Star Trek: Voyager

“The Fight”

1.5 stars.

Air date: 3/24/1999
Teleplay by Joe Menosky
Story by Michael Taylor
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

"It's hard to follow them. They go to strange places." — Chakotay's grandfather, perfectly describing this story

Review Text

Nutshell: Weird and atmospheric, but what does it all mean?

The lights are on, but who's at home? I'm trying to figure out if this episode is really worth any more than the value of its strangeness. When it comes to execution, this is an episode that pushes the envelope. Just where does that envelope get pushed? I dunno—out there, somewhere. Very, very far out.

Voyager, alas, seems to be in a bit of a rut. I hope it gets out soon, because season five has been pretty solid until recently. "The Fight" is not an awful show, and it certainly won't be remembered as an episode that didn't try. But the episode, for all its enthusiasm for being different, left me very unsatisfied. It's a mess. The producers and director put so much energy into a show that's so unfocused. Clearly, if they'd put that kind of energy into a show that made sense, they'd have something here. But one thing is certain: I'm not on the same page as writers Menosky and Taylor, and I don't think it's for lack of trying.

Despite the routine tech stuff, I can actually swallow the basics of the plot. Chakotay is having a very weird day, but, then again, so is the entire Voyager crew. This is the sort of day that would warrant Janeway saying, once again, "Weird is part of the job."

Voyager ends up stuck (in an idea a bit too similar to the "subspace sandbar" in "Bride of Chaotica!"), this time in something known as "chaotic space," where the rules of physics simply do not apply. If the crew can't figure out how to escape very soon, Voyager will be destroyed (cue music of doom). About this time, Chakotay starts hallucinating. It turns out that a hereditary mental defect he has is being stimulated by aliens who live in chaotic space. They're inducing the hallucinations in an effort to communicate with him. Subsequently, Chakotay goes on a vision quest to figure out what these hallucinations mean.

It's this vision quest that gives me the most trouble in "The Fight." The episode is consumed with stylistics and atmosphere—which in itself is fine. But I was amazed at how ineffective this vision quest was in terms of revealing something intriguing about the situation or Chakotay's character. I'm sure there are people out there who will try to analyze every last detail in search of some sort of symbolism. Me—I don't buy a lot of it. The writers' intent here is simply not interesting enough to warrant so much supposed "symbolism." This is an episode in need of a psychologist. I'm not a psychologist; I'm a reviewer.

Of course, that's not to say I won't try. In the final analysis, what "The Fight" really comes down to is Chakotay's reluctant need to keep "fighting"—overcoming his fear in order to communicate with this alien presence. And no one said that everything has to be laid out for the viewer in concrete, absolute terms. The boxing metaphor is reasonable enough; the idea of Chakotay taking blows as the aliens talk to him has a pretty clear psychological intent.

But what about the rest of this mess? Chakotay's vision quest not only has boxing, but also Boothby. Why did this episode need Boothby? Apparently to give Ray Walston another Voyager appearance. And also to expand the character into something he's not—namely Burgess Meredith. (I liked it better when Boothby was framed in his groundskeeper role and a mentor to mainly Picard; now the door is open to stick him in any episode or holodeck setting that has to do with the old academy days, where apparently everyone in Starfleet knew him. Bah.)

Then there's Chakotay's grandfather (Ned Romero), the "crazy old man" whom the episode views as some sort of symbol of tradition that Chakotay struggles with.

And there's all the murky dialog with other characters in Chakotay's vision, where style, not substance, is the point.

Each of these elements in itself is okay, but the episode throws them all together in an over-baked stew that makes surprisingly little sense. It's excessive, and the story suffers as a result. I got the feeling that the creators were trying too hard to accomplish a goal that wasn't even remotely certain.

When Sisko has visions on DS9, I get the feeling it means something, because such visions usually grow out of some significant story point or character history; it's a part of the character. That's perhaps the big problem with Chakotay having visions here: They don't reveal much about the character that we can really understand. Okay, so he knew Boothby back at the academy, and he was a boxer in his free time, and he has different opinions than his grandfather. None of this comes to fruition by the end of the episode, so I'm forced to ask: So what? Like with all too many Voyager concepts, these elements serve the needs of the tech plot first, and the character a distant second.

Coherence is a lost virtue. One needs to look no further than the opening minutes for a prime example: Why does the story begin as a flashback? There's no dramatic basis for it, no reason not to simply start the story in a normal, chronological manner. Unless the writers were trying to confuse us with weirdness (which given the rest of this episode is a distinct possibility), I'm not understanding at all the reason behind the flashback structure (or lack thereof).

What remains is execution. Winrich Kolbe is one of my favorite Trek directors, and he demonstrates here that he has a knack for the utterly weird. Unfortunately, he demonstrates this to a fault, pushing way too hard at times. In "Infinite Regress" earlier this season, David Livingston went pretty far into chaos in that show's final act, but he used technique in a way that still told the story. In "The Fight," Kolbe simply doesn't have enough story behind him, and it seems to me that he overcompensated as a result. Some of this is neither understandable nor relevant. Doc's role in Chakotay's vision is particularly hammy and strange without having much of a point.

