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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 1 E 5 The Cloud

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Oooh, pretty!
"There's coffee in that nebula!"
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Voyager investigates a nebula, only to find they've inadvertently damaged a sentient creature.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Alien Lunch:
  • Analogy Backfire: A Downplayed example, and mostly because the terms "Jonah" and "whale" are completely lost on Neelix.
  • Animal Motifs: Averted; Chakotay's animal guide isn't a bear and Janeway's isn't a coffee beetle.
  • Artistic License – Religion:
    • Chakotay shows the contents of his personal medicine bundle to Janeway, despite the only connection between them is that she's his commanding officer. He does handwave it by saying he's never shown the contents to anyone else before.
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    • A Vision Quest is traditionally undertaken by young males as a Rite of Passage to adulthood, involving several days of fasting and isolation. Chakotay should not be teaching it to B'Elanna or Janeway as a New Age therapy tool.
  • Badass Armfold: Janeway ordering the launch of a photon torpedo.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: A mild version when ex-con Paris creates the Chez Sandríne holodeck program, with floozies and pool hustlers.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Not for Chakotay; when Janeway suggest his animal guide is a bear he takes it as a compliment, though that isn't the case.
  • Bold Explorer: Janeway thinks diverting from the Yellow Brick Road to do some exploring will raise morale. Neelix doesn't quite get the Starfleet attitude on this. His girlfriend however is all for it.
    Kes: If I were Captain, I'd open every crack in the universe and peek inside, just like Captain Janeway does.
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  • Casanova Wannabe: Two in Tom's program. Janeway seems mildly amused, but B'Elanna isn't.
    B'Elanna: Paris, did you program this guy [referring to Gaunt Gary]?
    Tom: Yeah, why?
    B'Elanna: He's a pig, and so are you.
  • Cat Fight: Sandríne vs. Ricky.
  • The Chains of Commanding
  • Closest Thing We Got: As Voyager was only supposed to be on a short mission, they haven't been assigned a Ship's Counselor. The role is filled by Chakotay's Vision Quest and Neelix appointing himself Chief Morale Officer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Doctor of course, but surprisingly Harry gets in a shot at Tuvok as well.
  • Death Glare: Janeway when Neelix says it's inappropriate for the captain to use her replicator rations on...coffee!
  • Double Meaning: Chakotay tells Janeway his spirit guide is female; "She guides me well." Though he changes his mind during "Scorpion".
  • Drugs Are Bad: Chakotay says his people used to contact the spirit realm using psychoactive herbs, but as it wouldn't be a Family Friendly Aesop to have Captain Janeway coping with The Chains of Commanding by getting stoned on mescaline, an Applied Phlebotinum called an akoonah is used instead.
  • Dumbass Has a Point/What the Hell, Hero?: Neelix makes some uncharacteristically accurate criticisms of Janeway as a captain.
    "You don't "care a great deal" about your crew and introduce them to the spectre of death at every opportunity."
  • Europeans Are Kinky: The gigolo; Sandríne also shows signs of this (more so in later episodes). It's one reason why Tom loves France.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Voyager goes inside a nebula, which happens to be a living creature of cosmic dimensions. When they realized it, they returned inside it to heal the wound caused by their entry. Yes, the USS Voyager making a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot!
  • Foreshadowing: Our first mention of Lewis Zimmerman, creator of the Emergency Medical Hologram. When the idea of the Doctor programming himself arises, he muses that he might create a family or raise an army. The Doctor also gripes about being left on again, one of his complaints to Janeway in the following episode.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The Doctor is on a viewscreen in the background giving information about a nebula, and then starts ranting about how the ship's presence is affecting it. Janeway "mutes" the viewscreen, then she and the other officers continue discussing about the nebula. At first, The Doctor continues ranting about the nebula, until he realizes he's on "mute". He gets annoyed and starts pacing around his office for a good minute and a half and waving his hands before Tom Paris informs Janeway that The Doctor is still on viewscreen. Janeway finally "un-mutes" him.
    • Janeway hunts in the background for coffee while Tom and Harry give exposition.
  • Get Out!: "Dismissed. That's a Starfleet expression for 'get out'."
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The gigolo. Half French, half Daliwakian.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Paris and Janeway.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Ensign Newbie Kim gasps "I've never seen anything like it!" as they enter the nebula, and is quietly told off by Tuvok. When Tuvok says something similar later on, Harry calls him out on it.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Harry Kim is introduced to Sandríne, the owner of a holodeck French bistro. She offers her hand for a kiss, but Harry awkwardly shakes it instead. Played straight when the gigolo hits on Janeway; fortunately she's rather amused.
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted - the whole business started when Voyager tried to harvest omicron particles from the nebula (for their warp drive, not for coffee). Also Chakotay gives a Hilarious in Hindsight moment when he says there's only 38 photon torpedoes with no way of replacing them. To be fair, given the existence of replicators, this is an oddly pessimistic statement.
  • It's What I Do: When Ricky complains about the gigolo hitting on her, he simply says, "It's what I do, Tom. Nothing personal."
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: According to Tuvok, saying this on The Bridge in front of junior officers isn't recommended. Not that it's stopped anyone before. Or will stop anyone in the future.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Tom's holodeck girlfriend Ricky, that he puts in all his programs.
