Star Trek: Voyager



Air date: 5/8/1995
Teleplay by Kenneth Biller
Story by Jonathan Glassner and Kenneth Biller
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"That's the way you respond to every situation, isn't it? If it doesn't work, hit it. If it's in your way, knock it down. No wonder I got kicked out of the academy." — Human B'Elanna to Klingon B'Elanna

While surveying a planet with Lieutenants Paris and Durst, B'Elanna Torres is kidnapped by the Vidiians, who attempt to extract her Klingon DNA to fight their deadly epidemic, the phage. They reform her into two separate Klingon and human individuals. They lock Klingon-Torres in a lab for further study, and send human-Torres down into their tunnels with Paris and Durst to work as slave labor. In order to escape their captors, the two B'Elannas must find each other and work together while overcoming their conflicting dispositions.

"Faces" is an interesting, original story that doesn't seem remade from Next Generation stock like many of this season's installments. Taking "inner conflict" and putting it in the most literal sense imaginable (by way of the latest in sci-fi plots), this episode proves to be Voyager's first truly compelling concept, going down as the series' best so far. The series seems to be at its best when dealing with inner conflict and personal issues, as also seen in "Prime Factors" and "State of Flux."

Splitting Torres into two halves reveals two unbalanced extremes of her personality. Neither receives much of what the other has. Torres' Klingon half gets all her strength and courage, but an uncontrolled temper and no patience. On the other hand, her human half gets the patience and a cool head, but depleted strength and an inability to overcome intense lapses of fear.

The situation is thoughtfully utilized for some emotional moments, as Torres' dilemma is one of the most personal character aspects Voyager has yet examined. The core of "Faces" lies in B'Elanna's self-identity problem. Backstory (and some good stuff, at that) reveals that B'Elanna has spent much of her life trying to suppress her Klingon half. An interesting point is how the teleplay seems to side with B'Elanna's human side, as most of the personal dialog comes from her, rather than the Klingon. However, part of what human B'Elanna begins to realize as the show progresses is how much she needs her Klingon side to survive. The scene where human-B'Elanna reveals all of this to Paris is very absorbing (until Paris' extremely stupid line, "I guess you finally got your wish," upon which B'Elanna should have promptly strangled him).

The exchanges between chained-down Klingon-B'Elanna and her Vidiian captor Sulan (Brian Markinson) often proves interesting. Sulan tells B'Elanna she will be a hero in Vidiian history for her role in eradicating the phage. Klingons, however, do not appreciate being chained up, she tells him. "Klingons find honor as warriors on the battle field, not as guinea pigs in a laboratory." Sulan is impressed by B'Elanna, and would be even more impressed if she could eliminate the phage.

The show also successfully further develops the Vidiians' role in Delta Quadrant lore. Despite their motives, they come across as quite malevolent here, and are effectively utilized as villains for the episode's action/adventure quotient. There's one somewhat shocking scene where Sulan visits B'Elanna sporting the recently-grafted face of Lt. Durst, who was killed for his organs—grotesquely fascinating. At the same time, it's hard to simply condemn the Vidiians, because they're trying to preserve themselves. But after Janeway's warning of "deadly retaliation" in "Phage," I don't expect a future encounter with the Vidiians to be particularly diplomatic.

Attempting to escape, human-B'Elanna is caught by the Vidiians, but Klingon-B'Elanna, escaped herself, saves her from likely execution. And after some verbal exchanges that offers even more insight into Torres' past, the two finally begin to come to terms with each other and agree to look for a way to disable the cave shield preventing their beam-out.

The episode culminates in the medical lab, in another well-executed action/suspense scene where the two B'Elannas mess with the computers until they are able to disable the shield, but not before they set off an alarm in the process. Chakotay suddenly shows up, disguised as a Vidiian, to aid in the escape, then Sulan comes along and threatens to shoot everybody if Klingon-B'Elanna does not surrender herself for further study. A twist of events has Sulan in screaming anguish when he accidentally phasers his possible phage cure, Klingon-B'Elanna, who throws herself into the path of a phaser blast seconds before Voyager beams up the away team.

The Doctor is able to use the Klingon DNA to restore B'Elanna to her usual self, but the experience of being divided leaves B'Elanna shaken and confused, yet in realization that she will be fighting with her inner self for possibly the rest of her life. Even Chakotay has no words of wisdom to offer her—a rather resonating closing.

