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The Trek Nation - Displaced

Displaced

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:36 PM GMT

See Also: 'Displaced' Episode Guide

Paris and Torres have a public spat about his wanting her to explore her Klingon side, which she doesn't want to do, though she seems to enjoy waving a bat'leth in his face. Suddenly, a strange alien appears in the corridor and asks where he is. The alien, from Nyria 3, claims to have no idea how he got there. When they take him to Sickbay, they discover that Kes disappeared at precisely the same instant the alien came onboard.

Torres pretends to work on the problem in Engineering and uses the opportunity to discuss her Klingon half with Harry Kim, but he, too, vanishes. At the same moment, another alien appears on the Bridge, looking bewildered. Such replacements continue to occur all over the ship, until the crew is forced to relocate the Nyrians from Sickbay into a cargo bay since there are so many of them. The senior officers remaining - Janeway, Chakotay, Torres, and Paris - have a double date so they can confer about the phenomenon, though the consultation is hampered by Tom and B'Elanna's refusal to address each other directly. Chakotay suggests that they trust their new friends, who claim to have seen confused but healthy Voyager crewmembers appearing on their planet before they were transported themselves, but Janeway points out that with an exchange rate of one crewmember every nine minutes, they'll all be gone before the day's over.

Janeway disappears, and Chakotay, showing remarkable mettle in the absence of his Kathryn, takes command until he is the only person left on the bridge. Meanwhile, the alien who's helping Torres in Engineering hears her discovery that the transports are not a natural phenomenon, attacks a security officer, and has her transported immediately to Nyria. When she gets there, she finds the crew milling around in sunshine, comfortable but imprisoned by Nyrians. When he learns of the security officer's beating, Chakotay leaves the bridge, takes a phaser, and heads for the cargo bay where the aliens have been placed...of course, it's empty.

Chakotay begins to sabotage the ship while the Nyrians take the Bridge and engineering, though he knows it's a losing battle - there are just too many Nyrians. He rushes to Sickbay to transfer the Doc into the portable emitter, then vanishes himself. He arrives to a greeting by the Nyrian leader to the entire crew, welcoming them to their new home. They have taken Voyager, but the crew will be kept comfortable on the planet. Tuvok reports that there are natural barriers around their encampment, but Janeway suspects that there's nothing natural about it at all. Right on cue, an alien steps through a fuzzy spot in the holographic garden and informs them that his people are next door in a desert environment.

Torres reprograms Doc's emitter so that he can search for passages in the artificial environment, and has a nice little chat with him and Paris about how overly defensive behavior can be a cover-up for insecurity. This revelation shocks Torres so much that she turns off the Doc's sound, so he can't talk. Meanwhile, Chakotay and Tuvok improvise weapons and bond over survival techniques. When the Doc finds a portal, Janeway, Tuvok, Torres, and Paris pass through it to a corridor that meets Nyrian climate specifications. Paris and Torres discover several self-contained biospheres while Janeway breaks into the alien computer. She inadvertently sets off an alarm, and one of the Nyrians on the surface warns the Nyrians on Voyager that the crew has escaped. The Nyrian in the captain's chair, who still can't get those warp engines online, authorizes her to use force.

Janeway and Tuvok find the translocator device which can send them home, but Torres and Paris must take refuge in an arctic wilderness. The two are forced to snuggle for warmth before Janeway can rescue them from their environment. She beams the aliens who took her bridge into the arctic environment, demands her ship back, and promises to contact all the races whose members are imprisoned there. The Nyrians surrender, and Paris and Torres go back to flirting.

Analysis:

This episode represents the middle segment of the Make Janeway Look Bad Trilogy: three weeks in a row, and four times this season, we get to see her lose her ship to stronger, smarter aliens! How often did we see Picard suffer like that in seven years of TNG? Sure makes Janeway look competent and efficient, especially given that the intruder alert alarms apparently don't work - good job, Tuvok, it's nice to have a Vulcan security officer who can't even seem to get the most basic safety protocols under control, not even after the invading dinosaurs of the week before. Coupled with the numerous Dead Janeway scenes and the many times we've gotten to see Chak in command of late, I feel really good about Janeway's job security. Are the producers testing to see how the audience will take it if they get rid of her and bring on a male captain, someone like Tom Paris, Warrior Prince, who can do no wrong of late?

Chakotay didn't look too smart in this one either, saying "Duh, shouldn't we trust these aliens?", getting lectured by Janeway about his naivete, and then having to sabotage the ship because those nice aliens didn't behave. I sort of enjoyed watching him try to blow up Voyager, especially since he sort of seemed to enjoy doing it. But I just plain can't stand B'Elanna - is she still half-Klingon, or did she have that part removed in favor of stereotypical hot-blooded Latina girlfriend behavior? She's too busy talking about her crush on Tom to run engineering, and she's hysterical when she's supposed to be hostile. Moreover, I can't stand the ongoing Paris subplots in which he saves the ship, reprograms B'Elanna's computers, and proves completely invaluable as Young White Male Perfection.

This episode did have some nice interaction between Janeway and Chakotay, as opposed to the nonsense between their junior officers - a further demonstration that the show is wasting energy pairing up the wrong two characters. Tom and B'Elanna are tense, tentative, not looking like conflicted lovers so much as uncomfortable actors trying to force chemistry where there isn't any. Janeway and Chakotay, on the other hand, stand practically on top of one another, using body language to communicate - it's lovely, it's like a combination of Kirk and Spock's command relationship with Sheridan and Delenn's warmth and passion simmering just below the surface. Maybe we're better off with Paris and Torres getting all the awful degrading superficial sexist romance, with the captain being saved for innuendo and banter - as long as she stays away from holograms, that is.

Overall, everyone on the crew looked doofy and apathetic, even down on the planet, with the exception of that popular action figure Posturing Janeway. If I were on Voyager, I'd bail at the first friendly planet and say good riddance. This is the kind of shape they're in before encountering the Borg and the Krenim? Pretty scary...

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.