Star Trek: Voyager

"Favorite Son"

1 star

Air date: 3/19/1997
Written by Lisa Klink
Directed by Marvin V. Rush

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"What's your next trick, Harry? Pull a shuttlecraft out of a hat?" — Dumb line spoken by Chakotay (although it could be a worthwhile skill given Voyager's shuttle loss tally)

Nutshell: In a word: "Dumb." Silly, pointless, and implausible to the extreme. Not completely unwatchable, mostly because it's so darn laughable, but this is some bad science fiction.

I want to extend my congratulations to the Voyager staff. They have come up with yet another claim to fame: They have created perhaps the longest streak of consecutive bottom-of-barrel episodes by supplying the back-to-back-to-back offerings of (1) "Darkling," a superficial, one-joke, pretentious hour of substance-free plotting; (2) "Rise," a horribly executed, by-the-numbers "adventure" outing; and now (3) "Favorite Son," an utterly predictable paradigm of pointlessness, characterized by some of the most sickening displays of shallow silliness since DS9's "Let He Who Is Without Sin...".

Since there's plenty bad to say about "Favorite Son," let me go ahead and discuss the few good elements to get them out of the way. First, this episode started out okay. I have no real objections to the first two acts. These acts, of course, focus on the "hints" of the premise; they lead up to the story that will eventually follow. In short, the early passages demonstrate Harry acting weird. He fires phasers on some aliens called the Nizari with no apparent justification, yet he's absolutely sure they were hostile and had planned to open fire on Voyager anyway—and later he is proven right. Further, the region of space Voyager is travelling through feels very familiar to him—he is certain he has been here before. He also has weird dreams and develops a strange "rash"—neither of which can be coincidental to his bizarre insights.

"Favorite Son" director Marvin V. Rush—a regular director of photography for Voyager who also directed last season's "The Thaw"—shows some panache in some of the early scenes. While this episode didn't have the bizarre visuals that allowed Rush to show off the way "Thaw" did, he still exhibited some camera angles (particularly some low-angle shots, use of rack focus, and some surreal qualities in the dream sequences) that managed to be interesting without being distracting.

Unfortunately, that's about all I have to say in praise of "Favorite Son." The rest of the episode did fairly well for making itself one of the laughingstocks of the series.

The "premise" is another one of those devices that drops a "major character revelation" upon us and hopes that we'll take it at face value and ponder it for a few minutes. In this case, Voyager ventures into a region of space that Harry is sure will provide safety from the pursuing Nizari. This area is inhabited by the Taresians, a race of friendly-seeming aliens (who are entirely too human-looking for the sheer convenience of the plot) with a population that is 90% female. The "major revelation": Harry is really a Taresian himself, driven by instinctual urges to return home.

According to the Taresians, Harry was conceived on Taresia and his embryo was then taken to Earth and used to impregnate a human woman without her knowledge. (How Harry's embryo was taken to Earth is never explained. Apparently the Taresians have very fast ships.)

So what exactly is the problem with the way "Favorite Son" unfolds? In a word, everything. This premise allows for more Fun With DNA™, as Harry begins transforming into a Taresian a la the "Threshold"-esque idea that rewriting DNA can do whatever an episode requires. When Harry and the Voyager crew are greeted on the Taresian homeworld, there's a standard, interminable stretch of dialog that explains "everything"—and, unfortunately, every guest star portraying a Taresian delivers a perfunctory, sub-par performance.

One fundamental problem with the "revelation" aspect is that, really, it's inevitable that it will all be undone by the end of the episode. Or, in the case of "Favorite Son," not even the end of the show; the story only goes for about 15 minutes after the "revelation" before it's reversed by plenty of Doc's technobabble—who explains that Harry is the victim of some sort of virus that was set by the Taresians to rewrite his DNA. Why? Because they need to trick him into living with them so he will add to their gene pool. Honestly, who really thought that the writers would go through with the story that Harry is an alien? (Heaven forbid, that would have consequences!) I didn't buy it for one second. I was just waiting for the scene where the creators would let themselves off the hook. And the scene I envisioned was straight out of the Voyager textbook and as predictable as I could've imagined—maybe even more so.

Ask yourself, what is the point of doing any of this? The real story is not about how Harry reacts to being told he isn't who he has always thought he is. No, the show only spends about five minutes on that, and those five minutes aren't really even effective. Rather, this story is simply about following the dumb plot machinations of Harry on a world full of women who try to coax him into their trap—and it's about as transparent and shallow as it can be.

