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Recap / Star Trek: Voyager S2 E26, S3 E1: "Basics"

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Aren't you guys supposed to be on that?
Seska and the Kazon-Nistrim finally make their move, seizing Voyager and marooning its crew on a primitive planet. While they struggle to survive without their technology, it's up to the Doctor, Tom Paris, and reformed killer Lon Suder to take back the ship.

This episode contains the following tropes:

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  • 1 Million B.C.: Hanon IV has primitives, volcanoes, and giant lizards.
  • Action Survivor: The first (but not the last) time the Doctor will have to protect Voyager when the crew are otherwise disposed.
  • Air Vent Escape: Suder does a lot of crawling through Jeffries tubes.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Because they were stranded without their comm badges, the crew couldn't communicate well with the primitive natives. This lack of understanding nearly led to deaths on both sides.
  • All Up to You: The Doctor leaves a pre-recorded Rousing Speech for Suder after Seska shuts down his program.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The image of Seska and Cullah strutting onto the Bridge as Janeway and her crew are held at gunpoint is a worthy successor to "Best of Both Worlds", also written by Piller. Alas it gets resolved about as elegantly as BOBW did next season.
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  • And Another Thing...: It looks like the Doctor has a reprieve when Seska and the Kazon rush out of Sickbay to deal with the Talaxian attack, but Seska stops and fires into the Doctor's database to shut him down.
  • And the Adventure Continues
  • The Archer: Not Chakotay but Tuvok, who taught archery at the Vulcan Institute of Defensive Arts.
  • Armour-Piercing Slap: When Janeway tries to negotiate with Maje Cullah he cuffs her to the ground, following this up with a Straw Misogynist rant.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha
    • "Ready photons, dispersal pattern Sierra."
    • "Evasive manoeuvres, Mister Paris. Gamma sequence. "
    • "Full starboard roll, evasive manoeuvres Lambda sequence."
    • "We'll spread the teams out in a standard Alpha search pattern."
  • The Baby Trap: Used for a literal trap. Seska sends a Distress Call to Chakotay showing their child that's interrupted by Maje Cullah, apparently furious the child is not his. Teirna later reports the child will be Made a Slave. Chakotay argues that he has no obligation to do anything as the child was taken from him by force, but his father convinces him otherwise in a Vision Quest.
  • Batman Gambit
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    • Seska knows Voyager will come after Chakotay's child, especially if they think she's dead (meaning the baby has no-one to protect it, and Chakotay avoids the awkward issue of having to rescue her as well).
    • Teirna gets thrown into the brig once Voyager realises they've been Lured into a Trap. This puts him in just the right place where an explosion will destroy a plasma conduit, doing even more damage.
    • Seska leaves an obvious escape route in the approaching Kazon warships, knowing Janeway will be suspicious and try to blast her way out instead. This leaves Voyager surrounded by warships when the suicide bomb goes off, enabling the Kazon to board while they're still reeling from the damage.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Kazon vs. Voyager in Part One.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Rather than four legs, the cave-lizard has four limbs spaced around its circumference, so it can pull itself along the cave roof as well as the ground.
  • Blatant Lies: The Doctor manages to fool Consummate Liar Seska.
    • Seska told Culluh that Chakotay raped her, to explain away what she thought at the time was a Half-Human Hybrid baby.
  • Bond One-Liner: Paris gets one off when the shuttlecraft he escaped in uses its phasers to destroy a Kazon patrol ship.
    Tom: I told you, I don't have time for this!
  • Bring Help Back: With Voyager suffering under a Curb-Stomp Battle, Paris takes a shuttle to the Talaxians to enlist their aid.
  • Captured by Cannibals: Lampshaded, but fortunately averted.
    Neelix: The other two seem to be trying to figure out what to make of us... in a manner of speaking, not in a culinary sense, I hope.
  • Character Development: The Doctor's proves a significant plot point when Seska underestimates him, not realising he's no longer Just a Machine.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Chakotay, Neelix and Kes try to slowly walk out of the native camp. It doesn't work.
  • Chiaroscuro
    • Suder in his cabin.
    • Maje Cullah doesn't like the effect when he takes the Bridge though, so orders all the lights turned up.
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • Teirna's unusual blood readings.
    • The secondary command processors are repeatedly targeted—so the Janeway can't use the Self-Destruct Mechanism.
    • The Talaxian colony Voyager contacts for aid off-screen in Part One, comes to help in Part Two.
    • Hogan's bones (ah, the irony...) are discovered by alien scientists in "Distant Origin".
