(written from a Production point of view)
Chakotay becomes caught up in a young Kazon's rite of passage.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Memorable quotes
- 3 Background information
- 4 Links and references
- "First officer's personal log, stardate 49005.3. The captain has granted me the use of a shuttlecraft so that I may perform the pakra, a solitary ritual commemorating the anniversary of my father's death."
Commander Chakotay has asked Captain Janeway for the use of a Type 8 shuttlecraft so that he can perform a ritual on the anniversary of his father's death. While praying to speak to his father, the shuttlecraft drifts into Kazon-Ogla space. The main Kazon ship picks the shuttlecraft up on their scanners, and sends a young Kazon boy called Kar to destroy it and thus earn his Ogla name.
The commander is still in the middle of his ritual when the shuttle is rocked by phaser fire. After the shuttle's computer identifies the attacking vessel as Kazon, Chakotay hails the ship and tries to convince the pilot to cease firing on him. A young Kazon boy appears on the shuttle's viewer. "You are in Kazon-Ogla space, Federation." Chakotay tells him that he is no threat and will leave. When told by the boy that no one who violates Kazon space simply leaves, Chakotay calls him "son" and remarks that his starship is only a few light years away. "I am not your son, Federation. I am your executioner!", the Kazon youth states right before recommencing fire on Chakotay's shuttle.
After Chakotay warns the Kazon vessel a few times to stand down or risk destruction by his weapons, the ship continues its attack. Chakotay then outmaneuvers the small Kazon ship which Kar is on and fires phasers, disrupting the ship's engine core. With only thirty seconds left before the Kazon ship explodes, Chakotay scans the ship and finds one life sign. He locks on and beams aboard the survivor, who is revealed as Kar.
Unfortunately the battle has disabled the long range communications, lateral sensor array, and aft shields of the shuttle, so Chakotay starts flying to rendezvous with Voyager. Later, Kar wakes and is bound. He expresses disbelief that Chakotay did not kill him. "I'm not in the habit of killing children", Chakotay says. He is confused about Kar's lack of gratitude. The shuttle then runs into the ship of First Maje Razik. Chakotay hails them and lets them know he has Kar aboard. The Kazon ship begins tractoring the shuttle in. Chakotay tries to escape but the shuttle's engines aren't nearly powerful enough. Kar looks on with fear and pleads with Chakotay to kill him because "there are worse things than dying in battle."
Voyager is in orbit of a planet gathering supplies and Captain Janeway is talking with Neelix in her ready room about the fact that he was left out the ship's recent holodeck defense simulations. She asks him to join her on the bridge to provide support. The bridge reports that the mission is going well, but when Ensign Harry Kim tries to hail Chakotay, he can get no response from the first officer. Janeway recalls all away teams and tells Paris to set course for Chakotay's last known position.
On the Kazon ship, Chakotay and Kar are dragged into a large room under guard. Chakotay demands to know why Kar is being guarded with him as a prisoner, but gets no response from Haliz, the First Maje's second in command. Kar begins berating Chakotay and threatening him, in an attempt to impress Haliz, but after no response, Kar demands to see Razik and is struck to the floor. Chakotay sees this and also demands to see him. Chakotay tells Kar it's because he is obviously the leader, whereupon Kar walks around the room pointing out Razik's trophies, such as a piece of a Nistrim hull from a destroyed ship and a bracelet belonging to a Kazon who killed Kar's brother – Jal Kinell, who Kar notes "earned his Ogla name by dying bravely in battle." But, as Kar ruefully notes, he will not be able to earn his name in life or in death – and he has Chakotay to thank.
Razik himself then arrives and confronts Kar. Kar protests his loss was not his fault, but Razik berates him for making excuses and then forgives him, an act which obviously distresses Kar. Razik tells Chakotay he doomed Kar to disgrace by not allowing him to earn his name in life or death. Chakotay apologizes for that and for violating Kazon-Ogla space. He says there was no map marking this as their territory. Razik says maps are useless because the boundaries change every day. He goes on to explain that any uniform represents a threat to them because of their history of throwing off their oppressors. He then announces that the execution is scheduled for that night.
