(written from a Production point of view)
|VOY, Episode 3x19|
Production number: 160
First aired: 26 February 1997
|←||59th of 168 produced in VOY||→|
|←||60th of 168 released in VOY||→|
|←||458th of 728 released in all||→|
| Teleplay By|
USS Voyager is protecting the Nezu from an asteroid bombardment. Instead of destroying the asteroid however, the blast from the Voyager merely fragments it and the debris falls to the planet. All attempts to vaporize the asteroids have already failed. Fortunately in this case, the remaining fragments land in a desert area. The next asteroid is scheduled to hit a major city in six hours and a garbled message indicating the asteroids are artificial is received from Doctor Vatm, a scientist on the planet. Voyager sends three shuttles to the surface to rescue him.
One shuttle, piloted by Tuvok and Neelix and accompanied by the Nezu ambassador's assistant Sklar, is forced to make an emergency landing due to disturbances in the ionosphere. After setting down violently, they are joined by Dr. Vatm, who introduces them to Hanjuan, a gallicite miner, who saw and heard the shuttle crash.
While examining the exterior of the shuttle for damage, Neelix steps out and spots an orbital tether anchored nearby. He suggests to the others to use the carriage to ascend the tether. He explains that by using the carriage they could leave the ionosphere in order to get a signal to Voyager, which is blocked by the disturbances in the ionosphere, to beam them back aboard. The carriage attached to the tether is damaged, but Neelix says that he spent two years on a tether maintenance team on Rinax, and is convinced that he can repair it. Despite misgivings, Tuvok agrees to Neelix's suggestion.
Upon arriving at the base of the tether, which is three hundred kilometers long, the party discovers a woman who has been taking shelter within the broken carriage. She attacks Neelix and threatens his life to drive them out, but they manage to convince her that they do not want to take her supplies and are merely looking at a way to get out. They offer to take her with them.
Voyager is analyzing a sample of the asteroid to follow up on Dr. Vatm's theory that they are artificial. Inside the asteroid they find something obviously artificial, a guidance system, making them suspicious about the nature of this planetary bombardment.
Neelix and the others manage to get only the majority of the systems online before Dr. Vatm attempts to initiate a premature launch. This forces everyone to get in the carriage and risks the carriage's magnetic cohesion. After Neelix stabilizes it, everyone wants to know why Dr. Vatm launched the carriage when he did. Dr. Vatm, who before refused to discuss any information about his discovery, is just as stubborn now and does not want to talk about his haste, stating that the information he holds is classified. As a result, a violent situation erupts that is barely contained at the last minute by Tuvok.
Voyager discovers that a large asteroid is about to hit the planet within two hours, however, back on the tether, Dr. Vatm still refuses to let in everyone on what is going on. Minutes later, after taking a sip of water, he goes into shock and dies, but not before managing to mumble that something is on the roof and that he needs to get out there to get it. When Tuvok finds traces of poisonous coolant in his system, he concludes that it was murder and that the murderer is most likely one of people on the carriage.
While bickering and blaming each other, Neelix suggests stopping the carriage. He insists that they go look on the roof to check Vatm's motive for wanting to climb up there; he says he has a "gut feeling" about there being something. Tuvok disagrees, believing that what Vatm said was just some foolish, delusional mumbling as a result of oxygen deprivation. Neelix insists however, that they go up and check this out. When Tuvok refuses to further hear him out, Neelix voices his anger at Tuvok's arrogance. He tells Tuvok that he is filled with contempt and sarcasm and that he is tired of being the target of his hostility. Neelix tells him that he is condescending and dismissive. He says that even though he admires Tuvok's logic and intelligence, he also thinks that he doesn't really understand people. When Tuvok insists that Neelix is wrong, Neelix stops the car and says it will go no higher until someone checks the roof. Tuvok eventually goes and when he reaches the top, he finds an alien datapad with information on it.
As he is examining it, Sklar climbs up to the roof as well, after having just fought off Neelix and making him fall from the ladder to the hatch. He fights with Tuvok, getting his phaser and pushing him off the roof. He then climbs back down, and threatens everyone else to get the carriage moving again but no one can because Neelix is the only one who can control it.
Meanwhile, Voyager sees an alien ship that claims this planet for themselves and fires on it.
Fortunately, Tuvok is able to grab hold of an induction coil. Neelix sees Tuvok and opens the cabin door. Sklar is blown out of the cabin during a struggle with Tuvok. After diagnosing Neelix with a concussion, Tuvok thanks Neelix for opening the door and talks Neelix into finding the strength to get the carriage past the ionosphere. They then contact Voyager, are beamed aboard and, with the information on the PADD, defeat the attacking aliens.