Lisa Klink's monotonous teleplay proceeds into redundancy with one boring sight after another in which Taresian women massage, caress, and kiss Harry. The intention here, I think, was to add a sensual, seductive feel to the episode. Unfortunately, the portrayal here is simply bad. The story supplies these scenes in such excess that everyone comes off looking silly, and the whole thing gets very old very fast. Maybe if I had believed for a microsecond that Harry might actually fall into this trap then I would've been more open to it, but the execution was just too corny and uninspired to work.

"Favorite Son" also treats us to plenty of clichés. Ws. Within the episode there's an obligatory Alien Ritual Scene, as well as plenty of Stock Battle Footage and Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week. These are typical Trekkian devices—and I'm willing to accept them as such and I will praise them when they're used effectively. But here they just sit idly.

The plotting-by-the-numbers documents Harry's realization that his situation is not as it seems. Before long he learns that he is a victim in a scheme where he must be slaughtered and used for his raw cells, as one Taresian explains he must die because Taresian women "must enucleate a large number of cells to gather enough genetic material to ensure conception." Yeah, whatever. How awfully convenient for a jeopardy premise. The actress who informs Harry of his fate speaks this line like a robot. Further dialog suggests that Taresian men are so rarely born that Taresian women must create compatible mates from males of other species. My question: If these Taresians are really this desperately in need of reproduction, just how did they survive long enough to develop their own solution to their problem—the supposedly awesome feat of genetic engineering? If they are such geniuses of genetic engineering, why can't they control the X and Y chromosomes and give birth to more men?

And more questions: Just how did the Taresians know Harry was from a place called Earth? Why would the Voyager crew buy into the Taresians' story so easily? One would think Janeway, or somebody, would be suspicious of a race who claims to carry an embryo 70,000 light years to conceive a child—especially considering this child conveniently gets stranded in the Delta Quadrant so that he can meet his creators. No one bats an eye at any aspect of Harry's predicament—making it feel just as falsely manufactured as it truly is.

I also don't care for the idea that the Taresians genetically pre-program their offspring to hate the Nizari. Does this strike only me as counterproductive to solving a long-standing conflict? Still, how would even this lead Harry to be so sure the Nizari are about to fire on Voyager in the opening minutes of the show?

On its own banal terms, what this story ultimately comes down to is the attempt of a society to convince an individual into believing a lie by supplying a large amount of contrived persuasive evidence. This is a firmly established storytelling device, but I don't think I've seen it carried out with as much cheese as "Favorite Son" lays on. For a far superior example of such a story on Trek, see DS9's "Second Skin."

I really hate to be trashing Voyager like I have been recently. (Honestly, I don't have an axe I need to grind upon the series. I'm just trying to think about the show critically from week to week.) But the last three episodes have been so bad that I really have had no other choice but to derive enjoyment out of doling out really low scores and appropriately harsh wording.

I'm very worried about the future of Voyager. I won't say anything else about it at this point; we'll just have to see how things go the rest of the season. But any optimism I had for season three turning around the disturbing slump that season two began officially ends here.

Previous episode: Rise
Next episode: Before and After

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74 comments on this post

AJ Krovakrian
Mon, Aug 4, 2008, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Oh my God. This was the most awful Voyager episode EVER. I mean, you gave it 1 star, I would give negative if I could. I actually fell asleep during that pointless pampering of Harry by one dimensional female characters. I didn't finish the episode. Really, would the world have been a better place if I had finished it ?
Sun, Jan 24, 2010, 5:07pm (UTC -6)
"The actress who informs Harry of his fate speaks this line like a robot."

Interesting that you put it that way because that actress in question (Kristanna Loken) would go on to play the T-X in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Having said that, I agree that this episode sucked.
Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 7:04pm (UTC -6)
"While this episode didn't have the bizarre visuals that allowed Rush to show off the way 'Thaw' did, he still exhibited some camera angles (particularly some low-angle shots, use of rack focus . . . ."

I definitely like it when a director focuses on racks.
Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 7:06pm (UTC -6)
"one Taresian explains he must die because Taresian women 'must enucleate a large number of cells'"

She said "denucleate."
Thu, Nov 11, 2010, 8:32am (UTC -6)
Whenever a stinker like this comes along, the people I feel most badly for are the guest actors. Most of them only appear in one episode of Star Trek, and it has to be this piece of _____.

Surprisingly though, in the original premise, Harry would have stayed an alien permanently and there was no "blood-cell sucking women". Instead of changing the premise they should have jettisoned it completely. This episode was basically PG-rated porn.
Wed, Mar 16, 2011, 12:53am (UTC -6)
A definite lowpoint for the season. I actually enjoyed the actress who portrayed the Matriarch blood-sucker, but the peons screamed "we're swimsuit models, not actors, look at us but don't listen!"

