Here’s comes another so-and-so episode! Yep, Innocence is fairly dull, and, among other things, its protagonist makes a mistake that is not in line with his nature at all. I’m talking about the legendary Tuvok, but unfortunately the quality of the previous Vulcan-centric episode is nowhere to be found! Here’s the plot.
Tuvok and the expendable USS Voyager crewman Bennet (Richard Garon) crash land on a moon of Drayan II, a planet home to a race that normally avoids contact with the rest of the quadrant. After the death of the unfortunate ensign, Tuvok meets three children who ask him for protection because, apparently, they have been sent to the surface to die. Meanwhile, Captain Janeway has a first contact with the Drayans but fails in the negotiations to try to rescue the lost shuttle because the First Prelate Alcia (Marnie McPhail) stubbornly refuses to have a real dialogue with our heroes of the Federation. Then, on the one hand Alcia demands that Tuvok leave the moon in order to find the missing children there (who are hidden by Tuvok), but on the other hand she refuses any interference from Voyager.
There are many issues here. The biggest one is Tuvok’s fragrant violation of the Prime Directive! The most logical thing to do, of course, would be to follow it by not helping children to hide from their own people! Instead, the Vulcan violates the Directive and, as usual, worsens the situation which could have been solved very quickly. Another problem is the fact that the whole plot hinges on the lack of basic communication between Janeway and the Drayans. Why do they have first contact AFTER the Voyager crew landed on the moons of Drayan II to search for materials? What if they ran into people during that search? And, above all… if it’s essential for Alcia that no outsider lands on the moon where Tuvok crash landed, why didn’t she tell Janeway right away?
There are also some problems of logical consistency in this episode. Plus, the performance of the three young actors (Tiffany Taubman, Tahj D. Mowry and Sarah Rayne) is anything but convincing, so the result is anything but memorable. Even the final twist is a bit useless, with the little girl who explains to Tuvok what’s going on, thus revealing that she was untrustworthy the whole time! And during that time we got bored of seeing Tuvok interact with these totally unconvincing children, I would have gladly skipped that. And then once again here’s the cliché of unusable teleportation so that shuttles must be used… enough of that! By the way, Voyager lost another shuttle (after those of Initiations, Non Sequitur and Parturition)? How many shuttles were there in the first place? Ciao!
PS: The Delta Flyers podcast shout out: Finally, Robert Duncan McNeill had a negative opinion of an episode after a long time in which he seemed to appreciate everything. To be honest, Innocence deserves a thumbs down, despite the fact that we all think that Tim Russ is great and that he didn’t really get the space he deserved in the series.
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Next episode: The Thaw