    • The fake holographic vessel trick was first suggested in "Prototype", though not used.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lon Suder, the Sociopathic Soldier from "Meld", is confined to his locked quarters, studying orchids and working on his emotional control under the study of Tuvok.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Which displays Convection Schmonvection when it erupts.
  • The Chessmaster: Seska plans the seizure of Voyager brilliantly.
  • Children Are Innocent: Chakotay's father urges him not to hold his child responsible for the crimes of the mother.
  • Cliffhanger
  • Continuity Nod: The Autonomic Response Analysis was used in "Ex Post Facto", when Tom Paris was accused of murder. This time, however, the Doctor tells Chakotay that it won't work on the unfamiliar physiology of a Kazon.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The "as long as you don't touch the lava you're alright" rule is very much in effect when, during an evacuation from a volcanic eruption, Chakotay rescues an alien girl who's somehow gotten herself stranded on a piece of rock.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Teirna's body swells and distorts as he screams in agony, then explodes.
  • The Determinator
    Janeway: I will not let this planet kill my crew!
  • Die Hard On Voyager
  • Dissonant Serenity: Invoked Trope by Chakotay, who calmly walks into the midst of the tribe to persuade them to release Kes and Neelix.
    Chakotay: Listen to the sound of my voice, and you'll know that I mean you no harm. I come without weapons. But I must have my people back.
  • Distress Ball: Neelix wanders off in the dark. Kes is alarmed and goes after him to warn him against wandering off in the dark. Both are snatched by tribesmen.
  • Dodge by Braking: Tom uses this maneuver against a Kazon raider.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Seska dies by exploding console. Really. But don't worry, she gets a more fitting death in a later episode.
  • Due to the Dead: Tuvok and the Doctor pay homage to Suder's bravery. Chakotay strokes Seska's hair and gently pulls a blanket up over her face.
  • Eat That: When the search parties can't find any plants of nutritional value, Janeway turns over a rock and orders everyone to eat the larvae underneath.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Seska's dying act is to crawl to her child. Maje Cullah is genuinely upset by her death, and his final scene involves him gently picking up their son after ordering his men to Abandon Ship. Chakotay too is shown mourning Seska's death.
  • Even Evil Has Standards
    • Seska looks uncomfortable when Maje Culluh repeats her Blatant Lies about Chakotay to his face.
    • Culluh is willing to raise Seska's child as a Kazon warrior even before he finds out it's his.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Inverted — when Culluh walks onto The Bridge, he orders someone to turn on the lights.
  • Evil Laugh: Maje Cullah once Voyager is safely down on Hanon IV.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: A couple of nameless ensigns in Part One, and Seska in Part Two when Tom Paris deliberately sets up an overload.
  • Half Truth: Teirna's story is plausible because he really was beaten, fired upon, and forced to breathe poisoned air for hours.
  • Hard-to-Light Fire: A frustrated Chakotay says "You're stuck with the only Indian who can't light a fire by rubbing two sticks together!" Then he has a Eureka Moment of using Janeway's hair as kindling (making the captain a literal Fiery Redhead).
  • Hard Light: The fake Talaxian ships absorb energy blasts.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am a Dwarf Today?: When Tuvok makes himself a bow to use (being an expert in the weapon who used to teach it) Chakotay feels the need to point out that his tribe never invented them. He later frustratedly calls himself "the only Indian who can't start a fire by rubbing two sticks together" after failing at said task.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suder collapses on the floor the first time he's forced to kill.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Suder in two senses; first he has to abandon every gain he's made in therapy and return to violence in order to save the ship. Then he's killed by one of the enemy.
  • Idiot Ball: Neelix firmly holds onto it this episode. Aside from the incident mentioned under Red Shirt, he also leaves the camp in the middle of the night, alone, and without a torch. Sure enough, he's quickly captured by the natives.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder
    EMH: What am I supposed to do? Lead a revolt with a gang from Sandrine's? Conjure up holograms of Nathan Hale and Che Guevara? I'm a doctor, not a counterinsurgent.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: Hogan is killed by a rampaging camera dolly that moves a lot faster than the cave-lizard that later tries to eat Chakotay and Tuvok.
  • Improvised Weapon: Under Tuvok's guidance, Voyager's crew make bows and arrows, spears and clubs.
