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Cold Fire (episode)

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"Cold Fire"
VOY, Episode 2x10
Production number: 126
First aired: 13 November 1995
25th of 168 produced in VOY
25th of 168 released in VOY
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 168 released in VOY Remastered  
386th of 728 released in all
Tuvok's blood boiling
Teleplay By
Brannon Braga

Story By
Anthony Williams

Directed By
Cliff Bole
49164.8 (2372) [1]
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While attempting to make contact with the Caretaker's mate (who may have the ability to send Voyager home), the crew discovers a colony of Ocampa whose representative has an interest in Kes and helping her explore her telepathic powers.

Summary

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Teaser

Ten months previously, the USS Voyager was pulled into the Delta Quadrant by a powerful being known as the Caretaker. When he died, the crew of Voyager were stranded 70,000 light years from home. Before his death, he revealed that he had a female counterpart, giving the crew hope that she may be able to return them to the Alpha Quadrant...

Kes receives studies in honing her telepathic abilities from Tuvok in his quarters. When Tuvok asks her to focus her mind, Kes begins hearing the thoughts of Neelix, who is getting a haircut in another part of the ship. Kes begins to giggle, much to Tuvok's annoyance. Tuvok ends the session and promises to give her a lesson how to reduce her emotional outbursts and better control her mind. Kes then leaves and arrives in sickbay late for her shift. The Doctor begins to gently criticize her tardiness when he is interrupted by a high-pitched, shrill noise. Kes and The Doctor open a panel to find the source of the sound – a shaking piece of the Caretaker's remains.

Act One

Suspirias array

USS Voyager arrives at Suspiria's array

Kathryn Janeway and B'Elanna Torres are summoned to sickbay. Torres scans the Caretaker's remains and says they seem to be resonating in response to a sporocystian energy source – another Caretaker lifeform. Remembering that the dying Caretaker had mentioned a female of its kind, Janeway wonders if she could be nearby. If so, a meeting with her could be their ticket home. Tuvok is concerned with the raw energy of the first Caretaker; USS Voyager was completely at his mercy. Tuvok and Janeway don't want a repeat of this occurrence. As a precaution, Tuvok begins work on a toxin that could debilitate the female lifeform without killing her if she poses a threat.

Following the energy trail, the crew comes upon a space station that looks similar to the Caretaker's array inhabited by over two thousand Ocampa. Voyager hails the station, but receives no response. The station then begins firing on the ship. After a few warning shots, an Ocampan man appears and warns Janeway to move away from the station. The station continues firing.

Later, Janeway summons Kes to the bridge. Kes agrees to act as the crew's liaison to her people, and when the Ocampa leader, Tanis, boards Voyager, she assures him that the crew comes in peace. In a private meeting, Tanis tells Kes that the female Caretaker, Suspiria, is nearby. She has taken care of this group of Ocampa for 300 years, and has taught them to develop their psychokinetic skills and drastically extend their life span. Tanis, for example, is fourteen years old. He shows Kes a sample of the powerful abilities she has yet to tap, blooming all of the plants in the airponics bay. Kes reports back to Janeway, who advises her to be careful when dealing with this group of Ocampa. Later, Tanis goes back to the station and telepathically communicates with Suspiria, who demands that he deliver Voyager to her.

Act Two

Back in engineering, Tuvok is successful at creating a way to disable the female Caretaker by creating a toxin that induces temporary paralysis. During a dinner in the captain's mess, Tanis invites Kes to live with his group of Ocampa permanently. Kes is immediately dismissive but Janeway asks her to give the decision some thought. Tanis leads the crew to Suspiria and he begins tutoring Kes on using her telepathic skills. Kes successfully learns how to move a cup with her mind and how to boil water. Neelix watches with amazement, congratulating her, and agrees to go with Kes if she decides to leave Voyager and live with the Ocampans on the station.

"Captain's log, supplemental. We've arrived at what Tanis calls the meeting place, the region of space where Suspiria exists."

On the bridge, Tanis hails Suspiria, who will respond within 47 hours. In the meantime, Kes meets with Tuvok to show him the mental abilities she learned from Tanis. The demonstration nearly ends in disaster when Kes tries to boil water with her mind and, to her horror, inadvertently begins to boil Tuvok's blood as well (his blood cell membranes ruptured when their temperature increased by 37 degrees in a matter of seconds). He collapses in shock, writhing in agony.

