Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 5/8/1995
Teleplay by Kenneth Biller
Story by Jonathan Glassner and Kenneth Biller
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"That's the way you respond to every situation, isn't it? If it doesn't work, hit it. If it's in your way, knock it down. No wonder I got kicked out of the academy." — Human B'Elanna to Klingon B'Elanna
While surveying a planet with Lieutenants Paris and Durst, B'Elanna Torres is kidnapped by the Vidiians, who attempt to extract her Klingon DNA to fight their deadly epidemic, the phage. They reform her into two separate Klingon and human individuals. They lock Klingon-Torres in a lab for further study, and send human-Torres down into their tunnels with Paris and Durst to work as slave labor. In order to escape their captors, the two B'Elannas must find each other and work together while overcoming their conflicting dispositions.
"Faces" is an interesting, original story that doesn't seem remade from Next Generation stock like many of this season's installments. Taking "inner conflict" and putting it in the most literal sense imaginable (by way of the latest in sci-fi plots), this episode proves to be Voyager's first truly compelling concept, going down as the series' best so far. The series seems to be at its best when dealing with inner conflict and personal issues, as also seen in "Prime Factors" and "State of Flux."
Splitting Torres into two halves reveals two unbalanced extremes of her personality. Neither receives much of what the other has. Torres' Klingon half gets all her strength and courage, but an uncontrolled temper and no patience. On the other hand, her human half gets the patience and a cool head, but depleted strength and an inability to overcome intense lapses of fear.
The situation is thoughtfully utilized for some emotional moments, as Torres' dilemma is one of the most personal character aspects Voyager has yet examined. The core of "Faces" lies in B'Elanna's self-identity problem. Backstory (and some good stuff, at that) reveals that B'Elanna has spent much of her life trying to suppress her Klingon half. An interesting point is how the teleplay seems to side with B'Elanna's human side, as most of the personal dialog comes from her, rather than the Klingon. However, part of what human B'Elanna begins to realize as the show progresses is how much she needs her Klingon side to survive. The scene where human-B'Elanna reveals all of this to Paris is very absorbing (until Paris' extremely stupid line, "I guess you finally got your wish," upon which B'Elanna should have promptly strangled him).
The exchanges between chained-down Klingon-B'Elanna and her Vidiian captor Sulan (Brian Markinson) often proves interesting. Sulan tells B'Elanna she will be a hero in Vidiian history for her role in eradicating the phage. Klingons, however, do not appreciate being chained up, she tells him. "Klingons find honor as warriors on the battle field, not as guinea pigs in a laboratory." Sulan is impressed by B'Elanna, and would be even more impressed if she could eliminate the phage.
The show also successfully further develops the Vidiians' role in Delta Quadrant lore. Despite their motives, they come across as quite malevolent here, and are effectively utilized as villains for the episode's action/adventure quotient. There's one somewhat shocking scene where Sulan visits B'Elanna sporting the recently-grafted face of Lt. Durst, who was killed for his organs—grotesquely fascinating. At the same time, it's hard to simply condemn the Vidiians, because they're trying to preserve themselves. But after Janeway's warning of "deadly retaliation" in "Phage," I don't expect a future encounter with the Vidiians to be particularly diplomatic.
Attempting to escape, human-B'Elanna is caught by the Vidiians, but Klingon-B'Elanna, escaped herself, saves her from likely execution. And after some verbal exchanges that offers even more insight into Torres' past, the two finally begin to come to terms with each other and agree to look for a way to disable the cave shield preventing their beam-out.
The episode culminates in the medical lab, in another well-executed action/suspense scene where the two B'Elannas mess with the computers until they are able to disable the shield, but not before they set off an alarm in the process. Chakotay suddenly shows up, disguised as a Vidiian, to aid in the escape, then Sulan comes along and threatens to shoot everybody if Klingon-B'Elanna does not surrender herself for further study. A twist of events has Sulan in screaming anguish when he accidentally phasers his possible phage cure, Klingon-B'Elanna, who throws herself into the path of a phaser blast seconds before Voyager beams up the away team.
The Doctor is able to use the Klingon DNA to restore B'Elanna to her usual self, but the experience of being divided leaves B'Elanna shaken and confused, yet in realization that she will be fighting with her inner self for possibly the rest of her life. Even Chakotay has no words of wisdom to offer her—a rather resonating closing.
Biggs-Dawson plays the part of a Klingon as well as anyone I've seen on Star Trek (I almost wish the character would have stayed on the show), so much that it's almost hard to believe that the two B'Elannas are played by the same actress. Biggs-Dawson shows the perfect screen presence to bring this character to life, both mentally and physically, not a small feat by any means. It's too bad that, as chief engineer, she is so often limited to reciting technobabble. "Faces" gives her a fresh and exciting adventure with plenty of character-driven scenes.
Previous episode: Cathexis
Next episode: Jetrel
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71 comments on this post
Thu, Jan 8, 2009, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Hmm, I wonder what price the Vidiians paid the Think Tank to cure the phage?
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 12:06am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 10, 2010, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Roxanne actually touches on that in the DVD...she said her mother complimented her on her acting as the human B'Elanna but her mother told her that the actress that played the Klingon half...now she was really something!
I suppose if you can fool your own mother, that's some acting chops there...
Sun, Mar 6, 2011, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
@Amy - Pish posh. While this episode certainly echoes the TOS episode, it's hardly a retread.
Sat, Apr 9, 2011, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, I still really liked this episode. Roxanne Dawson did a great job, and I saw a little foreshadowing of Tom and Be'lanna's eventual relationship there. I could make some minor compaints about the ridiculousness of being able to split someone in half while retaining their memories like that. But, I think the good parts of this episode outweighed the silly parts enough for me to let that go.
The vidiian wearing Durst's face was totally disturbing. I'm kind of surprised they showed something like that on a prime time, generally family friendly, sort of show. Kudos to them for getting away with that! It was certainly memorable.
Three and a half stars from me too!
Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
It's bad enough that they let the Durst face-stealer live, but in the same moment they condemned the innocent to death. So once you get past the "Enemy Within" character study aspects of the episode, you're left with a plot which entails a truly backwards morality play.
Sat, Aug 13, 2011, 8:19am (UTC -5)
Also Klingon B'Ellana's lifp..and..confptant..pauves..befween...wordf..drove..me..cravee..
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
I'm sorry, but it's like, no one even cared that the Vidiians had killed off one of the crewmen. Not only that, but these people are systematically rounding up people from around the galaxy and harvesting their organs.
I don't care for the whole "they're trying to protect themselves" argument. You don't kill other people to protect yourself. What makes them any more special than others. And what exactly happened to Janeway's promise that she'd destroy them if they messed with her crew again?
If it was Sisko, he would sent a few well-aimed photon torpedoes their way. God, I wish it was Sisko.
Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 25, 2013, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
A couple of people mentioned the Think Tank and the distance issue. I never thought of that as a problem. they had technology that was more advanced than the federation. maybe they had some propulsion faster than regular warp or had mapped anomalies to make their travel faster.
Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
To have lived through so much as a single being and to be split must be a lot to have to deal with psychologically - a lot like running into gaps in your own behavior and thought processes. I believe that these were well played by the beautiful actress in both cases, as if she was dealing with thinking or taking action around things which she'd previously (rightly) assumed to be a part of her and which she no longer has access to.
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
But take the B'Elannas out of the picture and the rest of the story is pretty mediocre.
I'm tired of Starfleet people figuring out alien computers in a few minutes - I can't even figure out the Bluetooth in a rental car before I run out of gasoline.
