The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: The Cloud

With Voyager’s energy now a precious resource, Janeway orders the ship into a nebula in the hopes of harvesting antimatter for the warp drive. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, and the ship ends up taking damage. But just what is the nature of this mysterious nebula?

As far as plots go, The Cloud just isn’t very interesting or original – after all, Kirk and Picard could hardly move ten light-years without tripping over yet another spaceborne energy creature. I guess it’s a rite of passage for Voyager to have such a storyline as well, but the real interest for this episode comes not in its main plot, but in the continuing character development and interactions.

Character notes

  • Janeway is pondering how to close the usual distance between captain and crew, given their unusual circumstances.
  • Janeway’s fondness for coffee is introduced in this episode.
  • Chakotay reveals a bit more of his Native American heritage here, showing Janeway both his medicine bundle and helping her to find her spirit animal – which appears to be a small and unimpressive lizard. Chakotay claims he has never shown his medicine bundle to anyone before, and yet he previously helped B’Elanna meet her spirit animal, which requires the use of at least one of the items in said bundle. B’Elanna is, of course, the only person to have ever tried to kill her spirit animal.
  • Neelix doesn’t think much of the human love of exploration – in which case, why doesn’t he just leave? Unfortunately, despite Janeway telling him that they can go their separate ways after this mission, he chooses to remain and even appoints himself morale officer.
  • Kes’ hair is no longer dreadful.
  • Paris earns points with Janeway for being a dog person.
  • Kim has become accustomed to sleeping with a face mask on. He also claims to remember being in the womb, which is just creepy.

Other points

  • This episode introduces Paris’s first program on the Voyager holodeck – Chez Sandrines. It’s a recreation of a Parisian bar, filled with pickup artists and pool players. Like most of the Voyager holoprograms, I dislike it.
  • The holodeck power generator is incompatible with the rest of the ship’s systems, but what exactly is said power generator? Where does its energy come from, and can it be refuelled? Presumably it is completely independent of any other system on the ship, or it could just be disconnected at the point where it splits off.
  • This episode continues the theme of Neelix’s dodgy cooking, and also introduces the concept of the ‘replicator ration’, which will feature heavily in future.
  • In this episode, Chakotay mentions Voyager’s limited number of photon torpedoes, and how they have no way of making more. I’m assuming that they figure out how to manufacture more along the way, as photon torpedoes are used liberally in later seasons.
  • Tuvok and Kim talk to each other over their comm badges on the bridge, so that they can have a quiet exchange without anyone else hearing. I don’t think anyone else has ever bothered doing this before.
  • Tuvok also calls Kim one of the senior officers; I guess he is a bridge officer, but in terms of absolute seniority, he must be one of the most junior.

Summary – The Cloud: “There’s coffee in that nebula!”

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