The other problem is that the "chaos" feels a bit too staged. I was convinced in "Infinite Regress" that Seven was overburdened by voices, but here I was convinced I was watching actors trying to project urgency. Beltran and Picardo have several scenes together where they're yelling in terse phrases that are supposed to be frighteningly important and urgent, but it comes off too much as "acting." I appreciate seeing Beltran in a little bit less of a wooden role, but he never really convinced me that he was Chakotay on the verge of going nuts.

I'll give "The Fight" points for atmosphere and ambition, but I have serious problems with the story's lack of sensibility and tendency to resort to wretched excess. It's an episode like this that reveals Voyager's biggest weaknesses—a series that tends to get caught up in mechanical sci-fi concepts that lack the human interest they need to be compelling.

All in all, this is mediocre Voyager. I was somewhat entertained by the visual ambition of "The Fight," but the underlying story simply did not engage me. At the end, we've faced and escaped another anomaly and logged another day at the office. Chakotay goes back into the holodeck to fight a few rounds. Nothing really wrong with that, but nothing interesting about it either.

Next week: SERENITY NOW!!! (Jason Alexander is an alien that appears to be a lot more serene than George Costanza on his best days.)

Previous episode: Course: Oblivion
Next episode: Think Tank

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Comment Section

83 comments on this post

    It's an old cliched thing to say but what were they smoking?!?

    How the heck did yo not get that Chakotay was afraid of going crazy like his grandfather? That that was the whole problem? They spelled it out in the dialog, for goodness sake.

    I am thinking that you spent too long trying to figuring out the weirdness of this episode, instead of making sense of what was literally there.

    I liked this episode a lot. Good use of character, good SF premise about the difficulties of communication with a truly alien life-form. Losing your grip on reality is really terrifying, for sure. I think it was carried off pretty well considering what they were trying to visualize.

    I agree. I enjoyed the episode for its focus on Chakotay, and the aliens who were just to different to communicate in the normal fashion. Nice concept, interesting execution.

    At least the writers gave us a Chakotay story.

    Although, the inclusion of Boothby seemed like such a waste. Given all the mentoring he did, when did this guy actually tend to the gardens?

    I liked this episode a lot. It really gave a good sense of disorientation. SO many aliens in voyager are just like humans from down the block that this was really different. Its a reminder that there are life forms so strange out there that we can't even communicate with them in a normal way.

    This episode broke new ground for voyager.

    At first time watching it ten years ago I couldn't make much out of it. But I enjoyed it this time and the atmosphere is quite nice. I always love it when they stay on board. They should have made more use of this ship as a stage.

    Acoushla Moya: "Computer, did you say something?"
    Computer: "Negative."

    A good, interesting, different episode, at least as far as the concept. The execution was execrable.

    More annoying, improbable, lazy 20th-century recreations.

    More of Acoushla Moya's buffalo spirits mystic bull (fast forward!), after quite a few episodes' merciful respite from it. Are people really gonna be that dumb four centuries hence as to still cling on to ancient deities and religious hokery-pokery? I despair.

    Interesting, however, how all this New Age-y meditative crap is featured prominently among quite a few species but you (thankfully!) see no Muslim with their ass in the air, or a Xian doing the "Jesus loves you" schtick, or a Jew wearing a kipah... - even a Buddhist banging on some gongs.

    Except for the better acting (haha) this episode was straight DS9--so I'm shocked you didn't love it.

    I can't understand what anyone could possibly see in this episode. Isn't it possible to convey difference in a slightly less stochastic manner?

    Contact with the wormhole aliens in DS9 was done so much better than this.

    It would be a lot easier to take the concept of "chaotic space" seriously if they hadn't done that stupid "Bride of Chaotica!" thing, and only a few episodes back. Couldn't they have called it something else, like maybe "Weird-ass Space"?

    It was nice to have a Chuckles-centric story, but his interest in boxing seems somewhat at variance with his purported "peaceful" personality.

    I didn't care much for the story, but I was impressed with the direction, particularly in the scenes in which they used snippets of characters' previously spoken dialogue to construct what the Weird-ass Space aliens were trying to communicate.

    The least believable aspect of the episode was the idea that anyone could be in a boxing ring with Neelix and not use the opportunity to show him the consequences of being the most annoying character in any incarnation of Star Trek.

    About the boxing scene:

    I thought Terellians had four arms?

    It says so at Memory Alpha so it must be true...

    Ow! He hit me! (closing scene)

    Voyager Enters the Twilight Zone
    Voyager Attempts to do The Prophets (badly)
    Take your pick.

    I don't know. I don't get it. Weird episode. EPIC technobabble to get them out of it.
    Chaotic space? The laws of physics in a state of flux? (LOL!!) This isn't Sci-Fi; it's Fantasy. Poor quality Fantasy.

    If you didn't get it already I didn't like it much. The episode wasn't terrible per se, it was just too weird to take seriously. Like the episode before it, it tried to do something different (people have differing opinions on "Oblivion".. I sort of liked it) but this time it just had this feeling of being a fish wayyyy out of water.

    As an aside, I share the concern about Boothby.* He's a groundskeeper not a boxing coach and I don't see where he fit in this episode. This guy is special and when he's not used for special moments it ruins his special-ness. I hope as I watch the series that he doesn't end up Voyager's version of Vic Fontaine (who I got sick to the back teeth of the sight of)

    At least it gave Chakotay something to do for the first time in 2 years.

    * I know I'm talking a lot like it's still running. Bad habit from watching it as if it is, right down to watching it in parallel with DS9 S7. I can wish things still can't I? :)

    Let's see, again we take established character traits and let them blossom amidst a well painted background of technically unimportant plotting, making the character work all the more focused. This is Chakotay's turn and it's pretty good. Not great (not Counterpoint or Gravity) but not as mediocre as The Disease. This season is like listening to the slow movement of a symphony; each instrument states its version of the theme in its particular way while the orchestra swells behind.

    As for the talking heads bit that reminds one of the Prophets--this is actually a lot more interesting--each of the lines is an actual piece of dialogue from the episode, a memory of Chakotay's worked into a stream of consciousness. Very cool.

    2.5 stars

    Jammer, in regards to your comparison with Sisko, I found the exact opposite to be true :

    DS9 hid behind false character moments (like Sisko's relation to the people in his past/future) as a means to disguise the visions' true purpose, that being to drive a plot which profiteered on backstory and propound a subversive philosophy.

    Another missed opportunity for Voyager. The idea of alien contact driving someone to the brink of madness is a terrific concept. The missed opportunity was in failing to provide relevant social commentary on people with mental disorders and how society perceives them.

    I quit watching VOY somewhere in season 4 and have been getting caught up on everything I missed. So far, I have been really impressed with the high quality of season 5, but "The Fight" left me pretty cold. I didn't think this was a *horrible* episode by any means, and I agree that visually it's an intersting show, but something's missing here. I'm always glad to see Chakotay in a more prominent role, but this felt like a wasted opportunity somehow. Loved how the aliens were portrayed as totally bizarre and out of the human experience, but this one just left more wanting more somehow. More character insight into Chakotay, more on the aliens. Like I was saying, not a dreadful episode, just not nearly as good as it could have been. So far, this is my least favorite episode of the season.

    Watching the episodes in production order makes the similarity to "Bride of Chaotica!" (filmed immediately before this one) even more distracting. Two episodes where the focus should have been on the characters and the visuals but instead spent too much time technobabbling to get us there. I think the actors and director did their best with the material, but when Joe Menosky himself says he gets confused watching the episode, you may as well give up trying to understand it. Still, I surprisingly don't hate it as much now as I did on first viewing.

    This was a great episode, great characterisation, splendid description of the fear of going crazy. I enjoyed this, it was deep.

    For a episode that was designed for offering something different, it was suprisingly extremely dull and un-effective. Chakotays' character seems as much of a dead end as Harrys and I can't help but feel sorry for both actors, if I was them I'd demand the writers either kill my character off or at least give fairer treatment!

    Chakotays' random sudden intrest in boxing felt lame and a lazy device soley to benefit the bad plot. It's episodes like this that really kill any enthusiasm I have for Voyager, thanks for that writing staff! The only marginally cool moment in the whole show was the way the aliens finally communicated but by that point I was nearly put to asleep!

    A half star for the worst episode since Demon...

    I agree with JoJo. this was totally boring. I cant stand "vision" episodes of Star Trek. most of them bore me. I watch ST for time paradox, mysteries, wormholes and other cool phenomena. but they could have done a lot more with the chaotic space.

    when the doctor and janeway dont understand the technobabble, then how are we supposed to understand it?

    i couldnt wait until this episode was over. one of the few in the entire series. Demon was much better.

    1/2 star

    This is definitely at least a 3 star episode Jammer. Did you watch the same show?

    I spent the entire episode wondering why they'd given Chakotay the same transvestite haircut as Low Rimmer...

    Not a big fan of the episode, partly due to the feeling that it was a Darmok knock-off, and partly since the whole mysticism thing got really old seasons earlier.

    Yeah, this one was sort of character dev.... Zzzzz.... just a shame that it had such magic-babble visions tha... Zzzzz.... chaotic space, chaotic episode, loosing my min... Zzzzzzz

    Good episode, and underrated. Excellent directing and stellar performance by Beltran. The David Lynch episode of VOY. 3 stars from me.

    In my opinion, the show had a good premise and poor execution.

