What I Was Doing: And Why It’s Captain Janeway’s Fault

Having not really updated this site in several months, returning to writing things on the internet requires a little explanation. I was doing things, you see. Some of those things involved staring at a screen, but not typing words onto it. I have watched many spectacles, including but not limited to the entire second season of Orange Is The New Black. (Oh my god the artistry of that series is just brilliant, between the phenomenal writing and the characters who ranged from adorable to ‘I really want you to die’,) but more on that another time. Right now, I’m talking Janeway.

There’s a lot of fetishization of Janeway for being a kindly, calm, controlled maternal sort of figure. A female leader with a talent for complicated coiffures and proper protocol. A stickler for the rules. I really didn’t think I was going to like Janeway. Then I watched a little more and realized she’s actually somewhat unhinged and about as diplomatic as thermite.

Janeway in her natural habitat contemplating something certifiably insane.

Janeway in her natural habitat contemplating something certifiably insane.

Here’s the brilliance of Janeway: she really doesn’t care what you think. At all. At first she seems like a super empathetic cookie bearing maternal type, but that all sort of goes by the wayside the minute she does, well, anything at all.

Janeway does whatever the hell Janeway wants. Usually that involves piloting the ship into obvious danger, or telling advanced hostile civilizations to go fuck themselves. She’s not afraid to make enemies and if someone doesn’t agree with her decisions, they are kindly invited to take a nice long drink of shut the hell up.

My favorite example of this is an episode which begins with Janeway pondering her position as captain, spying a space anomaly and ordering Voyager to blast a way inside it. Why? Because she thinks there might be a power source inside which would allow her to replicate some decent coffee. Priorities.

Once inside, Voyager comes under attack from all directions. Cue the usual red alert, damage to the ship, pant soiling action. Now your typical captain might decide that’s quite enough of that for one day and continue on their way back to Earth. Not Janeway. She wants her mocca chocca latte with a side of bouffant.

It soon turns out that the anomaly isn’t actually a nebula as they first thought. It’s a living creature! And they’ve accidentally shot holes all up in it! Oh noes! Janeway has a doggie at home and can’t intentionally do harm to any living creature, so she decides that the only right thing to do is to fly back into its mouth hole and make their way to the damaged portion of the creature and do more shooty things inside it – because the only thing that solves bloody great phaser holes is more phaser holes. She’s the sort of person who makes donuts out of donut holes, if you follow my meaning.

Ship’s chef Neelix takes umbrage at this and goes to tell her that he’d prefer to be put off the ship with his own shuttle and girlfriend rather than plunge back inside some unsuspecting nebula creature with the capacity to potentially destroy Voyager and everybody inside it.

And that’s when Janeway puts her mean face on:

flying into things is fun

“All our crews are busy preparing for this mission. I’m not pulling them off their duties to prepare your ship for launch, and I’m not going to drop you off on the side of the road every time we hit a bump. When we’re finished, if you want to leave that’s your business, but for the moment find yourself a seat with a good view because just like Jonah and the whale, you’re going in.”

She then follows that kindly piece of comforting captaining with:

“Dismissed – that’s a Starfleet expression for get out.”

There’s the verbal spanking. Don’t know if you can expect much in the way of aftercare.