HuntersBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 3:31 PM GMT
See Also: 'Hunters' Episode Guide
Using the Hirogen relay system, Voyager gets the beginning of a message from Starfleet Command. The bulk of it is lodged in one of the alien relay stations, so the ship heads in to retrieve the rest. The Hirogen head to intercept Voyager at the relay station, which is ancient, and powered by a quantum singularity whose energy has been harnessed.
Seven begins to decode the messages, which turn out to be personal letters from home. In addition, there is an encrypted message from Starfleet. Chakotay learns from one of the few surviving Maquis that their cause and their colleagues are no more. Tuvok learns that he is a grandfather. Janeway learns that Mark has gotten married to someone else. Tom gets the beginning of a letter from his estranged father.
When the information stream degrades, Janeway orders Tuvok to accompany Seven to see if they can strengthen it. They use a polaron pulse successfully, but the Hirogen lock on a tractor, beaming Tuvok and Seven onto one of their ships. The Hirogen leader seems to care more about collecting rare relics - preferably the body parts of strange aliens - than defending his relay. He plans to remove Seven's intestines.
Janeway is offered a chance to flee before the reinforcements arrive, provided that she leave Seven and Tuvok. She refuses even though Voyager is outgunned. But Kim develops a plan to weaken the field which contains the singularity, and the Hierogen ships are sucked into the black hole. Kim, with Janeway's help, beams Seven and Tuvok back just in time. The singularity destroys the entire ancient relay station, and all remaining messages are lost.
Chakotay asks Janeway how she feels about losing the link to home, being attacked by aliens, and getting a Dear John letter. She says that she wasn't surprised, but Mark was her safety net to keep her from pursuing another relationship - although she hasn't had much time for that sort of thing. Chakotay points out that they still have plenty of time stuck in the Delta Quadrant, and the two head arm in arm for Neelix's party.
The premise of "Hunters" should have been a kick in the seat for this series: everyone at home has gone on, stop obsessing about your pasts and getting home, go explore strange new worlds already. Instead "Hunters" vaguely reminded me of "Persistence of Vision" and "Coda," two other Jeri Taylor character stories, in which we found out things about the crew's backgrounds which we already knew. It also introduced a new alien menace who reminded me too much of an old alien menace from Deep Space Nine, the ones who hunt the Tosk.
The only things we know about Chakotay and Torres' previous lives were that they were in the Maquis, and they didn't have any relatives or friends who were NOT in the Maquis. In this episode, we heard them mourn those people. But not a word about their CAUSE being lost? Torres fell victim to a supreme fit of overacting on the part of Roxann Dawson, both in the scene where she sniveled over her fallen colleagues and in the scenes where she tried to comfort Tom, whom she's been dating for months even though he apparently never mentioned his father to her. Speaking of whom...
The only things we know about Tom Paris are that he was a Starfleet screw-up and his disapproving father was an admiral. So what a surprise to hear that he was anticipating/dreading hearing from Dad! Real dramatic moment there. Ditto Harry beaming when he finally heard from his Mommy and Daddy. And speaking of family, Tuvok's a grandfather! This is surprising only in that, if Tuvok and his wife were really married for over 37 years as he said in "Ex Post Facto" and they got married the first time he went through pon farr as he said in "Flashback," then I'd think he'd have grandchildren already. The only thing we know about Tuvok, after all, is that he has a wife and kids.
We have not heard Janeway mention Mark in over a year, his photo's gone from her ready room, so her sudden renewed devotion to him seems neurotic. Did Kathryn just forget those months stranded on a planet with Chakotay - where she never once mentioned Mark, not even when Chak peeked down her towel and pledged his heart to her? Or did she merely repress that episode, as the writers seem to have done? I don't believe for one moment that Kathryn used Mark as an excuse for celibacy. She uses the ship for that. To hear her suddenly announce that beloved Mark has kept her from considering a relationship while in command is the height of silliness.
At least Chakotay had the sense not to buy the line - either that, or Robert Beltran can't stop smirking at the bad dialogue. But give me a break: Janeway found out she lost her boyfriend. Chakotay found out he lost hundreds of friends, colleagues, possibly his home, certainly his cause. And he's comforting her? He should leave her for her protege Seven, who sure looks good with her arms tied behind her back by those nasty Hirogen. I was really hoping the aliens would want Seven's implants - BORG implants - for trophies, instead of her intestines. But I guess silicone isn't rare in the Delta Quadrant. Heh heh heh.
The directing is usually the one trustworthy thing on Trek, but this episode let down the standard. The scenes on the Hirogen ship were OK other than I thought Tuvok had killed a guy he hadn't even wounded. But the scenes where the ship was shaking were awful, particularly the bridge shots - the camera jiggled and tried to switch focus among several characters, becoming impossible to follow without crossing one's eyes. Sadly, the momentum of this episode was lost because we had two weeks of reruns sandwiched between it and its prequel, and the Hirogen didn't come across strongly enough for me to anticipate their return.
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.