Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Threshold"

zero stars

Air date: 1/29/1996
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Story by Michael DeLuca
Directed by Alexander Singer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Here lies Thomas Eugene Paris: beloved mutant." — Tom's epitaph to himself

Nutshell: If you looked "Threshold" up in the dictionary, it would say "A filmed mistake."

I'll admit I was too nice when I originally reviewed this episode. I held back my cynicism and gave the show the benefit of the doubt, and I even gave it a higher rating than what now appears above this review. But now, months after the original airing of the show, I have had the wonderfully excruciating experience of seeing it again. And to put something mildly for probably the last time in this review, I'll just say that repeat viewings of "Threshold" do not do the show any justice. It actually gets worse with each viewing, and multiple viewings—make that any viewing—should be avoided if at all possible.

"Threshold" is one of the all-time worst episodes of Star Trek ever filmed, as far as I'm concerned. It's an absurd, technobabble disaster that practically deserves to be put up for scrutiny just so it can be torn apart. Non-Trekkers are bound to have a field day with it. If I were a person who had never seen Star Trek before and had the unfortunate experience of tuning into "Threshold," I would probably never tune into Star Trek again.

The plot? Do you care? In an attempt to break the threshold of the warp speed barrier, Lt. Paris tries to perform a theoretical impossibility: attain a velocity of warp ten in a jerry-rigged shuttlecraft. Unfortunately, breaking this barrier has some mysterious (nah—too favorable a word for this story) consequences which begin mutating Paris' DNA and putting his life in danger.

The show progresses from "positively implausible" to "positively laborious" to "positively repetitive." And just when it looks like it's going to end with a "positively predictable" revelation, something else happens instead—the episode supplies an ending that has to go down as one of the most absurdly unbelievable, stupendously outrageous, dumb, and utterly pointless ideas Star Trek has ever done. It's definitely the weirdest thing I've seen on Voyager. You gotta hand it to Brannon Braga, though; it took him a lot of guts to try something this strange and offbeat—and I sure didn't see it coming. (I'll have to admit, however, that this looks more like something Joe Menosky would come up with.) It's too bad this strange ending was so uncompromisingly bad.

In the beginning, the show looked like it might possibly have some value. The idea that Paris, Torres, and Kim have apparently figured out what could be a historic turning point in technology use is something that could have been put to reasonable dramatic use. Janeway puts it best when she says this kind of travel could change the very nature of human existence (in addition to getting Voyager back home). This also gives Paris a potentially good show (which he hasn't gotten many of since he often fades into the background as a supporting character); the idea of pioneering new flight is something that suits his character rather well.

It's about here, however, that the show completely derails and the "positively implausible" side shows up. According to theory, warp ten means "infinite speed," in which one would occupy every bit of space in the universe simultaneously. Fine and dandy, but if this theory is true, where is Paris going to end up when he hits warp ten? How will he stop? How will he survive? Are we supposed to believe his computer will be able to navigate a course at infinite speed?

Paris' flight is successful, and when he returns, he speaks of a magnificent, indescribable experience ("I was everywhere at once; here on Voyager, back home on Earth..."). The episode claims that Paris' trip proves the theory is true, which brings up even more questions. How does his brain perceive everything, everywhere at once? Why isn't his shuttle destroyed? Why is it this warp ten theory completely contradicts what we were led to believe in TNG's "All Good Things," where ships in the future could all go warp 13? Why has the word "transwarp" completely changed meanings since we heard it in Star Trek III? Why does this episode prompt so much nitpicking from me, a person who generally considers nitpicking a waste of time?

Frankly, I don't find the warp theory arguments in this episode believable or interesting, because the episode contradicts its own logic on more than one occasion. The only reason we as 20th century science-educated Star Trek viewers can comprehend acceleration beyond the speed of light—an impossibility according to Einstein—is because Trek never actually tries to explain how it's done, short of acknowledging the existence of some "warp field" theories that bend the contemporary rules of physics. On the other hand, the difference between "extremely fast" and "infinite speed" requires a big leap in logical thinking—and the logic in this episode is full of holes and mired in typical technobabble.

While highly implausible, the show may have still been salvageable for dramatic or entertainment purposes, but instead we get to the "positively laborious and repetitive" portion. Paris begins turning into a mutant, and, as a result, nearly all of acts three and four are played out in sickbay, where the Doctor explains what's happening to Paris with the usual, unexciting, medical mumbo-jumbo. There are some pointless gags here used merely to pad out the scenes, like Paris actually dying for a few hours, and then coming back to life; and the "revelation" that he has two hearts. It seems Paris' acceleration beyond the threshold is causing his "DNA to evolve at an accelerated rate," turning him into a human form that would presumably appear eons from now.

Really, aside from a decent performance by Robert McNeill as a scared, grotesque-looking Paris-mutant, and a few bizarre sights like Paris spitting his own tongue out of his mouth, there's nothing in these two acts to keep one's interest. A few character-driven scenes try to sneak their way to the surface, but take second place to a series of drearily uninteresting instances where the Doctor babbles on about DNA mutations, and so forth.

This all leads to the final act where Doc tries to reverse the mutation process by subjecting Paris to antiproton radiation (or something) in engineering. Paris breaks free, kidnaps Captain Janeway, steals a shuttle, and escapes at warp ten. Three days later, Voyager finally locates the shuttle, which has landed on some obscure planet. Here's the outrageous part: When Chakotay locates Paris and Janeway, he discovers that both have mutated into amphibian-like creatures, which have mated and produced offspring. Does this strike only me as insanely silly? Where did this notion come from? Is this supposed to be comedy? I'm not sure, but it is effective in one sense—it manages to recapture my interest (which, however, turned out not to be a good thing).

Returning Janeway and Paris to their normal state is, naturally, a piece of cake, thanks to the Doctor's antiproton radiation "sci-fi" theory, which again treats DNA like a magical substance that can be manipulated at will—mind you, only when stories require a contrived solution to a problem (a la TNG's "Genesis") that can't be solved any other way. Aside from Janeway's admittedly funny one-liner ("I've thought about having children; but I must say I never considered having them with you."), there's nothing to indicate that Janeway and Paris having "children" will have any consequences, characteristically speaking or otherwise. The episode sports the all-too-familiar attitude of "Well, it doesn't really mean anything, so just forget about it." So why do it, then? Paris and Janeway having offspring has no apparent rationale—except that maybe the writers thought it would be a great gag.

Aside from being downright dumb, the ending also brings up so many unresolved inconsistencies. Was this amphibian creature supposed to be an evolutionary human or not? The Doctor initially calls it natural human evolution, although it seems more like devolution to me; I would hope that eons of natural evolution wouldn't reduce us to walking on four legs and living in water, while mating on instinct. But by the end of the show, for some reason, everyone begins referring to it as an "alien." Which is it? If it is a new form of human intelligence, is it really wise for Chakotay to leave the offspring in their new habitat? Put these oversights alongside the fact that Janeway and Paris are able to have offspring in a mere matter of days, and the unanswerable question of why going infinite speed only puts the shuttle three days away from Voyager, and it amounts to little more than a collection of appallingly idiotic half-baked ideas, none of which has anything to say.

