content by

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few — Star Trek: Picard First Season Overview

In my review of the first-season finale of Picard, I used the famous Anton Chekhov metaphor about how if you hang a gun on the wall early in the story, it should be fired late in the story. While I think that metaphor remains apt, I think an even better one to discuss the first season of Picard as a whole is juggling a lot of hard-boiled eggs.

The show caught most of them, but a few fell to the ground, and a few of those shattered when they hit.


Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Non Sequitur”

“Non Sequitur”
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston
Season 2, Episode 5
Production episode 122
Original air date: September 25, 1995
Stardate: 49001

Captain’s log. Kim wakes up from a dream that includes Janeway trying to contact him on a shuttlecraft to find himself in bed in the apartment he shares in San Francisco’s Old Town neighborhood with his fiancée Libby. This confuses him, as he and Libby were not engaged when Voyager was lost—and, well, he should be on Voyager. Libby tells him the date, which is the date he thinks it is, but everything is different.

[Why does everyone say, “Relax!” when they’re about to do something terrible?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Elogium”

Written by Jimmy Diggs & Steve J. Kay and Kenneth Biller and Jeri Taylor
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 2, Episode 4
Production episode 118
Original air date: September 18, 1995
Stardate: 48921.3

Captain’s log. Chakotay stumbles on two crewmembers smooching in the turbolift. This prompts a conversation with Janeway on the subject of fraternization. Meanwhile, Paris helps Kes carry some cabbage from hydroponics to Neelix’s kitchen, prompting a jealous snit from Neelix.

[It appears we have lost our sex appeal, Captain.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

The Picard Maneuver — Star Trek: Picard’s “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”

Rather famously, playwright Anton Chekhov believed that stories should not have extraneous details. On several occasions, Chekhov wrote about this in letters, variations on the theme that if you have a gun on the wall in your story, it should be fired by the end of the story, or it shouldn’t be on the wall in the first place.

This season of Star Trek: Picard has hung a good many guns on the wall, and while Part 2 of the season finale fires most of them, it doesn’t quite fire them all, and a few of them misfire badly. Having said that, it’s a most satisfying conclusion to the season.

[To say you have no choice is a failure of imagination.]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Projections”

Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Season 2, Episode 3
Production episode 117
Original air date: September 11, 1995
Stardate: 48892.1

Captain’s log. The EMH is activated to an empty sickbay. The computer states that there is nobody on board, but the ship is at red alert, and there are no escape pods left. The last log entry is a chaotic one by Janeway, which gives incomplete information, only that they’re under attack.

[Don’t panic!]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Initiations”

Written by Kenneth Biller
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 2, Episode 2
Production episode 121
Original air date: September 4, 1995
Stardate: 49005.3

Captain’s log. Chakotay is in a shuttle, isolated from Voyager, performing a ritual to honor his dead father, Kolopak. It’s interrupted by phaser fire: a small one-person Kazon-Ogla ship. The one person on board is a teenager, Kar, who has been given the assignment to kill Chakotay by First Maje Razik in order to earn his name and become a full Ogla.

[I’m afraid you would not score well on our training exercises.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

“I noticed a little turbulence” — Star Trek: Picard’s “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1”

There are many types of two-part stories, but there are two that are most common. One is the type where each part is a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end, but the two are linked, and the events of Part 2 are dictated by the events of Part 1. A good popular example of this would be the most recent two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame.

The second is what we get from “Et in Arcadia Ego,” to wit, a single story split in half. In those situations, Part 1 is often hard to review, because it’s almost all setup. However, I can say that Part 1 of Picard’s two-part season finale is, at the very least, good setup.

[So, you here to help with the clean-up, or do you just make messes?]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “The 37’s”

“The 37’s”
Written by Jeri Taylor & Brannon Braga
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 2, Episode 1
Production episode 120
Original air date: August 28, 1995
Stardate: 48975.1

Captain’s log. Kim picks up traces of rust, which is unusual to say the least. They track it to a 1936 pickup truck that’s inexplicably floating in space. Paris recognizes the make and model, as he has a heretofore unknown and plot-convenient love of old vehicles.

[Who’s Amelia Earhart?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: First Season Overview

Star Trek: Voyager First Season
Original air dates: January – May 1995
Executive Producers: Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Jeri Taylor

Captain’s log. After setting up the Maquis-Federation conflict on both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Voyager debuted in January 1995, kicking off the brand-spanking-new United Paramount Network with a Starfleet ship searching for a Maquis vessel that disappeared in the Badlands. Both ships were hijacked across the galaxy by a powerful, dying alien being who cared for a species known as the Ocampa.

