Star Trek: Voyager

"The Disease"

*

Air date: 2/24/1999
Teleplay by Michael Taylor
Story by Kenneth Biller
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I would've never guessed that when it came down to the basics ... Well, let's just say the birds and bees would be very confused." — Harry Kim on sex with alien woman Tal, details of which we're thankful not to have

Nutshell: It's at least worth news coverage...

DELTA QUADRANT, Milky Way Galaxy — A respected ensign on the only known Federation starship in the galaxy's Delta Quadrant has been formally reprimanded by his captain for fraternizing and engaging in sexual activity with an alien woman, according to reports from The Associated Galactic Press.

Ensign Harry Kim, bridge officer on the USS Voyager, had a formal reprimand placed on his permanent record resulting from his unauthorized sexual affair with Tal [Musetta Vander], an engineer on an alien Delta Quadrant vessel that the Voyager had been in contact with last week.

Kim failed to attend a press conference held in the Voyager briefing room Saturday. He also did not return hails made to his ship's quarters on Thursday and Friday.

"I didn't like having to do it," said Capt. Kathryn Janeway, commander of the USS Voyager, in regards to the reprimand. "But he left me no choice. Sex is not a trivial matter on my ship. Especially considering the scandal in America's White House back at the end of the 20th century — I have no wish to have the independent counsel walking through my corridors or subpoenaing my officers. I have a ship to run and a crew to get home."

It was unknown at press time whether Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr would risk the dangers of time travel to prosecute Kim or anyone else on board the USS Voyager.

"He's always falling for the wrong woman," said Ensign Tom Paris, Kim's best friend who frequently provides him with advice concerning women. "Harry's a good guy, but I feel sorry for him. Every time he has the opportunity for female companionship, he somehow gets shafted. It's almost as if he's the victim in some unfair plot being written by writers who like to torture him."

As a fellow ensign, Paris occasionally looks out for his friend.

"I disguised an unauthorized comm [communication] signal to cover for him," he said. "I just hope the captain doesn't find out. She might put me in jail again, and another demotion would make Harry my senior officer. Is this off the record?"

Opinion concerning the captain's decision varied among the Voyager officers.

"I was surprised by the action," said Voyager first officer Cmdr. Chakotay of Janeway's decision to reprimand Kim. "According to something I scribbled down in a written log last year, I had also had an affair with an alien woman. Unfortunately, I don't recall having that affair, or sex for that matter, and the captain apparently didn't take disciplinary action. I really don't remember, which is too bad because my notes say she was unforgettable."

Voyager chief of security Lt. Cmdr. Tuvok agreed with the captain's decision.

"Mr. Kim's behavior was completely illogical," Tuvok said. "Ensign Kim was unable to control his emotions and detoured a shuttle mission to satisfy his own personal desires. I noticed several thousand electrons were out of place and discovered he had finished his assigned task ahead of schedule but had not returned to the ship. Subsequently, we learned he had disobeyed orders and beamed Tal aboard his shuttle."

Tuvok had denied allegations Feb. 3 that he had an unauthorized affair with an alien woman named Noss while stranded on a failed shuttle mission.

"Your course of reasoning is flawed," he said when again asked about the alleged encounter. "The entire incident was recorded, and I assure you no regulations were broken."

Bloomington, Ill., resident Jamahl Epsicokhan is one of many who views the fully edited and assembled "caught on tape" documentary segments of the Voyager crew through a temporal anomaly that transmits the images nearly 400 years back in time and approximately 35,000 light-years to Earth (Sector 001 in the Alpha Quadrant), where he receives the images on his 20th-century television set.

In an interview via temporal-displacement phone on Saturday, he laughed when asked to comment on the Voyager scandal. "That episode was indeed very funny," said Epsicokhan, who views the documentary broadcasts every week. "I don't remember laughing at a show as much as I laughed at 'The Disease.' This show was as dumb as a box of rocks."

Strangely, Epsicokhan, along with millions of viewers on Earth in the 20th century, believes the aired Voyager news segments are actually a series of fictional stories produced at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, Calif.

"I've watched Harry go through a lot in the last few years, and yet he never seems to change," said Epsicokhan. "The whole theme of 'The Disease' was that Harry 'is a man,' and not a kid. But I think I've seen that idea in an episode at least three times now, and it never seems to stick. His character pretends to develop but never really does. After five years in the Delta Quadrant, we still have the captain treating him like he's 20 years old. Did you know that Garrett Wang in real life is 30?"

When reporters tried to inform Epsicokhan that Kim is actually a real person living 400 years in the future, whose documentary stories are transmitted through a temporal anomaly, he dismissed the possibility and accused reporters of "yanking his chain."

But Epsicokhan finally granted the possibility. "Fine then," he said. "Then someone needs to tell them to cover a new beat, or at least a different aspect of Harry's life. If I have to sit through one more 'Harry's not a kid' segment, punctuated by a sabotage plot that can't possibly be cared about in the slightest, I'll write a letter to the editor. By the way, aren't you putting the entire timeline in jeopardy just by talking to me?"

Seven of Nine, Voyager bridge and science officer adjunct, likened love to that of a disease.