I actually enjoyed the last act the most (not because it was insightful or intelligent or meant anything important) for the pacing and camera work. The final beamout amidst the phallic tantra clubs was effective in that it was watchable excitement. But really quite a lousy episode.
Mon, Apr 2, 2012, 12:34am (UTC -6)
I can't believe I actually sat through this one again. This is quite possibly the worst Trek episode of all time. Even worse than "Threshold," and that's saying something. What kind of a wretched cavalcade of B-list soap opera rejects did they come up with for this show, anyway? They actually made Riker's man-whore scene from "Angel One" look like high art.

Seriously, I'd rather be strapped Clockwork-Orange-style to a chair and be forced to watch Nicholas Cage screaming for mercy in "The Wicker Man" over and over and over again than be subjected to this dreck ever. EVER again.
Jo Jo Meastro
Mon, Mar 18, 2013, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
At least this episode appears to be the last serious pitfall for season 3. Favourite Son was certainly a failure, but in some ways it attempted to do something new at the core of its concept and the sorts of atmosphere it sometimes manages to capture is very unique for Trek because it aims for the bizzare vibe and combining it with sexual subtext.

When I say it aims for that kind of atmosphere, that might be a misconception. It may have unintentional. I've got a habit of trying to see each episode in the best light, even in the likes of Favourite Son. But scenes and stretches of this episode which radiate that dreamy Lynchian atmosphere are were things almost work.

Take the last leg of the episode where a crazed Harry suggestively ties up his new wife and entices his second wife to join in a trick to often do you get a scene of that nature in Trek? And the sexual elements have a kind of creepy sinister undertone given the dark secret to the seemingly enticing planet. Whenever Favourite Son exhibits this sinister dreamy mood I wish the entire thing could have ran along those lines.

Unfortunately, the majority of the episode is made up of laughable failure and its only in isolated chunks when its truly effective (at least on a visual and atmospheric level). I probably enjoyed more moments in this than most though.

One thing is for certian, its a wierd one and a part of me wishes it hadn't been such a mess. 1.5/4

Now finally, next episode might be a return to some proper Voyager!
Mon, May 27, 2013, 4:23pm (UTC -6)
Garret Wang was voted one of the 50 sexiest people in the world in 1996. Why? The following year he was voted one of the coolest people. The 90s were a blur for me, but what the holy fuck was going on?

I also learned Dwight "Barclay" Schultz is now a wackjob conspiracy theorist, the type who genuinely believes our president is a secret Muslim born in Kenya. Just search for his podcast if you don't believe me. Every topic is pretty much copy-pasted from Beck and Limbaugh. It ruined my day when I saw what he became.
Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
In this case I do agree with you Jammer... totally justified criticisms this time.

Maybe if they'd had the guts to follow-up on the Harry is an alien story perhaps it might have been interesting, but this seems like a throw back to the worst of TOS in the sixties, without the excuse of being in the sixties - "sexy" women, silly rituals, blag, blah, blah. And amazing how the Universal Translator turns these "aliens" into Valley Girls... I'm surprised they didn't just invite Harry down to the mall for some Kimchi.

And I mean, please, since we're coming across quasi-Humans every 5 minutes why don't we just stick around with them? Oh that's right, because Earth is the only enlightened planet in the universe.

I do agree that the head evil one was a bit more interesting... a bit, but next to the rest of those blank canvasses that's hardly a miracle.

All we can say is thank God for the new crew addition at the end of this season, other wise VOY would surely have sunk.
Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
I guess we have Hoshi to blame for the Universal Translator's California Conversion!
Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
That Kim was able to reroute tactical to ops (without an authorization code or anything) when the tactical officer is right there is beyond absurd. The episode loses all 4 potential stars right there.
Thu, Apr 10, 2014, 3:31am (UTC -6)
A horrible piece of junk, no question. Let's not forget, however, the nice touch of seeing, by Harry's trick, that there is still sadomasochistic sex in the 24th century.

Yeah, maybe two stars...
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
I can't. I just can't. This is easily among the worst. There's no rational explanation why this pile even exists. None whatsoever. I feel sorry for anyone that watches this show for the first time and sees this as a representation. I get that shows have good and bad episodes. But I have seen whole entire series where there were never serious clunkers. Breaking Bad, House, Lost, BSG, Six Feet Under all come to mind to name a few. Why does every single season (with a few rare exceptions) of every single Trek series have pure shit episodes? Do they just decide to throw one out there to meet some sort of season-length quota?

Zero stars.
Dave in NC
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 8:39pm (UTC -6)
@ Vylora

I can think of a few stinker episodes of Lost (any Nikki/Paolo episode or the ridiculous finale) and I view House like I view Monk (the quirky lead doesn't seem like a viable human character so I don't like the show).

