Star Trek: Voyager


3 stars.

Air date: 5/15/1995
Teleplay by Jack Klein & Karen Klein and Kenneth Biller
Story by James Thomton & Scott Nimerfro
Directed by Kim Friedman

"Those are consequences, Doctor Jetrel." — Neelix

Review Text

Voyager begins to show evidence of promise by delivering one of its better dramas, with a parable that has writing memorable enough to make me forgive the writers for the horrendous "Cathexis," not to mention its commendable performances.

Neelix finds himself facing up to his disturbing past when a Haakonian scientist named Dr. Jetrel (James Sloyan) returns to see him. Jetrel invented the Metreon Cascade, a weapon of mass destruction that was used by Haakon on a Talaxian lunar colony when the two planets were at war 15 years ago. The Cascade resulted in over 300,000 deaths, including Neelix's entire family.

Though an all-too-obvious allegory for the U.S.'s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, "Jetrel" looks at the man who actually developed this weapon and how he copes with the consequences of his invention. James Sloyan (who has made guest appearances on both TNG and DS9) is wonderful as Jetrel. At the same time, this episode opens the door to Neelix's backstory and supplies his character with a depth of sophistication and self-torment that I could never expect to see from his DS9 comic relief counterpart, Quark. Who would've thought Neelix was a war veteran? It's as big a show as Ethan Phillips has had to carry (the first show, actually), and he delivers a convincing on-par performance.

No doubt about it, Neelix hates Dr. Jetrel. He holds Jetrel personally responsible for the Haakonian's use of the weapon and for all the death and destruction caused by it. But Neelix is not just angry at Jetrel for inventing the Cascade. He finds himself venting other anger at Jetrel—including anger at himself he had been holding in since the war. Another example that the series does inner conflict well, this episode reveals guilt Neelix put upon himself for going AWOL from his military unit prior to the Cascade. And I can't shake the feeling that Neelix feels he should have died on the lunar colony along with his family.

Jetrel has come to see Neelix to determine whether he has a dormant metreon-induced disease caused by radiation aftereffects of the Cascade. The disease is a terminal one, but Jetrel hopes that studying many Talaxians will give him a chance to develop a cure. It's evident Jetrel feels a heavy weight for having developed a weapon that caused so many deaths, and his desire to cure Talaxians of this disease is an attempt at redemption.

Neelix finds this attempt at redemption disgusting. Watching these two characters debate the polemics of the mass-killing weapon is one of the unsettling highlights of the episode, especially the scene in sickbay where Neelix tells the story of his return to the colony to search for survivors. Here, we see Jetrel reveal his true self: His spirit died the day his weapon was unleashed, and he was unable to live with the consequences.

The fact that Jetrel himself is dying of the radiation disease makes him quite a tragic character. He knows he will die with 300,000 deaths on his conscience, and there's nothing he can do about it.

The only problem I have with this installment is its excessive ending, in which Jetrel unveils his scientific theory to bring back the victims of the Cascade. Using plenty of technobabble, he explains the true reason why he came aboard the Voyager—to reverse the vaporization process of the Cascade by using the transporter beam and some other cleverness. Though the theory ultimately fails, this idea is still quite implausible, and not really necessary. I don't think the story needed to have Jetrel attempt to undo the effects of his weapon to prove that he's not a monster. The ending somewhat diminishes the subtlety of Jetrel's character. This is unfortunate because his subtlety was one of the reasons his character worked so well.

In any case, "Jetrel" is a winner—a thoughtful parable that takes an appropriately sombering tone and has an effectively appropriate low-key score by Dennis McCarthy.

Previous episode: Faces
Next episode: Learning Curve

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Comment Section

83 comments on this post

    Sloyan is quite good here; I'm surprised he never got a series. He seems to have just guest-starred on about 1000 series but never got his own. Neelix is an incredibly annoying character.

    One of the best moments in the episode, to me, is also its quietest. When Janeway asks after Neelix's family after he explains (a bit overacted IMO) about the Cascade, and he simply shakes his head while unable to hold back his tears.

    This episode really 'humanized' the character and stopped him from being a complete cartoon.

    The dream sequence with a burned Kes was disturbing though. Possibly the most realistic victim portrayal ever on all the series. I can't even remember it from the first run or any reruns I've seen. Maybe the network here censored it.

    I thought the last line in the episode "I forgive you." was very powerful, as well. In a world where the tendency is to go 'dark', it's actually quite an acknowledgement that you have to forgive, to heal.

    This episode tried to be DS9's duet and didn't quite hit the mark. Still, this was a very good episode. I teared up several times. Three stars from me too!

    Neelix is so so annoying. And his relationship with Kes is gross - he seems to be her sleazy uncle. This was a very annoying and boring episode for me.

    This episode is just horrible. How on earth did Jammer give this 3 stars is beyond me.

    First, I have no idea why Janeway is so welcoming to this doctor who designed and implemented a weapon that murdered millions. Since we've received no indication that the Talaxians are an aggressive species, we gotta assume they were the defenders and didn't instigate the war. Based on what we learn about the alien's government, they probably did. So why on earth does Janeway and the rest of the crew welcome him with open arms?

    As annoying as Neelix was, his attitudes toward Jetral are entirely justified, and I cannot understand for the life of me why nobody else on the ship thinks the same thing. His judgements are entirely rational, and he's being rationally for a change.

    The writers seem to want to get across this concept of neutrality, or forgiveness... but that just flies in the face of everything we know today about justice. So does Tuvok value justice when it's against a single murderer, but not someone responsibility for the deaths of millions?

    Again, everyone on the ship is acting so irrational - all because the writers want to paint the picture that Starfleet officers are "above" this sort of thing or something - I really don't understand it. It's as if Starfleet can't tell or is afraid to judge right from wrong. It's okay to accept alien cultures differences, but murder is murder, and as long as you don't judge murder for what it is, you open yourself up to all sorts of problems with morality and hypocrisy.

    At the end of the episode, even Kes tries to convince Neelix that he shouldn't be mad at him - and that's he's really just mad of himself. This is a total cop-out. I don't care if Neelix was or wasn't a coward during the war - his attitudes toward Jetral are entirely justified, yet Kes seems to think he shouldn't make these judgements. What is she - nuts? Does she welcome mass murderers with open arms too?

    Jetral is later "redeemed" somewhat at the end of the story by attempting to fix the damage he caused. If we had known this from the start, the characters actions of accepting him would have made a little more sense - but that's the thing, none of the Voyager crew knew this to be case.

    Lastly, I don't know how/why the doctor couldn't figure out that nothing was wrong with Neelix. You'd think the doctor would be interested in how Jetral's instruments function to verify his conclusions to Janeway, but none of this happened even though it *should* have happened - just for the sake of moving the story along. Just wonderful.

    This episode is just bad, and it doesn't even get a single star from me. The crew is totally out of character, and they take positions that are completely contrary what they've taken on other episodes in the series. The writers were trying to tell a story about acceptance - regardless of how evil a man is - but this is the wrong message to send. It *is* okay to judge evil for what it is, and it's also ago to hold them in contempt and punish them for it too.

    And people wonder why Voyager was such a bad series.

    At 16'30'' in this episode, Kes looks so damn cute, I instantly fell in love with her!

    This seemed a very DS9-like episode to me. Could have been something like "Duet" or many of the other episodes where individual Cardassians are confronted with their own or their government's actions during the occupation.

    The screenplay or the acting weren't up to that standard, but an enjoyable episode nonetheless, I like this sort of thing. 3/4 seems about right.

    I agree with Jammer that this was very well done.

    However where I don't agree with Jammer is with the ending. I think that the plan to rematerialise everybody is simply part of the guilt and torment of Jetrel, driven mad by remorse if you will, and I think it adds to the character.

    What makes this ending more serious is the fact that the technique does not work at the end... if it had worked, that would have taken away depth from the character, but as it didn't, it adds to his tragic nature.

    Good episode, with a very refreshing take on Neelix that goes beyond the comical relief he has been so far (although the ridiculous clothes he keeps using are disturbing and keep reminding us how he is sort of the predecessor of Star Wars' Jar Jar Binks).

    Anyway, the plot was quite interesting, with credible dillemas and this Eisten doctor suffering for having created the "bomb".

    I agree that the captain was a bit too easy on the doctor, and everybody was too trustful. This is the sort of situation where I especially miss Picard-level of acting delivery. I mean, this is the sort of situation when Picard would have taken the same decisions, but with that face of whom is being pragmatic to save one's life, but disgusted to have to deal with the doctor.

    Anyway, I digress... Overall, this season has been quite consistent in my opinion. Despite people warning me that Voyager disapoints later (this is my first watching), season 1 was a good start.

    Ric - I wouldn't take much notice of what people have told you about Voyager disappointments.

    I have watched all the Star Trek incarnations - and Voyager is by far and away my favorite. I don't dislike any of the others I just enjoyed Voyager the most.

    The main thing is you are enjoying it and as a television program after season 1 - you can't say fairer than that!

    A rather poignant and moving episode that brings up probing questions about the ill-use of scientific progress, the moral implications thereof, and its devastating consequences. Smartly written, acted, and directed. Easily one of the best of season one. The ending was a bit of a stretch, but understandable in Jetrel's need to prove himself before his death.

    3.5 stars.

    I agree with Ken.

    Neelix reacts with horror... he explains, in anguish, how Jetrel killed his family and so many thousands of other civilians... and, with no further ado, the very next scene is Janeway welcoming the man onto the ship?!
    W T F

    I don't think the un-vaporization scheme ever had a chance of working. Neelix's first instinct there was right: Jetrel was out of his mind.

    The "redemption" ending was BS all around. The Cascade was "punishment for our hatred"? Really, all the charred children deserved it?

    No, mass murder *is* monstrous. Unforgivable, irredeemable.

    Like this episode. Zero stars.

    I don't have a problem with Janeway bringing Jetrel on board. After all, he stated earlier that his reasons for doing so was concern for Neelix's health, and it makes sense that Janeway would be willing to meet with him in order to ensure a crew member's safety, even if that crew member doesn't want to go through with it. And she was reasonable unfriendly to Jetrel in their initial encounters. As for the lack of security surrounding Jetrel, well, when has Starfleet ever had good security?

    As for the episode, I had a lot of trepidation coming in. I generally don't like it when Trek does issues, and especially when they start using analogies. Admittedly, TNG doing the IRA and DS9 doing the Holocaust actually worked out decently. But here? I'm not a fan. I don't think it works on four separate (but not quite equal) grounds:

    1) The thinly-veiled atomic bomb analogy. I know it can be a touchy issue, but it's not a matter of what was presented. It's how it was presented. If you want to make a show that argues that Hiroshima was morally unacceptable (and clearly that's what they were going with here), then you have to stand up and say it. You have to make the arguments clearly and rationally. You can't just beat up on a straw man. Which is essentially what Jetrel was. What were his arguments in favor of the WMD? It wasn't his choice to use it. And that you can't stop the progress of science. And that they only planned to kill everyone quickly, and didn't know that it would kill people slowly too. Wow, that's real convincing.

    In contrast, if these sorts of arguments were hurled at US personnel involved in Hiroshima, they would be better equipped with arguments, that the Japanese attacked first, that the atrocities in China and elsewhere justified dismantling the Japanese state, that the invasion of Japan would have had a much greater death toll, etc. etc. But Jetrel didn't offer anything of the sort. His race was just naturally assumed to be the bad guys in this fight because Neelix is a regular cast member. Sure, there were a few side comments (Neelix saying he thought this was an unjust war), but no real debate on the matter. The episode decided that Jetrel's race was monstrous for even thinking up the Cascade, end of story. And because they decided that, they went out of their way to tell us that. End of story. It's hard to cheer for polemics.

    The worst part about this is that I recognized the actor who played Jetrel; he also played Jarok in TNG's Defector. There, he played an "enemy," with hidden plans, hidden motives, and oh yes, a massacre in his past. And he did it very well. This is an actor who has the chops to play a complicated moral character (and given what he had to work with in this episode, he did a darned good job). Unfortunately, the episode didn't give him a chance to shine.

    Oh sure, you could say he was a complicated character because he wanted to help at the end. But no, that doesn't work. The episode strongly implies that he is really racked with guilt over the Cascade and is trying to atone for his sins. Jetrel could have been interested in saving those lives after the war regardless of how justified the Cascade was. He still could have been a complicated character. But the episode's refusal to consider the other side really hurts the show.

    2) That said, Neelix's abrupt about-face on Jetrel was even worse. "I'm not really mad at you about killing my family; I'm mad at myself for being a coward." Really? See, maybe one can justify the Cascade weapon. But to Neelix, it was personal. I'm pretty sure the grief he felt for his family's death was real. And regardless of how an impartial observer might judge Jetrel, Neelix has every right to be irrational about this issue. Big, weighty issues are big and weighty precisely because they are complicated, precisely because the universe is not always nice. In the decision whether or not to drop the bomb, both decisions will have nasty consequences. Both decisions will result in people dying; it just happens to be different people. And while someone observing the dilemma from a distance (of space and/or time) might be able to judge the situation impartially, it's much harder for someone who would be marked for death by such a weighty decision.

