Star Trek: Voyager

"Parallax"

2.5 stars

Air date: 1/23/1995
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Story by Jim Trombetta
Directed by Kim Friedman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I'm not just a doctor. I've been designed with the information from 2,000 medical reference sources and the experience of 47 individual medical officers. I am the embodiment of modern medicine." — Doctor

On their way home from the Delta Quadrant at maximum warp, a journey that will take them some 75 years, the crew of the Voyager encounters its first adventure—becoming caught in a temporal singularity while trying to rescue a trapped ship. The trapped ship turns out to be a temporal reflection of the Voyager itself.

The technobabble-laden plot involving this singularity is something the Next Generation writers would probably only deliver if they were desperate for a story. Considering the Voyager is out in the middle of completely unknown territory with infinite possibilities of adventure and discovery, seeing a plot like this on the second episode is a letdown.

Fortunately, "Parallax" serves its purpose as the series' first one-hour episode by developing the characters in the genuine Trek style. Unlike the pilot, this one picks a few characters and works with them, rather than spreading it around so much. This makes an easier dramatic line to follow, as the story concentrates on just a couple of people, rather than trying to attack the whole ensemble.

The episode opens with an amusing teaser in which senior engineer Carey (Josh Clark) reports to sickbay with a broken nose after getting into a fight with hot-headed former Maquis B'Elanna Torres. This stresses what will hopefully be a conflict in the series for a while—the uneasy tension between the Starfleet officers and the Maquis. Tuvok wants to put Torres in the brig over the matter. Meanwhile, exaggerations of the incident lead some of the less conservative Maquis to come to Chakotay and tell him they will support him in a mutiny to take over the ship. (He refuses, of course, and tells them they will be in big trouble if they even think about it again.)

Janeway begins seeking replacements for the key officers lost in the pilot, including chief engineer and chief medical officer. After nominating Paris to train as a field doctor (since the holographic medic can't leave sickbay), Chakotay recommends Torres for chief engineer. The fight in engineering makes Janeway uncertain about Torres, but Chakotay tells Janeway to keep Torres in mind. The two are obviously separated on the matter, and when Chakotay goes over her head involving an engineering matter, Janeway calls him into the ready room. Here we get a relatively fiery scene between them regarding the Maquis' position and ranking on the ship. (The conversation ends with Chakotay forcefully saying "Permission to leave," without much of a question mark behind it.)

This is the setup for the somewhat cliched premise where Torres has to prove herself worthy to the captain. Fortunately, the writing is sincere, and scenes between Torres and the captain are on-target. In staff meeting, Torres solves the singularity's mystery in thirty seconds flat and partially wins Janeway over. Janeway, who could probably take on Geordi LaForge in a technobabble match, has some ideas on how to escape the singularity and realizes Torres has the experience to take on the serious technical situation. Janeway doesn't doubt Torres' ability to apply her engineering skills, but she needs to be sure Torres has the ability to give and take orders.

To escape the singularity, Torres and Janeway take a shuttlecraft out to open a crack in the field using technobabble procedures, etc., so the Voyager can fit through. When returning, the singularity's bizarre properties cause confusion when the temporal reflection of the Voyager reappears. The two can't tell which is the real ship. They must choose one to land on, as both ships show identical properties when scanned. With time to escape running out, they must make a decision. They both do—they choose different ships.

Neither the technobabble, nor even the big decision really matters here. What matters is seeing these two get to know one other and earn each other's respect. The interaction further defines each of these characters' personalities and attitudes, laying foundation for future episodes.

Of course, the Voyager just barely escapes the singularity. Janeway gives Torres the position of Chief Engineer—Torres has much to learn, but Janeway has the utmost confidence in her. As the Voyager resumes its journey back to the Alpha Quadrant, "Parallax" displays Voyager's promise to true Star Trek character interaction while establishing some backstory. Too bad the plot is so tired.

Previous episode: Caretaker
Next episode: Time and Again

◄ Season Index

74 comments on this review

Mal
Fri, Oct 16, 2009, 12:33pm (UTC -6)
It's sad that so early in the show, VOY made so many mistakes. Maybe the seeds of its eventual mediocrity were sown in its very conception.

Caretaker was far too rushed in setting the show up. Parallax only compounds that error by neatly tying up the few loose threads remaining, so that by the end of the episode B'ellana is Chief.

Here's how it should have gone down:

- At the end of Caretaker, the Maqui should have kept their uniforms. It should have been at least a season until (after some seriously tough missions together) everyone decides they are really on the same team.

- This episode should have been about Janeway and Tuvok deciding how to incorporate the Maqui, and realizing that if they were going to have any chance, Chakotay would have to be First Officer. Only then can you hope to bring the likes of B'ellana around.

Remember Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda? Remember how long it took Dylan Hunt to get Captain Valentine and her crew (of mercenaries) to actually believe in the mission? Hunt was out of his time - his "Federation" was nowhere to help him. Sound a little like the Delta Quadrant? Its sad that any Trek would have something to learn from DROM!

Is it any wonder that VOY turned out to be such a pedestrian show? As I said before, the seeds of its mediocrity were sown in its first couple episodes....
Jake
Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
"Remember Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda?"

I don't think anyone remembers it now.
Will
Mon, Jan 4, 2010, 8:44am (UTC -6)
@Mal, Mal, you and Jammer are exactly right. I remember getting the first season of VOY on DVD and being so excited because I'd read about it on the Internet, and it seemed so interesting. It had a hell of a premise.

Then I actually started looking at the blurbs on the back cover and my heart sank, because the blurb for the second episode read: "Voyager becomes trapped within a quantum singularity which will eventually crush the ship". Huh? That's the best you can give us as your second episode? What a waste. I didn't much enjoy the first season because of episodes like this, of which there were many.

No, I think the first season could've been so much better if they'd actually used any of the ample materials which were to be mined. But as it was, they just gave us a load of pedestrian plots centering around anomalies. How dull.
Carbetarian
Mon, Apr 4, 2011, 11:53pm (UTC -6)
I totally agree with everything Jammer, Mal and Will have already said. Oh, and I also agree with Jake. No one remembers Andromeda. I'm pretty sure most people weren't even aware of it when it was on. But, I digress.

This episode feels like something that could easily have been done by any other Star Trek series. That's disappointing for the second episode of a new show. But, if you want to go from feeling disappointed to indignant, take a peek at the background information on this episode on it's memory alpha page.

Branon Braga and the other writers all make comments on this plot by saying how it's "something we've never seen before" and "a new twist" on temporal whatever episodes. Everything they say is so self congratulatory, that it's like they are oblivious to the fact that we the audience have in fact seen Star Trek episodes like this a thousand times before. This is indeed where the seeds of mediocrity were planted.

The writers on Voyager had all put in so many years on Trek at this point, that I think they lost the ability to see things from any perspective but their own. Branon Braga in particular seemed to eventually get to a point where he felt his scripts were above criticism from Star Trek fans. The show really needed new blood and a staff that didn't feel they knew better than the audience. I mean, let's face it. There are some very obsessed Trekkies out there, and I would wager to bet that many of them DO know the show better than most of the writers. The writing staff needed to come out of their bubble and listen to outside opinions more often.

Over confidence and safety became the mainstays of voyager over the years and eventually the same lack of adventure continued on to the dull as dishwater Enterprise. I sincerely think a new writing staff would have helped with this, on both shows.

I think the case and point that proves that, is how much better Enterprise got when they brought in Manny Coto. I don't think he wrote a lot of truly stellar episodes. But, at least I wasn't bored to the verge of slipping into a coma during the stuff he helmed. That in and of itself was a vast improvement over the ambien like mess the show was before he came on.

Anyway, enough rambling, on to the positves here. Voyager premiered during a difficult time in my childhood. I had just moved and switched schools and I really didn't have any friends yet. So, needless to say, I watched a lot of television and looked for something to escape into. I remember really liking Voyager because I could empathize with the hopelessness of being a million miles away from home and having to start over with a volitale group of people in an unknown area. I still like Voyager, partly for nostalgia and partly because I genuinely like the crew. Ok, except for maybe Neelix. But, even he grew on me after awhile.

The likability and charisma of the actors on Voyager, for me, is what saved it from being Enterprise. Where I never really liked the crew of the NX-01 as a whole, I always liked the crew of Voyager. So, even if Voyager did episodes that were just as boring as the first two seasons of Enterprise, they were slightly redeemed by the fact that they crew had good chemistry and were easy to watch.

I enjoyed the subplot about Janeway and B'elanna in this episode. It was a nice bit of character development. However, the episode still manages sneak in some of Voyager's usual half assery with Senior Engineer Carey. I mean, B'elanna punched him in the face and by the end of the episode he's pledging his loyalty to her command without even a trace of sarcasm? That's either terrible acting or lazy writing, in my opinion.

Final conclusion: two and a half stars for this episode from me too.
Brian
Fri, Jul 15, 2011, 11:43am (UTC -6)
Just re-watched this on Netflix ... Garrett Wang's acting was particularly bad in this episode. Maybe it was just bad dialog, but still ... Ugh.
Shane
Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 12:24am (UTC -6)
Amazing how quickly Voyager abandoned its premise. This is only the second episode of the series and if it weren't for the plot thread of B'Elanna Torres and Joe Carey duking it out for chief engineer you could drop this episode at any almost point in the series and it would fit.

With TNG it's rather easy to differentiate a season 1 episode from a season 7 episode but in Voyager's case you could put "Parallax" right next to "Nightingale" in the schedule and not notice a difference in the characters. (Unless of course Janeway's hairstyle counts!)
inline79
Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
OK, I understand there was (is?) a syndication market to appeal to, but it's only Episode #2! Last week, at the end of the episode, our Bad Captain just stranded us 75 years from home. Everyone at home thinks we're dead. We're alone here with no Starbases... Is our ship going to last 75 yrs? Are we going to live that long? Should we have kids to take over the ship? etc etc... Yet everyone is acting like they're just out for a jaunt from Earth to Risa. If I were a crewmember, I'd be right mad.

Like many above, I enjoyed the Janeway/Torres development in this episode, but it could have done with a lot less running around black holes, and a lot more mutiny. Like really, a time travel/paradox episode for the second episode already? We barely know the crew or the ship.

I don't think this deserves 2.5 stars, because the technoplot is a write-off.
Caine
Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
Right now (October 2013) I'm watching the whole series for the first time - big fan of the other Trek shows.

I agree that the premise of this show was awesome, but that it was handled very poorly by the writers in the first handfull of episodes (all I've watched so far).

In this particular episode there were two things that really made me cringe - o much so that they pretty much ruined the episode for me.

1) When Chakotay is approached by his fellow Maqui about starting a mutiny. he snaps her right into place so fast that her head spins. Wow, what a dull decission by the writers! If only Chakotay had been in two minds a bout it ... but no, he's all Starfleet officer already, loyalty to captain and crew at 100 %, yes sir! Blah! Missed opportunity for gorgeous coflict!

2) When Janeway and Torres find a solution in perfect harmony - even saying the same word at the same time. I half expected them to start giggling and talk about which movie star is just to DIE for ... awkward, painful, ridiculous moment!

After the two first episodes I was certainly not impressed - luckily, in my eyes, the show picked up and had some good episodes later on in the first season.
William
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 11:05am (UTC -6)
This is a pretty great episode. It actually has the crew grabbling with problems of unity and acclimitization.
Vylora
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 10:20am (UTC -6)
Pretty solid early series character-building for a couple crew members set against a decent, if not tired, temporal anomaly scenario.

I understand the integration of the Maquis would be difficult, but I don't think nearly as difficult as some people wanted it to be (myself included). The more I think about it, the more I realize that a lot of the Maquis members would understand the benefit of working together to get everyone home. For the most part they were not "the bad guys", to put it simply, to begin with. More could have and should have been done to build upon this in future episodes than what we got, definitely. But not to any severe extent that would undermine what we've learned of the Maquis as people in past storylines.