As others have noticed, the rest of the prisoners get ignored during the rescue.
But worst of all, our Bad Captain's own integrity is compromised - that most emotional of speeches in "Phage" promised "deadliest" force... where was that? We're led to love/hate the Vidiians yet no action is taken against them in this second encounter. Janeway is not the type to be full of empty threats, nor leave other prisoners behind. That was very disappointing.
This is probably the best B'Elanna episode, but the bad guys win this battle.
Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
I think the pauses between her words were simply her struggling with her rage and her anger at being tampered with.
I especially enjoyed the Neelix Tuvok soup scene at the beginning. I think other than Spock and Sarek, Tuvok is definitely the best Vulcan we've seen.
Fri, Oct 4, 2013, 4:42am (UTC -5)
This is one of my very favourite Voyager episodes; and probably Trek episodes in general.
I've always loved the Klingons; their women, even moreso. I spent nearly three years playing an Orc Hunter in World of Warcraft, as well; the Draenish Orcs are very similar, as a race.
The two women who've broken my heart so far in life have both been Hispanic, as well, so Roxanne Dawson's character holds a fair amount of significance for me. Nothing creepy, but there was a definite crush while the series was airing. My degree of emotional connection with both Torres and Chakotay, is by itself probably the reason why Voyager has become my favourite of the Trek series. I do, however, agree with everyone who wishes the writing could have been better, most of the time. It was criminal how much they neglected Robert Beltran in the end; he was a walk on, most of the time.
If I have any complaints at all where "Faces," is concerned, it's that the setup takes far too long, and the few minutes we get with both halves of B'Elanna, don't seem like anywhere near enough.
The one thing which I did think was very good about their dialogue, though, was the fact that the Klingon half repeatedly asked for acknowledgement, and for B'Elanna to admit that she needed her. That makes a lot of sense, because I've always felt that the main source of Torres' inner conflict was the fact that her Human half, always saw the Klingon half as a curse, and was never willing to recognise it positively, for what it gave her.
Watching this again, also makes me wonder where Voyager could have gone, if instead of getting Jeri Ryan as the show's resident fanservice, we'd had B'Elanna's Klingon half, as well as her human as part of the crew, as others have suggested.
For those who have complained about her Klingon half's slow speech and enunciation, while she might have exaggerated it slightly, I thought it was pretty much spot on. If you watch just about any other episodes with Klingon characters, you will notice that that *is* how they talk. They pronounce every word very carefully and deliberately. I also didn't notice a lisp as such, although her s and t sounds possibly weren't always completely clear. It looks like they gave her some bigger prosthetic teeth for the full Klingon role, which makes sense.
My rating is more than four stars, in the final analysis; but I guess I'm biased. ;)
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 11:50am (UTC -5)
The problem I had with this episode is that they are in a death camp and they don't rescue anyone but themselves. This is not a matter internal to the Vidiians. They should have rescued them, it would have been easy to drop them off at the nearest inhabited world, their home planets could have arranged transportation from there.
By just walking away when they could have rescued so many would have made Voyager an enemy of dozens of planets. Imagine if Americans (or Canadians, British or whoever) were held in a death camp and someone came in and only rescued their own countrymen, when they could easily have rescued them all. The outrage would be tremendous. It would be similar in this situation, if word got out that Voyager had simply left their people behind.
This episode did have good points, but leaving these people behind was outrageous, and puts a taint over the episode.
Fri, Nov 15, 2013, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Still, as much as I appreciated the psychological aspects of this story, I wish they had thought of a more plausible way to have B'Elanna face her inner demons.
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 2:23am (UTC -5)
Overall though, I did like this episode. Interesting story and good drama.
Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 8:22am (UTC -5)
It seems that the idea of rescuing the prisoners didn't occur to the writers. Why is it that none of the alien races seem very concerned about the Vidiians? They ought be be united in waging war against them.
I strongly disagree that the Klingon Torres was being selfish by not being a guinea pig. She's free to volunteer, but that is above and beyond the call of duty.
This episode should have come later in the series. It's too soon for Torres to come to terms with her Klingon half, and indeed, by the end of the episode she doesn't. The similar TOS episode "The Enemy Within" had Kirk recognize the importance of both sides of his nature. If Torres had come to terms with both aspects of her personality, then we wouldn't have seen the inner conflict in her throughout the series. This episode might have fit better in perhaps the 6th or 7th seasons. Of course, if they did this, they couldn't have used the Vidiians, but here the Vidiians are really a Magguffin, they are just the means to have two halves of Torres interact with each other.
Durst seemed strangely prominent in the previous episode. Having a character get that much screen time out of the blue in that episode made me wonder if he was the alien presence. It had been so long since I watched the episode that I had forgotten all about Durst. After rewatching Faces, it's clear he was given so much time in order to have a "known" character killed off.
Sulan was foolish to think that a stolen face - especially one stolen from one of her crewmates - would make him more acceptable to Torres. If he wanted her cooperation, it would have been vital to keep them alive and unharmed. But perhaps the atrocities the Vidiians commit (that's the only way to put it) has so debased them that they can't think of their victims as people who have feelings. If you could put yourself in someone else's perspective, you would understand that to murder someone's crewmate and wear his face wouldn't make you more appealing, instead it would create utmost horror - Durst's face on Sulan's body is vastly more horrifying than Sulan's own hideous face. Sulan's face is monstrously ugly, but with Durst's face, it's true horror.
But if Sulan really can't see things from Torres' perspective, all he knows is that she likes human faces, so perhaps he would like her if he had a human face. It would make sense that the Vidiians "dehumanize" their victims. When you see someone as less than human (I know, they are aliens, so perhaps it should be "depersonize") it's much easier to commit atrocities.
Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
I only found this carrying-rocks labor-camp a little too much. The main plot of getting people's organs was evil enough. The slavery seemed just pushing too hard the vilan-ish stuff, too unidimensional. And sure, leaving the prisioners there without help was ridiculous. Federation and Starfleet principles? Who cares!
However, overall this episode has really good Trek material. Btw, K'Elvis brought a very good catch! Many thanks for that. Lastly, it could have been really nice if they have kept both versions of Torres in the show.
Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Otherwise I really liked what they were going for and did a pretty good job of it. More scenes between Human and Klingon Torres would have benefited it greatly, though. What seemed like what should have been the crux of the episode turned out to be almost an afterthought. There's still some good stuff here.
Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
"Durst seemed strangely prominent in the previous episode. Having a character get that much screen time out of the blue in that episode made me wonder if he was the alien presence. It had been so long since I watched the episode that I had forgotten all about Durst. After rewatching Faces, it's clear he was given so much time in order to have a "known" character killed off."
I think that's exactly what happened -- they couldn't kill off a regular (although I would have gladly volunteered Neelix) and they couldn't kill off someone we'd never seen before and had anybody care, so Durst (played by the same actor who played the annoying Vorin in TNG "Homeward") was given a prominent role in the previous episode. And you know that Sulan, even before the face transplant, was played by the Durst actor, right?
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
She's also suffering the onset of an agonizingly painful disease! Her later speech correspondingly retains the aggression, loses the agony. Works for me.
Here's what doesn't work: the Vidiians are only interested in the Klingon side of her for the experiment, right? Why do they bother reconstituting the human? Only for an additional laborer and eventual organ donor? If that's so easy--to produce two whole people/bodies out of the data of one--how come they can't produce an ongoing supply of slave/donor-people by similar means? Or just organs?
