Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “The Killing Game, Part II”

“The Killing Game, Part II”
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Victor Lobl
Season 4, Episode 19
Production episode 187
Original air date: March 4, 1998
Stardate: 51715.2

Captain’s log. We get a summary of Part 1 and then we see Captain Miller (Chakotay) and his soldiers swarming out into the corridors of Voyager, while Janeway and Seven work their way to astrometrics. Once there, they determine that the only way to disable the neural interfaces is from sickbay, which is heavily guarded by Hirogen.

Kim tells Karr that his best bet is to allow Kim to start an energy surge in engineering, but Karr doesn’t want to risk damaging the holodeck because he wants to use the technology. He thinks this is the key to the Hirogen culture not becoming overly diffuse and relying on hunting prey to extinction, thus forcing them to move on to greener pastures. They can just use the holodeck technology to hunt to their heart’s content. Since Voyager is the only source they have of this tech, Karr won’t risk destroying it. Instead, he diverts hunters from the Klingon simulation to round up the soldiers pouring into the corridors.

Miller and Lieutenant Davis (Paris) think the Voyager corridors are some kind of secret Nazi weapons lab, though neither Tuvok nor Brigitte (Torres) know anything about it, to their chagrin.

Janeway and Seven return to the holodeck via a Jefferies Tube (which they call a secret tunnel) to get the still-cosplaying crew to help out by pretending to be Katrine and Mademoiselle de Neuf once again. Tuvok is dubious about how chummy Janeway is now with Seven, but goes along with it.

Janeway takes Miller with her to the “tunnels” which lead to a “cave system” (the Klingon simulation, where Neelix-the-Klingon is very drunk). The Hirogen have deactivated the EMH when he got mouthy because he was told to treat a Hirogen with a minor injury before treating a member of Voyager’s crew with internal injuries. However, Janeway is able to reactivate him on the holodeck. He confirms that they can only disable the neural interfaces from sickbay itself. Janeway decides to set explosives under the sickbay deck, destroying the console.

Leaving the EMH with the Klingons, Janeway and Miller go through the “tunnels” some more. Unfortunately, there’s a level-nine force field around sickbay. Leaving Miller to detonate the explosives on her signal, Janeway goes to sickbay to distract the Hirogen medic. She does it, and the explosive goes off, but Janeway is wounded, shot in the leg.

On the holodeck, the neural interfaces futz out just when the Germans capture them, showing spectacularly hilarious timing. Seven quickly fills Torres, Tuvok, and Paris in on what’s happening.

Turanj wants to kill the Voyager crew on the holodeck, but Karr wants to keep them as hostages. Karr negotiates with Janeway, asking her help to repair the holodeck, but Janeway would sooner destroy the ship. Karr begs with her to let him save Hirogen society with Voyager’s holographic technology.

Impressed with Karr’s nobility of cause, if not his methods, she agrees to a cease-fire. Unfortunately, Turanj refuses to go along with it, and along with the Nazi captain, continues fighting.

Karr agrees to help Janeway shut the holodecks down, which she can only do with a power surge. She and Karr go to engineering to do so, but Turanj shows up, kills Karr, and tells Janeway to run. He chases her through the corridors. Unfortunately for him, he’s still carrying a holographic rifle. Janeway manages to lead him out of the (expanded) range of the holoemitters, and his weapon disappears. Now Janeway has the advantage.

Star Trek: Voyager "The Killing Game Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

Seven creates a photonic grenade that will wipe out the Nazis’ weapons, but she’s shot before she can throw it, so it winds up wiping out the Allies’ weapons.

The EMH convinces Neelix to get back into Klingon character and send the Klingons over to help fight the Nazis. (Neelix and the EMH themselves stay out of the fighting—and the rain in France—as much as possible.)

Janeway offers Turanj a chance to surrender. Instead he tries to shoot her. She shoots first, and Turanj falls to his death. Janeway is then finally able to overload the holodeck and shut it down.

The fighting continues for some time before they finally decide to call a truce. Janeway gives the new Hirogen commander an optronic data core that will give the Hirogen holodeck technology, which is what Karr wanted. (The new alpha is less than impressed, but takes it as a trophy of the hunt in any case.)

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? The expanded holodeck causes all kinds of power and control issues, to the point where Janeway can only shut it down by overloading it. Also Seven creates photonic grenades that don’t hurt people but wipe out holographic constructs.

There’s coffee in that nebula! Janeway is impressed with Karr’s true purpose in using holodeck tech to improve the Hirogen’s lot in life, but her willingness to work with someone responsible for the death of at least one member of her crew is irksome. Then again, it wasn’t an opening-credits regular, so it’s not like it’s anyone she cares about…

Half and half. Torres is both impressed and disgusted with the holographic pregnancy the Hirogen saddled her with, saying she can even feel the baby kick.