Anyways, the plot to this episode is pretty silly . . . the most egregious lapse being that anyone would genuinely believe Harry could be Taresian. Then again, Taresians apparently have really boring personalities, so maybe it's not such a stretch after all. ;)

Still, like others have said, this episode has kind of kinky horror vibe and I like that about it. A slightly better-than-average musical score adds to the Anne Rice/pulpy vibe.

I can't give anything this cheesy a score higher than ** ½ , but turn off your logic centers and you'll probably enjoy yourself.
Fri, Mar 20, 2015, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
Intergalactic succubi! Because why not? Oh, and some nonsense about Harry being an alien or something.
Did they even try to explain why the Nizari hate the Taresians so much? I don't think they did. They just hate them because ... reasons, I guess.

Yea, no. Not worth rewatching.
Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 11:50am (UTC -6)
A skipper for me. I only watched it last night to give a review here.

But I fell asleep :-)

What a dud.

Exactly Xylar, who knows?

.5 stars because I thought Rinna was kind of cute. She made me think of Fenna (DS9).
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
LOST and BSG had clunkers aplenty after their first seasons . Six Feet Under never did, and Breaking Bad had only one, for my money ("Fly", which a lot of people really love) although the "berries" plot was a groaner.
Sun, Nov 22, 2015, 1:06am (UTC -6)
This entire episode was pretty much a plagiarism of the episode "The Lorelei Signal" from Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Mon, Dec 28, 2015, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
I can't get past that the Taresians as aid they'd gone all the way to Earth to implant Harry's mother with him and no one thought they could trade Harry for whatever technology they had that could do make that trip? That's a price I'd be willing to pay. Even if they really could do that, why the hell would they? The Delta Quadrant isn't exactly deserted, there's plenty of easier victims to use, and it's not like they'd know they'd infected to begin with. The Vidiians do alright just in their own region after all. And the biggest issue, how did the Taresians know that Harry, their 70,000 light years away baby, would conveniently end up in the Delta Quadrant and passing their space? Did they know about the Caretaker and maybe even work with him to get Harry there? It would open up interesting possibilities given that the Caretaker was trying to do exactly what the Taresians are here! I don't expect the writers to have thought that far ahead, or at all, but it'd have been nice to have the crew at least speculate on what it all meant
Diamond Dave
Fri, Jan 29, 2016, 6:17am (UTC -6)
Wow, an idea right out of early TNG here. Replace Kim with Riker on the planet of women and Bob's your uncle. This offers further proof that you can't hang an episode on Harry alone because fundamentally the character is not interesting enough to support it. This is as plodding and predictable as can be - hands up who guessed the other guy was going to end up a drained corpse?

The irony is that I actually quite liked the premise, but the execution was lousy. Although as noted above, you don't see a crew member tying a woman to a chair every day. 1.5 stars.
Mon, May 2, 2016, 10:45pm (UTC -6)
I think that' B5s Patricia Tallman playing one of the women who attacked Harry just before the end. The only time I actually concentrated on this. Couldn't get over the stupidity of Taresian reproduction. Very poor.
Wed, Jun 29, 2016, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
I don't understand how this species reproduces. Do the males die right after sex? or did they kill them and harvest there sperm?
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
They say they have to "de-nucleate" a number of cells. Fine, but why do they have to be male cells? In fact, why do they have to be sentient being cells? Couldn't they be cows? It just makes no sense.
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 4:53pm (UTC -6)
fun romp if you ignore the silliness (**)
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
Ignore the silliness Jammer lol
George Monet
Fri, Sep 2, 2016, 12:33am (UTC -6)
Another episode where the writers refuse to accept what the level of medical technology means.

Like the Vidiians, there is absolutely no reason why the Taresians don't simply use clone cells or grow new cells or organs or whatever they need. Neither species needs to kill in order to harvest, they can simply grow all the cells/organs they need. Hell we can already do this now in the 21st century. If these species are such genetic wizards then growing cells should be mere childs' play.

The only reason why both of these species kill is because they like to kill as they clearly don't have any reason to kill.
dave johnson
Sun, Dec 25, 2016, 3:56am (UTC -6)
I would have liked lasting consequences here. Such as, Harry actually was seeded by these people, and decides to escape and stay with Voyager. So he is a hybrid human and his spots stay on him. The rest of the series he struggles with identity, feeling alone, being genetically programmed to go home , etc. That would have brought much more depth to his character than the nice guy who never gets anywhere in life with women or career.
The Real Scotty
Mon, Dec 26, 2016, 4:49pm (UTC -6)
You always know there's a problem with the episode when you wish you had been sitting in on the early script conference.