But who cares? The conclusion is crazy, yet so arbitrary and meaningless that, like most of "Threshold," it may as well not even exist in the confines of the Star Trek universe. Hell, why not use this transwarp theory to get home? Sure, everyone may turn into amphibians shortly thereafter, but just put them all in engineering and irradiate them with antiprotons and everyone would be fine... and back home in the Alpha Quadrant. Hey, it would work using this episode's logic.

What went wrong here? It's a mystery to me. Brannon Braga isn't a bad writer—"Projections" is proof of that. Alexander Singer has been successfully directing Trek for years. How did the checks and balances of Star Trek: Voyager fail so miserably?

Previous episode: Alliances
Next episode: Meld

Season Index

81 comments on this review

Gretchen - Thu, Oct 25, 2007 - 12:18pm (USA Central)
At least "Genesis" was watchable(the sequence with Worf hunting Picard had me on the edge of my seat) with an ending that didn't make me feel insulting. "Threshold," on the other hand, is nothng but a gag-inducing mess that even Uwe Boll would hate.
mlk - Sun, Dec 16, 2007 - 5:43pm (USA Central)
If they had removed the whole ending with Janeway, and the Doctor calling being turned into a lizard for evolution the show would have atleast been acceptable
Jakob M. Mokoru - Tue, Dec 18, 2007 - 10:23am (USA Central)
The german reviewer Thomas Höhl once wrote: "Treshold could have been one of the best episodes of the second season, if..., yes, if Tom Paris would have died."

I tend to agree with this. It would have added a lot of depth and tragedy to the Tom Paris-character: The guy who always tried to do great things (especially to please his father) and always failed. Here he had sucess in breaking the Warp 10-barrier - how tragic if he had died doing so.

Eddy - Tue, Dec 25, 2007 - 11:18am (USA Central)
One of the special features on the Voyager DVD set includes Braga admitting he messed up badly on this one and calling it a "royal steaming stinker".
Cy_Borg - Mon, Feb 4, 2008 - 3:23pm (USA Central)
Three words: "Infinite Improbability Drive"... only that little invention was written about in a satiric context. Wonder if Douglas Adams ever saw Threshold's use of his idea.
Dirk Hartmann - Fri, Mar 28, 2008 - 7:01am (USA Central)
The best way to live with this stupid episode is to interpret it as a weird dream of Tom Paris ...
Brendan - Tue, Apr 29, 2008 - 7:30pm (USA Central)
When my brother told me about this episode before I'd seen it, I first thought he was joking, then that he seriously misunderstood what he was watching. Then I watched and it was even more ridiculous than it sounded.

99% of the worlds populace could write a better episode than this.
Sarah M - Sun, Sep 28, 2008 - 12:56am (USA Central)
The Emmys made me think of this episode again.

Emmy winner that it was.

Beating out DS9's Emmy-nominated 'The Vistor' in its category.

For best make-up, admittedly, but still. 'Threshold' won an Emmy.

Let's all take a moment to reflect on that.
Jake - Sat, Oct 4, 2008 - 10:34pm (USA Central)
Pearl Harbor won the Oscar for Sound Effects Editing a few years later, so crap winning awards like that is not necessarily unusual.
Jakob M. Mokoru - Sun, Oct 5, 2008 - 12:06am (USA Central)
Well, "Threshold" at least encourages discussion, which is more than can be said about most Enterprise episodes!
Bob - Thu, Jan 1, 2009 - 3:54pm (USA Central)
This is the worst episode I've ever seen of Star Trek. It's almost like it was written by a 5 year old in a sci-fi story contest.
Rachel - Sun, Jan 18, 2009 - 6:46pm (USA Central)
The very worst thing about this episode is something that I don't think anyone mentioned here; these writers seem to have no idea how evolution works. A single individual cannot evolve new traits like Paris did in this episode. The traits of a species change as they are passed from one generation to another. An individual fish did not suddenly grow legs.

This might sound like a silly thing for me to be making a big deal about, but the thing is, a lot of people actually don't know the basics of how evolution works. (Someone on the internet once wrote sarcastically, "So it only takes a few million years for a monkey to evolve into a person. Oh that's right, monkeys don't live millions of years!")What's next, an episode where the crew goes back in time and sees cavemen coexisting with dinosaurs?

The only good thing about "Threshold" is that it was a season 2 episode, so at least it has an excuse to be terrible.
Chris H - Sat, Mar 21, 2009 - 8:15pm (USA Central)
I agree with rachel, it really annoys me when shows just mess about with evolution as an excuse for anything. Even stargate has made a mess of evolution once or twice, using it as a technobabble excuse.

I also agree that the first two seasons of any star trek series (bar TOS) are usually a load of shit. Argh a show about science (a la scifi) should respect science, its its basis and used properly can be an escape route for ridiculous plot contrivances.

Perhaps Tom should of died, it would have increased the drama level and given voyager that edge, as the first star trek series to kill a main character..removing the whole "safe" zone.
Josh - Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - 7:35am (USA Central)
Chris H, NextGen killed Tasha Yar in the first season so killing Tom Paris wouldn't have been a Trek first.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Wed, Mar 25, 2009 - 5:35pm (USA Central)
I must admit that this episode is good comedy if you pretend that this is a MADTv or SNL parody of Star Trek rather than the real thing...
Vylora - Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - 4:49am (USA Central)
I don't know what the hell everyone's problem is - this episode is one of the best out of Star Trek ever.

Period.

Wait...what?

"Threshold"?

I'm on the wrong review?

Wait...you're telling me they actually aired this crap? It wasn't just a nightmare?

Seriously though this should never have aired. The idea itself for the story is ludicrous at best. Yah right a few people on Voyager after everything they've been through up to this point all of a sudden come up with a way to reach Warp 10 (infinite velocity) - yet somehow hundreds of Federation engineers and scientists in the Alpha Quadrant can't figure it out let alone things like trans-warp.

It's episodes like this that make me shudder to think someone tuning in to ST for the first time in forever would have to sit through this sh*t.

By the way my favorite all time ST episode is, of course, Spock's Brain... o.O
Nick - Fri, May 29, 2009 - 2:08am (USA Central)
I rewatched this last night for the first time since an initial viewing a decade ago (thanks, kind of, youtube.)

I only got through it by continually chanting to myself that "this can't be canon, this can't be canon, this can't be canon, this can't be canon..."

Please, someone do whatever it takes for Kate Mulgrew, Patrick Stewart, Brannon Braga, William Shatner, and whatever Roddenberry's are available to disown it forever and admit it was a parody or one of Paris' dreams. Please!
Matt - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 8:16am (USA Central)
Voyager is like Ed Wood's filmography & Threshold is its Plan 9 From Outer Space.
PM - Mon, Jul 13, 2009 - 12:12pm (USA Central)
There should be at least half a star awarded for sheer gonzo insanity on this one. I personally think Genesis was worse.
Jay - Sat, Aug 1, 2009 - 10:07am (USA Central)
Many Star Trek episodes have been misguided.

