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The Trek Nation - Cathexis

Cathexis

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 1:55 PM GMT

See Also: 'Cathexis' Episode Guide

When Chakotay and Tuvok return from an away mission, Chakotay's bio-neural has been completely wiped out of his body. He is alive, but brain-dead. Tuvok explains that they passed through a dark-matter nebula and were attacked. The ship returns to the nebula to investigate, but inexplicably diverts away after a command from the conn. When Janeway asks Paris why he changed course, he doesn't remember having done so.

Kes feels some sort of alien presence on the ship, but doesn't know what it could be. Tuvok finds evidence that Paris has deliberately sabotaged the ship's course, but then Torres crashes the main computer and ejects the warp core. Neither she nor Paris remember doing any of the things they apparently did to keep the ship from the dark matter nebula, and Janeway concludes that someone or something is possessing her crew.

This admission of course leads to paranoia among the crew, exacerbated when Tuvok and Kes are found unconscious in a turbolift and Tuvok claims to have experienced an energy charge similar to the one which affected Chakotay. Janeway realizes that even she could be taken over by an alien entity. She is prepared to give Tuvok half of the command codes, but she is momentarily possessed and attacks him instead. The alien bounces among bridge members, and while it does so, Tuvok stuns everyone and takes them to sickbay, where the Doctor has been taken offline.

Torres informs Janeway that Chakotay and Tuvok's shuttle was never attacked, and learns that Kes' injuries were caused by a Vulcan nerve pinch. Janeway wonders why the alien keeps possessing Tuvok, and accuses him of lying. Tuvok relieves Janeway of command and orders the ship into the nebula, but the crew won't obey him, and finally he takes the bridge by threatening to kill them all. Janeway realizes that Torres couldn't have ejected the warp core without a command-level authorization, figures out that Chakotay gave that authorization, and realizes that the force possessing them all to keep Tuvok from taking them to the nebula must be Chakotay's consciousness.

In sickbay, Neelix is possessed and rearranges the stones on the medicine wheel into a star map, which the crew uses as a blueprint to break free of the nebula. Tuvok and Chakotay's consciousnesses are restored, and Janeway congratulates the commander on his good work.

Analysis:

Boy, that's a lot of plot summary for a pretty silly episode. It was obvious about twenty minutes in that Tuvok was the bad guy, or at least in league with the bad guys, and not unexpected that Chakotay was interfering even though he was allegedly brain-dead. I did get a kick out of the idea of him taking over Janeway's and Torres's bodies - boy, that must have been a thrill! - and my favorite line was the Doc warning Torres that her use of the medicine wheel was going to send his spirit into the mountains of the antelope women, from which he might not feel like leaving.

It's nice to know that B'Elanna knows how to use Chakotay's medicine wheel even though she tried to kill her animal guide; their past friendship has been left largely undeveloped, which is a real waste. It's also nice to know that the Doctor is well-versed in alternative medical techniques, although I am still clueless as to what tribe or even what part of the world Chakotay's supposed to be from - something else for the writers to get it together in deciding.

Janeway didn't look all that effective here, but she had a great spooky moment thinking Harry was possessed, and another when she was considering giving Tuvok the command codes before she attacked him. The direction was terrific, with a haunted-house feel and lots of tense shots between people standing close enough to kiss just before they tried to kill one another. I like the new guy, Durst, though I suspect he'll be dead soon now that we know know his name. I assume that this was a "bottle" episode - one of the ones they film on familiar sets because it's really cheap to do that way - and we'll get better stories when those restrictions are off!

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.