    I mean, I don't mind that there was some sort of reconciliation between Neelix and Jetrel, but the way they did it was so ham-handed that it ruined its effectiveness. Neelix had a very good reason to be upset at Jetrel, and to wash it away and say that it was due at least in part to Neelix's cowardice is just silly.

    3) Jetrel having one last chance at redemption and then dying was rather cliched. And really, kind of irrelevant. Once that revelation appeared, I just started rolling my eyes. And actually, although I said all my problems with the episode were separate, there is a theme appearing. Namely, that this episode tried to cram so much angst from so many different angles. First we had the atrocity. Then we had the revelation of Neelix's cowardice. Then we had Jetrel dying. Couple that with the mystery of Jetrel's real mission and then the drama of that final mission, and, well, there wasn't enough time to focus on any one thing. Maybe that's why the Hiroshima analogy felt so one-sided. Maybe that's why Neelix's turnaround on Jetrel felt so silly. Maybe that's why Jetrel's sudden death felt tacked on and a contrived coincidence. The episode threw so much stuff at us that it never had the time to properly deal with the issues that arose.

    4) And, of course, the science was ludicrous yet again... So, let me get this straight, the Cascade was a weapon that caused the atoms inside people to undergo nuclear fission? Really? Did that, um, include the hydrogen atoms? Because that would be impressive if so. But then Jetrel was going to reconstitute individual people, even though they were shredded at the subatomic level? Just how was he going to do that? By finding DNA? By reconstituting DNA? It's only the first season, and I'm already learning not to bother listening to the technobabble, as each episode gets stupider than the last. Yeah, TNG had its really bad moments, but this one ranks right up there with Rascals and Genesis.

    Yes, the episode was weighty and dramatic and full of angst. But that doesn't make it good.

    That pub/bar is supposed to be in France right? So why on earth would they have an American pool table as their main table? That just does not happen in UK and France, if there is only one table it will be an English table first and foremost unless it was an American based bar which this clearly isnt.

    In the 24th century, everyone in France speaks with a British accent, so naturally their billiards culture will have changed, too.


    Yes but by that logic they would STILL be an English table.


    "At the end of the episode, even Kes tries to convince Neelix that he shouldn't be mad at him - and that's he's really just mad of himself. This is a total cop-out."

    Boy, Kes was very right here, wasn't she? Maybe you should give her credit for being able to really see/feel/sense what Neelix is really upset about.

    "Maybe you have to stop hating yourself first." ... I'd say she was spot on here.

    This guy invented this as a weapon to win a war. You would have done the same thing. Oppenheimer did the same thing. How many lives were estimated to be saved by the a-bombs that were dropped on Japan to end WWII? You hangin him? Why shouldn't Janeway let him onboard?

    I thought Ethan overacted a few times here, but it was offset nicely by James Sloyan. He played well opposite Odo too.

    I think Jammer's review is spot on.

    Kes is cute as ever...

    I'll go 3 stars on this one.

    The only point to this episode is to provide the backstory to Neelix's character. It tries to explain the various psycho-social aspects to his behavior, why he so overfriends people, why he assumes so much of others, why he is so annoying.

    Whether the episode succeeds is a matter of opinion.

    Reading the reviews on here it's clear the ep has evoked strong feelings in the reviewers. The responses really got me to thinking about things in this ep that I never considered.

    The hypocrisy that was mentioned in an earlier comment. I'm not sure honestly how Picard would have handled Jetrel. The incident occurred I think 15 years ago or so from their current date. But the way Voyager handled it...I don't know if I would have disagreed with it. It would seem the Prime Directive would be open to interpretation here.

    The first contact was initiated already. But the happenings of another planetary race whether reprehensible or not should have no bearing on being frosty toward being introduced to a member of that race. They are no more a monolithic group than humanity. Not everyone agreed with the launching of the weapon against the Talaxians, just as not everyone agrees with the reasons countries go to war period. I can't (and won't) be held responsible for choices made by the government. I might even disagree with it. Jetrel's wife left him because she sure despised it. Jetrel himself didn't create the process to be used as a weapon (tho his scientific curiosity seemed to supercede his conscience). That was the government's choice.

    If they were to react that way towards hostile beings who commit atrocities like this then they certainly wouldn't have bought Seven of Nine on board. The Borg's body count far exceeds that weapon used on Rinax. Or the country deficit. And that's a really big number.

    On the other hand when it was another human being that was committing these acts (by choice and not by assimilation) then Janeway was far less forgiving. Who could ever forget the USS Equinox? Ransom, we hardly knew ye...

    But I did think Neelix was a bit overwrought. I'm not saying it wasn't completely unfounded. But it was clear that anger was running a little too deep and too close to the surface. Remember his reaction during the conference scene whilst attacking Jetrel? Jetrel retorted with his asking about Neelix's body count during the war. Ohhhh the guilt on his face....but not because of the accusation. We learned a hidden truth later in the ep. A truth that reached back to his misgivings with his own government. It almost felt like the writers were taking a jab at big brother. Not unlike the X-files at the time.

    This was 20 years ago and the baby boomers were aging but still anti-government. But after Vietnam it was understandable. PTSD is real and ignored far too often. They suffered just as those whom fought in Iraqi Freedom. And yet a blind eye is turned on their plight. Even today in the internet age the gov tries to keep their heads buried in the sand about it. Except during election year and politicians need votes. Not so easy to cover up now thanks to google. One can simply do a search on how many times Mayor or Senator x says "let's get back to the issues".

    Episodes like these really are necessary. We need to see the consequences of war. And you can't reset the settings like a Call of Duty game. Now that I think about it it's good Janeway didn't dump more proverbial gasoline on Jetrel. Another hidden reason PTSD endures. At least Neelix had Kes to lean on. The comments alone on here are a testatment to the power of the episode and its unflinching approach to the subject matter. War doesn't determine who's right. Just who's left.

    I will say the ending was one that I believe Roddenberry would have given the nod of approval on. This is Star Trek. And an eye towards a utopian future was always at the heart of the series. After all, the whole mythos was created after WW3 had devastated the planet. And out of the ashes of that was the beginning of a new era. A solid 3 (weak three and a half) stars just for the gravity of the material.

    For me, an episode that almost tries too hard to be weighty and dramatic. Yes, there are a lot of tortured speeches and angst ridden silences but in total it seems all a bit melodramatic and obvious. In bringing some weight to Neelix's backstory the episode introduces some welcome themes, and it's not without power. But overall it falls short of the mark. 2.5 stars.

    I disagree with Jammer a bit on the ending. I don't think it was gratuitous.

    The way I chose to interpret it was that Jetrel *ignored* all evidence that it wouldn't succeed. Despite the fact that literally everybody he spoke to felt it wouldn't succeed, he tried anyways, because he *had* to try because of his regrets; he didn't care that there was a high chance of failure, he never gave up trying. Similarly I felt Neelix encouraged Janeway to allow the experiment for a similar reason: It didn't matter if it was plausible or not, they just had to *try*. Also it was a sign that Neelix was accepting Jetrels motives (and everything that implies).

    I think this was a powerful moment in establishing Jetrels futile desire to make up for his past (futile being the key word), as well as moving Neelix forward as a character.

    Without this experiment, I don't think the true depth of Jetrels regret could have been as effectively conveyed.

    PS Again, not the same JC as the one that posted last November.

    I have to agree with Ken here. Janeway is completely unquestioning, and basically gives this unknown scientist the complete run of the ship. It's absurd. Okay, the guy is a scientist, and not military. Therefore, don't immediately throw him in the brig with accusations of genocide, but let him do his 'work' with armed guards. And don't completely trust his word just because he seems nice.

    One of those ST episodes where characters act as they do solely because of the necessities of the 'themes' of blame and forgiveness, and the movement of the plot. One of many episodes where Janeway should have been court-martialed for her behavior.

    I also agree Kes saying "you don't hate the guy who invented the weapon that killed your family. You hate yourself!" is brutally offensive. When someone is partially responsible for killing your family, not to mention your entire species - even if they didn't actually 'push the button' - hatred seems a pretty reasonable emotion. I suspect this episode wouldn't have been QUITE the same after 9/11. It's the episode written from a cultural perspective that thinks war is in their distant past.

    While this episode humanized Neelix and made him a likeable instead of insufferably annoying character, the relationship the writers try to create between Neelix and Kes is just gross beyond belief. Kes is like 2 years old, Neelix is probably in his 40s. Just disgusting. As someone pointed out, this is like a 40 year old uncle trying to seduce his 12 year old niece, just absolutely disgusting. This is one of the reasons why I can't stand Neelix's character, because he's a pedophile.

    Considering they have access to Antimatter bombs or just ramming warp speed ships into planets I wonder why the Hakonian's bothered researching that cascade weapon.

    oh wait if we did the obvious we can't have our Hiroshima allegory. This is an okay voyager episode but since Neelix is the star of this one and he mostly isn't annoying I'll say it's worth watching.

    We have no proof that the Talaxian's didn't start the war and were just incompetent. this is Neelix's species were talking about.

    I have to say, the over-the-top sanctimonious antipathy toward Jetrel is almost funny. We celebrate the scientists and engineers who invented the Hiroshima bomb. And we used it to kill plenty of innocents. That said, Janeway and her security staff prove fairly incompetent here, given that they give this questionable character access to the ship's wealth of knowledge and don't even surveil him.

    I am not a big neelix fan, but I didn't find him too annoying in this episode. And saying he's a pedophile because Jes is 2 years old is just silly. She's more mature than most human "adults". Their relationship was formed in another culture 70000 light years away 400 years in the future. You think maybe their societal mores are a little different than ours?

    JohnC: "We celebrate the scientists and engineers who invented the Hiroshima bomb. And we used it to kill plenty of innocents."

    Err... speak for yourself. I don't exactly celebrate that. More to the point, relative to this episode--I wouldn't expect a Japanese person whose family died under the bomb to join the celebration.

    Peremensoe: We celebrate the science behind the invention, not the manner in which the science was utilized. Hating on Jetrel is like hating on Robert Oppenheimer. Unless I misread the episode, I thought it was clear that Jetrel did not make the decision to utilize his findings as a means to perpetrate genocide.

    And that's why I don't really understand why so many people commenting on the episode don't get why Janeway wasn't more antagonistic to Jetrel. From her perspective, he's just a fellow scientest.

    I haven't watched it in a while, but I think you misread the episode--which, to be fair, is a mess thematically.

    My understanding is that Jetrel, like Oppenheimer, intended to make a weapon of mass destruction for use against civilians. Before Hiroshima, Oppenheimer sided with the political and military men who advocated a first use on a city, rather than a demonstration on an uninhabited target, as others of the scientists wished.

    The two diverge in their reactions afterward. As Memory Alpha says, Jetrel "considered the use of the weapon necessary at the time, had no apparent regrets in developing it, and only realized the seriousness of what he had done when his wife Ka'Ree left him for his apparent lack of remorse, taking their three children with her – in his words, 'my own casualties of war,'" which is an awfully self-centered way to find and describe one's relationship to killing hundreds of thousands of people.

    Oppenheimer, on the other hand, maintained the rightness of the bombing in its time (perhaps a necessity to avoid Jetrel-like madness), but grimly contemplated the even more dire potential future consequences of what they had done. See for example.

    In any case, neither of these figures is "just" a scientist.

    I agree for the most part with @Ken, @Skeptical, and @Peremensoe

    Why the Doctor didn't demand for prove and explanation of this 'metrimia' disease, then confirm it himself is beyond me. He just settled to roll over and let unknown scientiest take over his job and responsibilities? Even more dubious with the knowledge that the scientistis have questionable past and morale, not to mention the likely of having ulterior motive? That just stretching it.

    Janeway welcome Jetrel is an okay, she has a reason to worry about Neelix and Neelix agree she represent him. But let him having a free reign on the ship, without any security precaution, and supervision?
    I thought several episodes ago Janeway already give Doctor a way to deactivate himself and to prevent being turn-off by crew (Eye Of The Needle)
    Now.... the Doctor can be deactivated even by a non-crew member?
    Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

    I'm willing to overlook that flaw as a minor for overall advancement of plot. Sloan did a great job delivering the complex disturb scientiest, and we see Phillips can make really good performance given the chance to do it. The build up working well for the most part and we can relate to Neelix and Jetrel. THATS UNTIL.....

    The writer turn Neelix into coward. In a single act, not only Neelix character is getting heavy blow again, its also a huge cop-out for Neelix and Jetrel coming face to face overcome the conflict and get proper resolve.
    So now his anger for his family and 300.000 people on his colony died is unjustified?
    He is actually angry to himself but not really angry for all that killing?
    So now all Neelix have to do is forgive and stop hating himself? Jeeezz!
    Kes, go back to your quarter or hydroponics bay.

