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The Trek Nation - Investigations

Investigations

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:10 PM GMT

See Also: 'Investigations' Episode Guide

During his new briefing show, in which he discusses crew romances and invites the Doctor to discuss health matters, Neelix announces that he's discovered that a crewmember is leaving the ship. This turns out to be Tom Paris, who tells Neelix that he's realized he never fit into Starfleet and he wants to get away with a Talaxian convoy. Janeway says that she's sorry to see him go, but his mind is made up, and Tom goes off into the sunset.

Once he's gone, Neelix begins to investigate reports of a traitor who's had contact with the Kazon, and his trail leads him to none other than...Tom Paris. When he announces this on his show, Janeway and Tuvok call him in and reveal that Tom is in fact working for Voyager on a spy mission to uncover the real traitor. Chakotay, who's been in charge of Tom's discipline these last weeks while he's been playing unruly, demands to know why he wasn't let in on this little plan, but Janeway demurs that they needed him to seem as naive as possible for the ploy to work, and Tuvok announces that since they suspect the traitor is a Maquis, they didn't trust Chakotay to be impartial.

The Kazon capture Paris and Seska holds him hostage, but he's able to figure out the name of the traitor - Michael Jonas - before breaking out. While Voyager tries to recover Tom, Neelix faces off with Jonas in engineering, which he has locked everyone else out of. The Talaxian maneuvers the traitor into a warp particle flow, where Jonas dies. Neelix, the hero of the adventure, interviews Tom about what it was like making a total fool of Chakotay, and Tom says it was fun.

Analysis:

Are they trying to make these people look stupid for a reason?

OK, let me straighten this out. Paris, who's been acting like a loser most of the season, was actually Janeway's right-hand man all along, while Chakotay, her first officer, is considered too incompetent to be let in on a major shipwide crisis which he could undoubtedly have helped crack - I mean, if he turned his own ex-lover in as a Cardassian spy/Kazon saboteur, surely finding one Maquis traitor wasn't going to send him round the bend. Whereas discovering that Janeway can play him for a fool just as easily as Seska did just might.

Tuvok, whose utter incompetence has been demonstrated repeatedly by the Kazon through their ongoing theft of Voyager's technology, insults the first officer to his face and does his job for all intents and purposes with the captain. This is the most disorganized, least unified command team I've ever seen. Are we supposed to believe they're capable of getting this ship home?

As for Tom...I suspected he'd end up a hero, but you know, I liked him better as a screwed up guy with his doubts about Starfleet and its command structure. One of my favorite scenes ever was when he suggested that Chakotay was merely Janeway's lap dog a few episodes back - ZING! - and to learn that punching him on the bridge was just a show, well, too bad. The only real fun I had with this episode was Neelix's irresponsible little show, which unfortunately never got into any good gossip as should have been possible on a ship that size...say, like, about why the first officer will roll over and play dead for the captain when she barks. Hopefully we've seen the last of Seska and the Kazon for awhile, but until she has that baby and comes around to torture Chakotay with it, I somehow doubt it.

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.