"State of Flux" Plot Summary:
During an away mission, the crew encounters the Kazon and rushes back to the ship. Seska swipes some of the mushrooms she found in a cave to make soup for Chakotay, but when he realizes that she raided the food stores, he disciplines her, even though she offers to rekindle their former romance. Then a Kazon ship is discovered floating dead in space, destroyed by technology which has a Federation signature. Voyager appears to have a traitor on board.
Seska and Carey are the immediate suspects due to circumstantial evidence on the surface, and because they've both been notably discontented. Seska beams aboard the Kazon ship claiming to be looking for evidence, but is injured and suspected of trying to sabotage the evidence to protect herself. In sickbay, the Doctor is surprised to discover that her blood appears to be not Bajoran but Cardassian. Seska explains that she received a blood transfusion as a child from a Cardassian, but the Doctor says that that wouldn't account for all the factors in her blood; she is Cardassian.
Several Kazon beam on board to retrieve an injured Kazon whom Voyager rescued, but they execute him before he can reveal any information. Janeway interrogates Carey, whose computer was apparently used to disguise tampering with the ship's inventory. He swears his innocence, but Chakotay is skeptical. He, Tuvok, and Torres lay a trap for the traitor, and appear intially to have evidence to implicate Carey. But the information is being input from the terminal in sickbay...where Seska is.
Chakotay, who's already shocked by the discovery that Tuvok was working for Starfleet and Seska was working for the Cardassians on his Maquis ship, demands to know why she would sell out to the Kazon. Seska tells him that he is a fool to follow a captain who refuses to trade technology for alliance and protection, and that she can't believe she ever loved him. She signals the Kazon and beams onto one of their ships just as reinforcements arrive, so Voyager is forced to let her go.
This was a wonderful, suspenseful episode, with perhaps a few too many plot twists but I'm hoping that that's because the writers intend to bring them back to haunt Voyager. It's been impossible to really like Seska, and it's something of a shock to learn that she was Chakotay's lover; I never would have expected him to like a woman with so little empathy, who'd tell him scornfully to go talk to his animal guide. Chakotay looked pretty dumb in this episode; I emphathized fully with his complaint to Tuvok, "You were working for her, Seska was working for them. Was anyone on my ship working for me?"
Janeway, on the other hand, came off smelling clean as a rose, no mean feat considering that she was the victim of sabotage on her own vessel. It doesn't help that she has a gullible first officer and a security chief who apparently doesn't have a clue. I very much liked the way she dealt with the Kazon - attempting to be polite, then getting angry and making the barest whiff of a threat stick. I also liked the way she interrogated Carey, while barely asking a question of her own: that look could kill!
It must be noted that Seska certainly had a point, and a good one. Sticking to the letter of the Prime Directive may simply be incompatible with Janeway's avowed mission of getting home, but if she starts forgetting that it is Federation principle which holds her crew together, she may find herself stranded anyway. I found it ironic that Chakotay chose to be such a stickler for the rules; I'd have thought he might assume it would be good for morale to bend them a little, even if it worked to his own advantage in this case as well as his former crew's. I guess Janeway's really rubbing off on him.
I loved the way Seska announced that Janeway was a fool and that he was a fool to follow her, then announced that she had herself been a fool for loving Chakotay. Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else that there's more than just politics and ideology behind Chakotay's loyalty to Janeway?