Star Trek: Voyager
Originally Broadcast November 20th, 1996
Reviewed by Chakoteya
Neelix is on the holodeck, enjoying having his feet massaged by a young Talaxian woman. He has recreated the Paxau resort, a very exclusive place and is showing his programme off to Harry and Tom. However, Neelix’s idea of relaxation and diversion is not the same as theirs, and they quickly make some small changes – different drinks, Caribbean music, a Championship Ladies Volleyball team for company – before being called to the bridge. Neelix approves of the modifications.
Voyager has come across a vessel in distress, and they rescue it’s three occupants before it explodes. The EMH is able to treat two of them but the third dies as his physiology is incompatible with Federation medicine. It turns out he was the husband of the surviving woman, and she is of course totally distraught, so Kes spends a lot of time with her and her companion to help her through. The woman is called Nori, and she is related to the Autarch of Ilari. The man is Adin, a physician. Janeway sets course for the planet, only two days journey away. Kes spends so much time with the pair that she forgets about her holodeck lunch date with Neelix, and has to be reminded. Once there, she just picks at her food and complains of a head ache. Then when she tells Neelix that she’ll be spending all her time with Nori and Adin, he suggests that they take care of them together and she snaps at him that he cannot stand her to make friends of her own and not spend most of her time with him. He denies this, saying it’s not a duty. Kes says it feels like it is now, because she didn’t realise before that a relationship could be any different. Then she drops the bombshell. She wants them to spend time apart.
‘Captains log, stardate 50348.1. We’ve entered orbit around Ilari and sent a message to the Autarch inviting him to visit the ship. Instead, he’ll be sending an official representative.’
Captain Janeway, Nori and Adin gather in the transporter room to meet this representative. Nori is not pleased that the Autarch himself is not coming aboard. Then Kes comes in, the transporter is energised, and when the man appears on the platform she kills him with a phaser before turning it on Ensign Martin at the control panel. Adin knocks out Janeway as Tuvok’s board registers the phaser fire. Kes then beams a shuttlecraft into space, the three transport to it and escape.
At Tieran’s encampment, Resh is concerned about the way his leader is now a little girl, so Kes/Tieran gives him a demonstration of the Ocama’s telekinetic powers. He gives his allegiance.
‘Captain’s log, stardate 50351.4. We’re holding a meeting with Demmas, the Autarch’s eldest son and heir, in an effort to understand the recent hostile activity.’
Demmas, the son of the Autarch, gives the Voyager senior staff the background on Tieran. He was a leader from 200 years ago who found away to move his consciousness into successive host bodies in order to stay ‘alive’ and reclaim Ilari for himself. Janeway wants to find a way to get Tieran out of Kes safely, but Demmas only wants to ensure that this rebel faction is stopped in it’s tracks – by force.
Paris finds the shuttle, and evidence that four people have beamed into the Imperial Hall. There is a gun fight in which Tieran kills the Autarch himself then takes the talisman of power for himself. Ameron, the younger son, is taken prisoner. Once back in control, Tieran orders everything restored to how it was in his first reign, but is caught up short by a flower in a vase. He picks it and hands it to Nori, who tells him of her concerns about her status as his wife. Ameron is brought in for a personal interrogation, and after initial defiance, is persuaded that he could have power by siding with the new regime.
‘Captain’s log, supplemental. Demmas has decided to remain on board Voyager for the time being, but continues to monitor the worsening situation on Ilari.’
Demmas is concerned about the possibility of civil war between the two factions, and he also knows about Ameron’s defection to the other side. Janeway believes that there are always alternatives to war, and they visit sickbay to find out how Tieran moves from body to body. It is done by a cortical implant sending the pattern along fibres to the palm and into whoever is in direct contact at the time. The EMH has put together a device to drive Tieran’s consciousness out of its host safely. Demmas reluctantly agrees to a single person’s infiltration into the Imperial Hall to try and rescue Kes before going ahead with a full scale assault.
Meanwhile, Tieran is arguing with his doctor, Adin, about the wisdom of staying in an alien body which is not completely compatible. Kes is fighting his presence and causing headaches, and also making him reluctant to sleep, but Tieran considers that a small price to pay for access to her mental abilities. He’s staying put and that is final. At the council meeting Kesh reports the status of Demmas’s fleet but Tieran is not willing to strike on rumours. Then he senses the presence of someone from Kes’s previous life in the chamber. He goes around the guards to find Tuvok. The device is attached for a few moments only, and has no effect. Tieran decides that the tactical officer is a useful prisoner, and he is taken away.
