The Clown

Story: The Thaw
Written By: Richard Gadas & Joe Menosky
Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Year: 1996

Incredible episode. Voyager has episodes where I can see that they are good or decent, but this is the first one were I really have to admit it could be up there with other Trek classics (maybe only “Meld has come close to this point). Voyager comes to a planet that once had great commerce, but now is a barren wasteland. They discover that the population was destroyed by some kind of planetary catastrophe. They do find a few lifeforms in stasis, and beam them aboard. Two of the people are already dead, but the other three are still living with their brain functions being occupied by some kind of entertainment program.
Kim and Torres go into the pprogram and discover a program based on fear known as the Clown. The Clown apparently manifested itself from the fears of the occupants, they all had anxieties of death or not making it out…then he arrived and managed to scare to of the people to death. He demands to exist, and letting the people go would forego that existence. So he sends Torres out to warn the others not to try and save them, but he keeps Kim.

It has great visuals, some thought provoking stuff, and a solid ending. Even though it is a computer program you can really see how the anxiety can lift and frighten the people for real. Michael McKean, an actor I love anyways, is FANTASTIC in the role of the Clown. He does a hell of a job being kind of funny and frightening all at once. And his final moments of “I’m scared” are a wonderful end.

All in all, this one is a definite winner, makes you almost forget how bad some of this show has been previously. It was nice that the writers finally gave Kim something to do that wasn’t bitchwork or dying as well.

NEXT TIME: Tuvok and Neelix Get Merged