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The Trek Nation - Demon

Demon

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 3:37 PM GMT

See Also: 'Demon' Episode Guide

With deuterium supplies nearly exhausted, Janeway orders everyone on board to try to come up with a plan for energy. While Tom Paris suggests putting Harry Kim on a bicycle for power, Tuvok begins moving the crew from their quarters into limited spaces on a few decks. Chakotay tells Seven she was supposed to shut down astrometrics, but she reports that if she had done so, she would not have detected a deuterium supply on a Class Y planet nearby. Chakotay says that that's a "Demon Class" planet which Federation crews avoid as dangerous, but Seven orders him to adapt to the desperate circumstances.

Janeway has the shields fortified and lets Seven try to beam the deuterium aboard, but the attempt fails, blowing up the transporters. Janeway prepares to go back the way they came, but Kim offers to take a shuttle down himself to try to mine the deuterium, suggesting Paris as his pilot. Paris demands to know since when Harry's bucking for a promotion, but Kim points out that considering he's been turned into an alien and brought back from the dead since coming aboard Voyager, he's ready to act like a senior officer at last. In the shuttle, Paris tells Kim he wishes the ensign had left him out of it, and reports that the surface temperature is about five thousand degrees Kelvin. After he lands the shuttle successfully, the two leave the ship in environmental suits. They find a pool of liquid deuterium at acceptable temperatures. While Paris investigates other pools, Kim somehow falls into the first. Paris rescues him, but Kim's environmental suit ruptures, depleting his oxygen. Atmospheric corrosion ruptures Tom's suit as well, and the two collapse.

On the ship, Neelix insists on moving into Sickbay when forced to vacate his quarters; when the Doctor complains to Chakotay, the first officer suggests shutting down the EMH till he's needed to preserve energy. Once Janeway realizes that Paris and Kim are missing, Chakotay offers to take a shuttle to look for them, but Janeway won't risk losing him too; instead, she decides to land Voyager on the planet. She gives the conn to Chakotay, who notes that Paris will be sorry he missed it. He's not the only one; Chakotay barely gets the ship down with the landing struts intact. Janeway says "Very good," rolls her eyes, and tells Chakotay to take an away team to look for the missing officers.

Torres begs Chakotay to be permitted on the away team, but Chakotay tells her she's needed on the ship and her emotional overinvolvement disqualifies her. Torres then asks him to take Seven, since she's the coolest head on the ship; he agrees. Seven and Chakotay find the missing shuttle, and Chakotay spots footprints leading away. When Seven wonders how he knew which way to go, the first officer jokes that the Borg have obviously never assimilated any Indian scouts. The ex-Borg finds a deuterium pool and wants to take a sample, but Chakotay insists that they find Tom and Harry first. Then Chakotay slips into a ravine from which not even Seven can save him, but he's rescued by Paris, who's not wearing any environmental protection at all and looks healthy as can be.

Paris reports that he and Kim both woke up after nearly dying from oxygen loss to discover that they could breathe on the planet and they felt exhilarated. He offers to lead them to more deuterium, but Chakotay insists on taking the men back to the ship for the Doctor to take a look at. The Doctor, who has been suffering through Neelix snoring in his sickbay, is ecstatic to have patients, but alarmed when Tom and Harry begin to suffocate the moment they try to breathe the air on the ship. As Tuvok shuts down most decks to preserve oxygen for the rest of the crew, Doc fills a forcefield in Sickbay with gases from the planet's atmosphere so the first away team can breathe. When he examines them, he finds that they have been bioformed - their DNA adapted by a liquid in their bloodstream to enable them to survive on the planet. Unless they can reverse the process, the Doc tells Janeway that they'll have to remain on the planet forever. Of course, the ship doesn't have enough power to leave the planet anyway.

