Voyager rewatch 5.14 – “Bliss”

In which Seven, Naomi and Veteran Character Actor W. Morgan Sheppard have a rough day. (The Doctor is also there.)

I’m gonna be honest. “Bliss” is a bit of a nothingburger of an episode.

I mean. On the one hand, you’ve got a vintage TOS-style concept: a vast space-dwelling entity which uses deception to lure ships in close enough to eat. That’s neat!

On the other hand, “this alien is giving us what we want most” is usually a fun exercise in character development. What do we learn about the characters in “Bliss”?

  • most of the crew, including Neelix, is really eager to get back to Earth (not new information, but okay)
  • Seven is extremely NOT excited for that (also something we already knew)
  • Naomi is also not keen (fresh information! Well done!)
  • the Doctor is a bit of a blowhard (well)

We also learn that Veteran Character Actor W. Morgan Sheppard is a powerful screen presence, but if you have watched any genre television at all made in his lifetime, you already knew that.

Naomi’s side of the story is mildly interesting, but at the same time, her presence undercuts some of the tension – this is not a Bryan Fuller script, so we know straight off that everything is going to be okay, and the journey to the story’s conclusion won’t be too horrifying.

That’s not to say that Scarlett Pomers doesn’t do a great job — she’s always good, and the scene where Naomi finds Neelix contains a seed of the darkness this story could have emphasised. It’s just that the story itself is … meh.

Do I blame the writers? Maybe.

The story was conceived by Bill Prady, who was at the time an exec producer on Dharma and Greg, and who went on to work on The Big Bang Theory. But the teleplay was by Robert Doherty, who went on to do some work I’ve really enjoyed — he created Elementary! — but who at this stage was a very young writer, and this was his second-ever script. It seems a bit caddish to complain that he fumbled it, and it’s definitely a competent story. But I wonder if it could have been more substantial, had he more experience.

Other observations

  • Janeway’s hair is very large. It’s full of wormholes
  • B’Elanna’s hair is very blonde. Keep an eye on that…
  • Apparently Chakotay dreams of getting a pardon and being invited to teach anthropology at the Academy. I don’t know why I’m complaining, at least he had a whole key scene in this ep. It’s been weeks!

In conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with “Bliss”. It’s a perfectly inoffensive way to spend 45 minutes. Two telepathic pitcher plants out of five.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *