The Thaw

Episode Reviews (14)

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  • 8.0

    Star Trek meets Cirque du Soleil

    By Celedorian, Jun 08, 2015

    Star Trek does its version of the old "evil clown" horror story in this malfunctioning holodeck episode (minus the holodeck) with a story that slyly avoids having to leave Voyager, save for one alternate stage set.

    After beaming up the hardware for a virtual reality world gone awry (sort of a demented Cirque du Soleil), Janeway finds herself in a battle of wits and wills with a clown that has the ability to kill anyone who has wandered into his world (which, unfortunately for her, includes Ensign Kim). It's really a "how do we save the hostages without killing them" dilemma in (literally) different clothes, crossed with an exploration of the nature of fear.

    Robert Picardo's old buddy Michael McKean dominates the episode as the nameless antagonist, with his character interacting with various Voyager crewmembers and even getting in the final word. His clown is basically the same idea as Q, a character with complete control over his universe (in this case, one room) and exercising a whimsical and dangerous sense of humor.

    Director of Photography Marvin Rush, stepping into the director's role, gives the episode an experimental theatre feel, taking the focus off the limited set and placing it on the exotic characters that inhabit it. The result is a spirit unlike anything Trek has ever done, save maybe for TNG's "Cost of Living".

    The very definition of a one and done, "The Thaw" is nonetheless one of Voyager's most memorable episodes.


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  • 10

    Like a bad Acid trip and I loved it!

    By galygaly, Feb 10, 2014

    Yes, this episode is creepy, scary, nightmare inducing and that's why it is so great!

    It is not grotesque, there are no guns or bloody corpses. The victims here die of massive heart failure, nothing else. This episode if about the manifestation and power of our fears.

    This episode was so effective in creating a frightening subconscious world without resorting to demons, flames, or what we perceive to be a hell like environment. The demon here is futuristic clown and his band of freaks in a very colorful environment that on its own isn't creepy at all, in fact it looks a lot a child's nursery or classroom painted in bright, fun colors but it is what we project on it that makes it so creepy. The actor playing the villain is so much fun, so funny, and he holds nothing back with his fearless performance, and that kind of freedom and power and potential for evil is frightening... in the best way!

    I loved that this episode reminded me of a stage play, one that was clever and spoke about the human condition and held up a mirror. One that spoke about how we can be our own worst enemies, and how our own fears hold us hostage. It was deep people.

    I loved the Captain in this episode, she gave one of my favorite performances of the series and the ending was thrilling, so satisfying.moreless

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  • 2.0

    A rather pathetic episode

    By rkoenn, Mar 27, 2013

    My wife and I have been watching Voyager on DVD as I have always been a ST fan, particularly the original when it was on it's initial run, but because of life didn't get to catch the later series. Overall we have enjoyed Voyager so far, not as much as TNG or DS9, and most episodes are pretty good. However this episode might vie in my book for one of the worse in the entire ST universe. I knew right off when they went into the brain support system and I saw all the clowns/mimes etc. that this episode was going to be bad. I am almost always turned off by these surrealistic episodes and this was one of the worse. The antics of the clown in the system were pathetic and his childish attitude and the way he carried on were particularly bad. As a previous post noted, who bought this script and allowed it to be turned into a complete episode?moreless

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  • 2.0

    Nightmare & Vomit Inducing

    By foghorn_clj87, Mar 10, 2013


    Seriously I get the whole craziness thing but there's a way to do fear-inducing-madness without it being so creepy that you want to forget this episode even exists and HOPE TO GOD you don't have nightmares about it.

    I got through about 15 to 20 mins before I turned it off. NEVER EVER EVER AGAIN.

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  • 6.0

    The Thaw

    By TrueTvWatcher, Sep 13, 2011

    The Thaw was a fair episode of Star Trek: Voyager and it was ok to watch, but it is by no means necessary for the over all plot or character story lines. The story was an interesting concept and it was kinda of an interesting world that the crew members visited, yet it was still a little out there. It seems the writers were trying to have fun, but it just didn't work out. I liked how the story played out and how every thing ended. Another side adventure on Voyager. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek: Voyager!!moreless

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  • 9.0

    While their planet was recovering from a disaster, aliens in stasis become trapped by a computer simulation and its characters that were created to entertain them. What is pivotal about this episode is Janeway's monologue at the end which is a classic.

