Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Star Trek: Voyager episode of, year... S4E04, "Nemesis". (Sorry there's some Trekkie nerdage here, and if you don't want any theological propaganda you may want to skip this post. You have been warned.)

I've been thinking about this episode lately, even though I haven't seen it in some time. Therefore, I should go back and watch it.

(45 min later...)

Ah that was good. Same as all the other three dozen times I've seen it, but still very good. Basically the plot of the whole episode revolves around Commander Chakotay, whose shuttle got shot down in the middle of an intense war zone between bitter enemies-the Vori and the Kradin. He is captured by Vori soldiers but they decide he's not a "Krady beast" and give him food and help locate the remains of his shuttle. He spends several days bonding with the Vori platoon as they describe all the horrible atrocities that their "nemesis"-the Kradin-commit against their people. After he gets separated from them during an ambush, he sees the war horrors first hand as the Kradin attack an innocent, defenseless village, exterminate the old people, enslave the young, burn the village to the ground, and blatantly disregard the religious customs of the Vori's dead.

Meanwhile back on the starship, the captain is negotiating with an ambassador from the planet in an effort to locate Chakotay and return him safely to the ship. In a stunning plot twist that only Star Trek can deliver, it is revealed that the ambassador to Voyager is Kradin and that the "enemy" is really the Vori. The Kradin cooperate with the captain and they coordinate to rescue Chakotay from the Vori. It turns out that everything Chakotay experienced about the war was an illusion and that nothing he saw was real. The Vori captured him and brainwashed him into thinking that the Kradin were these awful beasts with no moral conscience, when in fact it was the other way around. (It's the Vori's way of enlisting soldiers into their army to fight their war.)

Safely back on the ship, the Kradin commander approaches Chakotay and offers a sincere apology for what's happened and explains how grateful he is that he made it out safely. Chakotay has developed such an immense hatred for the Kradin during his time on the planet that he says nothing and storms out of the room. In the hallway, the captain asks him what's wrong. He simply states (in the best part of the episode), "I wish it were as easy to stop hating as it was to start."

It's very good, and my little description doesn't do the episode justice. The reason why I like it so much is because of the truth portrayed in the very end. The Kradin saved his life while the Vori knowingly lied to his face, but Chakotay's hatred is so strong that no knowledge of the way things really happened can shake it. Maybe not everyone can identify with that, but I certainly can. It's so easy to start hating someone for what they did to you...or for what you thought they did to you, and that hate is so hard to get rid of. Sure, there's plenty of Bible verses that tell you to love your enemies, bless those that curse you, and so on, but reading those again and again isn't really going to change how I feel. I don't know about anyone else, but my feelings are something that I have no control over. Perhaps that needs to change.

I don't pretend to have any answers, so I guess that leaves this post with a cliffhanger ending. But at least it's something to think about.