    I like the idea of Chakotay confronting his fear of mental illness. (As an aside, how impressive that a treatment could turn off a single gene and prevent mental illness, presumably without having other unintended consequences.) I like the idea of showing the potential value of being insane by other people's standards. Here, the value is that the aliens could communicate with Chakotay and save Voyager in the process. (Usually, the "value" of insanity is portrayed as enhanced creativity or productivity.)

    I did not like boxing and Boothby as mediums for conveying Chakotay's struggle. Why couldn't the struggle have been portrayed solely through Chakotay's flashbacks of his grandfather? Or perhaps flashbacks of other times in Chakotay's life when he was concerned about being vulnerable to mental illness. I couldn't wait for this episode to be over, which is too bad. More could have been said or implied about the nature of mental illness and what constitutes lucidity.

    I just watched this episode recently and had the recurring thought - Guest Starring: Ray Price as Boothby as Burgess Meredith as Mickey.

    I guess the episode is ok. I mean, the direction is fun, and I think they captured the fear Chakotay felt well enough. The imagery worked decently, which is always a key part of these sorts of "Journey to the Center of the Mind" plots. The idea that the threat they were facing was actually just an alien trying to contact them is certainly better than the hard-headed alien of the week trope that we're used to, and in fact is very reminiscent of TNG's Night Terrors (which works as a comparison in multiple ways; it too is a mostly forgettable plot and mostly forgettable episode with some nice imagery).

    As for why this episode is merely ok, I have two major quibbles:

    1) This is season 5, and we just now find out Chakotay both is a fan of boxing AND has a strong fear of going insane due to a hereditary disease? Neither of these was ever brought up before (and I assume the insane part doesn't get brought up again, although I guess the boxing one gets to recur in order to show The Rock)? Did he look even more uncomfortable than the rest of the crew whenever Voyager had one of its mind screw episodes? Shouldn't that have factored in with his brainwashing episode in Nemesis? Did he ever bring up boxing when he was going on about being a pacifist warrior? Nope, it just springs up out of the blue. I guess it's hard to say this episode should be abandoned just because it's too late, but this definitely would have been a better episode in the second season, and if it would have impacted Chakotay's character in more subtly ways.

    2) The plot feels like something that would be analyzed in middle school. Hey kids, today we're going to talk about character development and plot! When you write a story, your character should learn something about himself, and face a challenge to overcome an obstacle that relates to that trait he learned about himself. So what do we have here? Chakotay realizes that he feels a great fear of mental illness due to this hereditary disease. Yet his obstacle is that he must risk mental illness in order to save his ship. And we learn this through the metaphor of boxing, where you have to be willing to take some hits. Let's make it even more obvious by having the trainer say boxing is all about what's in your heart. Thus, we know it's a matter of willpower to overcome the fear. That's all Chakotay has to do. Now, let's turn this simple idea into a 45 minute story.

    Yes, that's what many character pieces do, mirror the main plot with the character growth. But in a great story, it's subtle. In a great story, there's a real struggle, making you wonder if the hero will pull it out. But here? It's just such a straight line, so blatantly obvious. The struggle was just Chakotay taking a while to face the aliens, but no real growth there. Perhaps, rather than just seeing him screaming in sickbay, we could have seen him try to make contact, make some progress, but then seriously worsen. Start hallucinating and finding himself completely irrational more often. Then he has a real fear, that this is permanent, that he is getting worse. Can he go back inside his mind after that? Do they delay and try to find a technobabble solution? Does Chakotay risk permanent brain damage to save the ship? Does he reach back into his memories to his grandfather, and wonder what it was like for him to live with his disease? Wonder if, maybe, he can still have some peace in his life even if he does go insane?

    Nah, we'll just go straight to the dramatic climax. No winding around, no subtlety. Just imagery, flashbacks, and plot resolution. It all just seems so simple. It's a pleasurable enough outing, but just feels unfulfilling in the end.

    I'm not keen on boxing, and I'm not keen on dream sequences. A boxing dream sequence? Magic...

    I wouldn't mind so much if this was an engrossing episode, but it really isn't. In terms of character development the main themes for Chakotay come out of nowhere, Boothby gets thrown in for no reason, and it just doesn't feel organic. The snippets of dialogue formed into sentences is an effective vehicle, but the rest just seems like a mess. Not a fan. 1.5 stars.

    Course: Oblivion deserves better points than this episode to be honest.

    The crazy gene fear and Chakotay's interest in boxing both appeared out of nowhere.

    And since Chakotay has had other scenarios that affected his mind, it was odd this was never brought up before, not even a passing mention.

    I also preferred every moment they spent out of a dream sequence, and on Voyager discussing technobabble terms about the chaotic space, than the dreams themselves.

    The concept perhaps may be good, but I don't think it was executed convincingly enough.

    This has always been my least favorite Voyager episode.

    I just don't like to watch the damn thing, regardless of it's valid meaning.

    It's awakens my "crazy gene" :-)

    Always a skipper.

    .5 stars.