When Voyager arrives at Chakotay's last known location, they discover metallic debris which could have come from a Starfleet shuttlecraft. Janeway orders it beamed aboard so B'Elanna Torres can analyze it. Paris asks if they're assuming Chakotay's shuttle was destroyed but Janeway rejects that assumption. Tuvok then locates an ion trail leading away from the debris site and they set course to follow.
Razik, Chakotay, and several Kazon children are present in the same audience room. Chakotay greets the children and repeats his messages about his peaceful intentions, but when Razik asks the children who would be willing to kill Chakotay, they all volunteer. Razik mocks Chakotay's attempts at reconciliation and then has a group bring Kar in. He repeats Kar's fate to not have a name, and then offers Chakotay a weapon, telling him that if he kills Kar, he is free to go. Chakotay seems to consider following through, but then he drops the weapon and takes Razik hostage, demanding to be set free. Razik tells everyone to let him run, and then Kar decides to join Chakotay in running.
They depart from the ship in the shuttle but come under fire quickly despite Kar trying to help Chakotay disable the ship's weapons. Kar keeps giving Chakotay information that would let him attack the Kazon, but Chakotay insists he's not going to start killing people. He asks the computer to locate a place to set down and the computer locates a nearby Class M moon. Kar tells Chakotay it is Tarok, used by the Ogla for training. Just then the shuttle's rear shields buckle and the shuttle is in danger of being destroyed. Chakotay says transporting to the moon is risky because of the distance. Then the shuttle is destroyed while falling towards the moon's atmosphere.
Just as Torres confirms that the debris they picked up is from a Kazon ship, the ion trail Voyager has been following dissipates. Voyager locates more debris, and when it is beamed aboard, it is showing markings that clearly identify it as being from Chakotay's shuttle.
Chakotay and Kar regain consciousness on the surface of the moon. Kar again lays into Chakotay for not fighting, and Chakotay tells him that if all he's going to do is reiterate how much he doesn't like Chakotay, he should stay quiet. But Kar speaks up to save Chakotay from a hidden weapon; he reveals that, as a training site, the moon is littered with hidden weaponry, such as deadly disruptor snares, so Chakotay will have to follow Kar.
On Voyager, The Doctor confirms through a viewscreen in the briefing room that there is no organic material that would indicate Chakotay was killed in the shuttle explosion. Janeway mentions that there is a Class M moon nearby he may have beamed to, but there seems to be a lot of hidden weaponry. Kes and Neelix immediately recognize it as a Kazon training site. The energy from the weaponry is disrupting sensors and communication with the surface, so Captain Janeway requests Kes and Tuvok accompany her on a trip to the surface and leaves Paris in command of the ship while they try to find a way to cut through the interference.
On the surface, Chakotay and Kar have found a cave to spend the night in. Chakotay uses his tricorder to set up a homing beacon amid more banter from Kar about his wanting to kill Chakotay and steal his technology to make his name with the Kazon. Chakotay brushes off his posturing, comparing his efforts to earn his Starfleet uniform to Kar's efforts to earn his name. Kar rejects the comparison, and Chakotay suggests they attempt to get some sleep.
Sometime later Kar, unable to sleep, turns off the tricorder's homing beacon then takes his weapon and aims it at a sleeping Chakotay. Despite the perfect chance to kill Chakotay, Kar finds he cannot go through with it. He then returns the weapon and reactivates the beacon.
In orbit, a Kazon vessel hails Voyager. Paris explains their presence and that they're looking for a missing crewman. Razik tells him that they killed Chakotay, by name, after he kidnapped a Kazon boy and asks them to leave. Neelix expresses disbelief at the lack of an attack, prompting the Kazon to threaten violence, but Neelix points out that it would be a massive risk to the Kazon security if a battle were waged near their training base, and that blowing up the weapons on the surface would be hideously expensive. The Kazon agree to allow Voyager to continue searching.
On the surface, Janeway and her team are following a trail when Razik, Haliz, and two other Kazon intercept them and say they are here to help due to the danger of the environment.
