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The Trek Nation - Basics, Part Two

Basics, Part Two

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:25 PM GMT

See Also: 'Basics, Part Two' Episode Guide

On Hanan IV, the crew is working on finding food and making weapons, the first order being survival. Meanwhile, on the ship, Seska is shocked to learn that her baby's father is Kulluh, not Chakotay, but she trusts the Doctor when he informs her that he doesn't care what government he works for as long as he can treat the sick. When the Doctor spots his life signs, Suder makes his way to Sickbay, where the two remaining crewmembers try to devise a plan to damage the Kazon grip on Voyager.

Back on the planet, Chakotay has trouble starting a fire until some of the women give him their hair as kindling - including the captain. Wildman's baby sickens and Hogan is killed by a mysterious creature while scavenging for food. When Kes wanders out at night, she is taken by a group of the native humanoids. Chakotay leads a team to rescue her, convincing the natives not to attack by the sound of his voice as Kes walks away. But they are forced to take shelter in a cave, where they spot the dragon-like beast which ate Hogan. They rush out just in front of the beast and barely escape a cave-in they trigger. More tremors begin and the crew flees when they realize a nearby volcano is about to erupt. They encounter the aliens who had taken Kes, and win their friendship when Chakotay saves one from a lava flow. The medicine man heals Wildman's baby.

On the ship, Paris contacts the Doctor to tell him he has reinforcements coming but needs certain systems offline. Suder sneaks into engineering, kills several Kazon though it pains him to do so, and successfully rigs the computer before being shot and killed. Kulluh and Seska realize the Doc's deception too late; Paris and the Talaxian convoy attack and re-take Voyager. Seska is killed when a console explodes, and Kulluh, taking his son, orders his people to abandon the ship. Paris retrieves the crew and is warmly thanked by Janeway, who orders course set for home.

Analysis:

I don't think I feel better. I wanted this episode to redeem Janeway and Chakotay for their weakness and stupidity at the end of last season, and it didn't in either case. Oh, Chakotay got some heroic moments, facing down the natives and saving the woman, but he also fails to demonstrate how he passed basic survival training at the Academy, and Tuvok makes him look bad. I did wonder whether the two vegetarians ate worms like Janeway ordered everyone to do, but Chakotay's been so inconsistent on everything in his life, who cares?

Janeway, meanwhile, comes across as an ineffectual mama bear just trying to keep her cubs alive. She wasn't in on most of the action or even most of the decision-making. It's Tom Paris, the young white boy, who's the hero, while Suder gets to be the noble tragic figure. Why am I not surprised? Kirk and Picard frequently lost their ships, but almost always got them back through their own ingenuity or strength. Janeway gets hers taken away, and has to be bailed out by one of the brats. This is NOT the way to make a case for a woman captain, folks.

There was really no sense of suspense, since we knew the crew was going to be rescued; Hogan's death was a bit of a shock, but it was also a let-down, since it happened so early and we never saw a body. This show tied up the rest of the series' loose ends by blowing them away: Seska's dead, the baby's not Chakotay's, Kulluh's running with his tail between his legs. Maquis and Starfleet have bonded by necessity, so we're never going to get any real crew tension. At least they haven't found some way yet to give Chakotay an alien of the week love affair and tear him away from Janeway...which, I am sad to say, is rapidly becoming the main reason I watch the show. I used to watch Trek for interesting science and politics, optimism, humor; who'd have thought that bad writing would turn it into my weekly romance fix? If Chakotay wanted help starting a fire, he should just have kept staring at Kathryn's hair instead of cutting it (and we ALL know he hid a lock in his boot). The screen was starting to smolder.

The most entertaining scenes were the Doc and Suder, wry humor against a bundle of nerves ready to fray. There's something nice about the fact that the heroes were the ex-convict, the present convict, and a man who's imprisoned in Sickbay; almost makes one think well of jail. But this series has got to get a focus and let this captain be a captain, and its first officer be something other than her loyal guide dog. The writing STINKS, folks.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


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.