  • Indy Ploy: When the Talaxians are reluctant to help, Tom gives a Badass Boast that he knows Voyager inside-and-out, and has a cunning plan for taking back the ship. The Talaxian commander agrees to rendezvous in an hour. Which gives Tom that long to think up a plan.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: The Kazon rip off the crew's commbadges before marooning them, so they have no technology whatsoever.
  • Intimate Healing: Janeway advises her crew huddle together for warmth, but unfortunately for those with Shipping Goggles, we don't see her cuddle with anyone.
  • Invisibility Cloak: When the internal sensors go mysteriously off-line, Seska realises they have an intruder and orders a deck-by-deck search with tricorders. Suder uses a thoron generator to mask his signal, "an old Maquis trick".
  • It's All My Fault: Well yes, Neelix; it is.
  • Jitter Cam: Of the crew as they're herded off the ship by the Kazon.
  • Just Between You and Me: An Invoked Trope by the Doctor. When Seska realises he is behind the sabotage, the Doctor boasts of how he did it all by himself so she won't go looking for Suder.
  • Karma Houdini: Given his Straw Misogynist tendencies, fans were expecting Maje Cullah to get a well-deserved comeuppance from either Seska or Janeway, but he gets away scott-free after abandoning ship. Presumably the need for someone to look after the baby had a lot to do with it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Kazon abandon Voyager on a primitive planet without resources, in punishment for refusing to share their technology.
  • Last Breath Bullet: One of the Kazon shot by Suder turns out to be Not Quite Dead, and shoots Suder In the Back.
  • Lie Detector: Chakotay requests the Doctor do an "Autonomic Response Analysis" to see if Teirna is lying. The Doctor points out that they don't have enough baseline information on the Kazon to give an accurate result.
  • MacGyvering: Neelix tells Hogan to gather the bones to make improvised tools or weapons. After he gets eaten, Chakotay uses his torn uniform to make a solar still. Some people get no respect.
  • Magical Native American: Averted; Chakotay can't shoot a bow or light a fire by rubbing sticks, and fails to make a spiritual connection with the tribal shaman. Where he does prove himself is by risking his life to save a woman of their tribe, earning their friendship by example.
  • Mauve Shirt: Hogan did have speaking parts in previous episodes, though likely only a Trekkie could have picked him out from the other white male Maquis-turned-Starfleet-Engineering-Crew-types like Kurt and Jonas.
  • Noble Savage: Janeway points out they're stuck on Hanon IV with its natives, so they need to learn to co-exist.
    Chakotay: I agree with the Captain. We have to find a way to share this world with them.
    Tuvok: You may find nobility in the savage, Commander, but he is only interested in killing you.
    Chakotay: I don't believe that.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Doctor adopts his Dr. Jerk persona of Season One to convince Seska that he doesn't care about the Kazon taking over the ship.
  • One-Man Army: Suder kills eight or nine Kazon in a single rampage through Engineering.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Once again, Maje Cullah's misogyny is out in full force.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Suder gives his life in a rather cliched fashion; shot In the Back by a dying Kazon, pushing the button that will save the ship with his dying breath.
  • Red Shirt: A classic! Neelix and Ensign Hogan discover a pile of humanoid bones in front of a dark cave mouth. Neelix, who notes they're just like a Keep Out sign, orders Hogan to gather them all up, then gets called away by someone else. Hogan gets an Oh, Crap! look, and sure enough is killed seconds later by the cave-lizard.
    • And the poor schmuck who gets eaten by the cave lizard later on.
  • Robinsonade
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Lampshaded when Seska is grateful her baby isn't too human. "You all have such weak foreheads."
  • Schmuck Bait: Come on people, it's Seska. Trap Is the Only Option!
    • When the Kazon warships close in on Voyager, they leave a very obvious escape path. The crew decide its an obvious trap and don't take it. However, it's entirely possible that staying is exactly what Seska wanted and taking it really would've worked.
  • Scream Discretion Shot
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Janeway decides to turn the ship round when it's obvious they've walked into a trap, but it's too late.
    • When the crew create false sensor readings to make it look like they have help, half of the Kazon ships take off.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Kazon ships repeatedly hit one specific spot on Voyager in hit-and-run raids, damaging the secondary command processors. The reason becomes apparent when Voyager falls into a massive ambush, and Janeway tries to activate the autodestruct to prevent capture. Turns out the secondary command processors are vital to the job.
  • Season Finale / Two-Part Episode
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: All the focus on Chakotay's feelings about being a father turns out to be meaningless, as the child isn't actually his.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat
    Chakotay: You still have pride in the Nistrim, don't you, Teirna? Even after what they did to you. I remember that pride in your eyes when you pounded me with your fists while I was tied to a chair. And I can see it in your eyes now, and that scares the hell out of me.