"Ensign Kim was acting erratically and emotionally because of romantic feelings," said Nine. "The Borg view love as a disease because of the way it adversely affects the body's biochemistry. In Mr. Kim's case, he felt emotionally distraught when apart from Tal. Also, the alien nature of the bond caused his epidermis to luminesce."

When asked why she thought Kim did not simply resist his feelings and adhere to protocol, Nine paused for a moment and then said, "Resistance is futile."

Nine refused to grant reporters the unique perspective of the youngest member of the crew.

"Naomi Wildman will not comment. She is too young. Her mother has forbidden discussion of the matter," said Nine. When reporters informed Nine they would attempt to contact Naomi Wildman anyway, Nine said simply, "You will fail."

Reporters, however, could not locate Naomi's mother, Samantha Wildman, anywhere on the ship. Sources say Wildman has not been seen since a salvage mission of the Delta Flyer on Nov. 11, leading to speculation by some members of the crew that Nine has "taken care of" Wildman and adopted her daughter. An investigation is pending.

Voyager cook and morale officer Neelix could not comment on the Ensign Kim scandal, saying he did not know enough of the incident's specifics. He did, however, offer reporters a hot bowl of soup with assorted "veggies."

Epsicokhan called the romance angle of the documentary "a travesty" and said it was the perfect example of how not to do romance on Trek. "This show 'The Disease' is the antithesis of DS9's 'Chimera' — an evil twin," he said. "There's not a believable emotion to be found anywhere in the relationship. It claims to be about love, but it's simply about uninteresting lust, with stretches of Harry histrionics."

Epsicokhan criticized Tal as "completely bland," and said that all the guest actors' performances were "exceedingly weak." He also called the dialogue "embarrassingly trite," and said that if he weren't laughing so hard during several of the broadcast's attempted sentimental moments, the degree of the broadcast's cliched triteness concerning romance would have caused him to "bury [his] head in [his] hands and cry."

However, "This is not a laughing matter," said Voyager chief medical officer Dr. "Doc" Doctor, a hologram who stressed he was "shocked and chagrined" at both Kim's actions and Epsicokhan's casual dismissal of the matter.

"The risk factors of having intimate relations with an alien without medical clearance is a very serious matter," Doctor said. "Anything that can cause someone's skin to emit light cannot be a good thing. Mr. Kim's irresponsibility of getting caught 'in the heat of the moment' is not an excuse. He could have introduced a destructive disease into their population or vice versa."

Epsicokhan was skeptical of Doctor's "grandstanding," as he put it. "Yeah, that's all we need — a ridiculously obvious 24th-century safe-sex allegory," he said. "I'll pass."

When confronted about a sexual affair he had with a Vidiian woman three years ago this week, Doctor said, "Well, that was different. We were both holograms, so there was no risk of infection. Frankly, I'm still amazed we were able to pull off such a feat. The reprogramming of my matrix was an ... interesting experience, if I may say so."

Public opinion of the ensign is supportive. While most disagree with what he did, he still maintains a very high degree of popularity among the American people.

"I disapprove of what the ensign did, but he's still very high in the polls," said 20th-century Washington, D.C., Future Events Analyst Joel Flanagan. "It's only sex! It's not like he betrayed the ship or put the crew in danger! Frankly, I don't think it's a high crime or a misdemeanor! Personally, I think we need to turn our attention to the Microsoft and Disney corporations, which maintain joint ownership of Earth in 2031."

Strangely, no one on board the Voyager could remember the Starfleet protocols on alien romance as being so strict or explicit.

"I think they just made them up for the sake of this episode," said Epsicokhan. "There's never been one bit of evidence of their existence in the past. But then again, we see so little sex on Star Trek that maybe the case is that no one has ever really had 'confirmed' sex until this week."

Federation records, however, indicate that the protocols were put on the books mostly in response to the frequent romantic encounters of the legendary Capt. James T. Kirk a century ago. And although the application of the protocol is granted to the commanding officer's discretion — thereby not specifically affecting Kirk at the time — Starfleet felt it was prudent to have rules that applied to officers.

How these rules apply to Starfleet officers of different species is uncertain, though most speculate that medical clearance among Klingons and humans is approved. Lt. B'Elanna Torres, Voyager's chief engineer, has been in a relationship with Ensign Paris for the past 18 months. Sources are uncertain, however, if the relationship has been consummated, and neither Paris nor Torres would talk to reporters about the matter.

"All of you get out of here or I'm calling security," said Torres when reporters tried to conduct an interview on the Voyager engineering deck. "We're trying to run a level-three spectral analysis on the gravimetric intensity in the warp coil isolation reflux chamber, and with all of you in here, you're affecting the upper-baryon results of the isometric relay variable outtake inhibitor module."

According to Janeway, the harsh-seeming disciplining of Kim did not arise out of an abhorrence of sex, nor from her unresolved feelings of a sketchy incident with her first officer three years ago while isolated with him on an uninhabited world.

Rather, it's simply a matter of maternal instincts.

"I'm very protective of Harry," she said. "He's very much like a son, and Seven is like a daughter. You could say I'm a maternal figure for both of them. Maybe I'm overprotective and over-nurturing at times, but that's just the way I am when it comes to my crew."

Epsicokhan said he respected Janeway's intentions, but did not necessarily agree with the extremes to which she sometimes carries these sentiments for the cameras.