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Roxann really showed her acting chops in this one. Bravo! Yes, the her Klingon side speech was a bit drawn out, but that's part of the deal. In no way did we want to see or hear the same actress.
... and this is NO retread of 'The Enemy Within'. Not by a longshot.
My only reason for not giving this 4 stars is they don't rescue the other prisoners. (or we don't see it)
Interesting in the end, she needs the Klingon DNA to survive.
Just manipulating DNA seems to be commonplace in the future. Another aspect of trek preceding reality?
As for all that think the Vidians should just die off, what's that they say about walking in a mans shoes?
3.5 stars for me.
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I noted that the show began to put humans at the apex of life in the universe as the seasons wore on. The writers always displayed B'elanna's Klingon half as a detriment to her happiness and future prospects. I never agreed with that as Next Gen had worked hard to show Klingons to be and honorable warrior race. They were barely alluded to in Voyager as little more than otherworldly Neanderthals. One wonders how they were able to develop a wheel, let alone starships that could move faster than the speed of light. And long before humanity. Science was hardly considered an honorable pursuit in Klingon lore. Think Next Gen's episode "Suspicions".
So this episode remains a pleasant surprise even after all these years. Why? Because once her Klingon DNA was separated from her human half the doubts and inner struggles ended. At least regarding her appearance and identity. And you'll note her Klingon half rather quickly embraced who she was. Self assured and ready to do battle. I will admit there was a certain sexy charm to seeing that half that Roxann bought to the role. It actually gave Klingons as a whole a positive spin.
Her human half I would say eventually came into her own. But like a human she had to take those baby steps and from there learn to walk before she could run. Notice toward the end she became fully capable to do what needed to be done but without the in-your-face aggression of her Klingon counterpart. She found her courage without her other half supplying it. So basic and yet so compelling. I guess there is a reason The Wizard Of Oz endures to this day.
On another note I will say that although I found her human half to be more attractive, her Klingon half had a certain primal energy and a sultry prescence that...well...if I were that Vidiian I would have taken her up on that offer to study her in "action" as she so eloquently put it. I'm sure another day or two delaying research would not have eliminated the Vidiians due to that nasty phage : )
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
But my word this is slow - I thought it must be getting near the end to find 15 mins to go. It just seems that for whole chunks of the episode not very much happens at all. It's that lack of pace that really holds this back for me. Shame. 2 stars.
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
I agree that Voyager should have tried to free the other prisoners. Ok, maybe not the Talaxian... In fact I'd have beamed down the one they had too...
One that really sticks out for me though is what Sulan was doing. He split Torres into two fully alive people so the big elephant in room is... If the Viidians can do that... Why the hell do they have an organ shortage and have to steal them? They should be able to keep just one prisoner, or even a Viidian who hasn't got the Phage yet, and keep copying them over and over so they have an inexhaustable supply of organs!
Apart from that, best episode of Voyager so far.
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Anyways, I mostly liked this episode for its creepy factor. The Viidians are pretty disturbing to me, and the episode sort of reminded me of that episode of Farscape where everybody got twinned and many watched themselves die, which for some reason greatly affected me.
I liked this one a lot. Even if some of the premise was a bit weird, I found it to be thought provoking and disturbing, two things I like. The Viidians are unusual for Trek, they're uniquely eerie. The doctor coming in wearing Dursts face in a misguided attempt to make nice sent more chills down my spine than any other episode of Trek I can think of.
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 25, 2016, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
I have a better appreciation for this episode having read the above. But I actually wasn't that thrilled with Dawson's Klingon impression. It seemed way over the top. The reason that Klingons speak the way they do is (notionally) because they are actually speaking English, not being dubbed by a universal translator. This notion comes from The Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand, creator of the Klingon language for STIII and later, whose hilarious sense of humor in retroactively reverse-engineering explanations for on-screen Klingon speech tells us that well educated Klingons will speak in English amongst one another to separate themselves from the lower classes who are unable (comparable to French as the official language of the court of Catherine the Great of Russia, for example).
Klingon or human, B'Elanna grew up speaking English natively. As did Worf's mate K'Ehleyr (another half-Klingon-human hybrid), and even more so Alexander son of Worf. Worf has a bit of an accent since he was between 5 or 10 years old when he started learning English, enough time to affect his speech slightly (assuming Klingons mature faster, which they do).
So why would B'Elanna the Klingon have such a pronounced Klingon accent? To me it looked like Roxann Dawson watched a couple TNG Klingon episodes and immitated that, and also that she was having a problem speaking around the false teeth. I'm a linguist, so this sort of stuff stands out ot me, and really took me out of the episode.
But what *did* impress me was Dawson's take of the fully human B'Elanna. Her voice was the same, but quieter, meaker, gentler. Normal B'Elanna has soft moments like that throughout the series. It was a really nice touch. B'Elanna the Klingon should have just sounded like the normal B'Elanna was she was furious and fighting, which happened often. That would have seemed natural, less forced.
Tue, Aug 2, 2016, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
The Vidiians have no reason to run around the galaxy stealing organs when they can make clones (something that humans were able to do several centuries ago despite having inferior medical technology compared to the Vidiians). And if the Vidiians really were running around the galaxy stealing organs, then they were doing so simply for kicks, and why haven't the other species banded together to kick Vidiians asses to keep them from stealing any more organs?
The Vidiians don't work on any level because with this kind of medical technology they could easily cure the Phage and easily make clones to produce new replacement organs.
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 27, 2016, 11:58am (UTC -5)
2 people? Yes.
But Kirk was only part of himself, Torres was torn apart by race. Kirk found out he needed his other half, while B'Elanna realized a part of her she never wanted could be beneficial to her if embraced.
We need to be thorough NCC-1701-Z :-)
"KIRK: I'm Captain Kirk. I'm Captain Kirk! I'm Captain Kirk! I'm Captain Kirk! (goes to mirror, covers scratches with makeup, opens door) Wilson!"
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Each of the two halves of B'Elanna was a distinct character; and each of those characters had her own personality. Yet each was recognisable as something that we see in B'Elanna normally.
Not only did Dawson affect different (yet recognisably B'Elanna-ish) speech patterns for the two halves of B'Elanna, but her gait and her body language were different for each character.
On the question of body language, particularly interesting were her hands. B'Elanna's normal hand gestures are authoritative. But the hand gestures of human-only B'Elanna were noticeably dainty. I marvelled at the subtlety. That kind of control of her body was a breathtaking display of an actor's talent.
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Well, I don't mind it this time. At least it's not the preposterous de-evolve, mutant, or random genetic change. The Vidiians also have the credibility to do something like that, as they're the most advanced species on medical knowledge we known so far.
Dawson put a great performance. The only minor annoyance for me is why B'ellana-Klingon have to talk that slow? I'm guessing is to put emphasise between the two B'ellana. It certainly made the klingon-side looks a little more dimwit and slow on the uptake, all brawn approach, but a bit too much I think. The timid person of human-side to show the more brain approach is a little more subtle.
It's interesting to note that at the end, B'ellana still can't fully accept the klingon-side of her by saying : "I just have to accept the fact that I'll spend the rest of my life fighting with her". Foreshadowing that this inner-conflict will be a recurring theme of her character development I suppose.
We know Durst is a 'redshirt', so is the dozens crew of original Voyager (Lt.Cmdr Cavit, Lt. Stadi, whole group of medical-crew, etc). But can't they pay respect to the newest loss one of their crew? How is affect to rest of the crew morale? At least give some acknowledgement that the man is exist, and not just be forgotten once his scene time expired (as if he never there).
