Whilst enjoying shore leave, the Voyager crew gets quite taken with Tsunkatse, a combat sport enjoyed throughout the sector. But when Seven of Nine and Tuvok are captured to take part in Tsunkatse against their will, it reveals the dark truth behind the matches.
Having reluctantly made my way through The Fight, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Voyager’s other arena match episode – Tsunkatse. But whilst this I hardly a great episode, I’m inclined to go a little bit easy on it, if only for nostalgia’s sake.
As a teen, I devoured all kinds of fantasy novels, and one of the big themes I came across was protagonists forced to fight in gladiatorial combat. Tsunkatse brings back all those memories, whilst offering us all the classic tropes. We have an injured character who must be protected from going into the ring, a protagonist forced to train for a deathmatch, and a grizzled old warrior who ultimately turns out to be the hero’s final opponent. Yes, I could take or leave the framing story, and the final rescue is more convenient than it is well-written, but I’m willing to let that go. I’m even willing to overlook the inclusion of The Rock when it means we get to see J.G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Combs together in the same episode for the first time since the end of DS9.
Points of Note
- Enlightened 24th century humans really love their combat sports.
- Neelix is allergic to leola ointment despite downing vast quantities of leola root-based cuisine over the past five years. In fact, given that leola root can’t possible grow across the entire Delta Quadrant, he must be growing it in the airponics bay.
- If fighters often get thrown into the audience, shouldn’t it be obvious to everyone already that they’re only watching holographic projections?
- I’m going to assume that Tuvok and Seven’s shuttle was not recovered.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 17
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 10
Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3
Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 5
Summary – Tsunkatse: In which Seven of Nine almost learns to kill.