"I can understand Janeway's anger at Harry losing some of that perfect Starfleet officer status, and I understand her maternal attitudes," he said. "But we might as well rename this episode 'Favorite Son, Part II' while we're at it."

Next week: The crew faces a "deadly" epidemic—even though it was this week's episode that was called "The Disease." Go figure.

Previous episode: Dark Frontier
Next episode: Course: Oblivion

◄ Season Index

53 comments on this review

Eddy
Wed, Dec 12, 2007, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
I like these non-standard approaches to episode reviews, a clever way to tackle lackluster episodes.
mlk
Sat, Jan 19, 2008, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Must suck to finally lose his virginity and get std from hell
grumpy_otter
Wed, Jul 2, 2008, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Why the hatred? I kind of liked this one. I thought Harry was convincingly indignant at the way the Captain treated him, and I thought his love affair was believable. What was ridiculous was the sudden invention of the "no sex with aliens without clearance" rule. Or did they make it because of Kirk and Riker?

I was interested in the alien ship--reminded me of Heinlein's ship in "Orphans of the Sky." I was a little disappointed the plot didn't move in that direction.

Overall, a decent outing.
Jasper
Sun, Jan 18, 2009, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
mlk: He has a girl at home (Libby) I doubt he started the series as a virgin
John Pate
Mon, Jan 19, 2009, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
I thought this a fairly solid episode with a good SF premise about whether or not a generation starship would hold together. Some deep issues were there to think about - an exploration of duty, honour, responsibility to the collective versus responsibility to ones own desires. And how much is love simply a physiological response that is rationalised away with sophistry? It certainly deserved more than one star, still holds up well watching it in 2009.
Ken Egervari
Fri, Nov 27, 2009, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
The guest star though had a great ass!
JP
Thu, Apr 1, 2010, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
Having read the majority of your reviews, admittedly over a long period of time, I can't remember another which has come close to making me laugh as much as that. The Torres quote is absolutely priceless.

As one star shows go though, I've seen a lot worse.
Michael
Fri, Jul 2, 2010, 4:53am (UTC -5)
Ah, hapless Harry Kim finally gets some booty. Mazal tov! Given his track record of hardly every being able to lock on to anything with the transporter, penetrate dampening fields or perform phase-variance calculations, I was afraid he might hurt himself by inserting his probe into the wrong place. But, though he somehow did the "business" without injuring himself, he still managed to end up in a whole lot of bother.

The guy's such a schmoe; he should just give up. Go back to not being able to do you job as an ensign, Harry!

LOL!!!
Cloudane
Fri, Dec 17, 2010, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
It was worth watching it just for your review (it wouldn't have been otherwise, obviously). Very very good, I love how approximately 5 minutes worth of reading the comments of one man exceeds by far the quality of a whole 45 minutes of the "professional", high budget and highly staffed TV show it refers to.

As for Harry, poor guy. Such.A.Woobie.
Tokeiihto
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Fantastic review to an absolute underwhelming 45 minutes of awfulness. I second the notion above that your witty write-up was far more entertainung than the actual episode.

In my opinion you not even had to include yourself as an one of the interviewed who speaks his mind for your point hit home nonetheless.

The Seven of Nine and Torres bits are especially brilliant.
Cloudane
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
I must finish Voyager one of these days. Just can't bring myself to watch it with so many episodes like this (oh okayyyy it's not that bad, it's still not exactly fantastic)

Low content comment but I keep clicking on the unsubscribe link in the email notifications instead of the view-the-thread link so I have to comment to resubscribe..
Elliott
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 4:01am (UTC -5)
It's not riveting but it's solid. Kim's the weak link in the series (He's the Troi, the Checkov, the entire cast except Odo, the entire cast except the Dog, you get the idea). Stories about him are bound to be weaker. Among his outings (if one doesn't count Timeless), this is probably the best--actually Emanations wasn't too bad either, just a bit cheesy.

Regarding the sex policies...well I have mixed feelings, I had no trouble imagining that Kirk and Riker and the rest observed these protocols off camera, and since they were usually dealing with canonically established species (the big exception which comes to mind is TNG's First Contact), I can see this being a relatively simple procedure to follow. In Voyager's case, well they're in the DQ, things are more complex. Tuvok didn't have sex with Noss. The woman in Unforgettable (as forgettable as the episode was) was on board for a while and had been checked by the Doctor. It really was not so distracting.

To me it wasn;t about the sex itself, it was about all the issues which come attached to it: in this case, political negotiations with Janeway and Tal, military issues with Harry's job and familial issues with Janeway.

Again, not a standout episode, not really much more than mediocre, but certainly deserving of about 2 stars. Not a failure at all.
Iceblink
Mon, Aug 8, 2011, 5:10am (UTC -5)
I found the scene where Janeway takes Kim to task for having sex without her permission unintentionally hilarious. I found it amusing that crew members have to get the captain's permission before they have sex with other species. I had an image of Janeway sitting at her desk going through a pile of permission forms with a rubber stamp.

