41 – Resolutions

Grade: B

Resolutions (1996) on IMDb


The episode begins with Janeway and Chakotay in some kind of stasis tubes on a lush green planet. They have been there 17 days, apparently as victims of some kind of insect bite which has infected them with an incurable disease. Janeway turns over command of the ship to Tuvok, and instructs him to head straight for Earth. He is not to contact the Vidiians or put the ship at risk. Chakotay and Janeway will presumably live the rest of their lives on the planet.


I really wish I could rate this one higher. It had such potential. The premise is rather odd, for starters. How can a planet protect you from a virus? Well, it doesn’t really matter all that much. They only needed a reason to strand Janeway and Chakotay on the ship, and give them a reason why they should have to stay there forever. After this, we see some rather decent character moments. Chakotay is obviously ready to make a new life for himself on this planet, and to make the best of it, since it doesn’t seem like there’s anything else they can do. Janeway stubbornly sticks to her idea of trying to find a cure for their disease.

Janeway’s dedication to finding a cure really tells us everything we need to know about her character. She’s obviously stubborn, but she’s really not all that bright. See, we heard at the beginning of this episode that the planet protects her from the effects of the virus. So as long as she stays on the planet, the virus won’t make her sick. She really only needs a cure if they can leave the planet. Since she just ordered the ship to go and leave her on the planet, it’s doubtful she’d ever leave. So there’s no need whatsoever for her to find a cure. She really should be helping Chakotay instead.

But maybe this is exactly what this episode was trying to say – Janeway isn’t going to give up trying even when the situation is hopeless. In fact, it’s only when the storm destroys her research equipment beyond repair that she can finally let go and allow herself to have a meaningful relationship with Chakotay.

Nevermind the fact that they supposedly have a Type 9 shuttle. That is only brought up in Tuvok’s first meeting with the crew as the new captain. We never see the shuttle, and given the fact that Janeway and Chakotay leave the planet by transporter instead of on the shuttle, then I’m going to assume they didn’t have one. Besides, that particular shuttle has a top speed of Warp 4, so it would take them forever to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. The shuttle wasn’t a way for Janeway to get back home. It was only a way for them to visit other planets near their new home, if they so chose.

But Chakotay has some great character moments as well. He made a bathtub for Janeway when she said that it was the only thing missing. He also made a headboard for her bed. Later, he tells her a made-up story about a warrior who meets a female warrior and he commits to stay by her side for the rest of his life. These are really great moments, and the depth that Robert Beltran brings to this character is really impressive. It’s really a shame that this goes nowhere and that none of this means anything at all.

So what do I mean by that? Well, we spend about 40 minutes establishing these characters and seeing a relationship starting to form between Janeway and Chakotay. I’m sure he admires her courage and her strength, and maybe even he admires her decisiveness and her persistence. He can probably get used to her stubbornness, but that’s probably going to take some time. Janeway, on the other hand, is going to have to learn about feelings. She has a very limited emotional range, and it’s almost like she wishes she were Vulcan. She’s very uncomfortable sharing her feelings or letting anyone know that she even has any. Good leaders don’t always let people know how they feel, but that doesn’t mean they have to be afraid to share them, or even to admit they have feelings.

After Chakotay shares his phony warrior story, Janeway has tears coming down her cheeks. This wasn’t his first move in their relationship (the bathtub and the headboard came first), but it was the first one that Janeway really noticed. It appears that once she realized her dream of returning to Earth was over, she could allow herself to have a relationship with her First Officer.

