154 – Nightingale

Grade: C+

Nightingale (2000) on IMDb

Summary

Harry Kim, Seven and Neelix are on the Delta Flyer when they suddenly end up in the middle of a crossfire between two alien ships. One of the ships asks for help, and Harry Kim violates Starfleet protocol to come to their rescue. Then he finds out that there are no officers who survived the attack, so he inherits his first command. Things get a little crazy when Kim finds out this really isn’t a medical ship.

Commentary

It’s impossible to tell why the writers (and producers and directors, etc.) hate Harry Kim. He still hasn’t been promoted yet, and nobody has any idea why. I think he’s actually a decent officer, even though the writers make sure he can’t get a transporter lock when the ship really needs one.

Here in this episode, Harry finally gets a chance to show he can be every bit as impulsively decisive as Captain Janeway. He even points this out in a discussion with her in the middle of the episode. Honestly, I don’t know what the writers have against Harry. It’s like a running joke on this series that they’ll never move him up in rank.

For the most part, this episode takes a ‘by the numbers’ approach. We have two warring alien races, and Captain Janeway takes sides with one of the aliens while Kim, Seven and Neelix become friends with the other side. It seems this happens several times every season. And in fact, in Nightingale, this part of the story wasn’t necessary at all. They could have left out every single scene in which these aliens interact with Janeway, and it would have been the exact same story.

Then we also have aliens who are dishonest about their intentions, and they take complete advantage of Voyager’s generosity. We have a repeat performance of the Great Voyager Debate on the Prime Directive, coupled with the “may I be promoted” speech that Harry Kim gives Janeway all the time. And we also have her reaction to his request which is some sort of arrogance mixed with incredulity that he would even ask for such a thing. And yet, several other officers have been promoted during Janeway’s tenure. So why not Kim?

In the end, it’s just far too many clich├ęs for me to handle. I give this one a C+. A decent effort, but really just a mediocre episode.

Of Note

This episode has several really cool shots of Voyager being repaired. It’s by far the best part of the episode.