    I watched this two days after Ali died. Without that prompt, I probably would have fast forwarded through the fight scenes because I'm definitely not into boxing. I am, though, a huge admirer of Ali and he fought through his fears on behalf of himself and his people.

    Chakoty was clearly terrified by the vision that he would become crazy like his grandfather. I understand this because I remember becoming repulsed by characteristics of elders as a child accompanied by flashes of insight that those characteristics were part of me. As an adult, that insight has helped me accept what I might otherwise have rejected in myself.

    Despite his anthropologist father, I don't get the impression that Chakoty had a good childhood and I think that, like many Trek characters, he chose Star Fleet as an honorable way to escape home (Spock, Ro, Tasha). I think the writers have done a terrible job with his character because they did not have a consistent idea of his background.

    But I found the episode sufficiently evocative of my childhood conflicts to be watchable.

    1.5 stars is ridiculously high. You've rated other episodes lower and this has to be the hardest episode of Trek to sit through.

    I actually liked Carlos Palimino when he was welterweight champion of the world. That's the only reason I watched as much as I did./Sorry but I can't take Chuckinthetowelkotay and his boring vision quest baloney.

    Well the writers dropped the ball yet again - fiddling around with genetics is outlawed in the federation, but Chakotays' parents had the halluciogenic gene removed?

    Ok people, enough with the genetic stuff that can be explained by common sense. You can't participate in sports if you take certain drugs for performance enhancement but those same drugs can get a pass if used therapeutically. Obviously genetic engineering is the same. We can use gene therapy to stop hallucinations or to help two incompatible people have a kid but perfect hand eye coordination is off the table. Do we really need to spell this out when the real world works so similarly??

    World's worst boxing coach. Reminded me of Moe coaching Homer:

    Chakotay: "He's not landing any punches".
    Boothby: "That's the problem, you're not letting him."


    I like what they were trying to do here. I'm not sure I like the way they did it, but I can't immediately think of a better way either. In order of communicate with the alien species chakotay has to overcome his fear of going insane. But the process feels like insanity to him, and he has to overcome that fear in order to communicate. A great idea.

    2 stars for effort.

    Boy, what a headache-inducing, muddled episode. It literally hurt my brain to watch this one. It's completely incoherent without the virtue of being engaging.

    Sorry, but this episode is sci-fi excess at its worst, and I do think it merits 1/2 a star at best, not the generous 1 2/2 stars that Jammer gave it. It feels like Joe Menosky assembled the plot out of spare parts rejected from past screenplays; he's on autopilot at best in this one. The boxing stuff with Boothby, other than wasting the presence of Ray Walston, didn't convey any sort of atmosphere to me other than boredom. The aliens trying to warn Chakotay through his boxing program were telegraphed as friendly way too early for the show to maintain any tension. Overall, a real stumble in an otherwise fairly solid season.

    Boy, this was really hard to sit through. One of the worst episodes of Voyager.

    Boothby does not belong in this role at all.

    The dialogues with the crew (like Sisko with the wormhole aliens) in Chakotay's visions were a bore, and Beltran is far being compelling in this version of Chakotay (not that he is not a dud the rest of the time, in my opinion). Even Ned Romero, a capable actor, seemed underwhelmed in that role.

    The denouement was an all-too-frequent cliché. Not a good outing at all.

    Yeah, I found this episode pretty incomprehensible, which either means I wasn't willing to meet it partway (possible) or that it's basically unable to stitch together any compelling narrative out of the idea fragments that we have here (likely). I don't really understand what this tells us about Chakotay; I'm not *that* down on revealing that he used to box, I guess, but fear of going crazy seems completely out of the blue and seems to be the central thrust of the story. He confronts that old fear that he's going to go crazy, I guess. Great. The idea that the aliens can only communicate to people by turning on some "crazy gene" or another is potentially intriguing, but I don't think much is made of it here. I feel like I should have something more to say but this one really went right through me. Probably 1 star, though I guess I could be talked up.

    Ok, who’s gonna take a stab at talking William B up from 1 star? A nifty “Boxing Chakotay” limited edition action figure (STILL IN THE BOX!!) to anyone that gets him to 2.5 stars or higher!

    Simply shockingly poor. What on earth did a mainstream audience make of this?

    Beltran simply cannot act at all. Out of the thousands of actors desperate for a role, they somehow ended up with him, McNeill, Wang and Lien, something which badly hobbled this show from the start.

    Boothby shouldn't be in this story and his boxing advice is nonsense as said above.

    Parts of this episode remind me of TNG's 'Where Silence has Lease'. The one where they get trapped in an area of space, and drop a beacon and try to fly out, and find they are right back where they started from.

    This episode also seems to forget what happened earlier in the episode.

    CHAKOTAY: The aliens. They were there, watching me.
    EMH: Inside your vision quest?
    CHAKOTAY: They were trying to tell me something.
    EMH: Let them speak to you.
    CHAKOTAY: No! They'll make me go crazy.
    EMH: You're not going crazy. They're doing this for a reason. You've got to trust them. Stop fighting. Open your mind. Let go. Listen.


