Star Trek: Voyager “The Fight” (part 4 of 5)
Now, dear readers, prepare yourselves for one of the most horrifying scenes to ever appear on Voyager, or anywhere else for that matter. You may want to go to the bathroom right now, and tickle the back of your throat with a feather. That way, you won’t have anything left in your stomach when you picture this scene.
The Doctor stands in the boxing ring and describes, medically, the nasty effects of repeated blows to the head. For some reason, the Doctor is being extremely menacing about his descriptions, and using huge Kabuki gestures as he talks. Meanwhile, watching this nonsensical display is Chakotay, who’s lying on his stomach, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist. He’s getting a massage. That’s not the gross part.
Here comes the gross part. Gird your loins, gentle readers. Grab a bucket, just in case.
He’s getting a massage from Neelix.
Sorry to do that to you, but it’s my duty as a recapper to tell you what’s in the episode, no matter how horrifying it may be.
So, Chakotay is getting a massage from Neelix, while the Doctor gets all freaky in the ring, acting out and pantomiming boxing moves. And now I’m completely lost. What show am I watching again? Is this still the one about the people traveling around in space? But I must admit, Robert Picardo can put on a good “menacing” act when he wants to. He’s pretty good as a villain. Or at least, the producers of The Howling sure thought so.
Vision Quest Neelix, his fingers still (hurk) buried in Chakotay’s flesh, says that Chakotay will be fine, and that all he needs is some conditioning. But the Doctor says that Chakotay needs to listen to, well, his Evil Doctor, and “not to his fantasies.” Ick, ick, ick, ick, ick, a thousand times ICK!
At just about the moment we’re all done shuddering, the Doctor pours it on thick, getting progressively more psychotic as he talks about how Chakotay is going to end up a crazy old man, just like his grandfather. What the hell? Why is Vision Quest Doctor this much of an asshole? Chakotay gets up off the table, thankfully keeping the towel securely in place, and exits, followed by Neelix.
Next, Chakotay is jogging through the Engineering set, which is lit with blue lights to emphasize the, you know, hallucination-ness of the scene. Neelix is jogging along behind him, trying to build Chakotay up for the upcoming fight. Torres is standing inside the railing that surrounds the warp core—is that safe? I mean, that’s probably what the railing is there to prevent, right?—and she just watches as Chakotay and Neelix jog past. She glares at Chakotay, but no words are exchanged. And no, I have no idea what the point of this is, either.
Suddenly, Chakotay is jogging back into the jungle set where he first met his vision-quest-crazy-old-man Grandfather. He’s also dressed a lot like Luke Skywalker here, for some reason. Perhaps it’s an obscure homage to Road House.
When Chakotay enters the scene, there are voices to be heard in the background. These, presumably, are the voices of the aliens. However, Chakotay’s panting (he was just with Neelix, after all, wink, wink) and I guess that scares them all away. He pleads with them to come back. This goes on for a while, and never comes close to making any sense.
Crazy Grandpa is back, suddenly sitting on the rock right next to Chakotay. Grandpa can still hear the aliens, and he says they want Chakotay to come with them. Through Grandpa, the aliens say, “you’re just like we are.”
This pisses Chakotay off, and he throws a little tantrum about how he’s not like Grandpa. Crazy, that is. For his part, Crazy Grandpa says that being crazy is kind of cool, once you get used to it. Well, not those exact words, but pretty close. Chakotay wants Crazy Grandpa to come home, but Grandpa likes being crazy and hanging out with his alien friends. And no, I still have no idea what’s going on here.
The bell sounds, and once more Majel tells us to “begin round one”. The crowd noises are back, and Crazy Grandpa says there are a lot of aliens this time. And we’ll just have to take his word for it, because we don’t see them. Grandpa just runs around frantically, yelling at these off-screen “aliens”. Well, if you’re going to be crazy, might as well go all the way and yell at aliens that no one else can see. Chakotay joins in, trying to scare the aliens away, but the aliens have, according to Grandpa, “other ideas”.
And once again, Chakotay is abruptly back in the trapezoidal ring with the swinging overhead lamp. Vision Quest Boothby immediately chews him out for being late. Just as the two fighters are being introduced, the Doctor rushes into the ring, flailing his arms around, trying to stop the fight on “medical grounds”. Okay, sure. Why not?
The crowd boos, Boothby chuckles for some reason, and suddenly we’re back in Chakotay’s quarters. So, I guess this means the vision quest hallucination is over, and not a second too soon. However, the flashback is still going on, for those of you (not) following along at home.
Paris and the Doctor are there, having stopped Chakotay’s vision quest. Chakotay wants to get back into the ring, who knows why, but the Doctor shoots him up with a tranquilizer instead. Wait, so in the flashback, Chakotay seems to know that the aliens want to talk to him, but in the present, he has to be coaxed into it? How did that happen? Sheesh, can’t they keep track of continuity from thirty minutes ago?
Well, with all the hallucinatin’ going on, the show hasn’t had time to establish how much absolutely real, we’re-not-kidding-this-week peril Voyager is in lately. After Paris and the Doctor trade significant looks, we shift to outside the ship. Voyager glides past, dropping beacons in its wake. The scene moves to the bridge, where dialogue between Janeway, Paris, and Kim establishes that the ship is moving forward and dropping beacons. Moving forward, dropping beacons—I think we got it now, thanks!
Paris recommends that they increase speed to three-quarters impulse, but Tuvok shuts him down, sort of:
Paris: At this speed, we should see daylight in about two months. The longer we’re in chaotic space, the longer we’re exposed to these unknowns.
Tuvok: His logic is undeniable, Captain. We should increase our speed.
Wow. I’ve never seen a Vulcan cave that fast. This might be the quickest mental takedown of a Vulcan by a lowly, emotional human in the history of the franchise. Usually, it takes a little while before the human character’s insane, emotionally-based plan pays off, much to the Vulcan’s chagrin. Most of the time, it plays out a little more like this:
Captain: Do it!
[Nothing happens. The Captain ignores logic and failure, and continues tearing at the fabric of the universe, putting his ship, and perhaps the entire galaxy, in peril. At five minutes left to the episode, cue lost crewmembers emerging from a badly done CGI wormhole effect.]
Lost crewmembers: You saved us, Captain! How did you do it?
Captain: Triumph of old-fashioned human déjà-vu over Vulcan logic, boys!
Vulcan: [under his breath] I will kill you all! I will drink your—no! Must suppress!
Seriously, this happens so much that, logically, the Vulcans should consider giving up on the whole logic-only thing. I mean, going by what we see on screen, it never, ever works.
In any case, they follow Paris’ gut and speed up. Almost immediately, they encounter the first beacon they deployed, some three hours ago. D’oh! They’ve been flying in circles. Or, as Tuvok puts it, just out of spite over the last dialogue exchange: “To be precise, one large circle.” Jerk.
By the way, if you’re wondering how this happened, keep wondering, because there’s no explanation for it. I guess chaotic space is just that chaotic.