The Talaxian being forgotten also very annoyed me. Why the show invest considerable scene time with him. Influence, interact, and help main character (Paris, Torres) if he just going to be left and forgotten at the end? The plot can advance just well without him. The actor does a very good job. In 5 mins scene time, he even have more dimensional character than Neelix in all season one so far, all to be scrapped and forgotten.
It seems as if he's never exist after done with his scene time. I wonder what Neelix said if he knew the crew conviniently forgot his fellow race after the Talaxian prisoner help them.
Some conclusion at what happen to the Talax and other prisoner would be nice. If they don't want the Talax and other prisoners to be saved on Voyager, it can easily integrated to script. Lets say give Paris or Chakotay said "We don't have time or resource to help all the prisoners. You know way around here, would you join and try to escape with us?", then kill him in ensuing struggle if they wish, or just mention in the log they drop him in their next colony stop they come across.
Heck.. Just give us some insight of whatever uptake of Voyager crew on this dilemma and affect them, not just forget as they ever exist.
Last. Luckily the prisoner guards is infected with Voyager crew incompetent virus. They can't find a single escapee, they put a console in prisoner barracks for everyone to access, their languange is so easy to translate and decipher (are the universal translator also translate written languange in console?) that a human can easily break it within minutes, they don't put enough guards on high-security lab, etc.
Great character episodes, but lack believable plot and avoid to address some problem on the stories.
3 (***) stars
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
- The seduction of the doctor by the Klingon B'Elanna when she is on the medical bed, and the doctor falling for it.. Come on!
- The Klingon B'Elanna's slow.....talk.... not good.
- She just magically frees her hands from the iron-look restraints just on sheer power...mmmm..
- The scene in Voyager with the synchronized talk between Janeway and 3 senior officers, so artificial. One lays out the problematic, another follows with the consequences, another proposes a solution, another gives the 'go,' all perfectly timed, talking half a second after each other with equal talk time for everyone in the scene. It sounded like a rehearsal, as if the actors were reading from their notes.
I enjoyed reading Jammer's review as usual, but he overrated this episode imo.
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 2:38am (UTC -5)
But actually this somewhat exposed a bit of a logic hole in the execution. Rewind to Phage and the only reason for not wiping the videans off the face of the quadrant is the heart rending quandary they are in. In order to survive they have to stoop to pretty exceptional desperate measures. Or, as we discover here, if they are trying to impress passing Klingon booty. 'Check out my new face! Nice hmmm? Pay no attention to likenesses to any acquaintances of yours... purely coincidental'... Er these folks are monsters... set phasers to disintegrate. Except possibly down to time constraints (another episode where attempting a dual story line of Videans plus Torres personality split, leads to both stories feeling rushed) we don't get to see Janeway reconsidering her previous assessment of these organ kleptomaniacs. Instead there is yet another swift cut to Voyager resuming warp speed and trundling onwards. No 'alas poor Durst' moment, no reverie, just pedal to the metal and off we go...
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
::If it was Sisko, he would sent a few well-aimed photon torpedoes their way. God, I wish it was Sisko.::
LOL, makes me wanna watch a DS9 Defiant episode now
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
So look. Klingons, biologically, are stronger than humans, have more organ redundancy, etc. It seems pretty established from Torres and K'Ehleyr that "Klingon temper" can be felt even as a half-Klingon, and certainly Worf experienced a particular kind of bloodlust and emotion which he generally worked extremely hard to restrain. So these are biological traits, and we can assume that aggression, emotional intensity, emotional reward systems for action and fighting rather than contemplation (dopamine, endorphins), etc. are biologically higher in Klingons than in humans. That seems pretty clear, and it also seems clear why a species which has a natural biological inclination toward greater aggressiveness and weaker impulse control would develop a cultural system focused on honour and glory and essentially *action* as a whole as the highest ideal. But Torres rejects Klingon values and has for a long time. I really don't think that being suddenly biologically transformed into a Klingon would suddenly eliminate that. Now, over time -- yeah, I think that Klingon-Torres, whose biology rewards behaviour that fits with a Klingon cultural belief system would eventually be more tempted to embrace Klingon values and turn her back on what Torres (as human/Klingon hybrid) believed was wrong with them, eventually maybe resenting that Torres (the whole person) fought against and even hated the things that fit in with Klingon-Torres' biological inclinations and which she is good at. Over two days? Instantly? No.
The only way it can make sense to me is if we believe that some part of Torres *already* believes everything that Klingon-Torres says, and thinks it all the time. This maybe can make sense, if we believe that Torres is neurotic in a particular way where she constantly has conversations running in her head like the one we see between the two versions of her late in the episode. In that case, when Klingon-Torres and human-Torres take on opposite sides of the debate, they should both already *know* the other side of the debate, because they would know it and remember it; it would just be that their biologically-based emotional makeup (and maybe the experiences they went through in the last *day* or so since they were split) would tend to make them favour one set of arguments over the other. But I dunno, it doesn't really play out like that to me -- there is a certain earnestness to the way both Torreses talk to each other that suggests that they not only don't get each other emotionally, but seem in some respects barely to know each other's thoughts and feelings at all, like two siblings growing up in the same household and so have a common set of experiences, but interpreted them radically differently in a way they haven't even discussed before.
Now, to some extent, human-Torres seems less of a problem on this than Klingon-Torres, which fits in with the general narrative that both Torreses seem to accept that human-Torres is basically "the real one," with this Klingon intruder living inside her who it ends up is actually important to her survival. And I dunno. I feel like if there were even some scenes where Klingon-Torres said, "I have been thinking -- I know, you laugh, because you believe that Klingons can't or don't think. But you hate me. You hate my Klingon-ness. I know it because I remember every thought we've had together. But you're wrong. I'm strong. You're weak. It's not me who is the problem, but you are -- you and your human values, that have made us hate ourselves for our whole life. I don't know why I didn't see it before -- but it's so clear," I could have gotten on board -- some indication that it's a result of living in a fully Klingon body that allows Klingon-Torres to come to have greater sense of the worth of her Klingon half. We *almost* see this in the episode, wherein Klingon-Torres wakes up horrified at her figure, but then as a result of her ability to escape (and even the Vidiian's flattery of her species' remarkable properties), comes to appreciate herself more and more. But it's still played so archly.
This is to some extent in addition to the way in which Klingon-Torres ends up being portrayed as an idiot. They should, really, both have the same engineering knowledge. I get that Klingon-Torres should be more fearless and impulsive, and human-Torres more contemplative and cowardly, and I could see that as a result of that, human-Torres favours actions that require a little more long-term planning. But it just seems like a simplification that it's only her human half who seems to have the engineering/computer skill. (There *are* Klingon engineers.)
So as a result of all this, the split between the Torreses just ends up not working for me as a result, because I can't quite track where Klingon-Torres comes from. The idea of having the human/Klingon split be literalized is still an interesting (if scientifically absurd) idea. I like that we learn a little more about Torres' experiences growing up (through human-Torres), and as pointed out by others, how her confessions to Paris suggest the beginnings of something meaningful between them (even if he's "oh yeah, I had to wear a hat because of my haircuts!" comment wasn't exactly full sensitivity -- though it does suggest the way in which both Paris and Torres operate under feelings of having disappointed their fathers). I like the idea that Torres has a chance to realize that she actually does need to value her Klingon side, but at the moment doesn't really feel like she knows how to do so. Some of the contrast between the two Torreses' approaches works, even if I think it's a bit too extreme for reasons I gave.