Back in the cave, Chakotay (who was actually awake) confronts Kar about his inability to kill him, saying he thinks Kar is realizing Chakotay is not his enemy. Chakotay asks Kar if he could go to another Kazon sect (of which Kar says there are eighteen at last check), but Kar says they would cut off his fingers and call him a goven, a word meaning an outcast. He also rejects going with Chakotay because it would mean leaving his home. Chakotay asks why the uniform causes such hatred and Kar briefly indicates the Kazon used to be all but slaves to the Trabe before they revolted 26 years prior. Then Chakotay's tricorder begins to signal that the others are close.
At the same time, Voyager breaks through the interference and Janeway asks if they can get a lock on Chakotay, Paris says they're working on it. The Kazon trick them and they end up caught in a force field, though Kes identifies the power source and they work on getting a phaser to punch through the field. In the cave, Chakotay tells Kar he's going to help him get his name and when Voyager contacts him, he tells them to prepare for a code white resuscitation, then reassures Kar that he can be revived as long as it is shortly after he is killed.
When the Kazon arrive, Kar has Chakotay at gunpoint. He tells Razik he wants to earn his name, but then declares that Chakotay is not his enemy and shoots Razik. Haliz is then First Maje, and he grants Kar a name, Jal Karden. They allow Voyager to depart, but not before Karden tells Chakotay that the next time they meet he won't hesitate to kill him. Chakotay understands. Chakotay, along with the away team, are beamed aboard Voyager.
In his quarters on Voyager, Chakotay sits on the floor with his medicine bundle unraveled. He holds up a stone with a CHAH-mooz-ee emblazoned on it, along with an akoonah and a blackbird's wing laying in front of him. Chakotay then begins to pray to his father.
- "A-koo-chee-moya. I pray on this day of memories to speak to my father, the one whom the wind called Kolopak. Father, if you can hear me among these unnamed stars, I ask you to continue to watch over me as you've always done. I ask you also to watch over a boy called Karden, who has a difficult path to travel. A-koo-chee-moya."
"Look, son. My starship is only a few light years away."
"I am not your son, Federation. I am your executioner!"
- - Chakotay and Kar
"Computer, damage report."
"Long-range communications, lateral sensor array, and aft shields are off-line."
- - Chakotay and shuttlecraft computer
"You should have let me die."
"I'm not in the habit of killing children."
- - Kar and Chakotay
"And now Mr. Neelix, please join me on the bridge."
"Yes, sir. I mean, ma'am. Captain."
- - Kathryn Janeway and Neelix
"Why are you so eager for me to kill you?"
- - Chakotay, to Kar
"Well, you just saved my life. Twice more and we'll be even."
- - Chakotay, to Kar
"Don't worry, captain. You can count on me to keep those nefarious Kazon at bay!"
- - Neelix, to Janeway
"Get him something to eat. The execution is tonight."
- - Razik, referring to Chakotay
"You tell this Jal Razik that Federation Commander Chakotay demands to see him!"
- - Chakotay, to Haliz
"I'm afraid you would not score well on our training exercises."
- - Razik, to the Voyager away team
"What's so different about us? Aside from the fact that I keep saving your life and you keep threatening to kill me."
- - Chakotay, to Kar
"Why did you save him? It's a very ineffective way of waging war."
- - Razik, to Chakotay about saving Kar
"My people taught me a man does not own land."
- - Chakotay
"You would rather die in your sleep, a wrinkled old man?"
"Sounds about right."
- - Kar and Chakotay
"You won't stop me from earning my name, Federation."
"Not Federation! Chakotay. That's my name."
- - Kar and Chakotay
- This was the first episode for Star Trek: Voyager that executive story editor Kenneth Biller wrote alone, he having helped with the writing of the episodes "Elogium", "Faces", "Jetrel" and "Twisted". This episode is not, however, the first for which he alone wrote the teleplay; he previously wrote the scripts for both "Faces" and "Twisted" by himself. In other words, this episode was the first for which he alone not only penned the script but also came up with the story idea.