All being said, this wasn't the greatest overall experience as the birth of a new Star Trek nor is it now going back to it. The sci-fi aspect was more formulaic than anything. The dialogue was less rough overall than in the premiere, though, a bit cloying at the very end. The pacing kept a nice sense of momentum throughout despite a couple scenes falling flat on its face. Most notably the OMG moment between Janeway/Torres in the briefing room. Not a disaster by far but I am spoiled by much better writing that Star Trek is very obviously capable of no matter whom is at the helm.

2.5 stars.
stallion
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 2:43pm (UTC -6)
It's pretty obvious with this episode Brannon Braga wanted to tell a story on how Voyager would handle a TNG problem. It probably would had been better if he picked something more in tune to Voyager lost in space premise. He did a good job with the character drama. Some will argue that they won't flesh out enough, but the characters really do come off likeable in this episode.

I feel like Jammer would like a lot of episodes of Voyager and Enterprise more (Night, Hunter, Parallax, Worst Case Scenairo, Void, Catwalk) if they dropped the spacial anomaly or hard headed forehead alien angle.
Skeptical
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Well, that was a bit of a letdown. One episode in, and we're already doing the spatial anomaly of the week routine. I mean, we're in unknown space here. New life and new civilizations. You have a completely blank slate here, and can start to draw pictures of an entirely new Trek. Instead, we get another singularity, something that could have happened at any time and any place in TNG. Sure, these stories can exist in Voyager, but having it happen so soon in the series run is a bit unfortunate.

So the spatial anomaly plot was ok, all things considered. I mean, it was basically routine blah blah blah caught danger technobabble solution drama victory. Same as we've seen dozens of time. Unfortunately, there were two major eye-rolling parts. 1) As soon as we saw a weird ship in the singularity, I immediately half thought it would be Voyager stuck in a stable time loop. Well, I was half right. How is it this can be some brilliant plot twist when it seems like the natural course of action for a Trek show? 2) Event horizons do not work that way! It's a mathematical line, not something tangible! Seriously, Trek should do one of two things: either make everything up as magic technobabble, or use real science. The worst part was when Kes started asking questions and Neelix started explaining everything, except, of course, everything he was saying was wrong.

As for the character pieces, it was also ok. Frankly, the Torres part was pretty routine, and seemed about as standard as you can get. There was nothing bad about it (other than Torres and Janeway squeeing like little schoolgirls over warp particles). What was more interesting, to me, was Chakotay. He had to thread the needle here between keeping the peace and standing up for his old crew. Frankly, he was right and Janeway was wrong. Janeway was actually separating the Maquis and treating them as less than equals, whether she realized it or not. Chakotay could have let it go, recognizing that this was a Starfleet ship. And he could have tamped down the expectations of his old crew, all things considered. After all, they are guests on someone else's ship. But he stood up to the captain, risking further tension now in order to defuse longer tensions later. And he did it in a public manner, which may not have been the best option overall, but implicitly showed Janeway how serious the manner was. A rather high stakes game for him, but he pulled it off well. And in the end, he won, getting Torres posted as chief engineer.

Given that I remembered Chakotay to be a lame character, this was nice to see. From what I understand, part of the problem of Chakotay's character was due to Beltran's animosity towards everyone involved with the show. So maybe that hasn't happened yet. In any case, it felt a lot more natural than the forced conflict and resolution of Torres' plot.
Andrew
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 12:25pm (UTC -6)
This episode doesn't depart from the TNG format as much as it could or maybe should have but I didn't think it was bad or disappointing; the anomaly plot felt familiar but not particularly tired and I liked how Janeway, Chakotay and Torres were shown as flawed and conflicted without going too far (and the last scene with Janeway and Chakotay showed pretty good chemistry).
Yanks
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
An OK episode. Not a bad story, but man... can't go without a female Chief Engineer long, can we?

Essssh, the opener we get Chuckles as the XO, and episode #2 boom, welcome B'Elanna.

While I didn't want the Maquis thing to drag out, they could have spent a few episodes working things out. Janeway made a GREAT point at the beginning of this episode:

JANEWAY: The Starfleet officers on this ship have worked all their lives to earn their commissions. How am I supposed to ask them to accept a Maquis as their superior officer just because circumstances have forced us together?

Yup, these Maquis should have had to prove themselves more. If I'm one of those Starfleet officers, I'd be real pissed if a criminal got a position over me, especially right off the bat.

The whole Doc shrinking thing was hilarious. I've watched Voyager at least 4 times all the way through and I still cracked up.

I'm not saying B'Elanna isn't more talented, she might be. But LT Carey really got the shaft. What could and probably should have happened, is Carey should have got the job, then HE should have realized that he was in over his head over a few episodes, or half a season or something, then he should have surrendered the position much ot B'Elanna's surprise.

2.5 stars for me.
Robert
Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 7:14am (UTC -6)
@Yanks - I was always a sucker for this one. I like scientist Janeway and I actually think Chakotay was right. Janeway is right too, but that's what was so interesting about the early episodes. Yes Carey got the shaft, but Chakotay destroyed his ship to save Voyager.

Had he not had to do so the two ships would presumably be flying home side by side and B'Elanna would still be a chief engineer there. Chakotay's point that she shouldn't take the entire maquis crew and make them all nobodies is spot on.

I like Chakotay here, I like B'Elanna here, I like Janeway here. It was a good episode. I'd even give it a solid 3. This is everything I liked about S1/S2 Voyager.
petulant
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
This was the first Voyager episode i saw, i wish i'd watched caretaker first, B'ellanna becoming Chief Engineer wasn't that interesting to me and i think they could have done it better.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Dec 6, 2015, 9:04am (UTC -6)
As others have noted the anomaly is a fairly tired plot-line and something directly out of TNG. But we do have some good character driven scenes and at least a feeling of the tension inherent between the disparate elements of the crew. That Janeway and Torres find some common ground over the science is at least something credible. Paris taking the part of the poor viewer and completely not getting what was going on was also credible! 3 stars for me.
Wilt
Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 1:50am (UTC -6)
You know, I wished that there was far more enmity between the crews as well in the beginning. I never understood how chuckles ever was in the Maquis. He so readily jumped back into the uniform I keep forgetting why he even joined the Maquis in the first place. I sometimes watch TNG's Journey's End for the back story on it. Still he practically dove back into Starfleet head first far too quickly.

He could have just as easily stopped the Captain from destroying their only way back. Instead he just agreed to it and nothing from there. The tension between the maquis and Starfleet crew should have grown a whole lot stronger than it did after that insane act. I almost forgot there were maquis as a part of the crew.

I also agreed 110% about not choosing thugs over Starfleet officers for leadership positions. The writers suddenly forgot that the maquis (with the exception of the wonderful Seska. Wuv u Ms. Hackett) were supposed to be outlaws who had little use for Starfleet and its protocols. Yes, chuckles was a Starfleet officer. I think he was the one who was the instructor at some course that Lt. Ro had graduated from. Captain Picard mentioned it being a very difficult course in TNG's Preemptive Strike but I can't remember the details.

Anyways chuckles did indeed have the training and all. But he also never really came off as a maquis dissident. Whenever I rewatch the pilot I sometimes forget that's how he was intreduced. But then again just about all the maquis settled comfortably into Starfleet without a word of complaint. And at the end of this episode, abra ka dabra, B'elanna's now the chief engineer and snug as a bug. Chosen over a Starfleet officer whom spent years earning his commission and the uniform.

Don't get me wrong, I do like B'elanna. It's just in this case I really have to question why in the world would the writers do something like that? I know, stranded in the Delta Quadrant (mind you by the same captain who broke the Prime Directive more times it seemed than even Archer, and they didn't HAVE a prime directive yet) but that should have made for one hell of a uncomfortable crew for more than half a single episode, especially after she destroyed the array. Seska's defection wasn't even close to enough to satisfy that criteria, as enjoyable as it was. Maybe if there were a few more dissidents that took off with her. That would have been more believable than just her alone. I know she wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Learning Curve was, frankly, a joke. Even the awesome Tim Russ couldn't save that outing. It wasn't bad acting, it was just a very poor (and lazy) attempt to 'tidy up' the maquis/Starfleet conflict.

I think at this point the writers were torn between continuity and anomaly-of-the-week (AOTW) eps. We wouldn't have to wait long to find out which they preferred. This one really could have been in any season. Spin the roulette wheel and where it stops drop it there. You wouldn't notice much difference.

This one I can't give any more than 1.5 stars to. Execution was fine, the storyline is what I am criticizing. And that half star was for Seska staying true to her character even at the beginning. Sometimes I feel like Culluh at the end of S3's Basics when she met her final fate...
Skywalker
Sat, May 14, 2016, 8:38am (UTC -6)
In the second scene, Tuvok is absolutely right about the Captain needing to be informed. But I like how Chakotay isn't just trying to sweep it under the rug and he is loyal to the chain of command, as he showed at the end of Caretaker.

Chakotay to Torres: "The impact fractures along his cranium were pretty severe. If you'd hit him just a little harder, you could have driven some of those bones into his cerebellum." — ?! Really? Nose bones all the way to the back of his brain? Let's assume the writers wanted that to be a joke for the medically literate viewers; B'Elanna takes it seriously for a moment: "I did'nt even come close to hitting him that hard." Haha. Classic Chakotay exaggeration-for-effect. Nice touch! A few seconds later: "I never found your twisted sense of humor very funny, Chakotay." Ipso facto.

I actually liked this episode. It had a lot of Maquis-integration
Janeway showed a lot of bold decision making. "Sometimes you just have to punch your way through." LOL! That had a Star Trek 2009 feel, or even a Star Wars feel. Reading the reviews, and searching my adolescent memory, I thought this episode would be lousy, along with the pre-Seven seasons. Let's see if my lowered expectations allow me to enjoy more of these early episodes!
icarus32soar
Sat, Jul 16, 2016, 9:34am (UTC -6)
You guys all toddlers on this thread? That scene where Chakotay says he won't be Janeway's "token Maquis officer" sizzles with such sexual tension I thought they were going to have a hull breach or something. One of the best done moments in the whole of ST. So is the scene in the shuttle when Janeway tells B'Elana some captains like having their assumptions challenged. Dramatic tension this time. Sheesh! Give the shit a go and look for the subtext. ST is not LITERAL. People making "corrections" about what the writers should have done just plain kill me.
mephyve
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
Ok now I remember why I refused to watch Voyager when it was current. I expected to be beaten over the head with girl power stories. It was so blatant here I couldn't even finish.
Add 45 minutes of treknobabble to blatant feminism and you get an episode worth less than 0 points
Odyssey47
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
If I had been Lieutenant Carey and got passed up on promotion to a Maquis that never graduated the academy, I would've shown Janeway the bird and hung out in the holodeck for 75 years. He wouldn't have died a week before they got home either.
Yanks
Wed, Aug 17, 2016, 9:53am (UTC -6)
HAHA!!!!! Odyssey47!!!! Nice.
J.B. Nicholson
Mon, Jan 2, 2017, 8:42pm (UTC -6)
"Sometimes you just have to punch your way through" doesn't make Voyager look good, it sets the stage for some ugly choices Janeway make about how to treat her crew.

It should come off as shockingly bad for the entire series that Torres got her job as Chief Engineer (a job she'd keep for the rest of the series) in the way she did. Chakotay's view of her is one-sided; he doesn't know Carey because by this episode they haven't worked together that much. But ultimately who is Voyager's Chief Engineer is Janeway's decision and she doesn't seem to care about technical things like "the latest Starfleet protocols" or professional behavior including not striking people when one has a disagreement with them.

It's also alarming how quickly injustice is laid down and what consequences come from this. By 26m3s into the episode, Tuvok tells Kim "There was an altercation, but it has been resolved." referring to the beating that started the episode. Resolved? I don't recall ever seeing Torres in the brig (she seemed to be briefly sequestered in her quarters when Chakotay yelled at her a bit, hardly a punishing place to be), being properly questioned about what happened, nor do I recall charges being handled in anything nearing an appropriate fashion. Tuvok continues "The situation may be described as tense, but one could hardly say they are about to become violent". There's already been violence, that's why Carey recently needed surgery for his broken nose (according to the EMH) which almost sent bone matter into his brain (according to Chakotay). Violent again, perhaps? The beating that launched this episode was far too quickly forgotten and ultimately serves to signal how much help Janeway needs to look respectfully authoritative. This also casts Kes' introduction in the first episode "Caretaker", obviously beaten by her Kazon torturers, in a different light now that violence is on the table as a right and proper way of resolving issues even on Janeway's ship and for something as relatively minor as a technical disagreement. Voyager does not do well to promote the idea that no trial, no punishment, denied opportunities, and job promotion are the proper consequences of violence.