    Whether Neelix a cowardice or not is irrelevant to the issue. That's just ducking and avoiding the issue of what is Neelix view on the cascade/nuclear event.
    'Can Neelix overcome/forgive/forget/accept that Nuclear bomb event as a victim?'. That issue is totally cop-out and forgotten with changing it to Neelix forgive himself! Are the writers telling Neelix is not angry with that event and just angry to himself because he done nothing/cowardice? ARRGGGH!!!

    The End is absurd. Attempting to bring back to life people already scattered to atomic level? In 15 years time that atom is still preserved the way it is? The body and atomic structure maintain it's property after being vaporized? No further atomic/chemical/physical reaction happen afterwards?
    This is like trying to remake completely burned building with material from its rumble, ashes, cloud, and wishing they're in the same precise condition afterwards!
    Maybe this is the secret of how Voyager can have new shuttle instantly everytime it's blown to pieces eh? They insta transform it from blown pieces.

    Even if we're to allow suspension of disbelief that this is possible. Janeway and Neelix allow it? Huge chance they'll be in deformed, mutilate, mutant form. Do they think the victim will appreciate and thanks for it?

    "Maybe the cascade is punishment for all of us?"
    Not only Neelix is already forgive himself and Jetrel at the end, but now he's considering it's also his fault! WTF? Talk about over-the-top!
    I can't ever imagine the family of Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombing would ever said something like that. Japanese governement, maybe for a political reason.
    But the civilian and family of the victim?
    Would you tell that to the face of family victim? It's punishment for them!
    I wouldn't be suprise if they found that line to be highly insulting!
    I do find it's VERY INSULTING.

    I think it'll be better if Neelix stick that he dont believe and forgive Jetrel. Jetrel as the 'mad scientiest' desperate to undo some damage goes to the length at what we saw on transporter-scene. After witnessing that, Neelix realize how it's affect Jetrel greatly (physically and mentally), said something along the line that 'He still can't forgive that event and Jetrel, but he understand and don't blame Jetrel personally, and it's time to put it behind and move on'

    2 (**) star

    This was a very good episode, but one that was spoiled somewhat by that which spoils so many Trek episodes: Leftist moralizing and grandstanding presented as absolute truth.

    Rather than me wasting my time reviewing the episode like many others here have, let me just cut to the crunch:

    Creating the atomic weapons did indeed derive from our advanced knowledge of physics, but guess what? So did nuclear energy - and, one day, much cleaner Fusion power will be developed based on that knowledge. The episode tries to make it seem like the atomic bombs were some awful horror that could be completely avoided at no extra cost. Strike 1 against the Lefties.

    The scientists involved in the Manhattan Project overwhelmingly did not consider themselves monsters. For example, one of the nicest and most gifted humans ever to grace this planet: Richard Feynman. Strike 2 against the Lefties.

    The Japanese Empire was, at the time, a ruthless and unrelenting power that refused to surrender. It didn't even surrender after the first weapon was dropped. Lefty toadies like to claim that the war with Japan could have been concluded without a land invasion, but history, and the interviews with all concerned since, says that they are flat out wrong. It would have taken huge allied deaths to force a surrender—and massive enemy deaths. Strike 3 against the Lefties. They're out!

    This episode is how a Lefty sees the dropping of nuclear weapons—through the prism of emotion, rather than logic and knowledge and history.

    I really don't appreciate this level of left wing propaganda in my entertainment.

    Oppenheimer, on the other hand, maintained the rightness of the bombing in its time (perhaps a necessity to avoid Jetrel-like madness)

    No. It was because, like Feynman, he understood it was a World War and that huge numbers of allied deaths - and enemy deaths - would still have occurred without them. I just thank my lucky stars some of you guys weren't around with your useless, appeasing ways at the time. The same appeasing nonsense that made WWII possible in the first place.

    @DLPB - if you consider this "left wing propaganda" then why are you watching Trek at all? This sort of stuff is all over Trek in general - which is why I consider it incredibly important. If I were you, I would stop watching now. You're not going to like what else is coming.

    Also, your defense of the decision to drop the bomb is incredibly cynical. Our emotions - not our logic - are what make us human, what makes us different from machines. Without compassion and love, what would this world be? Would it be worth living in?

    IMO this episode does a fantastic job in demonstrating the cruelty of genocide, irrespective of what the supposed justification might be. It is simply NEVER right to take the lives of innocent people - not even in the most extreme case of war. The fact that you seem to dispute that makes YOU exactly the kind of monster that this episode talks about.

    @The Sisko - I think judging the past for dropping the bomb is that easy. We had already been napalming the hell out of Japan, we obviously were beyond worrying about civilians. And they literally were never going to surrender. The were going to fight to the last man. The fact that they didn't surrender after the first bomb drop when we were promising more is, to me, insane.

    In some ways I think it needed to be done. Somebody had to be the first one to deploy on nuke on an enemy. It was horrible and I hope nobody ever does it again. But if any of the other powers had gotten the bomb in WW2, they'd have used it.

    It's easy to say we shouldn't have done it in retrospect at the horror. When the President is staring at the estimated casualty list for taking Japan in a ground/water war and making that call to avoid it or not. I don't want to bring current politics into this, but it's a very interesting thing that a universal in politics is that whoever is in office the other side rails on them for "breaking promises". The first President I remember well is Daddy Bush. And it's no secret that I'm a Democrat. But when everyone was slamming him over breaking his "no new taxes" promise... all I kept thinking is... maybe there's crap that we need to pay for that's more important than a campaign slogan?

    I think we all need to acknowledge that decisions look different in that seat. It's easy for you or me or DLPB or the writers of this episode or anyone else to say what they would have done holding the bomb in one hand and the projected casualties in the other. But nobody can ever really know without that weight on them.

    @the sisko:

    I tend not to agree with DLPB - in fact I generally find him/her lacking in basic reasoning skills.

    However, when I see you simplify complex issues down to preschool-level rules, and see you call your adversary a "monster" for having opinions you disagree with, I am inclined to roll my eyes.

    As far as the episode: I like it.

    Why don't you stick to the topic, Ravenna without getting your obvious 2 cents in at me while chastising someone else for doing it? Still, nice to see you understand the concept of free speech. I guess I gotta be thankful for that.


    I am surprised to hear you say that. Would have had you down as an "Evil USA for dropping bomb" type, like so many Dems are. But fair play. Also, I think we can all agree that Bush is - and was - a bad president, who had absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into with his misguided foreign interventions (which I contend were illegal). He and Blair should be up for war crimes. Anyway, this is all off topic.

    @The Sisko

    This might be hard for you to accept, but most of us can despise political bias and moralizing in fiction... if it is entertaining. The sad fact is that the media/TV these days is clearly leftist, and so it's all one way traffic. It can indeed get irritating for someone like me, who finds much of it not only a deluded ideology - but a sick and dangerous one, too.

    No-one who purports to understand the "values" of Star Trek should be happy about the one-sided nature of today's films and television shows. Since the whole point of Trek is, supposedly, to understand other people and their opinions, which you clearly do not. Judging by what you have just said, I have to conclude that you wouldn't watch any show that disagreed with your politics. And that's very sad indeed.

    Not all episodes of Trek have political bias. Not all Trek episodes beat you over the head with the leftist moralizing. In fact, I have noted many episodes that are not just entertaining (as most are), but brilliantly written. And Trek usually asks important questions and has interesting themes. If I were a bigot, I would take your advice. But I am not.

    Saying that, I have no intention of watching Abrams' Trek, because, not only is he a gone in the head leftist, the latest films are brainless and without a soul - designed only around action and not around asking important questions. I'm at a loss to explain why so many "Trek fans" don't see the problem there.

    Hope that explain why someone who does not share Trek philosophy can nonetheless still enjoy watching Trek. Mostly. I would also note that even a large number of Trek fans consider Gene's Utopian view of the future to be rather ridiculous and naive.

    3.5 stars - didn't appreciate how good this one was when I saw it as a kid. Trauma, PTSD, survivor's guilt, shame... it's a heavy ep and Ethan Philips was superb conveying these difficult emotions. Given the potential displayed in this episode, it really makes you realize how underutilized Neelix was as a three-dimensional character - troubled, scarred and lonely yet kind and relatable. As it stands, his story can basically be told in three episodes: Jetrel, Mortal Coil, Homestead.

    @DLPB - I just feel like people of my generation don't really understand the horror of what wars were like back then. It's easy in the age of drones being akin to video game wars and low casualty counts (America lost 1% of the people in the recent Iraq War as we did in WW2) to judge the President for making the decision. So it's not that I necessarily think it's the right or wrong choice... more that I have no right to even consider judging the President for it. It's just beyond my purview. He held more life and death in his hands during that decision than likely anyone will ever hold again (at least barring WW3). It's certainly not evil though.

    As for this episode... I like it for what it did for Neelix's backstory, but Jetrel himself is no Maritza and the conflict is presented as laughably 1-sided for sure. I feel like this episode shot for Voyager's Duet and fell a little short.

    Decentish episode that lost the plot in the last 10 mins.

    "I've plugged in the DNA sequencing. We also have remnants of the victims of the event. Lets reconstitute a casualty!
    More power to the pattern buffers!
    Er ok... we appear to have reconstituted a pile of ashy slime.
    Oh yes, forgot that the transporter never actually held a copy of the actual body.."

    I know Star Trek has a macguffin attitude to technology but it could at least be consistent in the technology principles it laid down. A DNA sequence might be useful for generating an interesting splodge on the transporter pad, but resurrecting atomised individuals in form pushes the boundaries of coherent storytelling.

    I also wish they wouldn't do close ups on neelix's face. His nose resembles a circumcised penis.

    For the most part a very nice episode, but it had to have typical DNA nonsense thrown in: would any one care to explain how you go about finding a person's atoms using their DNA?? DNA is made of atoms, not the other way around. Also I don't think DNA gives an exact specification as how to put all the pieces back together. Oh well...

    So Jetrel has been working on reconstituting all the victims of the cascade for 15 years right?

    The thing is, he had never seen a transporter or knew how one even worked until he 'heard of' the one on Voyager, so how was he working on using a transporter to do that?

    'I have heard of your transporter technology, Captain, but, to experience it first hand is truly remarkable' he says when he beams aboard.

    Did he just guess how one might work all those years, hoping to find some sort of magical transporter somewhere? How lucky Voyager showed up just before he was about to die. How did he hear that Voyager had one? The only reason he went to Voyager was to use the transporter. No other reason at all. How did he know where they were? How did he catch up to them? What would make him think it would be able to lock onto billions of atoms spread across an entire moon and reconstitute them when he hadn't ever even seen a transporter before? Lucky they actually had a Talaxian on board so he could use his cover story. What if they didn't? How did he know Neelix was even on board?

    Didn't they leave Talaxian space months ago? Or at the very least weeks ago? So how did they get back to their homeworld in a few hours? Even if they could, why would the Talaxians allow what is probably one of their worst war criminals to experiment on their dead families? Wouldn't they demand that Janeway turn him over to them for trial or something? And if they are under Haakonian control, the Haakonians had already refused to allow Jetrel to do it before when he asked, and exiled him, so wouldn't they just refuse again and boot him out once more?

    But then again Janeway didn't ask for permission to try and bring people back from the dead, just to collect some of the atmosphere of the moon. Maybe she should have consulted the government or Talaxian people before doing the whole experimenting with an alien species' dead loved ones thing. Or at least told them Jetrel was on board.

    There's just so many plot holes.

    And also, now Neelix is not only an annoying, whiny, cloying, jealous, possessive pedophile, but a coward as well? Nice.

    Fill in even half of the plot holes and it could have been 2 or even 2 1/2 stars, but it's hard to overlook all of them.

    1 star

    I've been putting off commenting on this one because I find it a very difficult episode to rate. Probably I'd have to watch it again to do so properly. As it stands I'll just make a few notes.

    The acting is excellent, and most of the characterization (writing) generally for the two leads is strong. Even in the eps where I find Neelix nearly intolerable (Parturition, Investigations) I don't really think the fault is with Phillips, and here he shows a range and reveals what lies underneath Neelix's sunny exterior. I think this episode is crucial for explaining who Neelix is and why. Neelix's clingy attachment to Kes and his idolization of her innocence looks more like an attempt to protect and rediscover his own youth (and the dead members of his family) which was horribly taken away from him. His ingratiating behaviour with the crew and his aggressive optimism are ways of coping with personal tragedy that would overwhelm him if he didn't find a way to hide it under multiple layers. His jack-of-all-trades hyperactivity, wherein he apparently couldn't let himself settle down anywhere for a long time, and cultivated several diverse skills rather than being able to have the discipline to focus on a single one, similarly comes from someone who lost everything he had, and whose core beliefs (pacifism) seemed to have betray him. The tension between his wandering and his need to be part of a surrogate family makes sense of the way things play out with the Voyager crew -- and maybe also why he ends up focusing so much of his energies on Tuvok, on forming a friendship with the person in the crew least likely to reciprocate, and also whose emotional equanimity is the one thing he himself lacks.

