Star Trek: Voyager – 3×16 – “Blood Fever”

Star Trek: Voyager
“Blood Fever”
Originally Broadcast February 5th, 1997
Reviewed by Chakoteya

The Story

Stardate: 50537.2

‘Captain’s log, Stardate 50537.2. Routine scans of an uninhabited star system have revealed the presence of gallicite, a very rare substance, on the fourth planet.’

Torres is anticipating a complete refit of the warp coils, and as the planet does not appear to belong to anyone, she is given a free hand to collect the ore that they require. In engineering, she and Vorik are looking over the sensor scans of tunnels and making plans for mining, when the Ensign suddenly asks her to be his mate. As his arranged bride will undoubtedly have already chosen another, he is doing the same, and he believes that out of the 73 available men, he is the best match for her. Unsurprisingly, she turns him down, but he persists, and grabs her face. She breaks his hold and floors him with a right-handed punch.

In sickbay, the EMH informs Torres that she dislocated his jaw. Vorik is also suffering from a chemical imbalance, which the Doctor discusses privately with his patient. The young Vulcan is entering his first Pon farr, the seven year compulsory mating cycle which would usually be resolved by getting married, which explains his proposal to B’Elanna. The EMH wants to find a medical solution to the problem, but Vorik refuses. He wants to resolve this personal matter privately, and he is released to his quarters wearing a cortical monitor.

Later, the EMH discusses the matter with Tuvok, who refuses to get involved in Ensign
Vorik’s private life. The Pon farr must be allowed to follow it’s natural course – either take a mate, take part in a ritual combat for a mate, or, as Vorik is currently doing, try intensive meditation to resolve the matter.

Torres and her rock climbing mining team of Neelix and Paris have assembled in the transporter room. She is very hyped up and keen to get on, talking quickly. On the surface they find ruins, but Torres is keen to get into the caverns and tunnels. Once below the ground, they face a massive sheer drop to their goal. They are abseiling down when Neelix’s piton gives way, taking Torres down with him. The pair land heavily, Neelix has probably broken his ankle and Torres loses her temper. She bites Tom’s face and storms on into the tunnel. Paris reports back to Voyager, to the incredulity of the Captain and First Officer. Lang, at Ops instead of Kim, reports that the team are too far below the surface to get a transporter lock on them. Janeway tells Chakotay and Tuvok to go and get Neelix out, and Tuvok requests a short delay. He might be able to explain Torres’s behaviour.

Tuvok interrupts Vorik’s meditations in order to find out exactly what happened between him and Torres. The young man admits physical contact and Tuvok concludes that he had initiated a telepathic mating bond which has triggered a reaction similar to Pon farr in Torres and disrupted her own self-control in keeping her Klingon half under restraint. Vorik is keen to go to her and complete the mating, but Tuvok tells him to keep meditating instead.

Down in the caverns, Tuvok breaks the news to Paris while Neelix is hoisted to the surface. They go Torres-hunting with Chakotay while their quarry has found the source of the gallicite readings – an active power system built by the previous colonists. The rescue team find her and she is telling them of her findings when an group of aliens appears and demand to know who they are and what they want. Chakotay politely answers all their leader’s questions, including letting him handle one of their phasers. A seismic alert goes off, Torres struggles with one of them and a rock wall comes down splitting her and Tom off from Chakotay and Tuvok. When she looks around again, the alien she knocked down has disappeared. Tom’s tricorder does not detect any lifesigns, so they have no way of knowing how to find either them or the mysterious aliens. Paris decides that they have to try and get back to Voyager.

Up on Voyager, Vorik is already deeply embarrassed about Tuvok knowing about his situation, when the EMH takes him to the holodeck to introduce him to T’Pera – a holographic Vulcan woman who could assist him with his immediate problem. As the Pon farr must ultimately be resolved in the mind, this fiction could aid his mental processes. The pair are left alone.

