6 – The Cloud

Grade: B-

The Cloud (1995) on IMDb


Voyager has been on its way home for several weeks now, and some of the crew are starting to realize what they’re up against in this voyage back to Earth. They have found a nebula which contains a large amount of omicron particles which they can use for energy. But when they enter the nebula, they are met with some resistance. Torres finds out that this nebula is actually a live organism.


This one seems to be Voyager’s version of the Original Series episode (Immunity Syndrome) about an enormous single celled organism. It’s a slightly different version of it, but still the same basic story. We’ve seen this sort of thing a hundred times in Star Trek before, so there’s nothing really new here. One thing that is different about this episode and Immunity Syndrome is that Captain Kirk actually kills the single cell organism, while Janeway goes back and heals this one.

I’m not that fond of the storyline in either case, honestly, but what this Voyager episode does very well is set up some character moments and we’re starting to learn a lot more about the people who are on this ship.

For example, Captain Janeway sees a lone crewman looking out the window at the stars, presumably thinking of home and knowing that he’ll most likely never see Earth again. Janeway looks over at him and it’s obvious that she knows she needs to say something or do something to offer support and show that she cares. But since she has no idea what to do, she walks away without even leaving a hint that she noticed him. I don’t think Kate Mulgrew was a particularly good actress, honestly, but she does a great job in this scene without even saying a word.

After that, Janeway goes into Engineering and catches Torres off-guard. She stammers something about not knowing about an inspection, but that she can be ready for it in a little while. This is just what you’d expect from one of the youngest Chief Engineers in all of Starfleet. It’s little things like this that help establish characters.

Neelix had some great lines in this episode, like when he discusses that this crew really isn’t all that concerned about getting home, since they spend all their time checking out every random anomaly they encounter. He even says the ship is full of idiots. Kes talks some sense into him, and then ends the scene with some unnecessary romance, but hey, I liked at least the first part of this scene.

There are also some good exchanges between Janeway and Chakotay, who will help her find her animal spirit-guide. Not only do we learn about Chakotay’s religious beliefs, we also see Captain Janeway as someone who is interested in learning new things, even if it could be embarrassing or difficult.

At one point in the episode, Tuvok tells Kim not to show surprise when they encounter something new because it could worry the junior officers. Then only a few moments later, Tuvok says the same thing about encountering something for the first time, and Kim retorts back to him about not admitting that. The looks they give each other are just awesome. So far, I like Kim as a character, but Tuvok is being set up as a jerk. Spock was never this way. I don’t know if it’s the writing, directing, or the acting that should bear the blame.

And of course, there are some great scenes with the Doctor. At one point, they mute the audio, so to get everyone’s attention, he starts waving his arms around. So far, the series is doing a pretty good job of defining these characters, and it’s easy to want to know more about them.

So overall, I think this might be the best episode of the season so far. It still has some work to do, but when it comes to action vs character, I side with character every time. If you’re like me in that respect, you’ll probably also like this episode. If you need more excitement, action or effects, you’ll want to skip this.

Of Note

At one point in this episode, Chakotay pulls out a bundle of items that help him to find his “Spirit Guide.” In the pilot episode, Chakotay’s ship was crashed into a Kazon ship, Kamikaze-style. He was barely beamed off the ship in time before the explosion. There was no other time during the pilot episode when he beamed over his Spirit Guide Bundle. So how did he end up with it? Add this to the list of problematic details (like how they never run out of shuttles, gel packs and photon torpedoes).

Here’s another thing I never understood about Voyager. There’s always this concern over saving energy, but for some reason, there is always enough energy for the Holodeck. This happens in Cloud also. Janeway doesn’t have enough energy to get coffee the way she wants, but there’s somehow enough energy for Tom Paris to re-create a pub in Paris – including pretty much any kind of drink you’d want.