Overall Rating: 4.0
This is a gigantic pile of putrid, self-serving cliche-spouting animal dung with an "Indian" tattoo on it to pretty it up. The racism and bad storytelling combine to make an intolerable episode buoyed by some great acting.
The details, such as they are, can be found here - read it and cry...cry like a baby...I certainly did, having to watch this crap.
I am gonna do this one as I watch...a bit of a live blog. :)
OK...first complaint - the Trek reverence for people who refused to do simple things to make their lives better has got to stop. This has been covered elsewhere, such as in our review of the third season DS9 episode "Paradise" - but it completely idiotic to revere someone who chooses a lifestyle that leads to death, pain, and constant struggle - the kinds of things that prevent you from evolving beyond the simplest of needs and exploring things like spirituality and science in more detail.
Second complaint - why did they turn the EMH into a barbarian in the second scene? Wildman is pregnant and in a ton of pain...we have seen the EMH give Janeway a hypospray when she has so much as a mild headache...what, there's nothing the Doc can give Wildman to make her back pain go away? They can set and repair bones by waving a wand and they can't ease her pregnancy pains? BULLSHIT.
Why do the writers always insist on inventing incredibly ridiculous reasons for Voyager to leave their main course to do some exploring. This is getting REALLY tiresome. Really...you're just gonna wild ass guess that the ship leaving Chakotay's tattoo moon knows where to get the specific mineral you need? What really ticks me off as that these wild guesses ALWAYS work. Just once, I'd like to see Voyager go on a flight of fancy based on bad conjecture and have it lead them to a brutal trap where they all nearly die the death of ten thousand papercuts and the ship has all of its' fuel stolen. That'd teach em!
The flashback stuff is really patronizing...but there was a genuinely funny line in the second flashback in which Chakotay's father proposes that the reason he keeps getting bitten by the bugs in the jungle is that he's not friendly with them. That actually made me laugh for its silliness.
OK...I have a question...why did they spend so much time and effort showing that you had to land on the surface of this planet because they couldn't beam down because the minute they tried to get a lock on anything, a storm popped up...but then they had no problem at all beaming Neelix to sickbay. Seriously...do these people even TRY to follow a set of rules - even ones consistent with any ONE episode?? And then...DURING A STORM (that is not a storm...WTF??) Tuvok and Torres beam out? Are they friggin' HIGH?? Oh...I see...they're coming at us with the magic voodoo man theory...someone is letting them beam up, but not down. Hilarious.
(editor's note...I actually already knew the twist, but I'm trying to show how a typical fan of Star Trek would react)
OK...so their big reveal is that an ancient alien race traveled 70,000 light years and just HAPPENED to find Earth...and just HAPPENED to discover a podunk tribe in the far north of the Arctic and, despite their total lack of culture, concluded that these people had respect for the land and other life and decided to anoint them a sort of chosen race, and then, those people were largely wiped out by eeeeeeevil white men bearing weapons and disease and the rest moved to a colony in what would become Maquis territory? You're really telling me that Voyager then just happened to travel 70,000 light years and stumble on this backwater protected planet? This is absolutely incredible! Chakotay should play every lottery in the Delta Quadrant right now, because the odds of you happening to pick that exact vector twice in the vastness of our galaxy and connect those points by pure luck are INFINITESIMAL!
It's completely nauseating to watch this ridiculous story of the inheritors play out - I utterly reject the notion that a people must turn down knowledge and technology in order to show proper respect for the land, and react with utter disdain to writers who would put such an amalgamation of Native American cliches into one story and call that enlightened. UGH...I need a drink.
It's not TERRIBLY written, but it is distinctly lazy - the side plot with the EMH doesn't fit into the story very well, and I always regard scripts with the A/B construction not revolving around a clear theme to be inferior in structure.
Actually, though, the acting is largely fantastic. Beltran takes advantage of getting a story that revolves around revealing something of his character and makes the best of it...he plays it lower key than I would hvae, but you can respect his performance here.
I give ZERO credit to this story on the message front because it's advancing a racist lie - if you think Native Americans were completely peaceful and completely ignorant of the threat posed by white men, then you are turning real people into pop-up punching clowns - it is completely disrespectful of Native American history to treat them like unqualified victims and you should be ashamed of yourself for doing so. Bottom line...the writers should have researched the story of one real native tribe from Central America, gotten the cultural details right, and given those details to Chakotay IN THE FIRST PLACE...when they were writing the pitch for the show. Instead, they lumped every Hollywood Indian cliched into a big ball of absolute dreck and periodically threw that ball at us expecting us to catch it in the face and keep coming back for more. It sickens me.