Delta Redux: A Voyager Rewatch: Dreadnaught

I find it interesting that the B’Elanna-centric episodes thus-far in the series have tended to have actress Roxanne Dawson act against either herself or an emotionless blank slate. I suppose one could argue that every time she has to interact with Harry Kim she has to deal with an emotionless blank slate – but seriously folks! In Faces she had to play opposite herself as a split personality and in Prototype she had to act against a robot, a faceless automaton. And now in Dreadnought we find Dawson having to act with a disembodied voice – and her own voice at that. I don’t think that the writers did this on purpose, I just find it interesting.

To be fair she’s actually quit good at it. Still it’d be interesting to see what she’d to with a story involving another human being.

“When a bomb starts talking about itself in the third person, I get worried.” – Lt. Tom Paris

Okay, that being said Dreadnought is a fairly by the numbers episode for Voyager – not bad but nothing to write a blog about. This fact makes this particular project a bit difficult for me.

The story does try to be different I’ll give it that. The premise is that a sentient Cardassian missile that B’Elanna high-jacked and reprogrammed back in the Maquis days also made its way to the Delta Quadrant but was damaged enough to think it’s still in the Alpha Quadrant and is dead set on completing its mission. Its mission of course is to blow stuff up, preferably people.

This brings Voyager into conflict with the planet the missile has targeted. B’Elanna then has to beam aboard the missile – which is big enough to walk around in naturally – and attempt to reason with it or shut it down. It is all very Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Again, to be fair B’Elanna does get some good hero moments and Roxanne Dawson, as I said, does do a very good job of acting with nothing but the air. But in the end the whole thing is solved by spouting some technobabble and a Deus ex Machina beeming off at the last minute to safety. And of course it is a danger from something from the Alpha Quadrant. Funny how Voyager keeps bumping into stuff from their part of the galaxy, you’d think space was pretty big and the likelihood of that happening would be rare. But nope, coincidence thy name is Voyager.

It’s not bad, it keeps you interested enough, and there is nothing egregious that makes you want to throw a shoe at the TV or anything. It’s just that it is so, well, typical.

And, as is becoming common with Voyager, they open up questions that could be worth exploring that do not get addressed. And they introduce plot contrivances that have implications for the entirety of the Star Trek franchise that are simply ignored, forgotten and never spoken of again.

For instance, the idea of autonomous, sentient killing machines just launched into space to anonymously wipe out entire planets has some pretty deep moral and ethical ramifications.  The best episodes in the Star Trek family deal with issues like this by exploring its implications. And while the show does touch on this tangentially it is mostly just used to add motivation for B’Elanna.

Not to mention the fact that the Cardassians have autonomous, sentient killing machines! We could assume that Dreadnought wasn’t the only one they built right? I think they could be useful in the Dominion War. You’d think they would have broken one of those puppies out at some point. But this is the problem with a shared fictional universe that is also trying to tell one-off weekly stories. They introduce plot holes and complications without thinking through they’re implications. As if you can just hand wave this stuff away like say…turning into a lizard and having sex with your commanding officer.

I guess it’s better to just not think about it and move on.

And speaking of moving on, next time we get to catch up with Q. **sigh**

The Journey continues.

Next Time On Star Trek Voyager



About the Author:

Paul Matthew Carr
Paul is a writer, artist and designer. He spends an inordinate amount of time on the Internet blogging about silly things and even more time making things up and then attempting to convince people they are proper stories. He also talks into microphones from time to time.

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