Pretty terrible episode though - the romance was insipid and hampered by poor writing and profoundly mediocre performances and the plot involving the alien ship and the dissidents...well, it seemed like an afterthought and as though the writers didn't really care.
V
Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 12:24am (UTC -5)
This episode is very inconsistent with personal romantic relationship. In the beginning of the show, Janeway talked about how starfleet doesn't want to get involved with the personal intterrelationship between the crews. There was one episode where she didn't like why people are not discrete or how surprised she was about 2 people that Chakotay told her he found kissing in the turbolift. Heck don't even get me started on other ST series.

Although I agree that "safe sex" is good policy, getting reprimanded seem excessive. Things just didn't add up.
Captain Jim
Wed, Mar 21, 2012, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
I actually didn't think it was as bad as many have suggested. I agree with Elliott; I'd give it two stars.

However, I certainly can't fault Jammer for his review. I haven't laughed so much in ages.
Rosario
Mon, Apr 2, 2012, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Actually, even in the course of our own history, when alien bacteria collides there have been catastrophic results. Migratory patterns of the dinosaurs during the latter stages of their primacy show them driven in the search for new sources of water, food and hunting grounds. They came into contact with all sorts of previously unknown plant and animal life. Mass collections of fossilized remains have been discovered showing no violence to the remains, the bones showing no signs of malnourishment, yet hundred's of remains as if they just lay down and died. A plausible speculation but let's fast forward.
The Bubonic Plague, the Black Death,was the fruit of the silk road - the first openings of trade between the Occidental and Oriental civilizations. New germs new bacteria, with Europe laying vulnerable before them. Millions died. It took generations for immunities to develop in Europe.
Fast foward again to the discovery of the New World. Aztec and Incan civilizations already devasted by interal strife and famine are suddenly exposed to boatloads (literally) of new germs. By the time a few Europeans realized what was happening and started handing out blankets, the indigenous populations were already decimated.

I'm not splitting hairs on half-klingon or half whatever nonsense - we can assume that since our cultures have been in contact for some time now that we have developed immunities towards each other. THIS situation in THIS episode is a completely NEW species. I can't understand the flippant manner that the reviewer and most comments dismiss the idea that there would be "sex protocols." History - and current science and medicine stand behind it - shows the devastation that can come from a simple bacterial exchange.

I don't care about continuity. Right HERE in THIS episode in a FIRST CONTACT situation, that policy should be followed to the letter.
Justin
Sat, May 5, 2012, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
@Rosario, you strike me as a person who really needs to get laid...
Rosario
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
@Justin - As long is its a member of my own species, I'm all for it! :D
duhknees
Sat, Jul 14, 2012, 11:25am (UTC -5)
@Elliott, et al.: Once again I feel I must come to the defense of Garrett Wang. I love his performance here. I especially like the scene when he compares his disease to Janeway's loss -- he's forceful and mature -- I really think her response should have been more pronounced. I wonder whether we're watching the same episode. Maybe he's not chewing the scenery a la Picard and Sisko, but don't put him into the same category as Troi, who seemed to avoid any facial expressions at all for fear she might wrinkle. I do agree that the writing is weak, and that Charles Rocket just phoned his part in, but basing the episode on Harry was not the problem.
Nic
Sun, Dec 2, 2012, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
@Rosario: Your argument is sensible, and I was able to buy the fact that you would need clearance from a medical officer before having sex. The part that doesn't make sense is needing the Captian's permission as well - on what grounds could a Captain refuse permission if there is no medical risk?

The episode, like most Trek stand-alone romances, has a very adolescent view of love, and the chemistry-less scenes between Kim and Tal were cringe-worthy. But I nevertheless enjoyed the scenes between Kim and Janeway. Harry may not have changed much in seven seasons, but that doesn't really bother me because, well, he's like most people (myself included) in that respect.
Dean Grr
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
I'm going from memory on this ep, but I liked Garrett's perfomance: he came across as genuine and invested in his role. I sensed his romantic interest found her lines amusing, but I still liked their playful banter, their innocence, and Tal's sense of wonder.

I took Janeway's condemnation to mean Harry created first contact problems (pun intended ;) !), i.e. making it hard to negotiate with Tal's people, and putting himself ahead of his duty.
True to life, there's usually not a crackdown until consequences arise, like Harry's electric reaction to Tal (having pun again ;).

I'm okay with the criticism of Voyager: even Michael Piller admitted in an interview (Season 2 DVD) that shows like ER at the time were moving ahead of Star Trek, production wise. One thing about reviewing is that it can come across as jaded much of the time. I suppose my defense is not of Voyager as much, but to keep a part of that child-like wonder at discovery, and the nobility and empathy that Star Trek often showed.
Adara
Mon, Apr 15, 2013, 9:10am (UTC -5)
I can enjoy Voyager as long as I forget about the two most significant plot points:

1.) Half of the ship are Maquis terrorists. Would they really follow Janeway so blindly? And shouldn't she get in big trouble for letting terrorists just throw on some uniforms and become Starfleet officers? It seems like the writers regretted the whole Maquis thing later on. Chakotay and B'Elanna reminisce about their days at Starfleet Academy. Wtf is that? They should have just written them as Starfleet characters, and it seems like they realize that. Therefore, I will turn off my mind and pretend I never heard the word "Maquis."

