27 – Maneuvers

Grade: B-

Maneuvers (1995) on IMDb


Voyager has detected a Federation signal emanating from a nebula not far from their current position. The signal is one that was used around the time that Voyager was pulled into the Delta Quadrant. Perhaps Starfleet is trying to communicate with Voyager. Actually, it turns out to be a trap and a Kazon sect attacks the ship. The Kazon seem to have stolen Voyager’s shield codes. Most likely, Seska has been helping them.


This really isn’t my favorite episode, which I suspect will put me at odds with several other Star Trek fans. I realize it did some things much better than other episodes have done, but there are still far too many plot holes for me to ignore.

On the one hand, Seska comes off here as pretty evil, which of course, we know she is. The Kazon come off as pretty stupid and easily manipulated. Personally, I think they’re the weakest of the regular villains – even weaker than the pathetic Ferengi. Chakotay was stupid for letting Seska manipulate him, and Janeway comes across as unbelievably unprepared and unready to be a captain.

First, the issue of Janeway. So we have Seska who defected. Why weren’t the shield codes changed immediately after she left? Second, this is now the second time that one of her officers has defied one of her orders because they thought it was the right thing to do and it prevented Janeway from having to order it. The first time was when Tuvok went down to the planet to exchange Voyager’s literature for the long range transporter. Now we have Chakotay stealing a shuttle to perform an operation that even Janeway admits was probably the best option they had, and yet she could not have ordered it. So two of her officers did what they thought was best to save her from having to break the rules. I don’t know if this is going to happen too many more times in this series, but I seriously wonder what Janeway has done for these men to make them risk their careers over stupid decisions like this. I can see someone doing this for Picard, perhaps in the 4th or 5th season. But we haven’t even hit 30 episodes yet, and already we have two instances of this.

Speaking of which, Janeway reacts in a very strange way here. She tells Tuvok that she wants a complete security review AFTER Chakotay takes the ship without her authorization. She didn’t ask for it right after the attack from Seska? In other words, we may not be able to prevent aliens from coming aboard our ship and stealing our technology, but we certainly aren’t going to allow our own people from taking a shuttle off our ship. NO way. Not on this ship – not as long as these people are writing our scripts! It’s utterly ridiculous.

At the beginning of the episode, Tom Paris suggests that maybe Starfleet is trying to communicate with Voyager, but I don’t think Starfleet even knows where they are. Voyager itself didn’t know it was in the Delta Quadrant until after it had been pulled in by the Caretaker. There really was no way for Starfleet to know about them. Someone should have asked Tom Paris, “what makes you think Starfleet knows where we are?”

I really didn’t like the part when the Kazon miniship was heading straight for them. They knew this was going to happen. In fact, they said something like “here it comes” and then about 2 seconds later, we see it on the screen. Then it takes perhaps 10-15 more seconds before it actually impacts the ship. Why didn’t Voyager destroy it with photon torpedoes? Here’s another question. I’m sure more people than just me have noticed how easy it is to break into a Starfleet ship and steal someone or something. Every series has at least one or two episodes just like this where there’s a complete lax of security practices since very few protocols are in place. Why can’t they fix this? Oh yeah, I forgot. This is the writers’ fault. In fact, at one point Chakotay says the Kazon made them look like 1st year cadets. Uh, no, actually it was the writers who did that.

The Kazon steal a transporter module from the ship, and then conveniently, Voyager’s transporter no longer works. But aren’t there multiple transporters on the ship? Is there just one module for the entire ship? It doesn’t make any sense to me. It would seem like each transporter room would have its own module. But what do I know.

Then of course the module gets installed and works like a charm on the Kazon ship and there are absolutely no problems whatsoever. I guess they had help from Seska this time, but last time they couldn’t even get a replicator to work. In fact, they botched it so much that it started to kill people all over the ship and make them re-materialize in the walls of the ship. The replicator was lethal to them, but the transporter works without any problems whatsoever. Doesn’t it seem like the transporter is much more complex than the replicator? After all, the replicator only makes sandwiches out of thin air. The transporter takes a living person and converts him into energy, then shoots the energy somewhere else and converts him back into matter. That’s much more complex, I would think. But no matter. It’s part of the script, so we just go with it.

Now that I’ve completely bashed this episode, let me just say this. If it weren’t for such bad writing, plot holes, and the horrible lines they’re making Tuvok say (see below), I would have rated this episode a B+ or A-. The story’s premise really deserved better treatment than this. I think we’re seeing what happens when shows employ a “writing by committee” approach. Good ideas end up being skewered.

Of Note

Oh, in case you didn’t know, Tuvok makes it perfectly clear in this episode that killing Chakotay through spreading his atoms all over the quadrant in a transporter accident is “against Starfleet safety protocols”. Gee, thanks.

In a scene just before that, after Chakotay leaves and sends a message to Voyager not to come rescue him, Tuvok says, “perhaps we should honor his request.”

I hate what the writers are doing to this potentially interesting character. Seriously, who would react this way? Since when did being “Logical” mean “Jerk” or “Nitwit”?