voyager which finds itself ambushed by the friendly Vidiians. *SHOCK*

Janeway emerges from her bed and decides to confront the issue directly. I've been pretty sour on this story, but I have to say that this scene is extremely good. First, we get the Chakotay “ancient legend” which he improvises as a way of telling Kathryn how he feels about her. Despite the paperback romance window-dressing “Resolutions” has been wallowing in, I like that there is a believable depth to the connection between the characters. The Maquis stuff is an albatross around Chakotay's (and Torres') neck. I've made it clear by now that the Maquis don't work as a concept in Star Trek and Voyager has struggled with its characterisation of Chakotay as a result. However, the idea that the Maquis was an outlet for unresolved childhood trauma (c.f. “Initiations” and “Tattoo”) works on a certain level. The Maquis cause is dubious, but at least he got to punch people and be a rebel. The events of “Caretaker” put Janeway in a position where she needed Chakotay, whom she had been assigned to capture. And that need in turn gave Chakotay a purpose, a real cause, and as he puts in in his story, “peace within himself.” They join hands...

Act 5 : ***, 17%

With the Voyager's shields down to 47 (duh) per cent, Tuvok sets Torres on an intricate plan he has devised to get themselves out of this mess. Meanwhile, the Doctor is contacted by Pel in the Sickbay. She explains that she has the magical serum, but the EMH will have to find a way to lower the Voyager's shields so they can beam it aboard. Apparently, the Voyager lost the ability to beam through shields since the events of “Manœuvres.” While I'm never very impressed by space battles in Star Trek, I did enjoy seeing Tuvok implement his crazy plan and adapt it to allow for the recovery of the serum. It's good to show the tactical officer devising, you know, tactics.

We cut to the next morning on New Earth, so to speak. Janeway is up, planting Talaxian tomatoes. Is this a metaphor for something too? Planting new life in the ground after the two of them realised their feelings for each other and probably boned? Hmm. Too subtle for me. Okay okay. Clumsy metaphors aside, there's a hint of something else here in Janeway, a nascent need to be nurturing. I don't love that this is something we just have to overlay onto the first female captain to head a Star Trek series, but it does work within this story quite well. We saw in “Elogium” and “The Thaw” how Janeway will of course live up to her duties when tasked with parental roles—just like how she will make it work on New Earth if she's forced to live here. But now we see that she is capable, when she lets her guard down, of actually enjoying the role.

The two of them have developed an easy-going and [[[(((probably)))]]] romantic rapport that feels genuine and lived-in thanks to Mulgrew and Beltran's performances. While Chakotay starts to tempt Kathryn with another project—building a boat to explore the nearby river—they hear Tuvok's voice on the comm. They've given up wearing the combadges altogether and have left them sitting up on a shelf, forgotten remnants of their old lives. And now they're calling.

The pair are back in uniform. Janeway sadly admires her new garden and is pleased to see that Metaphor Monkey is around to say goodbye. As they beam away, the monkey repeats Janeway's gesture, as if to plead with her not to go.

Janeway gives Tuvok a bit of a ribbing over his “emotional” decision to disobey her order. A far cry from “Prime Factors.” Meh. The final lines of dialogue are between Janeway and Chakotay—dry technical instructions given to each other without making eye contact. All that intimacy and growth now purposefully buried far from the eyes of the crew. Ouch.

Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%

This story could have been a lot more than it ended up being. Removing Chakotay and Janeway from the Voyager revealed how lacking in experienced leadership this crew really is. On the Enterprise D—even in Season 1—you had five bridge officers with a rank of lieutenant-commander or higher (Picard, Riker, Crusher, Troi and Data). Here, we were left with Lt Tuvok and Ensign Kim, along with Maquis-promoted to lieutenant Torres and paroled prisoner Paris. That isn't a criticism. It makes complete sense given the set-up for the series, with Janeway's senior staff dying and being supplemented by the Maquis. My problem is that this power vacuum didn't get properly explored. Instead we've got Tuvok learning to accede to the emotional needs of his peers, something I think was handled more appropriately in “Innocence,” to be honest. The way he comforted Ensign Deadmeat in the teaser showed a greater sensitivity to the emotional needs of non-Vulcans than we get from him in this story. That said, it's not unwatchable material, it's just rather bland.

