Monday, January 21, 2013

Working Hard To Remind Viewers Of The Differences, “Repression” Is Unimpressive

The Good: None of the acting is bad.
The Bad: An utter lack of character development, Lack of understanding of the characterizations for the crew, Banal plot
The Basics: “Repression” is a real throwaway episode that might have been interesting had it come very early in the series when the Maquis still mattered and the show had done fewer “possession” episodes.

Every now and then, I encounter an episode of a television show that seems like it was produced in the wrong season, as if the writer was working off initial characterizations and plot developments, without any respect for the character development that has occurred between the original concept and the season in which it aired. In the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Voyager was unfortunately riddled with episodes that stretched to restore the idea that there were divisions between the StarFleet and Maquis crewmembers, long after there was no real distinction between the character groups. This is somewhat ironic in that the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode that introduced the Maquis had Major Kira characterized much like her first season persona, as opposed to the late second season officer she was by the time “The Maquis” (reviewed here!) aired. By the time “Repression” was produced, the Maquis are essentially non-entities. Voyager has learned that the Maquis in the Alpha Quadrant are almost all dead or incarcerated and in “Life Line” (reviewed here!), Janeway and Chakotay are equally troubled by StarFleet’s reminder that the Maquis are still considered criminals.

“Repression” makes a passing effort to acknowledge that resolution to the characters, but the conflict itself, especially post-“Worst Case Scenario” (reviewed here!), seems forced (indeed, the scene where Chakotay and B’Elanna meet with the remaining Maquis crewmembers seems remarkably well-populated).

Tom Paris takes Torres on a date to the Holodeck where he has made a 3-D movie theater and when they delete the rest of the audience, another Voyager crewmember is found in the theater, in a coma. The anomaly soon turns into a pattern when five ex-Maquis members fall into comas. As Paris and Kim work to create a holographic representation of the assailant who comatized the crewmembers, Tuvok investigates the crew, convinced a member of the crew is causing the attacks that result in the comas.

Tuvok is perplexed when Tabor, the first victim, awakens, and soon after, Torres falls into a coma. When Chakotay finds her, the assailant is revealed!

The irony of my complaint that “Repression” is “out of season” is that it is essentially “Cathexis” (reviewed here!) with a motive and an order to it. “Repression” is sloppy in the characterization as the assailant is never questioned . . . and Harry Kim has a pretty obvious moment where he could. Moreover, when Janeway asks Tuvok why he is convinced the assailant is a man, he says he does not know, but the holographic recreation is clearly a male form.

“Repression” is a ridiculously simple concept episode: one of the crew is remotely controlled by a Bajoran with a grudge against the Maquis. But far more than trying to be an intimate (or even interesting) character study, “Repression” belabors the plot, then belabors explaining the plot. There is no character development, nothing at all superlative.

Tim Russ, for example, shows nothing new from his range than he had before. In fact, he has given more compelling performances, though none of the acting in the episode is actually bad. That is all that saves the episode from the very lowest ratings.

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

For other works with Keith Szarabajka, please visit my reviews of:
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
The Dark Knight
Angel - Season Three


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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