Poor Lt. Carey was never told his job was on the line: he was never told that his job hinged on impressing Janeway at two senior crew meetings (one of which he was apparently not invited to) and an away mission with Janeway (to which he was also seemingly never invited). Torres got her Chief Engineer job apparently by beating up the current Chief Engineer (what is this, a Klingon ship?) and (as far as Carey is concerned) secret meeting time with the Captain. So, contrary to what Janeway told Paris about "hiding his credentials" on temporal mechanics, Janeway doesn't evaluate candidates for high-responsibility positions by technical qualification (further evidence of this is Torres' wrong assessment of which ship to dock the shuttlecraft with and why Torres got the answer wrong). We have too little input from Carey to evaluate Carey on this basis. Apparently Janeway promotes people who demonstrate they can think like her and let her in on personal problems Janeway thinks she can mold. As far as we know, Carey never got the chance to charm Janeway in this fashion.

I suspect Carey's fate was sealed when Janeway gave a nod to Chakotay at the end of that first senior crew meeting with both Carey and Torres. The next significant talk Torres and Janeway had was in a second meeting which apparently Carey wasn't invited to. In the shuttlecraft scene, Torres apologizes to Janeway(!) for the way Torres reacted to Janeway's assessment interview for Chief Engineer (a job for which she should not have been considered until after dealing with possible charges and possible brig time). There was no apology to Carey, the crewmember Torres beat. For a show so obviously concerned with showing women doing good work while in charge of important things, this mismanagement and highly unprofessional evaluation of the crew, and Torres' horrible choice of what to say to Carey when she effectively takes his job, does not speak well for the rest of Voyager. If this is indicative of how Starfleet conducts its reviews, it doesn't speak well of Starfleet and this reflects badly on the allegedly fair-minded future Star Trek wants us to think highly of.

The next time we see Torres (around 39m46s), she's being walked into Engineering by Chakotay who is telling her the Engineering crew is "your staff" to which she responds "I'll try not to break any of their noses." and Chakotay apparently agrees (repeating the dialogue two lines later), which highlights how insensitive management is to this entire appalling affair. The new Chief Engineer's last line to Carey is how she's "not up to date on the latest Starfleet protocols" (something you'd think you'd want in a Chief Engineer on a Starfleet ship!) but she "hopes that [she] can depend on [Carey]". Carey, still far more professional than anyone else involved in his demotion, replies "you'll never get less than my best" and congratulating her on her new position. If I recall correctly, Carey's undeserved demotion is not taken up again (I vaguely recall Carey look silly by having him later acknowledge he thinks Torres is a fine engineer and then later killing Carey off).

The worst thing I can say about Carey's choices here is his only line in the only meeting to which he was apparently invited: He questioned whether fixing the EMH's projectors are really the priority. I think that's a bad way of seeing things because it should always be a high priority to keep one's only medical staff (their only doctor, in fact) fully working. I don't charge Carey with much wrongdoing here though because of Janeway's horrible reaction to learning that the EMH's projectors are not working correctly. She heard about the problem (more than once), knew of its adverse effect (including how this would worsen over time), and there was no indication she chose to make good on her promise to get the projectors looked into. Since she's the captain of the ship, she sets the tone and the tone she set was indistinguishable from dismissing this as unimportant. Putting a fine point on how little they value anything in Sickbay, Janeway responds to the EMH's repeated call for someone to fix his projectors and Janeway's last line is to tell the EMH "We're a little busy right now, Doctor, but I'll send a crew as soon as I can.". The EMH has shrunk to the point where he can't possibly do significant parts of his job. We're supposed to think it's hilarious to see the circus mirror effect on the EMH (shrunken so small he's standing in a chair he normally sits in) but the obtuse writing apparently forgets when the sole medical staff is now rendered incapable of doing his job. I guess they're all fortunate that more people didn't require the EMH to be tall enough to reach the biobed, mix a new medicine, or perform surgery as is so often the case in Star Trek (and was in the start of this episode).

If Carey's and Torres's sexes were reversed, this show would have (even at the time of original syndication) been quickly dismissed as horribly misogynist; the horrible treatment I critique would be too obvious to deny. The misandry present in the episode shouldn't be taken as a social step forward for Star Trek. Making a woman benefit from violence and inequity is bargain basement feminism and is no better than the misogyny found in early Star Trek. Given how much room this show had to work with (new crew, new ship, new quadrant of the galaxy), it's sad the writers couldn't come up with anything egalitarian that would have highlighted how a skilled former Maquis engineer with social skill problems or anger management problems rose to the top after working hard in multiple episodes, thus earning respect from her peers and the audience. If I recall the rest of the series correctly, Carey will end up spending the rest of his life as an engineer serving under the unpunished criminal who beat him. Perhaps if more than two Voyager crewmembers knew how Torres got her job and knew of Carey's plight there would have been more complaints about this and they wouldn't have been so rosy serving under Torres or Janeway.
JohnC
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 10:22am (UTC -6)
To follow up on my comments on Caretaker, I don't expect much from this series, so I continue to be entertained. Yes, it's another "spatial anomaly" episode, but I thought the dialogue in the shuttlecraft between Janeway and Torres was sparkling, as they debated whether to choose the Voyager to port or starboard.

As for JB's comments just above, that was an entertaining read, but I'm not as down on how Torres ends up being chosen. Part of a starfleet captain's job is to know how to delegate, and sometimes feelings get hurt. I think it was pretty obvious to Janeway by the end of the first staff meeting that Torres was something special as an engineer. Janeway expressed her reservations about Torres' ability to command others and it was obviously a difficult decision for her, but I think ultimately she decided that she was going to go with her first officer's recommendation of an exceptionally talented and creative engineer with people problems over a cookie-cutter personality who doesn't think outside the box - and if there's one thing that Janeway would know is evident, it's that if you're 70,000 light years from home, you're WAY outside the box. And although it might have provided some episode fodder to have Torres work her way back into good graces and then get promoted, I think perhaps we are to infer that Janeway realizes the importance of assigning roles and duties from the outset. Just a thought.
Robert
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
@JohnC - Glad you're enjoying VOY so far. Early VOY is actually my favorite VOY. It's not as good as later VOY in a lot of ways, but what it was trying to do with the premise and the characters was more interesting than what it ended up doing. Look forward to your thoughts!

Welcome aboard!
JohnC
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for the kind welcome, Robert. Very much looking forward to the journey.... :)
Strejda
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
While coming up with it was fun, the technobabble solution to the problem really hurts the episode. Thing is, when you use technobabble to explain why anomaly is making everyone horny or something, you are setting up the plot, it's the one big contrivance you are allowed to have. When you use it to resolve problems, you are basically giving characters a magic wand that can just make the problem disappear. Seriously, its the same thing. It's not thinking your way out of a situation, if you think a complete bullshit that only works because script says so. So acting as if a mathematical principle is an actual physical barrier you can "punch your way through" is like having your characters get out of jail, by spitting on steel bars and melting them by it. In a serious story.
Ildaf
Thu, Feb 9, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
I was hoping the 2nd episodes dealing with repairing the ship, losses of crew, then how integrating the maquis into Voyager (and handle the delicate problem come with it). Nevertheless, the ship is shiny and it seems the crew never been losses, it just been replaced on some starbase with a maquis crew (albeit having few disgruntled employee). But never a really big problem that require delicate action.

At least we have some unresolved problem with the integration, namely choosing for a new chief engineer.
I like the first half of the show, particularly the opening and banter between Janeway-Chakotay. They both made a solid point and reasonable, but i tend to agree with Chakotay more here.
Then it's revealed they just encounter anomaly with some temporal/time paradox on the mix. So, thats 2 for 2 cliche just on the 2nd episode.
A weak lame excuse to get into the main show, proving B'ellana worth as chief engineer to Janeway.. that is all too obvious.

And it's all go down the hill for the latter half part of the show. We knew Janeway was a science officer. But to made her sprouting techobable match with B'ellana, made each other continue finishing the sentence like they're twins, even wrapped the sentence at the end by shouting "Warp particles" together is too cheesy and way.. way over the top for my taste. Is this a teenager show?.
Hell yes Jammer, Janeway can take La Forge anytime on technobable match.. haha

Even worse after that.. It's contagius, the whole crew also start spewing technobable. Tuvok, Kim, Chakotay.. even Paris. Obviously they don't have enough material for the whole episodes and just trying to stretch it with technonses explanation. The shaking camera for the sake of dramatization made it more annoying.

We go to shuttle, this is not a bad scene. But why after they done widening the rupture they not just go straight out on the shuttle with voyager tailing the tail? Why they have to comeback to Voyager, wasting time and risking more (by have to choose which is the real one, and taking time to go back).

Speaking of wasting time.. Are we going to be treated with long cheesy speech of Janeway at every last scene of the episodes? She's doing it at the end of Caretaker, and now doing it again here. Aren't you suppose to get out as soon as possible before the rupture closing, wtf wasting time with cheesy speech? This is obviously not the time, a brief command will suffice!
I can even imagine Picard voice on my head "Mr. Data, take us out the here. Engage!" or Riker/Data suggest depart and Picard said "Make it so!"

Watchable episodes, but not a good one.
2 (**) star
Mertov
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
Odyssey47's comment in Aug 2016... LOOOOOOL
:)))))
DLPB
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:55am (UTC -6)
J.B. Nicholson

I read your whole post, and you are correct. The issue, like always, is gung-ho leftist writers, who don't know how to write a believable strong/smart woman. The most shocking thing is that they don't see that their heavy handed approach backfires. Rather than people seeing Torres as deserving and clever, they see an out of control person, unable to keep their emotions in check (exact same problem with Kira from DS9, which I was labelled a sexist misogynist for pointing out lmao).

The reality is that the leftist writers, safe in their lovely middle class, rural upbringings, are woefully out of touch with the general public and with reality itself. To them, a strong woman needs to act like "a man" - and this means the stereotypical aggressor, or smarmy intellectual. In other words, the writers are projecting their OWN BIAS onto the episode. "Gee, how can we make her look strong and independent? I know! Let's show her beating up her male superior officer, outwitting him at every turn, and then being promoted above him."

All that needed to be done to make this a respectable story was to have a disagreement between Janeway and Chakotay regarding who is next in line, have both candidates face off a few times, and then a respectable meeting between all concerned. It would still have tension and conflict in it, but it wouldn't have a chief engineer who breaks noses and laughs about it. It would also be believable.

As you pointed out, if we reverse this episode and make Torres a man and Carey a woman, people around here (including the media) would be screaming to high heaven about how sexist the episode is. Can you imagine them showing Torres having her nose broken by a male officer? No, neither can I. And that's why the writers are leftie, awful hypocrites. Like always with the left, hypocrisy is their soulmate. It really irritates me, and it doesn't make me watch the episode a second time.

It's the exact same thing with race and religion, too. It's okay to show a white person being made fun of, but not black. It's okay to show a bible being destroyed on television, but not a Koran. The left just don't know when to stop. And it's shows like this where they are free to make their wildest dreams come true and peddle their agenda.