This really is the main part of the story. Tuvok’s battle with the Vidiians as well as his disagreements with everyone else on the ship – especially Ensign Kim – really aren’t that important to the storyline. In fact, those scenes are really only used so that the episode can serve us up another tasteless helping of the Magic Reset Button. See, Tuvok finally contacts the Vidiians because there’s a chance they might know something about this strange virus that the Doctor can’t cure. Now we know it’s serious because this Doctor can fix errors in DNA strands in 30 minutes, most of the time. We’ve been told that it has been weeks, and perhaps even months, and yet he has no idea. But good thing the Vidiians are around to save the day. Of course, they’re a hostile species and they should avoid them if at all possible. But wouldn’t you know it, Dr. Pel happens to know about this disease and just so happens to have a cure for it. Wow, that was really easy! Now all they have to do is find a way to get it from them and get back to Janeway and Chakotay so they can resolve the entire episode and we can move on to the next pointless story.

To add insult to injury, once Janeway and Chakotay find out that Tuvok has a cure and they’re on their way back, there’s no cheering – no rejoicing – no excitement that they’ve been rescued and that they’ll be back on their way home in 30 hours. It’s treated as if it’s the last day of summer vacation and they have to go back to school as soon as Tuvok shows up with the ship. Both of them seemed saddened by the news.

Then when they’re back on the ship, Janeway and Chakotay are all business again. Janeway is back to not showing any emotions and she’s as cold as ever. Chakotay really seemed sad that he couldn’t stay on the planet with Janeway instead of being back on this mundane ship where nothing ever changes.

Why am I so upset about this episode? Well, once again, we have an episode that refuses to deal with the consequences of the storyline. Someone once said that Voyager’s writers work hard to set up compelling situations, but they don’t have the guts to deal with these issues head-on. It’s like they want to say something important without actually saying anything at all. They don’t want to take any risks whatsoever. So what ends up happening is that their stories have virtually zero impact at all. Was there really anyone at all who thought “hey, the Captain and the First Officer might be marooned on this planet forever”? No, of course not. Well, not anyone who has actually seen any other episodes before. There was no doubt in my mind whatsoever that they’d be rescued in time, before the episode ended so that they could all go back to what they were before. And what’s more frustrating is that these two characters are no different for having gone through this story.

I’m not the kind of Voyager fan who desperately wanted Janeway to be in a relationship with Chakotay. Honestly, I didn’t care who was with whom. But what I did want was for there to be lasting consequences from one episode to the next. I want to see characters change from one episode to the next. I want to see how the actions in one episode affect the next one. Because that’s more realistic. What we have here is something that is completely unrealistic. I think the entire episode would have been a hundred times better if Janeway just reached out for Chakotay’s hand right before the episode ended. At least acknowledge that their experience on the planet changed something in her. Like maybe she realized what a great friend Chakotay was to her.

But for these writers, that would have been far too much to ask. These writers seem to need the Reset Button. They think it makes for good drama for everyone to say, “whew, that was close! We almost had to deal with a really difficult situation. Boy am I glad it’s all over!” Every now and then, it’s OK to fix everything and reset the entire episode. But to do this every week is really getting on my nerves. As if you couldn’t tell.

So high grades for character development and for a compelling and enjoyable story – for the first 40 minutes. Then low grades for the ending.

Honestly, here’s what I would have done. Since this was the second-to-last episode of this season, I would have left them on the planet at the end of this episode – leave it ambiguous if they are going to get back onto the ship before the season ends. Tuvok then heads back toward the planet, but in doing so, he comes across the Kazon, who take over the ship to end the season. After all, in next week’s episode, the Kazon actually DO take over the ship. So leaving Chakotay and Janeway on the planet in this episode would really have added to the suspense at the end of the season. But no, Voyager’s writers are far too short-sighted to think this far in advance. They consider each episode to be a separate entity. They don’t think of this as a series – they think of it as a collection of short stories, like the Twilight Zone.

Of Note

In this episode, Harry Kim refers to Lt Hogan as an Ensign. He’s been mentioned before as a Lt. Oh well.

I thought one thing was pretty funny. Tuvok says “the safety of this crew is paramount.” I couldn’t help but think that this entire SERIES is Paramount. Ha ha. OK, so maybe it wasn’t that funny.