Biggs-Dawson plays the part of a Klingon as well as anyone I've seen on Star Trek (I almost wish the character would have stayed on the show), so much that it's almost hard to believe that the two B'Elannas are played by the same actress. Biggs-Dawson shows the perfect screen presence to bring this character to life, both mentally and physically, not a small feat by any means. It's too bad that, as chief engineer, she is so often limited to reciting technobabble. "Faces" gives her a fresh and exciting adventure with plenty of character-driven scenes.

Previous episode: Cathexis
Next episode: Jetrel

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44 comments on this review

Bill T
Thu, Jan 8, 2009, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
It just occured to me how selfish the motivations in this episode actually are. B'ElAnna successfully resisted the phage. Had she remained as a lab rat, she would have probably helped them cure it, and been honored as their greatest hero. How many lives would that have saved, not only Vidiian (which you may term criminals) but also all of the Vidiians' victims from other races? Millions? Durst was killed anyway, B'Elanna would have survived, Tom may or may not have been spared. So basically it was all cause Tom & B'Elanna just HAD to escape that the phage couldn't be cured, at least until sometime before Think Tank.

Hmm, I wonder what price the Vidiians paid the Think Tank to cure the phage?
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 12:06am (UTC -5)
More importantly, how did the Vidiians contact the Think Tank?'s over 40,000 light years away from their space.
Amy Zan
Fri, Sep 10, 2010, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Actually, while it was well done, this episode was a retread of an original Star Trek in which Kirk was separated into Good Kirk and Evil Kirk by a transporter/ion storm accident. Evil Kirk is violent, selfish and criminally insane, but Good Kirk is a wishy washy weakling who can't actually do anything.
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
" much that it's almost hard to believe that the two B'Elannas are played by the same actress."

Roxanne actually touches on that in the DVD...she said her mother complimented her on her acting as the human B'Elanna but her mother told her that the actress that played the Klingon she was really something!

I suppose if you can fool your own mother, that's some acting chops there...
Sun, Mar 6, 2011, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
@Bill - I believe this is covered in another Voyager episode called 'Nothing Human'. Justifying the torture of a human by saying it might save the lives of lives is evil. There are other ways. Would you let yourself be injected with AIDS if someone said it might provide valuable research into the cure for AIDS? If you volunteered, sure. But Be'lanna didn't, and had the right to respond to that threat with deadly force.

@Amy - Pish posh. While this episode certainly echoes the TOS episode, it's hardly a retread.
Sat, Apr 9, 2011, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
@Amy yeah, I kind of thought the same thing. My name's Amy too, btw! So, great names think alike I guess.

Anyway, I still really liked this episode. Roxanne Dawson did a great job, and I saw a little foreshadowing of Tom and Be'lanna's eventual relationship there. I could make some minor compaints about the ridiculousness of being able to split someone in half while retaining their memories like that. But, I think the good parts of this episode outweighed the silly parts enough for me to let that go.

The vidiian wearing Durst's face was totally disturbing. I'm kind of surprised they showed something like that on a prime time, generally family friendly, sort of show. Kudos to them for getting away with that! It was certainly memorable.

Three and a half stars from me too!
Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
The major flaw of the episode is that, just as occurs in "Pathways", our supposed heroes escape without bothering to free anyone else. There was no valid reason for leaving that Talaxian or the other prisoners behind.

It's bad enough that they let the Durst face-stealer live, but in the same moment they condemned the innocent to death. So once you get past the "Enemy Within" character study aspects of the episode, you're left with a plot which entails a truly backwards morality play.
Sat, Aug 13, 2011, 8:19am (UTC -5)
Yes I was wondering how they were going to free the dozens if not hundreds of other organ donors/slaves and where they'd put them on a ship as dinky as Voyager too but then they just peaced out of there and left them all to die. Could've been a nice new dynamic if they were hauling around a bunch of refugees on an already crowded ship but I guess there just wasn't enough screentime (or it's more of Janeway's prime directive extremism hehe).