Later in the mess hall on board Voyager, Neelix reveals to Lillias that Vatm believed there was a traitor among the Nezu. He tells her that the people who attacked their colonies call themselves the Etanian Order: they create what appears to be a natural disaster and once the population has been evacuated, they arrive and stake their claim. Dr. Vatm had found out about the Etanian Order and also knew that one of their own people was a traitor; he just didn't know it was Sklar and thus whom to trust.
Tuvok then comes in, saying that Lillias is ready to return to the planet. She gives Neelix a kiss before leaving. Tuvok tells Neelix that he is giving him a special commendation for his endurance and bravery. At the same time, however, he tells him that one day his intuition will fail and then he will have to accept that logic is primary above all else. Neelix, on the other hand, says that one day, he will get Tuvok to trust his gut. Tuvok says that he highly doubts this, upon which Neelix amusingly responds that Tuvok always wants to have the last word and just seems to hate to lose an argument. Somewhat annoyed, Tuvok insists that he is mistaken - having the last word once more.
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"I've been assigned to Lieutenant Tuvok's team, and no matter what I do, I can't seem to please him."
"Vulcans are notoriously difficult to impress. Mr. Tuvok seldom acknowledges my brilliance."
- - Neelix and The Doctor
"Mechanical glitches would seem to be the least of our problems."
- - Tuvok, to Neelix referring to the unrest on board the elevator
"It is illogical to dwell on situations beyond your control. It will only serve to heighten your anxiety, which, if I may say so, is heightened enough."
"Oh. Well, thank you for the reassurance."
- - Tuvok and Sklar
"Where are you going? You don't even know what you're looking for."
"I am looking for Mr. Neelix's instinct. Perhaps it will be marked."
- - Sklar and Tuvok, as Tuvok exits the elevator
"Mr. Sklar ... returned to the surface."
- - Neelix, while being debriefed after his return to Voyager, sarcastically rephrasing a previous statement of Sklar.
"You always have to get in that last word, don't you?"
" I am simply responding to your erroneous statement."
"Something tells me you just hate to lose an argument."
"Losing is irrelevant."
"See what I mean?"
"No. I do not."
- - Neelix and Tuvok
Story and Script
- Story writer Jimmy Diggs, stuck for an idea to pitch to Star Trek: Voyager, took inspiration from the 1965 movie The Flight of the Phoenix. This episode reuses, from that film, the idea of stranded innocents with no escape, a so-called expert coming to the rescue but being revealed to be a phony, and the hero nevertheless succeeding in ultimately making it all work out. Selling the story for this installment gained Jimmy Diggs $15,000 as well as never-ending residual cheques. 
- This episode's use of the mag-lev carriage and orbital tether were based on theories that have been proposed in reality. (See space elevator)
- Script writer Brannon Braga found that he struggled with writing the installment's teleplay. "The spy plot was difficult for me," he admitted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- The episode's final script draft was submitted on 19 November 1996. 
Cast and Characters
- At the end of Star Trek: Voyager's third season, actor Ethan Phillips cited this episode as one of several whose scripts had excited him because, upon reading each one, he had discovered something new about his regular character of Neelix (other such episodes being "Investigations", "Tuvix" and "Fair Trade"). (Star Trek Monthly issue 28, p. 62) At the start of the fourth season, Phillips cited this episode (in common with "Fair Trade") as a Neelix-related highlight of the third season. Considering what he believed to be this episode's merits, Phillips stated, "I got to show that Neelix is a man of action when necessary, and demonstrated his expertise with mechanical things. It also showed he could only take so much from Tuvok, which was kind of good." (Star Trek Monthly issue 33, p. 38) Indeed, Phillips cited this episode as one of many examples wherein Neelix considers Tuvok a challenge: "Tuvok represented a very specific and challenging goal for Neelix; to elicit a smile out of that guy. In my mind, he set about it and said 'I'm going to pierce this Vulcan's cold exterior and get to his heart.' And he tried in 'Rise!' and he tried in many scenes." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- The tension between Tuvok and Neelix in this episode was memorable for Tuvok actor Tim Russ, as was the installment's conclusion. He said, "Everything comes to a head in terms of our relationship, and we come back looking at it differently at the end. The last scene basically reflects the way that our relationship has been, and continues along that path, but with a different understanding. [Ethan Phillips'] character drives a great deal of it, and I think his character also drives the exploration of the relationship." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 100)
- Brannon Braga was happy with the interactions between Tuvok and Neelix in this installment. "What I thought did work was the Tuvok-Neelix relationship," Braga enthused, "and I was very pleased with that. I think it was really a nice show for those two." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Alan Oppenheimer (the Nezu ambassador) previously played Koroth in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Rightful Heir" and Captain Keogh in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Jem'Hadar".
