Tuesday, March 26, 2013

And So It Begins

Voyager #121
Season 2, Episode 3
Airdate 9/4/95
Stardate 49005.3

Written by Kenneth Biller
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

There are some things I'd like to focus on with this mostly solid episode:

Shuttlecraft Count is a new Voyager project I am working on, that identifies the number of destroyed shuttles (obviously not replaceable).

Favoritism Count - the number of times Janeway shows overt favoritism to one crew member or another.

I'd like to state again that this is a solid episode. In the tradition of some of the best episodes in Trek showcasing conflict, it brings us the perspective of the enemy's interests, the enemy's goals and values. That's why the Borg were so scary - at one point they had no interests, no goals, no values, just assimilation. The reason we no longer fear them is not that we understand them. It's that all of a sudden there was something to understand.

Riker and Worf shoot confused looks at each  other as they explore the first Borg ship in "Q Who"
FutureJaneway and the Borg queen kill each other after a long, boring verbal sparring match.

Anyway. In the tradition of "Face of the Enemy"
 and "The Enterprise Incident"
 comes "Initiations", in which Chakotay befriends a young Kazon
Karr is played by Aron Eisenberg. It amuses me to hear Nog talking every time Karr opens his mouth.
 who is attempting to kill him as part of a manhood ritual. He unintentionally disrupts the manhood ritual by saving the life of thee boy, who is not exactly grateful because he has no future with the Kazon since he failed his test by not killing Chakotay and living to tell of it. It's a fascinating look at Kazon culture (our only look at Kazon culture) and brings some interesting questions to the table about what it means to interfere in the affairs of another race.

That said.

The episode begins with Chakotay using a shuttle for personal reasons. Specifically, prayer.
 Now shuttles are at a premium, so one would want to be careful with them. Especially since they can't restock.

Well, I guess they could.
Tom Paris's proposal for the construction of the Delta Flyer.
The destruction of the Delta Flyer
The new Delta Flyer
Okay, so they're replaceable. But this isn't Season Five, this is Season Two, when they were trying to hang on to realism. And it doesn't seem logical that they could build a shuttle inside a starship. I mean, maybe once they've been on their own for a while and are used to doing things themselves, but you have to train for this kind of heavy lifting.

They are also close to Kazon space. You can tell because the Kazon attack him. So letting your First Officer, who knows all kinds of secrets, float around alone in an irreplaceable shuttle might not be the best idea next to the territory of your sworn enemy. Or, in the territory of your sworn enemy. Or whatever.

Janeway wouldn't let just anyone do it. I mean, if Ensign McNonothing can't do it, why should Chakotay, whose capture/murder would be much more damaging to the ship?

So why, why, why, why, why would Janeway allow Chakotay to take a shuttle, alone? Not only is it potentially wasteful - it's a blatant show of favoritism.

And no, the shuttle does not survive. Again.
And, apparently, his quarters would have worked too.

Not a shuttle.
So, why take a shuttle?

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