- While working on this episode, Ken Biller described the story as "the Kazon put a hit out on Chakotay." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 3, p. 50)
- The episode was partly written as an attempt to remedy the fact that Voyager's producers felt Chakotay had been underused in the first season. (Star Trek Monthly issue 6)
- Another of the motives that Ken Biller, in particular, had for writing this episode was to give Chakotay some more action scenes, similar to how the character had been portrayed in "Caretaker". "He's like a real action hero in the pilot," Biller remarked, "and I think we need to give him some action stories–which I'm hoping to do in 'Initiations'." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 3, p. 52)
- After Ken Biller turned in his first draft of this episode's script, executive producer Jeri Taylor wrote extensive notes on it. Another production staffer who was not completely happy with the installment's original script draft was Michael Piller, who was about to return to Voyager as an executive producer after having taken an extended vacation in which he had both co-created and co-executive produced the short-lived television series Legend. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 76)
- Dissatisfied with the first draft of this episode's teleplay, Michael Piller offered to subsequently help Ken Biller with the writing of the episode. As such, the development of this episode involved an early instance of Piller acting on a crusade he had taken upon himself – specifically, to motivate the writing of Voyager's second season. He called Biller on his own car phone and commented at length that, despite having been intended as an allegory to in-fighting Los Angeles street gangs, the Kazon were "coming across as kind of warmed-over Klingons." Piller ended the call by telling Biller, "I want you to stop, don't write anything today, leave the office and go find some gang members or find a policeman who can take you to see some gang members. I'll talk to you about it tomorrow and see what you find out from the street." Although Biller subsequently did not strictly adhere to this advice – thereafter having no direct contact with gang members – he did discover the book Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member, written in prison by Sanyika "Monster" Shakur. This publication gave Biller useful insights into gang culture and peer pressure, inspiring the writing of this episode's second draft. Michael Piller commented, "Here we were, on the first day of prep and Ken started rewriting that script based on my feelings that we had to get to the guts of what drove the Kazon and they had to be different from Romulans and Cardassians and Klingons." Piller concluded, "It was a choice of settling, or doing what I considered excellent work. The bottom line is we had a better show, because Ken did research." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 76 & 77)
- While developing this episode, Ken Biller also wrote an elaborate sociological backstory for the Kazon, such as their history and customs. The episodes that the article benefited included not only this one but also "Alliances", a later episode of the second season (a season that is, in and of itself, Kazon-centric). Michael Piller commented, "That document came out of the research that Ken did for 'Initiations.' He felt it would be valuable – because we were going to invest a whole season into these guys – to provide writers with a clear backstory so everybody would be working from the same page. I think it influenced the season greatly. It was an enormous contribution." Of the document, Jeri Taylor said, "It was quite thoughtful and very well worked out, and [the Kazon] looked quite interesting in that paper." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
- This episode's story itself was a problematic one for director Winrich Kolbe. He explained, "Storywise it was not the most interesting show I've ever done. It was a push. My problem with the Chakotay character was that I wanted to forget the Indian aspect and make him the Maquis that he was supposed to be. I knew Chakotay would have to eventually cooperate on the ship, but I hoped he would do it unwillingly most of the time. I talked to the writers about it, why we weren't playing that conflict. They went with the Indian thing, which was kind of intriguing, but in my opinion, never paid off because it was done too subtly." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- This episode's final script draft was submitted on 10 July 1995. 