Production and Effects
- The table with the globe in the middle, inside the tether's base, is a redress of a console from the USS Enterprise-D's original stellar cartography lab.
- This was the second of two Star Trek: Voyager episodes directed by Robert Scheerer (his first being "State of Flux") and the last of fourteen Star Trek episodes he directed in total. His main challenge with this episode was making the set for the interior of the mag-lev carriage believable. "It was complicated," he later admitted. "That was challenging because, basically, you're in a big square room. The art director and I had some talks about it. I kept saying, 'I need something visual,' and he came up with that striated thing that was in the back that showed it going up the rope. That at least showed some movement. You depend on the special FX and they bring you in showing the tether and stuff going up. You're doing everything you can to make it look like they're in flight." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #17)
- During production, blue-screen was used to stand-in for the clouds and sky outside the mag-lev carriage. These elements were then added later, via CGI. (Image Gallery, VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- The process of designing the space elevator began with a sketch by Rick Sternbach. Ronald B. Moore then took the sketch to CGI supplier Foundation Imaging. "I asked the CGI guys, 'What could you do?'" Moore recalled. "In a day and a half they completely modeled it, and did a nice job. With the lights, and given the textures, and all that I was very pleased with it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
- Brannon Braga was unsatisfied with the directing in this episode. "I think that we had some production problems on that one," he remarked. "I wasn't thrilled with some of the staging." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, 108)
Reception and Aftermath
- Brannon Braga was disappointed with his script for this episode. "I do have to fault myself for a somewhat flaccid script," he complained. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Jeri Taylor cited this episode and the following one, "Favorite Son", as being among the weaker offerings of Season 3, feeling that they were both let down by their execution. She specifically said of this installment, "'Rise' just never quite came together in the way we saw it. It had a wonderful high concept idea, but it had to be anchored by what was going on between Neelix and Tuvok, and I just don't think that came to the forefront in the way that it should have." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 12)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.6 million homes, and a 7% share. 
- This installment is the second in what is known to some fans as the "trilogy of terror" – three consecutive episodes that are often considered to be remarkably bad (the other two episodes being "Darkling" and "Favorite Son"). (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 304)
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 106)
- Star Trek Monthly scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars, defined as "Warp speed". (Star Trek Monthly issue 30, p. 59)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 175) gives this installment a rating of 5 out of 10.
- Several costumes from this episode were auctioned off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including one of the costumes worn by Lisa Kaminir (as Lillias). 
- Portions of this episode portray Tuvok in much the same way that Spock is portrayed in TOS: "The Galileo Seven". Additionally, the Etanian Order uses asteroid ships, reminiscent of the Yonada from TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky". To treat the oxygen deprivation occurring in his fellow passengers, Tuvok also uses a tri-ox compound, a medical supplement introduced in TOS: "Amok Time" and first used in TOS: "The Tholian Web".
- In common with this episode, 2009's Star Trek includes a fight scene in a planet's upper atmosphere, on a platform whose level can be remotely adjusted.
- Several years later, Neelix would win the debate that ends the episode: Tuvok would find himself relying on a "hunch" to the point of staking Captain Janeway's life on it. (VOY: "Repression")
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.10, 22 August 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Alan Oppenheimer as Nezu ambassador
- Lisa Kaminir as Lillias
- Kelly Connell as Sklar
- Tom Towles as Vatm
- Geof Prysirr as Hanjuan
- Irving E. Lewis as stunt double for Tim Russ
- Johnny Martin as stunt double for Kelly Connell
- Tom Morga
47; Alixia; alloy; Alixia; analeptic compound; arctic spider; ascent thruster; asteroid; astrophysicist; astrophysics; attitude control thruster; auto-ascent sequencer; biolab; British pound; carbon dioxide; Caves of Touth; concussion; data storage device; electrodynamic turbulence; Etanians; Etanian Order; Etanian starship; exogeology; gallicite; Halla; holodeck; induction coil; induction damper; ionosphere; iron; logic; lydroxide; mach; mag-lev carriage; millibar; Nezu; nickel; olivine; orbital tether; oxygen; oxygen converter; oxygen regenerator; penny; prototype; Rinax; shock wave; signal relay; stratosphere; Talaxian; Talaxian-Haakonian War; tether coupling; toroidal antenna; triadium; tri-ox compound; tricorder; troposphere; tryoxene; Vulcans
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