Act Three

Fortunately, Tuvok recovers from the near-fatal incident, waking up in sickbay. Tuvok tells Kes not to feel remorse, but instead to use this experience to learn from her mental mistake. He also agrees to continue teaching her, much to Kes's relief. Tanis continues teaching Kes in the airponics bay, telling her that she can realize the full potential of her mental powers in her mind, even to the point of thinking of her non-telepathic crewmembers as "pets". Initially Kes is reluctant, but her emotions take over as she begins to touch her plants with her mind, first by enhancing their color. Tanis instructs Kes to "bring the fire" and she burns all of the plants in the airponics bay. Tanis urges Kes to leave Voyager and live on the Ocampa station, where he says she will be embraced by Suspiria and surrounded by her own people. On the station, the Ocampa would hone her telepathic skills to the level where Suspiria would let her go to Exosia, a subspace layer of pure thought and energy. Kes asks for more time to think about her decision.

Act Four

In engineering, the Caretaker's remains begin to resonate again – Suspiria has arrived. Tanis says he is going to the bridge but instead goes to the mess hall to coax Kes off the ship again. Just then, a plasmatic energy field appears in main engineering. After hearing no response from Torres over the comm system, Tuvok and a security team investigate. Tuvok informs Janeway that Suspiria is the cause of the energy field and still in main engineering. Janeway goes down to engineering to talk to Suspiria, who has appeared as a little girl.

Suspiria is ready to complete her mission of revenge when Kes becomes aware of the monstrous plot. Suspiria attacks Janeway (in addition to Torres and Tuvok, who are suspended from the ceiling) and begins to destabilize the molecular composition of the ship. Kes attacks Tanis with her expanded psychic abilities after he mentally throws Neelix against the wall. Tanis' pain temporarily incapacitates Suspiria. Janeway is then able to fire the toxin, subduing her. Janeway allows Suspiria and Tanis to leave the ship (much to Suspiria's surprise) while Kes remains with her friends on Voyager.

"Captain's log, supplemental. We've resumed our course back to the Alpha Quadrant. But the female Caretaker is still out there, with the power to send us home. And I will use all my power to find her and convince her to do just that."

Kes and Tuvok are back in his quarters relearning how to hone her telepathic abilities. Her abilities have drastically weakened with the departure of Tanis. Kes regrets her "dark impulses" that forced her to kill the plants in the airponics bay and her thoughts of leaving Voyager. Tuvok informs her that even Vulcans have such impulses, but that one must learn to control them rather than pretend that they do not exist.

Memorable Quotes

"Your ship is known as a ship of death."

- Tanis, describing USS Voyager to Janeway


"Vulcans make the worst patients."

- The Doctor, after Tuvok refuses the order to go on light duty


"Focus on the goal, not the task."

- Tanis to Kes (repeated line)


"You are probably feeling the emotion known as remorse. Possibly guilt. I advise you to look on this incident as a learning experience."
"It's not that easy. I almost killed you."
"That is correct. But you did not. Try to remember that."

- Tuvok and Kes


"To be honest, I never want to see that part of myself again."
"To which part are you referring?"
"To the part of me which got pleasure from destroying the plants in the airponics bay. To the part of me that was tempted to go with Tanis. I never realized I had such dark impulses."
"Without the darkness, how would we recognize the light? Do not fear your negative thoughts. They are part of you. They are a part of every living being, even Vulcans."
"You?"
"The Vulcan heart was forged out of barbarism and violence. We learned to control it, but it is still part of us. To pretend it does not exist is to create an opportunity for it to escape."

- Kes and Tuvok

Background Information

Introductory Details

  • This episode begins with a very brief recap of how Voyager became stranded in the Delta Quadrant, in order to re-establish with viewers that the Caretaker had a mate – namely, Suspiria.

Story and Script

  • This episode's stardate is not mentioned in the episode's final version but is established in the episode's shooting script. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) Yet, the Star Trek: Star Charts, on page 84, gave the stardate for this episode as 49040, which would place the episode before Tattoo.
  • At the time Anthony Williams wrote the story for this episode, he was an assistant manager in advertising at Paramount Pictures. (Star Trek Monthly issue 10, p. 15)
  • A working title of the episode was "Untitled Kes Firebug". [1]
  • Suspiria was initially conceived of as essentially a form of "get out clause," designed to change the format of Star Trek: Voyager if such a need arose. This was because the studio executives at Paramount were wary of audience reaction to the lost-in-space concept that was central to the series. During Voyager's first season, executive producer Rick Berman explained, "The studio was very concerned when they first heard the pitch [....] We convinced them that it didn't have to be bleak [....] And frankly we made a concession to finally finish the sales job... we put the one-armed man out there–which is the other entity that we met in the pilot. It's out there somewhere. We will try to find that entity more than once during the next several years because we know that the entity has the ability to send us back home." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 192) This episode's usage of Suspiria without having her send the Voyager crew back to their destination of the Alpha Quadrant therefore implies a confidence in the series that was either absent or not as strong when the series began.
  • The final draft of this episode's script was submitted on 30 August 1995. [2]