There's a dozen questions I could have fired at the writer regarding the lack of logic concerning the basic concept. However there's one question that keeps popping up as I watch this episode.

Wouldn't it be simpler - much simpler - for the Taresians to just secretly beam out sperm from Harry Kim's ballsack? Indeed I believe that last sentence would have made for a superior episode outline.

This episode is so woefully bereft of logic, it would not have been out of place to have inserts of Tuvoc saying "What?" "Huh?" "Seriously?" every five minutes. That's what I was doing, and I'm no Vulcan.

Ugh. Simply ugh.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 3:32am (UTC -6)
KIM: Take care of yourself.
TORRES: See you later, Spot.

This already horrible episode is now even more terrible for having the audacity to compare Harry Kim to a much more three-dimensional and better written Star Trek character.
Sun, Mar 12, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
I have to agree with mephyve here - while I can't argue any of the criticism this episode has wrought, I still enjoyed it. It was silly and dumb, but it didn't offend me and on some absurd base level for some reason I found it slightly entertaining.
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, 2:44am (UTC -6)
The first act or two were pretty nice, otherwise way too ridiculous and dumb. Beltran seemed pretty checked out and Mulgrew and Picardo somehow both indifferent and embarrassed.
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, 9:51am (UTC -6)
The episode also felt too predictable and drawn-out.
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 11:04pm (UTC -6)
Terrible episode, probably partly because I'm a Kim hater and I find his acting as interesting as a box of nails. Nothing comes out of this episode, no impact on anything, just utterly forgettable.

Complete non sequitur here, but I've seen just about enough Star Trek planets where it seems the entire population including the world leader fits into one room.
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 11:41pm (UTC -6)
How bad is Wang's acting? Watch this episode. Any episode with him as the center of focus is likely to get low ratings because... he stars in it.

Jammer and everyone already pointed out everything that was bad. I at least learned something though, thanks to Tuvok and Janeway: that "paradoxical state-dependent associative phenomenon" meant "déjà vu." LOL..

One last nitpick: once Harry gets back on board at the end, Voyager faces the Nizari ships with the Taresian ship in pursuit. Whatever happened to the grid that they put so much thought and time into figuring out how to get past to get in the vicinity of the planet? Shouldn't they have had to get past it first, before facing the Nizaris? It just happened to disappear when Voyager was leaving?
Oh well... how superficial of me to wonder that in such a stellar (!) episode..
William B
Sat, Oct 7, 2017, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
This episode is terrible and I won't rehash all the reasons given above. I normally wait until the end to rate, but yeah, 1 star.

I'm glad Harry mentioned the Sirens at the end, because the Odyssey references here seemed pretty clear -- not just the Sirens, but also the Calypso section. (Disclaimer: I have only passing familiarity with this stuff so don't claim any real expertise.) Since Voyager is an Odyssey story, it makes sense to do an episode about the temptation from "magical" seductress(es) to quit the voyage, I guess. As with Non Sequitur, the episode's failing as a character piece is that it seems as if Harry is being "tempted" to give up on his life on Voyager, and he rejects that temptation, but we don't really learn anything about Harry in the process. In NS, it was never clear whether he was tempted to stay at all or not from the writing and performance, and if so how (emotionally) he overcame it. Here there's a similar thing where lots of badly-acted but good-looking women ply him with massages and the promise of polygamy but Harry doesn't particularly care, which we can mostly attribute to him at least not being that much of an idiot to fall for the obvious trap, even if it's touch-and-go as the episode opens, with the whole crew falling for this obviously implausible story until the enemy aliens say they've heard rumours that those Taresians are kinda shady, at which point it takes the Doctor five minutes to disprove the Taresians' story.

Anyway, the one thing that seems to tempt Harry for real is not so much sex as wanting to feel special. A roomful of attractive women insist that he's special while he has dreams of his mother and Janeway-as-mother scolding him. Harry is floating along without a strong identity and doesn't understand why he deserves the privileges he's had -- which basically comes down to a happy, untroubled upbringing -- especially when he compares to Tom or B'Elanna. There's maybe potential there. But it's not in this episode. I think the Harry problem is partly mirrored by the writing staff -- they really seem to struggle to figure out what to do with this guy, and Harry's own wondering if there's anything special about him (which I take to mean not just impressive, but worth noting at all) is seemingly the best the creative team can do at this point.
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 5:49am (UTC -6)
Normally I go into a liitle bit of depth of why I dislike an episode, when I do dislike one, but this one....