Also Klingon B'Ellana's
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
It's true, they really should have rescued those people. They could have just said at the beginning of the next episode in a captain's log..."we just finished dropping off the prisoners we rescued at a nearby Talaxian colony". Or they could have just ignored them. After Equinox, VOyager took aboard several crew members, and then they were ignored afterwards. In TNG's First Contact (the episode, not the film), they took Minister Yale aboard, and then she was iognored thereafter (she presumably would have suffered the events of Night Terrors two episodes later, but we don't see). Ignored crewmen is less sinful then leaving prisoners to rot.
Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
While the interacts between the two Torres proved interesting, this episode only gets, at most, two stars from me.

I'm sorry, but it's like, no one even cared that the Vidiians had killed off one of the crewmen. Not only that, but these people are systematically rounding up people from around the galaxy and harvesting their organs.

I don't care for the whole "they're trying to protect themselves" argument. You don't kill other people to protect yourself. What makes them any more special than others. And what exactly happened to Janeway's promise that she'd destroy them if they messed with her crew again?

If it was Sisko, he would sent a few well-aimed photon torpedoes their way. God, I wish it was Sisko.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
For whatever reason I never liked how Dawson portrayed her human self. I realize she's conflicted and understandably out of sorts, but she's just so timid I want her Klingon self to give her a good smack upside the head. It's not as if all her confidence and strength has to come from her Klingon side.
Sat, May 25, 2013, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
I could barely watch this, the halting speech of Klingon Torres is unbearable. "Each..... sentence.... takes... over.. a.................. c...o . m..p....le....t...e."

Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Sintek's comment. I hated the Klingon Torres. The episode had some interesting ideas, but I didn't like the execution.

A couple of people mentioned the Think Tank and the distance issue. I never thought of that as a problem. they had technology that was more advanced than the federation. maybe they had some propulsion faster than regular warp or had mapped anomalies to make their travel faster.
Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
I believe that Roxanne's acting is actually rather phenomenal given the most likely psychological ramifications of having what used to be one person split along any dimension.

To have lived through so much as a single being and to be split must be a lot to have to deal with psychologically - a lot like running into gaps in your own behavior and thought processes. I believe that these were well played by the beautiful actress in both cases, as if she was dealing with thinking or taking action around things which she'd previously (rightly) assumed to be a part of her and which she no longer has access to.
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Well Jammer, you got your character episode. 5 stars for Roxann for this show!

But take the B'Elannas out of the picture and the rest of the story is pretty mediocre.

I'm tired of Starfleet people figuring out alien computers in a few minutes - I can't even figure out the Bluetooth in a rental car before I run out of gasoline.

As others have noticed, the rest of the prisoners get ignored during the rescue.

But worst of all, our Bad Captain's own integrity is compromised - that most emotional of speeches in "Phage" promised "deadliest" force... where was that? We're led to love/hate the Vidiians yet no action is taken against them in this second encounter. Janeway is not the type to be full of empty threats, nor leave other prisoners behind. That was very disappointing.

This is probably the best B'Elanna episode, but the bad guys win this battle.
Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Agree that if B'Elanna Klingon had hung around it would have been an interesting addition to the team.

I think the pauses between her words were simply her struggling with her rage and her anger at being tampered with.

I especially enjoyed the Neelix Tuvok soup scene at the beginning. I think other than Spock and Sarek, Tuvok is definitely the best Vulcan we've seen.
Fri, Oct 4, 2013, 4:42am (UTC -5)
Just finished watching this.

This is one of my very favourite Voyager episodes; and probably Trek episodes in general.

I've always loved the Klingons; their women, even moreso. I spent nearly three years playing an Orc Hunter in World of Warcraft, as well; the Draenish Orcs are very similar, as a race.

The two women who've broken my heart so far in life have both been Hispanic, as well, so Roxanne Dawson's character holds a fair amount of significance for me. Nothing creepy, but there was a definite crush while the series was airing. My degree of emotional connection with both Torres and Chakotay, is by itself probably the reason why Voyager has become my favourite of the Trek series. I do, however, agree with everyone who wishes the writing could have been better, most of the time. It was criminal how much they neglected Robert Beltran in the end; he was a walk on, most of the time.

If I have any complaints at all where "Faces," is concerned, it's that the setup takes far too long, and the few minutes we get with both halves of B'Elanna, don't seem like anywhere near enough.

The one thing which I did think was very good about their dialogue, though, was the fact that the Klingon half repeatedly asked for acknowledgement, and for B'Elanna to admit that she needed her. That makes a lot of sense, because I've always felt that the main source of Torres' inner conflict was the fact that her Human half, always saw the Klingon half as a curse, and was never willing to recognise it positively, for what it gave her.

