37 – Deadlock

Grade: D+

Deadlock (1996) on IMDb


Samantha Wildman goes into labor, while she’s trying to help Neelix fix something in the Mess Hall. About 7 hours later, Voyager detects a group of Vidiian ships and a planet with a lot of Vidiians living on it. To hide from the them, Voyager goes into a plasma cloud. But this plasma cloud duplicates the ship, and now there are two Voyagers and two separate crews.


Ugh, what a giant bore. This was probably the most pedestrian script that I have seen from this series so far. It took a “by the numbers” approach, in which they fill in details into an already established framework. What I mean is that this is a predictable mess, completely devoid of feeling or interest.

I think the main problem is that any time we see the ship get pummeled and characters being killed one at a time, and it looks like a hopeless situation, in the back of your mind you know this isn’t going to turn out so bad. After all, there are never any lasting consequences on Voyager. So when Ensign Wildman’s baby dies within a few minutes of the start of the episode, and when Harry Kim goes flying off into space, and when the ship is being destroyed one piece at a time, there really is no sense of dread.

Star Trek in general isn’t about bad endings, and Voyager in particular always wants to end everything on a perfect note. Therefore, all of these really dramatic scenes mean absolutely nothing to me. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. After giving a false alarm 3 times, nobody believes him when the real thing shows up. Same thing here. They push the Reset Button frequently, so there’s never any feeling that things are going to end up bad for these people. You can’t have good drama unless the viewers forget that they’re watching actors, and they won’t forget that unless you do things realistically. All I’m saying is that I didn’t like this episode because it was boring, predictable, and tedious. And it was that way because I didn’t believe that anything that I was watching was real.

Probably what I hated most was the technobabble, though. It was so bad in this episode that I literally almost fell asleep. I don’t want to hear any more of their ridiculous explanations for these insane phenomena, and I certainly don’t want to see B’Elanna and Janeway argue about what’s the best way to re-calibrate the sensors to detect micro-resonating valence protons.

But then the episode gets even more tedious. The ship gets duplicated and Duplicate Kes ends up on the other ship. It takes them about 20 minutes longer to realize what’s happening than it takes us as the viewers, but that’s just because these characters are flat out stupid. But when they figure it out, Kes #1 and Janeway #2 cross over to Voyager #1. Both Janeways meet each other and then they start having an argument about who’s going to blow up their own ship first. I was so tired of seeing these two stubborn mules argue that I was hoping they’d both blow up and we could really get a new series. This episode has to be a bad joke on the fans of the series. I can’t see any other way around it.

Deadlock is perhaps one of the least memorable episodes of any Star Trek series. This is one of only a few episodes of Star Trek that I couldn’t remember even one single bit before I watched it. In fact, before I watched the episode, I read a very detailed report of this episode on memory-alpha.org, but I still couldn’t remember anything about it. It’s possible that this is one that I missed when it first aired over 15 years ago, but that’s not very likely. I watched Voyager every week, and rarely missed an episode, regardless of how boring the last one was. It wasn’t until half-way through the first season of Enterprise that I deliberately stopped watching new Star Trek episodes.

This episode really makes these characters look stupid. They know they’re being attacked by the Vidiians. They know they don’t have transporters. They know they’re going to board the ship. They even know they’re starting to create a hole in the outer hull of the ship so they can break in. They even know they’re going to access the ship from Deck 5. All this is happening, and Tuvok is reporting it to Janeway, but he never once calls for security to that point. Either everyone is afraid of Janeway and they won’t do anything until she orders it, or they’re just flat out dumb. Eventually, Tuvok and ONE MORE SECURITY GUARD go to Deck 5 to meet a horde of Vidiians. Seriously? Two guys? Why don’t they set up force fields in the hallways? Why don’t they arm everyone on the ship and send everyone there? This crew is stupid. They don’t deserve to survive 7 years.

At the end of the episode, Harry Kim (no, not the one who died but the duplicate Harry) tells Janeway that this was weird. She agrees with him, and so that makes 3 of us. This was one bizarre episode. But hey, we at least see a new and different twist on the Reset Button. Maybe that’s good.

Of Note

In this episode, the Doctor uses a fetal transport technique when Ensign Wildman’s baby has some complications. I wonder why this is the only time in Star Trek that this was ever used. I can think of several different births that could have been helped by this technique. Oh well.

Here’s something else that’s weird. On Voyager, only the Captain is needed for the ship to self-destruct. It took at least 2 officers on the Enterprise to set the self-destruct sequence, but on Voyager, it only requires Janeway. I don’t know if that’s an oversight on the part of the writers, or if the ship was deliberately built that way to give Janeway more control over her ship. She’s a control freak anyway.