Robert
Wed, May 3, 2017, 8:22am (UTC -6)
@DLPB - You used to just be someone that disagreed with me. Now you're a ranting, raving, alt-right parody lunatic. Just stop. If leftist writers make your blood boil, go watch something else.
Robert
Wed, May 3, 2017, 8:25am (UTC -6)
@DLPB - And the worst part is that I agree with a lot of what you said. Particularly the idea that something that would look really badly when gender swapped is a bad idea/bad writing/is sexist in it's own way. But you don't have to rant about Korans to make a coherent point.
DLPB
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
Err, no. I don't think I will Robert. I wasn't even replying to you; I was agreeing with another poster. If you can't stomach other people's views and the fact Trek has a serious left wing bias, YOU go somewhere else. You don't get to tell anyone what to watch or what to review, and I will not be listening to your "advice", so get used to it and get lost ;)
DLPB
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:54pm (UTC -6)
Also, I have hit a nerve with you simply because you are the exact kind of person I am referring to in the post. And you know it. Makes you feel uneasy. And it should. When the left stop acting like jackasses, I will stop calling them out on it.
Peter G.
Wed, May 3, 2017, 10:06pm (UTC -6)
@ DLPB,

"Also, I have hit a nerve with you simply because you are the exact kind of person I am referring to in the post. And you know it."

Really, you know enough about Robert to claim definitively that he is a middle class hypocritical writer living in suburbia who believes it's fine to make fun of white people and the bible? Wow, you're a better detective than me, because I was never able to figure all that out about him. But you seem pretty sure that he is the "exact kind of person" you were referring to. Which reminds me:

"The reality is that the leftist writers, safe in their lovely middle class, rural upbringings, are woefully out of touch with the general public and with reality itself."

Lol. Since you are such a fan of cold, hard facts, you may want to do a little research before assuming that because you disagree with a writer's outlook that it's because he conforms to your concept of a cushy leftist intellectual. Your description is probably one of the least accurate depiction of most writers I've read about. Typically they are poor and struggling until they get lucky and end up getting decent money for something. Most of them remain poor and struggling. Your view of artists (in Hollywood or elsewhere) seems like the kind of thing cooked up by extremist propaganda, that sadly you appear to have eaten whole.

Incidentally, I agree with Robert in that your assessment of this episode is quite logical, and that the nature of the epithets you let fly come of as intentionally antagonistic alt-right mayhem. I do appreciate the content of some of your posts, and maybe there's no need to be blatantly insulting to people in order to get your points across.
Robert
Thu, May 4, 2017, 9:45am (UTC -6)
"When the left stop acting like jackasses, I will stop calling them out on it. "

I could make a 40 page long essay calling the right out for being jackasses and hypocrites, but there's no need... it's a Star Trek site.

For what it's worth I don't think they don't know how to write strong women. Janeway and Seven are without being violent. I think the issue here is that the maquis have become caricatures instead of freedom fighters. Torres has rage issues because she's always had a hard time with her Klingon half. Suter has rage issues because he's a psychopath. Some of the maquis joined because they like to shoot stuff. It's been discussed. Multiple times on Voyager. Even Chakotay decks one of the maquis later in the season. Being somewhat violent is how the writers are writing the "rough" maquis against the "polished" Starfleet.

Where it falls apart, and where you are right, is where you say "Can you imagine them showing Torres having her nose broken by a male officer? No, neither can I." You're right, neither can I. Carey getting the job after breaking Torres' nose would have come off really poorly and as much as I always liked this episode for the Torres/Janeway relationship they never did address strongly enough what she did. Even making her in charge on a probationary period until she can prove she deserves the title and the rank would have done something. Instead it's brushed aside in a way that would have been disturbing if the violence was male on female.

Where you "struck a nerve" is with garbage like "Like always with the left, hypocrisy is their soulmate." Not because I think you're right, but because I shouldn't have to listen to that garbage on a site that isn't for politics. Jammer is quite tolerant (and rightfully so, which I appreciate because Star Trek can have quite political themes) in letting us discuss politics. But you can discuss the politics of an episode (in this case gender politics are fair game) without going off on a rant the likes of which you'd see on an alt-right hate site.

I always thought you were better than that to be honest. I still do. Maybe somebody pissed in your Wheaties yesterday. But I have always listened to what you had to say, even when we (as is often the case) strongly disagreed. I always read it. I always think about it.
Jammer
Thu, May 4, 2017, 11:09am (UTC -6)
I find it interesting that certain people on this message board go to such lengths to ascribe everything they see everywhere to some sort of leftist agenda that must be mocked and opposed. Seriously, why are you peddling your (false) narratives so endlessly?

Frankly, it's annoying. And it's not annoying because we're such fragile little snowflakes. It's annoying because it's so clearly trollish behavior and false as it pertains the forum in which it is posted. I don't see these supposed leftist PC-mongers making blanket statements about the right on this board, despite all this talk about how much the left is just oh-so-pushy with their stupid viewpoints.

"Clearly, I've struck a nerve." Okay, yeah -- it's the nerve where you bring in unrelated political bullshit where it's not prompted, needed, or wanted, over and over again.

But, hey, I allow it, because I want to be inclusive and allow open discussion and a range of viewpoints. If you don't want to be annoyed, the internet is probably a bad place to be.

But I also pride this commenting forum as a place for civility. This is one of the few places online where people aren't always slinging mud and engaging in pointless partisanship, most of the time.

Now, I usually don't venture into the political fray, because there's little point. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that no one is going to convince anyone else to change their mind. But your political viewpoints are not the issue. At issue is insulting people unprompted with blanket statements based on some presumed political affiliation. Why is that needed here?

@Robert: "I could make a 40 page long essay calling the right out for being jackasses and hypocrites, but there's no need... it's a Star Trek site."

Yes. This. Exactly.
Linda
Fri, May 5, 2017, 11:55am (UTC -6)
Agreed. And this episode smacks of a double standard.

And yet. You’re on a starship in the middle of nowhere. Your engines are failing so badly according to helmsman Paris, that soon everyone may need to get out and push. With acting engineer Lt Carey things are getting worse. Do you throw your best hope to repair the engines into the brig and hope for the best? When crisis is averted, in large part due to the offender, do you nevertheless throw her into the brig for past misbehavior? Do you let her out of the brig only in times of crisis? And even then, she’d probably be out of the brig a helleva lot.

And of course there are plot holes: Paris says they might have to get out and push, but a short time later, they meet the singularity and the engines seem fine and dandy. Torres had been confined to quarters, but obviously at some point had been returned to engineering, because when Voyager runs into the singularity, she responds from there.

Probably because TPTB wanted the crew quickly in their proper positions so subsequent episodes could essentially stand alone, Torres is named chief engineer by episode’s end. I agree with those who believe that Torres should have earned the position after a few more episodes. It could have made for some interesting storylines if handled correctly. Torres learning and practising people skills and taking anger-management classes, bonding with Carey and other engineering crew, it could even have been fun. And at some point her apology to Carey should have been better than, ‘Sorry. Maybe you should go to sickbay.’
Robert
Fri, May 5, 2017, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
@Linda - You're absolutely correct. I think she should have been put in charge provisionally with the promotion offered when she proved she could conduct herself properly. "Acting Chief Engineer" would have been fine, and in most episodes you could still drop the "Acting" when referring to her.
Linda
Sat, May 6, 2017, 8:58am (UTC -6)
Actually, I think at this episode’s end Carey should remain Acting Chief Engineer and Torres is sentenced to the brig, but the sentence is suspended as long as Torres’ behavior warrants it. (After all Barclay is a talented engineer, but I doubt that anybody’s going to say he should be Chief Engineer.)

Of course having Torres on the crew would be a problem for Carey. I can envision his command being undermined by crewmembers respecting Torres knowledge and looking to her for confirmation before following Carey's orders. It could have been interesting seeing that play out.
DLPB
Tue, May 9, 2017, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
Frankly, it's annoying. And it's not annoying because we're such fragile little snowflakes.
------

You mean because it disagrees with your political leanings? Of course you do. Star trek is clearly massively to the left - and even leftist contributors here agree to that at times, because it;s a bit hard to ignore. Robert is just pissed off that I call Trek out on it, and so are you ;)

The Right's description of Leftists as "Snowflakes" has got them running around like wild animals because it hits the nerve every time.
DLPB
Tue, May 9, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
Also, calling people trolls for disagreeing with you is perhaps the lowest form of intellect on the net I have seen. It happens a lot. People who disagree with you are not trolls. That isn't even remotely the definition.
Linda
Tue, May 9, 2017, 11:34pm (UTC -6)
Merriam-Webster definition of Troll: "a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant or offensive comments or disruptive content."

Jammer: "But I also pride this commenting forum as a place for civility."

Synonyms for civility as per MS Word: politeness, respect, courtesy, graciousness

I happened upon this website in January 2017 while trying to rundown an obscure ST point. Reading the comments of whatever episode, at some point I got riled up. I was ready to respond, only to keep reading and discover that someone else had already posted a very eloquent response representing my perspective. That’s what kept me coming back again and again, reading the great variety of comments, usually civilly bantered back and forth. And it’s one reason why I’ve spent the last few months enjoying the ST series as they’re currently re-running on H&I. Watching and re-watching episodes has been more enjoyable while considering the viewpoints and insights that I've read here. Thanks again, Jammer for allowing and emphasizing civil discourse.

Robert
Wed, May 10, 2017, 9:14am (UTC -6)
@DLPB

"Also, calling people trolls for disagreeing with you is perhaps the lowest form of intellect on the net I have seen. It happens a lot. People who disagree with you are not trolls. That isn't even remotely the definition."

Actually, Jammer didn't call you a troll.

Jammer - "It's annoying because it's so clearly trollish behavior"

Saying behavior or dialogue is trollish is not the same as calling a person a troll. Look at what I said about you

"I always thought you were better than that to be honest. I still do. "

This is us calling you out on what was an UNUSUALLY hostile rant. This is not us calling you a troll. I can't speak for Jammer, so I won't try, but considering his mention of troll was of the behavior and not the person I would assume the point stands.

"even leftist contributors here agree to that at times, because it;s a bit hard to ignore. Robert is just pissed off that I call Trek out on it, and so are you ;)"

The politics of Star Trek itself are somewhat irrelevant to this topic I think. There was a place in this conversation for gender politics, sure but you decided to dive into hypocrisy being the soulmate of the left? Into race and religion? Into white persecution and the Koran? Into Star Trek peddling a hypocritical leftist agenda? Yes, the writers lean left on social issues. As far back as "The Offspring" when Guinan deliberately said "two people love each other" and as far back as the pilot when "Number One" was Majel Roddenberry the show has pushed a progressive social agenda. Many Trekkies pride ourselves on being a part of the franchise that had the first interracial kiss and one of the first same sex kisses. I cannot argue that, nor would I want to. But I am not offended that you discuss it. We have gotten into political discussions on more than one occasion. Yes, Trek is socially progressive and I'm proud of that. Call it out, go for it. What saddens me about the whole thing is that you and I, right and left, actually agree with each other about how the gender politics of this episode are "off" or "wrong" but instead we're having this discussion.

"The Right's description of Leftists as "Snowflakes" has got them running around like wild animals because it hits the nerve every time. "

That's not true. The term is irritating because it's an enabling lie. Claiming that the left is a culture of victimhood allows the right to mouth off hatred while claiming that it's not your incivility but our inability to take a dissenting viewpoint that is the problem. No the problem is your incivility.

And it's not necessary. You can explain what's wrong with the politics of this episode without going on a rant about how the left are destroying society and indoctrinating children. At the end of the day we're both here because both like Star Trek. And that's not all we have in common. We're both coders. We're both enjoy video games. We both like Final Fantasy. We're both the same age. And we both think the fact that this episode would have been received very differently if Carey had broken Torres' nose represents a problematic and unsettling double standard. Can't some of that stuff be more important than some of this other stuff?
Skeptical
Wed, May 10, 2017, 10:33pm (UTC -6)
Oy, I don't know why I'm doing this, but here goes...

Robert, DLPB may be acerbic, but he was absolutely (ok, 90%) right in his post. And while he may have insulted a group of people in his post, it was you who made it personal by insulting him.

Let's look at what he said. 1) This episode has a double standard, in that they would never show a man punching a woman in the face and getting away with it. 2) This is a product of the pervasive left-wing thought, 3) this pervasive attitude is even worse, as it creates a poorly thought-out idea of what a strong female presence is like rather than using reality, and 4) this double standard extends to other factors like race and religion.