In the tunnels, B’Elanna is finally admitting that she is feeling a basic instinct, but refuses to bond with either Paris or Vorik. They come to a rock fall, and in her anger and frustration finally accepts that she wants Tom, but he will not take advantage of her situation. Elsewhere, Tuvok and Chakotay are being interrogated by the Sakari man, Ishan, and offer to show him how Voyager detected the gallicite and help them remove the last of the ruins. Then Ishan tells that the reason the Sakari are so afraid of detection is because once some raiders came and destroyed their world in less than an hour, carrying off many of their people. He is afraid that they might return one day for the remnants of their race.

There is another tremor and rock fall, burying Tom’s phaser. B’Elanna is even more keen to get together with him, claiming that her previous denials of affection were just pretence. While she is crawling out of her skin, Vorik is complimenting the EMH on his innovative treatment for his condition. Janeway is very pleased too, and the EMH is raring to get going on the half-Klingon version of the programme. He has plenty of detail on Klingon mating rituals to incorporate, and is finding the whole subject fascinating – from a scientific point of view of course.

Chakotay and Tuvok rescue Tom and B’Elanna, and bring them to the surface. Voyager is not contactable, and Tuvok is concerned that unless the Pon farr is resolved soon, B’Elanna may die. So she and Tom go off into the trees to do the deed, when they are interrupted by an irate Vorik who declares koon-ut-kal-i-fee, the ritual combat for his mate. The young Vulcan has disabled the comm. systems, transporters and shuttles in order to come for Torres unhindered. Paris is no match for him, and Torres takes the challenge herself. The pair wrestle, evenly matched, until they wear themselves out, and the plak-tow, the blood fever, is finally purged.

‘Captain’s log, Stardate 50541.6. We’re following through with Chakotay’s offer to help the Sakari improve their camouflage and they’ve agreed to supply us with a generous quantity of gallicite.’

Paris meets up with a subdued Torres in the turbolift. They should have new warp coils by the end of the week, she says, and anything she might have said and done was under an alien influence and not really her. Tom knows better, and tells her he’d like to see her dark scary Klingon side again sometime. B’Elanna warns him to be careful what he wishes for.

Down on the Sakari planet, Chakotay’s clean up team have found the body of one of the Sakari’s attackers amongst the ruins. He calls Captain Janeway down to see for herself.

It’s a Borg.

Review

There are a lot of potential on-going storylines in this episode. The Paris – Torres relationship takes another step forward, whilst we are reminded of the Vulcan Pon Farr with it’s seven year imperative. Will Tuvok also face this challenge sometime in Voyager’s run, or are they going to let him off the hook by having the whole series sandwich neatly between occurrences? Then there’s that cliff-hanger ending. They have arrived in Borg territory. After leaving behind the local threats of Kazon and Vidiians, we are going to be treated to some familiar villains. How will one little ship fare against the might of the Collective?

As for the detail of Blood Fever, well, I suppose this carries on from where Amok Time left off, but with the attitudes of 35 years later smeared all over it. Chemical imbalances, all in the mind, what guff. It is the Vulcan’s passionate biological imperative and if they don’t mate it has to be resolved in conflict, which is where Vorik eventually ended up, just like Spock before him. Except that instead of apparently killing his captain, he got thoroughly put in his place by a very annoyed Chief Engineer. Which tells us that a half-Klingon woman in a rage is more than a match for the superior strength Vulcan. Interesting.

The aliens. Well, yes, if your civilisation has been ravaged by the Borg, I suppose you’re going to try and hide somewhere, yet I find it a tad strange that they should be giving off such strong signals that they have a valuable resource on the planet. Still, it did give Lisa Klink an excuse for all those exploring tunnels and descending into the depths metaphors.

Now, the on-going love story. As soon as Torres starts throwing herself at him, Paris backs off muttering about not wanting to take advantage, until he gets ordered to save her life. Fortunately for the censor, and our delicate sensibilities, we get a fist fight instead of a romp in the undergrowth. The upshot of it all is that Tom has seen B’Elanna’s darker side, the side she does such a good job of hiding, and he isn’t repelled by it. A good sign for the future, in my opinion. Full marks to Roxanne for running the full gamut of emotions on this show.

The show is directed very nicely by Andy (simple tailor Garak) Robinson. Just in case you thought the name looked familiar.

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