    JANEWAY: Could be some sort of alien geometry, but we'll need much more. Is it safe for him to try to make contact again?
    EMH: Medically speaking, yes. The problem is convincing the Commander of that.
    CHAKOTAY: They want to contact me.

    And later they seem to forget all of that happened...(same line even)

    CHAKOTAY: They want to contact me.
    JANEWAY: Who does?
    CHAKOTAY: The people who live here.
    EMH: This will sedate him.
    JANEWAY: Wait a minute. You believe somebody lives here, in Chaotic space, and they're trying to communicate with you?

    Wut? No shit Janeway. You just told him a little bit ago to keep trying to communicate with the aliens.

    JANEWAY: Why go through all the trouble? We're trapped here anyway.
    CHAKOTAY: Let me back in the ring.
    EMH: Even if this is some kind of alien communication it could harm him. Permanently.
    CHAKOTAY: Captain. When have we ever turned away from a first contact?
    JANEWAY: Send him back in the ring.

    But they said earlier it was medically safe to contact the aliens that they forgot about, so I guess they forgot that too.

    This episode is stupid in many ways.

    1/2 star.

    What a bad episode. Here I was thinking they needed to develop his character more... be careful what you ask for I guess. woof.

    Hey, an alien race that can only communicate by punching Chuckles in the face?

    I'm all for it. :-)

    Oh man... easily Voyager's worst episode... worse than Threshold.
    Yes, I said it, and I meant it.
    This could have been a Chakotay-development episode, i.e. delving into his past, why he joined the Maquis, his passion for anthropology, his relationship with his heritage, his family, and his friends, (and maybe a bit about boxing). Instead, we get a boxing episode with aliens who make no sense. I guess this is comparable to Twisted, but that episode preserved the sense of mystery and developed the crew's relationships. The Fight spent 45 minutes doing nothing.
    At least Threshold developed Paris's character.

    Really not a fan of this kind of pointless excess -- took so long for this episode to have any discernible direction as far as Chakotay's issues. Far too arbitrary with nothing really concrete to take away. I wasn't impressed with the acting from either Beltran or Picardo who just seemed to think that yelling a lot is what's needed. And ultimately, the plot is paper thin -- Chakotay has to face his fears so these aliens can talk to him enough to get him to guide Voyager out of chaotic space. And there's the DNA altering aspect, which is one of the worst Trek cliches.

    I feel that given how simple this episode really is, it tries to make it into something big with the special effects, weirdness etc. In fact, the overall impression for me is one of arrogance. It's a shitty premise and the writers/direction are pompous in trying to make it look impressive.

    Chakotay does his vision quest -- and we see his crazy grandfather. Are we to understand that his grandfather wasn't crazy and something was trying to speak with him? Or what? Did Chakotay learn anything from his grandfather? We know family and spirituality is important for Chakotay and that this is clearly a "Chakotay episode" -- but it's just unfocused nonsense for the most part. Even the whole confronting the fear or the unknown or whatever isn't instructive.

    Not even 1.5 stars for "The Fight" -- so 1 star it is for this mess. Maybe it could have included a B-plot. The whole idea of aliens communicating through a boxing match (altering senses) is too much of a stretch -- TNG has done this kind of thing better, as has DS9 with Sisko's prophet visions. Plenty of weird filler material in here that gets tiring to care about. Just not a good VOY viewing experience.

    Jammer et al,

    Correct me if I'm wrong , but isn't the idea of an area of space and/or an alien in that space somehow altering someone's DNA and needing to do that in order to communicate with other life forms a pretty neat and original idea?..If admittedly not well executed..And the concept that this life form us maybe somehow made of space itself and yet has physical mass and dimension..I thought that was pretty neat..what would you say Jammer?

    Everyone posting positive comments about this episode HAS to be the same person posting under different names, right? This is the worst episode of any series of Star Trek there ever will be.

    Two words. Vision quest.

    The end.

    Then going round in circles like the Thompsons in 'land of black gold'

    Nelix the dull shouting in the middle of a boxing ring was a highlight though.

    But vision quests, wheels of whatever with stones and all that just bore the hell out of me.

    I liked it. So shoot me.

    It was quite enjoyable to see Beltran flipping out again and again, a fresh take on the ordinary, often sleepy Chakotay. A big plus for the evil Doctor =]

    3 Stars.

    Yes, a modern day Twilight Zone episode similar to the Lee Marvin epi about the boxing robot. I stand with those who enjoyed a good Chakotay storyline. Always a pleasure to see “my favorite Martian “ Ray Walton in a Star Trek episode!

    I liked that Kid Chaos’ face was full of stars.

    I liked aliens who self-identified as too different for humanity to communicate with. While I understand that the Babel Fish facilitates faster dramatic exposition, and that it’s cheaper to use humanoid bipeds with forehead prosthetics than to hire real aliens, this epIsolde at least acknowledges what would surely be the rule rather than a rare exception if we ever did make contact.