Many Star Trek episodes have been ridiculous.

But this one stands alone as being simply inexcusable.

And good point about Federation medicine's ability to heal DNA problems being story-related and nothing more. The genetic alterations (restorations, just as here) in Season 6's Ashes to Ashes should have been child's play compared to this (especially since that episode took place AFTER this one, so Doc should have thought of antiprotons immediately), but all the Doctor could do was effect cosmetic changes for Ensign Ballard there.

Like I said, inexcusable. This is one of, and probably foremost, among the handful of Star Trek episodes that simply didn't happen as far as I'm concerned.
J - Sun, Oct 4, 2009 - 2:15pm (USA Central)
I don't know why anyone didn't say to the writer of this episode:

"How is infinity a barrier?"

"Threshold of what exactly?"

It is an episode that wants to be about evolution and infinity, but is written by someone who does not actually know what the words "evolution" and "infinity" mean.

I am reminded of the Enterprise episode "Marauders," which contains the line "Deuterium can burn almost as hot as plasma, when it's ignited." This line could only have been written by someone who does not know the meanings of the words "deuterium" or "plasma" (and possibly "ignited").
Joe - Tue, Oct 27, 2009 - 9:23am (USA Central)
Matt: "Voyager is like Ed Wood's filmography & Threshold is its Plan 9 From Outer Space."

Joe: No, YOU'RE like Ed Wood's filmography and your penis is YOUR Plan 9 From Outer Space. I love Voyager!
Tony - Fri, Nov 6, 2009 - 11:57am (USA Central)
D@mn, Joe! That's a bitter post. Having man trouble?
Greg - Mon, Feb 15, 2010 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
I don't mind this episode.After reading the review, I admit the episode was misguided.

I remember Tuvok saying " I look forward to hearing it," after Chakotey noted he would be reporting something of this in the log after seeing Janeway and Paris's offspring. I think that was a highlight.
James - Tue, Mar 2, 2010 - 7:46pm (USA Central)
Third me up for being annoyed the most by the ludicrous accounts of how "evolution" supposedly works.

I'm all for a good measure of fiction in my sci-fi, but not when they arbitrarily replace the sci with yet more fi.
Joe - Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - 7:58pm (USA Central)
What am I saying? I'M Ed Wood's filmography & my puny penis is its "Plan 9" since I'm stupid enough to love Voyager
Chris H - Sat, Jun 26, 2010 - 3:49pm (USA Central)
@Josh

Indeed I forgot about Tasha Yar, but since she was one of the most contrived characters ever...meh.

Perhaps they could have had Tom break the Warp 10 barrier, but an accident affected his DNA caused by instabilities in the warp field.

We watch him slowly degrade (they could have even kept the make up.

Then he dies.

We watch the crews reaction, and we see B'leanna crying her eyes out. But Voyager followed in the wake of the shuttle (think timeless) and got home.

25 years later we have warp 13, and Crusher has her own warp ship.

Voyager actually affected canon! woooowwwwww :)

If that had of been the ending of Voyager, Threshold would have still won an emmy, and we would all be commenting as to how good it was.
Tijn - Wed, Nov 10, 2010 - 5:43am (USA Central)
Zero stars is a little harsh for this episode.
I liked it. Even though is is very improbable I like the idea of someone evolving into a future human. I find it much more realistic than TNG's 'Genesis'.

But why did they let the final outcome be a giant amphibious embryo?

Paris and Janeway looked exactly how early embryo's look like:
www.risallah.com/multimedia/images/wonderen/embryo5.jpg
Ken - Tue, Feb 8, 2011 - 7:24am (USA Central)
Here's another episode that actually sort of had promise, but the sequence of events and how everything unfolds is just one disaster after another.

When Paris died... I just find it hard to believe the crew did or said nothing. I mean, in "Alliances", they had an entire memorial for some useless Maquis crew member we've never heard of... but when Tom Paris dies, we get nothing?!

Yes, Kes had a small scene... but you'd think if Tom died Harry would have a reaction, no? What about the captain? This is completely not believable that several hours go by after Tom's "death" and we get nothing.

Everything goes downhill from here. What could have been an exciting premise is totally squandered.
Ken - Tue, Feb 8, 2011 - 7:57am (USA Central)
There's just so many problems with the episode.

I wasn't even aware of the warp limitation problems - I just took it for granted as "made up science" and went along with it.

I don't understand how they found the shuttle in just 3 days. How did they know which direction to go? Isn't it possible that after 3 days they would be anywhere in the galaxy. Why only 3 days away? Seems highly implausible.

And here's another whopper: Now that they know how to reverse the effects of breaking this "threshold", why not take Voyager to warp 10 and have the doctor cure everyone once they get back to earth? Isn't that the most logical way to get home? Seems pretty simple to me. That's a pretty massive flaw. If I were the captain or on this ship, I'd do that instantly.
Travis - Wed, Feb 16, 2011 - 10:44am (USA Central)
The "barrier" is a mathematical impossibility. You can't measure infinity, so it's not something you can achieve. How do you get to infinity if you have no way to know if you're there? Warp speed is on a graph curve where warp 10 can't be reached. Infinite speed requires infinite energy. Now if he went warp 9.999999999 then that would be believable, and in fact when they go warp 13 in All Good Things they simply readjusted the scale so that another number represents infinity. The Voyager writers made the same mistake in another episode when they had to "break through" the event horizon of a black hole as if it was a physical barrier and not an arbitrary point in space. It was bad enough that Torres and Paris were allegedly able to do something Starfleet engineers haven't done with unlimited resources, but they completely dropped this idea and never revisited the issue. They developed an engine that goes to infinite. Why couldn't they dial it back a notch and be home in a week?
Ken - Wed, Feb 16, 2011 - 10:54am (USA Central)
I agree with Travis. Infinity is only possible conceptually - it is not an absolute - i.e. it does not exist.

I also agree that it makes no sense that they could develop a warp engine in 1 episode faster than all the engineers and scientists in the whole Federation could during the period of DS9. You'd think they would have a motivation against the Dominion to increase the speed of their ships - yet it did not happen.

And even if they couldn't "dial it down", I still say they should have used it to get home. The doctor could have cured everyone on the ship with the warp engine after they got back to earth. I mean, they know how to cure it now, don't they? It took paris days for the effects to become fatal/complicated... so he could fix everyone on the ship in no time.
Jeff - Thu, Mar 17, 2011 - 6:02pm (USA Central)
I won't add any more criticisms except to say I've never bought the idea of warp 10 barrier. TOS showed the Enterprise exceeding that speed a few times. To me a 1931 car going 30 mph and a 2011 car going 30 mph is going the same speed. I don't buy the recalibrated warp speeds that TNG, DS9 and VOY tried to convince us of.
LWG - Thu, Mar 31, 2011 - 9:07pm (USA Central)
The ending just has to be seen to be believed. The utterly bizarre and random nature of it is at least good for a laugh, although "good" is not really a word that could be used to describe this episode in any way.
Carbetarian - Fri, Apr 22, 2011 - 2:22am (USA Central)
Well, since this episode already has so many comments, I'll try to keep this short.

