Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 1/29/1996
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Story by Michael DeLuca
Directed by Alexander Singer
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Here lies Thomas Eugene Paris: beloved mutant." — Tom's epitaph to himself
Nutshell: If you looked "Threshold" up in the dictionary, it would say "A filmed mistake."
I'll admit I was too nice when I originally reviewed this episode. I held back my cynicism and gave the show the benefit of the doubt, and I even gave it a higher rating than what now appears above this review. But now, months after the original airing of the show, I have had the wonderfully excruciating experience of seeing it again. And to put something mildly for probably the last time in this review, I'll just say that repeat viewings of "Threshold" do not do the show any justice. It actually gets worse with each viewing, and multiple viewings—make that any viewing—should be avoided if at all possible.
"Threshold" is one of the all-time worst episodes of Star Trek ever filmed, as far as I'm concerned. It's an absurd, technobabble disaster that practically deserves to be put up for scrutiny just so it can be torn apart. Non-Trekkers are bound to have a field day with it. If I were a person who had never seen Star Trek before and had the unfortunate experience of tuning into "Threshold," I would probably never tune into Star Trek again.
The plot? Do you care? In an attempt to break the threshold of the warp speed barrier, Lt. Paris tries to perform a theoretical impossibility: attain a velocity of warp ten in a jerry-rigged shuttlecraft. Unfortunately, breaking this barrier has some mysterious (nah—too favorable a word for this story) consequences which begin mutating Paris' DNA and putting his life in danger.
The show progresses from "positively implausible" to "positively laborious" to "positively repetitive." And just when it looks like it's going to end with a "positively predictable" revelation, something else happens instead—the episode supplies an ending that has to go down as one of the most absurdly unbelievable, stupendously outrageous, dumb, and utterly pointless ideas Star Trek has ever done. It's definitely the weirdest thing I've seen on Voyager. You gotta hand it to Brannon Braga, though; it took him a lot of guts to try something this strange and offbeat—and I sure didn't see it coming. (I'll have to admit, however, that this looks more like something Joe Menosky would come up with.) It's too bad this strange ending was so uncompromisingly bad.
In the beginning, the show looked like it might possibly have some value. The idea that Paris, Torres, and Kim have apparently figured out what could be a historic turning point in technology use is something that could have been put to reasonable dramatic use. Janeway puts it best when she says this kind of travel could change the very nature of human existence (in addition to getting Voyager back home). This also gives Paris a potentially good show (which he hasn't gotten many of since he often fades into the background as a supporting character); the idea of pioneering new flight is something that suits his character rather well.
It's about here, however, that the show completely derails and the "positively implausible" side shows up. According to theory, warp ten means "infinite speed," in which one would occupy every bit of space in the universe simultaneously. Fine and dandy, but if this theory is true, where is Paris going to end up when he hits warp ten? How will he stop? How will he survive? Are we supposed to believe his computer will be able to navigate a course at infinite speed?
Paris' flight is successful, and when he returns, he speaks of a magnificent, indescribable experience ("I was everywhere at once; here on Voyager, back home on Earth..."). The episode claims that Paris' trip proves the theory is true, which brings up even more questions. How does his brain perceive everything, everywhere at once? Why isn't his shuttle destroyed? Why is it this warp ten theory completely contradicts what we were led to believe in TNG's "All Good Things," where ships in the future could all go warp 13? Why has the word "transwarp" completely changed meanings since we heard it in Star Trek III? Why does this episode prompt so much nitpicking from me, a person who generally considers nitpicking a waste of time?
Frankly, I don't find the warp theory arguments in this episode believable or interesting, because the episode contradicts its own logic on more than one occasion. The only reason we as 20th century science-educated Star Trek viewers can comprehend acceleration beyond the speed of light—an impossibility according to Einstein—is because Trek never actually tries to explain how it's done, short of acknowledging the existence of some "warp field" theories that bend the contemporary rules of physics. On the other hand, the difference between "extremely fast" and "infinite speed" requires a big leap in logical thinking—and the logic in this episode is full of holes and mired in typical technobabble.
While highly implausible, the show may have still been salvageable for dramatic or entertainment purposes, but instead we get to the "positively laborious and repetitive" portion. Paris begins turning into a mutant, and, as a result, nearly all of acts three and four are played out in sickbay, where the Doctor explains what's happening to Paris with the usual, unexciting, medical mumbo-jumbo. There are some pointless gags here used merely to pad out the scenes, like Paris actually dying for a few hours, and then coming back to life; and the "revelation" that he has two hearts. It seems Paris' acceleration beyond the threshold is causing his "DNA to evolve at an accelerated rate," turning him into a human form that would presumably appear eons from now.
Really, aside from a decent performance by Robert McNeill as a scared, grotesque-looking Paris-mutant, and a few bizarre sights like Paris spitting his own tongue out of his mouth, there's nothing in these two acts to keep one's interest. A few character-driven scenes try to sneak their way to the surface, but take second place to a series of drearily uninteresting instances where the Doctor babbles on about DNA mutations, and so forth.
This all leads to the final act where Doc tries to reverse the mutation process by subjecting Paris to antiproton radiation (or something) in engineering. Paris breaks free, kidnaps Captain Janeway, steals a shuttle, and escapes at warp ten. Three days later, Voyager finally locates the shuttle, which has landed on some obscure planet. Here's the outrageous part: When Chakotay locates Paris and Janeway, he discovers that both have mutated into amphibian-like creatures, which have mated and produced offspring. Does this strike only me as insanely silly? Where did this notion come from? Is this supposed to be comedy? I'm not sure, but it is effective in one sense—it manages to recapture my interest (which, however, turned out not to be a good thing).
Returning Janeway and Paris to their normal state is, naturally, a piece of cake, thanks to the Doctor's antiproton radiation "sci-fi" theory, which again treats DNA like a magical substance that can be manipulated at will—mind you, only when stories require a contrived solution to a problem (a la TNG's "Genesis") that can't be solved any other way. Aside from Janeway's admittedly funny one-liner ("I've thought about having children; but I must say I never considered having them with you."), there's nothing to indicate that Janeway and Paris having "children" will have any consequences, characteristically speaking or otherwise. The episode sports the all-too-familiar attitude of "Well, it doesn't really mean anything, so just forget about it." So why do it, then? Paris and Janeway having offspring has no apparent rationale—except that maybe the writers thought it would be a great gag.
Aside from being downright dumb, the ending also brings up so many unresolved inconsistencies. Was this amphibian creature supposed to be an evolutionary human or not? The Doctor initially calls it natural human evolution, although it seems more like devolution to me; I would hope that eons of natural evolution wouldn't reduce us to walking on four legs and living in water, while mating on instinct. But by the end of the show, for some reason, everyone begins referring to it as an "alien." Which is it? If it is a new form of human intelligence, is it really wise for Chakotay to leave the offspring in their new habitat? Put these oversights alongside the fact that Janeway and Paris are able to have offspring in a mere matter of days, and the unanswerable question of why going infinite speed only puts the shuttle three days away from Voyager, and it amounts to little more than a collection of appallingly idiotic half-baked ideas, none of which has anything to say.
But who cares? The conclusion is crazy, yet so arbitrary and meaningless that, like most of "Threshold," it may as well not even exist in the confines of the Star Trek universe. Hell, why not use this transwarp theory to get home? Sure, everyone may turn into amphibians shortly thereafter, but just put them all in engineering and irradiate them with antiprotons and everyone would be fine... and back home in the Alpha Quadrant. Hey, it would work using this episode's logic.
What went wrong here? It's a mystery to me. Brannon Braga isn't a bad writer—"Projections" is proof of that. Alexander Singer has been successfully directing Trek for years. How did the checks and balances of Star Trek: Voyager fail so miserably?
Previous episode: Alliances
Next episode: Meld
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202 comments on this post
Thu, Oct 25, 2007, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 16, 2007, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 18, 2007, 10:23am (UTC -5)
I tend to agree with this. It would have added a lot of depth and tragedy to the Tom Paris-character: The guy who always tried to do great things (especially to please his father) and always failed. Here he had sucess in breaking the Warp 10-barrier - how tragic if he had died doing so.
Tue, Dec 25, 2007, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 4, 2008, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 28, 2008, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 29, 2008, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
99% of the worlds populace could write a better episode than this.
Sun, Sep 28, 2008, 12:56am (UTC -5)
Emmy winner that it was.
Beating out DS9's Emmy-nominated 'The Vistor' in its category.
For best make-up, admittedly, but still. 'Threshold' won an Emmy.
Let's all take a moment to reflect on that.
Sat, Oct 4, 2008, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 5, 2008, 12:06am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 1, 2009, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 18, 2009, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
This might sound like a silly thing for me to be making a big deal about, but the thing is, a lot of people actually don't know the basics of how evolution works. (Someone on the internet once wrote sarcastically, "So it only takes a few million years for a monkey to evolve into a person. Oh that's right, monkeys don't live millions of years!")What's next, an episode where the crew goes back in time and sees cavemen coexisting with dinosaurs?
The only good thing about "Threshold" is that it was a season 2 episode, so at least it has an excuse to be terrible.
Sat, Mar 21, 2009, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
I also agree that the first two seasons of any star trek series (bar TOS) are usually a load of shit. Argh a show about science (a la scifi) should respect science, its its basis and used properly can be an escape route for ridiculous plot contrivances.
Perhaps Tom should of died, it would have increased the drama level and given voyager that edge, as the first star trek series to kill a main character..removing the whole "safe" zone.
Tue, Mar 24, 2009, 7:35am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 25, 2009, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 30, 2009, 4:49am (UTC -5)
I'm on the wrong review?
Wait...you're telling me they actually aired this crap? It wasn't just a nightmare?
Seriously though this should never have aired. The idea itself for the story is ludicrous at best. Yah right a few people on Voyager after everything they've been through up to this point all of a sudden come up with a way to reach Warp 10 (infinite velocity) - yet somehow hundreds of Federation engineers and scientists in the Alpha Quadrant can't figure it out let alone things like trans-warp.
It's episodes like this that make me shudder to think someone tuning in to ST for the first time in forever would have to sit through this sh*t.
By the way my favorite all time ST episode is, of course, Spock's Brain... o.O
Fri, May 29, 2009, 2:08am (UTC -5)
I only got through it by continually chanting to myself that "this can't be canon, this can't be canon, this can't be canon, this can't be canon..."
Please, someone do whatever it takes for Kate Mulgrew, Patrick Stewart, Brannon Braga, William Shatner, and whatever Roddenberry's are available to disown it forever and admit it was a parody or one of Paris' dreams. Please!
Sun, Jun 21, 2009, 8:16am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 13, 2009, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 1, 2009, 10:07am (UTC -5)
Many Star Trek episodes have been ridiculous.
But this one stands alone as being simply inexcusable.
And good point about Federation medicine's ability to heal DNA problems being story-related and nothing more. The genetic alterations (restorations, just as here) in Season 6's Ashes to Ashes should have been child's play compared to this (especially since that episode took place AFTER this one, so Doc should have thought of antiprotons immediately), but all the Doctor could do was effect cosmetic changes for Ensign Ballard there.
Like I said, inexcusable. This is one of, and probably foremost, among the handful of Star Trek episodes that simply didn't happen as far as I'm concerned.
Sun, Oct 4, 2009, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
"How is infinity a barrier?"
"Threshold of what exactly?"
It is an episode that wants to be about evolution and infinity, but is written by someone who does not actually know what the words "evolution" and "infinity" mean.
I am reminded of the Enterprise episode "Marauders," which contains the line "Deuterium can burn almost as hot as plasma, when it's ignited." This line could only have been written by someone who does not know the meanings of the words "deuterium" or "plasma" (and possibly "ignited").
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 9:23am (UTC -5)
Joe: No, YOU'RE like Ed Wood's filmography and your penis is YOUR Plan 9 From Outer Space. I love Voyager!
Fri, Nov 6, 2009, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 15, 2010, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
I remember Tuvok saying " I look forward to hearing it," after Chakotey noted he would be reporting something of this in the log after seeing Janeway and Paris's offspring. I think that was a highlight.
Tue, Mar 2, 2010, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
I'm all for a good measure of fiction in my sci-fi, but not when they arbitrarily replace the sci with yet more fi.
Thu, Apr 15, 2010, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 26, 2010, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Indeed I forgot about Tasha Yar, but since she was one of the most contrived characters ever...meh.
Perhaps they could have had Tom break the Warp 10 barrier, but an accident affected his DNA caused by instabilities in the warp field.
We watch him slowly degrade (they could have even kept the make up.
Then he dies.
We watch the crews reaction, and we see B'leanna crying her eyes out. But Voyager followed in the wake of the shuttle (think timeless) and got home.
25 years later we have warp 13, and Crusher has her own warp ship.
Voyager actually affected canon! woooowwwwww :)
If that had of been the ending of Voyager, Threshold would have still won an emmy, and we would all be commenting as to how good it was.
Wed, Nov 10, 2010, 5:43am (UTC -5)
I liked it. Even though is is very improbable I like the idea of someone evolving into a future human. I find it much more realistic than TNG's 'Genesis'.
