INITIATIONS - 2x02 - 4/5
I really like this episode and it's a solid outing for Chakotay (something of a rarity which will only worsen). It's also nice to get some fleshing out of the Kazon, even if they are a fantastically stupid race of people.
Voyager gets relegated to the role of following breadcrumbs the audience is already aware of, making every scene on the ship entirely pointless. However, I like the fact Voyager is brought into the action towards the latter half the episode.
Even Neelix gets a great scene where he gets to be a bad-ass negotiator. This is the sort of stuff he should be getting to do more often, instead torturing the crew with horrendous food and an even worse sense of humour.
It's a shame that Kar couldn't be brought onto the ship as a permanent character or even a semi-regular. Something I love about DS9 is it's vast ensemble cast who are called upon when the story requires it. Kar could've been someone who stayed on Voyager, but only popped up when the story necessitated but this seems to something Voyager almost entirely steers clear of through it's run.
I will say, I find the ending a little annoying. Kar pulls some Deus Ex Culture and comes up with some arbitrary cultural precedent out to resolve what appears to be an impossible situation. It would have been good if there'd been SOME mention of this ritual before hand, but I guess Kenneth Biller wanted a surprise conclusion. But you just can't pull something out of nowhere and use it to resolve the situation. All this ending needed to prop it up would've been a line somewhere earlier that could possibly set a precedent for this act, but there wasn't.
That aside, I really enjoyed this episode and Eisenberg's portrayal of Kar is so solid that I can almost forget it's Nog's voice yelling about honour and sacrifice.