Delta Redux: A Voyager Rewatch: Persistence of Vision

By Last Updated: August 7, 2016Views: 2436

Finally, a good episode. Not a great episode mind you, but an entertaining one. And at this point in the second season I’ll take entertaining over pretty much anything.

I’ll admit I was tempted to let this project go, as you can see from the date on the last entry. This second season has been a bit of a slog to say the least. And the idea of trudging through 5 more seasons after this left me feeling just a little underwhelmed. But then lo and behold a decent episode like this comes along and I start thinking – this isn’t so bad, I can do this.

The reason this episode works is the slow reveal of the mystery. We are not really sure if this is going to be a “holodeck malfunction” or an “is Janeway going crazy” story. In the first half the story holds back, not letting us in on the secret. We are told that Janeway is stressed and overworked, maybe not herself. And the holonovel Janeway uses has just enough of a red herring plot to keep us guessing and on the wrong foot.

When the characters from the holonovel eventually do show up outside the holodeck the episode has set up a surreal atmosphere and a creepy Victorian ghost story vibe enough that I was hooked. For her part Kate Mulgrew sells the “Janeway might be crazy” bit very well which goes quite far in making this setup actually work.

“My programmers didn’t clutter me up with pithy Earth trivia. They programmed me with far more important data.” – The Doctor

Then in the second half the episode turns from a psychological pseudo-ghost story to a straight up alien invasion one.  But rather than being jarring as some Voyager episodes have been this feels organic and a natural progression of the story.

We get a call-back to Janeway’s fiancé which is nice to know that the show hasn’t completely forgotten storylines it setup back in the beginning. Also, this was a nice way to get a glimpse into Janeway’s psyche; she still loves and misses her fiancé but at the same time is 75 years away in a different part of the galaxy and is thinking it’s time to move on. But instead of being a cut and dry decision she has guilt and is conflicted. This makes Janeway a much more complex character and makes her much more relatable.

We get glimpses of the other main cast member’s hidden desires as well including B’lenna’s secret lust for Chakotay, which is weird. Up to this point their relationship seemed more father-daughter rather than romantic, so that’s creepy. Although her very confused attitude toward it at the end might be her thinking along the same lines.

The Botha – the real villain of the story – get no explanation at all. And this works rather than detracts. When the Botha finally admits at the end that the only reason he did these things was “because he can” adds a real menace to him. The fact that he is cold and has no fear whatsoever of Janeway or the crew further adds to the danger.

I’ll admit the “I’m not really here” ending is a bit anti-climactic but enough goodwill has been built up over the course of the episode to just shrug it off. And we get to see Kate Mulgrew do righteous indignation which is always good to see and makes up for a lot of any episode’s flaws.

So yes, a good episode. And one that I could say I’d watch again – and that’s saying something.

The project trudges on.

Next Time On Star Trek Voyager

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