Fair HavenBy Edward James Hines
Posted at January 12, 2000 - 6:00 AM GMT
It took about 45 minutes for the 'Star Trek: Voyager' episode "Fair Haven" to come to the point, but it was worth the wait. Until then, however, it looked as if new producer/writer Robin Burger had simply penned a "holodeck frolic while the ship is in peril" story and decided to let the grandeur of the sets and costumes stand in for the plot.
The question of Kathryn Janeway's romantic life has been bandied about since the series began. She was content to stay committed to boyfriend Mark until she found out that he had stopped waiting for her and gotten married. Then there was the Chakotay dalliance, which was largely concocted by the fans but never really translated to television. Finally, there was the surprise although brief affair with the alien inspector Kashyk in last season's "Counterpoint." This, however, was apparently nothing more than a good kiss, because in "Fair Haven" a clearly smitten Janeway declares, "I think I've waited long enough" when she falls for the holographic character Michael Sullivan (Fintan McKeown).
The payoff is not the romance itself, but rather an unusual and well-crafted confessional between Janeway and the Doctor. The captain, who clearly needs to confide in someone, cannot turn to her usual support bases. Consulting Tuvok for romantic advice just seems wrong, and Chakotay...well, THAT whole thing -- plus he caught Janeway and Sullivan together and quipped, "You two have fun!"
Janeway has obviously been lonely, but her comportment with Sullivan has also disillusioned her. She has been changing his behavioral subroutines to satisfy her estimation of an "ideal man." While she is somewhat leery of romancing a hologram, she is more afraid of losing her grip on reality, where lovers cannot be tailor-made. The Doctor, in a far cry from his crusty early days, resoundingly rises to the occasion of ship's counselor. "Photons and force fields, flesh and blood - it's all the same as long as your feelings are real," is his response to Janeway's need for companionship, but he also recommends that she stop trying to control every aspect of the relationship as if it were a scientific experiment. In the denouement, Janeway denies herself the ability to change Sullivan's program.
Tom Paris is the creative force behind yet another shipwide holodeck-program craze, but as usual, his girlfriend B'Elanna Torres has no part in it, nor is she very visible in the episode itself. Harry Kim has the unbelievable temerity to bemoan the possible loss of the Fair Haven program during the final moments of the neutronic wave front, when Janeway orders holodeck power diverted to the deflector.
In an amusingly Looney-Tunes-like sequence, Paris and Neelix talk about rolling waves, rocking boats and blood pudding while a space-sickened Tuvok grows queasy and must quickly excuse himself.
The Holographic Research Lab is a new area we have not seen before on Federation starships. Also, actor Richard Riehle ("Seamus") may be better known to Star Trek fans as "Batai" from TNG's beloved episode, "The Inner Light."
Edward James Hines writes weekly reviews of Voyager episodes.