Workforce: A Good Movie Night, But a Bad Movie (That Isn’t Even Really a Movie)

3 Mar

Apparently, bourbon makes Tish and I both pretty giggly and pretty appreciative of bad movies.

Because we were livin’ the dream watching “Workforce” the other evening when we decided to drink a little whiskey and have a Janeway Movie Night (which is what we call any two-part Star Trek: Voyager).

And then I woke up the next day with a small, inconspicuous hangover and the aching feeling that what we had watched was not very good after all.

So, without further ado, here’s a review of “Workforce,” brought to you by Rebel Yell.

First a Synopsis:

The Cylons were created by man… Hold on… What?

Our show opens with Flirty!Janeway happily working on Caprica some alien planet as some kind of engineer.  We don’t know why Janeway is so flirty, nor do we know why she seems not to know she’s a starship captain.

Then Flirty!Janeway flirts with a lame alien dude (Jaffen), and EfficiencyMonitor!Seven shows up to quell the flirting–because it’s inefficient, of course–and Flirty!Janeway pulls some faces.  And they all go off to get their weekly injections that “protect against some radiation or something” (read: keep them submissive, complacent, etc.).

“Look, Pointy Ears. You’re cute, but I don’t know you from Adam.”

Later, Angsty!Tuvok shows up and tries to convince Flirty!Janeway he knows her somehow and that none of them are who they are supposed to be.  On Caprica this alien world, he is more emotional (afraid of needles, etc.) and can tell he’s got a former life of some kind.

Meanwhile, Chakotay, Neelix, and Kim come back from an away mission and find Voyager not at the rendez-vous coordinates but hidden away somewhere, where The Doctor has become The Emergency Command Hologram and is trying to make a lot of repairs.

Turns out, the crew was all kidnapped and taken to Caprica an alien world to be in their workforce because that alien world is super low on workers.

So Chakotay and Neelix decide they’ll go to the alien planet to save everybody (Chakotay will go disguised as an alien, and Neelix is already an alien, so…).

“I don’t understand why I couldn’t have kept my face tat.”

But nobody believes them because UnwedMom!B’elanna is as surly as ever, and Flirty!Janeway is in love with Alien Dude, moving into his apartment and having a lot of sexy times with him over burnt pot roast.

Pictured L-R: Flirty!Janeway, Jaffen; Not Pictured: Burnt Pot Roast

Finally, EfficiencyMonitor!Seven gets suspicious because Angsty!Tuvok attacks her.

Forced Mind Meld!

How dare you, Angsty!Tuvok?!

And Angsty!Tuvok has been investigating all the people who came to the factory on the same day (meanwhile he’s been carted off by some Evil Doctor who keeps diagnosing him with a weird disease so he can mess with his memories.)

Chakotay and Neelix end up kidnapping UnwedMom!B’elanna back, and The Doctor slowly but surely helps her get her memory back.  Because those aliens took parts and pieces of everyone’s memory to make sure everybody was happy and healthy and didn’t miss their old lives.

Murder mystery time! Somebody call Mrs. Columbo!

So on the planet, Chakotay sneaks–bleeding from his cop-chase shot–into Flirty!Janeway’s apartment and tries to plead with her, succeeds a little with her, but her alien boyfriend and the alien cops aren’t havin’ any of it. And then Chakotay gets caught by the alien cops fo’ real and sent to the alien hospital with Evil Doctor.

But one alien cop, EfficiencyMonitor!Seven, Flirty!Janeway and her boyfriend, and Bartender!Tom work together on a plan to figure out the truth.

EfficiencyMonitor!Seven infiltrates the hospital where Evil Doctor works, and Flirty!Janeway makes the factory believe it’s blowing up so that the shields on the planet go down for long enough that Voyager can transport the whole crew (because plot device and also Janeway must use self-destruct a minimum of one time per 10 episodes–contractual obligation).

The truth is figured out, everyone is returned to his or her rightful place, criminals are punished, etc.  Alien boyfriend and Regular!Janeway discuss whether he should stay aboard Voyager, but they decide it’s not a great idea, so they hug.

End movie night.

Questions, Concerns, and Comments:

First and foremost, this episode feels like straight up fan fiction.  Its plotting is spotty.  The characters do whatever they want.  Tom is a sweet bartender who hits on pregnant B’elanna.  Janeway gets some.  The Doctor runs things.  Harry Kim has a tummy ache.  This is somebody’s fan fiction that accidentally got made into an actual episode.  #lolwut

Also, I’m going to quickly go over the Flirty!Janeway aspect:  Not sure how I feel about this love story.  It seems quick and dirty and un-Janeway, but I like the dude ok and felt he was an ok dude for Janeway, as far as dudes for Janeway go (*cough* anyone’s better than Michael Sullivan, Hologram *cough*).  It was very fun to see Janeway get to be someone other than the captain for a sec.  And, well, Kate Mulgrew is the stagiest actress.  I love her staginess.  I love it to the nth degree.  So when she gets to do some over-the-top, I want to watch the hell out of it.  And I did.  Rebel Yell and Tish and I watched the hell out of Mulgrew acting the hell out of Flirty!Janeway.

