43 – Basics, Part 2

Grade: B-

Basics, Part II (1996) on IMDb


Continuing from the cliffhanger episode from last season, most of Voyager’s crew has been stranded on a planet filled with prehistoric creatures and people. Lt. Hogan dies from something we don’t see while picking up bones outside a cave. Paris somehow managed to escape the Kazon and is flying a barely functioning shuttle. But he destroys a small Kazon ship and contacts the Talaxians to ask for their help in re-taking Voyager. Meanwhile, Lon Suder is still alive and at large on the ship. It’s up to him and the Doctor to retake the ship and rescue the rest of the crew.


This episode is an improvement over last season’s finale, but not by too much. The story is actually kind of a let-down. We all knew that Janeway would be in command of the ship once again, and that they wouldn’t be stranded on that planet forever, but to have it all come to completion in 40 minutes really was somewhat disappointing. I guess I was hoping it would take 3 or maybe 4 episodes to re-take the ship and recover the stranded crew. I think it would have been interesting if Suder and the Doctor could have very gradually re-taken the ship instead of all at once.

Paris seems to have escaped his attacker very easily. He only uses a couple of sustained phaser blasts from a shuttle to destroy the Kazon raider ship. It seems odd that his shuttle was so much more powerful than Voyager was. Maybe it really wasn’t that way, but it sure seemed like it.

One thing I really liked about this episode was the character of Suder. He really struggled with the idea of having to kill some Kazon soldiers in order to save the ship. It’s ironic that the only two on the ship are a holographic doctor who has taken an oath to do no harm, and a sociopathic man who has put in a great deal of effort to turn away from his violent tendencies. You can see how difficult it is for him and the actor does a fantastic job with this role.

But this episode also has some missed opportunities. First of all, we find out almost immediately that Chakotay is not the father of Seska’s baby. So this entire episode – putting the crew at risk, taking on an entire Kazon fleet, going after his son he didn’t know he had or even wanted to have, losing control of the ship and being stranded on a prehistoric planet, etc. – was all for nothing. What a giant waste of effort for these people. Chakotay must have felt like an idiot after this, and deservedly so.

It was also a wasted effort to show Suder and his character changes. For whatever reason, Star Trek loves to build up fantastic characters and then dismiss them from the show so we never see them again. It’s a shame that Suder won’t be back. Honestly, I thought his character was much more interesting than most of the regular ones. I don’t know if it’s more common for this series than it is for the others, but quite frequently in this series, the writers introduce and develop some really interesting characters, and then they don’t do anything with them. It could have been great to have Suder on board as a specialized soldier of some kind or something. Anything at all would have been better than to have him die off like he did.

Another missed opportunity has to do with Chakotay’s son. It seems this happens a lot in Star Trek. In Part 1, there’s an unexpected twist and I wonder how it’s going to play out in Part 2. But then in the second episode, they usually press the Reset Button as if to say, “oh, nevermind, we didn’t like that direction, so we’re changing up the story.” It could really have been interesting to have a half-Cardassian/half-human on board a ship with several former Maquis rebels. Who knows what stories could have been developed from this. Oh well. That’s how it goes.

I would have rated this episode a lot higher if the writers had been willing to take a few risks with the storyline. But it was at least a little enjoyable to watch, even if it was predictable.

Of Note

Voyager loses a bunch of escape pods when the Kazon leave the ship. But by the end of the episode, there are no missing escape pods, and the ship looks exactly as it did before the Kazon attacked in the first place.

This was the first time the series created a fully CGI creature. It wouldn’t be the last time, however. Personally, I don’t think they ever got it 100% right – it doesn’t look terribly realistic to me.