I don't blame the Torreses for not rushing to aid the Vidiians after that ordeal, but as people have pointed out it *is* noteworthy that it seems as if the Vidiians might have been able to cure the Phage because of Klingon-Torres, which raises the question of whether Janeway et al. should at least consider giving the Vidiians some Klingon genetic code in exchange for immunity from their attacks -- even besides the humanitarian concern (the scientist unethically experimenting on Torres is evil, but Vidiian babies infected with the phage don't deserve their fate), it might be pragmatically worthwhile for Voyager to have some sort of trump card to play, and the Vidiians who are not ravaged by disease are actually safer to be around anyway. It might not work -- and the risk that the Vidiians might simply use information to clone a new sentient Klingon version of Torres to run horrific experiments on would be pretty great. Still, it feels kind of disappointing that there's some possibility that the phage was cured here and it gets dropped entirely. As others have pointed out, it's also disappointing that there's no reference to rescuing the other slave labourers, especially given the way the Talaxian put himself out to help Paris and Torres. Again, some dialogue might justify this -- I don't blame Voyager if they decided that it's not worth the risk, but some discussion, please.
It was definitely creepy for the Vidiian to come in with Durst's face, but yeah, it's pretty bizarre that he thought this would endear him to Torres more. I get that viewing other beings as walking organ depositories would tend to harm your empathy, but could he genuinely not realize that Torres wouldn't exactly find him alluring for having a colleague's face? The episode's pace in the non-Torres scenes is pretty slow generally, and the transparency of the rescue plan is annoying. Chakotay can just say "My face was newly grafted," can he, in what seems to be a relatively small colony? The Vidiian guard doesn't even bother asking him his name? ("Ah yes, well, my name is also newly grafted. My old name was destroyed by the phage.")
I see what this episode was going for but it didn't work that well for me. I'm going to say 2.5 stars because I think I can appreciate and even like some of it.
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 11:03am (UTC -5)
My vision of the writer's meeting for this episode...
'What is the Chief Surgeon of the Vidiian Sodality doing in some random prison living in a cave harvesting organs? Wouldn't he be on their home world doing something more important?' 'I don't know, but it's sounds cool doesn't it? Chief Surgeon of the Vidiian Sodality!?'
'How does the machine make 2 separate people from one set of dna?' 'Aliens built it so we don't have to explain that.'
'Why don't they use the machine to make organs or clones or whatever all the time?' 'We only need it to split Torres, nevermind what else it can do.'
'How can the prisoners hide out in a cave, lighting fires, and cooking dinner that they apparently hunted down, and having long philosophical conversations with themself, with guards searching all over for them?' 'Because we need a scene where Torres talks to herself.'
'How can they get through the force field to get in?' 'It has holes in it obviously.'
'If they can beam someone in, why can't they beam the prisoners out?' 'They are one way holes obviously, but we won't mention anything about that in the show.'
'How does Torres decipher that alien control panel in like 2 minutes and take down the force field?' 'Because she's Torres, that's how.'
'How does the Doc restore Torres?' 'Because he's the Doc. Just have him babble someting about dna.'
'Why doesn't Janeway retaliate in anyway when they just killed a member of her crew and she said before she would kill them if they did it again?' 'Oh, did she say that? Let's pretend she didn't.'
'Shouldn't they rescue the other prisoners?' 'What other prisoners?'
'Should we have the crew have a funeral service for Durst?' 'Who?'
'Since both the Doc who knows alot about klingons, and the chief surgeon who knows all about the phage, are in the same place, shouldn't we have Voyager try to help them cure it?' 'No, then we can't use the cool vidiian makeup again later.'
'How about we have Neelix make some vulcan soup?' 'Brilliant!'
'Let's film this thing!'
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 4:41am (UTC -5)
In any case, the idea that human Torres was somehow predetermined to be more timid and passive than klingon Torres is a bit annoying. I know that Star Trek likes to uphold the "hopeful" (here an euphemism for deluded) idea that humans might one day become noble, peaceful, tolerant and compassionate beings on a species-wide level, but the reality is that if we were to look for innate human moral attributes (which may in fact be nonsense even at an aggregate level) history would suggest that duplicity, hatred, fear, greed and explosive violence are far more realistic choices. None of these, by the way, are conducive to timidity.
Sure, there are some compassionate and cooperative tendencies ( necessary for any social beings, even the warrior race variety) but these are limited by tribalism and the fear of 'The Other".
As for the episode, it is easy to see that any human unfortunate enough to find herself/himself in Torres' situation would unhesitantly spring into action and quickly seize any opportunity to regain freedom. There are times when doubt and prudence are not very wise. I don't think anyone would disagree!
Sat, Nov 18, 2017, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Aside from the fact that they left the other prisoners to fend for themselves, that's really what annoys me the most about this episode. Klingon B'Elanna's death just felt very "Deus Ex Machina", especially when considering that it was earlier established that medicine had progressed far enough to bring the dead back to life even after an extremely long time, way past the extent where cellular degeneration makes the process irreversible today.
I suppose that it would have been utterly impossible to find a way to meld the two back together again, since the technology used to separate them in the first place far exceeds that of the Federation. But there is an episode where Neelix and Tuvok end up merged together to form Tuvix, because of a species of orchid they found on a class M planet that acted as a symbiogenetic catalyst, which served to completely meld both their genetic materials into the one individual.
We can surmise that the Doctor would have been able to provide genetic material from each B'Elanna to the other in order to make them genetically viable, if indeed Klingon B'Elanna would have even required such a procedure (dealing with a full-scale alien virus like she did definitely rules out the cellulogenesis weaknesses that her human counterpart seemed to experience, because an inability for her cells to regenerate and reproduce would have condemned her to certain death while her immune system was compromised).
So while it would have been really weird to have two B'Elannas on board the enterprise, one ostensibly 100% Klingon, and the other returned to the normal 50/50 split, they might have taken the time to learn to work as a team (and who knows, maybe even as siblings?) and learn to appreciate and understand the different strengths and weaknesses of each other on a deeper level than they were able to do within the scope of this sole escape "mission".
And then during the episode of Tuvix, they might have had the opportunity to be merged once more using that same orchid plant, if they wished.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
I didn’t enjoy this one tooo much the idea for the episode was quite clever—having the Vidiians with their advanced medical technology to separate B’Elanna into a fully human and a full Klingon in the hopes a pure Klingon to fight off the Phage
Too bad the episode itself was clunky. I didn’t much care for the ship side of things with their efforts to get into the facility. And the character stuff with B’Elanna was surprisingly flat for such an intriguing plot idea
Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 12:24am (UTC -5)
A bit disappointing to be back facing the same aliens in "Phage" -- shouldn't VOY be doing something new? Or are we going to see these Vidiians as frequently as we see the Kazon? We understand the Vidiians plight and their need for organs, but a 2nd episode focusing on them in quick succession is poor timing for the series.
I guess I could criticize the ease with which human Torres figured out the forcefield or how Klingon Torres just broke through the restraints or how Chakotay wasn't uncovered or how they transported through these micro-fissures (or whatever) that appear and disappear -- just to say that the plot depends on a lot of things going perfectly right. Not to mention how Doc can do a procedure to make Torres back into part Klingon / part human. Hey but it's Star Trek and at least none of these things seem like huge violations of Star Trek sci-fi requiring excessive suspension of disbelief!
Would have been a nice gesture for the Voyager crew to rescue the other alien who was the last of his ship and who had been there for 6 years. He gave Paris/human Torres water and cracked a dumb heart joke.