2.) They're stranded in the Delta Quadrant. In the beginning there were worries about replicator rations and gel packs. Now the ship suffers damage almost every episode and everything's just a-ok. I'm not sure if the writers realized their mistake or if they just got lazy. Either way, the series would make a lot more sense if it was set in the Alpha Quadrant with a regular old Starfleet crew. If they're not going to utilize the shows premises, why have them at all?

Excepting all that, I do enjoy Voyager for what it is. Episodes like this on the other hand... *cringe*

On a side note, why is there only one Bajoran in the Maquis? I would be really interested to know how the peace-loving Chakotay got involved with a terrorist group, and not only that, but one on another planet. Why is he so invested in Bajor? And why is B'Elanna, for that matter?
Paul
Mon, Apr 15, 2013, 9:56am (UTC -5)
@Adara: Chakotay's home colony, Dorvan V, seen in "Journey's End," was one of several Federation colonies given to the Cardassians (in exchange for Cardassian colonies) as part of an ill-fated peace treaty.

The Cardassians mistreated the colonists on several planets -- apparently, to try to get them to leave -- leading to the formation of the Maquis. Cardassia's occupation of Bajor had nothing to do with the Maquis, other than the Bajorans who joined the group. So, Chakotay joined to fight for his home colony. B'Elaana (like Tom Paris) joined because they apparently had nowhere else to go. They apparently didn't really care about Bajor.

To your larger point, Janeway incorporated probably 30 Maquis into the crew after 'Caretaker'. She did it because she couldn't lock them up for the entire trip home and because of the substantial losses Voyager took in the pilot (first officer, chief engineer, helmsman).

Also, the Maquis were viewed with some sympathy because of what caused them to become terrorists. Chakotay in particular showed his worth to Janeway -- by sacrificing his ship -- in 'Caretaker.'

So, it made sense and SHOULD have set up some dramatic payoff to incorporate the Maquis into the Voyager crew. But after the first few episodes, the creators kind of threw this out. Same thing with Voyager's isolation/lack of supplies (as you noted).
Michael
Wed, Apr 17, 2013, 1:46am (UTC -5)
All these years, and nobody mentions the time Trip got hisself knocked up.
Cureboy
Wed, May 8, 2013, 8:27am (UTC -5)
We're trying to run a level-three spectral analysis on the gravimetric intensity in the warp coil isolation reflux chamber, and with all of you in here, you're affecting the upper-baryon results of the isometric relay variable outtake inhibitor module."

Ba ha ha ha ha! That was classic!!
Rosario
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
@Nic:

The Captain could be privy to knowledge an under-officer might not be aware of. Perhaps it is a hostile first contact and the object of a sexual advance is the opposing ambassador's daughter and she hasn't told that detail to her paramour (as they never do tell on television.) Some might look at that and say, "Aw, this will heal everything!" but there are very great odds that the ambassador would see it as a violation. The ambassador may NOT view it that way but what if 99% of his species does? He won't be paving the way into any brave new worlds because he's going to be exiled in disgrace. Or perhaps used as an unwitting symbol to start a war.

Just one example - I can think of many more. In short, the Doctor would provide medical clearance and the Captain would provide... well... "political" clearance I suppose would be the best (sadly) way to put it. Perhaps the Captain could even act as a diplomat to make sure it is okay with the other species. Actually I imagine that would be exactly the Captain's role.

Don't misunderstand, I personally abhor any big-brother governmental type that wants a say in my life but when dealing with an alien species... one should approach things with caution.

I don't imagine this would be the case on settled worlds or trade colonies.
Jo Jo Meastro
Tue, Jun 18, 2013, 9:04am (UTC -5)
I'm alligned with those who said that this is a brilliant hilarious review for an awful *unintentionally* hilarious episode. I can sort of see why there maybe *some* regulation regarded inter-species relationships because of potential health risks, culture clashes, diplomatic complications etc...but what the episode presented was embarrassingly absurd and horribly executed. Not to mention the awfully boring story. I try to give Harrys' character a fair chance he just makes himself difficult to take seriously, or should I say the writing staff are the ones reducing him to a joke!

It's funny how often Star Trek seems to hint that sex is more casual in the future thanks to better birth control, improved treatment and prevention of STDs, and inter-galactic travel pushing the boundaries on our human experiences and ideals about sexuality. Too bad "The Disease" subtracts from this interesting, realistic sci-fi idea.
skadoo
Wed, Jul 10, 2013, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
@Rosario - Bingo! You hit it on the head.

Harry was NOT punished for having sex. He was punished for not following the rules beforehand in a situation that could have turned out badly. An officer. and a senior bridge officer at that, is expected to think with his brain and not his hormones.
azcats
Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
first of all.
i like this episode for a couple of reasons.

1. i like the idea of the generational ship. it makes you think, what would happen to voyager if they lost their warp drive or it took them 100s of years..?
2. sex on that episode is very much like sex in real life. we get bonded to an individual when we are intimate. the more times you ahve sex with other people. the less each bond becomes. this is why your first love often hurts the most. i think the writers were trying to be extreme. but i think they made a case of how it is in real life.
3. i enjoyed harry kims discussion with the captain. i liked that he wanted to feel the pain, and not just ignore it. it makes the love and memories more than just one encounter.
4. enough withe maquis crap. yes, they could have written the earlier episodes with more friction. but once they became a "family," it was never going to happen. remember, even though these were seen as "terrorists." their actions were not done out of hate. these were either good or misguided people. it is not like EVERY maquis stayed in line...i.e. tessa and the traitor.
5. i cant recall too many scenes where it is just janeway and harry kim...
Nancy
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Very funny review, especially the Chakotay bit.

