Voyager 2.6: Twisted

Subtitle: Shippy ship shipping games

Meta

Summary: Voyager encounters a(nother) sentient space cloud, interrupting Kes’s second birthday

Grade: C- episode, A++ shipping game

Etc. I’ve mentioned before , during the series’ run I had a webpage dedicated to shipping everyone on Voyager with everyone else on (and off) Voyager. Episodes like this one are why. The plot is absurd and at the end of the day nothing really happens but there are so many shippable moments for so many relationships!

Neelix/Kes is the only canonically romantic relationship at this point and as I explained  just the other day, I can’t stand Neelix/Kes. In this episode he gets jealous of Kes and Tom, lies to Kes when she asks about it, and gets suspicious and accusatory that Kes knows where various crewmembers’ quarters are. To his credit, he asks Chakotay for advice on dealing with his jealousy but I wish that was followed up with him admitting it to Kes, and apologizing to her.  Instead, she reaffirms the relationship by choosing to put a picture of Neelix in the locket Tom gave her for her birthday. That’s sweet if you ship it but I just can’t. Now Kiss Scale: -10

Tom/Kes is the other side of the love triangle. It’s clear Tom has feelings for Kes but he’s not overtly trying to steal her away from Neelix — in fact, he’s more respectful towards Kes than he is say, the Delaney sisters. In an alternate universe they end up married with a kid, so the attraction is mutual and the relationship meaningful. They are cute, but pretty bland. Now Kiss Scale: 5

Now onto subtext. 

Kes/The Doctor is interesting because while he appears to be a middle-aged man, Kes is actually older than The Doctor in linear time and lived experience. Kes is the first person to consider The Doctor more than a computer program and is instrumental in integrating him into the crew. I like that while The Doctor mentors Kes in medicine, Kes mentors The Doctor in emotions and existence. It’s a nice balance, something missing in her relationships with Neelix and Tom. But I personally consider their relationship more familial than romantic. Now Kiss Scale: 2

Kes/Kim don’t even interact in this episode but I have to mention them because I shipped this pretty hard back in the day. They both grew up sheltered dreamers. And are sooooo cute. Now Kiss Scale: 7

Janeway/Paris is the ship I shipped the hardest when Voyager aired. They’ve lived adjacent lives and are alike in certain fundamental ways. Tom is utterly devoted to her, and he gets under her skin in a way other characters do not. They are both flirts and the chemistry leaps off the screen. In this episode she gushes over his gift for Kes, which highlights their similar interests, and I’m a huge fan of people cheerleading relationships that involve their crush in order to hide the fact that they are crushing, even/especially from themselves, which is how I read Captain Katie here. Now Kiss Scale: 9

Janeway/Chakotay SIGH. There’s nothing wrong with this ship — although he is her subordinate, it’s more of a technicality, and his choice — and they have great moments. But I’ve never been fully sold. Part of it is I just don’t care about Chakotay as much as I do other characters. I’m appreciating him more in this rewatch (perhaps I’m giving him more of a chance) but. That said he gets to play the part of Prince Charming to Janeway’s Snow White here, save an actual kiss, which is A+. Now Kiss Scale: fluctuates too much to indicate 

Janeway/Tuvok is perfect, I love them, they are besties, they are family, they make each other better people, they are everything Kirk and Spock are and he should have gone to her for pon farr, not the holodeck, but I digress. During the resolution of the plot, when they choose to let the alien energy wave of doom wash over them all and think they might be dying, Tuvok places a hand by Janeway (unconscious/possessed by the aliens at this point) and IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL. It’s not fair that so few people ship this pairing. He’s married, with kids, I get it. And I love them and I don’t need their relationship to be romantic/sexual in order to be true love/perfect but sometimes I really want it. Anyway, I digress again. Now Kiss Scale: 9

Janeway/Kim have an adorable moment out of nowhere and literally in the middle of a crisis.  But not at the end when everyone thinks they might die so they are saying/doing what they need to just in case and/or leaning on each other for support. No, that would sort of make sense. Their moment comes in the middle of the episode while they are crawling through the jeffries tubes together — Janeway, for no particular reason tells Harry “I just want you to know you’ve been one of the bright spots of this whole mission. You’ve exceeded any expectations I might have had of you.” I mean, yay? But, what? This random outburst, more than anything else in this terribly disjointed episode, indicates the writers wanted to have an ep that highlighted — or checked in with — all the various relationships set up in the pilot and wrote the plot around that idea. The result is relationship bingo, which I love in theory, but doesn’t really work as a story. This particular moment is lovely and builds on Kim’s introduction as an awkward and inexperienced ensign who stumbled over how to address the captain and whose parents called her personally when he was assigned. But it is shoehorned into the action. Now Kiss Scale: please don’t

Kim/Torres also get a shout out to the pilot when she calls him “Starfleet”. I love their pet names and wish they used them more often. Now Kiss Scale: 7

Paris/Torres wander around the ship together and even this early there is something there there, but both have other relationships that supercede it at this point. I have plenty to say about them as it progresses ❤️  Now Kiss Scale: 10

Paris/Kim get the moment at the end, Tom putting his hand on Harry’s shoulder. If you hadn’t noticed, ‘best friends who love and support each other and could totally make out but also don’t need to to prove their love’ is one of my absolute favorite relationship dynamics so. Now Kiss Scale: 8

Chakotay/Torres is mired in tropes (in my photocap above I call it “unrequited school girl crush cliche” and her daddy issues show up all over this) but looking past that, they have such a solid, mutually protective, friendship and when it is explored, even mired in tropes, I really like it. The way they look at each other when she comes to him for support at the end of the episode/world proves how much they care about and rely on each other and it’s special. Now Kiss Scale: 8

Chakotay/Tuvok have this contentious relationship based in each wanting to be Janeway’s for real bestie and I love when it comes out. Chakotay gets defensive and dismissive and Tuvok gets sassy and superior and I. Love. It. Now Kiss Scale: in reality 2 but in my crack dreams at least 7

Kim/Random Male Crewmember(s) is fun and why so straight Voyager. Now Kiss Scale: 6

The Doctor/Sandrine is hilarious in this episode because he is not interested in and kind of scared of her — but I also like how it progresses The Doctor’s character. He had a kind of fling in the Beowulf story, but here he doesn’t respond to the flirty holo-character. And in between he had to deal with the fake Kes. It seems he thinks of himself as “more real” now. And that plays out in “Lifesigns” when he has his first full romance with a hologram who has the artificial brain of a real person — thus more of a hybrid like him than a Sandrine or Freya. Now Kiss Scale: -1 

Tuvok/Torres is a fire and ice/opposites attract pairing I can totally get behind. Not my favorite choice for either, but certainly possible and interesting. Now Kiss Scale: 6

Janeway/Torres/Science OT3. Now Kiss Scale: 7

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