1. As others have stated, evolution does not work this way.

2. Ditto to what @Travis said about infinity

3. Lol @Sarah M. I can't believe this episode won an Emmy! And it beat out "the visitor", no less! It beat out what is easily one of the best hours of Trek ever filmed! Unbelievable!

4. Does anyone remember that TNG episode in the seventh season where they had to impose speed limits on warp travel because the warp fields were tearing apart subspace or some other such nonsense? Whatever happened to that? Wouldn't a ship that could be everywhere at once pretty much destroy subspace using that logic? Whatever.

5. As has been mentioned before, ships have been shown going faster than warp 10 plenty of times before in Trek history. Considering that Brannon Braga loves to get up on his high horse and talk about how he eats, sleeps and breathes Star Trek and can therefore never be questioned about his script choices (see his explanation of that awful ferengi episode on Enterprise for an example), you would really think he would know better than to base a plot around something that so obviously contradicts canon.

6. They left the offspring on the planet? Really? Leaving a new life form (that can apparently reproduce incredibly quickly) alone on a planet they are not native to doesn't violate the prime directive in some way? REALLY?

7. Wouldn't a ship going that fast run the risk of slamming into planets or other large objects that could potentially destroy the shuttle? Is the computer supposed to be making course corrections fast enough to deal with that issue? REALLY?!?

Ok, I'm done. I could keep complaining about this one for a long time. But, I'm just going to quit before my head explodes from thinking about the sheer stupidity of what I just saw.

ZERO STARS from me too!
Jeff O'Connor - Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 3:47pm (USA Central)
I watched this on first-airing as an eight-year-old eager for all things Trek. No matter how bad an episode actually was, I dutifully tuned in and thought it was spectacular.

I thought then, at eight years old, that this episode was horrible.

That's... there's no worse criticism as far as I'm concerned.
Jess - Sun, Sep 11, 2011 - 9:47pm (USA Central)
Ha, Jeff! I just watched this episode with my Trek-obsessed 5yr old. She said the same thing. Just... terrible!

One random nitpick to add to the many (dare I say, infinite?! lol) criticisms this episode garners: hair length is not part of the DNA code. Soooo, when Doc is successful at "reprogramming their DNA" shouldn't Janeway and Paris be baldish for a little while until their hair grows back?
Elliott - Fri, Oct 14, 2011 - 11:26am (USA Central)
Ok, let's everybody calm down...

This is a bad episode without a doubt--for all the reasons mentioned, but there are so many good things going on here, I have a hard time accepting a 0 stars rating...compare it to DS9's "Let He Who is Without Sin"--also a terrible episode with a 0 star rating on this site.

Dorn and Ferrell are really, really lousy actors, but MacNeil and frankly, the entire cast here put in really stellar performances. There is also something quite moving about the emotional wrestling of Paris' character and his desire to better himself and distance himself from his past--quickly. It is a theme in his character which fits into the show's premise (the real premise of dramatic work is not the plot setup, it's the philosophical idea).

It's not a good episode, it's pretty darn bad, but there's just so much that is worth something pivotal to the character of Paris, I can't excuse giving it 0 stars. I think 1 or 1.5 is about right for this one.
David H. - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:10am (USA Central)
What does it say about the Star Trek fan community that this episode has 38 (now 39) comments, while most of Voyager's outstanding episodes have maybe 5-10 at the most?
Ken - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:26am (USA Central)
@David H.

Because it's fun to point out how dumb the writers were when creating these episodes.

I honestly can't imagine what goes through the writer's minds when they write their draft, talk about the episode with their colleges, get it checked over by the fact-checkers and the executive producers, run it by the actors... and it goes all the way to production.

It just seems so odd that any rational person who doesn't have any expertise in writing/producing shows for television can point out tons of flaws with the episode that should have been incredibly obvious to everyone that was looking over the script.

Yet it got produced anyway. So what does that say? Either they are not very smart... or they didn't think their audience was very smart and that they wouldn't notice... or that they just didn't care anymore.

With this series, it's almost a bit religious though to point out problems since they happen so frequently. TNG almost never had huge plot problems... especially in the season 3-7. Sure it had some, but they are so minor compared to how well most of the series stands up. The same goes with DS9.

Contrast this with Voyager... and it's just a wreck. At least Enterprise was redeemed in season 4, but Voyager honestly never made much of an effort, except for a few key shows.

Voyager has some great shows too. Just not nearly as many as episodes like this, and that's a shame.

I just think the premise for this series was destined to fail though. Even in the first season, the whole thing got off track, and it really never found its stride in 7 years. Sure, it had some good moments... and even some good sequences... but none of it was terribly important to the premise of the show.
Ken - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:42am (USA Central)
One more point about the premise of the show:

The premise is to get home yes? Even Janeway says, "By any means necessary" - more or less.

It seems that in this episode, they develop the means to get home, and a way to reverse it's negative effects. If the characters were true to their convictions, the series would have ended this episode.

I thought of this immediately upon watching the show - even the first time I saw it many, many years ago. I am shocked the writers didn't realize they were painting themselves into a huge hole.

I mean this is HUGE. They develop a way to get home instantaneously, and at the end of the show figure out a way to avoid it's effects. They could and should have got home. Isn't that the whole point of the show?

But that's the whole problem with the series - they need to stretch the trip home to 7 seasons. So instead, they just make every excuse and exhaust every predictable cliche and path to prevent them from finally getting home.

Also, the characters act and do completely opposite things from one show to the next. Their convictions change even more often than Mitt Romney changes positions.

Ultimately, these problems are just too frustrating to ignore. Because people are extremely invested in Star Trek in general, and have enjoyed 14+ seasons of the previous material, it does begin to make sense why they might feel compelled to point out these problems on a forum such as this one.
Elliott - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:44am (USA Central)
@Ken : I'm plagiarising from myself here: this was originally posted on the season 3 recap board, but it's easier to copy/paste than hash out afresh:

Webster's dictionary :

"Premise : a proposition antecedently supposed or proved; a basis of argument. A proposition stated or assumed as leading to a conclusion."

You repeatedly complain about Voyager failing to utilise its premise without seeming to possess and understanding of what a premise is. Your version : " Two separate crews (Federation and Maquis) are stranded alone in the Delta Quadrant (an area presumably full of wonder and amazement) and, alone, must work together in an extreme environment to overcome new problems and find a way home. "

This is not a premise, this is a list of character traits for the series which were initially established to prove the premise. They rank in importance with ideas like "Chakotay's tatto is on his right cheek" or "Janeway has red hair and grew up in Indiana." It's not irrelevant and helps to create a bone structure upon which stories can be built, but it is NOT the series' premise. There is nothing to prove or argue here; it's simply a series of character traits.

