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The Trek Nation - The Killing Game

The Killing Game

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 15, 2004 - 6:14 PM GMT

"The Killing Game Part One" Plot Summary:

A Hirogen shows up in the midst of a ferocious Klingon battle and wounds Janeway, who appears to be a full Klingon. Four Hirogen ships have surrounded Voyager, and the aliens hold the crew captive by means of neural implants which link into the ship's holo-emitters. The Hirogen leader orders Janeway to be treated in Sickbay and sent to a different holosimulation. There, Seven of Nine is singing and Tuvok is working at a bar which is run by Janeway's character Catrine...in France during the German occupation. Several Hirogen come in dressed as Nazis. Janeway tells them, as she tells all her patrons, to leave the war outside. But once the patrons leave, she announces to Seven that she needs radio equipment. She's the local leader of the French Resistance.

Tuvok suspects that Seven may be a collaborator as her violent impulses threaten them all, but Janeway insists that she's the only munitions expert they have. B'Elanna - here, Brigitte - works the radio and decoding equipment, and warns Janeway that the Allies intend to take St. Clair, and will need the Nazi communications equipment out of commission. Meanwhile, Neelix, who sells bread and wine by bicycle cart, is stopped and threatened by a Hirogen Nazi. Unlike his superior who wants to study the prey, this S.S. officer wants to kill the crew off one by one.

Torres manages to infiltrate Nazi headquarters because she's pregnant with the child of a Nazi officer. She finds the location of the German radio equipment while outside, Neelix and Seven are shot by Hirogen who are tired of waiting for their commandant to give the order to execute the prey. Neelix is treated and sent to the Klingon simulation, but the Doctor awakens Seven while her implant is disabled. He tells her that the Hirogen have had the crew trapped in holodeck simulations for several weeks. The safeties are off, and there have been fatalities. The Doctor warns Seven that she must find the panel in the holodeck to activate the bridge access relays.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, the Hirogen are forcing Harry to help them expand the size and power of the holodecks. The Hirogen leader wants to recreate the battle with the Borg at Wolf 359 next, but his underling insists that they should take their trophies and move on. The alpha Hirogen argues that their race is slowly dying out in pursuit of the hunt, but with a holodeck, they could keep the hunt tradition without having to spread all over the quadrant to do it. The technology could save Hirogen culture.

Seven has problems when she returns to the holodeck because she no longer remembers the words to the songs her character was programmed to sing; Janeway becomes further suspicious that she may be a spy. Still, she plans to take Seven with her to break into Nazi headquarters to disable the radio, though Seven forgets to connect the detonater. Meanwhile, the Allied forces arrive, led by Captain Miller (Chakotay) and his lieutenant, Bobby Davis (Tom Paris), who was once Brigitte's lover and never forgot her - or St. Clair. While Janeway transcribes the German messages, Seven searches for the holodeck controls. Janeway catches her and is about to shoot her when Harry and the Doc successfully disable Janeway's neural implant, and she remembers who she is.

Chakotay meets and joins up with Tuvok in the struggle against the Hirogen. The "Americans" blow up the Nazi building just as Janeway and Seven escape, but the grids overload. The building takes on the appearance of an incomplete hologram, which Chakotay assumes is a new type of Nazi bunker. At the same time, with the safeties off, holograms begin to appear all over the ship. Harry warns the Alpha Hirogen that he now has a real war on all the decks of Voyager.

Analysis:

That's right: Janeway's a Maquis, and Chakotay's a captain for the Allied Forces. Never let it be said that the Hirogen don't have a sense of humor. I really enjoyed this episode, though as with most Voyager two-parters, the best aspects were lost to a reset button. In this case, both Fierce Klingon Janeway and Alluring Resistance Restaurant Owner Janeway vanished much too quickly, not to mention Seven the Singing Borg. But we still have a pregnant spy Torres, a hot young soldier Paris, and Captain Chakotay, so I don't think the fun's over yet.

Things I liked: terrific directing, particularly the lighting, with a fast-paced and engrossing script. Also the Hirogen explanation for why the holodeck could be so important to them. They still remind me too much of the Tosk from Deep Space Nine, but the parallels with the Nazis were effective and disturbing. I loved the whole idea of "Catrine's," and the look of the place - classier than Sandrine's - in addition to Nazi headquarters, with pillaged European art adorning the walls. The cast was very well-used, I liked the way Roxann Dawson's pregnancy was worked into the storyline and the discovery that Jeri Ryan can sing. Chakotay and Paris had nice moments together; these two should get more casual interaction within the context of rank hierarchy.

Things that bugged me: the Doc and Harry have been working for the Hirogen while their captors tortured the crew for three WEEKS, without trying to blow the ship up or anything? Harry appears to have had quite a bit of access to ship's systems; I'd think he'd have tried some of the hot-headed stuff he pulled when Tuvok was in command and he didn't like the Vulcan's orders. Moreover, I can't believe that the Hirogen are incapable of creating holographic technology but they ARE capable of using neural implants to hook into it so completely that they can control the crew. And if the Hirogen are nomadic and lack a home base, where do they keep their women?