- Aron Eisenberg (Kar) is much better known for his role as the Ferengi Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He was cast in this episode after a difficult casting process. Jeri Taylor recalled, "We gave ourselves a very difficult task by writing a part for a fourteen-year-old young man. We ended up casting Aron Eisenberg, who plays Nog on Deep Space Nine [....] Aron is a wonderful actor, and we cast him because the boys that we read were simply not able to bring to it the richness and the depth that we wanted." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages) Eisenberg himself commented, "I think some people out there have the misconception that they just gave me the part, which is not true; I actually had to audition for it. They couldn't find a kid to come up to the level that Kar needed to come up to, and they couldn't find an adult that looked young enough to play the kid. Finally they said, 'What about Aron, let's get him to audition,' and I was obviously what they were looking for, because I got the part." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14) Eisenberg also remembered, "I auditioned for Kar. I think they were having trouble finding somebody that looked young enough that could handle the role, or that could handle the role. I was told Rick [Berman] said, 'Well what about Aron?' I think they wanted to bring me in for an audition for a long time, but because of Nog, they said, 'No. He's too known as Nog.' So they brought me in for the audition, I read for it, and I got it. I really had to read for it. They just didn't assume I would be able to do it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- Although he alone put a lot of effort into his performance in this episode, Aron Eisenberg was also coached – to a debatable extent – by fellow DS9 actor Max Grodénchik. "I worked very hard on that episode," Eisenberg later remembered. "Max was there to help me as my acting coach ("He did totally the opposite of everything I said and it turned out brilliantly!" jokes Grodénchik)." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14) Eisenberg also said of his DS9 co-star, "He helped me work on that script a lot, but he said, 'You did nothing that I told you to do.' Max said that everything he said for me to do, I threw out the door, and I did something else. I disagree." (Star Trek Monthly issue 19)
- Before performing in this installment, Aron Eisenberg was already familiar with some of the other people who worked on the episode. "I knew most of the crew, because they used to work on Deep Space Nine when Next Generation was on," Eisenberg explained. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70) He additionally related, "Actually, the crew on ST:VOY was originally the ST:DS9 crew, so I pretty much knew the people, like Marvin Rush the DP [director of photography], and I also knew the director [Winrich Kolbe] who had worked on ST:DS9. I didn't really know the cast, but I worked mostly with [Chakotay actor] Robert Beltran." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14)
- As his role in this episode is significantly different from the Star Trek character he usually played, Aron Eisenberg felt that he didn't have to consciously differ the two roles. "It was the other extreme of Nog," Eisenberg said of Kar. "I wasn't worried at all about having Nog come out, because I knew Nog's character, I knew all his idiosyncrasies. This is a completely different character." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- During the making of this episode, Aron Eisenberg had an encounter with Patrick Stewart that was apparently pleasant for both actors. Eisenberg recalled, "I got to meet Patrick Stewart. When I went into looping, I met him and he gave me a compliment. He was really a nice guy." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- Aron Eisenberg's experience of acting in "Initiations" was generally very pleasant and, ultimately, he was thankful for the role of Kar. Shortly after he worked on the episode, Eisenberg noted, "I got to work on Star Trek: Voyager this past season, which was even more of a plus [than the merits of portraying Nog on DS9]." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14) Eisenberg further explained, "I was so lucky to have that part. It was so much fun. I had such a blast working on that show […] It was finally something really meaty that I had, and something that I didn't ever think I'd get to play, because of being short or looking younger. I never thought I'd be able to play a character where he's really trying to kill someone." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- Aron Eisenberg also enjoyed featuring on the Star Trek series that was running concurrently with a series that was in the same franchise but with which he was much more familiar. He admitted, "I now feel that I have something extra that the other actors don't have: the opportunity of being on the other show, and getting the whole spectrum." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14) Eisenberg also observed, "It's like one huge family with two separate entities. It was fun to go to both and feel like I've been both places in Star Trek. I'll forever have that niche, that I got to be on both shows." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- Another of this episode's highlights for Aron Eisenberg was working with Robert Beltran. At the 2001 Galaxy Ball charity Star Trek convention – organized by Beltran – Eisenberg was asked to name his favorite Voyager actor and replied, "This is gonna sound like brown-nosing, but Robert Beltran. We had such fun on the episode 'Initiations.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 89, p. 30) Eisenberg elaborated, "Me and Robert [Beltran] were just goofing around the whole time. It's funny, you know, you've got such an intense role, and yet we're laughing and having a good time." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70) In summation, Eisenberg noted, "We had a wonderful time." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14) For his part, Beltran said of their relationship, "Aron and I had a lot of fun. He's a very funny guy. It was like working with Don Rickles, because he's very quick-witted and not afraid to cut you down." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 7) In addition, Beltran remarked, "We both had a good time. Aron's a lot of fun to work with. He's a very funny man, with a lot of talent. He's got a wide range and he can do a lot of things." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5|99)
