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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 4 E 17 The Killing Game

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To say the Hirogen took over Voyager would be kind of an understatement. No, the Hirogen came for a fight.
The Hirogen seize Voyager and force the crew to undergo a lethal holodeck simulation of World War II. Rule of Cool ensues.

This episode has the following tropes:

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  • Action Prologue: It's Captain Janeway kicking ass as…a Klingon?
  • Air Vent Escape: Averted; the Hirogen Beta quickly works out that Janeway has ducked into the Jeffries tube.
  • Anachronism Stew: All over the place in Part II as the holodeck simulation spills over into the rest of Voyager.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: The Alpha Hirogen treats the World War II simulation as a game—until it spills out into the corridors and everything goes to hell.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: A group of holographic Klingons armed with bat'leths handily defeating a group of submachinegun-armed Germans (also holographic). Granted, anyone would panic at the sight of angry Klingons charging at you, but still...
  • Badass Boast
    • Neelix as a Klingon warrior:
    "I may be drunk but I can still send your soul to the next world and leave your body here to rot!"
    • Seven of Nine to Turanj:
    "One day the Borg will assimilate your species despite your arrogance. When that moment arrives, remember me."
  • Battle Cry: The Doctor sends a reluctant Neelix off to battle as leader of the Klingons. "You heard the man, run along. I'll reattach any severed limbs, just don't misplace them." Then the Doc gets dragged along with them.
    Holo Klingon: Qapla!
    Neelix: ...Qapla...
    Doc: (waving a knife) Tally-ho.
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  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Two Hirogen start beating up Harry, accusing him of plotting something (which he is). Well aware of the Hirogen pecking order, Harry tells them the Alpha has already called him to the bridge. "You want me to tell him I'm working for you now?"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When the holo-war spills out into Voyager:
    Harry: You wanted a war? Looks like you've got one.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Neelix turns up with an army of drunken Klingon warriors just as our heroes are about to be shot by a Firing Squad.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Katrine" (Janeway) refers to Seven of Nine's singing holodeck character as "Mademoiselle de Neuf" — French for "Ms. Of Nine."
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands:
    • Turanj shoots the pistol out of Mademoiselle de Neuf's hand, though it's not clear if this was intentional; none of the Hirogen (except possibly Karr, and only for pragmatic reasons) are much interested in preserving the lives of the crew. He puts a bullet in her and Neelix moments later, and nearly kills her despite ordering his companion to "avoid the cranium".
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    • It happens a second time when the Hirogen medical officer shoots at Janeway. Karr gave orders that he wanted Janeway kept alive, so that may be deliberate.
  • Blatant Lies: Katrine tells everyone who enters Le Coeur de Lion to leave the war outside. Secretly she's head of the Resistance cell in Sainte Claire.
  • Call-Back: Karr suggests that the next simulation they try should be the Battle of Wolf 359.
  • The Cast Show Off: That's Jeri Ryan singing for real, not lip syncing.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When Chakotay/Miller and his infantry unit show up in the middle of a firefight, Tuvok greets them with a casual "Welcome to Saint Claire."
  • The Chanteuse: Seven of Nine as Mademoiselle de Neuf.
  • Concealing Canvas: The Resistance hide a map of German troop dispositions on the back of a painting.
  • Contrived Coincidence / Love Transcends Spacetime: The handsome American Brigitte fell in love with before the war is one of the soldiers liberating Sainte Claire. Of course in a meta coincidence, both characters are played by Voyager's Official Couple.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Janeway and Seven wear black to infiltrate Nazi headquarters and look good doing so.
  • Deadly Game: Averted for the most part due to the Doctor's efforts and Karr's instructions to avoid permanent injury, but it's clear that it's only a matter of time.
  • Death Is Cheap: Every time someone is killed on the holodeck the Doctor has to revive them and fix their injuries, only for them to be sent into another simulation. He's working flat out and the Hirogen doctor has little interest in helping him. The Doctor mentions there's already been one permanent fatality.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • When the Hirogen lose control of the holodeck program, Karr realises that Harry has committed sabotage and demands he fix it. Harry tells him to go to hell.