    Teirna: You must scare easily, Federation.
  • So Much for Stealth: While sneaking past the giant sleeping lizard, a Red Shirt slips off the ledge, wakes it up and gets swallowed as the others try to pull him up.
  • Space Is Noisy: The Doctor proves that in space they can hear you scream, after he's accidentally projected outside Voyager.
    "HELLLLLLP! MAN OVERBOOOOOOARD!"
  • Spanner in the Works: Three things scupper Seska's perfect plan — Tom Paris survives the attack on his shuttle and makes contact with Talaxian forces. The Doctor has changed significantly since Seska knew him in Season One. Lon Suder is broken out of his cell by the blast from the suicide bomber.
  • Status Quo Is God: It was originally intended that the baby would die while Seska would survive the episode. It was soon decided this wasn't a suitable ending so instead Seska died while the baby lived... this however caused another problem; the baby would be left on the ship and the writers had no interest in giving Chakotay a child to raise. As a result, it is suddenly revealed in Part II that the baby was never Chakotay's son, despite Seska's intentions.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: After they're marooned on the planet, Janeway immediately organises her crew into groups to search for food, water and shelter, and tells her officers to reassure everyone that help is on the way, even though they can't be sure that Tom escaped.
  • Stupid Surrender: Janeway gives up far too easily when the Kazon storm the bridge, not even drawing a phaser.
  • Suicide Attack: Tiernan was actually a suicide bomber meant to disrupt critical parts of Voyager at a crucial point in the battle. His unusual blood referred to the chemical changes that turned him into a walking bomb.
  • That's No Moon!: While creeping through the cave, Kes senses a breeze from a tunnel and thinks it's a way out. It turns out to be the breath of the sleeping cave-lizard.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Having struggled to control his homicidal urges and learned empathy through his mind meld, Suder is reluctant to take up killing again.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Suder tosses aside his disrupter in disgust after his kill spree in Engineering. Unfortunately one Kazon is Not Quite Dead.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The usual trailer hype. Which of these characters will die tonight — Janeway? Tuvok? Chakotay? Torres? Or that one murderous guy played by Brad Dourif who was only in one episode prior to this one? Stay tuned to find out!
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Everyone knows that Seska's call to Chakotay is probably the bait for a trap, but they still feel obligated to fly in to rescue Chakotay's (supposed; in fact not really) son. They do fly in with a battle plan, though.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Teirna is found clinging to life in a damaged shuttle. He claims Seska was killed after Maje Cullah found the child was not his. His medical injuries back up his story, but Chakotay is suspicious and orders him thrown in the brig. Where Teirna is able to activate a suicide bomb out of sight of everyone.
  • Troll: Neelix picks up a bone, tells Hogan to gather them all up, then drops the bone he picked up and walks away.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The crew discuss their battle plan against the Kazon thoroughly and it almost works — except for The Mole on Voyager blowing himself up and damaging the ship.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: As much as Suder acknowledges this, it still scares him as he is on his way to becoming an Actual Pacifist. When he's forced to kill the Kazon, he looks like he's about to throw up.
  • Video Will: Knowing that Seska will soon be onto him and his program will be shut down, the Doctor leaves a message for Suder, to play when Suder tries to activate him.
  • Vision Quest: Chakotay consults his father on whether to rescue Seska's baby.
  • We Need a Distraction: Holographic ships and fake sensor readings are used to divert Kazon fire in Part One. In Part Two, several crewmembers volunteer to draw the tribemen away from the cave where Chakotay et al are hiding. The Talaxians attack Voyager to draw it into the Space Clouds where Tom is lurking, hidden from their targeting sensors.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: The crew pick up a dying Kazon in an escape pod with failing life support. The Doctor mentions that his injuries back up his story, though he has an unusually high red blood cell count. Still suspicious they place the Kazon in the brig, and at a crucial point in the battle his chemically-altered body explodes, rupturing a plasma conduit and knocking out Voyager's defenses. Pedantic types may wonder why the ship's designers ran a plasma conduit so close to the brig. The answer is two-fold: 1) Voyager is a small ship and space is at a premium. Think of the difficulties you can have trying to route an IDE ribbon cable in a mini-tower PC case. 2) The ship's designers obviously didn't expect that prisoners would have a living bomb encoded into their blood chemistry. Seska, being a Magnificent Bastard, knew of both of these flaws and played them to the hilt.

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