RiseBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:34 PM GMT
See Also: 'Rise' Episode Guide
Janeway takes her dozenth diversion this year from her goal of getting home to assist a species trying to flee a planet being bombarded by asteroids. She sends a shuttle down with Tuvok and Neelix aboard, but their ship is damaged and they decide to use an orbital tether - sort of an elevator into the clouds - to get through the atmospheric interference so they can contact the ship. As they rise, they learn that one of the natives on the lift with them is a murderer, and that they learned nothing from being merged in "Tuvix": they still can't get along.
Lillias, another passenger on the ride up, yells at Tuvok for not respecting Neelix's skills or opinions, but the fight becomes moot when they must fight off the killer and attempt to discover what he was trying to hide. Back aboard Voyager, they realize that the asteroids are not natural, but constructed to drive the inhabitants from the planet so that another species can settle there. They help the leaders stop a massively destructive asteroid and reunite Lillias with her sister, thus enabling everyone to live happily ever after.
Ironically, this was my favorite episode of February sweeps. It wasn't very good, but it had none of the mean-spiritedness of "Blood Fever," "Unity," or "Darkling." Neelix and Tuvok were cliched but sweet learning to get along, though I wish there had been a shred of continuity from earlier episodes where the two had contact or conflict - how could they have shared one body for so long and learned nothing from one another?
Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips did a terrific job holding interest, mostly because Tuvok seemed so Vulcan for once and Neelix was just plain likeable. He had nice chemistry with Lillias, enough that I stopped regretting the ridiculous haste with which Kes and Neelix were broken up. It was very nice to see him cast as something other than the comic relief or the token idiot.
This was a much better relationship episode than action episode, and that's fine; it's interesting that the producers selected this one for sweeps month, while putting the vastly better "Coda" at the end of January. I enjoyed watching the characters solve a crisis together, and watching Janeway figure out the big picture based on crew input. She was efficient and smart and actually seemed to be enjoying herself. And I see she's forgiven Chakotay for "Unity," for better or worse. I still want to know why they were diverting to help aliens who had nothing of significance to contribute to them, but I guess it's nice to explore strange new worlds.
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.