The New Earth stuff on the other hand isn't bland at all. Some of the short-handed metaphors with the monkey and the tomatoes felt clumsy to me, but chemistry between Beltran and Mulgrew makes up for it. I think the series earns this unrequited romance. Chakotay's story puts a plausible spin on their attachment to and need for each other. Putting them in this (admittedly contrived) situation on planet Manicured Lawn sees that attachment grow into (probably) full-fledged romance in the end. That's a relationship with some depth in what could have been a very shallow character 'shipping story.

I'll just add that complaining about the rest button on the J/C stuff is unfair. The final scene with the two of them actively (and clearly premeditatively) ignoring their new romance is a minor tragedy, but their relationship following this episode is not the same as it was before. Chakotay and Janeway maintain a real intimacy throughout the rest of the series that we don't get any hint of prior to this story. That makes it an episode with consequences.

Final Score : **.5
Jackson
Mon, May 6, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
"Metaphor Monkey" is a pretty apt depiction of the visitor whose appearances were presumably intended to be random, but instead seemed more scheduled and on cue than those of the Oompa Loompas.

By the end I half expected to see the monkey appear in a "Janeway and Chakotay Do The Wild Thing" title card like the mice from Babe.
William B
Tue, May 7, 2019, 11:21am (UTC -5)
I agree the metaphors (especially that monkey) were on the blunt side, but I do think it makes sense to have the destruction of the equipment to be extreme and absolute, in order to justify Janeway fully giving up, particularly on the time scale of the episode. It would be interesting, though, to show Janeway giving up more of her own volition, in order to suggest more strongly what I think the episode does imply to an extent, which is that the crew really does need her more than she needs them. That said, I think having Janeway making this decision "unforced" (by storms etc.) this early in the series might feel unbalanced, so I think I like that this particular temptation is one basically forced upon her.
William B
Tue, May 7, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -5)
I liked this one last time I watched it because I think Melgrew is so good, but in general it's hard to sell the series lead giving up on her series goal for an episode convincingly, particularly when there is a whole subplot taking up time. Thinking of other equivalents, most of the other times the captain gives up on their leadership for a time is because of some fantastic element, often involving memory erasure, like Kirk in The Paradise Syndrome, (spoiler) Janeway again in Workforce, or, notably, Picard in The Inner Light, where it takes decades for him to settle into his new life. What we get here is some indication that it's more for the crew than for herself that Janeway devotes her whole being to getting home, though even then "for the crew" is partly a proxy for her own guilt, which she wants to let go of but can't as long as the crew is there.

Chakotay is simpler, in that his ties to the AQ are already fading, his father is dead, his ability to maintain a spiritual connection to his past is (ironically, given the whole sacred land thing) mostly independent of where he is, and he's more focused on Kathryn than anyone else.
Peter G.
Tue, May 7, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -5)
It's a funny thing to consider a plotline where for meta reasons we know how it must end. I forget how early Mulgrew was forthright about this in interviews, but any romance plotline has to give the audience the sense that it could happen, which is somewhat dampened by Mulgrew saying on multiple occasions that Janeway would end up in a romance over her dead body!
William B
Tue, May 7, 2019, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
@Peter, lol. That said, I mean, mostly every episode of every series has some elements that we know for meta reasons aren't going to happen. The ship/station will probably not be blown up (except in the movies; the Defiant is different because it's not the central location, DS9 is), no more than one main character is ever likely to die in a given non-season finale episode, the Federation is probably not going to lose a war, etc. Because a romance is in principle possible, it feels like Melgrew's conviction makes the meta reasons stronger than on other shows, and that's true to an extent.

I am ambivalent about the J/C material, mostly because except for some places like Scorpion I don't think Chakotay was very interesting. But I do think the romantic tension serves a purpose distinct from whether they'll get together, which is to highlight how constrained Janeway always is by her duty, the impossibility of real intimacy in her situation, at least the way she interprets it. This is worthwhile IMO even if we know J/C will never get together in the full romantic sense.

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