It’s Kazon time again! This is the fourth Kazon episode, and so far they’ve all been good (the first three were: Caretaker, State of Flux and Initiations). Maneuvers starts really well but the ending is disappointing, a bit like previous week’s Cold Fire. I wonder why the writers messed it up so much, but probably due to the tight schedule of a television production they couldn’t come up with better ideas to close stories with such brilliant premises.
Maneuvers begins with a full blown attack on the USS Voyager in which a Kazon ship manages to lure the Starfleet ship into a trap, to penetrate its shields, and to bring two groups of saboteurs aboard and steal Federation transportation technology! How? But of course thanks to the traitor Seska, who appears here for the first time with Cardassian features instead of the usual Bajoran ones (see State of Flux)! Janeway decides that such technology cannot be left in Kazon hands, as it would destabilize the power of the quadrant, and so she goes in search of the attackers. Chakotay takes it much more personally and steals a shuttle to embark on a near-suicide mission to either recover or destroy the stolen apparatus.
The result is a very tense confrontation between the two ex-comrades and ex-maquis, with the addition of Seska’s political machinations in the background to unite various Kazon sects thanks to the promise of power obtainable with Federation technology. So, this first part works great. On the other hand, the final part of the episode leaves a lot to be desired. Chakotay is a prisoner on a Kazon ship that is part of a fleet of six ships, so it’s clear that Voyager cannot deal with them alone. The plan is to teleport him away at warp speed, something that B’Elanna Torres claims to be able to do. But Seska had foreseen that possibility, so it proves impossible to implement the plan. And so… nothing, Voyager goes alone against the Kazon fleet and during the ensuing battle Janeway manages to beam on board the Kazon captains and orders them to surrender. But… the shields were up !!! If it was that simple, all battles could end like that! I’m not a fan of technobabble, but teleporting through shields goes beyond nitpicking…
In any case, the problems of the finale don’t end there: Janeway asks for Chakotay to be released, for his shuttle to be returned… and that’s it! Why doesn’t she ask for Seska’s head? I guess so that she can remain free to come back in the future. Seska also sends a disturbing message to Chakotay: she stole a DNA sample from him and she’s now expecting a child. WTF? This is neither explained nor developed, but I hope at least that when we meet her again this story won’t be abandoned and will be worthy of development. And come to think of it, if Seska’s goal was to take the USS Voyager, why didn’t she continue the initial attack? The Starfleet vessel was at her mercy! These are questions without an answer, I’m afraid… Ciao!
PS: It’s official now: the Kazons are exactly like the Klingons. Even their names are basically the same: K___ON, fill in the blanks as you prefer!
PPS: The Delta Flyers podcast shoutout: Robert Duncan McNeill revealed that all of the scenes with him from behind looking at the bridge screen were shot by the second unit and apparently he was being called upon more than any other colleague to film those scenes due to his position in the bridge.
Episodio precedente: Cold Fire
Episodio successivo: Resistance