- This episode is the first in a triumvirate of Season 2 Chakotay-centric episodes that Robert Beltran enjoyed (the others being "Tattoo" and "Maneuvers"). Beltran remarked, "I thought those three were really fine scripts." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 99) Although Beltran was appreciative of this episode's plot, he wanted the influence that his character of Chakotay had on Kar to be gentler than he imagined the episode's audience would want. Beltran said of 'Initiations', "I enjoyed that one very much because there was a nice moral at the end of the story. For me, it was an interesting acting exercise. When I was reading the script, I felt that the audience would want me to act a little mad. But I wanted to bring that in and check that at every turn. Instead of just physically reprimanding him, I wanted Chakotay to face [the Kazon boy] with a little more patience and little more tenderness, and try to change him that way. Of course, Chakotay's plan didn't quite work in the end. But it was a fun relationship between Chakotay and the Kazon boy [Kar] and it revealed a lot about Chakotay." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20)
- Robert Beltran believed that this episode did a good job of encapsulating Chakotay's persona. "It summed up in one episode basically what Chakotay is about as a person," the actor commented. "It started off with him on a vision quest, on a journey to connect with his father. He's then faced with a crisis and he deals with it as if nothing else exists but how are we going to solve the problem. He comes face to face with a person who tried to kill him, and yet he doesn't harbor hatred. He realizes the kid comes from a different culture and is a little troubled. I think that episode showed that he's willing to accept and embrace people." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 7)
- Aron Eisenberg ultimately thought his own performance here was very successful, such as with Voyager's team of writer-producers. "They were really happy with it," he recalled. "I felt very fortunate, because I was fairly muscular, which was good for a warrior kid. It was really weird to see my asset – being older and looking younger and even muscular – which is not going to work in the real world, but was certainly perfect for this character." (Star Trek Monthly issue 14) Eisenberg also noted, "I was really proud of it. They were really proud of it, the producers and everybody. It made me feel good to know that I came in and was able to do it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- Aron Eisenberg and Patrick Kilpatrick (Razik) later appeared together in the DS9 episode "The Siege of AR-558", also directed by Winrich Kolbe.
- This was actually the first episode produced for the second season. The previous episode, "The 37's", was filmed as part of the first season.
- Voyager's production team were highly affected by the extreme changes to this episode's story, as they necessitated alterations in set design and shooting schedules. Michael Piller recalled, "Basically they had to change the whole thing overnight. By the time that week was over the production people were beside themselves. I was called into a meeting and told 'You basically threw this entire unit into chaos.' I said 'I did it because the script wasn't good enough and we had to make the show better.' [....] The unit–all the people that sit in production meetings making plans, designing sets–suffered probably for weeks because I was disruptive." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 77)
- The filming of this episode began on 11 July, 1995. (Star Trek Monthly issue 8)
- The outdoor scenes of this episode were shot on location at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.  Restricted by union rules to only use locations within a radius of 37 miles from Paramount studios, the producers were careful to avoid showing the most well known of the location's jagged peaks. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 77-78)
First airing and reception
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.9 million homes, and a 10% share. Star Trek Monthly issue 11, p. 14) The installment also achieved an NTI (National Television Index) rating of 8.3. (
- In common with "Non Sequitur", the reason why this episode aired when it did was to capitalize on the location work involved in the installment, because – of the first six episodes in the season's final airing order – three ("Projections", "Elogium" and "Twisted") were bottle shows held over from the previous season. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 76)
- In the lead-up to this episode's VHS release, Star Trek Magazine reviewer Stuart Clark wrote a review of this episode, mentioning his opinion of Aron Eisenberg's appearance as Kar. Remarked Clark, "Viewers with good hearing will certainly recognise the young Kazon […] Here, he's in a very different role but plays it just as convincingly." (Star Trek Monthly issue 12, p. 62)
- Cinefantastique gave this installment 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 77) Thomas Doherty, one of the magazine's writers, criticized the appearance of Aaron Eisenberg in the role of Kar as "confusing" and wasn't any fonder of the episode's portrayal of Chakotay. "In 'Initiations', he behaved like a patient high school counselor towards a young warrior who insulted and repeatedly tried to kill him," Doherty complained. "One longed for him to display Kirk's regressive machismo and deck the brat." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 65 & 66)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 69) scored the episode 7 out of 10.