But why did they let the final outcome be a giant amphibious embryo?
Paris and Janeway looked exactly how early embryo's look like:
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 7:24am (UTC -5)
When Paris died... I just find it hard to believe the crew did or said nothing. I mean, in "Alliances", they had an entire memorial for some useless Maquis crew member we've never heard of... but when Tom Paris dies, we get nothing?!
Yes, Kes had a small scene... but you'd think if Tom died Harry would have a reaction, no? What about the captain? This is completely not believable that several hours go by after Tom's "death" and we get nothing.
Everything goes downhill from here. What could have been an exciting premise is totally squandered.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 7:57am (UTC -5)
I wasn't even aware of the warp limitation problems - I just took it for granted as "made up science" and went along with it.
I don't understand how they found the shuttle in just 3 days. How did they know which direction to go? Isn't it possible that after 3 days they would be anywhere in the galaxy. Why only 3 days away? Seems highly implausible.
And here's another whopper: Now that they know how to reverse the effects of breaking this "threshold", why not take Voyager to warp 10 and have the doctor cure everyone once they get back to earth? Isn't that the most logical way to get home? Seems pretty simple to me. That's a pretty massive flaw. If I were the captain or on this ship, I'd do that instantly.
Wed, Feb 16, 2011, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 16, 2011, 10:54am (UTC -5)
I also agree that it makes no sense that they could develop a warp engine in 1 episode faster than all the engineers and scientists in the whole Federation could during the period of DS9. You'd think they would have a motivation against the Dominion to increase the speed of their ships - yet it did not happen.
And even if they couldn't "dial it down", I still say they should have used it to get home. The doctor could have cured everyone on the ship with the warp engine after they got back to earth. I mean, they know how to cure it now, don't they? It took paris days for the effects to become fatal/complicated... so he could fix everyone on the ship in no time.
Thu, Mar 17, 2011, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 31, 2011, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 22, 2011, 2:22am (UTC -5)
1. As others have stated, evolution does not work this way.
2. Ditto to what @Travis said about infinity
3. Lol @Sarah M. I can't believe this episode won an Emmy! And it beat out "the visitor", no less! It beat out what is easily one of the best hours of Trek ever filmed! Unbelievable!
4. Does anyone remember that TNG episode in the seventh season where they had to impose speed limits on warp travel because the warp fields were tearing apart subspace or some other such nonsense? Whatever happened to that? Wouldn't a ship that could be everywhere at once pretty much destroy subspace using that logic? Whatever.
5. As has been mentioned before, ships have been shown going faster than warp 10 plenty of times before in Trek history. Considering that Brannon Braga loves to get up on his high horse and talk about how he eats, sleeps and breathes Star Trek and can therefore never be questioned about his script choices (see his explanation of that awful ferengi episode on Enterprise for an example), you would really think he would know better than to base a plot around something that so obviously contradicts canon.
6. They left the offspring on the planet? Really? Leaving a new life form (that can apparently reproduce incredibly quickly) alone on a planet they are not native to doesn't violate the prime directive in some way? REALLY?
7. Wouldn't a ship going that fast run the risk of slamming into planets or other large objects that could potentially destroy the shuttle? Is the computer supposed to be making course corrections fast enough to deal with that issue? REALLY?!?
Ok, I'm done. I could keep complaining about this one for a long time. But, I'm just going to quit before my head explodes from thinking about the sheer stupidity of what I just saw.
ZERO STARS from me too!
Sun, Sep 4, 2011, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
I thought then, at eight years old, that this episode was horrible.
That's... there's no worse criticism as far as I'm concerned.
Sun, Sep 11, 2011, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
One random nitpick to add to the many (dare I say, infinite?! lol) criticisms this episode garners: hair length is not part of the DNA code. Soooo, when Doc is successful at "reprogramming their DNA" shouldn't Janeway and Paris be baldish for a little while until their hair grows back?
Fri, Oct 14, 2011, 11:26am (UTC -5)
This is a bad episode without a doubt--for all the reasons mentioned, but there are so many good things going on here, I have a hard time accepting a 0 stars rating...compare it to DS9's "Let He Who is Without Sin"--also a terrible episode with a 0 star rating on this site.
Dorn and Ferrell are really, really lousy actors, but MacNeil and frankly, the entire cast here put in really stellar performances. There is also something quite moving about the emotional wrestling of Paris' character and his desire to better himself and distance himself from his past--quickly. It is a theme in his character which fits into the show's premise (the real premise of dramatic work is not the plot setup, it's the philosophical idea).
It's not a good episode, it's pretty darn bad, but there's just so much that is worth something pivotal to the character of Paris, I can't excuse giving it 0 stars. I think 1 or 1.5 is about right for this one.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 1:10am (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 1:26am (UTC -5)
Because it's fun to point out how dumb the writers were when creating these episodes.
I honestly can't imagine what goes through the writer's minds when they write their draft, talk about the episode with their colleges, get it checked over by the fact-checkers and the executive producers, run it by the actors... and it goes all the way to production.
It just seems so odd that any rational person who doesn't have any expertise in writing/producing shows for television can point out tons of flaws with the episode that should have been incredibly obvious to everyone that was looking over the script.
Yet it got produced anyway. So what does that say? Either they are not very smart... or they didn't think their audience was very smart and that they wouldn't notice... or that they just didn't care anymore.
With this series, it's almost a bit religious though to point out problems since they happen so frequently. TNG almost never had huge plot problems... especially in the season 3-7. Sure it had some, but they are so minor compared to how well most of the series stands up. The same goes with DS9.
Contrast this with Voyager... and it's just a wreck. At least Enterprise was redeemed in season 4, but Voyager honestly never made much of an effort, except for a few key shows.
Voyager has some great shows too. Just not nearly as many as episodes like this, and that's a shame.
I just think the premise for this series was destined to fail though. Even in the first season, the whole thing got off track, and it really never found its stride in 7 years. Sure, it had some good moments... and even some good sequences... but none of it was terribly important to the premise of the show.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 1:42am (UTC -5)
The premise is to get home yes? Even Janeway says, "By any means necessary" - more or less.
It seems that in this episode, they develop the means to get home, and a way to reverse it's negative effects. If the characters were true to their convictions, the series would have ended this episode.
I thought of this immediately upon watching the show - even the first time I saw it many, many years ago. I am shocked the writers didn't realize they were painting themselves into a huge hole.
I mean this is HUGE. They develop a way to get home instantaneously, and at the end of the show figure out a way to avoid it's effects. They could and should have got home. Isn't that the whole point of the show?
But that's the whole problem with the series - they need to stretch the trip home to 7 seasons. So instead, they just make every excuse and exhaust every predictable cliche and path to prevent them from finally getting home.
Also, the characters act and do completely opposite things from one show to the next. Their convictions change even more often than Mitt Romney changes positions.
Ultimately, these problems are just too frustrating to ignore. Because people are extremely invested in Star Trek in general, and have enjoyed 14+ seasons of the previous material, it does begin to make sense why they might feel compelled to point out these problems on a forum such as this one.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 1:44am (UTC -5)
Webster's dictionary :
"Premise : a proposition antecedently supposed or proved; a basis of argument. A proposition stated or assumed as leading to a conclusion."
You repeatedly complain about Voyager failing to utilise its premise without seeming to possess and understanding of what a premise is. Your version : " Two separate crews (Federation and Maquis) are stranded alone in the Delta Quadrant (an area presumably full of wonder and amazement) and, alone, must work together in an extreme environment to overcome new problems and find a way home. "
This is not a premise, this is a list of character traits for the series which were initially established to prove the premise. They rank in importance with ideas like "Chakotay's tatto is on his right cheek" or "Janeway has red hair and grew up in Indiana." It's not irrelevant and helps to create a bone structure upon which stories can be built, but it is NOT the series' premise. There is nothing to prove or argue here; it's simply a series of character traits.
Voyager's premise is "a person (or society) is defined most crucially by his (or its) intrinsic altruism. That altruism can, at times, allow one to achieve the seemingly impossible, but these achievements are irrelevant. What IS relevant is the nobility which defines a human being possessed of such altruism."
This premise was frequently refuted, attempted and argued over and over again and in a fashion which evolved from show to show until it was finally proved in the finale. THAT is the compelling nature of Voyager as a series.
I won't pretend that the more superficial aspects of the show weren't flawed--even severely so--but to attack its premise is unwarranted. You simply don't know what a premise is.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 1:59am (UTC -5)
I don't think the character traits you listed though are just character traits. A show like Battlestar Galactica actually did fulfill this kind of premise quite well. In almost all ways, it achieved what Voyager never managed to do. It established a narrative that took its premise to its natural conclusion.
Even through most of the first season, the conflict between Star Fleet and the Maquis was very minimal, and was resolved way too quickly (and most of it was done off-screen - a shame).
By the time the second season was over, Voyager had become as family-oriented as any of the other crews - thus not really distinguishing it from any of the others and just offering up more of the same (despite their unique predicament of being 70,000 light years away from earth).
To me though, this predictable is hardly a character trait. From the first episode, the series was trying to establish this as the premise and mission for the show.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 2:15am (UTC -5)
"getting home" just like "exploring space" or "being on a spacestation" is not a premise--it cannot be. A premise MUST be an argument. There are a limited number of premises that any drama can build itself upon. What distinguishes a drama is HOW that premise is proved. Voyager's situation is the how and it offered a perfect means to the end of proving its premise.
You are not wrong that this is a premise (or a version of premise) for star trek in general, but because of DS9, the relevance of creating a new show to prove the premise became quite prescient. DS9 tried to create a premise about 3 times, each time an insidious (albeit doomed) attempt to undermine TNG's premise. But that is exactly why we say these shows are all star trek, not because they share the same sets and aliens and customs and histories, but because they share a common ancestor premise.
Is the fictional "mission" of a fictional ship in a fictional universe really compelling to anyone? If so, I would find it sad. Interest and connection with drama, with good drama, does not depend on such superficial details--a premise which is fundamentally true, and can be proven so, unites audience to creator through the medium of plot and stage and acting--all of which provide an architecture upon which the dialogue which proves the premise may rest.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 2:36am (UTC -5)
So I'll say the word "mission" instead of premise.
DS9 had several missions (or even premises using your definition), and it changed from season to season - one of the reasons why I enjoyed the series so much. It never got stale. It often challenged the overall premise of Star Trek as a series in many ways, and I can see why that's why some don't like it compared to Voyager. So for those people, perhaps Voyager is a welcome return to form.
Regardless, Voyager did a terrible job at setting up its premise (to point where so many people have confused it with what you are saying), and it did a horrible job setting up the overall mission and story arc. The consistency and continuity just isn't there.
At least TNG never set itself up to be anything other than what it was - and I think that was a strength to the series. The audience was allowed to take every episode on its own merits, and the writers could explore a deep topic in a single story without really having to think about the show as a serial.
Voyager failed in this regard, as most episodes had nothing to do with the overall mission of the crew... and some of them even indicate the crew as being wasteful and doing things that work against their ultimate goal.
If the show wanted to show that humans were intrinsically altruists (a claim I know not to be true, but we'll let the show set out to prove whatever it wants), the scripts certainly worked against this premise on many occasions. So in that regard, it's also a failure.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Have a nice day.
Sun, Nov 6, 2011, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
The original points were about the show's plot holes, glaring inconsistencies and the character's constant desire to service the needs for the plot at all cost to their integrity rather than being true to their character - all of which Voyager has committed numerous times over.
My other point is that it's hard to take a show seriously when it establishes that its mission is to return back to the alpha quadrant at any cost, and when they actually discover a way to do it, they don't take it - mostly due to writer problems. The actual characters would have probably done as I suggested.
Thu, Nov 10, 2011, 6:23am (UTC -5)
This is actually kind of funny. I just watched a small conversation with Kenneth Biller, one of the executive producers on voyager... and he said that the show's "premise" was that the ship was lost in space and that they were trying to find a way him. Straight from the horses mouth.
I just think it's funny because I read several other spots on this site where you have been arguing about this "premise" definition, yet myself, Jamahl, many others and even the executive producers are using one definition... and you seem to be the only person using an entirely different one.
I just find this funny. I just wanted to share.
Sun, Nov 27, 2011, 4:49am (UTC -5)
it.Robert Duncan McNeill's acting through out this was pretty good and I seem to always forget
that he and his character were always my favourite part about Voyager and he has a number
of really good scenes. Tom trying to convince Janeway to let him go on the mission early on
gives some more hints about his life and how he doesn't just want but needs to do this, but
once he starts to mutate there's some good dialogue where he talks about how he always
remembers crying when he was younger and locking himself in his room. That sort of
background always made Tom feel more like a real person, and I kind of wish we'd never met his father later on in the series and just had him as this sort of force in the background.
And then there's the mutation scenes which really stuck with me over the years, as his body does things he's got no control over, so the scenes where he becomes allergic to water and his lungs can't process air always freaked me out. But there's that pretty crazy scene as he pulls out his own tongue which was worth the episode on it's own as McNeill gives that creepy bloody mouth look at the Doctor and Kes.