    Sloyan is of course fantastic here, as he is in all his roles (especially Jarok and Mora, but he's great in Firstborn, too). I appreciate that throughout the episode, Jetrel is allowed to play several different emotional beats without settling on any one above all others. This is in some ways Voyager's Duet, in terms of theme if not necessarily quality, but it's worth noting that (SPOILERS for Duet) Jetrel is in some ways a more ambiguous figure as both villain and hero than either Gul Darhe'el or Marritza. In some specific senses, then, it's possibly even more ambitious than Duet, though I love Duet a lot more. Jetrel really is more directly responsible for a huge number of deaths than Marritza, whereas Duet backs down from having us actually examine a "real" mass murderer (for obvious reasons). And while Jetrel has a heroic plan for redemption, the episode avoids making him too sympathetic in several ways. Jetrel really does seem to have some large elements of self-pity, seems to hold onto the way he "lost his family" (through divorce/abandonment) as a kind of equivalent to the way in which Neelix lost his, and there's a kind of self-importance to his own martyrdom for the emotional pain and guilt he suffers which he attempts to use to shut down Neelix's criticisms. I don't think this is a flaw in the episode but actually an astute observation of how people work; Jetrel really does try to use his own pain as a shield from criticism, and on some level despite his claims to the contrary he seems to want Neelix's pity.

    There is an emotional charge to the scenes between Neelix and Jetrel that are rare in this series, and the episode seems to be mostly serious about the effects of war and mass destruction. I've seen people above suggest that in the episode's rather obvious Oppenheimer allegory, there is a failure because the episode seems to make the Talax/Haakonian conflict very black-and-white in contrast to the realities of WW2. I'm not so positive. Jetrel doesn't particularly defend his government's actions, it's true, but as the episode goes on we eventually find out that Neelix opposed Talax's role in the war at the time, and that itself suggests that there's maybe a bit more ambiguity in what actually happened than the initial line Neelix gives. In some ways, the episode maybe errs on the side of de-politicizing the actual conflict, of sort of drawing back from the *actual* moral debate over the use of WMDs in war to look more directly at the reality of what it means to live with mass destruction in war, from the perspective of those who lost and those who won.

    And that maybe is an error, I think. I talked with my wife after we watched the episode, and she said she wasn't sure how she felt about the episode playing such an obvious, overt allegory to a very specific event, rather than something a little more universal. I mentioned Duet, and she pointed out (and I agree) that DS9 did a lot of work to establish what the Cardassian Occupation meant within this world. Most of the TOS/TNG one-episode allegories were a little broader in scope, I think, dealing with Serious Subjects, and in some cases where it was clear what the particular real life analogy was, but still...different somehow. Maybe I just can't put my finger on it (especially a few weeks after having seen it). And maybe part of it is that by making this analogy so obviously *specific* to the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, it opens up to criticism for being a misleading take on those things. Oppenheimer didn't devote his life to attempting to save the lives of the people he'd killed, is the bottom line, and the episode to some extent makes the big emotional point of having Neelix forgive Jetrel somewhat contingent on seeing this extreme devotion to making up for the mass destruction, which has no direct analogue in what actually happened with Oppenheimer in the real world. In Duet, while the reality of Marritza's plan wouldn't really work in our world, one could imagine a German file clerk wracked with guilt over what he did not do, and wanting to transform himself if he had the chance. Jetrel-the-episode seems to be suggesting something particular about not any random soldier or worker, but about the key historical figure, and it's a bit of a fantasy. It's possible that if the analogy were a little more ambiguous this would work better for me. On the other hand, Oppenheimer *did* attempt to use his position to prevent further nuclear proliferation, and saw his career junked for it, and so it's partly accurate to paint him as someone who attempted to find ways to prevent more mass-deaths.

    I don't actually mind the crew treating Jetrel with some respect rather than shunning him because Neelix hates him. Meeting new people with openness, etc.; and, yeah, he *was* a scientist rather than the actual person who used the weapon. It makes sense for Janeway et al. to view Jetrel as someone who is not really an active danger. What I don't really buy is the crew's reaction to Neelix's anger, and the way they seem perplexed by it, as if Neelix should be over his anger at Jetrel personally by this point. In particular, Kes' "Oh! NOW I're mad at yourself!" reaction to Neelix is frustratingly tone-deaf, but it's more a problem because the episode seems to *support* her perspective, that of course Neelix isn't mad at the guy who developed the mass weapon that killed his family and destroyed much of his civilization, but is mad at himself...for...not killing people. I'm not saying that people aren't angry at themselves in war (or in life in general) and it makes sense for Neelix to be particularly angry at himself, because it is Neelix's own behaviour that he could control, and not Jetrel's. The thing is, even if the Talaxians were entirely in the wrong, I don't think it'd be irrational for Neelix to hold anger at the person who invented the thing that killed his family. We're not talking here about hating all Haakonians, but about one particular figure. Maybe it'd be healthy for Neelix to let go of this anger, and it probably would, but the episode seems to go a little further than that and to suggest that almost all Neelix's anger at Jetrel is just projection of his anger at himself, which I don't buy and think is a lousy take.

    That Jetrel's plan is completely bonkers doesn't really bother me, since, of course, it didn't work, and it seems as if he was just expert and self-delusion. The ending does have a nice tragic tinge, and I appreciate the quiet tone of the last moments between Neelix and Jetrel. Though even there, that Jetrel sort of *immediately* dies from the disease when his plan doesn't work is a melodramatic contrivance (he might as well have died of a broken heart) that feels out of place in this story.

    I think the episode mostly works for me more than it doesn't, but it's a hard one for me for reasons I've listed. I will go with 3 stars. I can understand people who view it as being a genuine classic as well as people who view it as being a failure.

    A decent episode, but Jetrel was another example of someone with a disease that has a gruesome end but apparently produces no symptoms until that bitter end. Jetrel says the disease literally makes the body undergo fission, and later he says that he has advanced metremia and will be dead in days. So apparently the fission starts suddenly, but Jetrel somehow knows it's coming in short order. Also, how exactly did Jetrel get it?

    The ending technobabble experiment was a ridiculous notion.

    BUT, considering how it kind of seemed to be partially working after one attempt, seems like it just might be worth spending more time on?

    2 stars

    Ooh this was a rough episode to try to sit still and get through. First inkling Neelix centered episodes were not a good idea. Terribly uninteresting plot doesn’t help

    A pretty good Neelix episode with plenty of inner conflict and a good wartime backdrop similar to the stuff you'd see in DS9. The highlight was Neelix describing to Jetrel the scene when he went back to the destroyed planet -- the soundtrack was perfect for that poignant scene -- good stuff from VOY there.

    I have some issues with Jetrel -- telling Neelix he has the disease -- basically pulling an elaborate con job so he could test his ridiculous theory of re-materializing vaporized people. Anyhow, glad it didn't work because that would have been totally implausible. But I guess there's no way Janeway would go along with allowing Jetrel to undertake his agenda if he didn't use this subterfuge. And then I think Janeway is far too trusting of Jetrel, letting him have free rein on the ship to do his research. What if he had somehow come back to kill Neelix when given the chance alone with him?

    I liked how Phillips portrayed the inner conflict Neelix has, having gone AWOL not believing in the war. His hatred for Jetrel is really his hatred for his cowardice -- of course Kes lays this out in black and white. I think this should have been arrived at in a less direct way on her part.

    I was reminded slightly of DS9's "Duet" here given the dialog between Neelix and Jetrel and how it starts, changes and culminates in the end as Jetrel dies. Of course, this pales by comparison big time to that DS9 masterpiece. But there are some parallels.

    A strong 2.5 stars for "Jetrel" -- kept me guessing on what Jetrel is really up to. Neelix, as a character, is hard to take seriously most of the time, but he's put to good use in this episode. Jetrel's re-materialization plan is over the top and hurt the overall viewing experience but at least the actors portrayal was decent and one could understand his guilt.

    I don't understand why so many people here dislike Voyager and dislike Neelix. As far as implausible plots go, it doesn't strike me as more or less implausible than any other thing in a sci-fi show. I watch it for escapist entertainment, not because I think it is real life.

    I don't find Neelix character annoying, and I defitely don't find his relationship with Kes disgusting as some do here. I am happy that this show doesn't usually show immorality or improper relations. In fact, I think it would have been neat if they got married at some point in the show (The Captain of a ship can legally marry people)

    I know this isn't really a review of this episode, but this continual bashing of Neelix and the show in general is something I feel I must address

    A very well done ep, with some great acting from Phillips and Sloyan. Brought tears to my eyes several times.

    I like that Neelix is fleshed out a bit for us, and his possessiveness and paranoia when it comes to Kes is explained.

    I have to say I'm with Sean H when it comes to a sort of mystified feeling on the Voyager bashing. I like Voyager, second only to TNG. I'm going to give DS9 another chance when I'm done with this Voyager rewatch, but I stopped watching it first season when it was first on. It just didn't grab my interest.

    I kind of agree on the Neelix bashing. But then I love the Ferengi too. And I always notice when watching Trek with older people or with kids that those (Neelix on Voyager, and the Ferengi on DS9) are the characters they respond to and enjoy. Besides, Neelix had some great episodes that took him very seriously and explored his character in depth - Jetrel, Mortal Coil, Fair Trade, Homestead, Phage. Granted, he wasn't utilised with this depth most of the time. But Ethan Phillips did a great job of playing him as a fundamentally warm yet vulnerable person with an unshakeable inner sadness and loneliness. I might be the only person (at least among commenters on this site) but I also love Investigations and Rise.

    I have similar feelings about Lwaxana - her first three TNG episodes were terrible, but she was utilised much better and explored in greater depth in Half A Life, The Forsaken, Dark Page etc. I guess the whole "sad clown" thing - characters like Neelix and Lwaxana who put a brave, breezy face on as a way of defying and coping with their inner pain - is something that speaks to me.

    Teaser : **.5, 5%

    We begin in Chez Sandrine, with Paris giving Neelix a pool lesson against Tuvok. Neelix plays a safety, gloating about his achievement. As someone who plays pool regularly, let me assure you that Neelix' obnoxious behaviour here would inspire someone to ram their cue up his nether regions rather quickly.

    This is mercifully ended by having him summoned to the bridge. A vessel has called for Neelix by name and is approaching the Voyager. Neelix recognises the ship which belongs to a species called the Haakonians. Apparently, they fought with and eventually conquered Talax over fifteen years prior. The sole occupant hails and informs the bridge that Neelix' life may be in danger before identifying himself as as Dr Ma'bor Jetrel. Neelix storms off the bridge, seething with rage. I have to say, it's very disconcerting to see him acting this way—and a hell of a lot more enjoyable than his pool antics.

    Act 1 : ***, 18%

    Still fuming, Neelix explains himself to Janeway in his quarters. Neelix' home, the moon of Rinax, was ecologically-devastated by a sci-fi weapon called the Metreon Cascade, which Jetrel designed and built. More than 300K Talaxians were instantly killed and, fearing the possibility of their entire civilisation likewise destroyed, Talax surrendered the following day. The scene reaches a climax when Janeway asks about his family, and all Neelix can do in response is shake his head in tears. Mulgrew and Phillips are both quite excellent.

    Later, Tuvok and Janeway welcome Jetrel to the ship in the transporter room. I like that we are given a chance to see Janeway react with sincere compassion for Neelix before Jetrel is brought onto the ship and treated diplomatically. It reminds me of early Picard scenes in “Pen Pals,” where we can see that his human emotions are very real but he doesn't allow them to interfere in his duty. Jetrel, for his part, is instantly taken with the Voyager's novel technology, especially the transporter, of which he has already heard, thanks to the Kazon, no doubt. Janeway has been asked to speak on Neelix' behalf, since he refuses to meet with Jetrel. Apparently, those who didn't die in the attack but were exposed to the atmosphere of Rinax, including Neelix who returned with rescue parties, tend to develop a fatal disease, space-leukaemia. The space-cancer has a sci-fi side-effect which causes the cells to undergo fission—in Soviet Delta Quadrant, victim IS nuclear bomb! Anyway, Jetrel is screening Talaxians who have been to Rinax to collect research he hopes to develop into a cure.

    Meanwhile, Neelix is trying to distract himself with his cooking, but Kes is curious why he never talked about it with her before. Janeway arrives to deliver the bad news. Neelix' attempts at humour, familiar, yet suddenly underpinned with horrifying memories, quickly fade. Neelix decides that Jetrel can go fuck himself. He and Janeway have a sensible discussion; Neelix finds it suspicious that Jetrel would be on this little quest, which is fair, and Janeway can only speculate that he's being motivated by guilt. Together, Kes and Janeway convince him to undergo the exam.

    NEELIX: Outnumbered and outflanked. All right then, I surrender. fucking dark.

    So, Jetrel explains the technobabble to Janeway and Neelix in the conference room, but Neelix is more interested in understanding the motivations.

    NEELIX: Really? It was necessary to vaporise more than a quarter of a million people and to leave thousands of others to be eaten away by Metreon poisoning?
    JETREL: Would it make any difference if I told you we never thought there would be any radiation poisoning. That anyone close enough to be exposed would be killed by the initial blast. It was unfortunate we were wrong.

