VOY Season 1, Episode 6 (Netflix S1 E5): The Cloud
The main plot of the episode is uninteresting and chalked full of techno-babble. They attempt to deal with important themes that I wish Voyager would have taken seriously. They try to address the problem of the crew’s morale dropping, but we never really see the effects of the bad morale, we just see the solutions. That is actually more than they give us for the apparent energy problem. We don’t see any serious effects of the energy problem (and they even spend an awful lot of time on the holodeck), and we never see the solution. Great conflict. It doesn’t have any real positives, so it gets a 1.
Read more at Memory Alpha
Hear a defense of this episode at Trek.fm, who gave it an 8/10
The crew becoming distraught is a good theme for this episode. The only real example they give is this guy looking out a window. Other than that Janeway and Chakotay just tell us the crew is depressed. I guess we have to take their word for it.
Another appropriate theme for this episode is that they need energy. They give the example of needing replicator rations and having to eat Neelix’s food to save energy, but once again they don’t really show us how dire the situation is, so it doesn’t mean anything to us.
It’s established in the beginning of the episode that Janeway is going to try to get closer to the crew. So when Chakotay suggests that Janeway can learn to speak with her “animal guide,” she is pretty much just humoring him right?
Sort of interesting moment with Neelix wondering why Voyager always does dangerous stuff, which is soured by a romantic twist in the scene.
They mention a limited supply of photon torpedoes. It would be cool if they actually ran out at some point.
Harry Kim wears a sleeping mask because it reminds him of being in the womb
Holodeck time seems like one of those luxuries they would have to forgo in the Delta Quadrant, right? It seems like it would use way more power than a replicator. The writers are at least attempting to “show” rather than “tell” when it comes to the crew needing a boost in morale
It seems weird that Chakotay, former captain of the Maquis ship, and Janeway, captain of the Federation ship, are pretty much best pals a couple weeks later. He even shows her his medicine bundle. I don’t think they need to be butting heads all the time, but it seems like the writers actively avoid continuity. Rather than things like Maquis/Federation unease or crew morale being an ever present element of stories, they choose to address those issues sporadically, and then forget about them any other time
Quite the matte painting in Janeway’s dream. wow.
Once again, pure techno babble solutions all around
“I understand that this nebula is actually some kind of monster?!” heh. Neelix seems to be the only crew member that is really upset on board, which is strange because he is one of the only crew members whose life has just drastically improved
They establish that Neelix is now the morale officer. I’m with Tuvok on this one
So the apparent energy problem is not solved and instead made worse. But don’t worry Janeway tells us that they are going off of a tip from Neelix to get energy. So we never saw the effect of the energy problem, and we don’t see the solution to the energy problem
Harry invites Janeway to the holodeck. I bet everybody hates Harry right about now.
Team Voyager might say that this episode really isn’t about energy, the “nebula” is only a tool to tell a story about the crew, specifically Janeway. They may argue that this episode is important because it introduces a main trait in Janeway’s personality, which is that she tries to be closer with the crew. The tools used to tell a character story are actually really important. It’s what makes it mean something. They use Chakotay as one of the illustrations of Janeway getting closer, by her playing along with the animal guide thing, which comes across as contrived. At any rate she already seemed close to Chakotay, which is in itself another problem. Janeway appeared no more distant from the crew before this episode, and no closer after this episode. Her joining the crew in the holodeck was meant to be some kind of breakthrough moment, but it doesn’t take long for her to just create that boring holodeck program that she does by herself.
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