Watching this again, also makes me wonder where Voyager could have gone, if instead of getting Jeri Ryan as the show's resident fanservice, we'd had B'Elanna's Klingon half, as well as her human as part of the crew, as others have suggested.

For those who have complained about her Klingon half's slow speech and enunciation, while she might have exaggerated it slightly, I thought it was pretty much spot on. If you watch just about any other episodes with Klingon characters, you will notice that that *is* how they talk. They pronounce every word very carefully and deliberately. I also didn't notice a lisp as such, although her s and t sounds possibly weren't always completely clear. It looks like they gave her some bigger prosthetic teeth for the full Klingon role, which makes sense.

My rating is more than four stars, in the final analysis; but I guess I'm biased. ;)
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 11:50am (UTC -5)
It's difficult to have much sympathy for the Vidiians. It's a shame that they have this disease, and they should get help to cure it, but they aren't entitled to anyone else's bodies. If they must die out, so be it.

The problem I had with this episode is that they are in a death camp and they don't rescue anyone but themselves. This is not a matter internal to the Vidiians. They should have rescued them, it would have been easy to drop them off at the nearest inhabited world, their home planets could have arranged transportation from there.

By just walking away when they could have rescued so many would have made Voyager an enemy of dozens of planets. Imagine if Americans (or Canadians, British or whoever) were held in a death camp and someone came in and only rescued their own countrymen, when they could easily have rescued them all. The outrage would be tremendous. It would be similar in this situation, if word got out that Voyager had simply left their people behind.

This episode did have good points, but leaving these people behind was outrageous, and puts a taint over the episode.
Fri, Nov 15, 2013, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
The Fun with DNA [TM] plot is as proposterous as "Genesis" or "Threshold", but thankfully the plot serves the character rather than the other way around.

Still, as much as I appreciated the psychological aspects of this story, I wish they had thought of a more plausible way to have B'Elanna face her inner demons.
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 2:23am (UTC -5)
I agree with everyone who said they should have rescued the other prisoners. The fact that they left the Talaxian there, after he helped B'Elanna and gave her his own water in the mine, left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe they wouldn't have had time to rescue everyone, depending how many prisoners there were. (They can't transport that many people at once, and presumably the Vidiians would have ships on the way) but they could have at least locked on to the Talaxian. I felt bad for him standing there as the others walked away. I wonder what Neelix thought when/if he found out about it?

Overall though, I did like this episode. Interesting story and good drama.
Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 8:22am (UTC -5)
I just rewatched the episode. This episode would have been improved by the addition of two lines: "Scan for non-Vidiian life signs and beam them out" and the final line of the episode should have been Janeway saying "Execute General Order 24."

It seems that the idea of rescuing the prisoners didn't occur to the writers. Why is it that none of the alien races seem very concerned about the Vidiians? They ought be be united in waging war against them.

I strongly disagree that the Klingon Torres was being selfish by not being a guinea pig. She's free to volunteer, but that is above and beyond the call of duty.

This episode should have come later in the series. It's too soon for Torres to come to terms with her Klingon half, and indeed, by the end of the episode she doesn't. The similar TOS episode "The Enemy Within" had Kirk recognize the importance of both sides of his nature. If Torres had come to terms with both aspects of her personality, then we wouldn't have seen the inner conflict in her throughout the series. This episode might have fit better in perhaps the 6th or 7th seasons. Of course, if they did this, they couldn't have used the Vidiians, but here the Vidiians are really a Magguffin, they are just the means to have two halves of Torres interact with each other.

Durst seemed strangely prominent in the previous episode. Having a character get that much screen time out of the blue in that episode made me wonder if he was the alien presence. It had been so long since I watched the episode that I had forgotten all about Durst. After rewatching Faces, it's clear he was given so much time in order to have a "known" character killed off.

Sulan was foolish to think that a stolen face - especially one stolen from one of her crewmates - would make him more acceptable to Torres. If he wanted her cooperation, it would have been vital to keep them alive and unharmed. But perhaps the atrocities the Vidiians commit (that's the only way to put it) has so debased them that they can't think of their victims as people who have feelings. If you could put yourself in someone else's perspective, you would understand that to murder someone's crewmate and wear his face wouldn't make you more appealing, instead it would create utmost horror - Durst's face on Sulan's body is vastly more horrifying than Sulan's own hideous face. Sulan's face is monstrously ugly, but with Durst's face, it's true horror.