I too understand why there would be regulations regarding sex with an unknown alien species/first contact situation. That wasn't my problem with the episode.

Neither was the frustrated romance angle. Indeed, if done well, the "star-crossed lovers" concept can be very effective (no pun intended.)

My problem was the awful dialogue, especially the convo where Harry and his girlfriend discuss the unexpected differences in their sex organs. "Let's just say the birds and the bees would be very confused," Harry chuckles.

Oh, gosh, no. NO. NO. I haven't cringed this much since the "female" Changeling thanked Odo for teaching her how "solids" have sex as she got out of his bed on DS9 (I know that sounds like a joke, but it was supposed to be a serious scene.) That was grosser but at least it was just one scene. We had to endure this for 45 minutes.

Worst episode since "Threshold."
Lt. Yarko
Fri, Aug 9, 2013, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
HAHA! Amazing review!

This episode was truly difficult to watch. I know that the lizard episode was moronic, but at least it was bearable to sit through. This one was grating from beginning to end.
T'Paul
Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Although I've definitely not been in favour of some reviews from episodes previous to this one, well done, amusing, and not too harsh, while wittily parodying some aspects that deserve parodying.

I think that this episode shows that Kim is no Mayweather... that he has a bit more depth, and the story itself is probably more about the political repercussions of being imprudent than it is about Janeway being a prude, although it was interesting that she explored some feelings about being left by Mark in the process...

I think it was a solid 2, if not 2.5, in exploring those interspecies issues.

Although the leader of the generational ship was a real prick.

Still though, can't see why Kim couldn't have been promoted, while Paris went up and down like a yo-yo.
Bb
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Not shown: Harry explaining what a "grower, not a shower" means.
Amanda
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 1:17am (UTC -5)
I remember liking this episode. But I was 16 and cheering Kim's rebellion on captain Janeway. I do recall at first groaning "Not another Harry sex life episode" but I got sucked in. I only question this emphasis on needing a permission slip. I suppose it makes sense given results like what happened to Kim but it was never used before to my knowledge with Paris etc...
Ric
Wed, Apr 23, 2014, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Not a stellar episode, but certainly not nearly as bad as Jammer's review and score would make one think. This was in fact more profound that it appears, if you think that it has dealt with the issue of loving a different species in an unknown quadrant of the galaxy, the moral difficulties of having personal life subject to hierarchical order, sort of unsafe sex in the 24th century, a bit of the peculiarities of being isolated in the Delta Quadrant... I enjoy seeing they talk about sex, which has been an aspect almost forgotten, almost a taboo in the series.

And sure, a bit of insight on Kim, which was long overdue. It was clearly the best installment about him in a long time (if not ever). The scene where Seven goes talk to Kim and wishes fast recovery is touching. Sure, it was far from good writen and, as always, only average acted (Kim almost always looks childish and flat). But one star is just being too harsh on this one.
K'Elvis
Sat, May 10, 2014, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
It's a bit of a mess. First there's this thing that comes out of the blue about Star Fleet officers requiring permission to have intimate relationships with alien species, it blatantly contradicts what's come before in Star Trek.

Strife in a generational ship could be interesting, but it's given short shrift to focus on the mess with Kim. This is not a xenophobic species, but a ship with xenophobic rules, that not everyone agrees to.

And why doesn't Kim leave with Tal, or why doesn't Tal stay with Kim? They are so supposedly deeply in love, but break it off so easily. Tal's breaking away from her society, why not come along with Kim on Voyager? If this biochemical bond is so strong, would they really have left each other? It's the usual Trek thing that the relationship has to end by the end of the episode one way or another.

It seems the episode isn't really sure what it is about. The internal conflict on the alien ship isn't given enough depth to carry the episode. Is it about love or following rules? It's just so hard to swallow the rule that getting the captain's permission for romantic relationships, because to swallow this, you have to ignore everything that has come before.
Pluto Nash
Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
I was less interested in "Harry's Story" than the generational ship, particularly its past. What was the world they left like? Is there a specific star or destination they sought out? What experiences did they have to make them so afraid to contact any other civilations?
Jen
Fri, Jan 2, 2015, 8:49am (UTC -5)
Loved the review! Much better than the actual episode.
dlpb
Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
This is yet another leftist preaching episode. But ultimately, what would Voyager be gaining by helping a so-called "xenophobic" culture? What could possibly be worth the risk? The writers don't seem to care as they lunge Voyager into as many manufactured problems as possible to cover the fact that the whole show just wasn't about anything.
Xylar
Fri, May 8, 2015, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
Harry gets some spacenookee. It's actually not as terrible as it sounds. The STD scare was a bit 'eh', but Kirk got himself a lot more alien action and he turned out fine... most of the time.
One thing that bothered me, though. Hasn't virtually everyone of the main cast gotten some intimate romantic action with alien species by this point?
Tuvok had Noss only a few episodes ago. Chakotay had that alien chick who he forgot about because that's how her pheromones work. Tom had a fling with a spacechick and got busted by her husband. The Doctor had that Viidian chick in the earlier seasons. Hell, even Janeway herself had a fling with alien guy who was looking for telepaths.
Only Neelix, B'elanna and Seven are not guilty of this charge.
Sure, they might not have gotten laid, but where do you draw the line exactly? Seems kind of hypocritical to give Harry a severe reprimand in his record when everyone else, captain and first officer included, get away scotfree. Hardly seems fair towards poor Harry...
Robert
Mon, May 11, 2015, 8:14am (UTC -5)
@Xylar - You are correct, this episode is not as bad as it (or the 1 star rating) make it sound.

