20 Years of Star Trek: Voyager - S01xE14

Ensign Lestat's TV Log, 04/07/15

Jetrel
In the holodeck, Paris' French program is running. Neelix is losing to Tuvok at Pool. Nope, Tuvok is in error and Neelix now has the upper hand.

There's an alien ship looking for Neelix.

Neelix recognises the ship to be Haakonian, a people the Talaxians were at war with.

The alien wishes to speak to Neelix on a matter of life and death. He introduces himself as Ma'Bor Jetrel, and Neelix has to restrain his meltdown. Who is this man and what has he done to affect Neelix in this fashion?

So, Jetrel is a mass murderer. He decimated the entire colony of Taaaxians using a Metreon Cascade. Neelix was on Talax at the time, and hence he survived. But his entire family was killed. We are now calling to mind the disturbing World War II bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Cascade meant the Talaxians surrendered to the Haakonians the following day.

Jetrel informs the Captain, that Neelix may be suffering a form of metreon poisoning from the Cascade fallout. This disease, metremia, has no cure, but Jetrel is studying as many Talaxians as he can to get closer to finding a cure.

If Neelix thought his day couldn't get any worse, he's now likely to be suffering radiation poisoning. Neelix is having none of it. He's not convinced by Jetrel's motives. Captain just wants to convince him to be checked out and possibly save his life.

Kes is using the Doctor card to get Neelix to do the test. She's assuring him that if he has this disease, the Doctor will stop at nothing to find a cure for it.

Jetrel's digging himself a hole with his reasonings. This is a direct analogy to how Oppenheimer must have felt or may have been interrogated. Neelix refuses to cooperate. Jetrel's suggesting Neelix could be helping his entire remaining people. Finally, Neelix gives in.

Neelix is sharing an anecdote to make Jetrel feel worse. Turns out Neelix has metremia. He looks stunned into silence.

Neelix is thinking about the metremia, but he's all smiles for Kes. He's always trying to protect her, but she's far more grown up than he thinks.

I can't believe Kes' people only live 8 or 9 years. How depressing. But I like that they make this death sentence into a positive push to enjoy every moment together.

Jetrel seems cheery, but the Captain is angry. Now Jetrel is suggesting that transporting some of the metreon cloud could enable him to find a cure.

The Captain is now all excited. Wait, Jetrel seems dizzy. He's brushing it off, but something is fishy about all this.

The ship is taking a significant detour to head to the Talaxian system.

Now Neelix and Jetrel are alone in Sickbay together, this looks like the worst idea ever. Rinax wasn't a military target, but they were bombed anyway. Jetrel did nothing to stop the government. He did it all for science.

Jetrel is remorseless. All he cares about is how science can help his people. But he has an interesting story. His wife left him with their three kids, because she couldn't look him in the eye after the Cascade.

Jetrel's story isn't half as sad as Neelix's. There were people, seared and charred, coming towards him when he went to the moon after the Cascade. One of those people was a little girl.

Jetrel is moved to tears. So are we. There's is too much truth in this episode to handle.

Jetrel has no way to apologise for what he did, so he doesn't try. He already knows he's a monster, but won't have to live with it for long, he has advanced metremia and will be dead in a few days.

Neelix is having a really scary dream. There's something he hasn't told us yet.

Neelix looks sick to his stomach as he looks on Rinax. The crew is paralysed in place as they listen to Neelix recount the night of the Cascade. Thank goodness for B's interruption.

My goodness, this episode is a hard watch. Can barely breathe.

Jetrel is being difficult in Engineering, and gets put in his place by B'El. They now have a sample of the cloud.

Neelix is suffering in silence, but I think he's at the end of his tether now. Kes is trying to comfort him, but there's an uncomfortable truth he must share.

Neelix was on Talax when the Cascade hit, but he wasn't fighting for the defense forces as he's always maintained, he was hiding from them. He admits that he was a coward, and hence didn't report for duty.

Kes is asking an apt question - was Jetrel the actual target for his anger, or was it Neelix himself.

In Sickbay. Jetrel just deactivated the Doctor. He's processing the cloud. It just... turned into something organic.

Neelix just walked in on him. Now Jetrel is kicking him out. But too late, Neelix spotted the container.

Shoot, Jetrel just tranqed Neelix.

The cat's out of the bag. The Bridge are onto the doctor.

Jetrel is fiddling with the transporter. So looks like he's attempting to bring back the victims of Rinax.

I agree with Neelix when he says Jetrel is out of his mind.

He's trying to restore people vapourised by the Cascade. He believes re-integration is possible.

Neelix sounds quite excited, but the Captain and Tuvok believe it to be too implausible.

Jetrel is trying to atone for his sins. He's been exiled by his people. Neelix doesn't even have metremia, he was just trying to get Voyager to come to Rinax.

He lied, because he couldn't face the Captain denying him. She doesn't believe him still. But Neelix is too convincing. The Captain gives in.

The Captain is starting the transporter. But atomic cohesion is unstable. They tried, but it didn't work. Neelix looks crushed. Jetrel is nearly dead.

Jetrel will remain till his death on board Voyager. At his deathbed, Neelix forgives Jetrel. A huge gesture on his part, but it seems to be a burden off his chest as well.

This is a tough episode to watch, because it recalls real-life events. Star Trek has always been at its best when its been a commentary on society. I have always found it exceptionally hard to dislike Neelix since this episode. It's because he was the embodiment of what so many people go through - the silent-sufferers with the ready smiles. A lot of us see ourselves in him. An exceptional episode that will live with you for a long time.

And now, the season finale.

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