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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 5 E 14 Bliss

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You know how Star Trek is weirdly obsessed with Moby-Dick allegories? Well, this is Qatai.
Voyager comes across a wormhole that comes straight out of nowhere, with readings that it is on a path straight to the Alpha Quadrant. Seven of Nine suspects that the wormhole may not be what it appears to be, and during her investigations finds a ship within the wormhole with an alien passenger warning her to turn around because she's being deceived. Unfortunately, the crew keeps Seven from making any further investigations and try to put her in sedation as they get closer and closer to the wormhole.

With nobody to stop the crew, Janeway orders them to enter the wormhole, unaware that it is actually a giant energy creature that is psychically manipulating them so they can pilot the ship straight into its digestion chamber. At Naomi Wildman's urging, Seven awakens after most of the crew is rendered unconscious, and they set out to find their way out of this mess. They activate the Doctor, and discover one more life sign in the creature's digestive tract - a crotchety old hunter named Qatai, who's been matching wits with this creature for literally decades.

Qatai is beamed aboard after some back & forth, and they all band together to figure out how to get themselves out of the energy creature (which is referred to as the "telepathic pitcher plant"). It's not long before they put The Plan together - fire one of Qatai's tetryon-based weapons at some antimatter released from Voyager's warp core. During their first attempt, the creature was psychically manipulating Seven to make her believe that Voyager escaped when it didn't - the first time the creature actually had Seven's number. Qatai talks her into one more attempt, and Voyager and the alien ship are able to escape, and the crew awakens to find that they are still in the Delta Quadrant and that the wormhole is gone.

The Federation starship Voyager moves on to the next adventure, while Qatai flies right back in for one more round with his arch-nemesis.

