Thursday, October 11, 2012

Seven Of Nine Has A Spiritual Experience When Voyager Initiates “The Omega Directive!”

The Good: Interesting concept, Moments of character
The Bad: Raises some serious continuity issues, Chakotay’s reactions to Harry Kim.
The Basics: In a fair episode of Star Trek: Voyager, Janeway and Seven Of Nine set out to investigate a forbidden particle that puts Voyager in a lockdown.

For a show that bore so many similarities to Star Trek: The Next Generation, I am always amazed at continuity errors or pitfalls in Star Trek: Voyager. After all, if you are going to make something thoroughly derivative, the least you can do is know your source material. As it stands, one of the more original episodes of Star Trek: Voyager is “The Omega Directive.” Unfortunately, it raises an issue of continuity that makes the season premiere (and thus, Seven Of Nine’s presence on Voyager) even less plausible than before.

Seven Of Nine is going about her day, preparing to work with Ensign Kim when the ship goes into a lockdown of sorts. Janeway arrives on the bridge, where consoles are locked out with an Omega symbol on the monitors and she promptly goes into seclusion. She soon enlists Seven Of Nine as she initiates what is called the Omega Directive. Seven Of Nine, being Borg and having assimilated StarFleet captains who knew of the directive can be trusted by Janeway as she already knows the forbidden directive. Voyager’s sensors, it turns out, have detected a theoretical particle of immense power, known as Omega Particles. StarFleet has a standing order to destroy any such particles when they come into contact with them so the power may not be harnessed by enemies or, because the particles are so volatile and unstable, rupture subspace to make warp fields impossible to create.

The Omega Directive puts Janeway and Seven Of Nine at odds once again. While Janeway sets out to destroy the Omega molecule, Seven Of Nine becomes determined to harness and study it. The Borg, over the past two hundred plus years, have sought the Omega molecule as an embodiment of perfection. Janeway also is soon at odds with Chakotay, who implores the captain not to take the responsibility on herself, despite StarFleet orders. Convinced by Chakotay, who is also influenced by Seven Of Nine, the ship journeys to a planet where massive amounts of the unstable element are being harnessed!

The fundamental problem with “The Omega Directive” is actually a continuity issue within Star Trek: Voyager. In defining the Borg pursuit of the Omega molecule, Seven Of Nine reveals that the Borg sacrificed 29 ships and 600,000 drones to stabilize their sample of the Omega molecule for a trillionth of a nanosecond. That glimpse into perfection guides Seven Of Nine throughout the episode. Given how massive a loss the Borg had for an experiment lasting only a trillionth of a nanosecond, the losses suffered in “Scorpion, Part 2” (reviewed here!) at the hands of the invaders from fluidic space is negligible. In context, what this means is that if the Borg could afford the losses for Omega two hundred years prior (before they had assimilated thousands more species and had nanotechnology to make faster assimilations), then the loss of ships and planets at the hands of Species 8472 are hardly as imperiling as the Borg led Janeway to believe in that episode.

The only other real problem with “The Omega Directive” is how Chakotay relates to Harry Kim in the episode. Kim is upset that Seven Of Nine is giving orders and assigning crew Borg-style numbers. Chakotay blows off his concerns and that is hardly a reasonable course of action.

That said, “The Omega Directive” is surprisingly good. Writer Lisa Klink does a decent job of fostering the relationship between Harry Kim and Tuvok that was begun in “Alter Ego” (reviewed here!) and that is a nice touch. Also nice is the reference to Carol Marcus and the Genesis Device from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (reviewed here!).

Also decent is the interplay between Chakotay and Janeway. Chakotay is reasonable and emotionally balanced in “The Omega Directive” and despite his character being in decline, the scene works very well. As well, Chakotay’s relationship with Seven Of Nine in this episode might well be the only foreshadowing in the entire series to the arc between the two that caps off the series!

Seven Of Nine’s spiritual quest is an intriguing reflection of Janeway’s duty-bound determination and it plays out through the episode well.

While the plot and character elements of “The Omega Directive” are ultimately decent, there are no incredible performances in the episode. All of the actors show up, do their part and none leave the viewer wowed in any fashion. There are no bad performances, either, but when “adequate” is what one gets, the viewer is left wishing for more. In the end, “The Omega Directive” is a simple bottle episode that is interesting, but in no way extraordinary.

[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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