    This is a point that's usually misunderstood. Jetrel knew he was going to kill hundreds of thousands of people—far more than the number that were killed in the blast. The fact that so many survived only do be exposed to fatal, but slow-acting radiation was something which escaped his calculation. So the thinking is pretty clear here: the Haakonians wanted to demonstrate to Talax that they could be destroyed by killing close to half a million people instantly—they did NOT intend for Talaxians to suffer radiation sickness, or this space-leukaemia afterwards. This is not an excuse for their actions, just an explanation that the move was made strategically, not sadistically. Jetrel has his own excuses, that it was the military which chose to use the weapon. Jetrel quickly admits that even he realises that these excuses he tells himself are hollow. This doesn't stop him from prodding, “how many did *you* kill during the war?” Janeway steps in and insists insists that the moral/historical issues are moot for the moment; her immediate concern is Neelix' life. This is interesting for her character as it distinguishes her from Picard and from Sisko. Picard would very much be concerned with the ethical issues over the pragmatic ones, and Sisko would ignore them. Janeway acknowledges that they matter, but that she has decided to prioritise the crew's wellbeing. Now, this is an ethical issue in which Janeway is not directly involved, unlike in “Caretaker” or “Time and Again,” so I think that in her own mind, she is simply trying to protect her people, but it very interesting to see her slip towards amorality like this.

    Neelix would rather die than help Jetrel ease his conscience, but the possibility of helping his people avoid further suffering convinces him to undergo the examination. In sickbay, a brief and typically-effective EMH joke is followed by Neelix telling Kes a story from his childhood while Jetrel examines him. It's essentially a little Talaxian fable designed to make the (obvious) point to Jetrel that a fascination with science does not excuse the sociopathic de-humanising of other creatures. Jetrel isn't terribly impressed but concludes that Neelix has indeed become infected.

    Act 2 : ***.5, 18%

    Kes visits Neelix in his quarters and he launches into another story—this time a tale from the war in which he did such and such brave thing, but she confronts him over refusing to show genuine vulnerability with her. The depiction of the romance between this two has been...problematic so far, so I'm glad the writers are taking some steps to give Kes agency and force the dynamic onto a more equal footing. Still a ways to go. Bringing up the Ocampan lifespan again raises an interesting point: as a species which lives about a tenth or less the lifespan of a typical humanoid, Kes' perception of the passage of time is extremely fast. From her point of view, she's already spent several years on the Voyager and in a relationship with Neelix. It is reasonable and welcome that she would start to show signs of maturity, even if those seem like leaps forward.

    Janeway lets Jetrel into her ready room and he gushes to her about how impressed he is with Federation tech, especially those transporters. He asks her to use the technology to help him collect a sample of the radiation cloud which still hovers over Rinax, which might help in the creation of a cure. Confronted with science, Janeway perks up a bit and orders Chakotay to set course for Talax. As he leaves, Jetrel winces with pain, blaming the episode on “over-excitement. Oh yeah. Sure.

    In sickbay, the EMH takes advantage of his newly-granted autonomy and deactivates himself, leaving Jetrel and Neelix alone for the first time. In renewing their argument, Neelix accuses Jetrel of failing to use his influence to stop the Haakonians from bombing civilians, but Jetrel brushes it off. He concludes:

    JETREL: If I had not discovered the Cascade, it would have been someone else, don't you see? It was a scientific inevitability, one discovery flowing naturally to the next. Something so enormous as science will not stop for something as small as man.

    It's a very difficult scene to get one's mind wrapped around—Jetrel has become so burdened by guilt for eagerly pursuing scientific discovery that he just ignored the ethical contexts of his work, even unto the point where his own family abandoned him, recognising that he had become a monster. But is he a monster for discovering the absurd scientific principles behind the weapon, for designing it, for sharing his knowledge with a government at war, for failing to attempt to prevent its use? At what point did the objective researcher end and the war-criminal begin? Neelix is consumed with the consequences, but Jetrel is on the other side of the war, he is just doing the work at which is he so skilled. During the war, it led to mass-murder. Now it may lead to a cure. “Science” can indeed be quite monstrous, something we saw recently in “State of Flux.” A food replicator, responsible in large part for the Federation economy upon which its social values are built, when misused, causes horrific death. Or it can replicate weapons for unscrupulous people, as Janeway fears. Science is neutral in ethical issues, simply a tool. And that is how Jetrel has learned to live with himself. Guilt, regret, family, choices—these are the purview of living beings with interests and agendas and passions. Jetrel is dead. His only motivation is to allow his hands to complete the work of dispassionate science.

    Neelix has little sympathy, relating the tragic story of his return to Rinax. Ethan Phillips is captivating as a storyteller here, and the score makes wonderful use of elegiacal lines to vividly underpin the recount. Sloyan also delivers an expectedly powerful performance, finally confessing to Neelix that he himself is very ill with space-leukaemia, and will be dead within days.

    Act 3 : ***, 18%

    Neelix finds himself in a nightmare. He plays pool against Jetrel who chides him, in Neelix' own voice, for playing a safety, as he always does. At once point Kes arrives, calling herself Polaxia (the name of the little girl who died in the aftermath of the cascade). She is horribly charred—as Neelix had described---and asks why he wasn't there to help. Angry, Neelix confronts Jetrel saying all this is his fault, but of course, Jetrel is really Neelix.

    He's awoken by Janeway's comm call. She informs him they're close to Rinax and so he makes his way to the bridge. He observes his old home, now enveloped in that horrible cloud. He tells the bridge crew about the night of the cascade, again in vivid, stunningly-delivered detail. In retrospect, this helps explain why Neelix over-reacted to Janeway's choices in “The Cloud.”

    After they beam aboard the sample, Kes goes looking for Neelix who has hid himself away in the mess hall. There is more going on than was previously disclosed: Neelix fled conscription into military service. Like Jetrel, he made excuses to himself, objecting to the war outright, but if he's honest with himself, his only motivation was fear. Neelix' confession is well-played, however Kes explaining the symbolism we had just witnessed in Neelix' dream is, in my opinion, a big mistake. Just like in “Distant Voices,” the writers don't seem to trust the audience to put these things together, and so it's spelled out, shown AND told.

    Act 4 : **.5, 13% (very short)

    In sickbay, Jetrel is futzing with his sample. He deactivates the EMH, repeating the special command he observed him use in Act 2. I guess Janeway didn't consider making the activation sequence a little harder to hack than just saying “password.” Jetrel does some science to the sample and is relatively pleased to see that a giant pulsating booger has appeared. Well. No one ever said science was pretty. Neelix enters, apparently wishing to try and patch things up with Jetrel and catches his odd experiment in-progress, and so Jetrel sedates him before he can tell Janeway. When she can't get through, she re-activates the EMH, and she and Tuvok track Jetrel to the transporter room.

    Jetrel is attempting to do something when they confront him. He begs Janeway to allow him to continue. Continue what? Bringing back his victims. Say what?

    Act 5 : ***.5, 18%

    Jetrel explains that, because of technobabble (albeit babble which is at least consistent with the properties of space-cancer and transporter technology), he believes he can re-construct one of the victims, wholesale. I don't really mind the “implausibility” issues with this. As I explained in “Faces,” this is just Star Trek being Star Trek, and the “science” is quickly swept under the rug to get to the heart of the issue: can a butcher make amends for his crimes? One would think that, if a penance exists for the crime of mass-murder, it would be mass-resurrection, no?

    Despite her own expert reservations, and the revelation that Neelix' diagnosis was just a pretext to get him into this position with the Voyager's amazing tech, Janeway consents to let Jetrel make the attempt. She realises this is all futile, but looking back and forth between Jetrel and Neelix, observing their mutual need to try and wash away their guilt (after all, if Polaxia and the others can be restored, then Neelix' own cowardice can be excused along with Jetrel's crimes, right?). So they tech the tech and a figure is briefly visible on the transporter pad, but indeed, there's no way to make the experiment work. Jetrel finally collapses in grief and pain.

    In the epilogue, Neelix visits him in sickbay.

    JETREL: I suppose you think this is a fitting punishment for me.
    NEELIX: Maybe the Cascade was a punishment for all of us, for our hatred, our brutality.

    And of course he doesn't say so, but perhaps he is being punished for his cowardice, or his dishonesty, or his intransigence, or all at once. He offers Jetrel absolution. Time will tell if he offers himself the same.

    Episode as Functionary : ****, 10%

    I am reminded of a new episode of “BoJack Horseman” called “The Stopped Show” (PSA: if you aren't watching this show, do yourself a favour and correct this mistake). In it, Dianne finally responds to the central character's seasons-long moral hand-wringing with:

    “There’s no such thing as bad guys and good guys! We’re all just guys! Who do good stuff, sometimes. And bad stuff, sometimes. And all we can do is try to do less bad stuff and more good stuff. But you’re never going to be good! Because you’re not bad! So you need to stop using that as an excuse.”

    I think this perfectly encapsulates “Jetrel,” the character and the episode. We can imagine that there was a point at which pursuing scientific miracles made Jetrel feel heroic. I mean, the Haakonians *did* win the war, didn't they? Surely, somebody valued his work. In the aftermath of the war, when everyone, including his own wife and children, shun him for being a shitty person, suddenly, he's not a hero, he's a monster. Like Dukat will one day point out, how such distinctions are made is largely a matter of perspective, but the only constant here is the scope of Jetrel's actions. What make him equally hero and monster is the sheer potency of his work, enabled by his scientific genius. Now that there's no going back, the only way to balance the scales and restore him to that vaunted state of objective scientific neutrality is by performing a redemptive act that equals the scope of his transgressive one. There's no way to make him “good.” He isn't, but he can still *do* good before he dies and loses the opportunity. This is what makes his failure so tragic.

    I'm a bit confused by the complaints that, in making Jetrel *more* culpable/less grey for the analogous bombing than Oppenheimer was for the real-world one, the message falls apart. On the contrary, the fact that the story turns the historical figure into a a genuine monster and that Neelix *still* forgives him in the end says a great deal. The episode doesn't actually take a side on whether the bombing was justified—there aren't enough details given about the war to objectively analyse the tactic the way we can with Hiroshima. Rather, the episode is saying, the war is over, so what do we do now? While I love “Duet,” and think it is unequivocally the better episode, this story actually does more for Neelix the character than that story did for Kira. Maritza is a far more complex and compelling “villain” that Jetrel, but it takes several seasons, arguably up until the final arc of the entire series for Kira to get to the point where she, on some level, forgives the enemy and herself for the Occupation. So, while “Duet” is a powerhouse of a drama that brings one to tears, “Jetrel” actually contributes more to the tapestry of its series.

    Neelix was introduced to the series as a dishonest character who uses his charms to skirt around ethical dilemmas. His antics tend to annoy people—including me—but that persona also relieves one of the impression that Neelix is capable of any serious villainy. He's the inverse of Jetrel, intentionally occupying himself with petty minutia and filling up conversations with bad jokes and silly stories. Well, this episode makes it very clear why this is the case. Everything serious in Neelix' life has been tragedy. His entire family is dead. He betrayed his country. His only confidante is a person still too naïve to question his motivations. His only allies, the Voyager crew, tolerate him because they don't really know him, know the horrible things he's capable of. So, very much like Torres last week and Paris in the pilot, we have a character who hates himself. In Paris' case, he sublimated this feeling by trying in equal measure to please and defy his father. For Torres, it's her Klingon anger, and expression of the thing which causes her self-hatred and yet also gives her the strength to keep the world at arms' length. And for Neelix, his little eccentricities and annoying habits are his way of keeping the depression of his lonely and pitiful existence locked away.

    The execution of this episode is excellent. At one point, Torres calls to inform them that they're ready to try Jetrel's transport, and Janeway's brief “acknowledged” is incredibly emotionally-charged, just from the frog Mulgrew got caught in her throat. It's remarkable. Of course, Sloyan and Phillips give stand-out performances as well, the former echoing his wonderful work on TNG and DS9 and the latter showing the great depths of feeling this clownish character is capable of delivering.

    There is no means to force one's way into the realm of positivity. You can take actions which you feel are for the best, and those feelings will change over time, but in the end, the only possible way to live with yourself is to forgive yourself and those who wrong you. Does this seem trite? The recent “Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast” on DS9 modelled itself upon the cynicism of early Shakespeare. Yet the later Shakespeare had a more evolved view:

    -I know you do not love me, for your sisters
    Have, as I do remember, done me wrong.
    You have some cause; they have not.

    -No cause, no cause.

    It wasn't too trite for Lear.

    Final Score : ***

    Some hate this episode because how can Janeway welcome a mass murderer, an evil man? They argue it flies in the face of everything we know today of justice. I don't agree with that. I live in Scandinavia, and one of the principles of our justice system is that the victim's families should not decide the punishment. It is believable that Janeway keeps an open mind and actually sees a man who tries to undo some of the damage he has caused. In my mind this is the future I would like to see. I call it progress to move away from punishment to redemption. The end scene is powerful. I think this is a good episode.