I can't even bother. I wanted to do it. I honestly did. But holy crap. What's the point?

zero stars.
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
This episode is terrible, but it’s also a heavy inspiration for Mass Effect. It’s clearly this episode that gave them the idea for the Asari, from the female only/mainly female species, preferring but not necessarily needing alien DNA to procreate, the head spots and the name (though they’re named after the enemies of the Taresians, the Nasari). It’s very blatant and it makes me laugh. Of all the Star Trek episodes to use for your pseudo Trek game, I ask you!

There are some interesting parts like B’Elanna nearly dying and Harry’s guilt, or Tom’s mix of worry and jealousy on the planet, but they don’t go into it enough. They don’t even go into why the Nasari fire without warning on detection of an infected alien - clearly because as neighbours of the Taresians they are or at least feel especially threatened by their vampiric activities. I don’t mind reading into an episode, I wouldn’t come and read these reviews and comments if I didn’t enjoy it, but this one is just so thin. You pretty much have to read all of it in, apart from maybe the Janeway-mum stuff.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 4:58pm (UTC -6)
This was an idea hatched on the Next Generation when the producers got it in their heads Geordi wasn't interesting enough. Poor Geordi would have found out that his mother was secretly in vitro-ed with an alien baby - him - and he would have been Alien Geordi for the rest of the series.

How he'd gotten this past Starfleet Medical (remember, Geordi was a Starfleet brat) all those years was never discussed in the article I read - if anyone had thought it that far along. I was glad that they abandoned it. Shame someone picked up the outline out of the slush pile and thought this would make a good Voyager episode.
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 3:03am (UTC -6)
It was fun. End of.
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -6)
Re watching and thought of skipping it because of the one star and all negative comments. To my surprise, I liked it. It was very silly but still I somehow liked it. Perhaps because of its obvious sexism and the pretty seductive girls.

It reminded me that you must not only be able to duck for phaser beams, your shield mus also be up to protect you from other dangerous things.
Wed, May 2, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Truly one of the worst VOY episodes -- almost as bad as "Threshold" for me. I think Jammer's review nails where it goes off the rails pretty good.

Like "Threshold" it started out with something of interest (how did Harry get his intuition etc.) but then it just descended into boring, farfetched stupidity. The scenes with Harry getting seduced dragged on for too long and the women were all lousy, wooden actors. The ceremony for the joining was so dumb as well -- perhaps it wasn't meant to be anything cultural but rather just to entice the male into marriage and then his demise. These Taresians seem to be able to concoct all kinds of lies.

There's just too much to shake my head at here from the DNA in Harry re-writing his behavior, to how he was identified etc. Has there even been good sci-fi when it comes down to a race dominated by 1 gender doing anything and everything to get the opposite gender to procreate so that the society can sustain itself? Maybe...but I can't think of it right now.

0.5 stars for "Favorite Son" -- truly a forgettable and regrettable VOY episode. A couple of Trek turkeys came to mind when watching this garbage: "Spock's Brain" and ENT's "Bound" and that's not a good thing. An episode that is so full of holes that it might have been thrown together just to make up the numbers.
Intrinsic Random Event
Sun, Jul 29, 2018, 5:14am (UTC -6)
With just one change, they could have made this the most awesome episode ever... instead of that other Taresian guy, they should have had Captain Kirk, in a Hugh Hefner-style gown with a pipe and a couple of babes around each arm, saying, "You know, I think you're going to really like it here Harry..."
Mon, Sep 3, 2018, 11:31am (UTC -6)
Hmm, a bad episode. Garett Wang's acting as star was the only positive aspect of the episode. Unfortunately his talent was wasted on this abomination of an episode. Apart form the Voyager crew cast, all the other cast were 2D and boring. The concept was truly awful, and it was obvious that Kim wouldn't be an alien. Oh well.
Sat, Sep 8, 2018, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
A stinker. No redeeming qualities.
Wed, Oct 24, 2018, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Just rewatched this yesterday and was amused to notice "that other Taresian guy" was played by a young Patrick Fabian (better known these days as the actor who plays Howard Hamlin on Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul).

Made the episode way more fun the second time around!
Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 1:11am (UTC -6)
Wow... so Saul's Harry Hamlin, the T-X Terminatrix, and Haneek from DS9's "Sanctuary" all try to drag Harry Kim into "Planet of the Angels?"

The only way to make this any better would be silhouettes of two robots and a guy named Joel/Mike/Jonah in the front row riffing on it.

I can enjoy a goofball episode like this, in the same way I can enjoy all those campy "Terror From the Year 5000" MST3K'd movies.
Sleeper Agent
Thu, Jul 11, 2019, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
I found this episode to be quite entertaining actually. No barn burner by any means, but definitively not the worst.

2,5 Stars.
Fri, Sep 13, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Yeah so I'm still very drunk BUT the mini rips, white bread and Hummus gave me some strength to continue (pig power in the house Four 1 star episodes in one evening. Good that I'm protected by drunkenness.