    By ShelbeyBradley, Aug 25, 2011

    Becoming trapped in a holographic creation is not new in Star Trek, but as for "accepting" Janeway as a full fledged Captain worthy to follow in the footsteps of Kirk and Picard, this episode is pivotal. I also like it for several other reasons. All the fears of the aliens in stasis become manifested in the persona of a clown. I like that choice because fear does not creep into our psyches with our embracing something that is obviously ugly, dreadful or fear provoking. It is more insiduous and often we will laugh at something we fear at first or at people we do not understand and then later on, become fearful of that very thing or person. Clowns can also be frightening as well as funny.

    Janeway's monologue on the nature of Fear and handling of the conclusion of the episode reminds me of the best of James T Kirk and his rousing monologues and as good as any of Picard's Shakespearean-type deliveries. It is quintessential "captain-ness" if I can call it that. The Classic Conclusion to an episode that Star Trek fans look forward to and expect. One that "wraps things up" in a way that touches us, makes sense and inspires us to become better human beings. The best of Janeway and Star Trek.moreless

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  • 6.0

    Good Science Fiction idea but horribly staged.

    By tv-striker, Nov 06, 2008

    Good Science Fiction idea but horribly staged.

    The story line here could be done in any Sci-Fi show. In fact, Outer Limits, with "The Refuge" did a similar story that aired about three weeks before this one. And, that story was remarkably staged. However, this one leaves a lot to be desired. And, that's one of my gripes. Although using Cirque du Soleil acrobats was innovative, the set was way too minimalistic. The acrobats just rolled around the floor rather than doing any of their high-wire specialties. In short, the set looked cheap. Something we'd expect from second season "Lost in Space." Ultimately, Voyager would stage a much better "shared unconscious" episode in Season 4, "Waking Moments."

    Inhabiting the dream realm in this story is an adaptive program character known as "Fear" or introduced as the "Clown." In this world, to die or be killed by Fear/Clown is to also die in the suspended state. Kind of answers that question about dying in your dreams and then dying in real lifeā€¦

    Michael McKean plays Fear/Clown. He is a very talented actor and he clearly has a great time playing this part. However, like the set, he doesn't create anything special. There was such an opportunity here to make a truly "fearful clown" but the production group misses it. Since Fear refuses to release her crew in the suspended state, Janeway agrees to become the ultimate hostage for Fear. And, he agrees to this.

    This is where my second gripe comes into place. Janeway enters the environment but isn't connected to it. She appears in front of Fear as a hologram where Janeway "confronts" fear. Essentially, she indicates she has learned to deal with Fear and therefore conquer it. However, she has not done this. She's only "cheated" Fear. Frankly, I'm okay with that concept. Sometimes confronting by cheating works well. See Kirk in Wrath of Khan. Ultimately, it means I like the concept of this episode but disagree with its execution. Potentially, this could have been one of the standout examples of Sci-Fi storytelling. Instead, it's only mediocre.moreless

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  • 8.0

    It's been done before, but pretty good for for what it is.

    By AsGard-Kvasir, Jul 15, 2008

    I feel like every sci-fi show has done the "trapped in a virtual environment" storyline. Star Trek has been very liberal with it; there's always a couple of holodeck malfunction episodes strewn through each series (except Enterprise, I believe). It's nothing new, but at the very least it's interesting here. The clown and his crew are pretty creepy. But seriously, when deciding who to put into the pods, would you really pick the chief engineer ? Not enough B'ellana episodes this season ? The end was also a bit abrupt, but overall I thought this was a pretty decent one.moreless

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  • 8.4

    Doctor to the rescue in this quirky episode

    By nx_nzed, Apr 24, 2007

    When I first watched this episode years ago I probably rolled my eyes when I saw clowns dancing around on screen. But watching the episode a second time on DVD after seeing the entire series there's a lot to appreciate. For starters the fact that fear is manifested as clowns is ironic & true @ the same time. I for one would hate to spend 10 mins with the clown let alone my entire lift. But the main reason why I like this episode is because of the contrast between the dry wit of the Doctor (before they ruined him by turning him into a permanent comedy character) & the eccentrics of the clown. Also the sound track is good.moreless

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