And then Paris eventually abducts Janeway and she mutates and they have kids offscreen. Having them turn into salamander like weird creature's as the future of the human race makes me laugh now after shows like Babylon 5 or Stargate have showed us evolving into beings of light/energy.
And even the "evolution" behind it never bothered me because even as a kid I understood the intention behind it. Through out the episode it's described as a mutation but it's only in the final coda with the Doctor that the word evolution is used, and I think if they'd left the scene out or reworded it would have improved it, but it doesn't really bother me. Same with the rearranging DNA and then everything's back to normal. It happens all the time in tv and films, like when people get viruses that have some ticking clock type time limit before death and then 5 seconds before the virus is about to go off they get the cure and suddenly their fine, never mind the damage to internal organs. And Star Trek especially where they pull out Worf's cranial ridges in Homeward and then shove them back in or whatever happened in Genesis to everyone, it's just something this universe can do.
And the warp 10 infinite speed might sound retarded but i just look at as another barrier they're passing, more like giving access to some kind of transwarp field where distance becomes meaningless because it is occupying all points in the universe simultaneously, and that is the infinite speed they are describing, not the speed needed to reach there.
Janeway and Paris probably should have brought their kids home though and un-mutated them. De-mutated them? Could have made things interesting for a while!
I hate giving stars because it doesn't really mean much to me but I give it a thumbs up.
Wed, Mar 14, 2012, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
This episode is so bad, that it's not even worthy of ridicule. At least "Spock's Brain" has its place in pop culture as a classic example of '60s sci-fi camp. "Threshold" is just really horrible writing. The acting was decent. The direction was good. The special effects were fine. Hell, the make-up even won an Emmy and "Mutant Tom Paris" got his own action figure complete with mutant babies.
All of which makes the episode that much more unfortunate. Robert McNeil put it best when he said (paraphrasing), "When you try to tell the story in a sentence - he breaks warp ten, starts shedding skin, kidnaps the captain, becomes one with the universe, then they turn into salamanders and have babies - it sounds ridiculous."
Ridiculous, yes. But not worthy of ridicule. Only worth being nitpicked to death...
Mon, Mar 26, 2012, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 26, 2012, 5:20am (UTC -5)
Have I missed a good episode?
Sat, May 5, 2012, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
What else is there to say? This is a piece of garbage. It could have gone down as simply another forgettable, mediocre ep, but no, the ending is so dumb that it instantly makes the ep notorious as the worst Trek ep since TOS's "Spocks Brain". (Although I consider TNG's "Justice" to be slightly worse.) Just read the review and comments or google this ep, everyone else has already thrashed this ep to death so there's really nothing more I can say to thrash it further.
It's a shame too, because the Tom Paris actor does a pretty good job acting, and the beginning minutes are acceptable and seem to be taking us somewhere worthwhile. But it rapidly derails fast, and it's all wasted on that stupid ending. Too bad, though, because the basic plot had quite a lot of potential. There's a reason why Agony Booth did a recap on this episode (recommended reading for anyone who thinks this ep deserves zero stars or less, like myself). No wonder why Brannon Braga is so loathed. He does deserve credit, though, for acknowledging that he screwed up this time around.
This ep deserves to be decanonized. And some people are saying that ENT's "A Night In Sickbay" was much worse...
NEGATIVE ONE MILLION STARS!!!!!
Wed, May 16, 2012, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 31, 2012, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Of course, this episode is one of many that drives home that Star Trek at this point had moved well away from consulting with experts, which is probably why the series has a ton of technobabble. TNG largely succeeded at avoiding technobabble outside of the technologies that were required for the premise of the show. The idea in this episode that evolution has levels, that one being can evolve on its own (how Lamarckian!), or that you'd evolve to not be able to survive in the fixed environment you are living in are all absurd.
This is also another "they could have gotten home here" episode. Even avoiding traveling at Warp 10, they could have gone just below it to have gotten home in seconds or minutes.
Anyhow, it is sadly not in the territory of So Bad It's Good. It's just bad.
Tue, Aug 14, 2012, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 4, 2012, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
What a steaming pile of poop that was. So bad it's funny. Just pretend you're on MST3K and enjoy!
Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
When you turn a blind eye to the logical failings of the premise, I found Tom Paris and his plight to be pretty gripping. His slow mutation and degeneration was not without its emotional impact, especailly given the on-the-money performances all round. There's some channelling of the movie The Fly, which is one of my favourite films. Body horror and loosing yourself amongst a grotesque mutation is something I find disturbing, morbidly fascinating and generally just great character study. Whilst this episode botches many things up, for me it didn't botch up this body horror/drama aspect of the story (I never cared much for how scientifically valid my TV shows are).
And the sheer boldness and stupidity of the out-there climax is delightful in a Ed Woods/David-Lynch-wierdness kinda way! I'm never bored with Threshold, a good chunk of the episode I found genuinely strong (ignoring science/logic for 2 seconds) and to top off all this wierd and wonderful fun is perhaps the most outrageous endings in Star Trek history (except for perhaps the last episode Enterprise *ahem*). Just don't take it too seriously and along the way embrace the fun you can have with Threshold, spiced up with the genuinely strong stuff that does exist in there somewhere if you can accept it on its own outlandish terms.
In my book, this gets 2 stars out of 4. I'd much rather take this over stale and sterile by-the-numbers Trek episodes and in the future, if I ever do a re-watch on Voyager I wouldn't feel the need to skip the infamous Threshold.
Excellent website by the way! I just had to comment since I thought much differently about this episode compared to most, it would appear.
Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
While I'm here I might as well add that I pretty much concur with what Matrix said.
Mon, May 6, 2013, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 22, 2013, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
The technological premise is very intriguing. Can the imaginary Warp 10 be reached and exceeded, and what happens if so? What I don't get is WHY OH WHY they would send a senior officer, and a pretty indispensable one at that, to perform such a risky and dangerous endeavor! They could not have sent an empty shuttle first?! If today we have airplanes that can take off, cruise, and land by themselves, then surely a shuttle could've been programmed to conduct the inaugural Warp 10+ flight!
But then I guess they'd have had to devote a half hour to elaborating on the technical and technological points of transwarp rather than have Paris make an idiot of himself wearing silly makeup and prosthetics. I could have done with fewer scenes of him self-pitying, in particular.
I was going to say the show deserved a star or two after all, but then I saw the last five minutes again... Ayayay... What WERE they thinking!?!?!
One last thought, concerning "technobabble," which appears to have become a swearword on these pages. Star Trek is a SCIENCE FICTION show. It's supposed to be replete with science, but since it's of a necessity a fictional show, some of that "science" is bound to not make sense. If it did, it would be a documentary not a sci-fi series. Without "technobabble" this becomes Harry Potter set in a spaceship environment.
Tue, Jun 11, 2013, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Both episodes are stupid and goofy, but they're better than the more boring episodes like "And the Children Shall Lead" or "Spirit Folk". Part of being a Star Trek fan is enjoying the bad/campy stuff.
Wed, Jul 24, 2013, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
This is one of the few Voyager shows that intrigued me to see it to the very end. This is what Sci Fi is about. I agree that it was silly, but it kept me interested! I believe they did the right things, but not necessarily for the Trek Universe, nor for the premise/mission of the show, but for sci fi in general.
Why do I say this. Because I think they stole the 'plot' twist at the end from one of the best science fiction writers of all time, Kurt Vonnegut. In the book Galapagos Vonnegut has the people 'evolving' to seals (but it was a product of their environment, which is what evolution is all about). So if you are in space you will evolve into a slug. Why? Because slugs travel through space more easily.
Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Abandoning their offspring, not using the technology / giving it more study again later to help getting home, the "infinite" velocity and warp 10 canon issues clearly more or less destroyed the story, but I was impressed with the acting and I generally only watch SciFi show for the entertainment and the story, not to debate is it technically possible to do this or that.
I found many Voyager episodes exciting due to the risk factor i.e that they were willing to risk it and try things like "Twisted", "Tuvix" or "Threshold". While by no easy means realistic or believable these shows do offer something others don't!
Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
and if it would have been a 2-hour show with no canon mistakes, a real chance of 4 of 4!!
Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 6:50am (UTC -5)
But at least this episode was true to the characters. I still think the worst episode of Voyager is Fury. Because they turned a gentle, compassionate friend of everybody info some vengeful psychopath. Whose only motivation was that she blamed Voyagers crew for fer falling in love with exploration. Unforgivable !!!
Fri, Sep 27, 2013, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 27, 2013, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 19, 2013, 1:19am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 4:08am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 21, 2013, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 12:19am (UTC -5)
"Okay, so here's my idea...Tom Paris is going to find out a way to make a shuttle go really fast."
"I mean, really really fast."
"I mean so INCREDIBLY, REALLY SUPER-DUPER FAST that he's like everywhere at once and can see the whole universe! He knows everything."
"Hold on. So he ends up going so fast that he's...God, or something?"
"Yeah! Well, until he becomes allergic to water."
"Bear with me. See, he went so fast that the trip accelerated the evolution of his DNA. So he starts mutating and his tongue falls out and his skin turns extra crispy while the Doctor technobabbles about it for 20 minutes--"
"You lost me. Are we still talking about the same episode?"
"Wait, wait, let me finish. He also goes insane."
"...From the mutations? Or from being God?"
"I don't know! Both? Whatever. And THEN Paris kidnaps Janeway and escapes from Voyager. You know, because he's crazy. And he's still evolving, so he wants to jump her bones."
"So he's God, he's a mutant, AND he's hot for Janeway."
"Sort of. He's also a lizard. Well, more of a salamander really--"
"He's a ****ing LIZARD?"
"It gets better. See, he and Janeway end up on a jungle planet and SHE turns into a lizard too."
"I don't know, we'll leave it up to the editors. And by the time Voyager catches up with them, they've done the deed."
"You don't mean..."
"That's right. Lizard lovin'! They have kids, too. Three small lizards. But Tuvok and Chakotay let them go. They just shoot Lizard-Paris and Lizard-Janeway."
"They SHOOT them?!"
"Just so they can bring them back on board!"
"Let me get this straight. Your idea is to have Paris set a speed record, become God, get allergic to water, lose his mind, evolve into a salamander, knock up the Captain AND get shot while plunging the audience neck-deep in Technobabble(TM) and Fun With DNA(TM). How the hell are we going to get away with that?"
*shrugs* "It's Voyager, man! The Reset Button(TM). It's bold, it's unexpected, it's never been done before on Star Trek...that MUST mean it's good! What do you think?"
"........I love it!! You've got a bright future here, son."
"Good choice, sir! We're going to make history with this episode."
"Don't you mean...HISS-tory?"
Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
it's like comparing mph to kph, it's a completely different set of numbers. i found a pic that demonstrates it well. not sure on the accuracy but it gets the point across anyways www.ex-astris-scientia.org/treknology/warp/agt-scale.gif
Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Warp 9.999999999999999 may seem like it is very close to Warp 10, but it is not. Take a look at a graph of y = 1/x. As x gets closer to zero, the value of y gets very large, but no finite number, no matter how large, is anywhere close to infinity.
So what do these Warp numbers mean? Think of it like a stickshift on a car. If you have your car in 3rd gear and keep accelerating, you're engine is going to rev to fast. When you reach a certain speed, you shift to 4th gear. Similarly, you don't want to run your starship at Warp 3.999, you're better off running at warp 4. When you get to Warp 9, there's no next gear, all you can do is keep driving the warp engine harder. That's why the future Enterprise could go at a speed greater than Warp 10, it's not that it is necessarily going faster, it's like a three-speed transmission vs. five-speed transmission. Of course, that still won't get you to infinite speed.
Paris's transformation seems to be lifted from "The Fly". Evolution doesn't have a direction, you can't speed it up. You can't predict from the current state of Homo Sapiens where we will be in millions of years. But even if we could, it doesn't make sense that the end would be... salamanders? What would have been next, crawl back into the water and become fish? And why didn't they bring the children back? If they could turn Janeway and Paris back to being human, they could revert the offspring to human.
Of course, they completely forget about this. So, it mutates humans. Send a Warp 10 probe to Earth. Since they now know how to restore people, install this on Voyager's engines, set course for Earth, and fix the mutations when you get there.
Thu, Mar 27, 2014, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
The absurdity comes close to hateful in this episode. Warp 10 when we have already heard of warp 13? Guys, come on, a little research before writting scripts would not harm. Common simples small ships that come back from infinity velocity? Lizards? Lizards??? Captain's lizard offspring and...grtetysery?
But of course, nothing can be more offensive than the way this piece of junk treats the theory of evolution. A mutational evolution that goes to a single possible future point of the species regardless of staying exposed to the environmental constrains. A theory of evolution that disregards the survival of the more adapted, in the best style of Lamarck...
Acting was good? Certainly. Make-up effects, also. Some moments were sort of deep? Yes. But in the end, I was almost throwing my TV into the misterious land of inifinte velocitiy. Fortunatelly, I didn't. But unfortunally, after that I came here and when I read Elliot's first sentence "Ok, let's everybody calm down...", them my computer didn't have the same luck as my TV.