    • Facing the barrel of a gun held by Turanj, Seven calmly tells him that one day, the Borg will assimilate his race.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Neelix demanding a drink from his fellow Klingons (after he's already had a few too many). "I'm as dry as the crater at Tarpahk. In the middle of the dry season. When it's dry!"
  • Disney Villain Death: Janeway shoots Turanj, and he falls into the hole blasted between Voyager's decks.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: If you're using firearms instead of phasers, you've got to have superfluous bolt cocking.
  • Dueling Scar: Appropriately for someone playing a German officer, Karr has an old scar on the left side of his face, though he presumably got his the hard way.
  • Drunken Master: "Even half drunk, Klingons are among the best warriors in the galaxy."
  • Dying Race: Karr worries about his people becoming this from spreading themselves too thin on their hunts. That's why he wants to use holodecks to hold simulated hunts.
  • Empathic Environment: Dramatic Thunder sounds on the holodeck when everything starts going badly, with an unarmed Janeway being stalked by Turanj and the others in front of a Firing Squad.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Alpha thinks the Nazi Master Race rhetoric is ridiculous. Unsurprising given that Hirogen culture is based on proving one's individual prowess—the idea of a race being superior by birthright instead of by testing itself constantly against Worthy Opponents would not impress him.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Hirogen Alpha, courtesy of Danny Goldring. Subverted, however, in that he proves to be one of the least evil Hirogen and the most willing to negotiate with Janeway.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Karr is perceived as a sadist by the Voyager crew because of his torturous games and an extremist by his own people because of his unconventional beliefs on change. After inflicting countless life-threatening injuries on the crew in order to examine their fortitude and spirit, he explains that his actual objective is to utilize Voyager's holographic technology in order to prevent the Hirogen from hunting themselves into extinction by providing them with a means of simulating prey without having to scour the galaxy looking for it. Only after weeks of bloodshed do the few surviving Hirogen begin to understand the logic of their Alpha's philosophy; realizing that his holographic substitution method was the only possible solution.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: We see the flowing blonde hair of The Chanteuse before she turns her head to reveal it's Seven of Nine. Likewise with Janeway as the proprietor of Le Coeur de Lion.
  • Fainting: Brigitte does this to get into Nazi headquarters.
  • Fanservice
  • Femme Fatale Spy: B'Elanna of all people plays this role; her character Brigitte realised the Kapitan had fallen for her, so she pretended to reciprocate to gather information for the Resistance and now carries his child.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: The role Seven plays in the World War II fantasy. And those are actually Jeri Ryan's pipes in the two musical numbers.
  • Good All Along: At least, for a somewhat loose definition of "good". Karr brainwashes the Voyager crew into becoming pawns in elaborate war games; killing them over and over again, only for the Doctor to revive them and send them back in to die. However, these acts of cruelty actually SAVED their lives by preventing the Hirogen from exterminating them "en masse." It also transpires that Karr was merely experimenting with the ship's holographic technology in order to provide his people with an alternative to actually dispersing themselves across the galaxy and hunting real prey, thereby saving the protagonists' lives along with the lives of the Hirogen themselves. Even Janeway herself admits that his intentions are in everyone's best interests.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The Kapitan's death via a bat'leth-wielding Klingon.
  • Gratuitous Nazis: Although there's mention of other programs such as the Crusades and the Klingon simulation, the main emphasis is on the program based in Nazi-occupied France.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Even playing their holodeck characters Janeway and Seven can't help getting into conflict. Katrine wants to lay low and provide intelligence to the advancing American forces. Mademoiselle de Neuf wants to stockpile anti-tank weapons and assassinate German officers.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The fact that the Hirogen turned off the holodeck safeties helped things spiral out of control.
  • Holodeck Malfunction: At the end of Part One. It Won't Turn Off!
  • Humans Are Warriors: Karr seems to think so.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: The Alpha kisses Katrine's hand, as per the holodeck character he's playing.
