30 – Alliances

Grade: C+

Alliances (1996) on IMDb


Voyager is in the middle of a battle with two Kazon ships. They somehow manage to destroy one of the raiders, and the other one leaves quickly. The damage to Voyager is extensive, and three crew members die, including a former Maquis officer who had saved Torres’ life in a previous battle. Chakotay speaks with Janeway about the possibility of creating an alliance so they can continue their journey home in peace.


This episode really should put to rest any questions we might have about how Janeway feels about the Maquis officers on her ship. When Chakotay tells her that one of the officers has died, she says “I’m sorry” with very little emotion or feeling. It’s as if he had told her he found a hole in his sock. Then she asks him to speak at the memorial service, and she says absolutely nothing at all. She doesn’t even seem saddened by his death, and seems annoyed about having to be there. Like it or not, the Maquis are part of her ship now, so he was one of her crew as well. She’s the one who keeps insisting this is a Starfleet ship and that they will use Federation rules. And yet when one Maquis crewmember dies, she is cold and uncaring. If she wants a unified crew, she’s going to need to show that she cares about these Maquis just as much as she cares about her Starfleet officers. I can’t imagine any other Star Trek captain acting this way when one of their officers had died. Kirk? No way. Picard? Nope. Sisko? Absolutely not. Archer? Hardly. He would have been visibly angry at the Kazon, and he probably would have wanted revenge. Sometimes I miss Jonathan Archer.

Right after the memorial service, a former Maquis officer talks to Janeway about this situation and brings up the same concerns that Chakotay mentioned. She becomes angry and defensive and tells him that she would rather destroy the ship than share technology in an effort to try to get home sooner. Really? She’s forgotten already about the Caretaker’s array, obviously. She broke it then to save a bunch of aliens that we’ll never see again instead of using the array to get back home. She’s broken the Prime Directive several times already in this series. I would have reacted the same way as this officer did – shocked and speechless. I agree, who cares if the Kazon have transporters? Everyone in the Alpha Quadrant has them. What difference does it make?

Janeway reminds me of Captain Picard in First Contact – he has an agenda to make sure he hurts the Borg because they hurt him. And his need for revenge has caused him to stop thinking clearly. Janeway has the same tunnel-vision. I agree with Chakotay here – there may be some middle ground there somewhere. Just because they’re going to make getting home their #1 priority doesn’t mean they’re going to stop being Starfleet officers. And in this episode there are only two options that are discussed – either an Alliance with the Kazon, who are their enemies to begin with, or they just continue trying to fight their way out. Isn’t there anything else in between those two extremes?

By the way, I agree that if people set aside their principles during difficult times, then they really don’t have any principles, do they? But I also look at things practically. If they’re constantly being outnumbered, ambushed and attacked by Kazon, they’re going to die anyway. Does it really make sense to die for a transporter in the Delta Quadrant? I can understand not sharing technology with Cardassians, Romulans, the Dominion, etc., but this is 70,000 light years away, and it’s not like giving them a replicator is the same as giving them a photon torpedo.

Janeway’s actions in this episode also show a lack of trust in her First Officer. Once Chakotay makes his point about perhaps bending the ridiculous Prime Directive to help get them home sooner, she basically shoots him down and all his arguments, without even giving them a second thought. You can see a slight look of concern on her face right when the scene in the turbolift ends, and that was a good touch by the director to end the scene there and not earlier. It shows that she really isn’t all that confident in herself or her decisions, and perhaps she is going to consider Chakotay’s opinions. Or maybe she was just hurt that her First Officer isn’t a reflection of herself. It’s hard to tell, really. But whatever it was, there’s some question placed in the viewer’s mind about what she’s going to do and maybe there’s a slight chance she’s actually going to consider listening to Chakotay.

But the very next scene really tells us all we need to know about Janeway and how she plans to run her ship. She goes directly to Tuvok’s quarters to discuss the situation with him, and she treats him with much more respect and courtesy, plus she also gives much more weight to his opinion. She doesn’t use her First Officer at all, and in fact, he’s more of a nuisance than anything else. Tuvok is her real first officer. And she’s going to ask for advice and counsel in private, not in her meetings with her senior staff.

Later, she announces her decision to her senior staff, and when Harry Kim brings up a question about it, she shoots him down without even looking at him. She says they aren’t going to discuss it, that she’s already made up her mind, and all she wants now are some ideas about how to set up an alliance and who with. So now we’ve seen another part of her management style. She doesn’t like dissenting opinions, she’s afraid of debate, and she calls meetings to announce her decisions, not to discuss ideas or to help her decide something. I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to leave the ship – she’s an autocrat.

Finally, when the episode ends, and the proposed alliance with the Trabe falls apart, Janeway takes the time to announce her conclusion and the “moral of the story” to her senior staff. Notice how she’s standing up in this last scene, as if she’s Queen Elizabeth, making a Royal Declaration. I tell you what, if I were serving on her ship, I’d be willing to steal a shuttle and try to make it on my own – or finding a Class M planet someplace and settling down.

But not only is she ridiculously overbearing in this scene, Janeway’s also jumping to the wrong conclusion here. They really wanted an alliance with the Kazon, not the Trabe. The Trabe were untrustworthy, but at least we know they won’t ever be on good terms with the Kazon anyway. So it would seem to me that Voyager could still use the Trabe’s help in getting through Kazon space on their way back home. Or maybe they should try Plan B – actually giving one of the Kazon sects a transporter or replicator so that they can have their protection on their way home. But no, instead, we get Janeway’s conclusion of “see little boys and girls – that’s what happens when mommy listens to you. Now we’ll always do things my way.” And the most annoying part of this episode is that not one of her senior staff officers brings up any other alternatives. They just sit there. Thank goodness there’s former Maquis officer Michael Jonas on board who can help make things interesting. We know Chakotay, Torres, Tuvok and Paris aren’t going to do jack squat.

OK, this review is far too long already. But I just wanted to say that this episode is pretty mediocre. The story has a ton of holes in it, and even though we see a lot of Janeway’s character, it’s all bad. The last scene with Janeway’s concluding remarks basically tell us all we need to know about this series. Voyager is not going to take any risks at all, so it’s going to continue to be a very bland addition to the Star Trek universe.

Of Note

Even Jeri Taylor was undecided about how she felt about this episode. She later regretted writing Janeway’s speech at the end. I know I would have regretted that too. But seeing how she feels about this, I make no apologies for not liking it either.

I often wonder why it seems every shady transaction must take place in a bar with some exotic dancer. I suppose it’s so that Berman and Braga can have their moment with some scantily-clad woman who can appear on the screen for a good 5 minutes. Maybe that’s how they’d get more viewers.

Janeway wastes three photon torpedoes at the end of this episode, and nothing happens to the Trabe ship or to the building next to it. Even one photon should have been enough to destroy the Trabe ship and the unshielded building where the Kazon leaders were meeting. But apparently, Voyager’s photons are useless.

The idea of putting all of the Kazon sect leaders in the same room at the same time and then flying a ship right up to the window was seen later in Star Trek Into Darkness.