Additionally, I like the way they handled the characters when they didn’t have their old lives/a starship to fall back on.  Janeway–without the captain part of her persona–is a flirt and larger than life and still a badass and still all maternal toward Seven.  She’s a distillation of everything Janeway is without the captaincy.  Seven is all efficiency, even though she doesn’t know she was Borg.  B’elanna is surly and aggressive and vulnerable.  Tom is a flyboy without a ship, a free-and-easy type with a caring side.  Tuvok is the second-most interesting to me (the first being Janeway, of course) for the same reason he was interesting in Unimatrix 0:  His Vulcan emotion-blocking stuff is both a help and a hindrance to him, and he struggles with his identity and his feelings.

Also, most of the way through, I really thought Jaffen was going to end up being a spy.  In my head, the aliens knew that Janeway would be a threat if she figured out her old life, so they planted a boyfriend for her to keep her happy.  I both really liked this headcanon and really disliked it.  I liked it because it was more intrigue.  I disliked it because it meant that Janeway can’t sustain a relationship without the other party having ulterior motives, which is super depressing.

It’s probably best that Jaffen is not, canonically, a spy.  Although that would add some depressing depth to Janeway’s character…

In other news, I don’t understand the workforce on this planet.  What are all these people doing that an advanced society like this can’t do with computers?  I mean, what are these machines, anyway?

“All right. I’ve adjusted the thingy and the doohickey. Next, I should probably recalibrate the blah blah blah.”

Additionally, how often does this kidnapping-passing-ships thing occur?  In my hazy memory of the denouement I think all the criminals got punished, and their government was upset with them and everything, but I feel as though this was a very organized effort.  Like maybe they were a mafia or something?  Like there were a bunch of other ships out there whose crews were kidnapped?  Like I’m super worried about these hypothetical ships?

I’m also wondering about the first day everybody gets there.  Ok, so this Evil Doctor Workforce People Mafia kidnap 150 people and bring them through their hospital and give them bogus inoculations that really suppress their memories.  But that doesn’t explain Seven of Nine’s new bangs.

“I find my new hairstyle inefficient yet…pleasing.”

And also why Janeway decides to wear her hair long.  And maybe lightened?

“I got a boyfriend and some side-swept bangs and some highlights. Say somethin’.”

I love both of these ‘dos (although I love Seven’s only because it’s totally ridiculous).  And I was wondering if the Evil Doctor assigned them these things? Or if parts of their personalities that were activated/allowed to still exist came up with them?  It’s all a mystery to me.

However, I kept gushing about Janeway’s ‘do in particular, but Tish kept telling me that it wasn’t really that much different from Janeway’s regular ‘do.  Tris postulated a new theory:  She thinks I love Janeway’s hair so much (all the time, not just in this episode) because Janeway and I have the same hair.

This theory holds some water, I suppose.  Our hair is not the same color, and I think my hair is actually curlier (or at least I let it be curly, while Janeway always straightens?).  But I think our hair acts the same.  It has approximately the same amount of body, and it lays basically the same when it is at similar lengths.  When Tish and I were going through season 4, Janeway and I had almost the same exact haircut, and it acted almost exactly the same way.

So, I guess, Tish thinks I love Janeway’s hair because I’m vain.  Perhaps it’s true.  Whatevs.

Moving on, we come to the most important question of all:

What’s the story on Seven’s Borg implants?

In the very next episode, Seven’s hanging out in the holodeck trying to grasp her humanity, etc., and in this fantasy life someone says her implants have all been removed and she no longer needs to regenerate.  So, since her implants have not been removed, we can assume she still needs to regenerate.  So… um… were these aliens aware of this and able to compensate with their weekly injections?  She was there for a month or so…?

Maybe the bangs are the first symptom of Borg System Failure…?

Overall:

I recommend it.  With one finger of Rebel Yell in an 8 ounce tumbler, filled the rest of the way with cranberry juice.  Also with a break in the middle to have your viewing companion look up “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman” on her phone so that you can all sing along and then giggle profusely when Janeway makes out SO VIGOROUSLY with Jaffen.

But I really only recommend this under circumstances such as those (a silly, fun mood) and for completeness’s sake.

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