Now, you seem like you may agree with him about 1 and 3, but think that adding items like 2 and especially 4 are utterly ridiculous and make him look like a lunatic. And yet... #4 is just standing there right in front of us; it's impossible to miss! DLPB simply made the mistake of using the wrong example. I mean, they may not have come out and said it, but it's very heavily implied in Trek that atheism reigns supreme among humans. The idea of a practicing Christian in the TNG era is all but absurd*. You would never see one, right? That seems perfectly natural to you, right?

So why does Chakotay exist? Christianity went extinct, but lame made-up pseudonatural bullcrap religions are fine?

See, double standard. Exactly what DLPB was talking about. It's just that in the 90s, American Indians were the cause du jour rather than Muslims. Hence, Chakotay (note that both Voyager and Pocahontas came out in the same year, for example). So, just like with B'Elanna hitting Carey, it's a double standard. The Trek writers would never think of adding a Christian to the show, but have no problem with a hokey Akusha-Moya claptrap. And I keep mocking Chakotay's religion for a good reason, because it ties in with #3. Just like "strong woman=beating up guys" nonsense that Hollywood pushes on us** even thought its completely against reality, this was a truly made up religion. In their yearning effort to be PC, they didn't even bother to actually research the culture they tried to portray, and thus what was shown was the incoherent ramblings of a scam artist (seriously, go look it up if you don't believe me). They ended up insulting the culture they tried to promote because, in actuality, their devotion to that culture was only a mm thick***.

So you see, DLPB was mostly right about #4, just picked the wrong example. And so, can you really argue that it doesn't come from leftwing thought? That these sorts of things are not due to the burning desire the writers had to want to be politically correct? You know as well as I do that the "diversity" in Trek is all there to appease the American left. There's no great desire to have an Indonesian or a Brazilian in the show, but we must have an African-American! And we must pat ourselves on the back for how tolerant we are, because we are looking to gain the approval of a white guy from Berkeley rather than a white guy from Peoria. You may be "proud" of it, but I still see it as just another form of pandering to white people. And that's fine! Star Trek's audience is white Westerners, after all! What's wrong with pandering to the people who pay your bills? It just doesn't make them moral for doing so...

But anyway, back to #2. I'm not the type of person to judge others, and I'm not going to accuse everyone who doesn't agree with me politically of being evil. But in terms of the thought leaders in the left nowadays... well, look up intersectionality if you want. If you look at what's going on in college campuses, the idea these days is that the world is divided into the powerful (straight white Christian and Jewish males) and everyone else (with varying degrees of powerlessness). And that in order to rectify this situation, it is not only ok but also DEMANDED that double standards be used. Overt discrimination of the powerful is encouraged (I should note that this is the same justification Hitler used against the Jews, but, well, what's a little fascism among friends?). Overt hatred of the powerful is encouraged. Again, this isn't my evil interpretation of it; they're pretty upfront about it.

And again, I'm not going to accuse everyone of believing this. I'm sure, when faced with that, it's only a small portion of the left that believes it. And I do think it's annoying how internet arguments usually devolve into the most baseless accusations on the part of the other person. But the problem is, the "intellectual class" of the left really do believe this! And the other problem is, most people don't think. That's not a criticism or implying people are stupid, it's just the truth. Our brains are wired to ignore anything we deem unimportant, and so we don't constantly question our assumptions. And the "educated" world - the internet, media, education, etc - is downstream of this intellectual hotbed of intersectionality. So as long as its framed in a positive way, people go along with it.

Again, let's be honest Robert. Regardless of their monetary background (IIRC DLPB is British; he may not realize that middle-class isn't necessarily a condition of the left-wing culture; the US has always been less class-based than Europe), you know as well as I do that the writers of Trek would feel more at home in San Francisco than in Texas. They're downstream of this thought process that demands double standards at every level. So even if they'd like to think of themselves as tolerant of everyone, they might live in a world where they never question their assumptions. Never question if it actually makes sense for a woman who weighs half as much as a man and has far less testosterone to build upper body strength can actually physically compete with a man. May not question that people can be capitalist and still be ethical or interested in science or anything else that is apparently anathema to the Ferengi. Never question that if you are actually serious about creating an atheist future, you have to insult other cultures besides Christianity as well. It doesn't mean they're bad people. It just means they may live in a bubble. And perhaps by criticizing them, we may get them to snap out of that bubble.

Who knows, maybe it might lead to better writing! Unless you think Chakotay is the epitome of a great character, or that Ferengi are a well thought out race...

I can't speak for DLPB, but I still believe in outdated, hate-filled, intolerant ideas like "all men are created equal" and "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Given that, I can be rather sensitive to areas where the opposite belief - that one should explicitly be judged by their skin or their sex - end up sneaking its way into mainstream culture. Perhaps DLPB is as well. And while I can't be certain that intersectionality itself goes back 20 or so years to when Voyager was created, I know the roots of this concept do go back quite a long ways, so maybe it was there as well.

Oh, and Robert? Of course a Star Trek site is no place to rant about right-wing politics. Star Trek is so steeped in leftwing thought that it's completely off topic! =)

So while I generally do agree with you that we should leave politics out of these discussions (I try to as much as possible), there are plenty of people who do inject politics into it... on both sides of the aisle. Mostly, I tend to ignore them, because I don't like dealing with it. Frankly, I don't like it that DLPB tends to bring it up in places, just as I don't like all the older posters who brought up junk from a leftwing perspective. But was the fact that DLPB brought it up here so far beyond the pale that you had to insult him (and thus cause the topic to devolve even further)? Do you also call out the people on the left who inject it in? Perhaps, to prevent such flame wars from breaking out... if we are truly committed to having discussions on Trek only with only the bare minimum of politics as related to the episode only... perhaps we should all only call out the people "on our side". Less chance of things rolling out of hand that way, eh?

* As a complete and random aside, if there is a character in Trek that is a closet Christian (or possibly Jew), I'm going with Joseph Sisko. I have my reasons for believing that, but I'm sure it was never intentional on the writers part. Actually, some of it may be intentional...

** Also as a random aside, I think Kira IS a strong portrayal of a woman even without the utterly absurd idea that she can beat up Cardassians while 8 months pregnant. She has a deep sense of morality and a strong sense of self, and is confident, assertive, and utterly true to herself (other than dating Odo, but that's another pet peeve of mine...). It's why I find it silly that people call her a Ro clone. Ro was a WEAK woman (that's not a criticism, she was a very interesting character because of it), and very much the opposite of Kira. But because they could both be sarcastic, we should find them identical? Sounds kinda stupid to me.

*** As an even more random aside, a NYTimes reporter recently complained because the new film version of Murder on the Orient Express didn't include Asian cast members. So she didn't know either the historical train OR the famous novel! That's what I mean about being 1 mm thick in culture but deep into identity politics...
Chrome
Wed, May 10, 2017, 11:06pm (UTC -6)
@Skeptical

I'm a Christian and I have zero problems with Christians not being present in a futuristic and alien setting. It would feel more than anachronistic to do otherwise. Instead, I'd prefer the writers used cultures within the show's fictional universe to represent Christian values (it happens quite often with Bajorans and even the Federation itself).

The writers of this show are not anti-Christian or atheist, but they do recognize the audience they wrote for *is* predominantly Christian. Thus, to try and break the audience out of its value comfort zone, the writers will bring up alien religions and even lesser known Earth religions because it feels *futuristic*. It's not a double standard, it's a Sci-Fi creative writing method that's existed for centuries.
Linda
Thu, May 11, 2017, 8:47am (UTC -6)
OMG!!! Skeptical, you’re so polite! But are you really? The host of our party (that would be Jammer) has asked his guests (that would be us) to take the fight outside (that would be away from his website). But you are so rational, reasoned and polite, surely, Jammer is wrong, surely YOU can change the hearts and minds of the misguided left.

And I understand, I so do. Many a time I myself think about a particular someone, this person is so misguided, and their very soul is at stake, surely I can reasonably remind them that they believe in Jesus, and Jesus taught us that we cannot serve two masters, and by that Jesus meant that one has to choose, that one cannot walk the path to salvation while also walking the path to riches and wealth. But then, I think, if Jesus cannot change people’s hearts and minds, what chance have I got? And besides, does that really belong on a ST website?

So instead, I’ll stick to commenting about this episode: Was Torres wrong for hitting Corey? Should she have been punished for it? Yes and yes. I can only hope that when injustices happen in the real world, no matter what the gender, race or creed, you and DLPB are just as outraged.
Robert
Thu, May 11, 2017, 9:36am (UTC -6)
@Skeptical

"Oy, I don't know why I'm doing this, but here goes..."

Me neither, it was a resolution of mine 2 years ago to not discuss politics here, but you actually kept (mostly) on topic for the episode, so... here goes! :P

"Robert, DLPB may be acerbic, but he was absolutely (ok, 90%) right in his post. And while he may have insulted a group of people in his post, it was you who made it personal by insulting him."

Fair enough. I was insulting in my post. Maybe 110 days in Trump's presidency we can all feel a little exhausted with rants like that though.

"Now, you seem like you may agree with him about 1 and 3, but think that adding items like 2 and especially 4 are utterly ridiculous and make him look like a lunatic."

I'll just say that adding well thought out points never makes you a lunatic. Utterly ridiculous? Possible. But lunatic, no. I was objecting to the STYLE of it (ranting) as opposed to the content. The more a rant is off-topic the worse is gets.

The problem is that there is a left, but it's a caricature of itself, the same way the right is. Define the right! Abortion, gay marriage, fiscal (::giggle::) responsibility, tough on immigration? What would you add? And that's just the American right. Jeb/Marco were actually ok with a path to citizenship. W spoke in a mosque and called Islam a religion of peace. Rand Paul actually is for fiscal responsibility (somebody somewhere should be for it eventually right?)

When someone goes on about "the left" in a rant-like fashion they are making and attacking their own straw man. As though the left is the Borg with a hive mind. It's silly really. I don't treat or consider the conservatives on this site to be a hive mind.

"The Trek writers would never think of adding a Christian to the show, but have no problem with a hokey Akusha-Moya claptrap. And I keep mocking Chakotay's religion for a good reason, because it ties in with #3. Just like "strong woman=beating up guys" nonsense that Hollywood pushes on us** even thought its completely against reality, this was a truly made up religion. In their yearning effort to be PC, they didn't even bother to actually research the culture they tried to portray, and thus what was shown was the incoherent ramblings of a scam artist (seriously, go look it up if you don't believe me). They ended up insulting the culture they tried to promote because, in actuality, their devotion to that culture was only a mm thick***."

I agree with all of this, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with an attempt to be PC or maybe it's too much PC? I'm not totally sure. You can either argue that they are trying to not insult actual religions by making up a silly fake one or you can argue that they are trying for faux diversity to appeal to progressives (of which Star Trek has in spades). But if Native Americans "sell" in the 90s, I could argue that Chakotay and his fake religion being abused by Hollywood is not leftist group-think but pure capitalist greed. Quark would be proud.

"And so, can you really argue that it doesn't come from leftwing thought? That these sorts of things are not due to the burning desire the writers had to want to be politically correct? You know as well as I do that the "diversity" in Trek is all there to appease the American left."

I just agreed to that, yes. But studios making poor attempts to appeal to audiences they don't fully understand is the studios try to peddle their ways to a caricature of the left. The same kind of caricature being ranted about in the comment that caused my crankiness.

"You may be "proud" of it, but I still see it as just another form of pandering to white people. And that's fine! Star Trek's audience is white Westerners, after all! What's wrong with pandering to the people who pay your bills?"

I'm proud of the parts of Star Trek that have changed hearts and minds over the years. How many guys saw Kirk kiss Uhura and thought that it wasn't as disgusting as maybe they thought it would be? I'm not particularly proud of Chakotay though, no :P

"I'm not the type of person to judge others, and I'm not going to accuse everyone who doesn't agree with me politically of being evil. But in terms of the thought leaders in the left nowadays... well, look up intersectionality if you want. If you look at what's going on in college campuses, the idea these days is that the world is divided into the powerful (straight white Christian and Jewish males) and everyone else
...
Overt hatred of the powerful is encouraged. Again, this isn't my evil interpretation of it; they're pretty upfront about it."

