Season 7's Repressing CareBy Fred Shedian
Posted at November 4, 2000 - 6:12 PM GMT
Over the past two weeks, we have seen two very...interesting episodes in the world of Star Trek. "Repression" and "Critical Care" were episodes I which had some serious potential. Although I personally believe that "Critical Care" was a bit better in the way of writing and execution, both episodes never reached the standard they were looking for. This week, I would like to take time to review my remarks on these two adventures and also comment on several trends I'm beginning to see with Season 7.
To begin, I'll look at last week's adventure "Repression." For those with short term memories, this is the episode in which an individual uses a subliminal message to gain control of Tuvok's mind...eventually causing a Maquis uprising on the ship. Now this episode, mixed with the upcoming "Inside Man" really makes one wonder what type of security Starfleet has. Are these folks so out of touch that they can't figure out when their transmissions are being tampered with? I have to hope this is continuity issues and not a serious problem which the writers are trying to put into the Trek universe. Beyond this one issue, I can clearly see where the writers were trying to go with this story. However, the sometimes corny dialogue made me actually wonder if some people were drunk while composing this adventure.
Throughout Star Trek history, we have seen attempted takeovers and mutiny. I simply cannot comprehend how five/six individuals had the know with all to overpower 120 people. Perhaps I am missing something here...I honestly do not know. Don't internal sensors detect phaser fire? Wouldn't the bridge have sealed off the area, identified who fired and lock out their command codes? I'm not saying that Tuvok's tactical abilities wouldn't greatly assist in this effort, but still...some things don't add up. If this adventure had instead perhaps dealt with an intruder boarding the ship and using mental telepathy to control others it may have gotten the emotional reaction the writers were looking for. And although my recommendation itself seems corny, it's a sad state of affairs when that is the only recommendation I can comprehend to try and make "Repression" something the audience won't want to repress.
This episode was followed by one that had been talked about for a while, the Doctor vs the HMO. Going against many individuals, I found "Critical Care" to be a decent episode. Personally, I did not see Robert Picardo's character taking such drastic steps to heal people. My only concern with this mission is the fact there was no real involvement by anyone beyond the Doctor. Although I do prefer Picardo's acting over Ryan's, having an episode that completely/totally revolves around one character and omits everyone else is somewhat pointless. The best scene I found was with Tuvok, Neelix and the alien merchant in the brig. The acting and comedy was priceless, reminding me of the old Spock/McCoy scenes we used to love. Although this scene was very refrehsing, I think the writers would have done more good by perhaps having Voyager find the Doctor's program thirty minutes into the mission. This would have allowed for the crew to debate the situation, bring up the possibilities and make a decision. If Janeway had decided not to get involved, but the Doctor went back and did so anyway, this would have had more of an emotional punch and developed the character in a way we'd never seen before. The Doctor would be going off of what he believed was right, regardless of Janeway's "political correctness." Although this did happen to a minor extreme, the potential this adventure had was astounding...but as happens far too often with this ship, it missed it's mark.
I would like to give some high marks to those individuals making the special effects for Voyager. This aspect of the show continues to be the high point of the adventure. Despite the writing and sometimes poor acting, the exterior sequences are simply astounding. "Critical Care's" overhead flyby of Voyager was impressive and beautiful to see. I sincerely hope the work is continued.
A serious concern I now have about Season 7 is the writer's attempt to make up for lost time. This season, it appears that almost every adventure is focused on some type of character development. This is in contrast to the last several seasons when only Seven of Nine was given numerous episodes to develop. I am beginning to wonder if the writers have finally realized the lack of serious development by most of this character since Season 2 and 3. Character development based adventures are indeed needed, but certain things I have seen thus far would have been better suited for Season 6....allowing followup this time around. Instead, things appear to be rushed, without adequate time spent on each character or the issues facing them. I sincerely hope that the writers will figure out that episodes function better when character development is a subplot, with the primary goal effecting it. Having this reversed often creates corny dialogue, boring acts and makes the audience ask "Is it over yet?"
As always, I love to hear your remarks. I plan to post a Thanksgiving Weekend Mailbag for A Take On Trek, posting people's remarks and my responses. Right now we're looking at quite a few...well into the double digits. So if you would like to be added, please feel free to send a self addressed stamped e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your name, return e-mail address and the column you are referring to.
I invite everyone to also look for another column from me this week dealing with "Andromeda," which will be posted after I have had time to watch this week's adventure.
Until next time...
Fred Shedian writes a weekly 'A Take On Trek' column for the Trek Nation.