Monday, December 17, 2012

Classics: Voyager 3:6 - Remember

Overall Rating:7.9

This would have had more impact if Roxanne Dawson hadn't devoured the scenery like a hungry hungry hippo on a pile of plastic pellets.  Mmmmm...tasty scenery.

Plot Synopsis:

Torres is telepathically given a set of memories from a woman who was convinced to take part in genocide of a group of peaceful dissidents whose only crime is choosing to reject advanced technology.  See the details here, courtesy of Memory Alpha.

The Skinny:

They did have a very interesting idea here, and the way in which they reveal the details keeps your attention.  I enjoy, for example, that the father is not portrayed as particularly monstrous when the daughter (Torres) starts asking questions about why Regressives aren't treated the same way.  There is enough subtlety for most of the episode to allow us to buy into the idea that thew daughter's mind could be warped into turning on her own lover and backing her father.

But let's come right to the point.  Roxanne Dawson is not a bad actress by any stretch of the imagination, but she has a history of showing limits to her believable range in high-drama moments.  Rarely does she deliver on drama in a way that engenders resonance with the audience.  And in this episode, it is particularly jarring.  In dream world, her decision to scream along with her father as her boyfriend is torched to a cinder comes across well, but when Torres awakes after the fact and confronts Voyager's guests about what she has experienced, she sounds like a raving lunatic, not like a justifiably shocked and angry woman on a mission to out the bad guy.  The scenery-chomping spectacle really breaks the fourth wall in a few places - it feels like she might as well be yelling "THE HOLOCAUST WAS REAL, YOU DAMNED IDIOTS!!!!!!!"  Of course the Holocaust was real, but screaming it with the volume up to max and the tweeters shrieking from the feedback isn't going to get our attention any better.

When she calms down after her discussion with Janeway and chooses to encourage the young engineer to seek the truth by sharing it with her, we get back to the real message - the only way to defeat the greatest of evils is to continue to speak the truth.  Even if you can't win outright today, you can make a difference just by speaking the truth.  And why, despite the bad acting and the somewhat contrived victims (we'll get to that in a second), this episode still does well with me.

But it could have been better with some better acting and a better victim.  They got the bad guy relatively right, though his motivations could have been a bit more clear if they had more time to explore them.  But the good guy was disingenuous at best.  And with that...

Let's Go With It!

We humanoids may be somewhat capricious about how we define social correctness and ideology, and over what issues we choose to kill, but I have a very hard time believing that humans are likely to go on a mission to exterminate the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) because they reject modern technology.  So...they needed to give a better reason why the Regressives would seem like a dire threat to normative society on an existential level such that they would be targeted for genocide.  Were the Regressives responsible for the spreading of a deadly plague?  Were they looking to take down the repressive laws of the normies (perhaps if you got caught without sanitized hands, you were jailed or fined?  something crazy like that)?  Why would normal society find the Regressives so damned offensive?  That needed a better definition.

Do that - give the bad guys a reason to have this hatred, even if it's not fair or just or productive to hold onto that hatred, so that we can better understand both sides - and dial down the crazy from B'Elanna, and this would have been a feature script on par with DS9 classics like Duet.'s merely an enjoyable and solid contribution to the canon.

Writing: 7.7

I have to ding the script for being too simplistic and not delving deeply enough into what brings about genocide and how those evil impulses must be fought.

Acting: 7.5

I would give this one a 9 except that, all by herself, Roxanne Dawson cost this one 1.5 points for completely ruining my emotional investment at just the wrong time.

Message: 8.5

A good try here...they did make a solid effort to convey an important message regarding speaking truth to power and the value of the efforts of the individual in the battle against evil.

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