But if Sulan really can't see things from Torres' perspective, all he knows is that she likes human faces, so perhaps he would like her if he had a human face. It would make sense that the Vidiians "dehumanize" their victims. When you see someone as less than human (I know, they are aliens, so perhaps it should be "depersonize") it's much easier to commit atrocities.
Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
I just recalled that there was story back in the 1970's, a fan fiction entitled "Ni Var" where Spock is split into a Vulcan and a Human by means of the transporter. It was published in the book Star Trek: The New Voyages.
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Although a bit too scientificaly absurd for my taste, the premise was at the same time really interesting. It had potential for a lot of good character building and moral debate - which was partialy done. The psicological metaphor is a joy. Also, Roxann Dawson delivered a Strong acting here.

I only found this carrying-rocks labor-camp a little too much. The main plot of getting people's organs was evil enough. The slavery seemed just pushing too hard the vilan-ish stuff, too unidimensional. And sure, leaving the prisioners there without help was ridiculous. Federation and Starfleet principles? Who cares!

However, overall this episode has really good Trek material. Btw, K'Elvis brought a very good catch! Many thanks for that. Lastly, it could have been really nice if they have kept both versions of Torres in the show.
Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
The Vidians grossed me out so much that I couldn't watch this ep late at night--had to shut it down and finish watching it in the daylight. They were horror-movie hideous, especially when wearing Durst's face. Yuck-a-rama. It was wrong that the crew didn't rescue the other prisoners, and that nobody had a word to say about Durst's death. Durst was brave and competent, and while they didn't have to show a whole Starfleet funeral ceremony, there should have been a memorial comment or two. I thought Roxann Dawson did a good acting job, and that the idea of what happened to her was fresh and interesting….but that first scene, with Neelix, Tuvok, and the too-spicy plomeek broth, was just irritating because of Neelix. Every time I see him it is like nails on a chalkboard. He is more grating than Lwaxana Troi, and that is saying a lot.
Andrew T
Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
When Neelix's lungs were stolen Janeway said if these organ stealing aliens attacked the crew again, it would be met with the deadliest of force. Here they attack the crew again, killing a redshirt, and what does she do? Nothing. At this point I wouldn't really want to be serving on the voyager crew.
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Well-done episode overall with an interesting analysis on the duality of Torres. A few things come to mind that hold it back for me. One of them being the lack of any attempt to set the other prisoners free. At least a mention of an attempt in the closing scenes would have gone a long way. The other is the first scene with Klingon Torres. I understand she's just waking up while being inundated with aggressive feelings, but her speech pattern was appalling. It just didn't seem to fit right. Thankfully, though, it is not an issue in the rest of the episode.

Otherwise I really liked what they were going for and did a pretty good job of it. More scenes between Human and Klingon Torres would have benefited it greatly, though. What seemed like what should have been the crux of the episode turned out to be almost an afterthought. There's still some good stuff here.

3 stars.
Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 2:03pm (UTC -5)

"Durst seemed strangely prominent in the previous episode. Having a character get that much screen time out of the blue in that episode made me wonder if he was the alien presence. It had been so long since I watched the episode that I had forgotten all about Durst. After rewatching Faces, it's clear he was given so much time in order to have a "known" character killed off."

I think that's exactly what happened -- they couldn't kill off a regular (although I would have gladly volunteered Neelix) and they couldn't kill off someone we'd never seen before and had anybody care, so Durst (played by the same actor who played the annoying Vorin in TNG "Homeward") was given a prominent role in the previous episode. And you know that Sulan, even before the face transplant, was played by the Durst actor, right?
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
Vylora: "A few things come to mind that hold it back for me. One of the first scene with Klingon Torres. I understand she's just waking up while being inundated with aggressive feelings, but her speech pattern was appalling."

She's also suffering the onset of an agonizingly painful disease! Her later speech correspondingly retains the aggression, loses the agony. Works for me.

