Season Four, Episode 22
Written by Greg Elliot & Michael Perricove
Directed by Andrew J Robinson
Main Cast:
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran as Chakotay
Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips as Neelix
Robert Picardo as The Doctor
Tim Russ as Tuvok
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
Garrett Wang as Harry Kim

An alien woman, Kellin, asks for asylum on Voyager. She claims that she knows Chakotay and that the pair of them were romantically involved.


Unforgettable? Forgettable is more like it. Very forgettable, indeed. Here we have a phoney, woefully ineffective "romance-of-the-week" with absolutely no resonance, no sincerity and with about all the entertainment value of watching paint dry. Let's try and narrow things down a little; it's not so much that Unforgettable does anything wrong as much as it fails to do anything right. The plot is incredibly brittle and ill-considered. 

What do I mean by ill-considered? Well, I kept wondering how on earth a species can release a pherome that makes everyone they encounter forget them. It doesn't make sense. If Kellin had been on the ship for two weeks (I can't remember how long she actually was and have not intention of going back to check) that would have meant that Chakotay would have had to lose a whole two weeks' of memory. For this to happen unnoticed, that would necessitate everyone on Voyager also having to lose their memory. And then there's the ship's computers and instruments. There's a throwaway reference to a computer virus which erases all memory of their existence, but that's a very flimsy after-thought of an excuse and I just didn't buy it.

Another example of poor plotting and characterisation is the fact that Kellin goes from being a "Tracer" who stops people leaving her society to an escapee herself. This is given absolutely no consideration by the writers and serves not only to look Kellin look like a complete hypocrite but also makes Janeway and crew look similarly bad. Why would they grant Kellin asylum when they cooperated with her to capture the other escapee? Again this seems like a case of extreme hypocrisy. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but the fact it arises from at all points to a lack of attention and care on the writing front.

Mind you, this would have been easily forgivable had they put a bit more effort into developing the Chakotay/Kellin romance. But no. This is one of Trek's risable by-the-numbers romances, a love story told for the sake of telling a love story and without a glimmer of warmth or genuine emotion. I thought Virgina Madsen gave a strong performance as Kellin, but it didn't help that the character wasn't especially well-drawn, nor did the painful lack of chemistry between her and Beltran. Beltran is a good actor and I really enjoy a lot of his work on the show, but this was not one such example. He  was particularly stiff and, dare I say, wooden this week. Whilst it takes a very good actor indeed to make a silk purse of a sow's ear, I really expected Beltran to make more of an effort.

As it stands, the entire romance aspect of this episode fell very, very flat. Shame, because that was the core of the story. Unfortunately the hollow, half-baked plot wasn't exactly up to the immense task of supporting it any. The twist, that Kellin's memory of Chakotay is wiped, is not only as predictable as nightfall but it ended the episode on a sloppy, calculated and almost unfinished note. Oh, and it made way for some more of Neelix's infuriatingly pretentious philosophising about love (the character is definitely at his most annoying when we're expected to find him "enlightening". Somebody shoot me now). Unforgettable is a very misleading title for this episode. Let's rename it "Unenjoyable". Or perhaps "Unromantic" or "Unspectacular". My personal favourite is "Unforgivable". It's maybe not quite the worst episode of Trek to ever air, but it was a complete waste of an hour of my life -- and that's unforgivable!

Rating: 3

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