  • I'll Kill You!: Katrine to Seven of Nine when she thinks 'Neuf' is contacting the Nazis (actually accessing the holodeck controls). She's pointing a pistol at Seven's head and the holodeck safety protocols were off, so Janeway would likely have killed the Borg if her neural interface hadn't been deactivated at that moment.
  • In Medias Res: Events begin nineteen days after the Hirogen have seized Voyager.
  • I Work Alone: Janeway insists on going alone to blow up Sickbay. Chakotay (who as Captain Miller only knows her as a female civilian) insists on coming along.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Subverted; Seven is shot as she goes to throw a photonic grenade. A soldier jumps on it, but that only means the Redshirt Army of our heroes is destroyed by the blast, not the Nazi opponents.
  • La Résistance: On the holodeck against the Nazis, and on Voyager against the Hirogen.
  • Lovely Angels: Katrine and Mademoiselle de Neuf (aka Janeway and Seven) are pistol-packing members of La Résistance!
  • Mama Bear
    JANEWAY: I guess when it comes to my people's safety, this girl tends to get a little gung-ho.
    CHAKOTAY (aka CAPTAIN MILLER): Nothing to apologize for, I'm the same way with my men. There's not a day goes by when I don't think to myself, I'm going to get 'em back safely, even if I die trying.
    JANEWAY: I know the feeling...
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: While his subordinates want to get to the good stuff of hunting and bagging trophies, their Alpha would rather take time to enjoy the subtleties of the holodeck programs, believing the cultures depicted can throw light on their own. In comparison the Kapitan boasts of his looted art collection, but has no appreciation for the cultures that created these masterpieces.
  • Mercy Lead
    JANEWAY: What are you waiting for?
    TURANJ: I am a hunter. You are my prey. (Dramatic Gun Cock) Run.
  • Mind-Control Device: The crew have been implanted with neural interfaces to make them think they are the holodeck characters they're playing.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Katrine says it's been "a hard four years" in reference to the German occupation. Of course it's also the amount of time Voyager has been in the Delta Quadrant.
    • Mademoiselle de Neuf makes a snarky comment that she's not going to be singing "Moonlight Becomes You" when the shooting starts. That's what The Chanteuse in Star Trek: First Contact is singing just before Captain Picard goes 20th Century on the Borg's ass with a submachine gun.
  • The Nameless: Averted; a Hirogen Alpha and Beta are finally given names.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Averted at first, due to the Blue-and-Orange Morality of the Hirogen. However after Karr arranges a ceasefire with Captain Janeway, Turanj finds what the Nazi captain is saying strikes a chord.
    "One does not co-operate with decadent forms of life, one hunts them down and eliminates them. The Kommandant speaks of civilization. The ancient Romans were civilized. The Jews are civilized. But in all its moral decay, Rome fell to the spears of our ancestors as the Jews are falling now. Look at our destiny! The field of red, the purity of German blood. The blazing white circle of the sun that sanctified that blood. No one can deny us, no power on Earth or beyond. Not the Christian Savior, not the God of the Jews. We are driven by the very force that gives life to the universe itself! We must countermand the Kommandant's orders, stay and fight. We must be faithful to who we are."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Though this isn't apparent till Season 7's "Flesh and Blood". At the end of the episode Janeway presents the new Alpha with holodeck technology, which he reluctantly accepts even though he claims not to have agreed with Karr's ideas. It seems like another victory for Federation ideals if the Hirogen stop hunting sentient species in favor of holograms. It doesn't work out that way.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: The Doctor urges Karr to activate the holodeck safety protocols, which will protect his own men as well as Voyager's crew. He refuses.
  • Noodle Incident: The Crusades. We don't find out anything about that simulation other than it wasn't kind to Seven.
  • No Time to Explain: Janeway's response when Captain Miller asks what Some Kind Of Forcefield is.
  • Not a Game: Karr says this to Janeway when she shows her disgust at the games the Hirogen are playing with her crew; for him, it's about finding a new way for his people.