    CJB said “Hey, an alien race that can only communicate by punching Chuckles in the face? I'm all for it. :-)”

    And while I like Chakotay and think he gets a bum rap in these comments, I got more entertainment value out of that post than from this entire incoherent pastiche of an episode.

    Though I did like the Doctor’s rants, especially the one gleefully/ragingly detailing boxing injuries.

    Beltran’s acting is so bad in this episode, it’s distracting to the point where there is no possible way to enjoy it.

    Commenting from 2020

    I had already typed up a thorough review of this episode, I accidentally refreshed and lost everything so to sum up: this episode along with many others in the series is incoherent and just awful. It actually hurt my head to focus on the nonsense, Beltran was terrible in this - like the absolute worst acting I've seen in almost any show, and it's mostly because it's so badly written and not for his character type. I'm glad that every episode is almost in its own self contained bubble so I can easily skip something that looks crappy without worrying about missing something in continuity (the Nazi WWII one for instance was an easy skip 5 minutes in).

    Thank God for Seven of Nine, the only character keeping me engaged at this point.

    Motron3000's comment got me thinking which series was the hardest to make it through and I'd have to say it's VOY. While VOY's 5th season is pretty good, I felt the series petered out in Seasons 6 and 7. I'd also agree 7 of 9 was a fantastic character and so well acted by Ryan that she really carried the show after her intro. But by VOY's 6th and 7th season, the franchise was running on fumes and it was nearly impossible to come up with an outstanding episode. Actually nothing from VOY's 6th and 7th seasons made my top-50 episodes so it was a bit of a slog to make it through all of VOY's episodes.

    TNG's 6th and 7th seasons weren't great (S7 is highly uneven) but I always felt that it had more potential (overall better premises, better sci-fi, but not necessarily a better cast/characters than VOY).

    For me, DS9's 6th and 7th seasons are its 2 best. You didn't really want to miss any episodes unless they started out like "Profit and Lace"! But these seasons had some terrific episodes and the strength of the underlying arc was in full force.


    While I don’t agree with your assessment, I wanted to suggest typing up long reviews in a word document then pasting here. I learned that lesson the hard way more than once.

    This episode is rubbish. So boring, and hackneyed overlong dream sequences with other crewmen popping up to speak uncanny dialogue is usually Trek at its lamest.

    The chaotic space subplot is too perfunctory to even mention. This is a very dull episode.

    I thought Chakotay did not know Boothby ?

    In Season 5 Ep4 "In The Flesh" the fake Boothby (Species 8472) meets Chakotay in the garden opening scene. Chakotay asks him who he is ?... "Boothby's the name, been here for 54 years" .....

    (Chakotay should have been busted as a spy, right then and there! )

    Let's see if I got this straight: Chakotay arrives unannounced, no one knows him, he's got a camera, and doesn't recognize the head dude, who is been there longer, than the statues!

    Anywho, Fast forward : same season, Ep 18 ... opening scene again, Chakotay says , " I was sparing with a Terrellian ... BOOTHBY was there, Boothby used to train me when I was a cadet..!." Oh come on, now you know him?!

    Continuity?! ... I mean its one thing to error from 3-4 seasons ago, lol, but it's the same damn season, they didn't think anyone would notice? Man, they take some liberties in this show.

    I agree with previous reviews, snoozer ....

    This is what I call a filler episode ... "filling in" the episodes between what we all want .... more SEVEN OF NINE stories!

    Finally a chance for Beltran to show off his acting chops. Too often he comes off as a sedated Marlon Brando and they don’t give him anything to work with. Personally, I worry about Alzheimer’s disease in my family and my future with it, so some points hit home. Unfortunately the vision quest sequences were too much like a poor man’s Prophet Sequence from DS9. They almost got there, and it was enough to pique my interest, just not enough to hold it. 2/4

    I absolutely DESPISE boxing as a trope in general, and especially out of the blue in sci fi.

    I absolutely never want to see again boxing as a metaphor, boxing to work out everyone’s problems, etc etc.

    Oh no, Acoushla Moya goes on a trip.

    "We're far from the spirit of my grandfather and my grandfather's grandfather and my grandfather's grandfather's grandfather. And from the plains of the buffalo. And my grandfather's buffalo. And my grandfa..."


    I liked the story, and I'm always glad to see Chakotay given something interesting to do. If nothing else, this episode ought to show yet again that Robert Beltran can act and will put a lot into the role when he's got material that requires it. Though I'm not a fan of boxing (and found the Doctor's criticism of it amusing), I appreciated the visual metaphor thatf boxing = Chakotay's difficulty in communicating with the more alien than usual aliens. It's a much better way to portray the struggle than just having Chakotay shouting about how difficult and painful the process is (which to be fair we also see).

