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Star Trek: Voyager – The Thaw (Review)

This February and March (and a little bit of April), we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Thaw is a visually striking piece of Star Trek.

The Thaw is among the most delightfully surreal and abstract episodes of Star Trek to be broadcast after October 1975. One of the more interesting aspects of Star Trek: Voyager is how consciously the show tries to return to the storytelling aesthetic of the original Star Trek show, at least in its early years. While the design aesthetics and characters might have been largely ported over from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the first few seasons of Voyager frequently feel like a conscious attempt to update sixties Star Trek tropes for the nineties.

In darkness dwells...

In darkness dwells…

This is obvious in a number of ways. Caretaker consciously tried to evoke the old “space western” aesthetic, to the point of featuring a Native American first officer and introducing the Kazon as horribly racist “primitive” stereotypes. Time and Again relished primary colour costuming for their suspiciously human-like aliens. These themes became more prominent in the second season, with the b-movie aesthetic of Threshold, the space horror of Persistence of Vision and Meld, and the reverse aging allegory of Innocence.

While Tuvix essentially offers a reverse twist on The Enemy Within, it is The Thaw that feels most obviously like a sixties episode trapped in ember. The allegorical storytelling, the abstract set design, the creepy campy tone. Voyager might be half-way across the galaxy, but it is never too far from the familiar.

"We never bother to scream... ... when your mask came off."

“We never bother to scream…
… when your mask came off.”

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