Does It Get Better???

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by AdmiralScreed, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 1, 2010
    Trill, Federation World and Proud
    This is an episode you might need to watch again to realize how horrible and pointless it actually is, as it might be easy to be distracted by all the bells and whistles the first time round.
    The problems with the episode that make it one of the worst are:

    The time loops: What is the point of this time loop? Its not real and its all just in Janeway's head. It adds nothing to the story except maybe adding in an element of time travel which is always popular. The story is supposed to be about...I don't know, Janeway fighting death? Then why all this distracting crap about time travel? Its not like its a time travel problem that needs to be solved, it just happens and that's it. It feels like a ridiculously huge amount of pointless padding.

    Now with added Vidiians: Let's throw in some imaginary Vidiians. Why? Just because! Oh and Janeway gets the phage - what a great episode concept! - oh wait, its all just in her head again, yawn.

    Janeway's memorial service: The crew get to gush about how they love Janeway and how she changed her life....but you know its not actually happening, once again its all going on in Janeway's head. Janeway is making up a memorial service in her head about how much everyone loves her. How egotistical can you get? B'Ellana's little speech MIGHT be touching if she was actually giving it and it wasn't all just a figment of Janeway's imagination. Oh and we get more wastes of time with Kes trying to contact Janeway telepathically...

    I think Godben summed it up well in his episode review thread he did a while back

    Coda (0)

    I can only imagine the break-meeting for this episode.

    Jeri Taylor: I have an idea for an episode where Janeway has a near death experience and her father tries to convince her to join him in the afterlife. It could be a profound character piece.
    Joe Menosky: Good idea, but her father should really be an evil alien who wants to eat her soul.
    Brannon Braga: People seem to love Cause and Effect, how about we throw in some time loops for absolutely no reason?
    Kenneth Biller: Don't forget to add a shuttle crash or two. This is Voyager after all.
    Jeri Taylor: All your ideas are crap! But I'm feeling too lazy to do the work required to write a good episode, so I'll use them anyway.

    Re: Alter Ego
    Its a pretty mediocre episode to me but it could have been good with a better actor in Garret Wang. Unfortunately the end turns into "oh no, something's going to destroy the ship" which is pretty tired at this point in Trek.

    Don't expect this to change, Wang employs the "look constipated" mode of acting.

    But it seems like your scores for season 3 are good so far (and a lot better than mine) so what's the problem? Also, it seems you never reviewed "Meld"?
  2. spot_loves_data

    spot_loves_data Captain Captain

    Sep 15, 2011
    Coda was one of my favorites. I hadn't see that particular take on death before or since. I also thought it was kind of ballsy of them to knock new age beliefs (emphasis on "kind of"). There's no numinous white light, no reincarnation, no atheistic oblivion, no heaven... you're just a captive and a food source to a more powerful creature.

    Does it matter as long as the audience is taken along for the ride? I know I was drawn in.

    It's about Janeway in a mental face-off with an alien. We find out how strong her determination and sense of self are.

    The alien had to keep starting over when Janeway wouldn't give in. That was another thing I liked about this episode. It started off looking like time travel, but then it surprised me.

    Janeway's own memories were being used to the alien's advantage. The Vidiians were a recurring threat, Janeway must have feared them.

    Granted, that was egotistical, but it fit with the image of a Starfleet captain. I can't see any of the other captains fretting about whether they were liked, or expecting anything less than a moving memorial service.
  3. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 1, 2010
    Trill, Federation World and Proud
    Soo many things wrong with this episode.

    The captain and first officer in a shuttle together going to collect some random samples - implausible plot contrivance
    The shuttle crashes – Jeez , that’s not overdone!
    Time loops – Rip off of the very popular episode “Cause and Effect” for absolutely no reason that’s relevant to the plot and probably only done to pad out the episode and make people go “oooh I like time travel, its fun and high concept!!”
    Janeway has the phage – As I said before, *this* is a good plot concept and probably better than the one we’re dealing with here
    The doctor kills Janeway- stupid, stupid, stupid, what’s the point of this? If the parasite is trying to convince Janeway that she died, its probably best not to have her believe that one of her crew is acting totally out of character. Clearly another scene only added for the supposed "cool" factor of seeing one of our characters kill another.
    The time loops end and...?– Basically the first 20 minutes of the episode was a waste of time having nothing to do with anything. This alien parasite is meant to make her believe she’s dead, no one can convince me that time loops would be needed or relevant whatsoever in that plan.
    “The Next Phase” is ripped off – So Janeway runs about the ship like a ghost just like in “The Next Phase” except in this instance none of its real, so the character reactions to her “death” mean absolutely nothing, zilch, nada. Oh and the memorial retroactively creates some kind of relationship between Janeway and Kim that we’ve never seen.
    “Go back to hell coward” – Unrealistic, crappy dialogue. At least “Assimilate this!” took place in a movie and had that excuse, Janeway should not be coming off with dumb one liners only suitable for an 80s action here.
    What did this episode teach us? – We realize it was all just in Janeway’s head and we don’t really learn anything about any of the characters except that even Janeway’s not stupid enough to be taken in by some alien posing as her dad asking her to step into some orangey, fiery-looking portal.

    This episode was just LAZY. It wasn’t telling us anything about the relationships the characters had with eachother (except that Janeway clearly believed everyone loved her dearly) and it wasn’t doing anything. Season 3 really was suffering from a dearth of good writing and even concepts if this is one of the best concepts they could come up with this year.

    "Cause and Effect" + "The Next Phase" - originality - good dialogue - any kind of point = "Coda"

    Its just a "turn your brain off and enjoy the random assortment of meaningless scenes" episode and for that reason, its terrible.
  4. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

    Nov 5, 2011
    Those are all good points, You_Will-Fail. A couple of those things bothered me as well, but despite its many flaws I still enjoyed Coda quite a bit.

    Also, you mentioned that my scores for season 3 had been pretty high so far. A couple comments on that.
    -I have gone back and adjusted some of my ratings. Here is how the season stacks up so far:

    Basics P2 10
    Flashback 6
    The Chute 5
    The Swarm 5
    False Profits 4
    Remember 5
    Sacred Ground 3
    Future’s End P1 6
    Future’s End P2 8
    Warlord 5
    The Q And The Grey 3
    Macrocosm 4
    Fair Trade 7
    Alter Ego 6
    Coda 8

    For the most part the scores haven't been too bad, but I think that is primarily due to the terrific performances of the cast and not due to the writing staff. The actors have really been holding the show together, and I'm afraid that with a lesser group this show wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable.

    I'm a little ashamed to say this because I'm a hardcore TNG fan, but as a whole I like the Voyager cast a little bit more than the TNG cast, but if I were to go back and rewatch TNG, I can guarantee you that every season of that show would have higher averages than this Voyager season has so far. And why is that? Because TNG had a terrific writing staff......and also because TNG had Patrick Stewart as Picard. :) I think that with much better writing Voyager could be just as good as TNG, if not better. That's why it's such a shame that the talent of these actors are being wasted on such ridiculous scripts.
  5. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    QC, IL, USA
    The cast and characters of Voyager are the main reasons that I'm a fan. The stories aren't always very good, but I really enjoy the people.
  6. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 1, 2010
    Trill, Federation World and Proud
    Yeah, the cast of characters/actors is a definite selling point of this show and they do help to carry some dreck sometimes.
    Although I still think you giving Coda an 8 is kind of unbelievable, is it REALLY one of your favorite episodes of the whole show yet? Your score of 8 ranks it higher than episodes like "Prime Factors", "Tuvix", "Meld" and "Jetrel" - episodes that included a lot of characterization along with a sci-fi twist unlike Coda which was all sci-fi twist and nothing else. Like the candy floss of sci-fi.

    Can you really say that "Coda" is a *better* Trek episode than like 95% of what you've seen so far of Voyager?
  7. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

    Nov 5, 2011
    As I have more time to mull over Coda it's possible that my rating will change, but for now I am standing by my 8. Yes, it is full of plot holes, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit and it really moved me.
  8. JanewayRulz!

    JanewayRulz! Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 23, 2009
    North America
    I loved Coda... loved watching Janeway and Neelix chat about "off hours" recreation, loved watching Chakotay tease Janeway about her ballet routine, loved watching Janeway go up against a mind control alien and EVENTUALLY win.

