THE CLOUD - 1x06 - 3/5
"The Cloud" is a little odd in that it follows the exact same episode structure that "Parallax" did only a few episodes earlier - anomaly in space A story, character development B story.
This episode is enjoyable, but I am not sure if it works as well for me as Parallax did in regards to the character stuff. Tuvok is continually portrayed as a total jackass. I mean, there are Vulcans, but Tuvok just seems to go out of his way to dump shit on people. Fortunately, it's Harry Kim who gets it this episode, so I don't mind so much.
Sandrine's is just not an appealing locale for me. I never really got into it as a location. Also it seems a little at odds with the overarching issue that has been power conservation. They can't replicate coffee but they can run this high-tech piece of entertainment which has been stated in other series' as a huge drain on power? This seems to be glossed over entirely.
Neelix raging about Janeway taking Voyager into another perilous situation is probably the first thing he has said and done that I have enjoyed. I also enjoy finding out B'Elanna killed her animal guide. She's great.
One major thing that pissed me off was Neelix just showing up on the bridge during a Red Alert. That's just…..aaaaaargh. Made me almost scream - "WHY ARE YOU ON THE BRIDGE SERVING SNACKS!!?" The extent to which this unlikeable tag-along gets free reign is just intolerable. You'd think people would have learned to keep him on a proverbial tight leash after the Phage incident. But no - Neelix is freely allowed to get in harms way or just be a general nuisance.
Overall, this gets a 3/5 from me. The character stuff isn't as strong as it was in Parallax, but I found the anomaly a little more interesting. It may have been derivative of other Star Trek space aliens (Tin Man, V'Ger, Galaxy's Child, TOS Space Amoeba), but that's probably why I liked it. It was a typical Star Trekky situation where the solution involved the main cast altruistically helping another life form, and that helped bump the episode from a 2 to a 3.