    Strong episode with a few issues holding it back.

    I. The actor playing Jetrel did an overall great job but unfortunately blew it at two crucial occasions, one being "I have mreonia, I will be dead in a few days" and the moment he takes his last breath after Neelix forgives him. Both instances dampened the potential power of respective scene.

    II. Albeit, some moments caused tears, it eventually got tiresome hearing Neelix mentioning Talax again and again.

    Some people are provoked by Kes talk with Neelix about forgiveness. I find the scene brilliant. It goes in line with the harmonious (and boring) nature of Kes, as well as giving Neelix humbleness and intelligence by seeing and accepting the points Kes brings up - after all, she is right.

    I don't like half stars so I'll give it a 3. And maybe it deserves it, after all, if it caused tears...

    @DLPB you're whining about people sticking to topics and then you dump political garbage. You are beyond annoying.

    Yes, because this episode was in no way political in nature.

    Honestly, you're a total tool.

    To paraphrase the best Star Trek show of them all:
    This is the power of name calling!

    STD forever! :)

    I think this was Voyager's "Duet." It even comes in the same place as "Duet" -- next to last episode of the first season.

    And just as I'd rate "DS9" higher than "Voyager," I'd rate "Duet" higher than "Jetrel." Still, it was a very good hour of "Trek" and one of the best episodes of season 1.

    Among its other attributes, it definitely fleshes out the character of Neelix, who needed it pretty badly.

    One nit-pick: I would have liked to haven known the current status of Talax. Is it still conquered and ruled by Jetrel's race or did it break free? Either, I'm surprised Voyager could just assume orbit around the moon of a planet with a space-faring race in control and not have to explain itself.

    This is the episode that made me appreciate Neelix. Like almost everyone else, I found him little more than an annoying attempt at a comic relief character up to this point, but this episode turned all of that clueless cheeriness the character exudes into a front, covering up a very hurt, angry, guilty veteran of a horrible war that killed his family. The scene where he tells the story of finding his badly burned relative is so well-played. In an uneven first season, this episode is a high point.

    Another episode I didn't get all the way through - for all that it's a worthy subject, it failed to spark my interest.

    Part of the reason for this is that it feels like a recycled DS9 episode: you could pretty much swap Neelix for Kira and switch out Dr Jetel for a Cardassian and virtually none of the rest of the story would need to be changed.

    Oddly - and without any spoilers - it's also a subject that the writers decided to return to a few seasons later in Nothing Human. And that episode arguably does a better job of delving into the subject...

    Great post above from Skeptical (years ago now). I could easily come up with better arguments from Jetrel than the scriptwriters - the analogy with Hiroshima is interesting but fails because anyone actually involved in Hiroshima would have pointed out that nuking it saved millions of lives (compared to a land invasion of Japan). Instead from Jetrel we get absurd straw men arguments about how you should always pursue scientific progress even if it means mass destruction.

    I think Star Trek's ability to consider complex moral arguments is probably overrated, honestly. With the exception of Deep Space Nine, these kind of straw men on one side of the argument were the norm for the show. Similarly you sometimes get liberals not understanding why conservatives like Star Trek. Can't conservatives see themselves in the straw man villains who keep losing the argument? Um, no, that's not what we believe so it's really not very troubling to see those points defeated.

    >First, I have no idea why Janeway is so welcoming to this doctor who designed and implemented a weapon that murdered millions.

    Surely phasers and photon torpedoes have killed millions over the centuries but no one is complaining about the inventor of them. Granted they are often used in self defence but still.

    If anyone's interested, Garret Wang (Kim) and Robbie D. McNeil (Paris) give a very thorough criticism and analysis of this episode on their 'Delta Flyers' podcast. RDM is especially critical of the direction and story. Worth a listen for Voyager fans.

    I was sort of annoyed the episode didn't directly reference Hiroshima/Nagasaki. The parallels were really obvious and any number of characters could've made the connection (especially seemingly American-born scientist Janeway).

    As a drama it was decently conceived and I enjoyed delving into Neelix's backstory in a way that took the character seriously. Not perfect, but pretty good.

    Hiroshomi parallels would have registered strongly for the viewer simply because it aired May 15, 1995, close to the 50th anniversary of the bombings. Maybe characters mentioning it would have felt like pressing the point a bit too far.

    Thanks, @Nick.

    Just discovered this site recently and find it so interesting and refreshing. Amazing how long it’s been going on. I am like a few here that find many themes too liberal and annoying if they were played out in real life but I don’t get hung up over it. I’m just a bit of a geek who likes the show and I find it entertaining and enjoyable. Reading all the different opinions over time has been enlightening and occasionally educational. Thanks to jammer and the jammer “community “ for this very unique site.

    @Sean Hagins, Springy, wolfstar

    Neelix DID have some episodes where he was really good when the character was taken seriously. Ethan Phillips could definitely handle the heavier stuff.

    But in most of his earlier appearances, he was treated as a clown and yes, he was basically VOY's Lwaxana or Ferengi. Many of us found him just as annoying as the onscreen characters did.

    Far far FAR too often he was meant to be "funny" because of his alien mannerisms (and this was repeated with Phlox in Enterprise). This was entirely retread of Ferengi being "funny".

    Most of his early serious work was his selfish/jealous relationship with Kes which got a crazy amount of screen time. YMMV, but hardly enjoyable viewing for me at least.

    Common major VOY criticisms:
    * The Starfleet mixed with Maquis dynamic all but disappeared so quickly it was pointless.

    * The ship always looked pristine a week later no matter how much damaged it endured. That really weakened the idea of the ship being on its own decades from a home base. And the ship would be fired upon in seemingly most of the episodes.

    * The Kazon were woefully weak villains that were low rent Klingon/Cardassian knock offs with pine cones in their hair. They were based on LA street gangs... Can you imagine street gangs being a credible threat to the Federal government? Sure they might luckily pull off an attack but would get squashed with. True, Voyager isn't Starfleet and doesn't have backup, but the ship was drastically more powerful than the Kazon.
    It didn't help by the production making water (and deuterium) super rare. Hydrogen and oxygen are really rather major components of the galaxy.

    * YMMV again, but a lot of the characters were really dull. Harry, Tom, Chakotay, Kes in particular.

    I think of all Star Trek characters ever, I despise Neelix more than any other. I just can't get into this episode at all.

    This episode was very good, but it needed to give some motivation as to why the crew accepted Jetrel so easily.

    They could have spent 2 minutes covering the suspicion and disgust of Janeway then switched over to acceptance for his working on the ship. Perhaps Kes could have convinced everyone that working with the mass-murderer was necessary.

    Otherwise, Janeway and the rest are totally out of character not trusting their friend and colleague, Mr. Neelix.

    I get the abstract argument and coverage of war, and monsters, and who is in fact guilty,—the episode covers this well.

    But why in the hell did they just let this man do whatever he wanted and not once side with Neelix, as if saving him was more important than his torment.

    Neelix spoke of witnessing a little girl coming out of a cloud of dust with terrible injuries from the effects of a weapon of mass destruction that was used against his people:

    NEELIX: But the impact of the blast has set off hundreds of fires, and there's nothing there. Just smouldering ruins and the stench of seared flesh. But in the distance, in the middle of all that emptiness, from out of this huge cloud of billowing dust, he can see bodies moving, whimpering, coming toward him. They're monsters, their flesh horribly charred, the colour of shale. One of them comes toward him, mangled arms outstretched, and he can't help it, he turns away frightened. But then the thing speaks and he knows by the sound of her voice that she's not a monster at all, but a child. A little girl.

    For me, such an image evoked memories of the photograph of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the little nine year old girl pictured running terrified and in pain down a road near her village of Trang Bang, after a napalm attack by the South Vietnamese Air Force on June 8th, AD 1972.

    The now Canadian resident and citizen, Phan Thi has said “Forgiveness set my heart free,” in an AD 2020 CBC documentary “Brief But Spectacular.”

    From the first season of Star Trek: Voyager episode The Cloud:

    JANEWAY: All our crews are busy preparing for this mission. I'm not pulling them off their duties to prepare your ship for launch. And I'm not going drop you off on the side of the road every time we hit a bump. When we finished, if you want to leave that's your business, but for the moment, find yourself a seat with a good view, because just like Jonah and the whale, you're going in.
    NEELIX: Is that final?
    JANEWAY: Dismissed. That's a Starfleet expression for get out.
    NEELIX: Jonah? Whale?

    Somewhat similar to Jonah, Neelix had a hatred for a people that were enemies of his own people (Jonah/Assyrians and Neelix/Haakonians). The Assyrians were known for their cruelty on their enemies, which can be seen in rock/tablet carvings even today as a record, such as the flaying of Elamite chiefs.

    "Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste to nations and their land.” — 2 Kings 19:17, ESV

    Like Jonah, Neelix had to overcome his own hatred and know somewhat his own forgiveness to help forgive/show mercy to others.

    NEELIX: Because I'm ashamed.
    KES: What an awful burden you've carried all these years

    3 powerful words….

    NEELIX (to Jetrel the Haakonian): I forgive you.

    Neelix had been feeling his own guilt and shame from his own actions he was not proud of.

    In the DS9 episode called Hard Times. Engineer, Chief O’Brien, is pained greatly, to the point of agony, with guilt in real time (even though although the guilt was from an implanted memory of killing a man, called Ee’char, who he thought had hidden food from him in prison). O’Brien was shocked at his seeming willingness to kill to get something. He told his friend Doctor Bashir:

    O’BRIEN: When we were growing up, they used to tell us humanity had evolved, that mankind had outgrown hate and rage. But when it came down to it, when I had the chance to show that no matter what anyone did to me, I was still an evolved human being, I failed. I repaid kindness with blood.

    The “perfect Federation man” was not real. As pointed out by a William B on this episode:

    “Whether it was “evolved humanity” or not, I think O’Brien would plausibly find “some” standard by which he’d believed his failure reflected on him in a fundamental way.”

    As another poster, “dave” put it:

    “Can we overcome war, make better economics, eliminate poverty, cure disease,,, sure... can we over come the flaws of being conscious beings? Nope... no matter how advanced our species becomes, we will still have to deal with anger, pain, hate conflict, greed, betrayal, and so on. That is one part of Gene’s vision I didn’t like: he expected humans to stop being humans.. and to be some faultless people who never hurt one another.”

    In the DS9 episode called The Maquis, part 2, Commander Sisko comments on the idea of a utopian society, who had apparently overcome “the flaws” of humans on Earth:

    SISKO: Just because a group of people belongs to the Federation it does not mean that they are saints.
    KIRA: Excuse me?
    SISKO: Do you know what the trouble is?
    KIRA: No.
    SISKO: The trouble is Earth.
    KIRA: Really?
    SISKO: On Earth there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet headquarters and you see paradise. Well, it's easy to be a saint in paradise.

    The fundamental way to fail to live up to standards, is common to all of us.
    Moses, who was very familiar with his society’s flaws and those of his own, spoke in a Psalm (90) to the LORD:

    “You have placed our guilty deeds before You, Our hidden sins in the light of Your presence.”

    However, there has been One who did not stop being a human, and did not give in to any temptation for doing evil. Jesus was faultless and did not hurt others, or do unjust deeds. He was an authority on Earth to comment on this nature of Humans:

    “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

    Who can say they are without fault? Who can say they are blameless? As Peter states in his first letter, we have all inherited such a condition and state.

    From the first murder of Abel by Cain his own brother, humans still have anger, hate and rage and subsequent guilt of wrongs done emitting from within, as Jesus said from “out of the heart”.

    In a show that looked at the effects of war, Quark paraphrases a song, first released by The Temptations, and made famous by Edwin Starr, released in AD 1970 -

    QUARK: War. What is it good for? If you ask me, absolutely nothing.

    The following episode which has a title from a verse from the Book of Ecclesiastes, “Nor the Battle to the Strong” showed a medical team struggling to treat the dying and wounded amidst a war situation, with the Klingons. The realisation of the horrors and danger of war hit home to Jake in the make shift medical centre compared to his home on DS9 space station:

    JAKE: ...somehow the danger never seemed as real as it does here. Maybe it's because I spent all day seeing firsthand what the Klingons are capable of.
    Jake later makes a comment to medicos who are using black humour to help relieve the stressful environment.

    JAKE: You think this is some joke. It's not. People are dying! It's all so stupid. This whole stupid war is such a waste.

    The episode depicts Jake Sisko the son of Captain Sisko, as a young man experiencing the horrors of war, amidst the carnage and death, trying to stay alive: As Jamahl pointed out :

    “This is a big part of the show’s point- the basic survival response of “fight or flight” and how it gets the best of Jake. Jake isn’t really a coward (which is demonstrated by his willingness to share his tale with Bashir after the rescue); he’s simply naive to the horrors of war, and, hopefully this experience has given him some insights.”