It didn't get the emotional response from me when Klingon Torres dies or human Torres' realizations -- it's just decent character development.
A high 2.5 stars for "Faces" -- Dawson's performance and the character development for Torres are the highlights of this episode but the premise and how it unfolds are poorly timed and arbitrary/extremely fortunate respectively. Can't call this one a highlight of VOY S1, but it's a decent episode that has a lot of good plot elements.
Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
Also thought they should have helped cure the Phage. Just made no sense to leave then harvesting organs all over the Delta quadrant.
Not a bad ep overall, though. Kept my interest and well acted by Dawson.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
A man's voice calls out to B'Ellana Torres, who awakens in bondage. When her face is revealed to us we see that she is fully Klingon. This is the perfect way to tease and episode. There is mystery, there is mood; it's quite skilful.
Act 1 : ***, 17%
Janeway's log reveals that the Voyager is on its way to retrieve Paris, Torres and Durst (seen last week in the execrable “Cathexis”) from an away mission inspecting some ore deposits. Morale Officer Neelix treats Tuvok to a bowl of Vulcan soup, declaring that he is doing his best to offer each member of the crew a special dish once in a while to remind them of home. Well, this gesture is somewhat undermined when Tuvok discovers that Neelix has jazzed it up with Talaxian spices. It's hard to appreciate in 2018 when we are drowning in restaurants that serve things like “Mexican sushi” and “gourmet grits,” but there was a time before hipsters when this kind of asinine liberty-taking was a novelty. The senior staff is called to the bridge but the camera remains on Neelix long enough for him to drink the soup and say “There's no place like home.” Face it; no matter who you are or where you come from, you will never pass up the opportunity to make a Wizard of Oz reference.
Chakotay reports that the away team hasn't surfaced and Kim notes that his scans of the planet reveal that the cave systems seem to be changing shape, trapping the trio underground. We get another typical Voyager science metaphor à la frozen ponds in “Parallax,” but thankfully, this is scripted to shrug off the too-proud-of-itself cleverness—at any rate, Kim has a technobabble method ensuring the 2nd away team's safety.
Klingon Torres, writhing in pain, is shackled to a biobed of some sort. A Vidiian surgeon, Sulan, greets her cheerfully. K-Torres wants to now WTF. Upon being shown her own very Klingon face, she concludes that Sulan has surgically altered her appearance, but he denies this. And indeed, Torres' responses to him don't quite sound like her, and not just because of those teeth. She's especially aggressive and hostile. Sulan consents to answer her question: he has “reconstituted her genome” to make her fully Klingon. I want to be clear—the science of this procedure is absurd, but it's nothing new for Trek. I'm thinking of episodes like “Unnatural Selection,” “Identity Crisis” and a host of TOS stories. What's important is that this silliness is very quickly glossed over. We get to the point: he believes Klingons may have immunity/resistance to the Phage, and so he reconstituted B'Ellana in order to test his theory. End of story. Oh, except that he has already infected her.
Elsewhere, a group of aliens along with Paris and Durst are marched, exhausted, into a dormitory. Paris agrees with Durst that they need to escape their Vidiian captors, but wants to try and find Torres first. A Talaxian overhears their conversation and laughs at their optimism. Apparently, laughing at one's own stupid jokes is a genetic trait among the species. Paris wants to understand why the organ-harvesters have chosen to keep slaves like this:
TALAXIAN: The disease makes them weak. They need somebody to dig their tunnels. That's us. Best way to keep alive around here is to stay strong.
PARIS: Thanks for the advice.
TALAXIAN: Don't worry, they're always in need of replacement body parts. They'll get around to gutting you eventually.
K-Torres is quietly suffering the Phage. Sulan is rightfully impressed that she can endure the pain like this. This scene also reveals that, whatever sympathy the Vidiians may deserve for their plight, their culture has adopted sadism. What possible reason does he have for not giving her some damned morphine? Would that really affect his little experiment? Well, Klingon and in excruciating pain or not, B'Ellana has not lost her quippiness:
SULAN: Your body's successfully fighting off the Phage. I am overjoyed.
K-TORRES: How delightful for you.
Sulan believes that using her DNA, he will be able to cure the entire species. She points out that, Klingons don't take pride in being experimented on, but in battle, betraying a sense of pride she feels in manifesting this form. Sulan ups the creepiness factor in remarking how “handsome” he finds her this way. There's something disturbingly real about this jerky-fleshed man fawning over B'Ellana's body like this, a magnified expression of the male gaze.
Meanwhile, Chakotay's team is exploring the cave set once again, with Kim leaving his breadcrumbs behind. In the dormitory, to Paris' shock, *another* Torres—a fully human Torres is dropped off by the Vidiian guards. Hmm..
Act 2 : ****, 17%
H-Torres tells Tom what had happened to her; the inverse, essentially, of what we saw in the opening. She feels her forehead in disbelief, and expressing a remarkable meekness for Torres. She tells him an anecdote about her childhood, about how she used to cover up her ridges however she could. There's something strikingly metatextual in H-Torres' backstory, which was hinted at in “Eye of the Needle”:
TORRES: I grew up on a colony on Kessik IV. My mother and I were the only Klingons there, and that was a time when relations between the Homeworld and the Federation weren't too cordial. Nobody ever said anything, but we were different and I didn't like that feeling. Then my father left when I was five years old. One day he was there and the next he wasn't. I cried myself to sleep every night for months. Of course I never told anybody. And then I finally decided that he'd left because I look like a Klingon. And so I tried to look human.
It isn't often noted that B'Ellana Torres is actually Trek's first hispanic main character. Like Geordi and Chekov, it's never directly commented on, and in Torres' case, the Klingon issues take centre stage—as it should be in Star Trek; nobody should care about racial/ethnic differences between any people, let alone humans. However, her confession to Tom here feels very much like an allegory for the immigrant experience. Her father, at one point in human history, could very well have been shunned by many American communities for his ethnicity, and now, in B'Ellana's recollection at least, he himself is guilty of that same racism. What's especially interesting about Torres is that she has *internalised* her father's attitudes. The concept of self-hatred, common to the human condition, hasn't been explored in Trek since Spock. Spock, at least, had two parents who loved him and each other (in a Vulcan way). Torres is the product of a broken home. Another wonderful dimension to this episode is the way in which the two Torreses...Torreadores? Torri? Let's say Torri...the way in which the two Torri react to being imprisoned, having been introduced to the character in confinement in “Caretaker.” K-Torres manifests the aggression, the anger so great the Ocampans had to sedate her, while H-Torres manifests the fear and the loneliness which prompted her to open up to Kim, as she is opening up to Paris now.
Chakotay and co. discover that the tunnels in the cave set seem to be changing configuration again. Tuvok discerns that this trick must be of the same type used in “Phage,” which displays splendid intelligence given the brainless slogs we have endured the last two weeks. The team attempts to disrupt the field, but are ambushed by some Vidiians and are transported away immediately thanks to Harry's breadcrumbs.
K-Torres is finally able to break one of her bonds when Sulan returns to her side. She plays on Sulan's attraction to her to try and manipulate him. Dawson's delivery is amusing, surpassing the Duras' sisters frequent passes at the Enterprise crew, but Sulan is no fool. Contemplating Vidiian sexuality is a bold place for the show to go...I mean, do they replace their genitalia, too? It's a bit icky maybe, but it's really fascinating to ponder how a species like this, utter monsters in appearance and in their most defining practice of organ-harvesting, maintains the semblance of civilised behaviour.