This episode provides examples of

  • Action Prologue: Captain Ahab...sorry, Qatai going up against the Great White Space Monster.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Seven says sorry to B'Elanna before stunning her. Given that these two never get along, it's quite noticeable.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Before beaming over to Engineering, Seven hauls a compression phaser rifle out of a crate in Cargo Bay 2. Such weapons should be kept in an armoury (or in arms lockers dispersed around the ship, given the number of times that Voyager has been boarded).
  • Artistic License – Physics: The writers' room having apparently learned nothing from Demon, Voyager is out of "deuterium" again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Everyone on the ship is okay, but they all had their hopes up and it was ripped away from them. To say nothing of Qatai, who will probably be fighting this creature indefinitely, or until it finally kills him.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with Qatai flying his spaceship into the creature's maw.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Seven walks into sickbay and calls for the EMH, but Tom shows up instead with the Doc's usual line. Shortly after that, Chakotay wants to shut Seven down too, and insists that "Resistance is futile".
  • Brainwashed: The Voyager crew under the influence of the telepathic pitcher plant. The creature gets everyone except the three people who don't greatly wish to be back on Earth - Seven, Naomi Wildman, and the Doctor (the latter of whom is taken offline anyway).
  • Call-Back
    • When Seven tries to warn the crew, they put it down to the reluctance to go to Earth she showed in "Hope and Fear".
    • While hiding in Cargo Bay 2, Naomi is carrying the Flotter doll Neelix made for her in "Once Upon A Time".
    • B'Elanna's fantasy has her Maquis comrades still alive, a reference to her Heroic BSoD over their deaths in "Extreme Risk".
    • In the TNG episode "Where Silence Has Lease", Worf mentions Klingon legends of a creature that devours entire starships. Given its vast age, it could well be the same one. Likewise the Iruhe in the novels by Diane Duane also created the illusion of a habitable world to lure in spacecraft.
    • In Janeway's fantasy, Mark is single again, referencing the "Dear Janeway" Letter she received in "Hunters".
  • Cassandra Truth: Seven of Nine gets evidence of what the "wormhole" actually is, but the crew is too brainwashed to believe what she has to say.
  • Cave Mouth: What the alien's maw looks like (when it's not giving the illusion of something else).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Samantha Wildman is mentioned, but once again is not seen.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Qatai is trying to warn Seven about what Voyager is flying into, when Tuvok cuts off the communication.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Qatai: Your ship is being devoured. I'd say that's an emergency, wouldn't you?
  • The Determinator: Qatai has spent almost 40 years trying to destroy the creature. The episode ends on him flying his spaceship into its maw for another go.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Seven of Nine tells Neelix "there's no one by that name" when he calls out for Annika Hansen, saying that he's got a letter for her from her aunt.
  • Eat Me: Qatai once had a plan to destroy the creature which involved flying into its maw and attacking the brain. However the creature fooled him by making him think he was doing that, when he was actually flying into its digestive chamber.
  • Father Neptune: Qatai is a crusty old sea dog IN SPACE! with all the Large Ham that entails. He even has a Sea Dog Beard.
  • Foreshadowing: The Doctor is something of a Renaissance EMH.
  • Hates Being Alone: After the crew is put to sleep, Seven orders Naomi back to her quarters. Naomi, understandably, asks to remain with Seven, saying she doesn't want to be alone. Seven hesitates, then accedes to the request.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: The creature is never actually given a name, referred to alternatively as an "anomaly", "beast", "telepathic pitcher plant", "biogenic lifeform", or "monster".
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
    • Qatai invites the Doctor to join his quest, as the creature would find it difficult to manipulate an Artificial Intelligence.
      EMH: I'm a doctor, not a dragonslayer.
    • A variation when Qatai asks to see the ship's weapons manifest and the Doctor snaps, "This is a sickbay, not an arsenal."
  • Immune to Mind Control: Subverted with Seven and Naomi. They aren't immune, but they were unaffected by the creature's influence because they're not interested in returning to Earth. Seven because she was a former Borg drone and afraid of how she would be treated. Naomi because she was born on Voyager and has never seen Earth. Seven then nearly falls victim to it when the creature fools her into thinking they've escaped, because that is what she currently wants. Qatai has learned to resist the creature's illusions over the decades, but finds he's still capable of being fooled. The Doctor is the only one who is truly immune because he is a hologram.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Or at least a good nap; after Seven and the Doctor get the crew out of the creature, Janeway wants to know what happened to the "wormhole." Seven tells her the Doctor will explain it to her.
    Seven: I will file a complete report in the morning, after I have regenerated.
  • Insignificant Blue Planet: Seven and Naomi agree that Earth seems unimpressive.
  • Insult Backfire: The Doctor taking in Qatai.
    EMH: And whom might you be? The local monster expert?
    Qatai: As a matter of fact, I am.
  • Is That the Best You Can Do?: Qatai's initial response to Voyager turning up is to lambast the creature for not thinking up a better delusion than an advanced spaceship that's arrived in the nick of time to save him. Seven points out that his shields are failing anyway, so trusting that she's real is the only option he has.
  • It Can Think: The telepathic pitcher plant.
    EMH: Judging by these bio-scans the organism's been devouring life forms for a bit longer than thirty-nine years. I'd estimate it's at least 200,000 years old.
    Qatai: The intelligent always survive.
    EMH: I wouldn't go that far. It appears to operate on highly-evolved instinct. I haven't detected any signs of sentience.
    Qatai: Oh, he's intelligent, all right. Smart enough to fool your crew into taking you offline.
  • Kid Hero: Averted. Naomi does help Seven, the Doctor and Qatai save the ship, but never outright saves the day by herself.
  • Layman's Terms: Averted; the Solution of the Week essentially involves making the creature vomit them up, but for some reason this simple analogy is avoided.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The creature appears as a wormhole leading to the Alpha Quadrant, and creates further illusions in the minds of the crew once they are inside its maw to keep them pacified while it consumes them.
  • Master of Illusion: The creature creates false messages from Starfleet to manipulate the crew into shutting down the Doctor and Seven, and messages from family and friends to whet their urge to go home.
  • Moby Schtick: Alien humanoid in a years-long quest to destroy a telepathic pitcher plant. Even after his ship and Voyager escape from it, he goes back to get one more try at destroying the creature. The Doctor even likens Qatai to Captain Ahab.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Or perhaps Killer Space Whale. The exact nature of the creature is debated but never confirmed.
  • One Woman Army: This episode shows that any concerns about Seven acting against the crew were justified: when properly motivated, she's able to do an end-run around most of the ship's security measures, and is only stopped because she's too focused on her goal.
  • Not Himself: Seven finds that Janeway and even Tuvok brush off her concerns. Eventually Chakotay and two security mooks appear to take Seven to her alcove for some technobabble reason; all of them are carrying phasers for this routine task.
  • No Time to Explain: Weary after everything that's happened, Seven tells Captain Janeway that the Doctor will explain, while she regenerates.
  • Renaissance Man
    Qatai: You seem to know a little about everything. Medicine, exobiology, shield harmonics...
    EMH: I’m something of a Renaissance EMH.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Seven discovers that the Doctor has been taken offline, then an armed security team arrives to escort her to her regeneration alcove. Seven is not happy when Chakotay jokingly tells her to relax because, "Resistance is futile."
  • Revenge: Qatai seeks to avenge his family who were on a Colony Ship seeking a new world; the creature obligingly appeared as such.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Early in the episode, the wormhole is described as 300 million kilometers away.note  Later, Seven states that they are 3.4 light-years away from it.
  • Seen It All: When Janeway is called to the bridge she leans against the doorframe of the turbolift and wryly asks what Too Good to Be True way home she's being briefed on today. (She falls under the creature's illusions quickly, however.)
  • Shock and Awe: Janeway incapacitates Seven by causing an electrical surge to be emitted through a console in Engineering that she was using.
  • Slow Motion: B'Elanna getting stunned, and the crew's Lotus-Eater Machine fantasies.
  • Some Kind Of Forcefield: Seven uses the Borg tech in the cargo bay to cut herself off from the security team by erecting a Borg forcefield, which she can walk through with impunity because of her implants.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Subverted; Chakotay urges Seven to her alcove this way, but it's a sign he's Not Himself. Seven doesn't resist because there are two armed security officers behind her, until she has a chance to put up a forcefield between them.
  • Stepford Smiler: Naomi says she's freaked out over how her mother keeps smiling.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Seven wants access to the Captain's Log. The computer tells her it's restricted. She yanks out an isolinear chip and fixes that.
  • That's an Order!: When Naomi helps Seven evade the security team.
    Chakotay: Naomi, I'm giving you a direct order. Step away from the console.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The Doctor refuses to help kill the creature because it's against his programming.
  • Too Good to Be True: When Janeway first sees a wormhole leading directly to Earth, she immediately comments that she's not about to be taken in by such an obvious trap. The level of trusting giddiness she later displays at the idea is an early sign that something's not right. When letters start coming through, telling everyone exactly what they want to hear, Seven quickly becomes suspicious.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: A rough one for the crew. Not only was the "wormhole" to Earth a monster but all the messages from Earth (Janeway's fiancé being single again, Chakotay getting a pardon) were all part of the illusion.
  • You Know Too Much: The crew take the Doctor offline and try to do the same to Seven when they try to investigate what's happening. They are incredibly fortunate that they failed.
  • Your Heart's Desire: The alien creature lures in its victims with inviting hallucinations.