    The idea of “fight or flight” has been described in evolutionary terms as a response for a species to survive. Fighting amongst peoples is described by the apostle James, but not as an evolutionary process to create or survive, but as a result of mans’ crooked heart, or in other words - evil desires, to bring destruction and death:

    “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want and you don’t have, so you scheme to kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.”

    In 1 Kings we read:

    “When Omri died, he was buried in Samaria. Then his son Ahab became the next king.”

    The Mesha Stele, currently held in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, is an inscribed basalt stone set up around 840 BC by King Mesha of Moab, and it partly reads:

    “Omri was king of Israel, and oppressed Moab during many days,...his son reigned in his place, and he also said “I will oppress Moab!”

    King Ahab, Omri’s son, is mentioned on one of the limestone Kurkh Monoliths, which is dated at 853 BC. Two Assyrian monoliths were discovered in AD 1861 by archaeologist John George Taylor. One stela, nearly two metres tall, is a description by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III of the Battle of Qarqar, northern Syria, in which the king encountered an allied army of eleven named kings. Part of the inscription reads (translated in English):

    “Karkar, his royal city, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalry, 20,000 soldiers, of Hadad-ezer, of Aram (? Damascus); 700 chariots, 700 cavalry, 10,000 soldiers of Irhulêni of Hamath, 2,000 chariots, 10,000 soldiers of Ahab, the Israelite.”

    CAPTAIN PIKE: Do not covet thy neighbor's starship, Commander.

    Harking back to the commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”

    King Ahab, (son of Omri), who ruled in Samaria of Israel, and his wife, Jezebel, were prime examples of greed leading to the death of an innocent. Ahab was upset he could not get something he wanted, or in other words, he coveted the property of another man, and sulked. He got upset that a poor man called Naboth, refused to sell or trade with Ahab his vineyard:

    ““What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him.
    “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?”
    “I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her.
    “Are you king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded.
    “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I will get you Naboth’s vineyard!” ”

    Jezebel made a scheme which caused Naboth’s death, by having false accusations cast against him. He was then stoned to death, because he supposedly cursed “God and king”. Because of Jezebel’s wicked actions, Ahab got what he could not previously get. When Jezebel heard the news of Naboth’s death, she told her husband:

    “You know that vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!”
    So immediately Ahab went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it.”

    Dr. Norma Franklin, an archaeologist, and one of the heads of the Jezreel Exhibition, discovered evidence for wine making in Jezreel. She and her team discovered pits and basins, a treading floor and mortars carved into bedrock, in the area of Jezreel Valley, Israel. Norma stated:

    “As an archaeologist, I cannot say that there was definitely a specific man named Naboth who had a particular vineyard,” She told Breaking Israel News. “The story is very old but from what I have found, I can say that the story as described in the Bible quite probably could have occurred here in the Jezreel.”

    In AD 2012, a scan known as LiDAR, (Light Detection and Range) was used to reveal aspects of the topography that had been hidden for centuries, including the largest ever winepress found in ancient Israel. Also revealed were over 100 bottle-shaped pits that Dr Franklin suggested could have stored wine.
    Dr Franklin and her team did confirm that the ancient location did produce wine.

    The Lord sent Elijah the prophet to go and condemn Ahab for his actions and his wife’s scheming. His actions would lead to the destruction of Ahab’s dynasty, and Jezebel would have her blood licked up from her dead body by dogs, at the “plot of land in Jezreel.”

    Ahab and Jezebel’s way of living are prime examples of the way of death, as the Didache (an early Christian writing) also stated in its opening words:

    “There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.”

    In the movie The Tree of Life, the character Mrs O’Brien says:

    “The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow.”

    Part of the lyrics to the song War, sung by Edwin Starr goes:

    “They say we must fight to keep our freedom But Lord knows there's got to be a better way, oh. ”

    In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode called Return to Grace, Major Kira reasons with the Cardassian character Gul Dukat about showing and giving his daughter a better way of living rather that living in hate to destroy others, a way of living which she too once lived, but found death in herslf:.

    KIRA: But the fact of the matter is I've already been where you're going. I've lived the life you're choosing. Fighting hit and run, always outgunned, living on hate and adrenaline. It's not much of a life, and it eats away at you so that every day a little bit of you dies.

    Kira wanted to give Dukat’s daughter, Tora Ziyal, a chance to live a better way, rather than living on hate, following her father’s footsteps. Speaking first on what it takes to be a “freedom fighter”, Kira ultimately has in mind a better way to choose to live life, rather than the way of ruthlessness.

    KIRA: You have to learn how to be ruthless. You have to learn to hate the Klingons even more than you hated the Breen.
    ZIYAL: Whatever it takes, I will do it. But I'm going to need your help.
    KIRA: You're right. You do need my help.

    Kira wanted to help Ziyal know and live a better, non brutal, way, hence the title Return to Grace.

    In the Star Trek:Voyager season one episode called Jetrel, the character Nelix at the end of the episode comes to show forgiveness to a Haakonian scientist who helped develop the weapon of mass destruction called “the Metreon Cascade”, which killed many of Nelix’s fellow beings. The Haakonians had previously been at war with Nelix’ Talaxian people for “the better part” of a decade:

    JETREL: Neelix. I suppose you think this is a fitting punishment for me.
    NEELIX: Maybe the Cascade was a punishment for all of us, for our hatred, our brutality. There's something I need to tell you. I tried to tell you before, but
    JETREL: What is it?
    NEELIX: I want to tell you that I forgive you.

    Grace and forgiveness do go “hand in hand”. Grace is a particular and specific characteristic, and is experienced and expressed by those who know the forgiveness of God in Christ, not to live in hate. Knowing the forgiveness and grace found in Christ is a major principle to live by. Knowing such grace and forgiveness is powerful and does bear fruit, as the apostle Paul reminded the church at Colossae:

    “it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”

    Barney Zwartz, who wrote an article called “The Christmas gift Santa Claus can’t keep from us” commented on a colleague’s view of grace at the Centre for Public Christianity. His colleague, senior research fellow Natasha Moore, gave an example of grace “through psychology: the idea of non-complementary behaviour. She says humans normally respond in complementary ways: if you are kind to me, I’ll respond with kindness; if you’re angry and aggressive, I’ll mirror that. “Behaving in a non-complementary way, particularly meeting anger and rejection with love or peace, is a really counter-intuitive thing to do, and that’s what grace is.”

    Barney went on quoting Natasha:

    “Moore says Christians have, at least in theory, an extra motivation to show grace, which is that they believe God has shown them astounding grace. “If he’s extended us grace on such a scale and sacrificed Himself for us, that makes the way others have failed us or our own failings seem petty.””

    Phan Thi Kim Phuc credits grace through faith in Jesus Christ as enabling her to forgive those who severely wronged her for the physical and psychological pain and trauma she endured over many years after the napalm bombing of her village, Trang Bang in South Vietnam,

    The example of Christ is something given as a reminder for Christians to copy:

    “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

    In his article on the gift that God gave us in the person in Christ, Barney Zwartz also quoted American pastor Tim Keller:

    “At the heart of Christian faith is not primarily a wonderful, wise teacher (though Jesus was that, too) but a man who died for his enemies so that he could secure divine forgiveness for them. When you embrace the idea that Jesus’ self-sacrifice was done for you, the crucifixion becomes an act of surpassing beauty that … gives you both the profound humility and towering happiness, even joy, needed to forgive others.”

    As Moses prayed in Psalm 90:

    “Satisfy us in the morning with Your graciousness,
    That we may sing for joy and rejoice all our days.”

    The extension of God’s grace to us in the person of Christ is powerful and is antithetical to living by the rule or principle of hate and vengeance, which can be considered living by baser instincts of humans.

    In the DS9 episode called Rules of Engagement, the Klingon character Lt. Commander Worf, realised that he had acted out the desire for vengeance, both in an extradition hearing setting, and in a military situation, which actions could be said to be the way of nature:

    WORF: Ch'Pok was right. I did have something to prove when I took command of the convoy and I did not realise it until I stood there looking down at him, blood trickling from his mouth. In that moment I remember thinking finally he had given me what I really wanted. A reason to attack him. And I had that same feeling when the Klingon ships first attacked. Finally, a chance for vengeance. I should not have accepted the mission.

    A chance for humans to enact vengeance is not the way of grace.
    Michael Burnham stated in Star Trek :Discovery, about leading a life of principles:

    MICHAEL BURNHAM: We will not break the rules that protect us from our basest instincts.

    In the DS9 episode called Inquisition, the contradictory idea of breaking the principles or rules in the pursuit of propagating those principles is raised:

    SLOAN: We're on the same team. We believe in the same principles that every other Federation citizen holds dear.
    BASHIR: Yet you violate those principles as a matter of course.
    SLOAN: In order to protect them.
    Later in the episode Doctor Bashir converses with Captain Sisko about this:
    BASHIR: But what does that say about us? When push comes to shove, are we willing to sacrifice our principles in order to survive?
    SISKO: I wish I had an answer for you, Doctor.

    In His actions to save the world from sin and death, as His name Jesus, or Yeshua in Hebrew means “God saves”, Jesus did not violate any principles. His method, acting always in love, with the aim of restoration, forgiveness and reconciliation between humans and God and humanity, did not contradict in any way the principle “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus did not turn to evil in His ministry on Earth, even when it meant losing His own life in that pursuit.

    In the following episode to Inquisition called “In the Pale Moonlight” which referenced the line from the film Batman- “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”, the Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #98 is cited

    “Every man has his price.”

    Jesus did not “dance with the devil” and Jesus did not compromise His “ideals” or God’s law. He gave up His life until it was exhausted. His price was His own life, to secure the forgiveness of those that would put their faith in Him as their redeemer.

    Micah the prophet condemned those who chose to follow Ahab, who followed his basest instincts, in the way of death through their actions:
    “You keep only the laws of evil King Omri, you follow the example of wicked King Ahab!”

    Ironically, King Ahab who gained a vineyard through deception and murder, is given as an example for those who would be made an example to their own ruin, with the metaphor of a vine that produces no wine:

    “You will trample the grapes
    But get no juice to make your wine...
    I will make an example of you bringing you to complete ruin.”

    Micah condemned their evil actions, which were like those committed by Jezebel and Ahab;

    “They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers.”

    The apostle Paul, before he came to Christ, lived the Way of Death. He murderously tried to set traps for followers of Christ, (called followers of the Way) even though they too were also his Jewish brothers and sisters. He wanted to murder the Lord’s followers because of their faith. We read:

    “Meanwhile, Saul, was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them – both men and women- back to Jerusalem in chains.”

    Saul, who became known as Paul, described himself the worst of sinners, even though he attempted to follow the Law of Moses to the letter;

    “as to the Law, a Pharisee. As to zeal, a persecutor of the church: as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless...”

    Paul said he was like someone who was untimely born, because of his great persecutions against the early Christians, otherwise known as the church of God.

    “last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He (Jesus) appeared to me also.
    For I am the least of all the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

    In one episode of Doctor Who, a character who represented the Catholic Church, made a statement that the Doctor has said words to the effect that he cannot be forgiven because of the amount of confessing he would need to make:

    ANGELO: Pope Benedict said that you were more in need of confession than any man breathing. But when the offer was made, you replied it would take too much time. On behalf of the Catholic Church, the offer stands. You seem like a man with regret on his mind.

    In the DS9 episode Strange Bedfellows, the character Kai Winn a religious leader raises the idea that she needs to “earn” forgiveness. Her fellow Bajoran, Captain Kira links forgiveness with redemption and repentance:

    WINN: I want to change. I'd do anything to earn their forgiveness, but I'm afraid it's too late.
    KIRA: It's never too late. The worst of us can be redeemed.
    WINN: How?
    KIRA: I'm not a Vedek, but it seems to me that you have to set aside the things that led you astray. Ambition, jealousy.
    WINN: Oh yes, I have given in to the temptations of power.
    KIRA: Turn away from temptation.
    WINN: Yes.

    In the show Winn does not turn away from her desire for power.

    We do know that the real man Paul did repent from following the way of death after meeting the risen Christ, and he was forgiven directly by God, not through a representative of the church:

    “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners.

    Then others will realise that they, too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life.”

    Concerning being a sinner, Paul said:

    “I am the worst of them all.”

    In the Star Trek:Enterprise ™ episode The Seventh, the idea of guilt and innocence is looked at. One character, Menos, tries to hide his guilt, (proclaiming innocence) and another is tormented by feelings of guilt from a past act. T’Pol recounts to Captain Archer a time she killed a person, Jossen, an associate of Menos, both whom T’Pol had previously been sent by the Vulcan High Council on a mission to catch. She felt great guilt after killing Jossen, and so felt “unsettled.”

    T'POL: When I returned to Vulcan, I was unsettled. I resigned my position with the Ministry and sought guidance at the Sanctuary of P'Jem. For months, one of the Elders worked with me to control the guilt, to restrain the despair of having taken a life, but the feelings remained.

