The Hirogen have taken control of Voyager. Implanted with neural transmitters, the crew believe themselves to be characters in whatever holodeck scenario they are placed in, and soon find themselves playing the French resistance to the Hirogen’s Nazis in World War II. Can the crew recover their identities and the ship before they become the spoils of the latest Hirogen hunt?
In the absence of a two-part season finale, season four gives us another mid-season two-parter in the form of The Killing Game. A bit like DS9’s Far Beyond the Stars, it takes our favourite characters and casts them in a new roles in Earth’s past, albeit on the holodeck rather than in a prophetic vision.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I hate holodeck episodes – and in fact I’m no great fan of WWII dramas either – so surely I’m going to be harsh on The Killing Game. But in fact, although I find the closing minutes a bit weak, in a “let’s make peace and fix the Hirogen because we’re running out of time” fashion, this is still quite an enjoyable two-parter. Yes, the Klingon simulation on Holodeck 2 is a bit dull, but Janeway, Seven, B’Elanna and Tuvok all do a fine job as the French resistance, and I very much enjoyed following their storyline both before and after they regained their true identities.
Who are you?
- After a stint in the Klingon program, Janeway becomes Katrine, proprietor of a bar in Sainte Claire, France, and leader of the local French resistance.
- Chakotay becomes Captain Miller, leader of the American forces sent to Sainte Claire.
- Tuvok becomes the bartender at Janeway’s café and resistance member. He remains utterly logical.
- B’Elanna becomes Brigitte, a French resistance member who is involved with a German soldier in order to gather secrets. She is pregnant with his child, allowing Roxann Dawson to stop hiding her pregnancy with engineering jackets for these two episodes.
- Tom Paris becomes Lieutenant Bobby Davis, a soldier under Chakotay’s command. He had a past fling with Brigitte.
- Seven becomes Mademoiselle de Neuf, a singer at Janeway’s bar and resistance member. Thanks to her Borg implants, she is the first to regain her true identity, which cause Tuvok and Janeway to suspect that she is a Nazi collaborator.
- Neelix starts off as a baker in Sainte Claire and supporter of the resistance, but when he is shot by the Hirogen, he is transferred to the Klingon program.
- Harry and the Doctor do not get to play. The Doctor remains in sickbay to treat injured Hirogen and Voyager crew, whilst Harry is on engineering detail, to keep the holodecks running.
Points of Note
- Are Janeway and Neelix’s Klingon ridges surgical enhancements or holographic projections? I know it sounds ridiculous, but if B’Elanna can be given a holographic pregnancy, then we have to accept holographic ridges too.
- For that matter, how does the holographic foetus work? The holodeck must track B’Elanna’s movements and somehow consistently attach a holographic pregnancy to her. Perhaps it is somehow ‘magnetically adhered’ to her skin.
- When the holodecks are expanded across and between decks, what happens to the walls and ceilings within those decks? Have they all been removed, or are they hidden in the same way that the holodeck usually hides walls? Would you actually hit the ceiling at some point within the World War II program, even though it appears to spread over three decks?
- I can see some benefits of holographic technology for the Hirogen. First off, it means that real prey will not be killed, which is an advantage for everyone else in their territory. Secondly, they’ll be able to gather together in one location and still simulate wide ranging hunts, meaning that population growth may increase due to greater proximity of potential mates. But if the safeties are off, many Hirogen will still die on their hunts, and so net population attrition may still continue. Plus there will be those who argue that it just isn’t the same as spilling real blood.
- The optronic device that Janeway hands over to the Hirogen looks a lot like the module that Moriarty and the Countess were confined to at the end of Ship in a Bottle.
- As de Neuf, Seven talks of singing Moonlight Becomes You. This was sung in the Dixon Hill holoprogram in Star Trek First Contact.
- If the holodeck power grid is incompatible with the rest of the ship, how is Harry able to use other ship’s systems to power the expanded holodeck?
- I hope Voyager has the resources to fix the ship after the extensive damage suffered in this episode. Maybe the Hirogen helped.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 11
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 7
Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3
Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 2
Summary – The Killing Game: In which holodeck fun and games go a step too far.