Voyager's premise is "a person (or society) is defined most crucially by his (or its) intrinsic altruism. That altruism can, at times, allow one to achieve the seemingly impossible, but these achievements are irrelevant. What IS relevant is the nobility which defines a human being possessed of such altruism."

This premise was frequently refuted, attempted and argued over and over again and in a fashion which evolved from show to show until it was finally proved in the finale. THAT is the compelling nature of Voyager as a series.

I won't pretend that the more superficial aspects of the show weren't flawed--even severely so--but to attack its premise is unwarranted. You simply don't know what a premise is.
Ken - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:59am (USA Central)
If that was the premise for this series (as opposed to Star Trek in general), then I'm mistaken and I apologize. However, this could have fooled me though (and I think fooled most viewers - including Jamahl).

I don't think the character traits you listed though are just character traits. A show like Battlestar Galactica actually did fulfill this kind of premise quite well. In almost all ways, it achieved what Voyager never managed to do. It established a narrative that took its premise to its natural conclusion.

Even through most of the first season, the conflict between Star Fleet and the Maquis was very minimal, and was resolved way too quickly (and most of it was done off-screen - a shame).

By the time the second season was over, Voyager had become as family-oriented as any of the other crews - thus not really distinguishing it from any of the others and just offering up more of the same (despite their unique predicament of being 70,000 light years away from earth).

To me though, this predictable is hardly a character trait. From the first episode, the series was trying to establish this as the premise and mission for the show.
Elliott - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:15am (USA Central)
You missed my point :

"getting home" just like "exploring space" or "being on a spacestation" is not a premise--it cannot be. A premise MUST be an argument. There are a limited number of premises that any drama can build itself upon. What distinguishes a drama is HOW that premise is proved. Voyager's situation is the how and it offered a perfect means to the end of proving its premise.

You are not wrong that this is a premise (or a version of premise) for star trek in general, but because of DS9, the relevance of creating a new show to prove the premise became quite prescient. DS9 tried to create a premise about 3 times, each time an insidious (albeit doomed) attempt to undermine TNG's premise. But that is exactly why we say these shows are all star trek, not because they share the same sets and aliens and customs and histories, but because they share a common ancestor premise.

Is the fictional "mission" of a fictional ship in a fictional universe really compelling to anyone? If so, I would find it sad. Interest and connection with drama, with good drama, does not depend on such superficial details--a premise which is fundamentally true, and can be proven so, unites audience to creator through the medium of plot and stage and acting--all of which provide an architecture upon which the dialogue which proves the premise may rest.
Ken - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 1:36am (USA Central)
Perhaps then this is a definition problem. When Jamahl uses the word premise, he's talking about the same thing I'm talking about. What you're talking about is something different.

So I'll say the word "mission" instead of premise.

DS9 had several missions (or even premises using your definition), and it changed from season to season - one of the reasons why I enjoyed the series so much. It never got stale. It often challenged the overall premise of Star Trek as a series in many ways, and I can see why that's why some don't like it compared to Voyager. So for those people, perhaps Voyager is a welcome return to form.

Regardless, Voyager did a terrible job at setting up its premise (to point where so many people have confused it with what you are saying), and it did a horrible job setting up the overall mission and story arc. The consistency and continuity just isn't there.

At least TNG never set itself up to be anything other than what it was - and I think that was a strength to the series. The audience was allowed to take every episode on its own merits, and the writers could explore a deep topic in a single story without really having to think about the show as a serial.

Voyager failed in this regard, as most episodes had nothing to do with the overall mission of the crew... and some of them even indicate the crew as being wasteful and doing things that work against their ultimate goal.

If the show wanted to show that humans were intrinsically altruists (a claim I know not to be true, but we'll let the show set out to prove whatever it wants), the scripts certainly worked against this premise on many occasions. So in that regard, it's also a failure.
Elliott - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 11:23am (USA Central)
Uhuh. Just realised who you are and I'm not eager to get into another endless and hopeless debate on this site with you.

Have a nice day.
Ken - Sun, Nov 6, 2011 - 2:57pm (USA Central)
Look, the points I was raising initially had nothing to do with the altruism or the lack of altruism in the show in the first place, so I really have no desire to even debate it in the first place.

The original points were about the show's plot holes, glaring inconsistencies and the character's constant desire to service the needs for the plot at all cost to their integrity rather than being true to their character - all of which Voyager has committed numerous times over.

My other point is that it's hard to take a show seriously when it establishes that its mission is to return back to the alpha quadrant at any cost, and when they actually discover a way to do it, they don't take it - mostly due to writer problems. The actual characters would have probably done as I suggested.
Ken - Thu, Nov 10, 2011 - 6:23am (USA Central)
@Elliot:

This is actually kind of funny. I just watched a small conversation with Kenneth Biller, one of the executive producers on voyager... and he said that the show's "premise" was that the ship was lost in space and that they were trying to find a way him. Straight from the horses mouth.

I just think it's funny because I read several other spots on this site where you have been arguing about this "premise" definition, yet myself, Jamahl, many others and even the executive producers are using one definition... and you seem to be the only person using an entirely different one.

I just find this funny. I just wanted to share.
Matrix - Sun, Nov 27, 2011 - 4:49am (USA Central)
So, I really like this episode. I think it's a pretty fun ride and always enjoy watching
it.Robert Duncan McNeill's acting through out this was pretty good and I seem to always forget
that he and his character were always my favourite part about Voyager and he has a number
of really good scenes. Tom trying to convince Janeway to let him go on the mission early on
gives some more hints about his life and how he doesn't just want but needs to do this, but
once he starts to mutate there's some good dialogue where he talks about how he always
remembers crying when he was younger and locking himself in his room. That sort of
background always made Tom feel more like a real person, and I kind of wish we'd never met his father later on in the series and just had him as this sort of force in the background.

And then there's the mutation scenes which really stuck with me over the years, as his body does things he's got no control over, so the scenes where he becomes allergic to water and his lungs can't process air always freaked me out. But there's that pretty crazy scene as he pulls out his own tongue which was worth the episode on it's own as McNeill gives that creepy bloody mouth look at the Doctor and Kes.