Man, every bad episode DOES revolve around Harry Kim.

Janeway with a different hairdo. Which one do I like more? Women sometimes changed their hair but the only man who changed his hair was Sisko and he didn't change it really... What happened to B'Elanna in later seasons? Did we lose her in the 7 of 9 maelstrom?!

Ok so apart from the Janeway and Paris turning into our future selves aka slugs every bad episode has some kind of Harry getting laid plot. Is that disturbing? I'm not sure.

harry and the black widow planet. I actually knew what was happening around minute 15. This was the worst kind of 1 star episode. BORING. The other 1star episodes made me laugh quite a bit but this is just... watching horny Harry walk through this ruin of a plot is just tedious. And by god why were the women all wearing red and orange. Are these the only colors they can perceive. Change it up a little ladies! So yeah my mind started to wander pretty early. As boring as carpenter street from Enterprise but with less plot. This one deserved 1 star.

What does Jammer think

I guess I agree that the episode started kind of promising. What's happening?? Harry, the seer? Time shenanigans? No just stupidity.

Jammer calls this a laughingstock, maybe I have seen horny Harry one too many times to laugh about this nonsense.

Anything else. Nice to read Jammer's pre Voyager meltdown stuff.

Positive thoughts: Nothing.
Sat, Oct 12, 2019, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Anyone else catch Patricia Tallman kicking ass? But yeah, this episode wasn't so great. I noticed another B5 alum playing Valen in "The Void." Babylon 5!
Cody B
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 7:45am (UTC -6)
I have to disagree with the general consensus here. While I certainly wouldn’t call this a “good” episode, I don’t think it was one of the worst. It seems very much like a TOS episode. If this exact same plot took place with Kirk I think this episode would have been accepted just fine. This was not one of those episodes that was that was so boring it felt like homework nor where there any moments where my jaw dropped and I thought “someone got paid to write that AND it made it all the way onto air”. This is just another middle of the road episode that gets a little bit singled out and beat up in my opinion
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 11:50am (UTC -6)
I agree with Cody - I enjoy how campy this episode is.
Mon, Apr 20, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -6)
The story was good...but it wasn't enough for an hour-long episode and the dialogue suffered. It was just too one-dimensional...aliens try to convince Harry he is special and to stay...and that's pretty much it. That can work for say 10 minutes, but not a full episode. Had this episode had more subplots or twists, it could have worked.
Mon, May 4, 2020, 9:25am (UTC -6)
Best part of this episode? 3 seconds of Patricia Tallman smashing Harry with one of those ceremonial rods.

Absolutely irredeemable virgin-fantasy garbage.
Fri, May 8, 2020, 8:15pm (UTC -6)
I think they were trying to attract new viewers with all the good looking girls and space battles. I don't think it worked.
Brian Lear
Wed, May 20, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
Just rewatched this with my wife. I cannot believe all the vitriol over this episode. I thought it was a fascinating idea and I did not see the twist coming at all. It was not perfect, the only change I would've made was I think Harry "figured it all out" too quickly. I think it would've been way better if he was fooled until the end.
Overall, a fairly campy story but a fascinating idea and they pulled it off. I feel like people are so overly harsh on this show. If this had been a TNG episode and it was Geordi who got abducted, I think people would've eaten it up.
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
VOY: Do you think this episode should have been cut? We were so worried when the boys were writing it. But now we're glad! It's better than some of the previous episodes, I think.

TNG: "At least ours was better visually"

DS9: "At least ours was committed, it wasn't just a long string of pussy jokes"

AUDIENCE: 'GET ON WITH IT' 'Yes, get one wi' it!' "YES, GET ON WITH IT"

VOY: "Oh, I am enjoying this episode!"


VOY: :/
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 12:45am (UTC -6)
I kind of liked the scene at the end between Kim and Paris.
SJW Not Really
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
Here is a different critical perpsective on this EP. Sometimes I wonder, "what the hell were writers thinking?!" The white-on-POC hostility and violence are subtle but telling. First, the light-skinned Taresian woman orders the dark-skinned woman to go get something for Harry like the sistah is indentured. Later, Harry ties up the white girl all sexy-like but smashes the black girl over the head with a bottle? Then Harry gets his ass kicked by white chicks with sticks? WTF?! To paraphrase a comedian and talk-show host, "I am not saying the writers are racist, I just know they are." Damn, ST VOY! Good thing I know it gets better.
Mon, Feb 15, 2021, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
I'd say the racist is you.. seeing something that isn't there - coloured by your own lens.
Mon, Feb 15, 2021, 5:27pm (UTC -6)
@SJW Not Really

Good lord, get a life.
Paul C
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 3:12am (UTC -6)
The look Janeway gives Chakotay when the Doc is answering her questions... laugh out loud moment.
Bok R'Mor
Thu, Jul 1, 2021, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
An absurdly bad episode for all the reasons mentioned above.

