Old Scores

Story: Fair Trade
Written By: André Bormani
Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Year: 1997

Warning…Neelix episode. Now I’m a guy who hates this character. I’ve found his reasoning for being on the ship silly, his physical attributes unappealing, his usefulness lacking, and his interactions with other characters irritating. It never seems as if most of the other characters like him being around either…
So with all that in mind I found this episode surprisingly decent. I still don’t like the character or care for Ethan Phillips’ portrayal, but the episode had some decent writing, plot points, and action. It focuses on Neelix’s usefulness on Voyager, which is coming to an end. Now I never thought he seemed terribly useful in the first place, considering a lot of his advice was overlooked, his guidance ignored, and his food detested. But with Voyager coming to a big expanse in space, it becomes the point when his services as a “guide” in the Delta quadrant become completely null, as he has never been in or past it.

Before entering the expanse, they stop at a trading station, in which Neelix meets up with a former friend and con man he once worked with, and apparently served some time for misdeeds conducted by both Neelix and himself. Neelix feels as though he owes a debt to this guy and gets embroiled in an increasingly uncomfortable scheme.

The episode is decent, but the ending left me cold. Neelix completely void and useless now, and having committed crimes and having completely lied to Janeway and the Voyager crew…he is prepared to leave the ship, but because he is in the main cast and under contract, Janeway gives him some silly punishment, and a speech about how he is part of a family and doesn’t get to go (by the way, since when does being a member of a family mean that you are not aloud free will if mom says so?), and he gets off mostly scott free. Seriously? What kind of Captain is she? He has to clean some things? ISN’T HE PRACTICALLY HER MAID ALREADY? I think this episode should have been pushed further to the end of the season, and Neelix should have been allowed to leave the ship. By his own will of course. His usefulness is up and he has been nothing but a nuisance in episodes since day one. Then they can get to the big Borg stuff and bring in Seven of Nine, who would sort of fulfill that Neelix role as they are forced to travel through Borg space. Wouldn’t have that made more sense than dropping Kes?

Who are these Neelix fans that the producers thought existed? I can’t see why anyone would like him, unless you like irritating, silly, goofball comic relief characters that just annoy characters and act like jealous pricks when it comes to their girlfriends. In my opinion keeping Neelix and eventually dropping Kes was a bad move all around, especially since Kes was one of the more interesting characters. And the producers only dropped her (someone had to get dropped for budgetary reasons to bring in Jeri Ryan as Seven), because their original plan of dropping Ensign Kim was dropped since some silly magazine popped him on the bottom of a sexiest people list. What a ridiculous reason to save a useless character and drop a decent one. (I’ll rant more about this when Kes actually leaves).

So Neelix stays since Janeway apparently likes having a crew filled with idiots. Otherwise…decent episode.

NEXT TIME: Kim and Tuvok’s Fatal Attraction