Resistance is futile. Seven creates a photonic grenade that would win the day if she could’ve wielded it properly. Because she’s just that awesome.

Forever an ensign. At one point, Paris as Lieutenant Davis sees Kim in a Voyager corridor and assumes he’s on the other side, because he looks Asian, and the Japanese were allies with the Nazis. Kim manages to convince Davis that he’s American.

Star Trek: Voyager "The Killing Game Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

Please state the nature of the medical emergency. The EMH lectures the Hirogen medic on the meaning of the word triage and gets deactivated for his trouble. He then encourages the Klingons to fight (not a tough job, that) and hides under an awning.

Everybody comes to Neelix’s. Neelix gets to mostly be drunk as a Klingon, then tries to fake being one to mediocre effect.

What happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck. It is never made clear how, exactly, the holodeck is able to make a person appear and feel pregnant.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Davis is not thrilled to find out that Brigitte is pregnant by a Nazi captain, but Brigitte insists that she did it solely to win his trust.

Do it.

“Sing or you will die.”

“Then I’ll die.”

–Turanj giving an order to “Mademoiselle de Neuf,” and Seven disobeying it.

Welcome aboard. Back from Part 1 are Danny Goldring as Karr, Mark Deakins as Turanj, Mark Metcalf as the medic, J. Paul Boehmer as the Nazi captain, and Paul S. Eckstein as the young Hirogen.

Trivial matters: This obviously continues from Part 1. Both parts were initially aired on the same night in a single block on UPN, though in reruns and on home video, they’ve remained separate.

It rained constantly during the time they were filming on location to do the outdoor scenes in Sainte Claire, to the point where they had to incorporate it into the story.

The Hirogen’s use of the holographic technology will be seen in “Flesh and Blood” in season seven.

As with last time, Torres’ holodeck character of Brigitte is pregnant, allowing Roxann Dawson’s pregnancy to be seen. She will appear in two more episodes where her pregnancy is hidden.

This episode makes it impossible to count the number of crewmembers who have died, as Janeway says only that there have been “heavy casualties” on both sides in the fighting that happens off-camera between overloading the holodeck and the truce. So we don’t know what the ship’s complement is at this point, and we know only that more than fifteen crew have died since they left the Ocampa homeworld, as that was the number we hit last time.

Star Trek: Voyager "The Killing Game Part II"

Screenshot: CBS

Set a course for home. “Loosen up, baby doll, the war’s almost over!” I like the very Star Trek plot twist of Karr wanting to use the holodeck to improve his people’s lot in life. It’s a nice touch, and adds a bit more depth of character to Karr, though Turanj’s hidebound nature and sudden-but-inevitable betrayal is tired. Having said that, I loved Janeway tricking him into moving past the range of the holoemitters.

Having said that, Janeway’s own switch from “I’ll destroy the ship before I’ll help you” to “let’s work together” is a bit too abrupt. Karr may have semi-noble intentions, but he’s still the guy who boarded the ship, imprisoned much of the crew, and, in essence, tortured the rest of them. Oh, and killed one of them. But suddenly that doesn’t matter?

I mean, yes, she should pursue a peaceful solution (not that Turanj lets that happen), but the switch is just too fast to be anything but disturbing.

This second part is less fun than the first because the novelty of the cosplay has worn off, and there really isn’t anything to fill the gap. The cliffhanger of Part 1 isn’t really followed up on in any meaningful manner (though the Paris-Kim confrontation is cute). The hope of seeing World War II soldiers prowling the corridors of Voyager never really materializes.

And then in the end, the fight between the Voyager crew and the Hirogen happens off camera, fobbed off in a log entry. Janeway casually mentions “heavy casualties,” but they’re all people not in the opening credits, so it’s not like we have to give a shit. Never mind that this ship that’s tens of thousands of light-years from any repair facilities or replacement crew is suffering so much damage and losing more and more people…

Sigh. I know I’ve harped on those points so much, and this two-parter as a whole is enough fun to ameliorate the problem, but almost all the fun is in Part 1. Not quite all: besides the Paris-Kim confrontation, there’s the EMH and Neelix dragging the Klingons over to the World War II scenario and watching from under the awning, a hilarious bit of comic business.

Still, this probably should’ve been just one part. We get almost none of the role-playing from Part 1, and without that, it’s just people in costumes and new locations for no good reason, and it’s not as exciting.

Warp factor rating: 5

Keith R.A. DeCandido’s next novel is Animal, a thriller he wrote with Dr. Munish K. Batra, about a serial killer who targets people who harm animals. It’s now available for preorder, and if you preorder it directly from WordFire Press before the 24th of December, you get a free urban fantasy short story by Keith.

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