"The Killing Game Part Two" Plot Summary:

Janeway and Seven go to the astrometrics lab to figure out how many Hirogen control the ship, and how they can escape. On the Bridge, Harry tells the Alpha Hirogen that he must blow out the hologrids to end the simulation, but the leader refuses to give up the technology. When his underling suggests that they must kill the now-cognizant Janeway, the leader reminds him that they need the prey to rebuild the holodeck.

While Paris and Torres - that is, Bobby and Brigitte - rekindle their old romance despite the fact that she's pregnant with a Nazi's child, Chakotay and Tuvok hypothesize that the Germans are building a super-weapon in the holographic bunker. Janeway and Seven crawl through a Jeffries tube and are almost shot by the others, but Chakotay recognizes her as the leader of the Resistance and insists on following her into the bunker to disable the Nazi technology which she says it connects to. Janeway tells Tuvok that he should trust Seven and warns Chakotay that an Allied air strike could set off explosions that will destroy the entire valley.

In Sickbay, a Hirogen turns the Doctor off and tells his people to leave wounded prey where they fall. Janeway sneaks herself and Chakotay into the holodeck where the Klingon scenario is playing out, with Neelix now in the role of the chief warrior, so that she can summon the Doctor. She plans to use holographic weapons to attack the real sickbay, which should work since the safeties are off, and shut down everyone's implants. Chakotay tells her admiringly that the girls he knows aren't as "gung ho" as she is, and says that he'd do anything to get his people home. Janeway says she knows how he feels.

Seven uses Borg technology to work on a weapon, telling a suspicious Tuvok that it's secret German technology. The Hirogen leader refuses to give his own people stronger weapons and says he can't turn the safety protocols back on to protect them, since they're offline. Harry encounters Tom in a corridor, but Tom doesn't recognize him and quizzes him on American movies to make sure he's on the right side. Meanwhile, in Sickbay, Janeway trips a Hirogen safety protocol on her own computer system and is shot, but not before she sets the charge which makes everyone remember who they are. Unfortunately, at that precise moment, Nazis enter the bar and take Paris, Torres, Tuvok, and Seven hostage.

Janeway enters her ready room, now covered with Hirogen trophies, and learns of the leader's desire to use holotechnology to save his people. She agrees to trade the technology for her ship and crew back, and they agree to a ceasefire. But the Hirogen on the holodeck, who have been listening to Nazi ideology and doubts about the commandant's fitness, refuse to obey. The Doctor realizes the fighting has increased all over the ship, and insists that Neelix lead the Klingons into battle in the World War II scenario.

The rebellious Hirogen S.S. officer kills the Alpha Hirogen just as he and Janeway begin the process of overloading the holo-emitters. The new leader orders Janeway to start running, and pursues her as she searches for a weapon. She finds a device which disrupts holographic matter and makes his weapon vanish, then turns her own on him and shoots him. While the Klingons hold off the Nazis, Harry has time to overload the holo-emitters, which cause all the artificial Nazis to disappear. After several days of fighting in the corridors with the Hirogen, Janeway negotiates a ceasefire and gives the battered new leader an optronic data core - so that they can create a holographic emitter or claim a trophy, whichever they decide is more important.

Analysis:

For once, a conclusion to a two-parter that lived up to the original! This episode was a blast, the most enjoyable thing Voyager has done since "Caretaker," though there were some huge anti-Trek moments which made me wonder whether the Prime Directive even exists in the Delta Quadrant at this point. Internally, it was fairly consistent and made great use of the cast - Ethan Phillips' turn as a Klingon warrior stood out in particular, but I liked seeing Harry get a chance to play hero (for once Seven DIDN'T save the ship), and Janeway made a very strong showing both as a fighter and as a negotiator. If the writing staff can keep the sense of humor displayed in this episode, it could go a long way toward redeeming the series.

Things that cracked me up: Neelix, drunk, with a bat'leth. Paris calling Torres' boyfriend a pig (if anyone can remember all the way back to "The Cloud," Torres called one of Paris' holograms a pig and added that Paris was one, too). Chakotay getting a crush on Janeway even though he doesn't know who she is. Tom giving Harry a 20th century movie quiz, something Harry did to keep B'Elanna focused in "Scorpion." Tuvok wondering whether Aryan poster girl Seven could be a Nazi spy. Seven warning the Hirogen that sooner or later, the Borg will assimilate them, so she doesn't have to sing for them. Klingons creaming Nazis.

Things that annoyed me: Torres being able to feel the baby kicking after her neural implant ceased to function - if the Hirogen could manipulate holographic technology to that degree, then not only wouldn't they have needed Voyager's, they could have saved Neelix when the Vidiians stole his lungs in a way that not even the Doc could manage. The Master Race speech the Nazi made, which was bombastic and heavy-handed even for a Nazi, and which went on way too long - I don't think a guy that obsessed would have spared Torres just because she was pregnant with a half-German child. I also did NOT like Chakotay joking that the babes back home weren't as fiesty as Janeway - that's a false attitude about women in the '40s propagated in the '50s to get the wives to quit work and stay home, when in actuality women were doing a lot of the work of running this country while the boys were away; I can't believe it would be programmed into a 24th-century World War II scenario.

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.