Agree. It's some people taking the concept of "privilege" too far. Being aware of "privilege" so that you can say... realize that a black person from a poor neighborhood didn't have the same opportunities as you is a good way to have a conversation. But that's as far as I'm willing to take the concept. I'm certainly not sorry for being white, male or somewhat wealthy. But it's something to think about when I hear people mouthing off about certain things that their privileged world view is contributing to the fact that they have no idea what in the hell they are talking about. But most people's world view is narrow. Many on the left might not understand that it's frustrating to grow up in an upper middle class community and watch minorities get full scholarships to things that are meant for disadvantaged people because they are a certain color. It's why I think affirmative action should be wealth based. Kids like say... the Cosby family where Dad is a doctor and Mom is a lawyer don't need free stuff. But certain people might see me as racist for saying so. Again, most people are restricted by narrow world views.

"And again, I'm not going to accuse everyone of believing this. I'm sure, when faced with that, it's only a small portion of the left that believes it."

Much appreciated.

"But the problem is, the "intellectual class" of the left really do believe this!"

I'm not so sure about that. The intellectual class that is backing Bernie Sanders has almost nothing in common with the intellectual class backing Hillary Clinton.

"And the other problem is, most people don't think. That's not a criticism or implying people are stupid, it's just the truth. Our brains are wired to ignore anything we deem unimportant, and so we don't constantly question our assumptions."

This is exactly what I just said. 100% agreement.

"You know as well as I do that the writers of Trek would feel more at home in San Francisco than in Texas. They're downstream of this thought process that demands double standards at every level. So even if they'd like to think of themselves as tolerant of everyone, they might live in a world where they never question their assumptions. Never question if it actually makes sense for a woman who weighs half as much as a man and has far less testosterone to build upper body strength can actually physically compete with a man. May not question that people can be capitalist and still be ethical or interested in science or anything else that is apparently anathema to the Ferengi. Never question that if you are actually serious about creating an atheist future, you have to insult other cultures besides Christianity as well. It doesn't mean they're bad people. It just means they may live in a bubble. And perhaps by criticizing them, we may get them to snap out of that bubble."

Since we're questioning our assumptions... why do you personally care if Klingon females have enough upper body strength to compete with a human male like Carey? And beyond that, could your wife (assuming you have one) not surprise you with a sucker punch to the nose? I mean... we're not talking about Kira taking down Klingons right now, we're talking about a Klingon woman giving a Starfleet tech guy a crack in the nose. A woman who's main S1 story arc is that she has anger issues related to her Klingon side. Yes, sometimes feats of strength that are ridiculous are assigned to our heroes. I don't actually believe squishy Sisko or O'Brien could take out a Klingon. And I hope Bajoran bones are made out of adamantium... because DAMN GIRL!!

But here's where I'd love to talk about the actual god damned episode. I disagree with all of you that the gender politics of this episode are left. I don't think the "man can't hit a woman" but a "woman can hit a man" thing is a left idea at all actually. You might argue that tiny female action heroes are left somehow (because the left doesn't want to acknowledge gender differences or some such thing that I don't feel like getting into right now)... but the "men don't hit women thing" is cultural beyond left/right. Just my 2 cents. If anything feminists have tried to push the idea that men can be raped too and stuff like that. That men can be domestically abused. A lot of those concepts can be considered left thought things too. A woman decking her coworker shouldn't really be played for laughs... but I'm not sure that it's the left's fault that it is. Even if the writers are left leaning, not everything that comes out of them is from a place of politics.

"Who knows, maybe it might lead to better writing! Unless you think Chakotay is the epitome of a great character, or that Ferengi are a well thought out race..."

:P

"I can't speak for DLPB, but I still believe in outdated, hate-filled, intolerant ideas like "all men are created equal" and "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Given that, I can be rather sensitive to areas where the opposite belief - that one should explicitly be judged by their skin or their sex - end up sneaking its way into mainstream culture. Perhaps DLPB is as well. And while I can't be certain that intersectionality itself goes back 20 or so years to when Voyager was created, I know the roots of this concept do go back quite a long ways, so maybe it was there as well."

The problem with the type of rant I originally replied to is not that you can't be disturbed by an idea.... it's that it's taking very personally what a small loud group thinks and applying it to the entire left. Including writers that may or may not be liberals. From 20 years ago. With modern ideas. It'd be like if every time there was a conservative concept in Star Trek I started ranting about white supremacists. It's no secret that they exist on the right. But they are about as prominent as women that think men should be discriminated against on the left.

"But was the fact that DLPB brought it up here so far beyond the pale that you had to insult him (and thus cause the topic to devolve even further)?"

Substance no. Style yes. Sorry, it's the truth. If you can't make your point without comments like "Like always with the left, hypocrisy is their soulmate." go somewhere else. These boards are too civil for that garbage.

"Do you also call out the people on the left who inject it in? Perhaps, to prevent such flame wars from breaking out... if we are truly committed to having discussions on Trek only with only the bare minimum of politics as related to the episode only... perhaps we should all only call out the people "on our side". Less chance of things rolling out of hand that way, eh?"

Yes I do. Last March a liberal baited with a Trump comment and when Yanks went off on him they decided to call Yanks a troll and I defended him. I remember because it's the only time I broke my "no politics on this website" resolution last year :P

Doesn't mean I agreed with Yanks' post, but you can't bring up politics in the middle of an election and then call somebody a troll for responding with their politics. If we take Linda's definition of a troll "a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant or offensive comments or disruptive content" bashing Trump in the middle of an election doesn't HAVE to be trollish, but if you want to bash him without inviting a response it sort of feels trollish. Especially if you're going to respond to said debate by calling troll (these were 2 different posters, so not specifically blaming the OP here).

"As a complete and random aside, if there is a character in Trek that is a closet Christian (or possibly Jew), I'm going with Joseph Sisko. I have my reasons for believing that, but I'm sure it was never intentional on the writers part. Actually, some of it may be intentional..."

DS9 seemed the least scared of religion, so why not? And does it have to be in the closet? We ever see him on Sunday?

"Also as a random aside, I think Kira IS a strong portrayal of a woman even without the utterly absurd idea that she can beat up Cardassians while 8 months pregnant. She has a deep sense of morality and a strong sense of self, and is confident, assertive, and utterly true to herself (other than dating Odo, but that's another pet peeve of mine...)."

Me too! I love her. And she's conservative! And not a caricature of it either. :P DS9 had a wide range of political viewpoints on their show. And as I said, it's headcanon that Bajoran bones are made of adamantium.

"As an even more random aside, a NYTimes reporter recently complained because the new film version of Murder on the Orient Express didn't include Asian cast members. So she didn't know either the historical train OR the famous novel! That's what I mean about being 1 mm thick in culture but deep into identity politics..."

But what people don't see is that victimhood and umbrage taking isn't something the left has a monopoly on. Christian clerks are persecuted because they have to sign gay marriage licenses? News flash! We've been persecuting you for YEARS by making you sign second marriage licenses for all of those filthy adulterers. Everyone knows there's no such thing as divorce. Or crying about illegals voting and stealing votes from those good old Republicans (yes, Trump... we found 3 illegal voters and 2 of them were for you). Even Reagan's welfare queen speech encouraged hard working whites to feel victimized by the entire black race (yes, she was awful... and waaaaaay more awful than Reagan knew, that's actually a fascinating story if you ever want to look into it).

I hope nobody feels the need to specifically debate this one with me because I am NOT arguing that the left don't do this. In fact, if you read the entirety of all of my posts the crux of my argument was

"I could make a 40 page long essay calling the right out for being jackasses and hypocrites, but there's no need... it's a Star Trek site."

TLDR - The left sucks, the right sucks, largely because both such things don't really exist and are strawmen. There are no hive minds, neither side is the Borg, and I'm not convinced that the gender politics in THIS episode even have anything to do with the left, but I'd be willing to continue THAT discussion because it's relevant.
Peter G.
Thu, May 11, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -6)
It seems to me the issue here isn't with the accuracy of DPLB's comments. He may or may not be correct about certain views he has of "the left", and that's fine but beside the point. The reason his post was trollish is because it was peppered with the equivalent "you leftist bastards", and since there are obviously liberals on the site the post ends up functionally flaming a large proportion of the readers here. Flame posts are not acceptable; the content of the flaming is irrelevant.

I find political rants here disagreeable in the first place, however sometimes it is unavoidably on-topic with an episode and in order to discuss the content politics does have to be brought up. That's fine, so long as the 'discussion' isn't used as a cheap excuse to fling insults at 'the idiots' on the other side. Every time such cheap insults are let fly it devalues any other good point made alongside it. DPLB may have had a good point in some capacity, the flaming kills its appeal. It's like wearing a smart suit while drooling all over yourself. Doesn't matter how much the suit cost, it's not going to look pretty.
Skeptical
Thu, May 11, 2017, 10:24pm (UTC -6)
Actually, Robert, I do know the reason I responded; because you're one of the best contributors to these comments and thus actually worth responding to... As I said, I thought it strange that DLPB almost had a perfect point with the double standard of religion if he had brought up Chakotay instead, so I was very surprised to see it cause such furor. In any case, I don't care to discuss the politics side either (regardless of what Linda might think of my statement, she can read through the list of my comments to see how rarely I bring it up). All I will say in that respect is this: dude, you SERIOUSLY think Chakotay might not have been a politically correct creation? He (and Journey's End) was such an obvious "look at us, we're so tolerant!" move!

On the general subject at hand, I have said before that Heinlein is the only person I've ever seen pull off a blatantly political story and still have it be good. So I'd rather writers avoid it as much as possible. The single largest problem with political stories (along with online political discussions...) is lack of respect for the subject matter. To again use a Trek example, look at any Klingon-centric episode on this site, and you'll find a few commenters simply responding in disgust that they hate all things Klingon. I certainly wouldn't want them to write a Klingon story, because they have no respect for them. This doesn't mean you have to agree with the Klingon culture, just understand where it comes from. This is actually one of the few parts of Trek that was consistent throughout the entire TNG era; a fundamental respect for Klingon culture (probably due to their popularity) while still demonstrating their flaws. Even though the episodes constantly highlighted corruption or flaws in their system, culminating in Ezri's famous speech, we never lose sight of why people like Worf and Jadzia and Martok are drawn to that culture. We can still understand it. As long as writing like that exists, I'm happy.

The "straw man" version of a lack of respect for the culture you are writing is easy to see and easy to criticize. TNG Ferengi is a clear example of that. But the other side, in which you lionize something you think you should respect while fundamentally misunderstanding it (ie, Chakotay) is also annoying.

Chrome, I don't necessarily want Christianity front and center in Trek, but I do think they do a disservice by the situation at hand. We know Roddenberry was hostile to religion in his TNG years. We know that many people care about upholding the "Roddenberry vision" of the future (even though that vision is TNG Season 1...). Episodes like Who Watches the Watchers strongly suggest all humans are atheists. If that's really what the authors want to do, then so be it. But saying that ONLY whites are now atheist, but that Indians are just fine, is a bit insulting. To both sides, actually. If the authors are saying that the advanced humans of the future are atheists, then doesn't that mean Chakotay and his kind aren't advanced and should be looked down upon?

So while "Christian" stories are probably pointless to most of Trek, if the point is to seek out new life and new civilizations, why not contrast with other civilizations as well? DS9 is well known for having a wide variety of opinions, and for having those opinions clash. So why should all the human opinions be the same? Wouldn't, for example, the idea of Sisko being the Emissary of the Bajoran religion make him (or perhaps other members of his family) a mite uncomfortable if he himself (or other members of his family) was religious? Couldn't that have been an interesting storyline?

Anyway, that's all I'll say on the religion side, other than to again mention to Robert that yes, it's not declarative that there aren't Christians in Trek, but given the Roddenberry ideal that's probably why the "default" belief for Joe Sisko is atheist. And yet... the thing that set me off was when I realized that Ben's sister's name was Judith. Now Joseph, Benjamin, and Jacob are all very traditional Hebrew names, but are also all relatively common enough that I figured that might be a coincidence. But Judith as well? It just strikes me that that had to be intentional... and yet Moore and Behr and everyone else did nothing with it. I'd be curious to know if it was a coincidence or not.

