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Star trek: Voyager 6.11b - Muse

Stardate 53896
Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

Awakening from a crash landing on a primitive planet, B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) finds herself alone and without the resources to return to Voyager. Befriending Kelis (Joseph Will), a local playwright, Torres finds he can supply the items she needs, although his price is unusual: she must become the Muse which fuels his theatre!

Persons of interest

  • Kate Mulgrew .... Captain Kathryn Janeway
  • Robert Beltran .... Commander Chakotay
  • Roxann Dawson .... Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
  • Robert Duncan McNeill .... Lieutenant Tom Paris
  • Robert Picardo .... the Emergency Medical Hologram
  • Ethan Phillips .... Neelix
  • Tim Russ .... Lieutenant Tuvok
  • Jeri Ryan .... Seven of nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix 01
  • Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
  • Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
  • Joseph Will .... Kelis
  • Kellie Waymire .... Lanya
  • Michael Houston King .... Jero
  • Kathleen Garrett .... Tanis
  • Stoney Westmoreland .... the warlord
  • Tony Amendola .... chorus
  • John Schuck .... chorus
  • Jack Axelrod .... chorus
  • Joe Menosky .... Screenwriter
  • Mike Vejar .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Go the Greeks!

Drawing heavily on the culture of Classical Greece, Joe Menosky has drawn a morality play from the depths of yet another Prime Directive tale.

"Yet another Prime Directive tale," I say? Well, yes. Star trek is pretty darned full of them and it takes a lot of effort to pull them off. Not all such tales have succeeded. Still, even the bad ones remind viewers of the evil that was done in the name of "progress". Whole civilisations wiped out, populations riddled with disease, natural resources pillaged, men, women and children raped and murdered, traditions broken, gods and goddesses abandoned, souls destroyed. And that's just on Earth.

Imagine how much blood is on the hands of a galactic society.

Of course, Muse is Roxann Dawson's contractual featured episode and bravely enough, the rest of the main cast barely feature. Solo episodes tend to use someone else from the unkillable crew as a foil or advisor but this one imports a whole heap of one-off characters. That's an expensive thing to do on TV because the regular crew get paid whether they are on screen or not. It shows that the producers have a commitment to making this episode work and also why it's showing near the end of the season.

The good thing is that the regular cast really can act, given the chance, and there's nothing like a good tragedy to bring out the best in an actor. Tim Russ' stoic but driven Vulcan is a great study in the conflict of belief (logic) and emotion (loss): his scene with Ethan Phillips in the Mess Hall (after a couple of weeks of sleeplessness) is excellent. Likewise, Robert Duncan McNeill's heartbroken paramour shows his value as a performer. Roxann herself balances a number of conflicting emotions (fear, anger, sense of duty, loss, determination...) with great ease, imparting her alter ego with a dignity that would've been out of character in the first few seasons. It's good to see that Tom and B'Elanna's relationship has had an effect on them as Klingon/Human beings and not just been a convenient storyline.

Did B'Elanna break the Prime Directive (other than by crashing on a pre-warp planet, of course)? Well, it was Kelis who sought her out and made use of Starfleet technology without her knowledge or consent. The only way to get the Delta Flyer and its technology off the planet was to trade stories for aid, and her Voyager tales were carefully phrased to tie in with his mythology. As for being an Immortal and ascending to the heavens, well, it was Kelis who first called her an Immortal she merely agreed with him.

Unfortunately, she did help to stop a war, which was definitely the way things would've gone without her. While preventing his patron from going to war was Kelis' idea, it only came about because of B'Elanna's intervention. The Immortals alone know how he got to have his own theatre company in the first place. Fortunately for B'Elanna, bringing peace ensured secrecy of the Delta Flyer, a much more important break to the directive (see Blink of an eye).

Verdict: although B'Elanna Torres did break the Prime Directive the harm done is less than would've occurred had she allowed events to take their natural course. Every good Captain has to know when to break a rule as much as when to uphold one. Note to self: offer her a command some time. And ratify that field promotion before she gets away!

Security censorship classification

G

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 8 December 2000

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