The 2 biggest issues are that Janeway comes off really, really bad in this one and that Harry's new assertive character development will be dropped in 5 minutes the next time they need someone to act "green". ::eyeroll::

BUT only one of those are problems with THIS episode. I also usually rail against gratuitous annoying shoehorning of Seven into EVERY plot where other characters might serve better... but given the history behind her friendship with Harry... it actually works here.

As to your criticism though... if the regulation is to prevent "intimate contact with an alien species without medical clearance" very few of the crew are guilty.

Tuvok, Tom and the Doctor either a) did not have sex with their "romances" or b) are a hologram and probably don't need medical clearance or I suppose c) can give medical clearance on the spot because they are the chief medical officer?

I'm also not convinced Janeway had sex with the telepath hunter either. Chakotay definitely did, but I suppose Janeway probably filed a reprimand and it got deleted with their magical computer virus.
Christine
Thu, Aug 6, 2015, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
I couldn't bear to finish the episode. No need: this review is hilarious.
Andrew
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
This episode could have been good if not for the Doctor's self-righteousness, Wang's overacting and the disconnect with Tal easily moving on in the end. Still not that bad.
Andrew
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
I would say 2 stars, even 2.5 if it hadn't ended with Janeway being semi-apologetic rather than Seven changing her mind.
Andrew
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
If it *had*.
Hlc
Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 12:04am (UTC -5)
This episode is totally ridiculous. Like they ran a writing contest at one of the local high schools in LA and a directing contest at a local junior high. All these years of the various versions of Star Trek and the freewheeling sexuality and this is the first we've ever heard of Star Fleet caring about this issue! And the poor direction. All of the regular cast seem like their bodies have been taken over by strangers. One of the all time worst Star Trek episodes of all series ever.
Riker-kick
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
I spent the first half of the episode wondering why they had to have Voyager docked to the massive ship instead of using the usual methods of transportation. But as soon as the hull-eating parasite makes its debut it all became clear - the ship had also contracted a 'sexually' transmitted virus; ho ho!
Hardly worth the contrivance, but ultimately the least of the episode's flaws.
John
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 3:35am (UTC -5)
What a piece of garbage! This was not a good episode with which to start my new year!

So............Starfleet officers can't fuck new aliens without medical and command clearance? In TNG's first season episode "Justice," the crew of the Enterprise beam down to a planet populated by a half naked and super sexual species known as the "Edo" solely and exclusively so that they can fuck them because Picard believes the crew is stressed and needs a release! I'm serious! That's the premise of that episode!

Unfortunately, they never get to the fucking because Wesley Crusher loses a ball and tramples on some flowers and the remainder of that episode is about the Edo deciding whether or not to kill him (literally), but my point is that the original purpose of the Enterprise even visiting the Edo planet is because the crew wanted to have sex with the aliens and Picard thought it would relieve the crew's stress!

But here, no sex during first contact? I bet Starfleet made that regulation after the incident with the Edo, lest someone loses one of their balls again (pun intended).

What I found disturbing about this episode is the Doctor asking Janeway to order Kim to be treated. Um, isn't treating a patient against his will a violation of the Doctor's programming? In the 4th season episode "The Gift" the Doctor said, in reference to Seven, "If a patient told me not to treat them, even if the situation were life threatening, I would be ethically compelled to honor that request." Right. He should have added, "Unless, of course, Mr. Kim becomes a sex addict, then all ethical subroutines are being turned off for the sake of the mental health of the rest of the crew! The last thing we need to see is a sex starved virgin at heart Ensign. I'm a doctor, not a masochist!"

John
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 3:51am (UTC -5)
azcats - Tue, Aug 6, 2013 - 4:10pm (USA Central)

"the more times you have sex with other people. the less each bond becomes."

This is puritanical bullshit! I'm going to assume you've never been in an open relationship.
Skeptical
Wed, Feb 3, 2016, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
Well, it was better than I expected, but that's not exactly saying much. After all, based on the description, I was expecting a potential "worst episode ever!" experience. So bravo for not failing that bad! Then again, it failed in an entirely different way, as the episode showed actual promise but failed to live up to it.

The biggest problem is that the A and B plots should be switched. The Generation Ship looked intriguing, and certainly better than the generic alien ships that we're used to. The design was unique, and it led itself to a myriad of possibilities. Did they build the ship over time, adding new modules as the population expands? How long have they been out, why are they there, where did they come from? Are they the only ones left of their species? How many people are on the ship; can their population survive if the dissidents leave? Is that why the leader was so demanding on the dissidents, refusing to allow anyone to leave? Did success of their flight require everyone to stay and do their duty, or else society would break down?

