EXTREME RISK - 5x03 - 2/5
Sigh Voyager, you just couldn't keep it up could you and have a third great episode in a row? Oh well, at least I've gotta give them credit for trying with this episode, which is the only reason I gave it a 2 instead a 1. Dawson's portrayal of someone with depression is completely fine. My problem is that this seems to come out of absolutely no where.
My partner suffers from chronic depression and has been for several years. I have lived with and observed his varying emotional and physical states. It's not something that just appears out of absolutely no where. It is an observable and gradual change in mood and behaviour over a reasonably long period of time.
I am very uncomfortable with the scene between Paris, Chakotay and Janeway where they agree to violate Torres' privacy. You cannot confront and betray people with depression like this. Sufferers need to seek professional help and can only do that if they are encouraged by friends around them whom they can trust and again, this can take a LONG period of time to happen.
The scene towards the end of the episode between Chakotay and Torres is very good, however, it don't like where things end up. This could be a precursor to Torres seeking the help she needs, but leaving it at just a conversation with Chakotay and Torres saying she will eventually be fine is not a realistic resolution. Sufferers of depression need to seek the professional help of a psychologist, or at the very least, a counsellor - someone they don't have an emotional investment in. I know USS Voyager is not in an ideal situation, but the Doctor could provide this to some degree.
I am all for Star Trek tackling this issue, but I am not happy with the lip service this serious sociological and mental health issue is given in this episode, especially since it presents some false, simplistic resolutions to an issue that doesn't really come up ever again.
Voyager is notorious for reset button style storytelling. Jeri Taylor has specifically stated that the show needed to be mostly self contained episodes, which as a creative decision, is her prerogative (even if it's a dumb decision). In that case, DON'T tackle issues that can't be explored and given the proper respect it deserves in 40 minutes. At best it comes off as half-assed and at worst, ignorant and arrogant.
The stuff about building the Delta Flyer is fun, but mostly immaterial. I probably would've preferred if this episode was only about that storyline and played out in a Space Race/The Right Stuff kinda way.
I understand I have a vested emotional interest in this issue, and that colours my opinion on this episode. But there is no way I can put those feelings to the side when a franchise I love treats an issue I care about so deeply with such disrespect.