    T’Pol went through a ritual to make her forget the whole incident. But in the
    story of The Seventh, a character triggers her memory, and her feelings of guilt. At the end of the episode, she and Archer talk about these memories, and how to deal with them:

    ARCHER: Sorry. Dealing with these memories it's not going to be easy for you, is it?
    T'POL: No, it's not.
    ARCHER: If you feel you need a leave of absence.
    T'POL: That won't be necessary. I was much younger then.
    ARCHER: You've also spent a lot of time around humans lately.
    T'POL: You do have a way of putting questionable actions behind you.
    ARCHER: When you don't have the ability to repress emotions, you learn to deal with them and move on.

    Even though Archer believed T’Pol had a right to kill the person in self defence, there is no discussion of forgiveness in the act of “moving on.” In an original series episode of Star Trek ™ called Dagger of the Mind, the idea of “burying the past” by a machine called a “neural neutraliser”, in order to rid a person of the unbearable feelings of guilt is raised as a “cure” when Captain Kirk asks about a “rehabilitated” penal colony member, Lethe:

    KIRK: Before you came here
    LETHE: I was another person, malignant, hateful.
    KIRK: May I ask what crime you committed?
    LETHE: Does it matter? That person no longer exists.
    ADAMS: Um, part of our cure, if you will, Captain, is to bury the past. Why should a person go on living with unbearable memories...

    In the Star Trek:Deep Space Nine episode called The Wire, the Cardissian character, Garak, who had been sentenced to exile, sought the act of forgiveness due to his acknowledged guilt:

    GARAK: Elim destroyed me. Before I knew what was going on, I was sentenced to exile. And the irony is, I deserved it. Oh, not for the reasons they claimed, but because of what I had tried to do to Elim, my best friend.
    BASHIR: Why are you telling me this, Garak?
    GARAK: So that you can forgive me. Why else? I need to know that someone forgives me.
    BASHIR: I forgive you for whatever it is you did.
    GARAK: Thank you, Doctor. That's most kind.
    Garak describes being forgiven (even though it was not done by someone he had wronged) as a most kind act.

    In the DS9 episode mentioned, Return to Grace, the idea of regret and forgiveness is raised:

    ZIYAL: My father says that the two of you have a lot in common. That you both did things during the war that you regret. That's why he cares so much about what you think of him.
    KIRA: Ziyal, what your father wants from me is forgiveness. That's one thing I can never give him.
    In a final season episode of DS9, called Covenant, Colonel Kira states how important forgiveness is:
    ODO: How was it?
    KIRA: Beautiful. Ranjen Telna gave a very moving sermon.
    EZRI: What was it about?
    KIRA: About how important it is to forgive the people who've wronged you.
    ODO: Two hours on forgiveness?
    BASHIR: It's a complicated subject, Odo

    In an earlier episode when Ziyal is killed by one of her father’s Cardassian officers for her actions in helping her non Cardassian friends. Dukat is overwhelmed with grief, and raises the idea of forgiveness between him and his daughter:

    DUKAT: We’ll go back to Cardassia, Ziyal. We’ll be safe there. You’ll live with me. Everything will be fine.
    SISKO: Maybe Doctor Bashir can do something for him.
    DUKAT: We’ll both be very happy together. I know you forgive me. After all, I am your father and I forgive you.

    In the season five episode called Business as Usual, the idea of seeking forgiveness from others is raised, when Quark approaches his friend Dax to help him deal with a guilty conscience:

    DAX: Feeling a little guilty, Quark?
    QUARK: Guilty? Me? I don't have anything to feel guilty about.
    DAX: Then why come to me asking for forgiveness?

    The apostle Paul was guilty of great sins. He had been on a mission to catch and imprison Christians, whom he felt were guilty. He had been full of malignancy and hate. The Christians whom he once hated with a passion, were able to forgive him, as Christ also forgave. Paul was given forgiveness. He did not manufacture it, and the awareness of such forgiveness is what fuelled his ministry, not madness. Paul did receive pardon of his sins, such as his great persecution of the followers of the Way. He did admit his guilt, and did not forget his actions.

    Paul experienced what King David, (who had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle on the front line) had written about:

    “What joy for those
    Whose disobedience is forgiven,
    Whose sin is put out of sight!
    Yes what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    Whose lives are lived in complete honesty...
    Finally I confessed all my sins to you
    And stopped trying to hide my guilt,
    I said to myself,
    “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord”
    And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

    In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote:

    “to me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given”

    As the hymn writer John Newton, who was a former slave trader who became an abolitionist, penned in AD 1779:

    “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.

    ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed!”

    Access to this grace is through Jesus Christ, as Paul wrote to the Christ ones in Rome:

    “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
    John Newton penned his own epitaph which reads on his tomb in Olney Buckinghamshire, England:

    JOHN NEWTON. Clerk. Once an infidel and libertine a servant of slaves in
    Africa was by the rich mercy of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST preserved, restored, pardoned and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.

    Both John Newton and the apostle Paul, who recognised their own guilt, received the grace spoken about by Micah the prophet:

    “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of His special people?
    You will not stay angry with your people forever, because You delight in showing unfailing love.
    Once again you will have compassion on us
    You will trample our sins under Your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
    You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as You promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago!”

    The unfailing love promised to Abraham and Jacob, included the blessing of forgiveness to peoples of all nations.

    In AD 2022, the Australian Aboriginal man, Arthur Malcolm, who was Australia’s first Indigenous Bishop, passed away at the age of 87 years of age. Throughout his life on Earth, Arthur worked towards Aboriginal reconciliation with non Indigenous Australians, with the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through recognition of wrongs done and forgiveness of those wrongs. As reported:

    “His influence and ministry led to the public apology from the Anglican Church to Aboriginal people in 1988.

    At St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australian Anglican Bishops led by the Primate, Sir John Grindrod, delivered an apology to Bishop Malcolm, saying:
    “My brother in Christ: …May I express on behalf of all non-Aboriginal people of our church profound sorrow for the suffering that your people have had to endure, with its violence and hurt. We humbly ask God’s forgiveness; and we seek your forgiveness as a leader of your people, for the actions of the past and those causing hurt at the present time. We have longed to share with your people the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We confess our endeavour has often fallen short of his love.”

    In turn, Bishop Malcolm said “My brother in Christ: For a long time we have been hurting…but it is through the message of Jesus Christ that we have learned to forgive. We have received this forgiveness, and now in turn we must also forgive.””

    This forgiveness of all sins through repentance and faith in Christ alone is real for all people. It is a truth or maxim that cannot be denied, even though at times in history, it has been attempted to be hidden by those in power, such as by the Bishop of Rome, Pope Leo X (born as Giovanni di Lorenzo d’Medici on 11th December AD 1475), who held papal authority from 15th March AD 1513 to 1st December, AD 1521. Leo X issued papal bulls, that is, official, church authorised declarations against those that condemned Catholic Church practices of the priests, such as selling indulgences, and the burning of heretics at the stake. The statements such as the AD 1520 Exsurge Domine, that was against Martin Luther’s rebuff of corrupt practices in Luther’s 95 Theses, (also known as Disputation on the Power of Indulgences) were not based on Scripture, such as the early Christian teachings in the New Testament. Indulgences were a means to raise money from the people, using fear that their sins were not completely forgiven, and that the pope could use a so called treasury of merit, that is, giving official sanction through obtaining money paid to the church. As Charles Caleb Colton, wrote in Lacon, Or, Many Things in a Few Words: Addressed to Those who Think:

    “When the Pope denies the Scriptures to the laity, what are we to infer from hence? Not the danger of the things forbidden, but the fears of those that forbid....Leo the Xth knew that the pontifical hierarchy did support, and was reciprocally supported by a superstition that was false; but he also knew that the Scriptures are true, and that truth and falsehood assimilate not; therefore, Leo withheld the Scriptures from the laity.”
    Withholding the truth in Scriptures, withheld the knowledge of the treasures found in Christ alone.

    As a Jewish man forgiven, Paul was used by God to bring this message to the non Jews:

    “He graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone the mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning...

    And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings they belong to Christ Jesus.”

    The blessing of forgiveness comes from the same God who was revealed to Moses (Exodus 34):

    “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed His name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

    Captain Sisko told Lt. Commander Worf in the episode Rules of Engagement he had a choice to make to be fit to wear the uniform of a Starfleet officer.

    We do have a choice to make to accept the grace of God found only in Christ, which does make us fit to “wear the white robes” in the presence of God, clean and undefiled. As John the apostle saw in a vision:

    “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”

    So Ahab is a prime example of the Way of Death, bringing God’s judgement, and Paul is a prime example of turning to the Way of Life, and receiving God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness through Christ. There are two ways of being- choose life, turn to Christ and receive forgiveness of sins through faith in Him.

    “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

    A most kind act, that wipes guilt away through Christ. He has the power cleanse pure our consciences, as the lame man experienced to people’s astonishment, and to others chagrin, as we read in Mark 4:

    “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone.”

    As Isaiah said
    “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

    As Peter implored believers now how to act, with the blood of Christ in mind, as the price paid for their redemption from sins done:

    “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”


    If someone does kill a person "to get their stuff" that person should be rightly prosecuted and sentenced. However, obviously the person they killed is not able to forgive them, or stop holding a grudge. The person who did the killing will still have a guilty conscience. For a person who is truly sorry, Christ is able to free that person whose guilty conscience continuously self condemns that person. Not by their own goodness, but by faith in Christ's atonement. It is not just about "moving on" like Archer told T'Pol.

    Christ's words on why He was here, were that He came not to be served, but to serve and also to be a ransom for the world. His atoning action on the cross is linked to our own forgiveness through faith in Him. Hence John the Baptist's correct identification of Christ - "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." The apostle Peter, who knew his own short-comings all too well, also recognized Christ as the sacrificial lamb, without fault, who is able to cleanse a person's conscience. No other religion or cosmological view can do what Christ does.

    "For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.."

    Hebrews 2:17 (NIV)

    I always liked this episode and it's because it showed what they could've had with Neelix. There was this dimension to him where you could pull back the comedy and see that underneath it was a sad clown mired in guilt and trauma after what he went through. The exchange where Neelix tells Jetrel what he saw on Rinax was by far the peak of the episode and the scene I always remember. Weak ending aside, I still think of this one as the best Neelix episode and it makes me wish they'd done more to get behind the comedy-mascot role they pigeonholed the character into.

    Watching this episode on tv and as I'm sure you've realised, little details start to emerge on subsequent viewings. This was after Neelix' nightmare sequence as Voyager is pulling up to the cloud. They made Neelix sweaty when he awakens, nice touch especially with all the foam rubber

    Just watched this for the first time in 20 years. A gripping episode with excellent performances from Neelix and Jetrel.

    Honestly if this ep was written today Jetrel would have just been using this as a pretext for some awful experiment to wipe out all Talaxians.

    I just loved this episode on so many levels. Voyager got off to a strong start (for the most part), we're still actively learning about cultures and politics of the Delta Quadrant and it still feels like a TNG spinoff.

    Unfortunately interchangeable, hopelessly stubborn, entirely undeveloped forehead-of-the-week aliens are only a couple of seasons away...

    I don't remember if I commented on this episode before (I watch my Star Trek episodes every few years), but I really enjoyed this one. I mean, it was serious and sad, but poignant. I know a lot of being don't like Neelix (and yes, he can be annoying), but in this episode, he wasn't silly or baffonish-he was hurting from a terrible tragedy. Sadly, wars are something imperfects humans carry out, and until killing ends, these will be the results.

    As far as people talking about the age difference between Neelix and Kes, I know the character is one year old, but in the science fiction realm, she is supposed to be a young lady. As long as they remain chaste until marriage, I don't see how this is a problem. Just imagine her being about 20 in human years. Being fascinated with studying insects, I think of it in that realm-the adult stage of many insects such as beetles, butterflies, cicadas, etc is proportionally senior citizen age for humans. But that is their reproductive stage (most of these insects are in the juvenile (larvae) stage for the majority of their lives, with the adult stage lasting a small fraction of their overall lifespan.

    The real immorality comes from the pre-martial/extra-martial relations portrayed in television (sadly, including Star Trek at times) I don't remember the Kes/Neelix relationship ever touching on this thankfully

    I watched this episode for the first time the other day and I can't stop thinking about it. I immediately picked up on the theme it was a metaphor for - Oppenheimer came out last year, and Jetrel immediately made me think of that. I hadn't realised that the metreon cascade could also serve as analogies for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though. This episode was honestly so thought-provoking and I think, quite possibly, the best in the season.

    I needed to see this comment thread again after the release of Oppenheimer.

    Suddenly, there are thousands of experts on nuclear weapons in the world, and they're all posting videos on Youtube, what a shock. But here, in the deep caverns of Jammer's Reviews, they always existed.

    Definitely thought this was an allegory for Hiroshima and Nagasaki despite any recent blockbuster releases, and I found the point to be executed quite well... at least for the first thirty minutes. The subplot about Neelix's guilt over being a coward(?) or something came way too late, came out of nowhere, and didn't go anywhere, but at least in wasn't some stupid B plot - episodes without B plots should always be given at least half a star.

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