SULAN: Please, don't condescend. I may have a grotesque appearance but I assure you my instincts are finely honed, and I do have feelings.
I would also point out to William B that we are witnessing cunning on the part of K-Torres; intelligence and guile are a part of her, too.
Act 3 : ***.5, 17%
The Vidiians enter the dormitory to collect Durst for...well probably nothing good. Tom tries to intervene, but it's futile. H-Torres is scared to death by the whole exchange—the story is going to lengths to demonstrate that human Torres is just as different from the one we know as is Klingon Torres.
Speaking of whom, Sulan has a surprise for K-Torres, who has nearly broken her other restraint—Durst's face. Holy. Fucking. Shit. And I thought the sight of those deep-fried Kazon in “State of Flux” were disturbing...beyond the shock value, the implications of this choice by Sulan, he of finely-honed instinct and deep feeling, believing that this would not only please K-Torres, but ignite her sexual appetite are utterly fascinating. The entire species must have developed this kind of dismorphic fetishism in order to maintain a sexual culture. Well, K-Torres breaks free and strangles Sulan...which may very well confirm that she has been turned on by the gesture, knowing Klingons...but before she can either kill him of fuck him, some guards interrupt and she makes a run for it.
Act 4 : ***, 17%
On the Voyager, Kim has discovered small holes in the Vidiian shield matrix, very much like in “Caretaker.” Also, like in “Caretaker,” they're going to use the transporters to get somebody inside and deactivate the defences. What's notable about this scene is that efforts are being made to account for the tactics, the contingencies and mitigating risks. It's nothing to get excited about, but I'm glad to see they've sewn up these dangling threads from earlier episodes. Anyway, Chakotay is made to look Vidiian by the EMH and Tuvok has clothing made up for him.
H-Torres, Paris and the Talaxian are working a shift in the mines. H-Torres is having a really tough time of it, unaccustomed to the frailty of her fully-human body. It's very interesting the way H-Torres explains herself to Tom, horrified by her own fearfulness back in the dormitory. She is *surprised* at how much of a coward she is without her Klingon DNA. A Vidiian hauls her away, seeing that she's too weak to continue, but she hopes she might be able to find a way to contact the Voyager. After they leave, K-Torres nabs the Talaxian, asking about Paris and learns that there is a human female with him. Well, H-Torres has been dropped back in her bunk...which is a surprise. Why aren't they harvesting her? She takes advantage of a moment when the guards exit to try and hack the computer, but the catch her in the act. But never fear, B'Ellana, B'Ellana is here! The Torri finally meet face to face. I'm pleased to point out that the effects crew has corrected their lighting error from “Crossover,” so it actually looks like the two women are standing in the same room. H-Torres passes out and is carried out by her other half.
Act 5 : ***.5, 17%
Later, H-Torres awakens to a home-cooked meal, a rodent K-Torres has singed in a fire somewhere in the tunnels. The two Torri size each other up, and each is rather disappointed in the other. Both of her halves express sentiments that we have seen be a part of the Torres we know:
-getting angry hinders one's ability to make smart choices (c.f. “Caretaker”)
-being kicked out of the Academy was a shame (c.f. “Parallax”)
-focusing upon her skills as an Engineer is the best way to overcome her own flaws (c.f. “The Cloud”)
-taking action is better than biding one's time (c.f. “Caretaker”)
-being kicked out of the Academy was a blessing (c.f. “Parallax”)
-fear of retribution is contemptible (c.f. “Prime Factors”)
Dawson's performances are quite exceptional, surpassing, in my opinion, similar meet-one's-counterpart scenes we have seen between the Kirks in “The Enemy Within,” Data and Lore, and between PU and MU characters. This is because she plays up certain aspects of the Torres character we know in each of her halves just enough to convincingly turn each one into her own person, while recognisably part of the whole. Not only that, but K-Torres feels every bit as Klingon as the many we have seen on Trek. What we realise in retrospect is how normal Torres isn't just a human character with forehead ridges and a temper. Like K'ehleyr before her, her status as a hybrid really does make for a specific characterisation.
Finally, the Torri reconcile—an outward manifestation of the internal argument that Torres always has to overcome. They will work together to try and hack the computer. Again, I object to the notion that K-Torres is portrayed like an idiot—she's just more aggressive. It is she who has the idea not to return to the dormitory because it's too well-guarded. The only reason H-Torres will be the one to do the engineer stuff is because a. she had already begun the process of hacking, and b. K-Torres is better suited to the heroics necessary to provide cover. So, they return instead to the chamber of horrors, Sulan's laboratory.
Paris is questioning the Talaxian about where Torres might be when he's grabbed by a Vidiian. Ah, but it's Chakotay. In a nice callback, it seems he's finally able to repay that life-debt from “Caretaker.” A guard confronts Chakotay, whom he doesn't recognise. Chakotay responds that his face had just been grafted on. It's amusing to consider that the Vidiians would have this kind of security vulnerability—you never know whose face someone might be wearing. Like with Sulan wearing Durst, the act manages to say a lot with so little. The guard examines him carefully and accepts his story—a testament to the EMH's fine craftsmanship.
The Torri, meanwhile, trigger an alarm as they attempt the hack. K-Torres notes that H-Torres isn't as frightened as she was. A guard disarms K-Torres right before Sulan re-enters the room. She notes that he wouldn't dare injure her and lose his miracle cure, so he threatens to shoot H-Torres instead. Chakotay and Paris arrive and H-Torres is able to bring down the force field and they make contact with Janeway. As they call for a beam out, Sulan fires his weapon—a SECOND weapon apparently; surgeons are packing heat—at H-Torres, but K-Torres takes the shot before they're beamed away. Sulan is left in horror, appropriately conveyed on poor Durst's face. K-Torres dies in her counterparts arms on the transporter pad.
In sickbay, the EMH informs H-Torres that she's going to have to have the Klingon DNA from K-Torres reintegrated into her body. While the plausibility of doing this is as low as splitting her into two in the first place, it *does* make some sense that her body would need both sets of genes in order for her cells to properly metabolise (H-Torres has been feeling ill the whole episode). It also, of course fits in with the metaphor of needing both halves to feel complete. However, the lesson is a bit more nuanced that would be expected here. H-Torres isn't happy to be going back to the way she was. In fact, despite coming to respect her counterpart, she likes the peace and calm she's found without that evergreen conflict going on in her head. Chakotay has no words of comfort for poor Torres, who takes the opportunity to feel her smooth forehead one last time.
Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%
“Phage” successfully introduced the Vidiians with appropriate creepiness. The sight of Neelix silently trying to breath with no lungs still gives me goosebumps, but the ethical dilemma angle was a bit limp. Here, we pick up those threads and expand them to weave a truly intriguing portrait of a species whose culture is as deformed and pitiable as their faces. I like very much that Sulan was shown to be ruthless in his pursuit of a cure, yet also sensitive, almost fragile. Imbuing him with this duality provides an excellent counterpoint to the main story.
As with, in my view, the best of Star Trek, Torres' story perfectly marries an allegory with a character study. Torres' journey to recognise the value in her internal struggle, to learn to respect her own problematic diversity is wonderfully conveyed. The Vidiians would force K-Torres to provide them a cure, exploiting her species' special properties to solve their problem, whereas H-Torres comes to *respect* her other half, the part of her that has always been a source of shame for causing others to view her has different, and for pushing her father out of her life.