As for the gender issue, yes, it's certainly possible that B'Elanna sucker-punched Carey, and it's also certainly possible that her Klingon heritage makes her much stronger than normal. The whole "woman is equal in strength to man!" trope is just so ubiquitous in TV and movies that everyone practically takes it for granted. Heck, I am reminded of Chuck from SFDebris - who prides himself on having no sacred cows - complaining that Troi and Crusher were not swordfighting alongside Riker and Worf in QPid. We're so inundated with this stuff that the one time the difference in strength is acknowledged, it's seen as weird!

Although I will acknowledge that Trek is so over the top with humans beating up Klingon and Romulans and the like that perhaps there's no point in quibbling over anything of that nature on the show... it's already a lost cause...

As for this specific topic at hand... I'm going to go out on a limb and actually say the double standard, to some extent, is not a bad thing in this particular instant. It IS worse for a guy to punch a girl than vice versa. The problem with saying that out loud is that people then assume you mean girls punching guys is ok, when in reality you just mean its different shades of bad. It's the old Spider-Man moral; since men in general have more upper body strength than women, it is more important for them to restrain that strength around others. It's also why it's a worse thing for an NFL linebacker to punch me than me punching an NFL linebacker.

So I do disagree to SOME extent with DLPB that this is a horrible double standard. But regardless of that (and again, that double standard kinda goes away if B'Elanna's Klingon heritage really does make her equal in strength to human males), it is still absurdly unprofessional of her to punch out a coworker, and the fact that this is barely acknowledged by the end of the episode is disturbing. On THAT front, there should be no difference in punishment from Janeway, even thought there probably is here.

So what COULD they have done differently? Yes, it's obvious that this situation, with the crew trapped on the other side of the galaxy, merits different approaches than what would happen in the Alpha Quadrant. And it is true that the Maquis might get restless if they are seen as constantly being put aside for the Starfleet Crew. And it is true that B'Elanna is a better engineer than Carey (or at least that's what is implied here). However, none of that necessarily merits being made the senior officer. Why couldn't Janeway have acknowledged B'Elanna's strengths, but told her that there's more to being an officer than having smarts? Why couldn't, perhaps, she be left as just another engineer (the focus of episodes, of course, since she's the smart one) until a promotion in Season 2 or so?

Obviously because the writers quickly wanted to settle into an episodic format, which is too bad. The formula would actually be used with Seven a few years later - someone obviously extremely talented but not ready to be given any serious responsibility. It could have been a nice character arc for Torres in the early seasons, and could have made Carey be an interesting character (how would he feel knowing he was basically going to be a placeholder chief and be demoted once Janeway thinks Torres is ready?). Alas, another interesting opportunity wasted...
Peter G.
Thu, May 11, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -6)
Great post, Skeptical.
Linda
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:31am (UTC -6)
Skeptical, if you check my posts on Parallax on 5/5 and 5/6, I think you’d find that you and I share similar viewpoints about Torres.

During the first run of Voyager, I gave up on the series early on. But I have now developed a fondness for many of the Voyager characters, and for reading the comments on this site. The intelligence of the discussions and the civility is very much appreciated.
DLPB
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:49am (UTC -6)
Robert, DLPB may be acerbic, but he was absolutely (ok, 90%) right in his post. And while he may have insulted a group of people in his post, it was you who made it personal by insulting him.
-------

Thanks for the post - and You could have left it right there. Robert didn't like that it that I called out his own bias and that of his own liberal left hypocrisy and turned into an attack on me by riding in like a white knight. Ridiculous.
DLPB
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:58am (UTC -6)
But the Left shoot themselves in the foot every time. Their condescending "you are a racist, Nazi, homophobe" responses to any intellectual debate ritually guaranteed Trump's victory. And he's still trolling them. And, I admit, I LOVE it that he is. It all blew up in the Left's face.

So, Robert, you can whine and whinge and stamp and shout - but people are waking up to how intolerant the Left is when people don't agree with them. We see it in the riots, the rubbish that's going on at Berkeley (left wing agitators and rioters trying to shut up their opponents), and with how the media and shows like Star Trek behave in general.

But Trump won. And the Right will never go away, so you best get used to it. Instead of insulting people, and shutting down debate, you'll have to learn to accept not everyone agrees with your political opinion. That's why the Republicans now hold the Senate, the House, and the Presidency.
N
Fri, May 12, 2017, 6:13am (UTC -6)
What has happened to this thread? I'm so sick of this happening on this site. And I don't get how DLPB presents the "Right" and the "Left" as weird, abstracted monolithic absolutes when a) most people simply aren't ideological and are somewhere in the middle, and when polled will agree with a variety of both right-wing and left-wing policies b) there's a huge spectrum of political beliefs and viewpoints within both right-wing and left-wing politics, and what is understood by "right" and "left" varies greatly in different countries. It's so reductive and childish, to treat "the Right" and "the Left" as if they're these... things. It's facile and really not that simple unless your worldview is totally black and white. I know the internet makes it look as if politics is totally polarised but this doesn't reflect the real world where most people, whether in the middle or on the right or left, are reasonable and non-dogmatic.
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 7:30am (UTC -6)
@Skeptical - Much appreciated.

I think I may have conveyed something wrong. I absolutely think Chakotay was an attempt to be politically correct. But he's not. I, as a progressive, am not proud of Chakotay. I like him in a lot of ways, and I think religion needs more exploring on Trek, but he's culturally insensitive.

When I said "But if Native Americans "sell" in the 90s, I could argue that Chakotay and his fake religion being abused by Hollywood is not leftist group-think but pure capitalist greed. " I'm saying that he's a product of trying to be politically correct without understanding the concept. Pandering to the progressive left without getting them. Although maybe I'm remembering the 90s wrong and progressives WERE proud of him in the 90s. He's definitely an ATTEMPT at political correctness :P

And yes, I agree with you. The "power" of different races in Trek is terrible. It runs on plot force. If the Romulans are descended from Vulcans, and the Vulcans are as strong/fast as the baseball game implies... No human should be able to take one.

"Complaining that Troi and Crusher were not swordfighting alongside Riker and Worf in QPid. We're so inundated with this stuff that the one time the difference in strength is acknowledged, it's seen as weird!"

I don't know that review, and I had no problem with the men fighting (both Riker and Worf are supposedly martial arts experts) but the girls are actually trained in how to use the swords and the men weren't. So I wonder if the review was a behind the scenes complaint :)

I completely agree with your post, it's excellent. And I think you hit on an interesting point. Your body is a weapon. When my brother learned Karate they were told that sensei was giving them a weapon in a sense and that if he ever got word of them using it for anything but self defense that they would be introduced to his weapons. If you're stronger, more deadly, Klingon, whatever you need to be more careful with your weapon. With great power comes great responsibility. Actually it almost would have been more interesting if she has severely hurt him with her Klingon super strength, a parallel to Worf killing that kid and a real consequence for her anger issues. But you are right that the particular double standard isn't bad. If my 6 year old hits her friend with full force I'm going to be pissed, but if she punched the baby it's a different level of offense. It doesn't make a woman hitting a man less unprofessional, but depending on her strength level it could make it less dangerous.

"Alas, another interesting opportunity wasted... "

Voyager's tagline :P
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 7:36am (UTC -6)
@DLPB - "And the Right will never go away, so you best get used to it. Instead of insulting people, and shutting down debate, you'll have to learn to accept not everyone agrees with your political opinion. "

If you think I want everyone to agree with me or that I want to shut down debate or that I'm trying to make the right go away or that I was being a white knight instead of just tired of certain kind of rhetoric after all I've posted on here... I don't think you get me at all. Maybe I'm doing a poor job explaining myself but in either case I'm bowing out of this one.
Chrome
Fri, May 12, 2017, 8:38am (UTC -6)
@Skeptical

All I'm saying is that you can tell a story with Christian values or any religious values without explicitly mentioning the religion. Lord of the Rings is a great example of fiction that's highly influenced by Catholicism in imagery without a single character being religious per se.

I agree it may have been interesting to explore how Sisko's family may have reacted differently if they were of a different religion, but then again at least Jake is pretty well indoctrinated with Federation values, so there's at least conflict to that degree. Offhand, I'm curious as to why you think Joseph Sisko is Christian, is it because he played a pastor in FBTS?

I've heard things about Roddenberry's religious views on this board before though I haven't read anything specific that confirms any of it. I will say that at least some of the writers were Christian, or at least pro-Christian. Look no further than TOS's "Bread and Circuses" in which McCoy describes the Christianity as "a philosophy of total love and total brotherhood."
Linda
Fri, May 12, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -6)
Chrome, I was also thinking about “Bread and Circuses.” But truthfully I think ST has always been a curious mix of many contradicting elements, and I don’t know how “Bread and Circuses” fits into Roddenberry’s overall views. As a kid, I watched TOS simply because we only had one TV in the house. But I later had friends who loved to get into conversations about Spock and ideals and stuff. I always wondered if sometimes they read more into ST than was actually there. Or saw in it, things that they wanted to see.
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 10:52am (UTC -6)
Gene wasn't an atheist to my knowledge, nor was he against Christianity. AFAIK he just felt that contemporary Earth religions would be gone by the age of Star Trek. That doesn't mean there wouldn't be a successor to carry on the Abrahamic religions... just that he didn't care to speculate I think.

Wikipedia attributes this quote to him "It's not true that I don't believe in God. I believe in a kind of God. It's just not other people's God. I reject religion. I accept the notion of God."

If you think more people will head in THAT direction... well it makes total sense that you'd want to leave religion out of it totally. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if the DS9 writers had intended Joseph as Christian. I mean... the DS9 writers often skirted and went over the line with regards to Gene's visions.
Skeptical
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
Chrome, I think there's a separation in philosophy between TOS and the rest of Trek, hence why I was focusing on the TNG era. Besides Bread and Circuses, Balance of Terror made it clear that there was a chapel (er... besides the one in sickbay...) on the Enterprise as well.

Not to play armchair psychologist or anything, but I think Gene's ego grew a few sizes too big after TOS turned into a massive cult following. From what I understand, he was being invited onto college campuses and being considered a "visionary" of the future and all. It's hard to get all those accolades and not start to think all your personal ideas are brilliant. We know for a fact that a lot of the problems of early TNG were due to Gene's specific views of what the future was like, of what is and isn't Star Trek. He said humans must be better at everything than anyone else, hence why the 1701-D was more advanced than anything until the Borg showed up. He said there must not be any interpersonal conflicts of any kind, hence why everyone was so bland. And we know it seeped into the political. There's hardly any Season 1 episodes that DON'T have a random snide comment about how awful 20th century humanity (re: America) was.

So whatever Gene's personal view on God was, he obviously wasn't religious. And that definitely seeped into the TNG era, even if one can argue that Kirk and Bones were at least nominally Christian.

As an aside, this is the first time I've watched TOS all the way through. I like the characters in TNG better, the worldbuilding in TNG better, the plots about 1000 times better. And yet, the feel of TOS is still, in some ways, better. And it's not to do with this Christianity discussion per se, but rather because the world feels more believable. Space IS a frontier in TOS. These ARE recognizable humans. TNG can feel like an epilogue, like everything is already complete. Like running around a videogame that you've already finished. Humanity seems so stagnant and boring in the TNG era (and again, TNG is my favorite series, so I'm not trying to find ways of criticizing it). It's not surprising that every single other Trek franchise tried to go back to the feel of TOS, of being on a frontier and being a little bit rough around the edges. They didn't all succeed, but it seems that Gene pushing TNG to be his vision of utopia also lost something of what Trek should be... which is STRIVING for that utopia.

As for Joe Sisko... I didn't remember him as the pastor in FBTS, but I'll take that as part of my argument! Then again, if that was true, you'd think Worf would have been better in Take Me Out to the Holosuite... In any case, like I said, the main reason comes from the naming convention. I had noticed the interesting coincidence of Joseph, Benjamin, and Jacob all being Hebrew names. That's what got me idly thinking about it. But when looking at Memory Alpha to see if anyone else had caught this connection, I saw that one episode had named Ben's sister as Judith (again, Hebrew). Given how uncommon Judith is as a name, I'm seriously questioning if that can be a coincidence.