    But most important, I loved watching how SHE perceives her interactions with the crew and what she thinks would be THEIR reaction to her death. Her characterization of B'Elanna and Harry's was spot on, IMHO.

    TORRES: When I came to this ship I resented the fact that Captain Janeway was responsible for our being stranded here in the Delta Quadrant. I didn't think that she made the right decision and I certainly didn't want to serve under her command. In the beginning I fought her. Even when she made me Chief Engineer I didn't trust her reasons. I kept looking for a hidden agenda. I actually believed that she'd set me up to fail. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. She saw, she saw something in me that I didn't see. She saw a worthwhile person where I saw a lost and hostile misfit, and because she had faith in me I began to have faith in myself. And when she died, the first thing I thought was that I couldn't do this without her. That I needed her too badly - her strength and her compassion. But then I realized that the gift that she gave me, and gave a lot of us here, was the knowledge that we are better and stronger than we think. I wish I had said these things to her, I wish I'd taken the time.

  9. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 1, 2010
    Trill, Federation World and Proud
    Well that's fine Admiralscreed, I certainly know that my opinions of episodes changed from the first time I saw them too! I hated "Fair Trade" until a rewatch and actually remembering thinking "Coda" was ok until a rewatch, haha.

    Ok you seriously don't think its incredibly egotistical that Janeway is just assuming that she's had this huge positive impact on B'Ellana and changed her life? Like if I made up a memorial service in my mind where everyone I know talks about how amazing I was and how much I improved their lives...that's not pretty.
    Could the woman BE any more full of herself?
  10. Misco

    Misco Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 20, 2001
    The Primary Universe
    Since the alien is using and manipulating Janeway's memories and thoughts I don't think this is too unrealistic a scenario. This is only season 3 so Janeway and the Doctor are not particularly close at this point and the crew still occasionally treat him as if he were merely a tool or a piece of machinery; Janeway is no different in this regard. When your only qualified medical personnel is a computer program I would think it would only be natural to have some latent anxieties about it breaking down or malfunctioning; this is a serious barrier to creating a trusting relationship. A problem that is only exacerbated when you are the captain. Having the Doctor turn on her or, if you like, solve a problem with a solution that would obviously be unacceptable to most actual people, is simply a way to show the alien is tapping into and using pre-exisiting anxieties.

    Trek rips off its prior episodes all the time. I don't think this is necessarily a poorer attempt at the idea than The Next Phase.In fact I think it succeeds emotionally far better than the TNG episode did.

    Ha. Yeah, admittedly this line has always seemed a little incongruous.

    I totally agree. I don't think the memorial service comes off as being overly egotistical. I can imagine B'Elanna and Harry saying exactly the things they said. The "...these are the times we have to remember" line almost seems like a moment between Janeway and Harry that could have been in a prior episode. But I also like that because of the way the episode is it's obviously a moment that Janeway herself thought was important.

    Neither do I think that any relationship between Harry and Janeway is portrayed in Coda that wasn't already there in previous episodes. I think it's always been well established that Janeway is protective of Harry and he looks up to her like anybody else on their first important assignment would look up to their superior officer, if not more so due to Voyager's circumstances. She would know this and therefore it isn't strange or out of place that Harry would speak in such a way at her imaginary memorial.
  11. JanewayRulz!

    JanewayRulz! Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 23, 2009
    North America
    Uhhh, no. :vulcan:

    Its not egotistical to see the impact you've had on another person. Its egotistical to see only yourself when you look at your life.

    Its easy to dismiss Janeway's relationship with B'Elanna when you compare it to Kes or to Seven, and yet her effect was just as telling upon B'Elanna as we can see from "Unimatrix Zero":

    EMH: Can't we find another Borg ship? A sphere, maybe? Something less imposing?
    TORRES: I rechecked long-range sensors. There's nothing.
    JANEWAY: This is our target. You'll keep a transporter lock on me. Once I make it to the central plexus and release the virus, you can beam me back.
    EMH: In how many pieces? It's ridiculous.
    SEVEN: Agreed. I should go. I'm the only one with experience.
    JANEWAY: You're our only connection to Unimatrix Zero. You're needed here. It was my decision to help these people. This is my responsibility.
    TUVOK: Starfleet Tactical Directive thirty six. The Captain will not engage a hostile force without the protection of a Security Officer. The probability of success is greater if there are two of us.
    TORRES: Make that three. If you're going to pull this off you'll need an Engineer in there.
    PARIS: B'Elanna.
    TORRES: Tactical directive thirty six A.
    PARIS: (Aghast!)There is no directive thirty six A.
    TORRES: There is now.

