Let’s face it, season 2 has been a struggle. The stories thus far have been mediocre to just plain bad; with Twisted we finally get something a little better. Not too much better, mind you, but at least its trying.

The whole thing is a puzzle box to be solved. It does not have much more ambition than that but it trys and mostly succeeds at being interesting, for a while anyway. Basically the crew is walking around in an M.C. Escher drawing with random dead ends and rooms appearing in places they shouldn’t be and people heading off in different directions only to meet each other around the next bend. This leads to several nice character moments as the various crew members go from amused to annoyed to frightened.

Most intriguing of all is the notion the Doctor brings up that nothing is really happening and what they are experiencing is just a shift in their perception – like being on a holodeck and not knowing it or tripping on acid (these are basically the same thing right?). Anyway the idea is that the world is shaped by how we perceive it rather than a rigid structure and “reality” can mold and twist itself into other configurations depending on the whims of fate or chance. After all nothing on the ship stops working and if it were to be folded up like origami you’d expect something to fail right? A wire crossed or a fuse blown. But no, everything keeps on chugging along. So the Doctor’s idea makes sense and should have forced the crew to re-examine their ideas of what it is they consider “real” and what is means to exist in that reality.

“Eat doggie dooby!” – Captain Janeway

But no. The Doctor’s idea is quickly brushed aside in favor of a multiplicity of technobabble and “real world” solutions. None of which work mind you, but the Doctor’s idea is never revisited again.

The episode at this point devolves into a lot – a whole lot – of walking down corridors. Seriously, even Doctor Who fans would say, “Man, that’s one hell of a lot of corridor walking.” And strange things happen.

I’m not talking about the plot, just weird stuff. Neelix backs away at one point and disappears for the rest of the episode with no explanation other than “tell you about it later” and Janeway has a heartwarming (?) moment with Harry that was veering into shipping territory. And a holographic bar maid hits on a holographic doctor (granted I’d actually like to see what the logistics are on such a thing, but weird nonetheless) and Janeway is reduced to a babbling idiot.

All of this leads into a “Leap of Faith” moment that, to be fair, even my own cynical self found quite nice. B’Lanna and Chakotay have a friendship moment, of course Harry and Tom pair off and Kes’ confession of missing Neelix is sweet. All the assembled crew stoically await what could be their last seconds with dignity and grace. Well, not Janeway, she’s babbling like a chicken but you get the point.

And then…nothing. It just ends. We find out it was just advanced aliens attempting to communicate and in response to this Voyager just flys away. No investigation or anything, just bye bye now and off we go.

I suppose we could say that this was an episode that attempted to subvert expectations and “twist” what we think a normal episode structure should be thus create an experimental version of the typical Star Trek narrative. We could say that, but I really don’t think that writers were gong there, so I won’t.

Still, it is full of charming character vignettes and tiny little moments that you can point to and say, well that’s different. And so far in season 2 anything different and remotely entertaining is a plus.

Next Time On Star Trek Voyager