Cast

  • Gary Graham (Tanis) found that featuring in this episode was not an entirely comfortable experience. "Though I enjoyed most of the cast members on Voyager, the tone on the set was tense," he noted. [3] "They're very tightly wound over there," Graham elaborated. "That's not to say it wasn't a rewarding experience, but it was about as fun as taking a midterm when you really, really have to make a good grade [....] I wanted to change two words at Star Trek and it took thirty minutes to get script approval on that back from the Ivory Tower." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
  • The making of this installment reunited director Cliff Bole with Gary Graham – the two having worked on the short-lived series M.A.N.T.I.S. – but Bole felt Graham seemed too overly challenged by his role here, despite also thinking that the performer was "a great actor." Bole noted, "Gary's performance was fine, but we both could have done better." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • Cliff Bole was, however, impressed by the performances of the series regulars in this episode, such as Kes actress Jennifer Lien and Tuvok actor Tim Russ. The director noted, "It was Jennifer Lien's episode, and she did great work [....] Tim Russ also did solid work in that one." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • Jennifer Lien herself was enthusiastic about this episode's depiction of Kes. "I [...] like 'Cold Fire'," Lien stated. "It presents Kes with a temptation and then leaves the decision up to the character as to whether or not to give in to it. I feel that this is good because it displays another side of Kes which is her confidence in being able to choose a path for her life." (TV Zone, special #23, p. 21)

Production

Shooting Cold Fire

Cliff Bole directing Jennifer Lien and Gary Graham on the set

Reception

  • Cliff Bole was ultimately very pleased with this episode, despite also thinking that it suffered a problem of pacing. "I thought the episode was better than average," he remarked, "although it did need a little more action, a little more movement." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 6 million homes, and a 9% share. Along with the episodes "Non Sequitur" and "Dreadnought", this was the joint fifth most watched episode of Voyager's second season (on first airing); all three episodes had the same viewing figures. [4] This particular episode, however, has repeatedly failed to appear in the top five of fan polls testing the popularity of episodes in Star Trek: Voyager's second season. (Star Trek: Communicator issue #108, p. 18; [5])
  • Star Trek Monthly gave this episode 4 out of 5 stars, defined as "Trill-powered viewing". (Star Trek Monthly issue 14, p. 62)
  • Cinefantastique gave the installment 2 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 88)
  • The reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 84) scored the episode 5 out of 10.

Continuity

  • This episode's brief, introductory recap establishes that the episode takes place ten months after "Caretaker", which means it has been two months since the events of "Non Sequitur".
  • Despite Captain Janeway stating her desire to find Suspiria again, she is never seen after this episode and is only mentioned once, very vaguely, in "The Voyager Conspiracy" – at which point Janeway declares that she is "not eager" to have another encounter with a Caretaker, in light of the unpleasant previous encounters.
  • The events of this episode represent the fourth time (aside from the series premiere) that Voyager's crew has a possibility of returning home.
  • 47: Suspiria will arrive within 47 hours from the carrier wave that summons her.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest Star

Co-Stars

Uncredited Co-Stars

References

airponics; Alpha Quadrant; bio-spectral analysis; carbon-based lifeform; Caretaker; Caretaker's array; compass; containment field; Delta Quadrant; dizziness; enzyme; Exosia; hexi-prismatic field; hypergogic mental state; hyperthermic induction; level 3 biohazard; microcellular analysis; Milky Way Galaxy; Nacene; Ocampa; plasmatic energy; precognitive skill; psychokinesis; red alert; sporocystian lifeform; sporocystian energy; sporocystian toxin; subspace carrier wave; subspace layer; subspace rupture; Suspiria's array; tea; yellow alert

External link


Previous episode:
"Tattoo"
Star Trek: Voyager
Season 2
Next episode:
"Maneuvers"

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