    And if you need something more BLATANT than that... just watch season 6's "Barge of the Dead"...

    TORRES: You know, you're just like her.
    JANEWAY: Lieutenant?
    TORRES: My mother. You're as dedicated to Starfleet principles as she was to Klingon honour. I know that we haven't always seen eye to eye, but despite our differences you helped me become a good officer and I'd like to think that you're proud of me for it.
    JANEWAY: I am.
    TORRES: My mother never had the chance to be proud of me. I'd like her to know me the way you do. I don't want her to die thinking of me as a disgrace. You have to let me do this. know, the ep where her Mother is dressed in the uniform of a Starship Captain for the last two scenes and B'Elanna ends up in someone's (NOT Tom's) arms when she comes out of her coma.

  12. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

    Nov 5, 2011
    Please refrain from spoilers. Thank you. :)
  13. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Apr 18, 2003
    The Digital Garden
    I agree with JanewayRulz!
    Plus, how can it be egotistical if it's in Janeway's head?
    It's never said out loud physically.
    There thoughts, unspoken words or ideas.
    We are not considered guilty of what goes on in our minds. Janeway was in a coma like state and never said any of was we saw verbally.
    The only one who was aware of what Janeway thinks is the alien.
  14. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Apr 18, 2003
    The Digital Garden
    It's your review thread and the reviews are from your personal POV. That's what makes it so great. We're getting to see how you see from your perspective, not our own.
  15. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

    Nov 5, 2011
    Thanks for the kind words, exodus.

    I just watched another couple episodes:

    Blood Fever: This episode saw some nice development for Tom and B'Elanna, as well as the Vulcan ensign whom I cannot remember the name of. I especially liked the ending where we discovered the intruders were the Borg.
    No real complaints, but at the same time this wasn't one of the most moving episode ever.

    Unity: The first Borg episode on Voyager, and quite a good one at that. This was quite a different portrayal of the Borg. Similar to I, Borg, the Borg were portrayed as sympathetic characters, and while it is a big departure from the Borg we saw in TBOBW, I still quite liked it. My favorite scene of the entire episode was when Chakotay linked with the Borg and saw all of their thoughts. On the topic of Chakotay, I would also like to say that I'm happy he finally got an episode of his own (Tatoo doesn't count because it was pretty mediocre). I really like the way he was used in this episode. Janeway was also faced with a difficult decision, but I think she made the right choice in not reactivating the Borg Cube because of the threat that it posed (even if Chakotay did eventually reactivate himself).
    All in all this was a very solid and enjoyable episode, and a great new look at the Borg!
  16. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

    Sep 5, 2011
    The ensign is Vorik, who's the identical twin brother of Taurik from TNG Lower Decks. ;)
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Apr 15, 2000
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    And despite being producer Jeri Taylor's son, the real reason that he must have gotten such a prolific part in this episode beyond... This is one of the two episodes that Wang was banned form the set for chronic tardiness (Along with the according reduction in his salary).
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    ^Do you have sources for that? This is news to me.
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Oct 8, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    He mentions almost being fired during the third season for not being punctual in this interview at Google couldn't find anything more specific, but it lines up with the episodes mentioned.
  20. Killandra

    Killandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 24, 2011
    There were other sources online and off that mentioned that before. Apparently the original idea was to have Kim killed off the show, but last minute, Kes (Jennifer Lien) got the boot. Many believe this had to do with Wang being nominated one of tv's most beautiful people that year and they thought it'd hurt the ratings. I'm not sure how true that is, but I wouldn't be too surprised. I liked Harry, but to me, he really outlived his use and purpose on the show and should have had an exit, whether it be death or something else.