“Initiations” is the second episode of the second season, and eighteenth episode overall of the American science fiction television program Star Trek: Voyager.
The episode tells the story of Commander Chakotay’s capture at the hands of a young Kazon.
Originally intended to open the second season, “Initiations” was bumped to second by “The 37’s“.
To better utilise the character, this is one of several second-season episodes that focuses on Chakotay. It was written with a mind to recall the action story of Chakotay from the pilot. Writer Kenneth Biller extensively rewrote the episode after input from series co-creators Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller; whereas the Kazon originally came across as too much like the Klingons, Biller’s research helped emphasise their more street-gang nature. This substantial rewrite of the episode required an overhaul of production work already invested in the episode.
Aron Eisenberg guest starred as Kar, the young Kazon warrior. Though his performance was lauded, he was deemed too recognisable from his recurring role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and was a regret of the executive producers. Mixed reviews noted the familiarity of both Eisenberg and the shooting location of Vasquez Rocks.
On stardate 49005.3, to commemorate the anniversary of his father’s death, Commander Chakotay takes a shuttlecraft to perform the pakra ceremony. Inadvertently straying into Kazon-Ogla space, he is attacked by a young Kazon (Aron Eisenberg as Kar) on his first mission. Destroying Kar’s vessel, Chakotay beams him aboard.
Captured by a Kazon vessel soon thereafter, Chakotay learns from Kar that Kazon earn their titles through conquest or death, and he has robbed Kar of that opportunity by saving him. The vessel’s commander Razik (Patrick Kilpatrick) speaks with Chakotay, explaining his disservice to Kar and that the young Kazon is scheduled for execution. When later presented with a weapon to kill Kar as a lesson to other Kazon youth, Chakotay instead holds Razik hostage in exchange for his shuttle. Kar, seeing no future or opportunities with the Ogla, flees with Chakotay. Unable to elude the Kazon, Chakotay beams himself and Kar to a nearby Class-M moon, a Kazon training ground. Kar, having eschewed an opportunity to kill Chakotay in his sleep, later explains how he has no options open to him and admits that Chakotay may be his only friend now.
Meanwhile, having tracked the shuttle’s probable course, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), Lieutenant Tuvok (Tim Russ), and Kes (Jennifer Lien) proceed to the moon’s surface to rescue Chakotay. On the moon, they meet up with Razik and his men who offer to lead the away team to Chakotay. When Chakotay and Kar detect their approach, Chakotay offers to help Kar earn his name by becoming his prisoner. Coordinating with Voyager to prepare for resuscitation, Chakotay tells Kar to shoot him; Kar instead shoots Razik, earning his Ogla name and promoting Razik’s second-in-command, Haliz (Tim de Zarn). The Ogla allow the Voyager crew to leave, with Kar’s promise that he will kill Chakotay if they meet again. Later, when performing his pakra ceremony aboard Voyager, Chakotay adds Kar to his prayers.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Winrich Kolbe.
- Writer(s): Kenneth Biller.
- Release Date: 04 September 1995.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.