Here's what doesn't work: the Vidiians are only interested in the Klingon side of her for the experiment, right? Why do they bother reconstituting the human? Only for an additional laborer and eventual organ donor? If that's so easy--to produce two whole people/bodies out of the data of one--how come they can't produce an ongoing supply of slave/donor-people by similar means? Or just organs?
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Outstanding episode!!

Roxann really showed her acting chops in this one. Bravo! Yes, the her Klingon side speech was a bit drawn out, but that's part of the deal. In no way did we want to see or hear the same actress.

... and this is NO retread of 'The Enemy Within'. Not by a longshot.

My only reason for not giving this 4 stars is they don't rescue the other prisoners. (or we don't see it)

Interesting in the end, she needs the Klingon DNA to survive.

Just manipulating DNA seems to be commonplace in the future. Another aspect of trek preceding reality?

As for all that think the Vidians should just die off, what's that they say about walking in a mans shoes?

3.5 stars for me.
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
This episode showed that Roxanne should have been a full klingon in every episode.
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I remembered when this originally aired. Looking back at it now it is interesting to see the dichotomy B'elanna lived/struggled with all her life. All this in the 1st season.

I noted that the show began to put humans at the apex of life in the universe as the seasons wore on. The writers always displayed B'elanna's Klingon half as a detriment to her happiness and future prospects. I never agreed with that as Next Gen had worked hard to show Klingons to be and honorable warrior race. They were barely alluded to in Voyager as little more than otherworldly Neanderthals. One wonders how they were able to develop a wheel, let alone starships that could move faster than the speed of light. And long before humanity. Science was hardly considered an honorable pursuit in Klingon lore. Think Next Gen's episode "Suspicions".

So this episode remains a pleasant surprise even after all these years. Why? Because once her Klingon DNA was separated from her human half the doubts and inner struggles ended. At least regarding her appearance and identity. And you'll note her Klingon half rather quickly embraced who she was. Self assured and ready to do battle. I will admit there was a certain sexy charm to seeing that half that Roxann bought to the role. It actually gave Klingons as a whole a positive spin.

Her human half I would say eventually came into her own. But like a human she had to take those baby steps and from there learn to walk before she could run. Notice toward the end she became fully capable to do what needed to be done but without the in-your-face aggression of her Klingon counterpart. She found her courage without her other half supplying it. So basic and yet so compelling. I guess there is a reason The Wizard Of Oz endures to this day.

On another note I will say that although I found her human half to be more attractive, her Klingon half had a certain primal energy and a sultry prescence that...well...if I were that Vidiian I would have taken her up on that offer to study her in "action" as she so eloquently put it. I'm sure another day or two delaying research would not have eliminated the Vidiians due to that nasty phage : )
Diamond Dave
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Really interesting concept dealt with in a somewhat flawed way. The Torres x2 compare and contrast - with an excellent performance - is a highlight here, even if TOS tackled a similar theme. The Vidiians are suitably grisly, and the shock Durst face moment is as close to horror as a Trek episode is going to get.

But my word this is slow - I thought it must be getting near the end to find 15 mins to go. It just seems that for whole chunks of the episode not very much happens at all. It's that lack of pace that really holds this back for me. Shame. 2 stars.
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
I bet Durst is glad that Janeway sent those other two Viidians away with a good telling off... I'd like to see her explain that to his family. Seeing Sulan with Dursts face was awesome though.

I agree that Voyager should have tried to free the other prisoners. Ok, maybe not the Talaxian... In fact I'd have beamed down the one they had too...

One that really sticks out for me though is what Sulan was doing. He split Torres into two fully alive people so the big elephant in room is... If the Viidians can do that... Why the hell do they have an organ shortage and have to steal them? They should be able to keep just one prisoner, or even a Viidian who hasn't got the Phage yet, and keep copying them over and over so they have an inexhaustable supply of organs!

Apart from that, best episode of Voyager so far.
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
@BillT Selfish, maybe, but not so unreasonable for a Klingon in captivity.

Anyways, I mostly liked this episode for its creepy factor. The Viidians are pretty disturbing to me, and the episode sort of reminded me of that episode of Farscape where everybody got twinned and many watched themselves die, which for some reason greatly affected me.