Horrible episode, really bad.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 29, 2014, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Yes, this episode is just silly and one to skip - but the arguments concerning mathematical impossibilities and evolutionary falsehoods are equally silly..... because almost EVERYTHING in Star Trek is mathematically impossible and scientifically invalid. You guys act as though one outlandish impossibility is less valid than another. It's Science "Fiction" folks - in case you've forgotten. It's simply not a very well written or interesting episode - so leave it at that.
Oh, look, everyone. Another person who plays apologist for some of the worst writing ever. Being a fiction (set in our universe, btw) does not give it free reign to redefine the laws of KNOWN physics. A fictional show can only get away with so much. There is a limit. If you think that "anything goes", then you completely do not understand fiction and good writing in any way, shape, or form.
Sun, Jun 29, 2014, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 29, 2014, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
I realise your comment is 7 years old now, but I wanted to thank you for indirectly introducing me to the commentary of Thomas Höhl. It is amongst the most intelligent, honest and fair set of Trek criticisms I have ever read, including Jammers' site and SFDebris.
Nothing like a German to bring a cool head to these emotional debates :)
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
That. So very much that. Was awesome. Thank you.
Sun, Aug 24, 2014, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 12:51am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 13, 2014, 11:41am (UTC -5)
If Wrath of Khan had started with Chekov asking Dr Marcus if they can just use the device on a nebula, and Carol saying no, then yes, the ending would be bad. The fact that the genesis device does apparently work on a nebula is strange, but we can live with it. Yet Threshold fails on both halves of the episode, constantly telling us one thing and showing us another.
The episode states, flat out, that warp 10 is theoretically impossible. Not just "beyond our technology", but impossible. As in mathematically impossible. In modern times, traveling at relativistic speeds is beyond our technology. Building a functional fusion reactor is beyond our technology. But both are theoretically possible; we just don't know how to do it yet. But traveling at the speed of light? Building a reactor that combusts carbon dioxide? Both are theoretically IMpossible; the math simply does not work no matter what you assume. And that is what Trek claims that warp 10 is. So, naturally, they approach it as a typical engineering problem. We just need to improve things a little bit and it will totally work. That's completely absurd!
Likewise, they say, flat out, that Warp 10 is infinite speed. So, then, why are they acting like they just need to speed up a bit from warp 9.99? Infinite doesn't work that way! You don't start counting numbers and end up at infinity! Yet that's how they suggest it works.
And then they say it's infinite speed and consists of being in every location at once. Yet we keep hearing "what's your flight plan?" "The shuttle's no longer on sensors!" "Look at all this data we got from the local area!" None of that is consistent with infinite speed.
In brief, the episode kept claiming the threshold was like breaking the speed of light, but kept acting like it was simply breaking the speed of sound.
Now, let's move on to the "evolve into a salamander" part. OK, yes, evolution doesn't work that way. I get it. But Trek has always had a bit of reckless fun with DNA approach, and I accept it. Genesis is a guilty pleasure of mine. But once again, they say one thing but show another. The Doctor says that Paris is proceeding with the arrow of evolution or something like that. Let's ignore the fact that evolution doesn't have a direction for the moment, and pretend it does. If the Doctor's right, then that means that Paris should continue moving in a direction similar to the changes in traits from earlier hominids. Which means he should be getting more thin, larger head, more hairless, more nimble fingers, etc. So how is that consistent with becoming an amphibian? It doesn't.
But anywho, even the "science" part of the show isn't the worst aspect. Tell me, what was the point of this episode? What was it's purpose? What was its theme?
I don't have a clue.
I have two possibilities. Either it's an homage to 2001 (man goes on fantastic voyage and evolves into higher life form) or it's a throwback to the old 40s and 50s sci-fi declaring the dangers of technology (You can read stories back then of people going into space and becoming mad, because naturally humans can't be in space or something). If it's the latter, it fails miserably because the voyage and evolution of David Bowman had a purpose. If it's the latter, it's positively anti-Trek, which usually posits technology is a good thing. It would also completely fail to account for the maturation of sci-fi. This episode posits that technology is bad because of a deus ex machina; there was no way to rationally conclude that reaching warp 10 turns you into a lizard. However, good anti-technology sci-fi is anti-technology by extrapolating negative societal results from the technology, or comment on a hubris that people will end up relying on too much technology. This says nothing of the sort, but rather "don't explore, because it will kill you in completely random ways". That's a lame message.
And what other message is there? It's a collection of random scenes, not anything worthwhile. What was the point of having Janeway kidnapped too, other than to put in a little juvenile joke at the end? What was the point of anything at all? It was a complete waste of time.
Well, not a complete waste. Tom's dying eulogy was nice. But that's about it.
Also, Janeway can now, with full sincerity, point to Tom and say "He turned me into a newt! ...I got better..."
Fri, Jan 2, 2015, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
In spite of the lame plot, dubious science and serious continuity issues this episode posed, RDM did a good job with what he was given.
Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Supplemental note:Note the warp factors used in TOS and in TNG are not comparable. When TNG started Roddenberry apparently decided that Warp 10 should be the absolute maximum speed and so the warp factor would asymptotically approach 10 for faster and faster velocities. Hence we hear in "Caretaker" that Voyager's max speed is Warp 9.975 or some such. I have to say this asymptotic warp scale strikes me as ludicrous - presumably by the year 3000 they are all travelling at warp 9.9999999 or some nonsense - but that's the way it is.
The idea of the warp 10 shuttle being everywhere in physical space in the universe at the same time is obviously ludicrous - for one thing it would annihilate all other matter. It makes more sense if it is somehow outside space entirely (as is supposed to be the case with standard warp speeds) - perhaps in another dimension. But in terms of basic entertainment "Threshold" delivers.
Where I do agree with Jammer is that there's no obvious reason they couldn't have used warp 10 and modified the Voyager engines to get home instantaneously if the doctor's antiproton treatment works. So it would have been best if this had been the series finale and then the end was Voyager turning up in the Alpha Quadrant, a search and rescue ship being sent to intercept them, the rescue team beaming onto Voyager and finding 150 giant slugs with only the Doc able to explain what happened. What a way to end it!
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 9:43am (UTC -5)
I don't think so.
I always thought this was a pretty good episode until the ending happened.
Hell, moving any mass faster than the speed of light (WARP) is a pipedream, along with replicators, transporters .... insert your accepted Trek-tech/science.
Great episode for Paris, and I thought that trying to accomplish something that wasn't possible was pretty interesting. Janeway's support along with B'Elanna and Harry... it was an interesting episode.
Just thought they could have ended it better.
.....MUCH better..... :-)
This one actually won an award!
2.5 star from me.
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
I think they took it from how travelling at light speed would be perceived at least from a relativistic point of view, we know that time moves slower and slower as you reach higher speeds. Now as you approach the speed of light you would also approach a standstill of time and when reaching the speed of light, time would cease to progress (at least for you that is). This would mean that if time is not moving for you and you're moving at the fastest speed possible you would perceive yourself as being everywhere because from your standpoint you are everywhere.
At least I think this is where they got the idea from but how it relates to warp I don't understand.
Tue, Oct 13, 2015, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 14, 2015, 7:38am (UTC -5)
Who cares, that wasn't the problem. The problem was the lizard sex.
Wed, Oct 14, 2015, 9:22am (UTC -5)
Robert. Exactly. I guess we have to assume that the method the Voth and the Borg use is different than what Harry attempted.
William. I think the basis for the infinite places at once theory comes from the string/multi-universe thinking that was popular at the time?
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
The only good thing to come out of this episode was the sexy Type-9 shuttle, though why shuttles always have to resemble their mother ship in a lot of places I don't get, but its a nice design anyway. Shame it wasn't any more durable than the 6 and 8s they'd be using until now.
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
There are hundreds of problems with this episode, so I'll just throw out one. If Paris and co. were able to reach warp 10 but then Janeway decided warp 10 wasn't safe because THRESHOLD, why didn't Voyager at least get refit to travel at warp 9.99? It appears in this episode that Voyager's safest traveling speed was warp 9.5. The least they could do is adapt some of Paris and co.'s findings and increase their warp a bit. It could have cut anywhere from a few months to a year off their trip! It also could help them evade enemies who lack THRESHOLD technology.
Mon, Jan 11, 2016, 10:12am (UTC -5)
That said, the warp 10 and salamander evolution premises are just risible, and you have to wonder why anyone thought the conclusion was a good idea. But whatever you have to say about Threshold, it's not boring. 1.5 stars.
Wed, Feb 10, 2016, 12:21am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 4:40am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
This is my first run through of Voyager but I was aware of this episode's existence for a while. I always wished one of the writers would have disowned it from canon. Or even written a later episode in any series that referred back to this one and somehow invalidated it in universe.
But no. Really, though, I think we can at least take some comfort in knowing that the only *real* long term damage this episode did outside of Voyager was complicate the already inconsistent definitions of warp speeds. Even without Threshold, it was still pretty much nonsense.
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 9:32am (UTC -5)
Look at it this way: We are watching a TV show about humans, and other intelligent, sentient humanoids in a space ship hundreds of years in the future where the occupants speak understandable though American English of the 20th century while travelling in a quarter of the Milky Way galaxy at speeds totally unachievable. The premise of the show is ridiculous, so I cannot see how seeing Tom Paris looking like a leper complete with pulling out his tongue or Salamander species devolved from two H. sapiens can be more ridiculous. I just look to be entertained not convinced of the plausibility of any of the show's offerings of humankind's achievements in the future or whether the episode makes sense in any way.
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 10:02am (UTC -5)
"The premise of the show is ridiculous, so I cannot see how seeing Tom Paris looking like a leper complete with pulling out his tongue or Salamander species devolved from two H. sapiens can be more ridiculous."
You're speaking as if those two things are the same. We've already accepted the show's premise. We get that there's weird sci-fi. But it's the writer's job to at least make the fictional science believable and/or clever. Threshold is neither.
Wed, Apr 6, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 27, 2016, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
I guess it's really a death by a thousand stings situation. The evolutionary nonsense, the ease of getting to warp 10 (which can be explained away with the special dilithium crystals they found), and also the fact that Federation scientists has never managed it either (which might also be explained away if Starfleet's secret Skunk Works equivalent team actually did achieve warp 10, but after the debilitating mutations never attempted it again and never published the data). Even with my hand-wavy explanations, which in any case went in the show, it's just a little too much.
But zero stars? MacNeil's acting is great! So is everyone else's. The pacing and direction are good.
If we did indeed do as we all would like, and excise Threshold from the ST cannon, then we have a less horrible continuity, but we also have a single sci-fi show called "Threshold," which stands on its own as being passable. Then we might judge it as a modern 2001 meets The Fly. High concept and bizarre, but not all together terrible.
The only truly damning aspect of this episode is in one of the first scenes, they don't list the most obvious aviation/space hero of all time! Chuck freaking Yeager! How could they miss that one?!
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 2:13am (UTC -5)
One of the main issues people have with this episode is that the Voyager crew invents a way to get home by going Warp 10, however it has horrendous side-effects. Which the Doctor then cures. So why aren't they home next week? Sure the crew'll turn into lizards (because of evolution that shouldn't work that way) but then the Doctor could just cure the crew once in the Alpha Quadrant.
Sun, Jul 10, 2016, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 5, 2016, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 17, 2016, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 5:42am (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 2:04am (UTC -5)
I imagine if I were watching this episode during the original run where you had to wait a week in between new episodes I would have been pissed off by this episode. Tom Paris breaks the warp threshold, ok, whatever. Then he starts morphing into a lizard creature, kidnaps and subjects Janeway to the same fate, the two of them happen to find an ideal planet...where they can have lizard babies (!), the Voyager crew catches up to them, does some reversal magic and returns both characters to their normal state, and everything is fine. Wow. And none of this was revealed to be a dream, fantasy, or holosuite glitch?!
Rather than piling on the negatives, which have been stated by others, I'll say there were actually some strong positives. When Tom Paris is asleep on the Doctor's table and Janeway asks if he can be awakened, The Doctor leans foreward and yells "WAKE UP" at Tom, lol. I don't usually find The Doctor as charming as others do, but this was funny. Also, the grotesque changes Paris goes through - the writers actually thought it through (to a degree) in terms of slowly morphing him into a lizard over the course of the episode. When Paris is behind a forcefield sans tongue and starts pleading to be released, it was actually kind of sad. Especially when he started banging into the barrier.
I wonder what happened to the Janeway and Paris' lizard babies. *shudders* That was so bizarre.
Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 8:08am (UTC -5)
I don't think this episode deserves this much hate. Yes the salamanders were a (very) bad idea. I actually thought Paris' 2nd last form would have been a good place to stop (still humanoid at least). And the babies... Definitely full retard there. Of course the miracle cure as well... That's at least 8.5 retard (out of 8.6).
But with those things aside I was quite entertained. I much preferred this episode (and found it more plausible) to "Tattoo" a few episodes ago. Seriously, whenever Chakotay sits down and those funking pan pipes start playing I want to throw the remote. Indians in the delta quadrant... That's full funking retard!
Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 10:37am (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 28, 2016, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 29, 2016, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
It really is best to just consider this an alternate timeline or something and not part of any Trek history. The whole trans warp thing was a mess and never was going to be dealt with again.
To me, the best theme in the show was Tom wanting to do something special with his life; to show is dad he was not a screw up, that kind of thing. His talk with Janeway about going on the flight was moving. (PS - her not wanting to send him due to a 2% chance of medical problems was dumb... she sends him on away missions all the time that are very heavy odds against him returning). I wish they had of went on that theme and didn't cloud it with all this other bullshit, because that is a theme that has substance to it.
They made a mess with legitimate science (evolution), and fake science (warp speeds and so forth), and with Trek history.
Seems to me this was a long road just to have the punchline of Janeway having babies with Tom and delivering her line about wanting children.
When I first watched it way back in the day, I thought "Hm... these creatures produce babies in 3 days or less and they evolve fast... perhaps 5 years from now they will be a space faring species of millions who track voyager down".
Thankfully the writers didn't go that far.
Mon, Jan 2, 2017, 12:37am (UTC -5)
I did something I rarely do while on my current re-watch, I skipped parts of it. Well, mostly everything past the 18 minute mark, when he says the new 'coffee' is undrinkable and Torres likes it.
Now the first 18 minutes, I watched that intently, to see if there were redeeming qualities that could have been a good starting point for, well, nearly anything. And I liked that first 18 minutes. Heh, "Wake UP!". And Neelix helping to change their train of thought when they were trying to figure out why the shuttle would keep losing it's engines. Yep, that first 18 minutes had promise, I think. While I did peek in at certain moments, I mostly skipped the rest. I am almost embarrassed to say that, but I think I'd have wanted that 27 minutes or so of my life back.
Your mileage may vary...
Take care, gentle sentients... RT
Sat, Mar 18, 2017, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
Always leave the ST universe just as it found it;
Properly utilize the diverse 8 member crew/cast;
Provide cliff hanging moments for opening credits and commercial breaks
Operate within the confines of the ST universe as defined by previous ST series, films, etc ;
Endure sickness or absences among cast causing last-minute script alterations;
And be subjected to rewriting due to the various directors, producers, casting personnel, production designers, budgeting, etc.
Therefore if on the rare occasion, the stress causes the writers to isolate themselves in a room and smoke something for medicinal relief which results in an episode like this, who am I to judge?
Mon, May 29, 2017, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Some of the dialog for the win.
"Can you wake him? "
" Of course. WAKE UP, MR PARIS! "
"... Neelix's coffee."
" It's a wonder he's survived. "
" Here lies Thomas Eugene Paris, beloved mutant... Beloved radioactive mutant. "
Gold. Picard and McNeill nailed it. It's too bad the story was poo. We shall never speak of it again. Also, I wish Hollywood would stop trivializing head injuries--Janeway being knocked out that easily and that long really indicates some neural issues.
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was hilarious. The 'beloved mutant' line stood out. Neelix accidentally solving the problem (this is why no one has ever solved the threshold problem before... No Neelix!) And the ending was ridiculous enough to be very funny.
Despite the technobabble and the warp threshold not quite making sense, Tom's desire to get his name in the history books played out well. Of course breaking the threshold would have bizarre consequences. At one point Paris has two hearts and (after an infinite time and space experience) and I thought he'd "evolved" into a Timelord! Whether the writers call what happens to Tom evolution or something else, DNA is very elastic all through Star Trek.
As for Voyager finding the shuttlecraft in three days. I can only assume Janeway did something sensible and dropped the shuttle out of warp before turning into a randy lizard.
Jammer didn't mention the hint at consequences from this episode because Tom's experience results in Voyager getting detailed star maps. And the traitor in engineering sends them to the Kazon. Can't remember if this comes up in future episodes but it would be good if it did.
Wed, Jul 26, 2017, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
To be clear, this episode is utterly risible, nonsensical and the second half is relentlessly shite. But it isn't boring.
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Not the episode (it's a solid 3 stars) but the fact Jammer downgraded his original score to zero because the majority of Star Trek fans believe this is the worst episode of any Trek yet.
Since when are we pandering to the majority?
People who say "how did this get written?" - it's a damn good script.
If you had this come across your desk you'd read it in one sitting.
Sure the ending is a bit rushed and there's a couple of unanswered questions (it should have been a two parter with recovery slow and painstaking) but it deserves 3 stars because the premise is interesting, the execution well done and not one of you ever wanted to "skip ahead" in it (ie. not boring).
I think a lot of people are giving this zero stars because they're the exact people South Park parodied in "Go God Go" - self righteous know it alls who cry "humph - that's not how quantum physics and evolution works!"
Honestly what do YOU know? You know NOTHING about either independent of each other let alone what effects may result from the two together.
It's a sick symptom of 21st century cynicism - you're all unhappy because society has turned you into powerless consumers so the only way you can feel better about yourselves is to criticise others based on a passing knowledge of something you think you understand but in reality know nothing about.
Can any of you cynics even tell me what DNA stands for without googling it? All of you will say yes but put on the spot hardly anyone could type it out without errors in spelling (which shows you don't know).
The saddest part is that Trek is about expanding our horizons and dreaming big. It's about encouraging us to reach for something like this and yet because the Trek community deems Threshold to be the worst episode, you all fall in line.
Disgusting - if you don't have the courage to independently evaluate this and keep an open mind then you don't deserve to ever get off this rock.
3 stars, would've been 4 if the ending wasn't rushed - one of Voyager's strongest season 2 episodes and definitely not the worst Trek episode ever.
Mon, Jul 31, 2017, 9:02am (UTC -5)
The problem with the episode (though I will admit, it has a fairly solid first half, especially RDM's acting) is that it got sillier as it went on, until the ending was such a mess it erased everything else.
But the biggest problem isn't that it breaks OUR physics, it's that it breaks Trek's physics and damages other episodes. Other episodes use transwarp. But nobody else ever turns into a lizard. That might not be a problem for you, but it sure as hell is for me.
And from a character PoV everything after he started mutating just felt like they were throwing the kitchen sink at the wall to see what would stick. Everything up until that point was a fairly solid episode though.
Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 2:14am (UTC -5)
I don't get entertained by crap writing or stories I can't believe in the slightest - and that's where your logic fails you.
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
It's a very, very poor show. I just don't think it's worth zero stars. I'm not sure that saying something is bad but not the worst ever is terribly controversial, even in the binary world of the Internet.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
I read your comment, it's a very brief one after all. You're saying that an episode deserves credit for being entertaining despite it being utter tripe. I get that, a lot of people like Jerry Springer for the same reason. Jerry Springer-like debauchery has its place, but not in my Trek. No thanks!
I do agree this isn't the worst show Trek's done, though. :)
Sun, Sep 10, 2017, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
1. As people pointed out above, the episode seems to suggest that the difference between "really fast" and "infinite speed" is a matter of finding some better dilithium.
2. Better dilithium allows this dinky ship, battered by Kazon weekly, to accomplish what no one else in the Alpha Quadrant ever did, huh?
3. As people pointed out above, what the hell is this "threshold" they are talking about? If the threshold is infinite speed, Paris approaches it and maybe reaches it, but how does he cross it? I guess it does work as sex-foreshadowing (Paris eventually "crosses the threshold" with Janeway, I guess....)
4. Janeway actually lets Paris go on the mission with a 2% chance of death because of his sob story? Look, I get it, Paris has issues and he's willing to die to be a pioneer. Maybe under "normal" circumstances that might be enough -- he's consenting to put himself on the line, whatever -- but c'mon. Delta Quadrant. We were told that three people died in Kazon attacks in the previous episode.
5. I don't even know where to start with the portrayal of Infinite Speed, but let's take this seriously for a second. Humans and computers have finite reaction time, ability to execute commands, etc. How exactly would you control a ship going infinitely fast to come to its original position? How exactly would sensors, which, sure, can get signals faster than light speed in this universe because of subspace but still take finite time to make readings, get instantaneous readings of everywhere in one region of spacetime and suddenly have a higher data receiving rate -- an infinitely fast, zero-time receiving rate, apparently? We can maybe assume Paris just hallucinated this "I felt that I was everywhere" bit, but if we take it seriously, how exactly would Paris' *finite-time-based* senses process being in various locations for literally zero seconds?
6. OK, sure, so DNA/evolution doesn't work like that, etc., but even if we suspend that, and also suspend the craziness of the idea that going really fast changes one's DNA or whatever, why did Braga even *think* of mutating into some sort of giant newt as some sort of "end stage of human evolution"?
7. Somehow going from the bonkers, clearly-couldn't-have-happened plot to the boring, rote "there's a traitor plot" is incredibly funny. Even the Kazon is like, "Dude, this doesn't make sense, and clearly didn't happen."
8. Every episode: JANEWAY: We can't leave our tech behind. We can't infect this quadrant.
This episode: CHAKOTAY: We've decided to leave the million-years-evolved hyper-human newts behind.
9. PARIS: Captain, I'm sorry. I, I don't know what to say, except I don't remember very much about, er, you know...
JANEWAY: What makes you think it was your idea? Sometimes it's the female of the species that initiates mating. But apology accepted, nonetheless. You may be interested to know I'm putting you in for a commendation.
10. Paris' "you know, I thought going warp 10 would solve my emotional problems, but now I've discovered that the real threshold...was in my heart all along" or whatever "I've decided to work on my personal problems" is totally unjustified dramatically and ridiculous.
11. And yes of course they can just go home and then have the Doctor cure them with antiprotons, with very little muss or fuss, but of course they won't do that because reasons. Jeez.
For those who say that it's nitpicking to tear apart this episode's "science," the problem is there is *virtually nothing else to this episode* but weird non-science; if there's a metaphor here or narrative arc, it's almost entirely inscrutable, at least to me. OK, OK, not ENTIRELY inscrutable: I think the episode's emotional core was that Paris needs to escape his past, tries to go infinitely fast to escape it, and ends up being some sort of lizard because you can't change too fast, hence the sappy ending. And MacNeill isn't bad in some of those weird scenes. I get it. So the episode isn't worthless, it's just ill-conceived in almost every way. I think 0.5 stars is about where I'll land on this one.
Sun, Sep 10, 2017, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Awesome review, keep them coming! Don't try to go too fast or you'll become a lizard? Lessons to live by!
Mon, Sep 11, 2017, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Does this episode have a thesis? (No)
Does the script stick to the thesis? (N/A)
Is there a character arc that shows growth? (Maybe? Evolution? I don't know...)
Does the conclusion tie up the earlier points of the script? (No)
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 2:42am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 20, 2017, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 1:40am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Right, I'm sure Janeway was thrilled to share this experience with !LizardParis.
No, it's a stupid continuity error. It's funny if you ever watch ST: III, because they're all matter-of-factly saying the record for warp speed is 14.1, with the possibility of the USS Excelsior breaking that record.
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
According to Star Trek: Starship Spotter, the redesignation of warp 10 as infinite speed occurred in 2312. The warp factor specifications prior to 2312 were rated by Starfleet using the Original Cochrane Unit warp scale, abbreviated as the OCU. Warp factors after 2312 use the Modified Cochrane Unit warp scale, abbreviated as the MCU.
Basically it used to go up closer to linearly and then they made warp 10 infinite speed and now it goes up exponentially as you approach warp 10.
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, I forgot they changed the scales, though Dave is right that they did pass warp 10 in TNG's "Where No One Has Gone Before". So either way, it's a continuity error. They could've fixed it by calling it something else besides warp 10, but I think they figured Voyager's viewers don't pay that much attention (or they totally forgot).
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
It's possible the Borg assimilated the transwarp technology from the Federation at some point. It's not that transwarp couldn't work in the TOS-era, it's that Scotty sabotaged the premiere transwarp ship which inadvertently discredited the tech. The Excelsior and TW were basically made into a laughing stock because of the events of ST:III.
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
In "Where No One Has Gone Before", The Traveler used the Enterprise to pass the "warp barrier" and specifically exceeded warp 10. In other words, the premise of this episode has been done (better), just with a different method than what Tom used.
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
"Billions of years from now we will rip out our tongues and become slugs. Woohoo!"
I was eating dinner. Sheesh.
On the up side: "WAKE UP, LIEUTENANT!"
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 3:27am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
"Not the episode.... Since when are we pandering to the majority?......" etc. etc.
I bumped into this review after watching part of THRESHOLD last night (I skipped the ending, having heard it's a stinker and wanting to make dinner). I've enjoyed many of these comments, a lively conversation here.
The only self-righteousness I found amidst this multitude of comments is yours. What a hubris-ridden, disdainful, self-satisfied cynical smug diatribe condemning a straw-man of a group of "going-with-the-crowd" "know-nothing powerless consumers" 'falling in line'. First of all, I do not see this multitude of post-ers "falling in line" here; some people, with or without sheepish apology, are saying this episode was fun and not worthless; some are saying it stank but had some redeeming value in that it wasn't boring or had other good points; and the ones who say it stank up to high heaven and was one of the worst episodes ever are clearly sincere, many offering well-thought-out commentary.