In the cell, Tieran conducts the interrogation himself, using Kes’s telepathy to probe his mind and disrupt his mental control. He suggests that Tuvok desires Kes and gets too close. Tuvok initiates a mind meld and for a few moments is able to communicate with Kes herself, who promises that she is fighting Tieran, before contact is broken.
‘Captain’s log stardate 50361.7. Lieutenant Tuvok hasn’t reported for our scheduled rendezvous and we’ve been unable to contact him. We’re now considering other more forceful options.’
Up in the briefing room, plans are being laid for a second raid when Tieran contacts them to prove that their plan has failed. He has no quarrel with Voyager, however and tells them to leave orbit in thirty seconds. They do so, so he keeps his word and does not order his ships to pursue, even though Demmas is aboard. Alone in the chamber, he falls asleep, and has to face Kes in his mind. She promises to force him out, but he offers her a partnership instead, a mental marriage. She refuses and he tries to bluff her that he can defeat her. Kes knows better, time is on her side as he slides into mental instability brought on by the headaches. Adin uses a stimulant to wake Tieran and despite earlier orders, again says that he should move to another body. Angry, he makes Adin collapse, blood streaming from his eyes and then kills him.
In the council chamber, at a feast, Tieran announces his marriage to Ameron, while assuring Nori that it is political only, and that he wants the three of them to be very close friends. Resh reports that Voyager and Demmas’s fleet are approaching. He wants Tieran to go to the bomb shelter, but Tieran refuses and continues with the feast. Then he checks up on his charitable works, the library’s will be built soon, and he wants to ensure every citizen has a garden. Kes is breaking through. As the bombardment starts, Tieran is convinced that Tuvok is in the chamber again.
He is wrong. Paris is freeing Tuvok from his cell before heading up to the chamber, taking out two guards on the way. Tom says that the Vulcan must teach him that neck pinch one day. In the main chamber, Janeway, Chakotay and Neelix are leading the assault. Nori tries to get Tieran to safety but is killed. Neelix gets to him and uses the device to remove him from Kes. Back in control of herself, she knows that Tieran has jumped to another host and puts the device on Ameron herself. With nowhere to go, her kidnapper finally dies.
Tuvok is trying to help Kes cope with the experience by a series of meditative exercises, but they are not helping her to lose the feelings of guilt over what happened when Tieran was in control of her body. Could she have fought harder? Tuvok reassures her that she was victorious. However, the experience has made her a different person, her relationships have been changed and where her life leads now is up to her.
This is a tour-de-force for the previously ‘too sweet and caring for words’ Kes. Here is a young woman of considerable strength and determination fighting for all she is worth to protect those she cares for. It is also a great showcase for Jennifer Lien. She gives us two completely distinct characterisations in the one show, and ends with a slightly altered Kes, one who has had her mental powers abused in the name of power and has to learn to live with the reality of her abilities. Tuvok’s closing speeches are very wise and profound. Something to live by for all of us.
On the lighter side, it looks like the dark, enclosed Marseilles bar of the first two series is being replaced by a bright sunny outdoors resort, including fantasy holographic companions for the crew to relax with. This could be a metaphor for the crew’s overall attitude to their situation, a big change from the gloom of being so far from home with the Kazon and Vidiians constantly taking pot-shots at them, to an acceptance of their situation and an optimism which enables them to turn Voyager into a proper home.
Takeovers of characters with mental abilities are nothing new in Trek. Sometimes I wonder why races want to have telepathy or other such gifts when it leaves them so wide open to abuse by the bad guys. It does give the actor in question a chance to play something other than their regular role, however, and Kes was rapidly turning into a clone of the Intendant from Mirror Universe Deep Space 9 in her leather suit and bisexual attitudes towards both Nori, male Tieran’s wife, and Ameron, potential consort for the female Tiernan.
This show cannot fail to have big consequences for at least one pairing on the show. I do not believe that Neelix will ever get his sweeting back from this. There were too many truths spoken over lunch, even though she was already possessed at the time, and in her session with Tuvok, Kes admitted that her relationships were all changed. No one will ever regard her in quite the same way, knowing that she can kill with her mind if they ever get her angry enough. The secondary pairing of Tuvok and Paris has echoes of Kirk and Spock, including some familiar sounding dialogue. I look forward to more development in this area.