And the rest of his lifestyle seems to fit more closely with a traditional way of life rather than a Trek-way or even modern 21st century life. These aren't necessarily specific to Christianity, but they are part of the feel. The Siskos are easily the most positive depiction of family life* for a human or half human character in Trek (compare Ben's relationship with his parent to Picard, Riker, Troi...). It seems Ben has multiple half-siblings, compared to the typical one or two children of the Trek world (and, again, modern Western civilization). Memory Alpha puts Joseph as having 4 kids. The commitment to family life rather than casual dating seems to have rubbed off on Ben, as he married Jennifer at a relatively young age and was serious about marrying Kassidy. While not a luddite like Robert Picard, he likes working with his hands, likes traditional work, and likes being a part of a community. This all seems different than the typical view we see of Trek characters, where they are all so focused on Starfleet and advancing their careers and casual dating and so forth. Joseph just wants to raise his kids right, be there for his family, and use his talents in cooking in order to make others happy. There's no "improving oneself for the betterment of humanity" there, but he still has a strong, positive view of life.

Of course, given that the naming convention is what first set me off, it's possible he's Jewish. But I got the impression that the Siskos were long-time residents of America. And there just aren't enough black Jews (whether members of Beta Israel or otherwise) here in the 21st century to think that they would retain both of those traits throughout the centuries.

And DLPB... I defended your first post because I thought it had to do with Trek. Can't we please keep focusing on Trek only and not the Left vs Right battle?

*The LaForges might also qualify, but that was a one-off episode that was never mentioned again, so I'm not counting it.
Robert
Fri, May 12, 2017, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
@Skeptical -

"Humanity seems so stagnant and boring in the TNG era (and again, TNG is my favorite series, so I'm not trying to find ways of criticizing it)."

I love TNG too, but you're right on the money. People might be offended at how far DS9 traveled from Gene, but as a pre-teen in 1993, watching Bashir/O'Brien play Battle of Britain, darts and the Alamo I can honestly say that they seemed more fun to hang out with than the TNG crew. Although I am VERY fond of the TNG crew.

I also agree with your assessment of Sisko. I don't know if it's Christian, something else, or both but I've always been very attracted to the Sisko's portrayal of family in the future. There's something special and completely unique about their family in all of Trek.

As a guy who married his first girlfriend I can honestly say there's something very refreshing to me about Sisko's approach to matters of love. And as a person who likes TV and thinks that most Trek "hour long romances" suck, I'm super happy that they just let him do that.
Peter G.
Fri, May 12, 2017, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
I guess there should be a giant spoiler alert stickied to this thread for anyone who hasn't seen DS9 yet, heh.

Robert,
"As a guy who married his first girlfriend I can honestly say there's something very refreshing to me about Sisko's approach to matters of love. And as a person who likes TV and thinks that most Trek "hour long romances" suck, I'm super happy that they just let him do that."

Not only that, but his wife meant so much to him (as compared to a utopian love of civilization) that when she died he *didn't* get over it. So the depiction of family there not only involves something other than a romance of the week, but also the idea of people having problems that can't be solved with TNG-style superior reasoning and a bon mot from Guinan. What I liked best about the DS9 crew was that they were all significantly flawed, sometimes fatally so. It's definitely not Gene's vision of perfect humanity, but in a way it's more Gene's vision than even Gene was capable of, because if there's one thing an enlightened society should have, it's acceptance of human imperfection. The idea of having eliminated imperfection (so that a Ro Laren can end up being a "troublemaker") smacks more of "The Masterpiece Society" than an actually enlightened era. At times I almost feel like TNG takes the piss out of its own sense of the perfect future. "Hollow Pursuits" is one of my favorite episodes, and a great case in point of certain writers poking a hole in the stuffed-shirt decorum on TNG at times.

Corey
Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 9:42pm (UTC -6)
Comments above berate Voyager for "pushing a silly Native Indian and his religion upon us", which is "hypocritical because Trek would never do this with Christianity". This, apparently, is "typical liberal double standards."

No. It's sticking up for underdogs. A TV series made in a predominantly Christian country in which nutty Christians wiped out Native Indians in the name of nutty values, doesn't need a blatantly "Christian character". But an Indian? That's kind of cool. And touching. And aside from the 2 or 3 episodes where Chakotay's Native Americanness is directly addressed - awful episodes which reduce him to a trope - he's an excellent and original character. When written well, and at his best, he's sexy, dignified, clever, brave, and with interesting cadence. He just also happens to be Native American. And the banality and matter-of-factness of his Indian roots is inclusiveness done well.

90s Trek was ahead of the curve in trying to portray a bevy of peoples and cultures. It didn't do this to pander to demographics or to chase dollars and markets, as is common now (see the recent Star Wars movies). It didn't cast blacks, latinas, lesbians and Indians to coax target audiences. There was an authenticity and well-intentionedness that differs from some of the more cynical characterizations of today.
Yanks
Fri, Jul 21, 2017, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Corey,

Glad you liked Chuckles, but he's just a stereotype indian... front and center see his tatoo...

I liked Chuckles too for the most part. He would have been the same had he been just a regular dude.

Man, this topic really got fired up. :-)
Peter Swinkels
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Mostly agree with the review. Nice character interaction, okay story involving a spatial distortion. Oh, it probably doesn't really matter since review is years old already, but there appears to be a typo: "big" instead of "brig" :-)
Peter Swinkels
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
(the)
William B
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 1:23am (UTC -6)
Skeptical's comment pretty perfectly sums up my feelings about the episode -- I agree that the Torres material was decent but the Chakotay stuff was a highlight and that the SF plot was weak, especially given their flagrantly bad attempts to use real science. I am hopeful that Neelix's bizarre explanation of the event horizon was meant to be Neelix being an idiot, BS-ing a fake backstory to make himself seem impressive to Kes, except that his description of the event horizon as some kind of energy barrier yadda yadda seems to be the take the episode wants us to buy, too. Guys, just make up fake phenomena! Anyway the episode really does fall apart for me when it focuses on the SF plot, which is drenched in tech, makes little sense even on its own terms, and somehow is *also* too slow-paced and obvious (wasn't it clear to everyone that they were seeing the Voyager from early on?), but the character bits are worthwhile.

Regarding the issue of whether the Torres v. Carey thing is fairly handled, I think the general point here is that fairness doesn't come into it. I'm sympathetic to the point made above that Carey maybe didn't know that his job was in jeopardy, but I think the broader point is that no one was stopping Carey from coming up with the explanation for why they were in trouble; Torres supplied it because she's a quicker thinker and better scientist/engineer. Chakotay points out that attempting to assign seniority will give automatic preference for Starfleet personnel, and Janeway provides a good counterargument that Starfleet personnel *are* trained to work on starships in a particular way. But the bottom line is that Voyager's situation is unique. Its survival depends on having the best crew. Its survival should also depend on having crew who can control themselves, which is why Janeway's initial skepticism about Torres is *also* warranted. I think what we learn in this episode is that Janeway is a scientist before she's a commander, in her heart, and she tends to see Torres' intelligence and insight as a greater asset than Carey's competence and self-control, in a situation where they will be constantly encountering new phenomena. And I think that the idea of having a brilliant loose cannon is a pretty believable, appropriate trope -- lots of people who are gifted in one way or another also have big demons, in real life as well as in fiction. Janeway's looking to what is distinct about Voyager's situation, when they are far from reinforcements, from other starships is a good sign about her command ability. I think that stronger characterization of Carey would have helped the episode, certainly, and there was potential for Tuvok to make a stronger case to Janeway that discipline would be jeopardized by letting Torres off the hook for the punching and so on; having Tuvok and Chakotay play a kind of Spock-McCoy bifurcation with the captain balancing the two extremes probably would have worked. But yeah, I'm pretty happy with the personnel aspect of the episode overall.

I think the punching element has to be taken in the context the episode supplies -- it was an escalation, starting with a push and then Carey pushed back, and then finally punch; we also apparently learn that this type of thing is common on Maquis ships. This seems a bit of a dubious premise -- how do Maquis ships get anything done? -- but they're anarchists, I guess, whatever. It *is* the premise; Torres is a Maquis so picks up their habits, and she fit in with the Maquis because the Maquis was a place where her habits were tolerated and even encouraged. That guy with Seska talking openly about mutiny was hilarious -- the way the usual "We're with you" / "What does that mean?" type of exchange usually plays out is with a *slightly* more explicit take, not a "what I mean is, I will mutiny with you." Chakotay's scenes with Janeway really are great, and I love the idea that he really *is* partly looking out for his crew because he recognizes that if he doesn't, they will not be controllable and Voyager will fail, because it needs the Maquis aboard. This is also potentially a rationalization for Chakotay to play favourites.

If Torres' profs at the academy loved her so much, maybe one of them should have said something to her.

2.5 stars seems right given how incoherent the SF plot ended up being.
Skottle
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 7:33am (UTC -6)
Stupid episode.

Why sit and debate a bunch of left/right political nonsense about a show that seems like it was written by 12 year olds?

The shrinking EMH was pretty funny.

1 1/2 stars.
DLPB
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
I do want to note here that I find Robert to be a very good contributor, and it would be a very boring place without divisions or conflicts of opinion. I am going to vehemently disagree with him on most things, because his political views (and that of the writers) is in many places a polar opposite of mine.

Still, I do apologize that I employ brute force tactics and that I am clearly not a people person. I find those a strength and a weakness. Generally, Robert has gotten a bit of a raw deal with me simply because I am extremely angry and frustrated with how our world works, and he represents, to some extent, the embodiment of the root of many of the causes. But that's not an excuse for how I sometimes conduct myself on here.

I doubt how I operate will change, but I want you to know that I am not oblivious to my short-comings. And I am not unfeeling.

Daniel
Robert
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
@DLPB - "Generally, Robert has gotten a bit of a raw deal with me simply because I am extremely angry and frustrated with how our world works, and he represents, to some extent, the embodiment of the root of many of the causes."

Just wanted to restate a bit of what I said up top. At the end of the day we're both here because both like Star Trek. And that's not all we have in common. We're both coders. We're both enjoy video games. We both like Final Fantasy. We're both the same age. I think some of that stuff is more important.

I actually gave you a hard time earlier on this particular thread not because I dislike you, but the opposite. There are some epic level trolls on these boards sometimes, and most of them I don't even care enough to respond to. I guess what I mean is... you can't be aggravated by something you don't care about. I was happy hearing from you after the attack in your hometown.

And although we often disagree on many, many things I still appreciate hearing from someone who views the world differently than I do. IDIC is a good thing. Even when you occasionally want to shake the other person :)
Skottle
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 3:58am (UTC -6)
Get a room.
Del
Tue, Nov 7, 2017, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
Observations, Likes, Dislikes, and Hopes about this site and these discussions (as a long time Trek fan and a regular (but silent) reader of Jammer's reviews:

Observations: These reviews and discussions can be engaging and informative -- pointing out things I may have missed in particular episodes and offering interesting opinions about episodes or Star Trek more generally.

Likes: Thoughtful discussions about character development, story development, political and philosophical points, science and technology, humanity, religion, history/culture, background information about the writers, directors, producers, and sets, etc.

Likes: Good writing, new insights, and good humor. I also like the time span of the comments, which may be years in some cases. Thanks Jammer for such a long term endeavor!

Dislikes: Name calling, making discussions too personal, back and forth arguments by the same people that repeat the same points or variants of their points over and over, monolithic oversimplification of US politics and what the purported "left" or "right" or "feminists" think, and relitigating the 2016 presidential election. When discussions get nasty and laborious, I go do something else or scroll ahead in hopes of seeing more of why I come to this site in the first place.

Hopes: To keep this site rich and worthwhile, IMO, online discussion forums need to be civil and on topic. Discussants need to be self-restrained and kind toward one another, especially when disagreeing.

Finally: In writing and submitting posts, again IMO, more is not necessarily better, and more of the same is definitely worse.

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