And by the way, Supercilious Self-Righteous-Boy, my reaction to your contemptuous, condescending indictment of all us mouth-breathing ignoramuses not knowing what DNA stands for, my knee-jerk reaction was "deoxyribonucleic acid, asshole." (And I'm not boasting, and yep I had one letter wrong, I thought of it as "dioxy-" instead of "deoxy-', it's been many years since I've spelled it, I'm a musician not a scientist)— again, not boasting at knowing [with 95% on spelling, oops] what DNA stands for, just irritated at your 'superior' attitude of how all the folks here except yourself are unhappy cynical know-it-alls etc. etc., as well as closed-minded courage-lacking so-and-so's who "don't deserve to ever get off this rock". I mean, sheesh.).
And you should do something about your "building yourself up by cutting others down" issues. Talk about projection.
Sorry everyone for feeding the troll, but I enjoyed the rest of this discussion so much that I just felt like putting in my two cents.
PS to @Dusty: Your fly-on-the-wall (or lizard-on-the-?) BehindTheScenes of the Producer-and-Writer convo was 4☆. 👍
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
I would also add to the above that "Real Ric" also seems to believe spelling something means you understand it. Real Ric has a lot to learn about the Real World. Look up Richard Feynman and his view on names v understanding.
Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 8, 2017, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
And yes I'm afraid 0 stars is perfectly justfied and not at all harsh. Even minus one would be too generous.
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 4:37am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Second, the attempt to create a connection between traveling and warp speed and having your DNA get frazzled is stupid in the extreme because there clearly cannot be a connection. Especially since, as I said earlier, the ship isn't moving.
The writers clearly demonstrated that the understand neither the pseudo science of Star Trek nor how that pseudo science functions or would logically function.
If we look at the conversations the writers had then we see exactly why this episode was stupid and puerile. "Gene [Roddenberry] made the determination at the beginning of Next Gen that warp ten would be the limit, and at that point you would occupy all portions of the universe simultaneously, which always seemed like a wonderfully provocative notion. Then the question is 'What happens if you do go warp ten, how does that affect you?' So we all sat in a room and kicked it around and came up with this idea of evolution and thought that it would be far more interesting and less expected that instead of it being the large-brained, glowing person, it would be full circle, back to our origins in the water."
As we can see, the writers were on a ship without a rudder. And this ALWAYS happens when you have artsy fartsy types who want to deconstruct conventions. They always ruin everything and make something completely illogical and unnecessarily stupid. The technology in Star Trek works the way it works for a reason. The use of the technology and its results should always work the same and work as should be expected. Trying to make something completely unexpected simply to make something completely unexpected shows you are a failure as a science fiction writer.
If there was a problem with warp 10, this problem should have been a problem with subspace because in Star Trek there is a very close connection between warping space and subspace. When subspace is damaged too much it is impossible to warp normal space. Conversely warping normal space damages subspace. Since warp 10 is the ultimate threshold then warp 10 should have produced irreparable damage to subspace so extreme that it stranded Voyager and Paris inside a part of space where the subspace had been damaged by the warp 10 flight.
That is how you properly write a science fiction story based on necessary cause and necessary effect. The technology works a specific way, should work that way all the time, and the result of that technology should produce the results necessitated by the explanation of its function.
By completely failing to grasp how the technology works, failing to try making the result of that technology a necessary result of that technology, the writers showed that they are failures when it comes to sci fi writing.
The writers failed to write a Star Trek episode because they weren't trying to write a Star Trek episode. They were trying to write a M Night Shyamalan movie with a plot twist.
Mon, Nov 20, 2017, 7:18am (UTC -5)
I think it makes most sense as a dream of Paris. I know that's normally a cheap and stupid explanation/ending, but here it does make sense. The entire thing is so totally focused on him. Even the subtle parts, like B'Elanna, the best engineer, not being the one to help with the final idea - just Tom and his best friend Harry, with the help of Neelix, who only a few episodes ago he came to a better understanding with.
You could also say it moves from father issues, which are a long term thing with him, to issues with his (and almost everyone on Voyager's) mother figure, Janeway. She wants to protect him. Does she believe in him? She does! But, is Harry her favourite son? And then he has teenage tantrums at her when his body is going through scary changes. And after, when his scary transformation is complete, he has sex with her and they have children, but the children don't matter because they aren't real... it really seems like a bad dream. But like a dream, you can see the themes and the ideas. (And I have had recurring bad dreams about spitting out my teeth - maybe his version is spitting out his tongue!)
I think the real idea is what he briefly discusses at the end, what's the worth and cost of proving himself. Janeway says people respect him and that's the end, because that was the answer to the real beginning question, not the matter of crossing the threshold. It was always about his self worth.
Also, I will always love the doctor waking him in sickbay. That's a classic.
Fri, Nov 24, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
"At least 'Genesis' was watchable"
"Genesis" allowed is not -- is episode forbidden!
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 1:40am (UTC -5)
My two cents: I'm always fascinated by how expectations alter one's viewing experience.
I didn't see this episode the first time round (or perhaps I blocked the memory, lol, although I don't think it's a 0-star episode i'f I'm honest). Now that I'm re-watching the first couple of seasons on my way to finally watching Voyager, I ended up watching this episode loaded with the expectation that it would be terrible, the worst, beyond awful.
Had I watched it without those expectations, I might have actually hated it.
But I found myself bracing for something much worse. As others have pointed out, the first couple of acts have a fair amount of merit. By the time it started to get weird, I was entertained enough to appreciate it as camp - especially the (yes, wonderfully ridiculous) ending, which gave me hope that perhaps Star Trek doesn't always have to take itself seriously, and that that's OK.
As I watched, all I could think of was its reputation. I was watching it through that filter, and that probably made me feel a little...sympathetic to its flaws. I was thinking, yeah, it's not a great episode, sure, yes, lots of inconsistencies, yes, lots to criticize here, but it's not *the worst ever*
Funny how expectations change things.
Unfortunately it works the other way too, sometimes. When you hear something is "the best ever", and then it disappoints. Not because it wasn't great, but because it couldn't possibly live up to the expectations.
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 12:25am (UTC -5)
Now, I understand warp 10 is supposed to be infinite speed - so there is no way in hell anything mechanical (or anything at all) should be able to go that fast. To assume it does just simply cannot be explained: Once you hit warp 10, where exactly are you if you are flying in a certain direction??
So the start of the episode with Kim/Torres/Paris trying to figure out a way to go that fast should have stopped with going say 9.99999999x such that it would take say a few hours to reach the AQ. But actually thinking they can reach warp 10 in a shuttle?? Those 3 should know better and so should the writers of the show.
The one redeeming quality of this episode is Paris' performance of wanting desperately to prove his worth and even when he's mutating. And what's the reason for his devolution even though Doc said it was evolution?? I won't even comment on how dumb the part where he and Janeway turn into salamanders and have kids. What is that supposed to contribute to the episode?
And then magically Janeway and Paris are restored due to Doc's anti-proton treatment after actually being found not too far away from Voyager. Just more implausibility here. The episode spent way too much time with Paris devolving and had to wrap up way too quickly -- poorly conceived, poorly written.
Barely 0.5 stars -- yes, the checks and balances weren't followed on this episode. An absolute insult to the intelligence of Trek fans (or anybody with a half a brain). While I was shaking my head from the start of the episode, I didn't mind it as much until the ending really ruined everything. Sometimes you can watch Trek with a heavy dose of suspension of disbelief, but even the early acts of this episode (which weren't outrageously awful) just violated the basic principles of infinity (as somebody with 2 math degrees, this was hard to stomach). On the bright side, it's not zero stars -- I do honestly believe that there are worse Trek episodes!
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 5, 2018, 12:42am (UTC -5)
*One eyebrow raised...*
Thanks for the information. Wow... Just... wow. :D
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
I kept trying to imagine the writers ever doing such a thing to Jean Luc Picard. An episode where Picard turns into a lizard and mates with fellow lizard Ro Laren?
There's just so much wrong here that the only way to move forward is to pretend it never happened.
Sun, Sep 23, 2018, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***, 5%
Okay. Tom Paris is in a shuttle, and engaging the “transwarp.” He's being attacked by jargon, with the lights flashing and hull buckling or whatever. Torres' and Kim's voices are on the comm, giving him techno-instructions. And the shuttle explodes. Tom's not dead—yet—because the three of them on are on the holodeck, with the nerds looking dour and Tom amusingly left on the floor.
I hope I've made it clear in my Voyager reviews up till now that, despite a reputation for loving this show and hating DS9 (both of which are only half true), I have not treated the series with kids' gloves. I have rated most episodes of BOTH series lower than Jammer has, and only in some cases higher (again, on both series). I am fully prepared to hate everything about this episode, as its reputation suggests I should. In 1.5 seasons of Voyager, I have given terrible to horrendous scores to 6 episodes so far (“Tattoo,” “Learning Curve,” “Time and Again,” “Elogium,” “Cathexis,” and the worst so far, “Twisted”). In 3.5 seasons of DS9, I have given terrible scores to 7 episodes so far (“Sanctuary,” “Destiny,” “Through the Looking Glass,” “Meridian,” “If Wishes Were Horses,” “Move Along Home” and “Fascination”). I hope I've demonstrated that after doing full write-ups for 112 episodes and one film, I am not a fawning fanboy.
All of that out of the way...this teaser is pretty good. There's a genuine mystery, a decent fake-out and some amusing delivery. There have been many episodes of every Trek series that started out worse than this.
Act 1 : *.5, 17%
The trio discuss their holo-failure in the mess hall with Neelix circling about with his coffee pot and desire to be loved. There's a lot of impenetrable technobabble thrown about. “Multi-spectral subspace engine design” is probably my favourite, suggesting the warp drive is powered by unicorn ghosts. Neelix offers his “expertise” and is going to offer it whether anyone wants it or not. So they fill him in. They are trying to break the warp barrier, which is warp 10. Now, some might say, “hey, didn't they go warp 13 on 'All Good Things', which Braga also wrote?” while others might say, “hey, didn't the Excelsior use transwarp like 100 years ago?” while still others would say, “oh, see those were different warp speed calculations. If you check my multi-spectral chart...” I, on the other hand, say, “who the actual fuck cares?” What substantive difference in terms of what Star Trek is and means does it make for this techno-nonsense speed barrier to suddenly exist? Is it an ass-pull? Absolutely. But unlike several other changes to continuity on other series, this change doesn't *say* anything. It's just jargon. It's just a plot device. Is it stupid? Yes. Very stupid. But it's not meaningful. And those kinds of stupid don't bother me terribly much. Anyway, Kim describes warp 10—beyond the warp “threshold” (take a drink)—as “infinite velocity.”
PARIS: It means that you would occupy every point in the universe simultaneously. In theory, you could go any place in the wink of an eye. Time and distance would have no meaning.
Basically, this new form of dilithium they found enables them to defy physics and achieve this marvel, but the bolts on the shuttle's (and the Voyager's) nacelles aren't quite strong enough to survive the jump. Or something. I mean...I've seen people get so bent out of shape over this nonsense, going on endless nerd rampages over the bullshit science and maths being described here. (and of course, there's more to come) You won't get any quibbling for me over whether it makes any sense in that regard but, this is Star Trek. It's a big fancy engine that can do marvellous things, hardly different from the soliton wave from “New Ground.” Now, soliton waves are real (theoretical) physics, true, but the way in which they were used in the show has almost nothing to do with the real-life science involved. The same goes for the Dyson Sphere/shell from “Relics,” or the proto-Universe from “Playing God.” These are just plot devices. Is any of this jargon impressive? No. Is it the worst thing put out by the Trek writers? Please.
Anyway, Neelix makes a stray observation, which leads to an analogy and just like that, we're right back in “Parallax,” with the idiot inspiring a clichéd bit, and the boys have hit on a solution to their tech problems. Badda-bing!
Next thing you know, the team is presenting their successful simulation to the remaining senior staff at a briefing. Again, it's important not to get too bogged down by the jargon. Braga wants a big engine that might get the Voyager home, represents an achievement in engineering and theoretical physics, and provides a trippy means for people to travel, in order to enable the sci-fi weirdness later. So, Janeway wants to know their flight-plan for the little trip at infinite velocity. I say this because her sentiment,
JANEWAY: In the last couple of centuries, we've always managed to use new technologies wisely. I'm confident this time won't be any different. Besides, there's no way to put the genie back in the bottle. All we can do now is keep moving forward, carefully.
...is a good one for the show, expressing exactly the kind of optimism Trek is all about. Then she lists a group of elite pilots (all dead white dudes) whom ace white dude, Tom Paris, is about to join in the history books, highlighting one area where Trek has not always been so great. I guess Amelia Earhart's new life as a farmer/religious leader takes her off the list.
