*** (3 stars out of 5)
You just don't get many good Chakotay episodes. And I think very poorly of the Kazon stories overall. This might be one of the best of both.
While mourning for his father in solitude, Chakotay is attacked by an angry young Kazon called Kar, attempting to earn his name.
The commander easily wins the dogfight but makes every effort not to kill his assassin. This changes nothing- Kazon only respect killers.
Chakotay cherishes the hard work that earned him his Starfleet uniform. Kazons fought hard to be free of uniforms: stealing everything they have from the Trabe in a revolt 26 years ago. Previously whitey... I mean, the Trabe had all the ships and guns.
Initiations" showcases heroic, admirable Chakotay, though behind the scenes his creators were pulling him in different directions: trying to make him more Indian, more Maquis, more Starfleet... whatever their agendas happened to be. They agreed on "pacifist with teeth", and it works well today.
Aron Eisenberg is a fine performer, but nothing the Kazons do strikes me as laudable. They were created as urban gangs, but they don't evoke any sympathy.
They're like an echo of the disgruntled inner city guy from seventies Green Lantern: "You done a lot for the blue people, and the green people, but why you never done nothin' for the orange people?"
These particular orange people are too powerful to pity! Voyager's been barrelling along at 4 billion miles per second for over seven months, and the Kazon-Ogla who could barely find water are STILL dogging them? That's a HUGE territory! Even the benevolent, co-operative, centuries-old Federation can be crossed (at one of its thin spots, granted) in two months. How did these ass-hats carve out this vast, stupid, self-destructive stomping ground in only 26 years?
I hate the Kazon. And they'll be here all year. Tip your waiter!