The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. That’s what Spock and Kirk would say, only to forget it in order to help each other when needed. Well, if Janeway had followed this simple rule, the USS Voyager wouldn’t be in the situation it is at the end of this episode (and as the image accompanying this post demonstrates), the first end-of-season cliffhanger for Star Trek: Voyager. And what leads to this situation?
In the first part of Basics, our heroes receive a distress call from Seska (Martha Hackett): it appears that when her and Chakotay (DNA)‘s son was born, Maje Culluh (Anthony De Longis) got really angry and now she needs help. Chakotay feels compelled to do something, and his captain certainly doesn’t want to leave him alone. But… obviously, this is a trap! Did anyone have any doubts? We should know the Kazons by now! We saw them in Caretaker, State of Flux, and Initiations, and in Maneuvers. They are just plain simple villains!
The trap is well thought out. The Kazons have Janeway saving a member of the Nistrim clan, Tierna (John Gegenhuber), who then blows himself up and severely damages the ship which remains at the mercy of the Kazons. The Starfleet crew is forced to evacuate, and due to the damage caused by the constant Kazon attacks, Janeway can’t even do the thing she likes to do the most (just think of Dreadnought and Deadlock): activate the self-destruct sequence of the ship! To make it short, the entire Starfleet crew is stranded on a hostile planet with active volcanoes and with no means of survival other than ingenuity. Shall we end the series here, then?
No, not at all. First of all, Tom Paris has probably managed to escape in a shuttle and may be able to call for help. Then, the Doctor is on board and he surely won’t accept without protesting to render his services to the new Kazon crew. And finally… a great special guest is back, Brad Dourif, reprising his role as Lon Suder. We had seen him as a psychopathic killer in Meld, one of the best episodes of the season. At the beginning of the episode, he’s working with Tuvok to control his killing instincts, and then he hides in the ship after the Kazons have taken control.
Will two people, one of them holographic, be able to save the rest of the crew abandoned on a hostile planet? And will Tom Paris find allies strong enough to stand up to the Kazon-Nistrim in possession of the Federation ship? We’ll find out at the beginning of the third season! That is, since it’s 2021 and I have all the DVDs in the series, as soon as I put the next one in the DVD player and watch the first of the four episodes in it!
But first, a few words about this second season. It has some ups and downs, but the second part was certainly better than the first. Many episodes had with good premises but were executed in a hasty manner, with terrible endings. In any case, and while I’m enjoying this series more than I thought before I started watching it, the strongest criticism I have is about the Delta quadrant ultimately being too much like the Alpha quadrant. We haven’t seen anything different from what we had already seen in The Next Generation. Once again, there’s a starship on an exploration mission, but the idea of catapulting it to the other side of the Universe should have led to some more revolutionary ideas. So far, this hasn’t happened. We met a couple of memorable alien races to remember, Vidiians and Kazons, and one is almost a carbon copy of the Klingons. I hope that the next seasons will be more surprising! Ciao!
PS: The Delta Flyers podcast shout out: It was funny to discover that shooting the first part of Basics was a kind of adventure between Kazon extras who couldn’t behave as they should, and torrential rains in Los Angeles that caused an injury to poor Garrett Wang with his old shoes used by Brent Spiner in The Next Generation!
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Next episode: Basics (Part II)