AlliancesBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:06 PM GMT
See Also: 'Alliances' Episode Guide
After a devastating attack by the Kazon, Chakotay suggests to Janeway that they form an alliance with one of the sects. Janeway invokes the Prime Directive, but after a pointed argument with a crewmember at the funeral of an officer, she asks Chakotay what he has in mind. He suggests making contact with one of the locals to see whether they can work for one another's mutual benefit without having to share technology. Chakotay does not want to talk to Seska, but the Kazon-Nistrim would make excellent allies, so Janeway tells him that if they're going to play in the mud, he better expect to get dirty.
While Janeway is negotiating unsuccessfully with pregnant Seska and sexist, belligerent Kulluh, Neelix makes contact with the Trabe, a species which once enslaved the Kazon and were in turn persecuted by them. Janeway seeks an alliance with the Trabe leader, who claims to want peace in the sector, and agrees to help him arrange a meeting with all the Kazon leaders to work out an agreement.
The Kazon leaders reluctantly agree to gather, but at the meeting, a Trabe vessel opens fire and only Janeway's warning prevents a massacre of all the Kazon Majes. Janeway furiously throws the Trabe off her ship, the reminds the crew that the Prime Directive is all they have to stand on.
Addendum to plot summary: "...and nobody looks at all convinced."
This was a lousy episode all around. First Janeway comes across as priggish and overly devoted to abstract principles by refusing to consider an alliance; then she sells out those values and agrees to one, only to end up deciding it was a bad idea and going back to lecturing her crew. The idea of an alliance was inherently a very good one; they just picked the wrong allies, at the wrong time. I didn't like the belligerence in Chakotay's tone when he suggested it - Janeway has always listened to his suggestions on the very rare occasions when he's made them, so if he'd just calmed down and talked rationally to her, she might have been a lot more willing to go along with his plans.
Janeway, too, was at her worst, however. First she threatened to blow up the ship - at a funeral, where her entire crew was feeling scared and helpless and beginning to evince understandable doubt in her competence - then she scowled at Chakotay and insulted the Maquis in a crowded corridor. Tuvok's decision to back Chakotay's suggestion is inexplicable - he never explained why it was logical, nor why he wanted to make Janeway second-guess herself. It was much too easy to tell that the Trabe were going to go right back to persecuting the Kazon at the first available opportunity, but the Kazon were also comically belligerent and unimpressive.
This show needs to move past the Kazon fast, and come up with a pro-active reason for its existence; getting home and surviving nasty aliens just isn't enough to hold interest. Even Seska's getting one-dimensional.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.