July 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “Displaced”

Mysterious aliens start replacing members of the crew.

So, here’s a nifty sci-fi concept:  how can someone peacefully conquer another people?  The alien villains in this episode have it more or less figured out.

That’s the premise, though a good chunk of it seems to be set up as an excuse to put Tom and B’Elanna in a position where their hinted-upon romance can come a bit closer to the fore, though I coulda swore that the last Kes-based episode made that canon.  That episode, however, may have been set somewhat in the future.  It’s a little hard to say given the time travel elements, but the thing here is that Paris and Torres get some moments to flirt, even having a comical scene where the Doctor, standing nearby, diagnoses techniques both of them use to avoid emotional intimacy until B’Elanna turns down the volume on his mobile emitter.

However, as much as I find B’Elanna and Tom to be likable characters in their own right, the main thrust of the plot is to show how an advanced alien race can take over someone else with minimal violence.  That would be the Nyrians, a race that does so with a gradual replacement of members of the crew.  One of them appears on the ship, and at the same time, a member of the Voyager crew disappears, starting with Kes and then moving up the ladder.

It’s actually a genius stratagem, requiring more subterfuge than anything else.  Yes, one does stun a security guard when he realizes he has to move Torres to the front of the line, so to speak, when the Engineer figures out that the switching going on is completely intentional.  But when the first Nyrian appears on the ship, he claims ignorance about what’s going on, and he is probably one of the most harmless-looking aliens the series could have come up with.  The character looks human, acts harmless, and only really requests that the crew turn down the lights and turn up the heat for him.

That the Nyrians can’t take the cold makes for a nice moment later when Torres, hiding in a cold environment with Tom, confesses Klingons can’t take the cold very well.  Paris says he thought that was the Cardassians, and B’Elanna says they just complain about it more.

Regardless, the Nyrains start appearing in greater and greater numbers, and by the time the crew (or past victims) realize that the Nyrians aren’t as harmless as they seem, they’re outnumbered by the suddenly not-so-polite Nyrians.  And as the crew disappears, with Tuvok and Janeway vanishing about halfway through the episode, it does end with Chakotay as the last member of the crew that isn’t a hologram to run down and grab the Doctor’s mobile emitter to make sure the hologram gets to come along for the ride.  The Nyrians, apparently, for all that they’re stealing the ship, decide a medical hologram isn’t worth keeping and were going to delete him.

Oh, and the kicker:  they set up a pleasant environmental cell to hold the Voyager crew where they’ll never run out of food or entertainment, and the Nyrians seems to think Janeway and the others should be grateful.

Man, these guys are like a pacifist version of Seanchan from The Wheel of Time, what with this whole “you should be happy we subjugated you, it’s for your own good” sort of thing.  Granted, I didn’t find myself hating the Nyrians the same way I did the Seanchan, even as the Nyrians’s true colors started to appear.  They’re a bland bunch in many ways, and like I said, they seemed harmless in many ways.  They can use violence, but I don’t know that they’re particularly good at it.  Janeway, using the Doctor to spot “holes” in their environment, is able to get out thanks to a neighbor from a different race pointing a few things out.  Tuvok builds some makeshift phasers.  Paris and Torres find some other habitats, and while those two run around, Janeway and Tuvok are able to figure out the Nyrians’ transporter tech.  Essentially, the Nyrians may have been using this trick for a long time, but the Federation crew, they were maybe a little too scrappy for ’em.

Besides, you don’t mess with Janeway.  She’s more fierce that Sisko in wartime.