  • Off the Rails: The Hirogen Beta Turanj is bored with the holoprogram and opens fire on Neelix to draw out the Resistance.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Janeway takes a shot in the leg, which slows her down a little but otherwise has no ill effects.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Janeway and Seven flee as the Nazi headquarters blows up behind them.
  • Planet of Hats: Discussed, interestingly enough. Karr believes that the Hirogen focus on "the hunt" above all things means they've become stagnant and lack an actual culture; they don't advance, create art, et cetera, they just hunt, and he believes it is unsustainable.
  • Plunder: The Kapitan proudly shows off the art he's looted. Karr is not impressed by a Battle Trophy taken from an enemy who's already surrendered.
  • Pregnant Badass: B'Elanna as pistol-packing Brigitte. Noticeably averted when it comes to the physical stuff though, as the actors are understandably reluctant to manhandle a pregnant Roxann Dawson.
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of the ladies in Le Coeur de Lion are wearing fur wraps.
  • Pride: Seven flat-out refuses to sing for Turanj, even when threatened with death. In fact she delivers her own Badass Boast in return.
  • Projected Man: Karr orders holoemitters installed on all decks, intending to turn Voyager into one vast holodeck. Harry uses this to project the Doctor to his location to plan La Résistance, and in Part II the holodeck combatants burst out into the rest of the ship.
  • Putting on the Reich
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Brigitte is pregnant because actress Roxann Dawson was pregnant at the time (normally covered by an Engineer's smock). This becomes Leaning on the Fourth Wall when B'Elanna gripes to Tom about the intense realism of the 'simulated' pregnancy.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Karr to the Kapitan in response to his Master Race ideology.
    ALPHA: You, yourself, are you stronger than these degenerate races? More cunning?
    KAPITAN: Yes, of course.
    ALPHA: And if you were alone without an army supporting you, would you continue the hunt? If your Prey were armed instead of defenceless, what then?
    KAPITAN: I...Colonel...I don't know what you're trying—
    ALPHA: (grabbing him by the throat) You are superior to no one! Never underestimate your prey or disrespect its abilities. If you do, you will become the hunted. When the opposing army invades this city, remember my words.
  • Redshirt Army: Both sides make use of holographic soldiers in the battle for Voyager.
  • Reset Button
    • The Hirogen seize Voyager and force its crew to fight endless battles with the holodeck safeties off. During Part II they even stop treating human wounded. All this happens with minimal fatalities except for an unnamed off-screen death.
    • Despite massive damage to Voyager (including the destruction of sickbay), everything is repaired by next week's episode, and Tom Paris is even complaining about being bored.
    • Ensign Kim reverts to being Ensign Newbie, Depending on the Writer.
  • Right Under Their Noses: Neelix is stopped and searched by Turanj, who pours a bottle of wine on the ground to check that he's not smuggling anything. When Neelix arrives at the Le Coeur de Lion, he and Tuvok peel the label off the bottle to reveal a coded message.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Harry and the Doctor are organizing a covert resistance to an enemy occupation at the same time as their colleagues are acting out the same scenario on the holodeck.
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: Justified as it's on the holodeck.
  • Soylent Soy: Harry mentions that Voyager's emergency rations consist of "synthetic protein". I bet he never thought he'd miss Neelix's cooking.
  • Spiteful Spit: A Frenchwoman spits in front of Brigitte as she goes to meet her German lover.
  • Spot the Imposter: Every true American boy knows that Betty Grable has great gams. Fortunately Harry remembers the right answer before Tom shoots him.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Turanj grabs Mademoiselle de Neuf's arm and demands she continue singing. Subconsciously reverting to her Ice Queen demeanour, Seven demands he let go. Fortunately Karr is there to stop things from getting out of hand.
  • The Starscream: The Beta kills his Alpha. Turanj reluctantly accepts Karr's idea that they should use the holodeck technology to strengthen their culture, but after being repeatedly ordered to hold back from making the kill, and when Karr arranges a ceasefire with Captain Janeway, he decides that his Alpha has forgotten what the Hirogen are all about and kills him.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Captain Miller calls down artillery on Nazi headquarters. While Janeway and Seven are inside it. The resulting explosion overloads the holoemitters, blowing a hole in several decks and spilling the conflict into the rest of the ship.