I think the ending *could* have worked with either Torres facing the ensuing DNA-reintegration, reflecting her missing half. I'm a bit torn about the implication here that K-Torres is an alien presence within the “real” Torres represented by her human half. However, the episode when to great pains to show us that neither Torres was the “real” one, and the callback to act 1 with the forehead bit was nice, so I'll say the story earned this conceit Re-integrating the DNA also makes the idea of Janeway leveraging their Klingon corpse with the Vidiians in the future moot. The only other flaw is the way the Talaxian character was dropped from the story. They should have just killed him.
Final Score : ***.5
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
I didn't end up writing about it, but Lineage is one of my favourites of the series. I think B'Elanna's character arc is interesting and generally well played throughout the series. And I also agree that the Vidiian material is pretty good in this ep (I say without bothering to reread my review to see if I said something radically different, lol), with the Durst face e.g.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
Thinking about it a little more, it occurs to me that the skills each of her halves possesses is a reflection of the way B'Ellana parses them out in her own mind. There's no reason Human Torres *couldn't* fight, but Torres' skills with her fists is something she attributes to her Klingon half, and likewise the engineering stuff to her human half. I have to say, I definitely attribute different parts of my own personality to my parents, and they're quick to point out the same from their own perspective. The penultimate scene when H-Torres gets over her crippling fear demonstrates how each half is capable of manifesting the other's abilities; it just never occurred to B'Ellana that the parts of her self she got from her father could include things like bravery, since she got all that in spades from her mother.
PS. I also love "Lineage."
Sat, Oct 20, 2018, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 12:33am (UTC -5)
None of this makes sense technologically: if you can do half of what these people can do medically, then certainly you can clone, and you don't need kidnapping and organ theivery. You just need the facility from Michael Bay's The Island. Still, cool idea. And I can sympathize with them. I've spent enough time thinking realistically about life under extremes, and I don't think they're all that far-fetched morally. Humans under wartime conditions play this game in a way, particularly in a war of attrition. They're the best new race Voyager created, far better than the Hirogen, or the woefully underdeveloped Species 8472.
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Three stars for the rest of the episode. Very solid but with some flaws as others pointed out.
So 3.3333 stars from me. And I concur with Caz's comments above about the Vidiians. "Voyager" didn't break much new ground, but the Vidiians were a different kind of beast. We should have had a few more episodes with them.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
What shall we pull out of the hat this week? Shall we have an unexpected transporter failure, or shall we have someone hack Voyager's computers armed with just a toothpick and a piece of wet seaweed? Or shall we throw people into a holodeck simulation filled with stereotyped characters and *then* turn off the safeties? Howabout another bland alien race as we cruise across this completely unexplored space? Or shall we just crank up the technobabble and throw away the Beginners Guide to Astrophysics? Don't forget we need to keep our destroyed-shuttle quota up!
Unfortunately, for all that this episode has some good points, in others, it's somewhat of a stinker.
This is partly due to the fact that the main protagonists of this episode are the Vidiians, who continue to be monsters for the sake of being monsters - not only do they rob graves and butcher sentient beings for their bodyparts, but now they're also psychopathic slavers who will quite happily rip the face off one of their victims for use as a mask if they think it'll make them look more attractive.
I'm more than half surprised that the writers didn't decide to throw a bit of baby-eating into the mix.
Unfortunately, this episode makes this "build a boogey man" approach even more obvious, as it highlights just how easily the Vidiians could resolve their problems without resorting to murder.
After all, their advanced super-medical-science is able to take Torres and somehow split her into two separate bodies: one Human, one Klingon - while somehow managing to have both new bodies maintain their memories. And they're able to do this in a timescale measured in hours.
Or to put it another way: THEY CAN PRODUCE CLONES. There is literally no reason for them to be stalking around the Delta quadrant like Frankenstein's Monster. After all, if a hand drops off, they can just grab a vat and grow a new one in the time it'd take me to brew a cup of coffee.
It's a shame, as otherwise, there's some interesting elements to this episode, not least the way Torre's split is portrayed by Biggs-Dawson. It's certainly one of the better episodes so far in the season.
But between the forced portayal of the Vidiians and the use of science which is a bit too close to magic for my liking, it still ends up being less than the sum of it's parts.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Some previous posters mentioned this, but it's a function of talking around the prosthetic teeth. They had to come up with some sort of speech pattern that sounded more deliberate than just "human wearing a retainer and trying to speak normally but failing." The Ferengi actors have to deal with this as well but the way they ham it up seems to work better, especially Jeffrey Combs as Brunt, he owns all the hissing, slurping, and lisping. Also it's easier for actors who play the same part on a regular basis, whereas this was a one-off for Roxanne Dawson.
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Springy, you said:
"Didn't like how human B'elanna was such an incredibly weak wimp. Really? I get that Klingons are fierce warriors and humans are much less violently aggressive, but to portray her human side as totally helpless . . . blech. Why?"
Imagine that you are, without warning, suddenly half the strength that you usually are. You are so weak you feel like fainting. Not to mentionl that you suddenly feel absolutely terrified--much more so than usual. At least, that's how I always interpreted it. I thought human B'elanna was just in shock from the change for a while--then as the episode progresses she begins to adapt a bit better.
Sun, Feb 28, 2021, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
You always have to suspend disbelief with Fun with DNA and Transporter Accident episodes, and this is no exception. It doesn't matter though because of the fantastic performance of Roxann Dawson. She was so good I kind of wish they went full "Patty Duke Show" and kept both the human and Klingon versions.
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 11:54am (UTC -5)
If Torres is so uncomfortable with her cranial ridges, why doesn’t she just have The Doctor cosmetically remove them? It’s established that Starfleet/Federation medical science can do this as early as the ENT era. And from an out-of-universe perspective, it was established as practical all the way back in TOS: “The Enterprise Incident” when Kirk was altered to look like a Romulan and back again.
Seriously, this is a setting where they can make Humans look like Klingons or Cardassians like Bajorans and vice-versa. Making Torres look like a Human shouldn’t be that hard!
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Just because she appears to be fully human, would she be? How would B'elanna change mentally when her physical appearance was altered? Would she be happy to finally be what she always thought she was, or would she be disappointed to find out that she's still the same person she always was?
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
No 1 has got to be how Sulan knew what a Klingon was and that Torres was a mixture of human and Klingon. How could he even know the name of the species?
Oh a Talaxian... he has Neelix to blame for not being rescued. Clearly they could only face having one on board at any one time.
Paris’s comment ‘you’ve got what you’ve wished for’ must be the least emotionally intelligent comment in the history of star fleet.
But apart from these bum notes the episode is dragged up in quality by the squabble between two sides of a character. This is quite watchable as both versions of Torres are very watchable, human T being gorgeous and feminine and Klingon T being courageous, impatient and confident in herself and her abilities.
Mon, Jun 14, 2021, 7:08am (UTC -5)
Roxanne Dawson's performance elevates the episode greatly, but, with respect, it was a difficult watch...another torture-yarn set in a dark cavern.
(1) The Vidiian sodality can split Torres' genotype and create 2 viable individuals with perfect precision, (and do it overnight no less) but they are at a complete loss to cure themselves of the Phage over 2000 years.
(2) How much space territory does this group of very sick people control, for Voyager to keep bumping into them? It would have to be a vast amount I figure, Either that, or Voyager is flying in a circle, or least in an area no larger than the airspace between Detroit and Cleveland.... Logically, we must conclude that the Phage is simply a pain-free excess latex disorder, and not a debilitating disease. Do they ever have a bad headache that slows them down? What about Vidiian dispepsia, does that ever occur?
Tue, Apr 19, 2022, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
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