[We are alone here, at the mercy of any number of hostile aliens, because of the incomprehensible decision of a Federation captain…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

“Arroz con leche se quiere casar” — Star Trek: Picard’s “Broken Pieces”

It’s impressive how much we find out in this episode of Picard. After seven episodes of mysteries and confusion and questions, we get some real revelations, starting with the origin of the Zhat Vash, continuing to the revelation of who’s responsible for the attack on Mars, and also including Rios’s backstory and how it relates to the whole storyline. As an added bonus we get multiple callbacks from the general (to Data’s character on TNG and to the Borg transwarp hub established on Voyager) to the specific (“Datalore,” “Tapestry“). And best of all, the first words Picard speaks to Jurati when she wakes up is that she is to turn herself in as a murderer.

[Admiral Picard, with all due respect, and at long last, shut the f*ck up!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Learning Curve”

“Learning Curve”
Written by Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias
Directed by David Livingston
Season 1, Episode 15
Production episode 116
Original air date: May 22, 1995
Stardate: 48846.5

Captain’s log. Janeway’s latest jaunt into the holodeck to do her Mrs. Davenport novel is interrupted by the two children she’s governess for disappearing. It’s one of several systems failures. Tuvok goes to investigate and finds a panel open—and Crewman Kenneth Dalby inside. He found a bioneural gelpack was malfunctioning and swapped it out for a new one. His doing so caused the system hiccups, mostly because he never bothered to report it to anyone. When Tuvok calls him on that lack of reporting, Dalby is insubordinate as hell.

[There’s the Starfleet way and there’s the Maquis way.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Jetrel”

Written by James Thornton & Scott Nimerfro and Jack Klein & Karen Klein and Kenneth Biller
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 1, Episode 14
Production episode 115
Original air date: May 15, 1995
Stardate: 48832.1

Captain’s log. Neelix and Tuvok are playing pool against each other on Chez Sandrine holodeck program, with Paris and Gaunt Gary observing and giving playing advice, when Janeway summons Neelix to the bridge. A Haakonian is asking for Neelix by name. Neelix reveals that the Haakonians and the Talaxians were at war for a long time, and when the Haakonian reveals himself to be Dr. Ma’bor Jetrel, Neelix stomps off the bridge in disgust.

[Captain, please tell Dr. Jetrel that I am touched by his tender concern for my state of health, but that I’d rather be immersed in a pit of Krallinian eels than be examined by him.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

“Baby steps…” — Star Trek: Picard’s “Nepenthe”

Back in 1979, it was a moment of joy to be able to walk into a movie theatre and, for the first time in ten years, see William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig again play the iconic roles they’d played on TV (and also voiced on the animated series). After ten years of watching the same episodes over and over again, we had our old friends back, and it was lovely, even though the movie was terrible.

Back in 1987, no one quite knew what to expect from this new version of Trek. There was a very vocal contingent of fandom that rejected the very notion, that you can’t possibly do Star Trek without Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the gang.

And yet, in 2020, I got the same moment of glee watching “Nepenthe” that I got from first seeing The Motion Picture 41 years ago.

[“You were the greatest captain ever, I heard.” “‘Greatest captain ever’? Where’d you get that nonsense?” “From you!” “From me? I must’ve been drinking at the time…”]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Faces”

Written by Jonathan Glassner and Kenneth Biller
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 1, Episode 13
Production episode 114
Original air date: May 8, 1995
Stardate: 48784.2

Captain’s log. (Note: since the character of B’Elanna Torres spends this entire episode as two people, one human, one Klingon, the Klingon iteration will be referred to as “B’Elanna” and the human one will be referred to as “Torres.”)

A Vidiian scientist named Sulan wakes up his newest patient: B’Elanna, who is now a full Klingon. Sulan has extracted her Klingon DNA, converted it to energy and then back to matter as a fully formed person. He believes Klingons might be able to resist the phage that has been ravaging the Vidiians for so long, and that B’Elanna may hold the key to the cure.

[They’re the ones with the guns.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Cathexis”

Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 1, Episode 12
Production episode 113
Original air date: May 1, 1995
Stardate: 48734.2

Captain’s log. Janeway play-acting on the holodeck is interrupted by Kim, who reports that Chakotay and Tuvok’s shuttle is on course for Voyager, but neither are responding to hails. Janeway has them beamed to sickbay, where they’re both unconscious. The EMH treats them, but while Tuvok just has an easily treated concussion, Chakotay is in a coma and shows no neural or brain activity whatsoever. He can be kept breathing indefinitely, but there’s every indication that he’s completely brain-dead.

[Don’t you think you should scan him or dissect him or something? Just to make sure?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

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