And then Paris eventually abducts Janeway and she mutates and they have kids offscreen. Having them turn into salamander like weird creature's as the future of the human race makes me laugh now after shows like Babylon 5 or Stargate have showed us evolving into beings of light/energy.
And even the "evolution" behind it never bothered me because even as a kid I understood the intention behind it. Through out the episode it's described as a mutation but it's only in the final coda with the Doctor that the word evolution is used, and I think if they'd left the scene out or reworded it would have improved it, but it doesn't really bother me. Same with the rearranging DNA and then everything's back to normal. It happens all the time in tv and films, like when people get viruses that have some ticking clock type time limit before death and then 5 seconds before the virus is about to go off they get the cure and suddenly their fine, never mind the damage to internal organs. And Star Trek especially where they pull out Worf's cranial ridges in Homeward and then shove them back in or whatever happened in Genesis to everyone, it's just something this universe can do.
And the warp 10 infinite speed might sound retarded but i just look at as another barrier they're passing, more like giving access to some kind of transwarp field where distance becomes meaningless because it is occupying all points in the universe simultaneously, and that is the infinite speed they are describing, not the speed needed to reach there.

Janeway and Paris probably should have brought their kids home though and un-mutated them. De-mutated them? Could have made things interesting for a while!
I hate giving stars because it doesn't really mean much to me but I give it a thumbs up.
Justin - Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - 4:12pm (USA Central)
Gawd!

This episode is so bad, that it's not even worthy of ridicule. At least "Spock's Brain" has its place in pop culture as a classic example of '60s sci-fi camp. "Threshold" is just really horrible writing. The acting was decent. The direction was good. The special effects were fine. Hell, the make-up even won an Emmy and "Mutant Tom Paris" got his own action figure complete with mutant babies.

All of which makes the episode that much more unfortunate. Robert McNeil put it best when he said (paraphrasing), "When you try to tell the story in a sentence - he breaks warp ten, starts shedding skin, kidnaps the captain, becomes one with the universe, then they turn into salamanders and have babies - it sounds ridiculous."

Ridiculous, yes. But not worthy of ridicule. Only worth being nitpicked to death...
Nathan - Mon, Mar 26, 2012 - 4:15pm (USA Central)
I wonder if this was supposed to be a Hitchhiker's Guide ripoff. "As soon as the ship's drive reaches Infinite Improbability it passes through every point in the Universe." And they turn into penguins and stuff.
Latex Zebra - Thu, Apr 26, 2012 - 5:20am (USA Central)
Only ever seen about 5 minutes of this with these little amphibian creatures plopping through a swamp.

Have I missed a good episode?
NCC-1701-Z - Sat, May 5, 2012 - 4:37pm (USA Central)
A couple months ago, I lost a bet with a friend (don't ask!) and he forced me to watch this ep as part of the agreement.

What else is there to say? This is a piece of garbage. It could have gone down as simply another forgettable, mediocre ep, but no, the ending is so dumb that it instantly makes the ep notorious as the worst Trek ep since TOS's "Spocks Brain". (Although I consider TNG's "Justice" to be slightly worse.) Just read the review and comments or google this ep, everyone else has already thrashed this ep to death so there's really nothing more I can say to thrash it further.

It's a shame too, because the Tom Paris actor does a pretty good job acting, and the beginning minutes are acceptable and seem to be taking us somewhere worthwhile. But it rapidly derails fast, and it's all wasted on that stupid ending. Too bad, though, because the basic plot had quite a lot of potential. There's a reason why Agony Booth did a recap on this episode (recommended reading for anyone who thinks this ep deserves zero stars or less, like myself). No wonder why Brannon Braga is so loathed. He does deserve credit, though, for acknowledging that he screwed up this time around.

This ep deserves to be decanonized. And some people are saying that ENT's "A Night In Sickbay" was much worse...

NEGATIVE ONE MILLION STARS!!!!!
Reichu - Wed, May 16, 2012 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
"Zero stars"? This one is going on my "must watch" list! >:D
Drachasor - Thu, May 31, 2012 - 2:03pm (USA Central)
This episode is a bit hilarious on a number of levels. Star Trek always flirts with the idea of "evolutionary levels" (e.g. that evolution has a direction and things always getter objectively better from it). We see and hear of other races becoming energy beings. Humans though? We become stupid amphibians. It's hard not to laugh at least a little at that.

Of course, this episode is one of many that drives home that Star Trek at this point had moved well away from consulting with experts, which is probably why the series has a ton of technobabble. TNG largely succeeded at avoiding technobabble outside of the technologies that were required for the premise of the show. The idea in this episode that evolution has levels, that one being can evolve on its own (how Lamarckian!), or that you'd evolve to not be able to survive in the fixed environment you are living in are all absurd.

This is also another "they could have gotten home here" episode. Even avoiding traveling at Warp 10, they could have gone just below it to have gotten home in seconds or minutes.

Anyhow, it is sadly not in the territory of So Bad It's Good. It's just bad.
milica - Tue, Aug 14, 2012 - 12:06pm (USA Central)
Ten years after watching Voyager for the first time the only episode I remember is this one:( The worst ST episode, but surely a memorable one :)
Jamis - Thu, Oct 4, 2012 - 2:07pm (USA Central)
Man I just watched this episode for the first time since I saw it originally broadcast.

What a steaming pile of poop that was. So bad it's funny. Just pretend you're on MST3K and enjoy!
Joe Joe Maestro - Fri, Feb 8, 2013 - 1:35pm (USA Central)
Long term reader and first time commenter here. I seen Threshold for the very first time today and I must say...I don't have the same loathing for Threshold as the majority! It's obviously far from a successful episode and deeply flawed on quite a few levels, but it's not without it's merits (at least IMHO).

When you turn a blind eye to the logical failings of the premise, I found Tom Paris and his plight to be pretty gripping. His slow mutation and degeneration was not without its emotional impact, especailly given the on-the-money performances all round. There's some channelling of the movie The Fly, which is one of my favourite films. Body horror and loosing yourself amongst a grotesque mutation is something I find disturbing, morbidly fascinating and generally just great character study. Whilst this episode botches many things up, for me it didn't botch up this body horror/drama aspect of the story (I never cared much for how scientifically valid my TV shows are).

And the sheer boldness and stupidity of the out-there climax is delightful in a Ed Woods/David-Lynch-wierdness kinda way! I'm never bored with Threshold, a good chunk of the episode I found genuinely strong (ignoring science/logic for 2 seconds) and to top off all this wierd and wonderful fun is perhaps the most outrageous endings in Star Trek history (except for perhaps the last episode Enterprise *ahem*). Just don't take it too seriously and along the way embrace the fun you can have with Threshold, spiced up with the genuinely strong stuff that does exist in there somewhere if you can accept it on its own outlandish terms.

In my book, this gets 2 stars out of 4. I'd much rather take this over stale and sterile by-the-numbers Trek episodes and in the future, if I ever do a re-watch on Voyager I wouldn't feel the need to skip the infamous Threshold.

Excellent website by the way! I just had to comment since I thought much differently about this episode compared to most, it would appear.
Jo Jo Maestro - Fri, Feb 8, 2013 - 1:49pm (USA Central)
Sorry, slight typo in my original comment. I meant to say "the most except for the last episode OF Enterprise" (I missed out the "of").

