99 – Once Upon a Time

Grade: C-

Once Upon A Time (1998) on IMDb

Summary

Though she was born 2 years ago, Naomi Wildman is about 6 all of a sudden. She’s on some kind of Holodeck adventure which talks of a water creature and a tree monster. Oh goodness – this is going to be like the episode when Mrs. Troi kidnapped Alexander and forced him to waste time on the Holodeck. Man how much longer can this part go?

Commentary

OK, sorry for my summary, but in all honesty, I thought this episode would be absolutely dreadful. It turned out to not be an entire waste of time, but it was still bad. There are some nice character-defining moments, as Neelix deals with some of the demons of his past, and as he tries to make Naomi’s life better. He struggles with the idea of telling Naomi that her mother has been involved in a very serious accident and actually may not be coming back. So it’s not a total loss, but it’s pretty close. Only the most dedicated viewer will be able to withstand the opening scene, which seems to take 15 minutes.

This episode is probably one of Janeway’s best moments as a concerned leader and a motherly figure to her crew. But I have to say she’s still one stubborn woman. I don’t think I would have survived as one of her crew. Back in Season 2, I probably would have started thinking about being left behind on some M-class planet since getting all the way home was probably not going to happen, and even if it did, I’d have to put up with being on her ship for that long.

Even when Neelix pours out all his concerns to Janeway, she still finds a way to prove she’s right. The rest of the plot does nothing to solve this problem either because it turns out she actually IS right, even though I personally did not agree with her decision. I’m not sure how I would ever tell a little child about the death of her parent. Naomi Wildman proves to be very resilient and understanding – more so than Neelix ever imagined.

In some ways, this plot line mirrors the series and its fans. The writers and producers of this series seem to think we are too young, na├»ve and stupid to understand their so-called high-concept stories. That’s why they have to spoon-feed their plots to us and why they need to explain everything in the last 3 minutes of every show. I wish they’d give us more credit than that.

Speaking of the ending, it sure seemed very contrived. Here are Tuvok, Ensign Wildman and Paris all getting ready to die when just with only a few seconds left, poof! The ship finds them and beams up the entire Delta Flyer. What a joke. This is exactly why these stories never carry any weight. All of the excellent character development and all of their worries about Naomi and everything else was all for naught, because the dreaded reset button made everything OK again. How can Voyager’s writers ever hope to make anything seem realistic when there are NEVER any consequences to the actions of the characters?

Whatever. This episode is completely forgettable. I hadn’t remembered a single scene from this when I watched it again recently. Skip it and you’ll miss nothing – because even if you saw all of it, you’d still get nothing out of it.

Of Note

Voyager somehow is capable of beaming up an entire shuttlecraft. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but they do it here, and they’ll do it again in future episodes. I’m pretty sure it has been established before that starships can’t transport an entire shuttle, but whatever. This series breaks the rules all the time.