Later on, Janeway pops by Tom's quarters to deliver some news. The EMH has recommended that Harry make the flight instead of Paris. I guess Tom has a minor medical condition that makes defying physics slightly dangerous for him. Either that or they simply realise that Harry is better at dying than the rest of the crew. Paris is incensed. Per the backstory we explored a little bit in “Caretaker,” and more recently, “Non Sequitur,” he feels that after a childhood full a promise and a young adulthood full of disappointment, this flight offers him the opportunity to redeem himself to a degree. Janeway thinks personal redemption is a piss poor reason to risk his life.
PARIS: Captain, this is the first time in ten years I feel I have a life to risk.
This is a fine sentiment, but the change of heart is WAY too easy for Janeway who, after 20 seconds of conversation is wishing him luck. I don't think so.
What follows is a very dramatic (or dramatic-lite) launch of the shuttle and initiation of the magic engines. After a few seconds of being at ludicrous speed, his signal is lost, surprising the bridge crew for some reason. Well. This was a little reckless, no? Maybe we should have stopped at warp 9.9995? Gotten home in like 2 weeks or whatever instead of trying to break spacetime?
Act 2 : *.5, 17%
Since they can't scan the entire universe, Janeway orders a “multi-spectral” sweep. Maybe they angered the space unicorns. But after a few seconds, the shuttle re-appears and an unconscious Paris is sent to the sickbay. This gives us another couple of patented Robert Picardo moments, which are always worth the price of admission. Paris describes his latest acid trip, I mean the “flight,” which enabled him to see and be everywhere at once. Or something. Apparently, once Paris shut the engines down—which he could somehow do despite being everywhere at once—the shuttle went right back to where it crossed the threshold. Ah well. Again, I'm not trying to be an apologist here. The whole business with the shuttle flight is dumb as hell, but the character stuff is...not bad. The EMH is funny, Paris shows a genuine sense of wonder about his experience. I think back to “Cathexis,” and, while the premise was just as absurd and pointless, the character work was nearly non-existent. This is a lot less painful.
Anyway, Janeway and Torres discuss the implications of their breakthrough.
TORRES: It's just a matter of navigation. If we could figure out how to come out of transwarp at a specific point, this could get us home.
JANEWAY: It could do more than that. It could change the very nature of our existence. Think of it. There would be nothing beyond our reach.
Oh, cool. Kind of a short-lived series, but this tech is going to be really useful back in the AQ. Jonas is hanging out in the background again, eavesdropping so he can let Seska know she had better turn herself in to Janeway before they go back home tomorrow.
We jump to the mess hall where patented genius Neelix has concocted a new coffee blend in Paris' honour. Ah, but the beverage doesn't sit too well with him as he starts gurgling and wincing, and eventually collapses. I hate Mondays.
Act 3 : **, 17%
The EMH does his scans and discovers that Paris' biochemistry is changing rapidly, causing an allergy to water, and inability to breathe oxygen, and lots of sweating and engorged veins. Kes is brought in to frantically push buttons while the EMH tries to keep Tom from dying. While the medical staff jargon at one another, Paris has a bit of a Mrs Maisel-style breakdown, lamenting the sorry state of his life as he prepares to leave it behind.
PARIS: Big funeral with lots of pretty girls all crying. Except Torres. Torres doesn't cry. Did you ever notice that? I don't trust people who don't cry. Of course, my father, he'd say crying is a sign of weakness. I never believed that. Do you cry?
EMH: It's not in my programme.
PARIS: Shame. You know, it's funny. What I remember most about being a kid are the times I spent in my room crying. I liked my room, though. It was quiet in there. People would leave me alone. I'd keep the door locked, read, play games. I lost my virginity in that room. Seventeen. Parents were away for the weekend.
EMH: I'll note that in your medical file.
This adequately ties into the material from Act 1. Tom's reputation as a hound and criminal are the result of his acting out. He feels the need to impress people with his piloting and his womanising because, as we saw briefly in “Persistence of Vision,” his father never saw fit to validate Tom's feelings. None of this is riveting in the least, but MacNeal does a good job of making it feel sincere, and Picardo is utilised for his particular skill in carrying the comedy. At one point, Tom begs Kes to kiss him (not before we get a #nohomo joke in of course), and then, just like that, he's Tasha Yar-ed.
That night, the Doctor is in his office—it's “nighttime” so the lights are off of course. He hears a crinkling sound and it looks like Tom was only mostly dead or whatever as he is happily scratching away at his body-bag. Awkward.
Act 4 : .5 stars, 17%
We get our standard-issue Michael Jonas insert as he contacts his Kazon handler to inform him about the breakthrough. For some reason, he seems to think that sharing this information will entitle him to speak to Seska. This...is forced.
Whatever. The EMH explains to Janeway about how Tom's DNA is rewriting his body into the lovely mutant thing on his biobed. You know. Science.
EMH: The mutations are unlike anything in Starfleet medical records.
I'm guessing Beverly had the incidents of “Genesis” purged from the record for revealing how terrible she was at her job in that episode. Anyway, the Doctor warns Janeway that Paris' behaviour is rather unpredictable at the moment. Her exchange with Paris is...interesting. The makeup is really impressive at making him look completely disgusting and there are moments that touch on the character material that sort of work but...what the actual hell is Janeway trying to accomplish right now? “Hmm. Lt Paris is turing into a monster and we can't stop it. He was briefly dead and has become somewhat deranged. You know what should help? Fucking with his head for no reason!” This stochastic scene culminates with Tom pulling his own tongue out of his mouth. Voyager definitely has the body horror down.
So then, we cut to “later” and Tom is huddled on the floor trying to explain the nature of the universe and the Great Pumpkin—with no tongue. I have a hard time believing this wasn't conceived intentionally to be hilarious. LISHEN TO ME! PLEEESHHH!
So then we cut to the briefing room where the Doctor, over the comm, reports to Janeway and co. about a treatment he's devised. Ah, drama. So, they're going to irradiate Paris with the warp core or whatever. At least we can get out of the god damned sickbay for a moment. Well, you've done it now guys. I guess Tom has super powers, because he breaks out of his restraint and incapacitates the entire engineering staff. I guess—we just see phaser beams hit the EMH's monitor and hear Tuvok call a security alert.
Act 5 : .5 stars, 17%
Mutant Tom has also shut down the internal sensors or whatever. I don't know why as it was already established his magic DNA was impervious to them. But it's okay, Janeway finds him, or rather he assaults her and drags her to their magical shuttlecraft. He rests her head directly on the warp 10 gizmos. That's probably healthy. He has no trouble stealing the shuttle and engaging the transwarp. My favourite in all this has to be Chakotay, whose “WHAT?!!??” belies an attempt from Beltran to take this bullshit seriously. More comedy!
So, it took three days to find the shuttle, and...huh? Doesn't the transwarp bring you right back to where you started when you turn it off? Did Tom's magic brain give him the ability to navigate the drive properly or something. Before they beam down to retrieve the pair, the EMH drops the bombshell, that Tom is “evolving” due to his acid trip. I don't need to repeat all of the idiocy in this scene. It's completely insane, makes the “science” in the first acts seem plausible by comparison and for good measure, reveals that the Doctor can undo the changes without a problem. Just needs a stronger dosage. Sure.
Okay...so then Chakotay and co. beam down and discover Paris and Janeway, who have “evolved” into catfish-newt-gekko things, AND given birth to CGI babies, who merrily swim away. Yeah. Tuvok's one-liners certainly help with brazenness of this crap, but there can be no debate—this is truly the apex of stupid.
There's a coda where Janeway and Paris muse about their forced-evolution mating and make no mention of trying to use the transwarp again. The scrip even makes the mistake of having Paris list the ludicrous sequence of events for us in case we forgot. We get a rather clichéd conclusion to Paris' little character arc that I can't bring myself to repeat. It's over.
Episode as Functionary : .5 stars, 10%
Let's be perfectly clear: Braga threw a lot of crap into this script without thinking it through, which accounts for 90% of the WTF “science” for which this episode is infamous. It's bad. Really bad. But it's not the worst thing Trek or Voyager has or had produced. There are some decent character moments early on, some memorable comedy, intentional or otherwise, and a good performance from MacNeal, who hasn't been featured much this season. While the arc for Paris isn't all that great, it does fit in with what has come before and certainly doesn't detract from the character. Ignoring the context, it works alright. I don't know...part of me actually respects the ending to this episode, which doubles down on its own absurdities. It's like...there was no way to end such an implausible mess with the Apollo-13 stuff and the Seska subplot and the Neelix is a genius and the tongueless monologue...and yet, they managed to close with something so outlandish that it actually feels like a climax, somehow. I was entertained.
Final Score : *
Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, I think there are definitely worse episodes than "Threshold". Though its ending certainly sinks it into the bottom tier of Voyager, it doesn't do any lasting damage to the series, unlike "Investigations" later this season. It's just a really dull hour of television with a laughably atrocious ending. I certainly don't hate it as much as "Endgame".
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
Everytime it was used, they ended up pretty much back where they started.
Wed, May 1, 2019, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
-"I don't know how I'm going to enter this into the log."
"I look forward to reading it."
"Can you wake him? "
" Of course. WAKE UP, LIEUTENANT! "
"Here lies Thomas Eugene Paris, beloved mutant... Beloved radioactive mutant. "
"... Neelix's coffee."
" It's a wonder he's survived. "
Fri, May 10, 2019, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 10, 2019, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
On second thought, no actually not. God this was a stupid episode.
Fri, May 10, 2019, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
Not to belabor a point you've already abandoned, but matter traveling at light speed in 'real space' would get places only as far as the speed of light permits, therefore in that inertial frame no advantage at all. From observing inertial frames those at light speed would indeed be seen at a different rate. In fact if I'm not mistaken the time dilatation becomes infinite for those in a light-speed gravity well (like a black hole's event horizon), which is the same for those accelerating to the speed of light. There is no "infinite magic" except in the plagued dreams of the writers.
Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 7, 2019, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
I must agree that Threshold is not boring, a condition that many an ST ep does suffer from.
For me, the ep starts out fine, descends slowly into the average category as Tom starts to fall apart, but then . . . but then, the pooch is completely, astoundingly screwed by the horrible ending.
It is an ending so unmatched in the history of bad ST endings, that it will live in my brain a long as a neuron still fires there.
Sun, Oct 27, 2019, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 6, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
In fact, I rather liked it until Tom knocked out Janeway and took her with him on the shuttle. It went downhill fast from there, I must admit.
I think the most appalling part of the episode was the lighthearted way they treated the fact that they mated, had offspring and left them on the planet.
The ick factor on that -- along with the cavalier attitude they took over it -- is what really sunk this thing.
It could have been so much better if this had been a more straightforward storyline -- Torres, Kim and Paris all vie for the chance to pilot the shuttle on the first transwarp test. Janeway eventually goes with Paris -- AND Kim. Torres too valuable in engineering. Now we get a buddy adventure.
Instead of the bizarre DNA progression into salamanders thing, it just become a navigation gone very wrong thing plus a cellular decomposition thing. And you can send Paris and Kim ANYWHERE where they have to quickly figure out a way to get back FAST before their cellular structure starts to break down.
All kinds of options:
-- To the Gamma Quadrant, deep in Dominion space. (By this time on DS9, the Dominion storyline line was kicking in). That could have been a fun tie-in
-- To another galaxy entirely. Maybe they even find "nice" and advanced alien species to help them back before it's too late.
-- They could have been thrown outside the galactic barrier and encountered the whale probe. Or the Doomsday Machine.
-- They could have had the Kacinski/Traveler experience.
-- They could have ended up in the Mirror Universe.
-- Gosh, they could have ended up in any number of hostile environments: Tholian, Gorn, Romulan, or something entirely new.
Anyway, they barely make it back with bad news: Transwarp navigation is a different animal and needs to be figured out -- and it's hell on biological matter. AND if they land in the Gamma Quadrant (my favorite scenario), they can come back with the news the Federation is in some serious trouble.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Re-watching over the weekend as part of a start to finish re-watch of Voyager, "Threshold" has not improved. I talked it up a bit to my kids as "the worst episode ever" so they were interested, but in the end much of it lacks the entertainment value even to make the "so bad it's good" category.
There are episodes that I've re-evaluated and found that I enjoy quite a bit, but not this one. Even the small character moments that can partially salvage otherwise poor episodes like "Twisted" do not really work for "Threshold". I do think the first half of the episode sets up a great premise. The idea that warp ten is "infinite speed" and Tom Paris is the first human to break this barrier is a compelling idea, worth further exploration. Now Star Trek cannot turn the protagonists into Q, able to go anywhere in the Universe instantly. It's obvious Voyager has to fail to harness this power, but perhaps something like TNG's "Where No One Has Gone Before" would have been a good direction to take the episode.