  • Lethal Chef: The start of a Running Gag with Neelix.
  • Lonely at the Top: Janeway muses about this in her Captain's Log, wondering if her crew need her to be larger-than-life on their journey.
  • Longing Look: Janeway sees a crewman staring out the window at the stars (towards home, one assumes).
  • Moment Killer: Kes introduces Neelix to the joys of kissing in a nebula—and then a Screen Shake starts.
  • Momma's Boy: Kim uses a blindfold because it reminds him of being in the womb.
  • Must Have Caffeine: After a shipwide hunt for coffee, Janeway orders the ship into a nebula that can provide an additional energy source, for the sole purpose of making coffee.
    "There's coffee in that nebula!"
  • The Night Owl: Harry says his roommate at Starfleet Academy was one of these.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Harry says that he can remember being in his mother's womb. Tom doesn't buy it.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: At the start of the episode Janeway is keeping her distance, walking in her hands-behind-back posture, but during the crisis she pats Tom's shoulder a lot. Chakotay also places Janeway's hand on the akoonah instead of just telling her to do so.
  • Noodle Incident: Turns out Janeway wasn't the first fellow crew member - Starfleet or otherwise - Chakotay offered to help find their "animal guide". A popular fan theory suggests that a certain Chief Engineer might have taken offence to their guide being a Tribble, or some equally annoying creature.
    B'Elanna: I hope that you had better luck with yours than I had with mine.
    Chakotay: B'Elanna's the only one I know who tried to kill their animal guide.
  • Not So Dire / Trespassing to Talk: Someone breaks into Harry Kim's room, a sinister shadow appears over his sleeping body... It's Tom Paris, who wants his best buddy to check out his new holodeck program, Chez Sandríne.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity / Hidden Depths: Janeway shows she can hustle at pool with the best of them.
  • Only Sane Man: Neelix, of all people, rants over these mad Federation people who interrupt their journey home to go joyriding through nebulas. Also the Doctor; "Why pretend we're going home at all?"
  • Railing Kill: After Inertial Dampening is knocked out, someone in Engineering goes flying over the warp core's upper railing. No indication of fatalities though.
  • Ramming Always Works: This time it doesn't.
  • Reverse Polarity: Of the shields. It doesn't work against the cloud creature's defenses.
  • Sarcasm Mode
    Janeway: I need to know if we did serious harm to this life form.
    EMH [on viewscreen]: Let's see. You ran your ship through it, fired phasers at it and blew a hole in it with a photon torpedo. I'd say it's a pretty good chance that you did some fairly significant—(Janeway shuts off audio)
    • Not that Janeway doesn't have her own.
    Neelix: I did not come on board this ship to be a veterinarian, Captain!
    Janeway: And I thought you were a man of unlimited talents.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Torres goes to the sickbay to get a second opinion about some readings from the EMH, upon which his snark and her standoffishness lead to what can only be described as a "sass-off." Their respective deliveries really sell the whole exchange.
    Torres: (startled) Why do you always have to say that?
    EMH: I can only speculate about my programmer's motives. Perhaps he thought I would be summoned for... important reasons?
    Torres: Under the circumstances, don't you think you ought to change your program?
    EMH: Now there's an interesting concept. A hologram that programs himself! Now what would I do with that ability? Create a family? Raise an army?
    Torres: I know a little about holographic programming. I could probably reprogram you!
    EMH: That makes me feel particularly confident.
    Torres: Has anyone ever told you you have a lousy attitude?
    EMH: If you don't like the Doctor's attitude, there's a man sitting at a console in the Jupiter Station Holo-Programming Center you can write to. His name is Zimmerman. He looks a lot like me, actually.
  • Space Clouds: Except it's not just a space cloud.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Neelix says that the Voyager crew are "natural-born idiots" for flying into a Negative Space Wedgie.
  • Team Mom: Janeway starts the episode wondering if she should adopt a more 'hands off' command style, but at the end of the episode joins everyone in Chez Sandríne for some pool.
  • They Wasted A Perfectly Good Cup of Uncoffee: Subverted in that it's a good thing.
  • Uncoffee: Neelix's rather thick "better than coffee" substitute. Leads to an epic Jaw Drop from Janeway.
  • The Un-Reveal: What question was Janeway going to ask her animal guide?
  • Utopia: Harry's surprised when Tom mentions someone picked his pocket in Marseilles, but he says they just do it as local color for the tourists.
  • Verbal Backspace: Janeway is dictating to her Captain's Log, commenting on the larger-than-life role The Captain has to adopt in the eyes of her crew, which she doesn't feel up to. She then tells the computer to delete the last part.
  • Vision Quest: Our introduction to Chakotay's vision quest.
  • Voodoo Shark: In his review of this episode, SF Debris coined the name for this trope. The example in this episode is that, in the midst of an energy crisis, the crew begins running the holodeck as much as they like. Why isn't this a problem? Because in "Parallax," it was established that he holodeck' power systems are incompatible with the rest of the ship. This naturally brings up even more questions of why someone would design a ship that had two completely incompatible power systems, or why they don't find a way to use the holodeck generators to meet their power needs. After all, the Trek franchise is rife with completely alien systems being integrated with little problem.
  • We Need a Distraction: A microprobe is launched to engage the attention of the cloud's defenses, while Voyager tries to repair the damage.
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