The ThawBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:11 PM GMT
See Also: 'The Thaw' Episode Guide
Voyager's crew finds several bodies in stasis on a planet which has endured a cataclysm, but when they bring them aboard, they discover that a few of the people are dead, and the survivors are linked in a neural network which they can't disrupt. Torres and Kim enter the network by taking the places of the dead bodies in the chambers, but once within, they discover a carnivalesque setting ruled by Fear. The setting has been created out of the minds of the sleeping aliens, but now Fear has taken over and they can't awaken. Fear sends Torres back to report, but keeps Harry.
Attempts by Torres to circumvent the system fail, and lead to the execution of one of the aliens, who dies because he believes himself dead. Finally, the Doctor enters the program to negotiate: if Fear will release all his hostages, Captain Janeway will come into his world and remain there. Fear agrees, and Janeway comes in...only to tell him that she's not really there. She's awake in the outer world, and it's a hologram Fear is seeing. Fear, afraid and alone, disappears.
This is one of the stupidest episodes ever, though it was visually interesting - about the only person I have anything nice to say about is Marvin Rush, the director. Plot-wise, it was silly, slow-moving, and pointless - sadistic to the audience as well as to its characters. I didn't really need to see Harry tortured nor an alien executed. Classic Trek did an episode with a similar theme about the power of fear - "Spectre of the Gun" - and while that is largely regarded as a really bad installment, it was still better than this. A computer program that doesn't want shut down? Now there's an original concept! Robbie the Robot as Squiggy the Clown.
I did like the dancing, and the sets, and particularly the way Janeway looked at the end when she told Fear when he could go. "Starship captains don't give in easily to fear" - YOW! There were some nice Torres/Kim bonding moments, but in general, Torres' skills were wasted and Harry played Chekov (i.e., the screamer). Kes was more than annoying panicking as she read life signs as well. The only scene I really enjoyed was the Doctor, who faced off with Fear quite well.
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.