But that's not what we get. The episode takes this inexplicable left turn towards body horror and mutation as Tom Paris "evolves" through a series of bizarre physical mutations, ultimately turning into a newt and kidnapping and having baby newts with Janeway, before both are miraculously restored to their previous physical state. The transformation is unpleasant to watch and impossible to believe, and a waste of an interesting setup and premise. Robert McNeill gives the performance his all, but it's good acting wasted in a schizophrenic storyline. I don't know what order these episodes were written and produced in, but watching Tom rant at Janeway from behind the forcefield is exactly like watching Tuvok rant at Janeway from behind the same forcefield in the very next episode. How did we get two such similar scenes in consecutive episodes? Probably the same way we got two "B'Elanna has to correct her own engineering mistake" episodes so close together. I can see why I found season two of Voyager so uncompelling on first viewing. There is a definite sense that the writers are struggling to create compelling stories from scratch without the crutch of the familiar Federation backdrop to draw from.
Threshold: nice setup, sound premise, but it's all wasted by the frankly bizarre second half of the episode that strains credibility well beyond the breaking point. The passage of time, good character moments and the knowledge that better episodes are ahead has made me look more kindly on other episodes that I formerly disliked, but sadly there's no saving "Threshold".
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Great comment! I don't think I will show this one to my kids when they're old enough. :-)
"There is a definite sense that the writers are struggling to create compelling stories from scratch without the crutch of the familiar Federation backdrop to draw from."
That's what always confused me about Voyager. It's one thing to have a frontier setting like DS9, but having a show so removed from the Trek universe we know seems like a nutty idea. For such a premise to work, they would need to have extremely competent storytelling, to the extent that the viewers fall in love with a brand new galaxy with completely different alien races. It just didn't pan out that way though (perhaps because many of the writers left), and I think this show ironically gets better the more they deal with matters in the Alpha Quadrant.
Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
What hurt the episode were the middle acts where the focus is on Tom suffering from his transformation. It's too simplistic and boring...it also seemed like a horror cliche. Had the transformation to a lizard man happened much faster, it would have been a much better episode. We don't need to see Tom spit out his tongue...
The show missed a big opportunity not to keep Tom/Janeway's lizard kids on board. They could have been pets and the source of many interesting future stories. TNG had spot...Voyager could have had lizard kids.
Fri, May 1, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Even seeing the zero star rating didn't quite prepare me for this one! Was expecting something like Profit and Lace bad, although this was at least surprising!!
I am kind of noticing that a lot of Voyager when its bad, it seems like they often start from a good, if slightly generic premise, Tom breaks the warp barrier and becomes a super creature (something right out of TOS premier), but then they take a bunch of left turns just out of..... sheer boredom? Trying to be "different" form other Trek but not having any clear idea as to how or why they want to be different? Or just sheer incompetence???
Theres a kernel of an idea here about Tom dealing with his daddy issues. I wish they stuck with that! Maybe they felt boxed in since if this was TOS then his dad would have showed up at the beggining of the ep and added to the arc of the story. But being stuck outside of Federation space they can't guest star easily. They could have gone the flashback route like they successfully did with Chakotay a few eps back, but maybe they felt that would have become rote? I guess they didnt' have Lost to rip off of yet.
Anyway. Yeah. Thats quite a left turn for the end.
I also love how Captain Janeway spends almost every episode fretting about the Prime Directive to the point of absolute insanity and in this ep with the future-human-salamnder-children run off into the river Tukov just shrugs his shoulders and is like.. eh whatever.
Sun, Aug 9, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
What you have just said is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no time during your rambling, incoherent episode did you even come close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who saw this episode is now dumber for having watched it.
I award you no points,
And may God have mercy on your soul.
Fri, Feb 5, 2021, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 27, 2021, 2:19am (UTC -5)
Anyway, I think the Daddy Issues thing is also key here, maybe fear of being an inadequate dad himself, so if the writers really really had to have Paris turn into a salamander and mate with Janeway, at least lean into the surreal and kick it up a notch at the end and make the end a dream. Something like this.
Voyager leaves the planet. But the camera stays on the planet. After some time fades we hear voices and a bunch of people come back to where the salamander family is. It’s Chakotay, Kim and Torres, with two kids that are obviously theirs in tow and Admiral Paris for some reason. Chakotay is busy praising the Admiral, staying he should have known Tom was wasting his time, and it was a good thing StarFleet was busy inventing MegaWarp that they could use to come find them. ‘We should have never listened to Tom’, he says, and Admiral Paris says ‘I’m afraid the Paris name may have given you too high of hopes for him. But sadly, I have to own up to my one failure in life, having a son like Tom. It seems the only thing he can do is disappoint people.’
At this point, Torres pulls out some device and says “okay, time to active the transmogrifier!” and pushes a button, and then Janeway and the two kids turn back into humans. Janeway rushes into Chakotay’s arms. “Children, I’d like you to meet your new father, Chakotay! He’ll be a better dad for you in every way than Tom Paris ever could.”
“Yay!” the children cheer and appear quite happy with this. Admiral Paris smiles at Janeway and the kids. “Between you and Chakotay, maybe these kids will have the chance to be StarFleet material afterall.”
Only Harry Kim looks a little perturbed.
“Wait a minute, why isn’t Tom changing back?”
Torres grimaces. “I’m sorry Harry, but this device can only work on people who were evolved enough to be human in the first place. I’m afraid Tom was always too devolved for this device to be able to help him.”
Admiral Paris puts his hand on Harry’s shoulder. “I know you had a soft spot for him Harry, but the truth was, my son was never on the same level as the rest of us. His life was always an embarrassing mess. Trust me, he’ll be much happier as a lizard. It’s the one thing he might be good at!”
The three men plus Janeway all share a laugh. “If you’re really his friend Harry,” Chakotay says, “You’ll let him go peacefully, to live out the rest of his life, alone on this planet, eating bugs, with no one else to disappoint.”
“You’re probably right,” Harry sighs.
“Now who wants to go back to the alpha quadrant and get some ice cream!” Janeway says to the kids, who all raise their hand. Everyone smiles and laughs and walks away from the salamander. Then the shot abruptly cuts to Tom jolting awake in bed, sweating.
Then we cut to a scene of him eating in the mess hall with Harry, who says to him seriously “okay, but you better never tell the Captain or Lt. Torres about that.”
“Never tell me what?” says Torres, who is approaching the table from behind Kim with a tray.
“It’s just a dream he had…a really weird one.” Kim says, looking flustered.
“Okay, you’re probably right, the captain should never know, but I think Harry’s talking about the part where I dreamed you and he were married and had kids, which isn’t that bad.”
“….that’s weird but not offensive,” Torres says as she sits down.
“Yeah, but he also dreamed he turned into some kind of lizard, and then he kidnapped the captain, and turned her into a lizard, and took her to a planet, where they had lizard babies together,” Kim says.
“It was a salamander Harry, not a lizard.” Tom replies, somewhat acerbically, but he’s not seriously put out.
“Whatever, it just sounds creepy, like the kind of thing that would creep out any woman, or person…if they heard someone dreamed that about them.”
“Yeah, I agree with Harry, Tom. Neelix’s cooking can bring on some pretty weird dreams, but no one wants to hear about how you kidnapped and impregnated them in your dreams.” Torres says.
“Look, I’m not responsible for the contents of my dreams, okay?” Tom says defensively. “I swear I’m not harboring any kind of latent attraction to her, and I don’t actually remember any salamander sex, or even how I turned her into a salamander, she just kind of did, and then the babies showed up for some reason? I don’t know. That whole part was just a detail though, most of this was a Daddy Issues special, where I was trying to break the warp 10 barrier threshold so I could get us all home and impress him, and somehow I managed to warp 13, but then I was everywhere in the universe at once, and for a moment I knew everything, but then I became allergic to water and my tongue fell out, and I started to turn into some kind of giant salamander for some reason, there was a lot of body horror. And then at the end of it all, when I’m on the planet with the captain and the salamander babies, my dad shows up with the rest of you because StarFleet invented Megawarp to retrieve Voyager, and he sat around smack talking me, and you,” he points to Torres “made a device to turn the others back but it didn’t work on me because I wasn’t evolved enough, so then you all left me behind to go to the alpha quadrant and eat ice cream.”
Torres snorts. “To eat ice cream?”
“Look I already said I’m not responsible for the contents of my dreams.”
And that would somehow be less worse than what actually happened.
Sat, Jul 3, 2021, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
As a few have noted, it started out acceptibly, even maybe good. Here's what I think happened: the 'ungainly prosthesis syndicate' had damaging photos of the writing staff and the latter were compelled to find a place in the script for no less than 95 kg. of readi-mix latex rubbish to be used to mercilessly wreck Paris' appearance. I also suspect that the cadet branch of the 'glass-eye bootleggers union' were in on the scheme.
Once the make-up department took over, the tongue fell out of the episode and the remaining minutes were just a waste. George Monet (nov 3, 2017) foynd the perfect description of the final result: "puerile".
FX-artistry so-called, will never, I repeat never, make up for some decent writing. Latex and silicone moulage has been the un-doing of many worthy sci-fi projects through the years.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
But then in All Good Things they are claiming to go Warp 13 again.
The best explanation is that the system for describing warp speed changed between TOS and TNG and then again in the alternate future timeline.
My head canon is that Warp 10 is like reaching the speed of light (which is physically impossible according to Einsteinuan physics) *while at warp*.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 14, 2021, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 15, 2021, 2:47am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 22, 2021, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 13, 2021, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 13, 2021, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
"Wouldn't the prospect of being "everywhere at once" mean that the shuttlecraft was at the singularity of a black hole, inside the core of stars, in that radioactive nebula..etc so Wouldn't it be destroyed."
Hahaha, it's not just a plot hole, it renders the entire story so insanely stupid that I can't even imagine writing a Trek story that is more ludicrous. The writing is so wrong on so many levels that it's nigh impossible to begin at any one issue to deconstruct it.
Fri, Dec 3, 2021, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 3, 2021, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
It's insane beyond insane, and what makes it great is how insanely serious the whole thing takes itself.
Tom spits out his tongue then tries to explain how the future is the past, etc.
Mon, Jul 4, 2022, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Tom turning into a lizardman and freaking out is fun to watch, as is the beginning where everyone reiterates again and again how Warp 10 is impossible, only for Tom to reach it like 15 minutes later. Finally, there is the masterstroke that is Tom and Janeway's Elopement.
Massive balls on the writer to think Tom having lizard children with the captain is something that could be laughed off (which literally happens in the last scene.) Janeway cracks some jokes about always having wanted children, and then says "I'M PUTTING YOU IN FOR A COMMENDATION." This could not be a more awkward situation. Imagine your boss telling you "Thanks for putting three babies in me yesterday, totally WACKY adventure but seriously, I'm deeply proud of you." Tom then does a title drop, which is unbelievably gratuitous. "Breaking the threshold... It was incredible." Yeah.
People come back from some pretty serious medical conditions on the regular in Star Trek, but morphing and unmorphing from a creature of a totally different size and shape has got to leave you with some pretty nasty phantom pain or something. Nog's complaints about his leg should pale in comparison to Tom missing his tail, and the rest of his lizardy body. He even says he remembers (some of) it, so they don't even do the obvious reset button thing were the Doctor could say "you won't remember any of the events, fortunately." Does he remember his tongue falling out? I'm pretty sure I would vomit just from recalling that sensation.
I also love when Tuvok and Chakotay beam down to the planet to find Tom and Janeway. They beam down right next to them despite seemingly being unaware of what exactly they are looking for. When the lizards notice them, they start loudly croaking and gesticulating, and Chakotay wordlessly blasts them with a phaser. Only after does he walk up and confirm "yeah it's them." It's so awkwardly blocked and comes off as straight up comedy. Also, close to no reaction to the baby revelation.
There's also the scene where the traitorous crewman transfers the warp 10 data to the Kazon for no appreciable reason. He says it will prove his loyalty, which makes no sense at all. Does he expect him to review this esoteric data and go, yeah, this looks legitimate? He also already knows that the trip has taken a heavy toll on Tom's body, so if the Kazon decided to try it themselves they'd accuse him of sabotage. Either way it's completely irrelevant to the Kazon and their designs on Voyager. I like to think the data got passed around to other Kazon anyway and there's a whole sect of lizardkazon left in Voyager's wake.
All in all, very enjoyable episode. Very stupid episode, as well. Unfortunately most of the enjoyment comes from thinking about the myriad implications that could come from the stupid elements, but you can tell by the end of the episode that it will never be spoken of again. Definitely on par with Genesis from TNG, which is another dumb episode that's pretty great. That one also has something like a weird sexual encounter between main cast members who have turned into strange creatures. I think Braga has a fetish.
Thu, Dec 15, 2022, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 16, 2022, 3:05am (UTC -5)
That the episode ALSO contains outlandish science and contrived coincedences that had the narrative not been so poorly concieved, may have gotten more of a pass, just make it all seem worse in retrospect.
Fri, Dec 16, 2022, 4:58am (UTC -5)
This episode is really wrong in any sense of the word.
Fri, Dec 16, 2022, 5:12am (UTC -5)
Brannon Braga said, "It's a terrible episode. People are very unforgiving about that episode. I've written well over a hundred episodes of Star Trek, yet it seems to be the only episode anyone brings up, you know? 'Brannon Braga, who wrote 'Threshold'!' Out of a hundred and some episodes, you're gonna have some stinkers! Unfortunately, that was a royal, steaming stinker."
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