How long has this dissident movement been around? Has it, too, been around for generations? Have there been multiple cultures springing up on this ship, different mythos, different cultures? Is this a struggle for what society means? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few in this case? Is it moral to suppress freedom of movement if society would be destroyed if too many did move? Or is a society that requires such suppression deserve to even survive? Could there be some sort of compromise between the dissident movement and the leadership? What about tradition? What sort of duty does one have to society? Should one suppress one's selfish desires for the good of the many? Is demanding to leave, itself, the wrong course of action?

Who the heck knows, because the episode sure didn't care about any of that, all of which was far more interesting than Harry getting some. The episode could have even used that as a secondary plot. After all, it parallels some of the same potential themes: fidelity vs frivolity, duty vs desire. Kim abandoning his duty for his loins works well with the idea of an existential struggle on board the generational ship.

So that's the biggest problem with the episode; it never showed us a reason to care about the people on the ship. But what about the plot itself?

Well, that left me cold, too. I mean, the scene where Kim pleads with Janeway about his twue wuv that will last foweveh? Sounds like a whiny 16 year old arguing with his mom that she just doesn't understand, man! And then to prove it, he goes off and steals his mom's minivan and takes his girlfriend to makeout point. It just felt so laughably wrong. Is Harry Kim, the perfect Starfleet officer, going to get caught up with a girl and break protocol? Enh, maybe, I guess it's a typical plot point. Is he then going to have an emotional breakdown and stomp off in a hissy fit, going for a joyride? Then it starts getting ridiculous.

Oh, wait, it wasn't really him, it was his disease making him do that. Um, er, ok. But then, what's the point? Just to show how dangerous letting your shields down and engaging thrusters is? Well, gee, that's a roundabout way of showing it rather than have him grow an extra arm or something, and just as silly. Or is it for the excitement and drama of seeing Kim act like a doofus? Well, wasn't very exciting for me. So basically, they A) took the plot in a ridiculous direction by having Kim act like a teenager and then B) gave it an absurd justification that ruined any point of it. So why bother?

Meanwhile, to top off the ridiculousness of Harry declaring this to be twue wuv, at the end of the episode his paramour gains her freedom and can go anywhere she wants. Surely, after all that flirting and lovey dovey talk between the two, she would ask to join Voyager's crew, right? Nope! She drops Harry like a hot potato and runs off. My guess is, she didn't care for him, but was just using him to rebel against the society. Ok, wait, that could be an interesting plot point, would they bring that up? Of course not! She just leaves because she's a guest character of the week so of course that's what she does! No reason to, you know, turn it into a part of the plot. But anyways, she dumps Harry and dumps Harry good. And yet, at the end, he is still pining for her as his one true love! If that last scene was supposed to be a heartbreaking, emotional scene, it failed miserably. You knew a girl for two weeks and found out she was using you and had no feelings for you. Get over it!

So, to recap, I assumed this episode would have no potential and then fail. Instead, it showed lots of potential, but still failed. At least they tried, I guess...

Oh, and as for the controversial protocols? I'm ok with it; I think it does make sense for first or early contact with aliens. The Doc for medical approval, and the captain for political/diplomatic approval. On the other hand, I have a hard time believing the book is 3 cm thick. Three words thick - "Don't do it" - should be sufficient. Maybe the rest of it is a Foreward by James T Kirk.

Diamond Dave
Fri, Mar 4, 2016, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Otherwise known as 'Harry Gets The Horn'. This one seemed to go on forever, which is a reflection on the slow pace for the most part. The generational ship is an interesting concept, and I have some sympathy with those suggesting the rebel movement should have been the main focus. As it is, the story seemed a bit bolted on and less than fully formed. But the Harry story - poorly written, poorly played and basically trite, overbearing and clumsy. File this under 'Harry Kim can't carry a whole episode'.

The VFX were excellent, however, and the opening shot something we haven't really seen before. 1.5 stars.
Yanks
Fri, May 27, 2016, 7:45am (UTC -5)
** Yanks tips cap to Jammer **

That's some funny stuff there boss. :-)

Teal'c did better with her than Harry did :-)

This made me think of the beginning of BAB5 when Captain Sinclair says something to the effect ... "stick to the list" :-)

I don't know that Star Fleet never had a "list", but I don't think we ever really discussed it in trek. I always just figured that knowledge was "briefed".

I'm not quite as hard, I'll go 1.5 stars.
belowzero
Mon, Jul 11, 2016, 1:08am (UTC -5)
Seven Of Nine not wanting to leave sickbay because of contamination?! Hahaha sure - she was waiting for Harry Kim to spill the beans on sex :-D She knew he was in love, too.

This episode is not so bad. And its also consistent with the series. In the episode what-its-name when the vidians attack and Janeway orders Kim to take young Naomi Wildman and get over to the other Voyager you can clearly hear the emotion in her voice. This time she is disappointed by Harry Kim - or maybe jealous - not unlike a mother when her son has a girlfriend.

Wang may not be the best actor, but he did pretty well in this episode.

People complain about Voyagers reset button, but even if there is some continuity, they will still complain. Voyager - and especially Harry Kim - can never do it right.

I would have liked to find out more about the generational ship and their technologies.

3 Shining Stars for this episode

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