Night - A Journey through Darkness
edited: Sunday, May 13, 2001
By Rose G rose.moss@LineOne.net
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2001
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As Voyager travels through a void, Captain Janeway faces a personal crisis.
Night - A Journey through Darkness When Voyager travels through a region devoid of stars,Captain Janeway faces her own personal crisis.
A Journey through Darkness Note - Paramount owns the copyright to Voyager and its characters.The following review is purely a personal opinion. Night Season 5, Episode 1 Stardate 52081.2 Voyager is traversing an area of space with no stars or planets, in other words a void, which it will take them two years to cross. Tom and Harry amuse themselves with a new holodeck programme, Captain Proton, a black and white recreation 1950's and 60's cheesy sci fi shows, Neelix suffers from panic attacks and Tom and B'Elanna bicker, while Chakotay and Tuvok strive to keep the ship running and the crew motivated. The captain, now she has time to reflect on the last few years is stricken with guilt at causing Voyager to be stranded and refuses to leave her quarters. After two months of tedium, the ship is suddenly invaded by aliens, who live in the void. The Captain emerges, as her ship is in danger, and one of the aliens is captured. In the meantime, another ship comes to Voyager's aid, belonging to a race called the Malon. In Sickbay, the Doctor finds the alien is seriously ill with radiation poisoning. The captive tells Captain Janeway, that his people are being poisoned by the Malon dumping toxic waste in their home. Janeway promises to help and returns him to his people. The Malon captain tells the crew of a shortcut through the void, by which their ships enter and leave the region. B'Elanna shows the Malon how to stop polluting the region, but they aren't interested. Captain Janeway decides the only thing to do is for Voyager to escape through the space corridor, while she stays behind in a shuttle to collapse the vortex and save the aliens from further radiation poisoning. Warned by Tuvok about how Janeway is likely to react, the crew led by Chakotay refuse to obey orders. Another solution is found and Voyager escapes collapsing the Vortex behind it. The ship emerges into a starry sky. This was a dark opening episode of what proved to be a rather dark hued season, as the stress of being lost in Delta Quadrant begins to tell on the crew. This episode was full of good moments, such as Tuvok meditating, using images of starfields in the astrometric lab, Harry taking his first turn in the Captain's chair and playing his clarinet in his own composition "Echoes of the Void," Chakotay and Tuvok admitting their dislike of each other, and Neelix looking out into the blackness and suffering a panic attack. For once, I truly sympathized with him, but on the whole, this episode disappointed me, as it could have been so much better, if had explored the Captain's state of mind, in more detail, instead of wasting so much time on the holodeck. I have read much criticism of Janeway's behaviour in this episode, which I don't share, as it's obvious, she's suffering from a depressive illness, a nightmarish condition,which can strike anyone. Obviously mental illness, is no better understood in the future than it is now. It baffles me that Janeway isolating herself during a time when nothing was happening on the ship has received so much crticism. Yet Sisko left DS9 to go home to his father ,after the death of Jazia and the loss of the prophets. This was in the middle of a war,and he stayed three months, only returning after a vision from the Prophets, when his absence could have had devastating consequences for the Fedaration and the outcome of the war Yet few people seem to mention this.Is it because society sympathizes with reactive depression sufferers, while blaming those with clinical depression ? In neither scenario is the sufferer to blame.When her ship is in danger, Janeway manages to rise to the occasion at once,despite her depressive illness. I was horrified that, the doctor was nowhere to be seen, who should have been treating Janeway, and only a few crew members seemed at all concerned about her. A weaker person than Kathryn Janeway, would have had a nervous breakdown long ago. Nothing in her training, would have prepared her for the situation she's in, thousands of light years from contact with Starfleet and a crew partially composed of badly trained former criminals. Her friend and confidante, Kes, had left the ship, which must have been a great loss, especially as the newset addition to the crew, Seven of Nine ,drained even more of Janeway's emotional energy rather than being a comforting presence. Kirk, Picard and Sisko had their pick of Starfleet's finest and if a crew member was difficult, could get them transferred, as well as seek guidance from Starfleet. These options are closed to Janeway. Little wonder it all becomes too much for her, yet even in her distressed state, when her ship is in danger, she immediately rises to the occasion. As I've mentioned previously, the Good Shepherd theme, is ongoing in Voyager, as here, not for the first time, Janeway is prepared to sacrifice herself for her crew. However, they are not sheep, but individuals, every bit as obstinate, as their stubborn captain, when the need arises. Much has been said about the "mutiny" and Janeway's comment "I could have you all hanged!" but her tone of voice, shows the exact opposite, that she is deeply moved by her crew's willingness to be left stranded in the void rather than abandon her. If only they'd shown their devotion sooner, as an independent and stubborn woman like Captain Janeway finds it hard to admit when she needs help. This is an episode, which shows her less than perfect, but I like her all the more for it, as here is a real human woman, not a plaster saint. I feel the writers missed a golden opportunity to make a riveting character study in favour of a heavy handed anti pollution message.Yes,I agree pollution is a series issue,but did they have to be quite so obvious.A subtle message carries more weight. I loved Janeway's classic one liner "Time to take out the Garbage !" hopefully, a hint that she's wall on her way to recovery.