Star Trek: Voyager – S03E16, Blood Fever

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Blood Fever has some very interesting ideas and an amazing ending to say the least, but it also has its problems. The main one, in my opinion, is that there are too many things in it! For a while the Vulcan ensign Vorik (Alexander Enberg) has been hitting on the beautiful B’Elanna Torres and that gets a resolution; the latter’s relationship with Tom Paris is clarified a bit; there’s an encounter with an amazing alien race (reminiscent of Neil Marshall’s great 2005 film, The Descent); and here comes the revelation of the presence of the Borg in the quadrant! Ok, the main idea is taken from an episode of The Original Series, Amok Time, but by now we are used to Voyager episodes rehashing previous ideas…

The USS Voyager has lost so many shuttles that it’s constantly searching for materials and resources (if I’m not wrong, they lost three shuttles already: Initiations, Non Sequitur and Parturition, and I’m being generous by assuming that they recovered those precipitated in Cathexis, Innocence and Future’s End). So, the ship arrives at a seemingly uninhabited planet and B’Elanna has to go down to the surface with Paris and Neelix. Shortly before that, she was the victim of an unpleasant episode with Vorik losing control when she refused him and physically attacked her. B’Elanna is nervous and we later understand that her condition could be fatal. Basically, the Vulcan infected her with an irrepressible desire to have sex. On the other hand, you know, Star Trek never misses an opportunity to criticize the Vulcans and their desire to hide and control emotions (for example, I’m thinking of the TOS episodes The Galileo Seven, and The Return of the Archons). Here we discover (or rather we rediscover – see the aforementioned Amok Time) the pon farr: every seven years, the logical Vulcans must return to their home planet and find a mate or die completely losing control. Apparently, a holographic companion is not enough, as the Doctor discovers in this episode.

In short, on the planet, things immediately go wrong with Neelix who, as usual, turns out to be a burden and B’Elanna getting angry at him. But why do they insist on sending the Talaxian on away missions? Wasn’t it enough to make him lose his lungs (Phage), almost make him lose an eye (Tattoo), merge it with Tuvok (Tuvix), and having him responsible for Kes being almost killed (Sacred Ground)?

In any case, it later turns out that the planet was inhabited after all: some humanoids live underground and they are the descendants of the few who survived an alien invasion. The relations with these unfortunate beings become complicated when B’Elanna loses control again and Chakotay and Tuvok are almost killed! Not only do the aliens not respond to violence with more violence, but they successfully negotiate the freedom of all the crew members who landed on the surface!

In the final act, there’s a fight between B’Elanna and Vorik that for some reason resolves the neurochemical imbalance of the two, a fight which is well choreographed (it’s very different from the Gorn fight in Arena!), but that I found a little forced. And then the ending is creepy, with Chakotay showing Janeway the remains of one of the planet’s invaders… Borg!!! Although I already knew of their presence in Star Trek: Voyager, the reveal was still very strong and creepy, and I hope the series will play this card well! Ciao!

PS: The Delta Flyers podcast shout out: Garrett Wong and Robert Duncan McNeill spent half of the episode talking about Tom and B’Elanna’s relationship, pointing out how Tom Paris had changed a lot since the beginning of the series. In Blood Fever, he respects B’Elanna and rejects her advances given the bad state in which the poor half-Klingon finds herself…


Previous episode: Coda

Next episode: Unity


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