- Regarding her opinion of this episode in general, Jeri Taylor noted, "I thought it was reasonably successful." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
- Ultimately, the recognizability of Aron Eisenberg proved to be too obvious to many fans. The actor himself offered, "On the Internet people say, 'I could tell it was his voice.' I say, 'Come on people, it's the same person.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 76) Jeri Taylor explained, "More people were aware of [Eisenberg's DS9 role] than I would have thought. He didn't look anything the same, but he has a very distinctive voice. It broke the suspension of disbelief and made people say not, 'Oh, there's a young man in pain,' but, 'Oh, it's Nog from Deep Space Nine.' As soon as the mind is doing that, it's not involved in the story [....] We got the good actor, but we got a recognizable one." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages) Additionally, Taylor admitted, "We thought that because he was so heavily prosthetized in this show and in DS9 that he wouldn't look anything like he did, but he does have a distinctive voice. People who know both shows picked up on that. Some thought it was cool that we were doing an homage to DS9." Michael Piller commented, "We made a very big mistake in casting Aron Eisenberg because his voice is so recognizable that it took anybody watching both shows out of the episode. His performance was wonderful, but I think it was just a casting mistake." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 78)
- Perhaps partly due to this issue, Aron Eisenberg doubted that he would reprise his role of Kar in Star Trek: Voyager, despite having a desire to do so. He said, "Voyager is going in one direction, and I don't think Kar is going to meet them somewhere else, which is unfortunate. It was a fun character. I always hope to play it again." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 70)
- This is the third episode in which Voyager encounters the Kazon after "Caretaker" and "State of Flux", and the second in which it encounters the Kazon-Ogla sect after "Caretaker".
- The new TR-590 Tricorder X and the redesigned type 2 phaser appear for the first time in this episode, although how Voyager was able to procure these newer models when it was cut off from the Federation was never explained.
- This is the first episode in which a shuttlecraft from Voyager is confirmed destroyed. Voyager would go on to lose 11 shuttles over the course of the series.
- Chakotay's medicine bundle is lost in this episode, either destroyed along with his shuttle or pillaged by the Kazon-Ogla. Upon returning to Voyager, he uses what must be another replicated medicine bundle.
- This is the first episode to show Tom Paris in command of Voyager in the absence of Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok.
Video and DVD releases
- CIC Video released the four season 1 "hold-over" episodes in their production order, as part of the first season release. This is the first episode in the second season release. Volume 2.1 continues with "Non Sequitur".
- As part of the VOY Season 2 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Steve Crawford as Kazon-Ogla guard
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Norman Gibbs as Kazon-Ogla guard
- Robert Godinez as Kazon-Ogla boy
- James Hartman as Kazon-Ogla boy
- Julie Jiang as operations lieutenant junior grade
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- John Parsons as Michael Parsons
- Phillip Riddick as Kazon-Ogla boy
- Mark Smith as Kazon-Ogla guard
2359; adventurer; A-koo-chee-moya; alloy; anniversary; Ayala's sons; bearing; biomagnetic trap; booby trap; bracelet; brain dead; Calogan dog; Chakotay's tribe; chef; child; class M; code white resuscitation; dampening field; defense simulation; Delta Quadrant; disruptor snare; duranium; electroceramic; engine core; engine power; escape pod; executioner; explorer; expression; Federation; flight plan; force field; goven; guide; heart; holodeck; Human expression; Jal; Kar's spacecraft; Kazon carrier vessel; Kazon-Nistrim; Kazon-Ogla; Kazon-Ogla space (Ogla space, Kazon-Ogla territory); Kazon-Relora; Kazon fighter (aka Kazon spacecraft, Kazon vessel); Kazon frigate; Kazon warrior; kilometer; Kinell; Kinell's slayer; Kolopak; lateral sensor array; leader; logic; long-range communications; long-range sensors; magnesite; markings; medicine bundle; meter; micro-generator; morale officer; navigational scan; pakra; path; phaser; plaxan sensor; polyduranide; proton discharger; radiothermic interference; revolt; skin; slayer; son; strategist; Starfleet uniform; strategist; Talaxian; Tarok; Trabe; Trabe homeworld; tractor beam; tractor force; training exercise; transporter; transporter lock; trespassing (trespasser); tricorder; tunic; surrender; Type 8 shuttlecraft (unnamed); wrinkle
- "Initiations" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Initiations" at Wikipedia
- "Intiations" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
|Star Trek: Voyager