Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kes Returns! . . . Ugh. “Fury.”

The Good: Kes returns!
The Bad: A terrible send-off for the character, Muddied plot, Horrible character direction!
The Basics: “Fury” returns Kes to Star Trek: Voyager one last time, in an utterly disappointing episode.

When Star Trek: Voyager began, my two favorite characters were very easy to define: Kes for her species concept, The Doctor for the execution (dialogue and actual development) of the character concept. So, when Kes was replaced with Seven Of Nine and departed to essentially be a god in “The Gift” (reviewed here!), I was deeply disenchanted. I recall when “Fury” was announced; the sixth season episode from Star Trek: Voyager would return Kes to the show for a single episode and I was psyched.

Unfortunately, “Fury” is a failure of execution and a radical change in the character concept that seems only to serve to nail home completely the idea that the writers of the Star Trek franchise have no real idea to do with a godlike character (Q, Wesley Crusher, Kes). “Fury” has the novelty of returning to Voyager’s beginnings, but it does so as a conceit that ends up ruining any positive legacy Kes might have had (and she did, given that in “The Gift” she got Voyager out of Borg space and ten years closer to home!).

On Tuvok’s birthday, Janeway surprises her Security Chief with a cake, much to his chagrin. Janeway and Tuvok are called to the Bridge where a shuttle bearing Kes comes into view, hailing Voyager. Kes uses her shuttle as a missile and beams aboard Voyager. There, she uses her formidable mental powers to stave off attacks and walk through force fields to get to Engineering. Killing Torres, Kes grabs the warp core and disappears. She materializes on Voyager, 56 days after Voyager was lost in the Delta Quadrant.

There, the Elder Kes alters her form to appear like her younger self, knocks her younger self out and contacts the Vidiians. As Tuvok hallucinates Seven Of Nine and Naomi Wildman and has sudden memories of the Delta Flyer (which does not exist in the past), Kes makes a bargain with the Vidiians to invade Voyager and harvest the crew’s organs. In the ensuing conflict, Janeway learns the truth about Kes and how Kes blames her for abandoning her and leaving her alone after she “ascended.”

“Fury” is a disappointing farewell to Kes and the ruination of a character who actually left the series better than most characters in the Star Trek franchise. Kes was a character who was filled with a sense of wonder and an eagerness that gave her so much potential. “Fury” rewrites Kes as an angry, bitter woman who is just evil. And there is no sufficient answer in the episode as to why.

And while I can certainly understand that people who are guided entirely by emotions do not think rationally, the plotline for “Fury” makes absolutely no sense. Future Kes, angry and bitter, decides to go back in time to abduct her younger self and return her to Ocampa. In the process, she intends to sell the Voyager crew to the Vidiians. Kes picked the moment she was going back to; it is not a random thing at all. So, Kes is “with it” enough to strategize exactly when to return to the past. That being the case, the plot makes no sense because Angry Old Kes makes a ridiculously complicated plan for a very simple goal. If Kes wanted to stop Young Kes from going off with Voyager there is a pretty obvious point for her to go back to: the beginning. In “Caretaker” (reviewed here!), Voyager is at the Ocampa homeworld! If Kes wanted to stop herself from leaving with Voyager, all she had to do was go back to that moment, destroy Voyager, send it back to Earth, or just prevent herself from beaming off the surface with the others. Voyager was in the middle of a firefight and had no investment in Kes at that point, so . . .

That said, the performances and effects in “Fury” are all right. The plot makes no sense (this is one of the muddiest time travel episodes of the franchise), but the actors all get through it with a sense of credibility and realism to it that is enough to sell it. And it looks good, even while it is being bafflingly overcomplicated.

Usually, I loathe spoiling the end of episodes, but I can’t resist with “Fury.” Damn, is the ending to this episode stupid. “I got angry because I became super-powerful and I was alone!” “Go away . . . alone.” Duh? How does that work?! Sadly, it (and “Fury”) doesn’t.

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


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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