Janeway and Torres examine the liquid, which Torres jokes isn't as bad as Neelix's soup. When she accidentally touches it, the fluid takes on the shape and properties of her finger (remember when that stuff did the same thing to Beverly Crusher's hand in that TNG detective episode? Same effect, different colored gel). Harry leads Chakotay and Seven back to the surface, since he knows the terrain, where they find the unconscious bodies of Harry and Tom still in environmental suits. They are beamed back to the ship, since at some point earlier the transporters were repaired, though the Harry who doesn't have a suit flees and refuses to go back. Meanwhile, Voyager begins to sink into a giant pool of fluid on the planet. Janeway gives Tuvok some technobabble suggestion about what to fire at it, then leaves the bridge to visit her crewmembers in sickbay. As the captain explains how the fluid duplicates life at the DNA level, the duplicate Paris paces, longing to go back to the planet.

Tuvok fires the energy burst, which causes great pain to the double Kim and Paris. Kim begs Janeway to stop, at which point she is able to lock onto his comm signal and have him beamed aboard. Janeway insists that her ship be released, and demands to know who he really is. The duplicate Kim explains that the silver liquid deuterium became sentient when it made contact with Kim and Paris, and now it must have company. Janeway realizes that it wants the ship so it can duplicate all of them; she promises that if her ship and crew are released, she will get the crew to give DNA samples so they can all be duplicated without having to stay there. Voyager is freed and leaves; meanwhile, down on the planet, an entire duplicate crew watches it go.

Analysis:

This episode is certainly a dream for fan fiction writers who always wished the crew would settle on a nice (?!) planet someplace where they didn't have to act like Starfleet officers. I enjoyed it, particularly the performances by the regulars, but sheesh, was it silly! I'm not even going to wonder how that liquid stuff managed to replicate a lifetime of memories along with the DNA from the crew, nor how the ship managed to keep going at the end since it apparently never got the deuterium it needed - that deuterium was encased within the very substance of the alien liquid lifeform. I also don't know how the ship had power for transporters when it only had an hour of basic life support left, nor which of the endless supply of shuttles got abandoned this time. Plus I suppose it would be moronic to ask why they DID waste energy to keep the Doctor running when there were no patients, since the answer is so obviously "comic relief."

I liked the "Resolutions" plot stranding Kim and Paris together forever like The Blue Lagoon...OK, seriously, I liked the fact that Tom and Harry seem to have abruptly remembered that they're friends and they have senses of humor. I was glad to see Torres has come back from Roxann Dawson's maternity leave, but the moment she started playing sniveling worried girlfriend, I wished she'd leave again; the old Torres would have thrown Chakotay against a wall and DEMANDED to be on the away team. I also had to scream when she asked him to take Little Miss Perfect along, especially since Seven had already disobeyed orders and come up with a plan the captain was too chicken to try, but at least Seven's interactions with others this episode were restricted to trying to save Chakotay and a couple of other people, rather than saving the entire ship (which according to the previews she will do again next week). I wonder when Seven became more cool-headed that Tuvok, as Torres and Chakotay agreed? Tuvok didn't do anything of note other than carry out Janeway's technobabble instructions, so maybe he's been displaced as First Vulcan.

Janeway had a pretty unfortunate episode, trying to panic and turn around at every opportunity, then inexplicably deciding to land the ship after she'd already concluded that the planet was too risky to send another shuttle (or, rather, that is was too risky to send Chakotay). I also think it's pretty bad form to roll one's eyes at one's first officer on the bridge in front of everyone even if he did do a pretty bad job landing the ship...and since when does the captain leave the bridge during a crisis to see if her sick crewmen are OK? Oh yeah, she did the same thing when Ensign Wildman had her baby in the middle of a crisis, but still... Ensign Vorick was back, imitating Paris for Torres. Enough said on that subject.

Where in heck was the discussion on the ethics of cloning, the obligation of the crew to the duplicates they were abandoning, and all that? Hmm, since it's silly to believe that clones inherit one's memories, I guess the whole debate would have been silly, too. The science was a joke, the plot had holes bigger than those pools of deuterium, and once again Seven showed more initiative and gumption than either the captain or first officer...but then again, so did Ensign Kim. Still, the episode used almost the entire cast, some with restored personalities from previous seasons, and I wasn't bored even when I was snorting in disgust. All in all, I'd have to say this was one of the better episodes of the year.

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.