I liked this one a lot. Even if some of the premise was a bit weird, I found it to be thought provoking and disturbing, two things I like. The Viidians are unusual for Trek, they're uniquely eerie. The doctor coming in wearing Dursts face in a misguided attempt to make nice sent more chills down my spine than any other episode of Trek I can think of.
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
But also yeah I totally agree with @Gin's comment above regarding the handling of Klingons and the human-centricness of this all. Nobody seemed to really get them quite right after TNG. DS9 also struggled with this in every season except maybe the last (to some extent).
Wed, May 25, 2016, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
@JC, good point about Farscape! Hey, there's another series Jammer should review... That and Stargate! That would be awesome.

I have a better appreciation for this episode having read the above. But I actually wasn't that thrilled with Dawson's Klingon impression. It seemed way over the top. The reason that Klingons speak the way they do is (notionally) because they are actually speaking English, not being dubbed by a universal translator. This notion comes from The Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand, creator of the Klingon language for STIII and later, whose hilarious sense of humor in retroactively reverse-engineering explanations for on-screen Klingon speech tells us that well educated Klingons will speak in English amongst one another to separate themselves from the lower classes who are unable (comparable to French as the official language of the court of Catherine the Great of Russia, for example).

Klingon or human, B'Elanna grew up speaking English natively. As did Worf's mate K'Ehleyr (another half-Klingon-human hybrid), and even more so Alexander son of Worf. Worf has a bit of an accent since he was between 5 or 10 years old when he started learning English, enough time to affect his speech slightly (assuming Klingons mature faster, which they do).

So why would B'Elanna the Klingon have such a pronounced Klingon accent? To me it looked like Roxann Dawson watched a couple TNG Klingon episodes and immitated that, and also that she was having a problem speaking around the false teeth. I'm a linguist, so this sort of stuff stands out ot me, and really took me out of the episode.

But what *did* impress me was Dawson's take of the fully human B'Elanna. Her voice was the same, but quieter, meaker, gentler. Normal B'Elanna has soft moments like that throughout the series. It was a really nice touch. B'Elanna the Klingon should have just sounded like the normal B'Elanna was she was furious and fighting, which happened often. That would have seemed natural, less forced.
George Monet
Tue, Aug 2, 2016, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Another episode which shows the Vidiians to be the most incompetent species in the galaxy. If they are able to make two copies of B'elanna, one that is fully Klingon and one that is fully human despite the fact that B'elanna is only half of each and the Vidiians clearly don't have genetic samples from either full Klingons or full humans, then how haven't they cured the Phage already? Why do the Vidiians even need B'elanna? They could just make a clone of B'elanna, they don't need the real person once they have a copy of the genes. But if the Vidiians have such an understanding and mastery of manipulating genes as they display in this episode, then it is completely impossible that they haven't cured the Phage.

The Vidiians have no reason to run around the galaxy stealing organs when they can make clones (something that humans were able to do several centuries ago despite having inferior medical technology compared to the Vidiians). And if the Vidiians really were running around the galaxy stealing organs, then they were doing so simply for kicks, and why haven't the other species banded together to kick Vidiians asses to keep them from stealing any more organs?

The Vidiians don't work on any level because with this kind of medical technology they could easily cure the Phage and easily make clones to produce new replacement organs.
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
This one was good. Sort of a variation of William Riker and Thomas. Though the means of the split differed, we ended up with two of the same persons with different personality traits. A nice way to address what you like and don't like about yourself. (***)
Trek fan
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 11:57am (UTC -5)
An original story idea? Hardly. This Voyager episode "Faces" isn't remade from TNG, but it's remade from TOS, being a pretty direct lift from "The Enemy Within" where the transporter splits Kirk into two persons representing his aggressive/courageous half and his fearful/compassionate half. But the moral debate in the TOS episode about what makes a person whole sparkles in comparison to "Faces," which alludes to the question without ever engaging in a full conversation about what makes Torres whole. Sorry, but 2/4 stars is the most I will give this Voyager episode, and that's generous considering the pedestrian execution. On the positive side, though, it did make me appreciate and want to watch a true TOS classic again. Compared to the Voyager version, the TOS version now shines in my memory.
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
It's hard to beat "IIIIIIIIIII'MMMMMMMM CAPTAIN KIRK!!!!!!!!", I have to admit. :)
Thu, Oct 27, 2016, 11:58am (UTC -5)
The "Enemy within" comparison does fit beyond the superficial comparisons.

2 people? Yes.

