Monday, July 2, 2012

Pointless Afterthought Theater When Star Trek: Voyager Gets "Twisted!"

The Good: I'll go with basic concept of the (almost) end
The Bad: Nothing decent in acting, No character development, Lame plot, Mediocre special effects
The Basics: When the U.S.S. Voyager encounters yet another pointless, boring spatial phenomenon of the week, the viewer (and actors) wonder why they bother.

In “Twisted,” the U.S.S. Voyager, in no particular hurry to return home, finds the crew celebrating Kes's second birthday on the holodeck when the ship encounters a spatial distortion ring. The ring immediately begins to effect the ship and soon the only place the ship seems to exist on is Deck 6. Janeway comes into contact with the distortion and is rendered unconscious and soon everyone on the ship fears the ship will implode . . .

. . . sigh. At least in Star Trek, the spatial phenomenon of the week occasionally turned out to be something as creative and ridiculous as a giant space amoeba (check out my review of "The Immunity Syndrome" here!). "Twisted" offers nothing so special and, in fact, the end comes out of nowhere. The last lines of the episode, where Janeway tells what she thinks the distortion was, is not supported by anything else in the episode, making it feel tacked on and ridiculous and ultimately pointless. It's hard to care about the "why" of something when the something itself is pointless and unentertaining.

Which returns us to the concept of "Twisted." "Twisted" is your basic "spatial-phenomenon-of-the-week" type episode. The Star Trek franchise (save much of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) has a tendency to have "alien" or "spatial phenomenon" of the week scenarios with little else in the mix when one is an avid viewer. Sure, sometimes the alien is a wonderful social commentary cleverly hidden, like using androgynous aliens as a metaphor for homosexuality on Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Outcast" (reviewed here!) or the spatial phenomenon allows for the exploration of a historical idea, as with the Guardian of Forever's time travel ability in "City On The Edge Of Forever" (reviewed here!) from the original Star Trek. "Twisted" offers none of that.

The best spatial phenomenon of the week stories allow the viewer to watch a mystery being solved or learn something new as far as a concept goes. "Twisted" is a collection of boring characters waiting around for an answer to a mystery that lacks genuine clues. The ship is becoming distorted and all avenues lead back to Deck 6. Okay . . . what next? Nothing, it just keeps repeating the concept with different attempts.

Devoid of character development, witty banter and/or remotely interesting special effects, "Twisted" relies on a concept to sell the viewer. Unfortunately, it's not a terribly interesting concept, which is why the characters spend so much time simply repeating aloud what is going on. The concept is simple and as a result, it's not enough to fill up the whole 43 minute episode with.

Even a bad episode may sometimes be saved by decent acing. "Twisted" is not. Instead, the actors seem to know there's nothing special about their characters in this episode. They stand around the holodeck (it's their pool hall scenario) looking bored whenever the camera manages to focus on them. In fact, this episode is a whole ensemble being bored episode. After the birthday party, there's nothing that excites the characters and the cast seems to know it. They spend the first half of the episode figuring out what the problem is and the second half of the episode confirming what they figured out in the first half. As a result, this is a somewhat weird and pointless "waiting around Deck 6 to escape" episode.

The only thing remotely clever is how the crew works their way out of the distortion ring and even that has been done better in other episodes in the franchise.

I pride myself on writing thorough, well-conceived reviews about everything I encounter. "Twisted" is a waste of time, celluloid and because much of the episode is simply people standing around waiting or wandering around the ship observing what is going on, there is simply not enough material to write more. This is a boring, developmentless episode and the actors seem to know that and they perform accordingly.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Second Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the sophomore season here!


Check out all the episodes and movies from the Star Trek franchise that beat this one in my listing of Star Trek Episodes Best To Worst!

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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