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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 6 E 15 Tsunkatse

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"Jabroni, go where no one has gone before!"

Stopping off for shore leave in a society that features extreme wrestling as its main source of entertainment, the crew enjoy themselves — until Seven is forced to participate in the games.

Tropes associated with this episode:

  • Actor Allusion: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's character does the People's Eyebrow upon entering the arena. Couldn't resist. He also defeats Seven with the Rock Bottom, followed by a punch to her chest disc.
  • Advertised Extra: The promotion for the episode revolved entirely around Dwayne Johnson's character and his fight with Seven. In actuality, Johnson's character is only in the episode for about four minutes and neither he or his fight with Seven is particularly crucial to the plot.
  • Answer Cut: When Neelix mentions that Chakotay invited him to the Tsunkatse matches, the Doctor suggests instead an entomology exhibit. What does Neelix choose?
    Neelix: Alien bugs or alien fisticuffs. Ooh, that's a tough choice.
    (cut to:)
    Neelix: Tsunkat! Tsunkat!
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The ship that broadcasts the fights is fairly well armed and Voyager is said to be well outside it's weight class, but they are subject to their viewers and some precision attacks to their transmission system force them to divert power from their shields to maintain their broadcast.
  • Attack the Injury: During a sparring match, Seven hits the Hirogen in his side, aggravating an old injury that never healed properly.
  • Audience Surrogate: Neelix's presence at the Tsunkatse matches allows Chakotay to explain the rules to him—and by extension, the audience.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Tuvok is covered in burns and can't walk on his own, yet tells Seven that he's not severely injured.
    • Neelix tells Chakotay how shocked a government official was that the tsunkatse involved people forced to fight, then goes on to explain how an underling quietly told him that no one's going to do anything as they don't want to upset a profitable industry.
  • Blood Sport: The Voyager crew initially believe the prize fighting was done by normal athletes and feel guilty about enjoying it when see Seven and learn they are there against their will.
  • The Cameo: Dwayne Johnson, with his trademark Fascinating Eyebrow.
  • Continuity Nod: The Doctor is still griping about Chakotay's love of boxing.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: "When America's smackdown hero takes on Voyager's Battlestar Babe..." Of course Never Trust a Trailer also applies, as the Rock's role is confined to a single fight scene.
  • David vs. Goliath: Penk's ship is huge, armed to the teeth, and shielded up the wazoo. It's more than a match for Voyager, but boxer Chakotay merely quips that the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and targets surgically. Not to be outdone, Janeway turns up halfway through the battle and starts taking potshots at its transmitters in the Delta Flyer!
  • Deadly Game: The Tsunkatse "Red Match" is fought to the death, a fate that Tuvok is nearly subjected to. A "Blue Match" is the non-lethal version.
  • Don't Think, Feel: The Hirogen drills Seven to stop doing tsunkatse by the book.
    Hirogen: Stop thinking like a drone. Sanctioned maneuvers, perfecting defenses. You cannot assimilate Tsunkatse from a book. You must live it, feel it...(points at Seven's heart) here. Your movements must become instinct. An attack can come at any time from any direction. You must learn to improvise.
  • Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn: Neelix, after visiting one of Norcadia Prime's beaches and sleeping under its Binary Suns, gets a painful burn. He tries to treat it with a home remedy of a leola root ointment, but later goes to The Doctor for a better treatment when the home remedy doesn't work.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: The Pendari gives his fans The People's Eyebrow. Unfortunately we don't witness any eyebrow-to-eyebrow combat with Seven, despite her own fondness for this trope.
  • Fantastic Racism: As a Borg, the audience enjoys seeing Seven get pounded on.
  • Forced Prize Fight: Seven of Nine is coerced to fight the Pendari Champion, played by Dwayne Johnson, under threat of the far more injured Tuvok being sent into the pit. And then she has to fight the Hirogen. The whole sport seems to run on them.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Penk has a long, thin mustache that would make any Dastardly Whiplash seethe with envy.
  • Gunship Rescue: The Delta Flyer gives Voyager some much-needed backup.
  • Heel: Penk wants the audience to root against Seven due to Fantastic Racism; a ridiculous number of Delta Quadrant viewers will tune in to watch a Borg get the crap kicked out of her.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: After 19 years in the arena, the Hirogen is more than ready to call it a day - but his moral code won't allow him to commit suicide or even lose a fight on purpose.
  • Inspirational Insult: The Hirogen calls Seven "weak" and "imperfect" to provoke her into attacking full force. The last one becomes her Berserk Button.
  • I Owe You My Life: Tuvok tells Seven that he owes her, as she fought so that he (in his injured state) wouldn't have to.
  • Ironic Echo: Chakotay bows out of going to a tsunkatse match as he has bridge duty; B'Elanna tells him to delegate. Later, he gives her the bridge shift so he can go to the next match—he tells her that he took her advice and delegated.
  • Kick Chick: When Seven of Nine is kidnapped to fight in the gladiatorial arena, her fighting style included rather more kicks than most of the other combatants seen on-screen.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Okay, why does Tom leave the helm in the middle of a battle to lead a security team?
  • Mercy Kill: After getting beaten by Seven, the Hirogen begs for her to end his suffering. Seven looks like she's about to do so before Voyager beams them both out.
  • Mood Whiplash: From the screaming crowds enjoying the Tsunkatse matches to the empty arena where the competitors are being forced to fight.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: At the end, Seven is upset over whupping the Hirogen in the arena and worries that she's lost her humanity. Tuvok reassures her that her remorse is a sign that she hasn't.
  • No Name Given: The Hirogen fighter never reveals his name.
  • Parallel Conflict Sequence: Seven fights the Hirogen while Voyager fights to rescue her.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Hirogen has fought for nineteen years, and he wants to die in the arena.
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: Everyone's shore leave is cancelled once Seven's abduction is revealed.
  • Shock and Awe: In addition to the punches and kicks typical of MMA, each combatant wears a disc on his chest and back that shocks him when it gets hit.
  • Suicide by Cop: The Hirogen wants to die rather than keep fighting, and he's hoping Seven would do the honors by fighting him in the ring.
  • Technician vs. Performer: During the bout in The Teaser, the unknown alien is clearly playing to the crowd that he's technically not in front of and yelling a lot, while the Hirogen is much more straightforward and stoic.
  • Wham Shot: After being trained by the Hirogen, Seven goes to her next fight—against the Hirogen.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • The Hirogen regards Seven as the one fighter who deserves to provide his final defeat.
    • Penk seems to respect Chakotay as a fighter, even though he says that Voyager is no match for his ship.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In the Tsunkatse pit, gender is irrelevant; Seven takes it from both the Pendari and the Hirogen.
  • You Bastard!: The crew enjoys a violent alien sport, then feels guilty about it when they realize the participants are slaves.