    The background material with Chakotay's grandfather was the type of exploration of the character that we haven't seen since season 2, and some of Chakotay's dialogue is something I could see the younger Chakotay as portrayed in "Tattoo" saying.

    This is another middle of the road episode for me, which is to say that I enjoyed it. It's entertaining, it's not bad, but it's not different enough to elevate it beyond many others.

    This season is the best of Voyager this far, but this was the second episode this season where I was more interested in scrolling through my phone than watching the screen.

    Will just point out that this [The Fight] was during the same general Voyager-bridge-set-caught-fire reconstruction period as 'Bride of Chaotica' -- they were pinched for stages and story-edits, they did some of their filming asynchronously (months after the fact, when bridge-set rebuilt), and the quality suffers accordingly. I'm not defending this stretch; it's notably a hard slog.

    Wow, I consider myself to be a pretty knowledgable Trekkie and a pretty big Voyager fan. I never heard the "bridge caught on fire" thing.

    Thanks for sharing.

    I don't understand the comments praising this episode. I'm a big boxing fan, but this is incredibly boring, obnoxious, and Beltran's acting is atrocious. The Fight is easily the worst episode of Voyager. 0 stars.

    Somehow I watched this episode twice. I'm not sure what was wrong with me.

    It's kind of dispiriting to know that the last appearance of Ray Walston as Boothby is in this steaming pile of an episode.

    The aliens were very original and unique and imaginative weren't they??

    Good to see Beltran get screen time, and great to see him in a first contact situation. Chakotay does well as a diplomat, perhaps even better than Janeway.

    The boxing scenes were bizarre, although I was fine with Boothby as his trainer.

    I'm bothered that the writers keep defaulting back to Chakotay's native american background for almost every episode he is in. It makes him so one dimensional. Then again, with rare exception, the writers failed to develop most characters. Garak and Dukat were better characters than nearly all Voyager characters, and they were just recurring guests.

    Trash. Would’ve been so much stronger if they focused on Chakotay’s family history of mental illness, how Janeway needs him to keep going but he’s afraid it’ll permanently affect him.

    Classic shallow Berman Trek.

    Anything with Ray Walston in it is aces with me, from the time he snapped his fingers to light a smoke in " Damn Yankees" to whenever his last screen performance was. I don't mind the cracker if the cheese is good enough.

    But this was a weird one.

    @Spock's Ears:

    ))In Season 5 Ep4 "In The Flesh" the fake Boothby (Species 8472) meets Chakotay in the garden opening scene. Chakotay asks him who he is ?... "Boothby's the name, been here for 54 years" Chakotay should have been busted as a spy, right then and there!((

    Chakotay was PRETENDING to be a member of Species 8472 - presumably, a raw recruit unexpectedly drawn from the ranks and thrust into the simulation. Chakotay was thus PRETENDING to be a still-disoriented and naive alien who was in turn PRETENDING to be a Star Fleet officer. Two layers of deceit! If, instead, Chakotay had immediately revealed his intimate, real-world, insider knowledge about Boothby, Chakotay would have exposed himself as a spy. Chakotay therefore FEIGNED ignorance and naivete.

    I found the main theme of fear from losing your loved ones to old age fairly poignant. Watching this as a 20-something certainly bored me, but now that i'm 30 and my parents are of course 10 years older, ive been forced to come to grips with fears and forms of grief I always ignored. I always pushed them aside thinking "my parents are only middle aged, nothing I have to worry about!" Problems sure are easy to ignore until they aren't, aren't they?

    Actually the worst part of this show for me, was how it wallows and indulges in the late 90s fixation on boxing. For some reason, this is something I've seen several 90s series get bogged down in. The best example I'm thinking of is the prison drama "Oz." Somewhere around the 4th season there is a HORRIBLE arc about the inmates organising a boxing tournament as a way for the rival gangs to blow off some steam without..y'know stabbing each other dozens of times with razor blades and other improvised shanking weapons. Anyway, this arc eats up huge chunks of screen time where it's just the actors hookin' and jabbin' at the camera, intercut with scenes of hard, tattooed men jeering and jostling. Then some AWFUL looking slow motion scenes as several fighters succumb to the effects of sedative-laced water bottles.
    This episode relies on a lot of the same camera angles and visual tropes that make boxing so boring to watch on film. (No your boxing sequence isn't as good as Rocky. Give it up!)
    Were a bunch of Hollywood writers really big boxing fans too?

    in the first four minutes we have Chakotaayh having an epileptic seizure and then it focuses on a boxing match. I never loathed an episode more going trough in the first four minutes.

    For me Chakothaay is the least favorite character. I just can't stand his mumbling out-of-breath lisp way of speak- it doesn't seem like a character trait but more like he is slightly retarded.

    This has to be my least favourite Voyager episode. I don't like the "spirit quest" idea, and the entire episode seems weird. Besides which, boxing is a violent contact sport-I guess I can't expect this, but one would think that if a person wanted to portray an enlightened time, they would have gotten rid of such diversions

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