While I'm here I might as well add that I pretty much concur with what Matrix said.
Pete - Mon, May 6, 2013 - 7:11pm (USA Central)
Yes, this episode is just silly and one to skip - but the arguments concerning mathematical impossibilities and evolutionary falsehoods are equally silly..... because almost EVERYTHING in Star Trek is mathematically impossible and scientifically invalid. You guys act as though one outlandish impossibility is less valid than another. It's Science "Fiction" folks - in case you've forgotten. It's simply not a very well written or interesting episode - so leave it at that.
Sintek - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 1:18pm (USA Central)
Eh, no worse than 97.5% of Voyager episodes.
Michael - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 9:16pm (USA Central)
I'll be one of the few voices of dissent and state that -- on third viewing -- this was not the worst Voyager episode out there.

The technological premise is very intriguing. Can the imaginary Warp 10 be reached and exceeded, and what happens if so? What I don't get is WHY OH WHY they would send a senior officer, and a pretty indispensable one at that, to perform such a risky and dangerous endeavor! They could not have sent an empty shuttle first?! If today we have airplanes that can take off, cruise, and land by themselves, then surely a shuttle could've been programmed to conduct the inaugural Warp 10+ flight!

But then I guess they'd have had to devote a half hour to elaborating on the technical and technological points of transwarp rather than have Paris make an idiot of himself wearing silly makeup and prosthetics. I could have done with fewer scenes of him self-pitying, in particular.

I was going to say the show deserved a star or two after all, but then I saw the last five minutes again... Ayayay... What WERE they thinking!?!?!

*facepalm*

One last thought, concerning "technobabble," which appears to have become a swearword on these pages. Star Trek is a SCIENCE FICTION show. It's supposed to be replete with science, but since it's of a necessity a fictional show, some of that "science" is bound to not make sense. If it did, it would be a documentary not a sci-fi series. Without "technobabble" this becomes Harry Potter set in a spaceship environment.
Paul - Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 1:08pm (USA Central)
@Michael: I agree. "Threshold" is not the worst episode of VOY. It's definitely the most ridiculous, but it sort of belongs up there with "Spock's Brain".

Both episodes are stupid and goofy, but they're better than the more boring episodes like "And the Children Shall Lead" or "Spirit Folk". Part of being a Star Trek fan is enjoying the bad/campy stuff.
Jos10 - Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - 12:18pm (USA Central)
This is my first comment for any of the reviews for any of the shows. But, thought I'd put in my two cents.

This is one of the few Voyager shows that intrigued me to see it to the very end. This is what Sci Fi is about. I agree that it was silly, but it kept me interested! I believe they did the right things, but not necessarily for the Trek Universe, nor for the premise/mission of the show, but for sci fi in general.

Why do I say this. Because I think they stole the 'plot' twist at the end from one of the best science fiction writers of all time, Kurt Vonnegut. In the book Galapagos Vonnegut has the people 'evolving' to seals (but it was a product of their environment, which is what evolution is all about). So if you are in space you will evolve into a slug. Why? Because slugs travel through space more easily.
jkeisari - Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - 11:43pm (USA Central)
They should have made this a 2-parter as it just was too short ending to cure it all in 5 minutes!

Abandoning their offspring, not using the technology / giving it more study again later to help getting home, the "infinite" velocity and warp 10 canon issues clearly more or less destroyed the story, but I was impressed with the acting and I generally only watch SciFi show for the entertainment and the story, not to debate is it technically possible to do this or that.

I found many Voyager episodes exciting due to the risk factor i.e that they were willing to risk it and try things like "Twisted", "Tuvix" or "Threshold". While by no easy means realistic or believable these shows do offer something others don't!
jkeisari - Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - 11:46pm (USA Central)
2 out of 4
and if it would have been a 2-hour show with no canon mistakes, a real chance of 4 of 4!!
Cureboy - Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 6:50am (USA Central)
I agree this episode is bad. If they take out the business about evolution and just said it was some warp mutation, it would have eliminated a lot of the nitpicks

But at least this episode was true to the characters. I still think the worst episode of Voyager is Fury. Because they turned a gentle, compassionate friend of everybody info some vengeful psychopath. Whose only motivation was that she blamed Voyagers crew for fer falling in love with exploration. Unforgivable !!!
Jay - Fri, Sep 27, 2013 - 1:55pm (USA Central)
So the dialogue said that when Paris shut down the engines it returned him back to Voyager where he started. SO if they made this tech work on Voyager, and Voyager zipped to Earth, wouldn't turning the engines off zoom them right back to the point they engaged the engines at?
Jay - Fri, Sep 27, 2013 - 2:01pm (USA Central)
And human evolution leads us to revert back to instinct-driven creatures that look like crawling catfish (but dialogue also suggested that their brain capacity increased - sentient intelligent beings being trapped in this lifestyle must be a fate worse than hell...I guess that's the only way they could get away with leaving the offspring behind.
inline79 - Sat, Oct 19, 2013 - 1:19am (USA Central)
Thanks to all above for making these comments more entertaining than this episode! You guys got Ds9 up there, Hitchhiker, TOS, TNG, Stargate, ENT, but I get to say... This episode should have been called "Ludicrous Speed"!
Latex Zebra - Tue, Dec 10, 2013 - 4:08am (USA Central)
If it weren't for episodes like this, Voyager could have been a MUCH better series.
frillatrium - Sat, Dec 21, 2013 - 1:09pm (USA Central)
It was mental and senseless, I loved it.

So there.
Dusty - Thu, Feb 6, 2014 - 12:19am (USA Central)
WRITER
"Okay, so here's my idea...Tom Paris is going to find out a way to make a shuttle go really fast."

PRODUCER
"All right."

WRITER
"I mean, really really fast."

PRODUCER
"Okay..."

WRITER
"I mean so INCREDIBLY, REALLY SUPER-DUPER FAST that he's like everywhere at once and can see the whole universe! He knows everything."

PRODUCER
"Hold on. So he ends up going so fast that he's...God, or something?"

WRITER
"Yeah! Well, until he becomes allergic to water."

PRODUCER
"What?"

WRITER
"Bear with me. See, he went so fast that the trip accelerated the evolution of his DNA. So he starts mutating and his tongue falls out and his skin turns extra crispy while the Doctor technobabbles about it for 20 minutes--"

PRODUCER
"You lost me. Are we still talking about the same episode?"

WRITER
"Wait, wait, let me finish. He also goes insane."

PRODUCER
"...From the mutations? Or from being God?"

WRITER
"I don't know! Both? Whatever. And THEN Paris kidnaps Janeway and escapes from Voyager. You know, because he's crazy. And he's still evolving, so he wants to jump her bones."

PRODUCER
"So he's God, he's a mutant, AND he's hot for Janeway."

WRITER
"Sort of. He's also a lizard. Well, more of a salamander really--"

PRODUCER
"He's a ****ing LIZARD?"

WRITER
"It gets better. See, he and Janeway end up on a jungle planet and SHE turns into a lizard too."

PRODUCER
"How?!"

WRITER
"I don't know, we'll leave it up to the editors. And by the time Voyager catches up with them, they've done the deed."

