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EPISODE REVIEWS
"Blood Fever" - Week of Feb. 3rd - Feb. 7th

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Mission Log

Airdate: Fenruary 5th, 1997

Written by: Lisa Klink

Directed by: Andrew Robinson

Brief Summary: In search of Galacite, a mineral needed to refit the warp coils, Vorrick, the Vulcan ensign experiences Pon Farr, the Vulcan mating ritual. Vorrick chooses B'Leanna as his mate, and soon follows an unexpected side effect of Vorrick's own Pon Farr. (Plus a predictable, yet enthralling "twist"!)

Review

The opening to this episode was routine, but quickly jumped into the Pon Farr episode that the mediocre trailer had promised. The idea of Galacite and using it to replenish the ship somehow was routine indeed, along with the planet shot that seemed familiar (eh?). However, the writers begin the story effectively enough, with Vorrick expressing his wish to mate with B'Leanna and getting rejected. I thought this scene was a little hard to take in as realistic at first, but I soon gathered how Vorrick's violence fit perfectly with his current state of being.

The following Doctor scene was predictable, but the writers accomplish the goal of exposing the Vulcan insecurity about Pon Farr. This scene also accomplishes the obvious attempt to parallel the story with sexual insecurity in today's society. However, the episode is far more interesting than any "moral" episode.

It's nice to see that away teams finally have new outfits (I hope they're not just for rock climbing…). The agitation in Torres is obvious, and again it is predictable as to what the cause of her problem is. When Neelix commented on how Starfleet equipment takes the 'fun' out of situations, and Paris expressed no desire to wonder about his own fate, it is extremely unexpected (even though perfectly appropriate) to see the equipment fail. This was irony at it's best! Bravo!

Back on the ship, the 'B' story if you will is Vorrick. Tuvok begins to realize what happened to Torres (something we new already), and interrogates Vorrick. I found Tuvok's "..continue your meditative efforts…" line very effective in telling Vorrick that Torres is not the best way to solve his Pon Farr, and he wouldn't have a chance with B'Leanna anyway. This scene once again shows the Vulcan sensitivity that even Tuvok shares.

Now, on the planet the action begins to rise. The first thing I thought when Torres discovered the power conduit, was that it was a Borg conduit, and that perhaps the Borg had assimilated the abondoned colony above. Of course the trailer for this episode brought that to my mind, as did the knowledge that next week's episode is "Unity". However, it was an even greater surprise to see the aliens pop out of nowhere! I thought the camouflage was excellent, and their appearance gave this scene a great sense of suspense.

The ensuing fight scene was expected, but I enjoyed it. And I'm sure B'Leanna enjoyed competing with Janeway's "tank-top" action hero stuff! Also, seismograph alert? That sounded quite interesting, but wasn't really elaborated upon, as more important things awaited.

Throughout the entire show I had the lingering question, "how are they going to tie in the Borg?" Although it didn't turn out to be Borg Homeworld as I quickly realized, the tie-in became blatantly apparent when the aliens revealed that their colony had been destroyed by "unknown invaders," and that it only took an hour.

Now comes the "holodeck cure" scene I'd been waiting for, and it was not dissappointing. I found the conversation between the Doctor and Vorrick entertaining- especially the Doctor's smirk and pleased facial gesture when Vorrick agreed to try the therapy. I also found the Doctor's 'out-witting the Vulcan' dialogue entertaining. Later, when Vorrick claims to be free of the Pon Farr as a result of the holdeck program, most Trek writers stop there, and that's it- but not this time!

Back on the planet, the fight scenes between Tom and B'Leanna were very well done! The acting was superb, and the dialogue excellent. I liked how each argument scene eventually led up to the character revelation about the two. The sexual tension was not tacky, and was handled superbly, culminating in the excellent scene where Torres seduces Paris, and when he finally realizes it's a rouse, she kicks him away. This scene was intended to be very powerful, and the writers succeeded in making it that way.

When Janeway inquires about Vorrick, and if the treatement will help B'Leanna, the Doctor's comment that in Klingon marriages, the breaking of the clavical bone is considered an honor of marriage was excellent, and perpetuated Vorrick's rouse even more, making it almost invisible to the audience.

Finally they reach the surface, but still can't communicate with the ship. "Huh?" I said. Wonder why…(at this moment the wish of a Borg/Voyager battle in orbit appeared in my mind, but I was quickly brought back down to Earth, so to speak.) I loved the way Tuvok euphemistically referred to "helping" Lt. Torres, and how he and Chakotay walked off suggestively. The "klingon sex" scene that followed was getting extremely suspenseful, but then Vorrick stepped in and broke it off. This caught me by complete surprise! (First time in a while the Trek writers have done that)

The Vulcan fight scene was another unpredictable scene, especially when Tuvok brushed it aside when talking with the Doctor (I thought there might be a reason the Doc asked about it!) Paris and Vorrick were about to fight it out, when Torres decided she'd fight for herself, and Tuvok basically told Chakotay to get out of the way and let them fight. My heart was racing at this point! But I thought that Vorrick would stop the fight, and profess his wish not to harm B'Leanna, but to my surprise, he didn't! (Kudos Voyager writing staff!)

The ending turbo-lift scene was needed, and played out well. Once again, I was surprised with B'Leanna's "be careful what you wish for…" line as she strutted away. I'm glad to see this character development between her and Paris, and look forward to seeing it develop further.

At last, the "twist" I had been waiting for all hour long! The Borg involvement revealed! I was almost as excited as during the Vulcan Challenge scene! I knew what was going to happen, yet was enthralled by the actuality of seeing it play out. The dead Borg looked great, and it was certainly great to let my mind go wild on the possibilities of finding more out about assimilation- and to hear my theory about the 'invaders' corroborated! (Note to Writers: next time, don't reveal the 'twist' in the trailer, it could've been even better!)

Overall Verdict: Great to see most of the episode take place OFF the Voyager interior set for once! Definitely the best Voyager since "Future's End," and better in my opinion. Just about everyone except Kes and Janeway had great parts (but I saw someone suspiciously occupying Kim's station- has Kim been shoved out an airlock? If so, I must say, I barely knew he was gone throughout this excellent Voyager!)

Acting: Excellent. Robert McNeill gave a great performance, as well as Roxann Dawson. Vorrick was also played extremely well (the actor's name escapes me, but perhaps he is the Kim replacement??). Being such a great ensemble piece, it was hard to decide whose episode it was, but I think at the end I can safely say it was a "Torres episode."

Directing: Superb. Kudos to the Paris / Torres scenes especially.

Writing: Fantastic. Great twists, kept interest, explored true Trekisms (Pon Farr, etc.), but the highest accolade goes to whoever realized we're getting sick of seeing the Voyager set!

Rating: Solid 8.5 out of 10

Quote of the Week: Torres: "What's wrong with him?" Doctor: "In addition to a dislocated jaw…that's something I'll have to discuss with the patient."

Next Week: "Unity" Looks pretty awesome! Looks like well see more of the new Borg Cube in this than we did in First Contact! This week's lead-in was great, and it looks like this episode will kick some butt!

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