But Kirk was only part of himself, Torres was torn apart by race. Kirk found out he needed his other half, while B'Elanna realized a part of her she never wanted could be beneficial to her if embraced.

We need to be thorough NCC-1701-Z :-)

"KIRK: I'm Captain Kirk. I'm Captain Kirk! I'm Captain Kirk! I'm Captain Kirk! (goes to mirror, covers scratches with makeup, opens door) Wilson!"
Ferdinand Cesarano
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
The performance of Roxann Dawson in this episode was nothing short of remarkable.

Each of the two halves of B'Elanna was a distinct character; and each of those characters had her own personality. Yet each was recognisable as something that we see in B'Elanna normally. 

Not only did Dawson affect different (yet recognisably B'Elanna-ish) speech patterns for the two halves of B'Elanna, but her gait and her body language were different for each character. 

On the question of body language, particularly interesting were her hands. B'Elanna's normal hand gestures are authoritative.  But the hand gestures of human-only B'Elanna were noticeably dainty.  I marvelled at the subtlety.  That kind of control of her body was a breathtaking display of an actor's talent.
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Hey... Fun with DNA time?

Well, I don't mind it this time. At least it's not the preposterous de-evolve, mutant, or random genetic change. The Vidiians also have the credibility to do something like that, as they're the most advanced species on medical knowledge we known so far.

Dawson put a great performance. The only minor annoyance for me is why B'ellana-Klingon have to talk that slow? I'm guessing is to put emphasise between the two B'ellana. It certainly made the klingon-side looks a little more dimwit and slow on the uptake, all brawn approach, but a bit too much I think. The timid person of human-side to show the more brain approach is a little more subtle.

It's interesting to note that at the end, B'ellana still can't fully accept the klingon-side of her by saying : "I just have to accept the fact that I'll spend the rest of my life fighting with her". Foreshadowing that this inner-conflict will be a recurring theme of her character development I suppose.

We know Durst is a 'redshirt', so is the dozens crew of original Voyager (Lt.Cmdr Cavit, Lt. Stadi, whole group of medical-crew, etc). But can't they pay respect to the newest loss one of their crew? How is affect to rest of the crew morale? At least give some acknowledgement that the man is exist, and not just be forgotten once his scene time expired (as if he never there).

The Talaxian being forgotten also very annoyed me. Why the show invest considerable scene time with him. Influence, interact, and help main character (Paris, Torres) if he just going to be left and forgotten at the end? The plot can advance just well without him. The actor does a very good job. In 5 mins scene time, he even have more dimensional character than Neelix in all season one so far, all to be scrapped and forgotten.
It seems as if he's never exist after done with his scene time. I wonder what Neelix said if he knew the crew conviniently forgot his fellow race after the Talaxian prisoner help them.

Some conclusion at what happen to the Talax and other prisoner would be nice. If they don't want the Talax and other prisoners to be saved on Voyager, it can easily integrated to script. Lets say give Paris or Chakotay said "We don't have time or resource to help all the prisoners. You know way around here, would you join and try to escape with us?", then kill him in ensuing struggle if they wish, or just mention in the log they drop him in their next colony stop they come across.
Heck.. Just give us some insight of whatever uptake of Voyager crew on this dilemma and affect them, not just forget as they ever exist.

Last. Luckily the prisoner guards is infected with Voyager crew incompetent virus. They can't find a single escapee, they put a console in prisoner barracks for everyone to access, their languange is so easy to translate and decipher (are the universal translator also translate written languange in console?) that a human can easily break it within minutes, they don't put enough guards on high-security lab, etc.

Great character episodes, but lack believable plot and avoid to address some problem on the stories.

3 (***) stars
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
This episode didn't work for me apart from the scenes with the two B'Elanna's.

- The seduction of the doctor by the Klingon B'Elanna when she is on the medical bed, and the doctor falling for it.. Come on!

- The Klingon B'Elanna's not good.

- She just magically frees her hands from the iron-look restraints just on sheer power...mmmm..

- The scene in Voyager with the synchronized talk between Janeway and 3 senior officers, so artificial. One lays out the problematic, another follows with the consequences, another proposes a solution, another gives the 'go,' all perfectly timed, talking half a second after each other with equal talk time for everyone in the scene. It sounded like a rehearsal, as if the actors were reading from their notes.

I enjoyed reading Jammer's review as usual, but he overrated this episode imo.

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