PRODUCER
"You don't mean..."

WRITER
"That's right. Lizard lovin'! They have kids, too. Three small lizards. But Tuvok and Chakotay let them go. They just shoot Lizard-Paris and Lizard-Janeway."

PRODUCER
"They SHOOT them?!"

WRITER
"Just so they can bring them back on board!"

PRODUCER
"Let me get this straight. Your idea is to have Paris set a speed record, become God, get allergic to water, lose his mind, evolve into a salamander, knock up the Captain AND get shot while plunging the audience neck-deep in Technobabble(TM) and Fun With DNA(TM). How the hell are we going to get away with that?"

WRITER
*shrugs* "It's Voyager, man! The Reset Button(TM). It's bold, it's unexpected, it's never been done before on Star Trek...that MUST mean it's good! What do you think?"

PRODUCER
"........I love it!! You've got a bright future here, son."

WRITER
"Good choice, sir! We're going to make history with this episode."

PRODUCER
"Don't you mean...HISS-tory?"

*BOTH LAUGH*
Psteve - Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - 2:57pm (USA Central)

Not that I want to defend this stinkbomb of an episode, but people who use words like 'devolution' in a biological sense are generally operating under the misapprehension that evolution means progression towards a more advanced form. The episode was probably trying to say that it would be a mistake to assume that humanity will necessarily evolve towards a more advanced form, when it may in fact evolve towards a more primitive form. Unfortunately, they got so many other things about evolution wrong, that any such message was lost amongst all the drivel.


ljdarten - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
pretty awful episode but the thing about the warp speeds is that the scale has changed sometimes between different shows and presumably will change in the "future" sometime. When future episodes talk about warp 13 it's not on the same scale as when the "present" talks about warp 10.

it's like comparing mph to kph, it's a completely different set of numbers. i found a pic that demonstrates it well. not sure on the accuracy but it gets the point across anyways www.ex-astris-scientia.org/treknology/warp/agt-scale.gif
K'Elvis - Tue, Mar 4, 2014 - 12:36pm (USA Central)
Star Trek never really dealt with what Warp 10 was. At times, Warp 10 was the "speed limit of the universe", which implies that it was a finite speed - if the speed limit is infinity, that is having no speed limit. At other times, Warp 10 is infinite speed. Here, they use both definitions, and it just doesn't work. First of all, if you were at every point in the universe at once, it means you are crashing into everything.

Warp 9.999999999999999 may seem like it is very close to Warp 10, but it is not. Take a look at a graph of y = 1/x. As x gets closer to zero, the value of y gets very large, but no finite number, no matter how large, is anywhere close to infinity.

So what do these Warp numbers mean? Think of it like a stickshift on a car. If you have your car in 3rd gear and keep accelerating, you're engine is going to rev to fast. When you reach a certain speed, you shift to 4th gear. Similarly, you don't want to run your starship at Warp 3.999, you're better off running at warp 4. When you get to Warp 9, there's no next gear, all you can do is keep driving the warp engine harder. That's why the future Enterprise could go at a speed greater than Warp 10, it's not that it is necessarily going faster, it's like a three-speed transmission vs. five-speed transmission. Of course, that still won't get you to infinite speed.

Paris's transformation seems to be lifted from "The Fly". Evolution doesn't have a direction, you can't speed it up. You can't predict from the current state of Homo Sapiens where we will be in millions of years. But even if we could, it doesn't make sense that the end would be... salamanders? What would have been next, crawl back into the water and become fish? And why didn't they bring the children back? If they could turn Janeway and Paris back to being human, they could revert the offspring to human.

Of course, they completely forget about this. So, it mutates humans. Send a Warp 10 probe to Earth. Since they now know how to restore people, install this on Voyager's engines, set course for Earth, and fix the mutations when you get there.
Ric - Thu, Mar 27, 2014 - 7:17pm (USA Central)
Oh boy, this was really terrrible! Fortunatelly Jammer did a detailed enough review for us to rationally orgnanize in our minds the so many horrible things that appeared here.

The absurdity comes close to hateful in this episode. Warp 10 when we have already heard of warp 13? Guys, come on, a little research before writting scripts would not harm. Common simples small ships that come back from infinity velocity? Lizards? Lizards??? Captain's lizard offspring and...grtetysery?

But of course, nothing can be more offensive than the way this piece of junk treats the theory of evolution. A mutational evolution that goes to a single possible future point of the species regardless of staying exposed to the environmental constrains. A theory of evolution that disregards the survival of the more adapted, in the best style of Lamarck...

Acting was good? Certainly. Make-up effects, also. Some moments were sort of deep? Yes. But in the end, I was almost throwing my TV into the misterious land of inifinte velocitiy. Fortunatelly, I didn't. But unfortunally, after that I came here and when I read Elliot's first sentence "Ok, let's everybody calm down...", them my computer didn't have the same luck as my TV.

Horrible episode, really bad.
lizzzi - Thu, Apr 24, 2014 - 3:14pm (USA Central)
While I don't expect them to be very good, I've been watching Enterprise and Voyager for the first time, just for completion. (I'm very late to the party.) I thought that no matter what people said, this episode couldn't be that bad. Often the "bad" episodes are just silly or campy, and I can at least laugh and shake my head after watching some moronic, mindless entertainment. This episode was creepy, though. Definitely an icky feeling to it, and boring besides. I agree with others' comments over the years--throw it out the airlock and space it.
dlpb - Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - 3:39pm (USA Central)

Pete - Mon, May 6, 2013 - 7:11pm (USA Central)
Yes, this episode is just silly and one to skip - but the arguments concerning mathematical impossibilities and evolutionary falsehoods are equally silly..... because almost EVERYTHING in Star Trek is mathematically impossible and scientifically invalid. You guys act as though one outlandish impossibility is less valid than another. It's Science "Fiction" folks - in case you've forgotten. It's simply not a very well written or interesting episode - so leave it at that.
----------------------

Oh, look, everyone. Another person who plays apologist for some of the worst writing ever. Being a fiction (set in our universe, btw) does not give it free reign to redefine the laws of KNOWN physics. A fictional show can only get away with so much. There is a limit. If you think that "anything goes", then you completely do not understand fiction and good writing in any way, shape, or form.
dlpb - Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - 3:44pm (USA Central)
Also,a lot of things in Trek are bogus, but a fair few are at least plausible. This episode was completely bogus in every way.
Elliott - Sun, Jun 29, 2014 - 11:54pm (USA Central)
@Jakob M. Mokoru :

I realise your comment is 7 years old now, but I wanted to thank you for indirectly introducing me to the commentary of Thomas Höhl. It is amongst the most intelligent, honest and fair set of Trek criticisms I have ever read, including Jammers' site and SFDebris.

Nothing like a German to bring a cool head to these emotional debates :)

Submit a comment

Above, type the last name of the captain on Star Trek: TNG
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

Season Index

Copyright © 1994-2014, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer