Star Trek: Voyager



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

30 comments on this review

Fri, Oct 16, 2009, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
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....
Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
"Remember Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda?"

I don't think anyone remembers it now.
Mon, Jan 4, 2010, 8:44am (UTC -5)
@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.
Mon, Apr 4, 2011, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jul 15, 2011, 11:43am (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 12:24am (UTC -5)
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!)
Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 11:05am (UTC -5)
This is a pretty great episode. It actually has the crew grabbling with problems of unity and acclimitization.
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 10:20am (UTC -5)
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.
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
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.
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
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).
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
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.
Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 7:14am (UTC -5)
@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.
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
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 -5)
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.
Sat, Dec 12, 2015, 1:50am (UTC -5)
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...
Sat, May 14, 2016, 8:38am (UTC -5)
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!
Sat, Jul 16, 2016, 9:34am (UTC -5)
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.
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
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
Tue, Aug 16, 2016, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Aug 17, 2016, 9:53am (UTC -5)
HAHA!!!!! Odyssey47!!!! Nice.
J.B. Nicholson
Mon, Jan 2, 2017, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
"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.
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 10:22am (UTC -5)
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.
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
@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!
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for the kind welcome, Robert. Very much looking forward to the journey.... :)
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
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.
Thu, Feb 9, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
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
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Odyssey47's comment in Aug 2016... LOOOOOOL

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