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Overview – While on a solo mission to perform a sacred and personal ritual, Chakotay encounters a young Kazon boy named Kar who has been sent to kill him. Defeating the boy, but not killing him, Chakotay is eventually captured by Kar’s sect, the Kazon Ogla. Chakotay soon finds himself having to fight to not only save himself, but to help Kar avoid being executed for failing to kill Chakotay. The two develop a unique bond.
Score: 7/10 – The second episode pf the second season gives us our first Chakotay-centric episode. The episode does a good job of really giving us an insight into the Maquis-turned-first officer, establishing him as a man of compassion balanced with action. We are given a look at the Kazon society, who up to this point just seemed like a lesser version of the Klingons. In preparing the script for this episode, it was decided that the Kazon should be modeled after street gangs that were in Los Angeles. The influence is recognizable as the young children (all males) are expected to earn their name by killing an enemy, or at least to die trying. It adds some depth to a species that has largely been overlooked after their introduction in Season 1. We also have the treat of seeing Aron Eisenberg play his second Trek character as the youth Kar. Kar is very different from Eisenberg’s more popular character, DS9’s Nog, but Eisenberg does a great job in this role. The story is fairly basic, with Chakotay trying to befriend Kar and help him escape the brutal life of a Kazon. He even goes as far as being willing to be killed to help Kar earn his name (with the idea that Voyager can resuscitate him shortly afterwards). The two share a unique bond, and the story does not quite turn out the way we would expect, but it is a good ending.
Relevance – 2 points. Scoring a point for the return of the Kazon Ogla, who were first encountered in “Caretaker”. They have had at least one new leader since then (the previous leader, Jabin, is not seen, and the new leader is Razik). Of course, by the end of this episode, Razik is also offed and a new leader is crowned. Another point is scored for the first mention of the Trabe, a civilization that once enslaved the Kazon and will be seen later this season.
Continuity – 3 points. Story continuity works here, as does the universe continuity. Most notably is how the Kazon are fleshed out a bit more. They have only been given a minimal degree of development, and now we get a better understanding as to why they are the way they are. Character continuity is also a go here. Chakotay acts in a way that we had not seen much of since the series’ pilot episode, being all spiritual one moment, all business the next, mixing iron will with compassion as only he can.
Character Development – 2 points. This is all about Chakotay. We see more of his spiritual side, his action side, and, more importantly, his nurturing side. It almost makes me wonder why he rose to be a leader among the Maquis as he shows himself to be full of compassion for an enemy. There is not much else in character development for this episode, and that is fine as Chakotay, being the first officer, has largely been a background character or has had to share the spotlight in previous episodes. There is a little hint of something with Neelix being left out of training drills that he wanted to be a part of, and we see a rare example of his experience being useful to Janeway, but the rest of the crew is there to simply find Chakotay.
Social Commentary – 2 points. The Kazon were meant to be mirrored after the LA street gangs. This works for the Kazon, and in the process gives us an parallel that grants us a glimpse into the lives of gang members. It definitely takes away the glamour that others tried to envision. We see the violence inherent in the gang system and how it is basically a sure way of shortening one’s life.
Cool Stuff – 1 point. Aron Eisenberg does a great job as Kar and establishes him as being very different from Nog. It is always cool to see an actor that you recognize in a different role.
Rank – Captain (17 points). A nice episode that gives Chakotay a chance to shine. Robert Beltran and Aron Eisenberg have some great chemistry together, which really provides the heart of the story.
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