The Good: Decent dialect, Decent overall antiwar message
The Bad: Very obvious reversals, No real character development, None of the acting is at all superlative.
The Basics: The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Nemesis" is one of the most utterly forgettable of the series and while it focuses on Chakotay, it does not truly enhance his character.
Poor Robert Beltran. Beltran played Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager and while initially he was an intriguing character, it rapidly became clear that the writers did not know what they wanted to do with him. By the third season, Chakotay did little in regard to his Native American Indian heritage and by the fourth season, of which "Nemesis" is the fourth episode, Chakotay seems to have even forgotten he was a Maquis.
"Nemesis" takes a long time to get around to having Chakotay remember he was a Maquis and unfortunately, the episode is not even a particularly interesting Chakotay one. It does, however, afford the viewer the first chance in the fourth season to go a full episode without seeing Seven Of Nine, which is always a plus. Alas, "Nemesis" does not make good use of Chakotay or its lack of Seven Of Nine. Instead, it is heavily populated by guest actors and a plot that is virtually impossible to care about.
Hunted in the woods by what appear to be human military officers who speak much like Yoda (though with a much more masculine pitch), Chakotay finds himself in a war zone. There, the human-like military officers hunt the Nemesis, an alien race that is beastlike and, supposedly, evil. Chakotay is slowly inundated with their propaganda and conditioned to be a soldier for them. However, the military plot may not be all that it seems and Chakotay soon finds himself embroiled in the way and forgetting himself.
There is, alas, not much plot beyond that. "Nemesis" is a very bland military story that involves lots of shooting with little blood or explosions and truly is about the process by which Chakotay is conditioned to join an alien military. With the plot being so simple, "Nemesis" fleshes out the episode with long scenes of dialogue that take the viewer a moment to understand just what they are actually saying. But after the first scene with the odd word swaps, the viewer quickly understands what the aliens are saying and the dialogue seems mostly drawn out exposition.
There is not superlative acting in "Nemesis" and less character development. Robert Beltran gives a particularly unconvincing performance as the beleaguered Chakotay. He barely holds his own against the awkward child actor in the scene after he reaches a settlement. Beltran is stiff throughout the episode and that makes the episode lack a real emotional core.
Because this is, in many ways, a brainwashing episode, there is no character development in "Nemesis." The episode is tightly plot-centered and it feels very much like a Brannon Braga episode (Kenneth Biller actually wrote it) with its lame dependence upon reversals for any sense of originality. Sadly, the reversals are more obvious than original.
Ultimately, "Nemesis" is a troublingly simple episode and because it has no real emotional core or originality, one is left with very little to say about it. While the make-up and special effects in "Nemesis" are decent, they are not enough to justify watching this episode, even for fans of the Star Trek franchise.
[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the gamechanging middle season here!
For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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