  • Target Spotter: Chakotay (or Captain Miller, as he believes he is) acts as this for a gun unit called Charlie-1.
  • Television Is Trying to Kill Us: Katrine tells off her Demolitions Expert (Seven, now freed from the neural inhibitor and trying to improv her way through the program) for not having the detonator connected to her explosive charges. This would be a good way for Seven to blow herself up, as they're not even inside Nazi headquarters yet.
  • That's an Order!: Janeway is rather amused when Captain Miller uses this trope, given that she actually outranks Chakotay. She just tells him that as a civilian it doesn't apply to her.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: Karr demands the crew install more and more holoemitters until the entire system overloads. When Janeway cooperates with him in shutting down the program, she decides the only recourse is to overload the entire system and worry about repairs later. Good thing she's got that handy Reset Button!
  • To Be Continued in Part Two.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • It's Harry Kim — not Janeway or Seven or the Doctor — who first puts events into motion. As in "Timeless", this terse, self-motivated Harry is a lot more interesting than his standard Ensign Newbie portrayal. Pity they didn't keep it up.
    • In-Universe; Neelix once he becomes a Klingon. Played for Laughs when he gets his memories back and has to keep up the act.
      NEELIX: (addressing his officers) Pardon me, gentlemen. I wonder if I might have a word with you?
      (Klingons ignore him)
      DOCTOR: They're Klingons, not kittens!
      NEELIX: (snatches away the meat they're eating) YOU WILL LISTEN!
  • Triage Tyrant: When a crewmember with life-threatening injuries and a Hirogen with minor burns are both brought in, the Hirogen medical officer orders the doctor to treat the Hirogen patient first. He protests that this goes against the rules of triage is that critical injuries take priority. The Hirogen replies "your rules, not mine" and deactivates him when he refuses to comply.
  • Twisted Ankle: Janeway catches a leg wound that slows her later on while Turanj is stalking her.
  • Two-Part Episode
  • Visionary Villain: Karr realizes that his species' obsession with the hunt has caused their civilization to spread too far and their culture to stagnate. He hopes that holodeck technology will allow the Hirogen to rebuild their society, by enabling them to concentrate their ships while continuing the hunt.
  • Wall of Weapons: Karr has set one up in Janeway's quarters, along with his Battle Trophies.
    JANEWAY: I see you've done some redecorating.
  • We Need a Distraction: Harry tells a crewman to request the Hirogen guard escort him to Engineering because he has to get a component. While the corridor is empty, he projects the Doctor to his location.
  • We Gotta Stop Meeting Like This: The Doctor on being projected to Harry's location again.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Janeway begs Turanj to spare her life in order to lure him into an area where the holoemitters are damaged, so his WW2 rifle won't fire.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    Turanj: I've become impatient. We penetrated this vessel, overcame their defenses, and in the moment of the kill, you forced us to stop. Now we play these incessant games. It's time we took our trophies and moved on.
    Karr: Your lust for the kill has blinded you, like many young hunters. If you took the time to study your prey, to understand its behavior, you might learn something.
    Turanj: There is nothing to be learned!
  • Worthy Opponent:
    Karr: (to Janeway) You are a resilient species. I admire your cunning.
  • "You!" Exclamation: The Hirogen medical officer on seeing Captain Janeway pointing a gun at her.
  • You Got Spunk
    ALPHA: I want to see the fear in your eyes.
    KLINGON!JANEWAY: Look closely and you'll see your own destruction!
    ALPHA: You are resilient prey!
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Averted; Janeway simply comes up with the most convenient explanation when dealing with 'Captain Miller' (Chakotay). The area outside the holodeck is a secret bunker for developing Nazi superweapons. Jeffries tubes are Secret Underground Passages. And the Klingons? Well, some residents of her town are a bit eccentric.

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