But in addition there were two aspects I did genuinely find impressive about this episode: firstly, the extraordinarily vicious way Janeway sneers at Kim, 'In the meantime I'm suspending you from duty. Go to Sickbay. Let the Doctor have a look at that cut' (vituperous emphasis on 'cut') after ostensibly playing the understanding captain after Kim flips out. I actually liked this a lot; Mulgrew really shows what she can do here.

Secondly, unfortunately, there's a striking TOS/S1 TNG vibe to most of 'Favorite Son' - the premise and plot, the acting, the set, aesthetic and character design, the guest cast, and of course a surfeit of Gene Rodenberry's favourite topics: the importance of a lack of sexual inhibition, of group sex/seduction, og free love in space. I hasten to add that this latter point isn't impressive because it is good, but because of the extent to which it was utterly tone deaf and cringeworthy to watch. Just as those aspects of TOS and early TNG were and still are. At times 'Favorite Son' felt like a pastiche of that.

I pity the cast getting scripts like this and wondering whose turn it would be to debase themselves on screen for an hour.
Chuck AzEee
Sun, Dec 5, 2021, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
An episode filled with beautiful women and the episode stunk. Pointless idiotic episode. A half of star.
Tue, Mar 8, 2022, 7:50am (UTC -6)
This episode showed why DS9 was overall a better series than VOY. The former took a minor character (Nog), and made a radical shift in direction, having him decide to be the first of his race in Starfleet. VOY made it look like it was taking Harry (who had pretty much worn out his original "wet behind the ears newbie" premise) in a wild new direction by having him be an alien... and slammed its fist down on the Big Red Reset Button. Not only that, it proceeded to stick with the "newbie" premise for the remainder of the series, long after it ceased to make any sense at all.

If Harry had been on DS9, he'd have probably been promoted twice, had a few disastrous romances before meeting the girl of his dreams, gotten married, had a kid, gone to war, faced PTSD, and who knows what else. On VOY... well, he switched from the clarinet to the sax at some point.
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
In addition to all that's been said, you would think Janeway's first reaction would have been, "The Taresians have been to Earth??? By what means??? Can you show us and help us get home??!" Even taking the naively optimistic bent to Janeway's reaction would've been better than nothing at all. The Taresians claim that a fertilized embryo could be transported across the galaxy and unknowingly implanted in a human female without her knowing, all before the embryo dies. What a feat!

But nobody seems to react to this. It takes the doctor's investigation for everyone to care one way or another.

Wouldn't it have been awesome if Harry really was Taresian and the whole thing turned out to be true, but wanted to escape and continue on with Voyager anyway? Now that would've made for some good writing. But then, that would require consequences, and the writers don't do that. So, on with the magic reset button!

This episode was absolutely pointless.
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
Not to mention... their whole mode of procreation makes absolutely no sense. The females produce embryos after killing the males, but can't house their own embryos. Instead, the embryos must be transported all over the galaxy, only to make their way back and complete the cycle. Why would this story be believable to ANY scientist at first glance?

Ok... so the part about sending embryos into the galaxy was a lie. The rest still makes no sense from an evolution perspective. Species that are close to 100% female are simply asexual (self-germinating). There is no benefit to sexual dimorphism (male/female) because the number of males is so small that they can easily die off.

It makes no sense that the Taresians would kill their small number of males in order to reproduce. It also makes no sense that their species would just keep pumping out hordes of females with no means of them reproducing. Nature doesn't work that way. It's not wasteful.
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 5:59pm (UTC -6)
I rather liked this, maybe 3 stars.

It definitely has a TOS vibe, but the "science" was relatively solid. DNA wasn't used here to devolve people from salamanders or cure them from being transformed into gorillas or spiders or whatever.

The aliens used a retrovirus to add information to Harry's DNA that then *gradually* altered his behavior.

The Doctor also correctly reasoned that the transporter bio filter may have eliminated the virus itself, but it didn't matter if it had already delivered its payload.

Someone did their DNA homework here.
Sat, Jun 25, 2022, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
As to the bizarre way these people reproduce, well, there are life forms on Earth that reproduce in often truly Rube Goldberg ways.

Consider, the horsehair worm, which infects crickets and ultimately compels them to jump in water-- essentially suicide-- as part of their reproductive process.

Rabies alters the behaviors of much more complex life forms, including humans, to spread itself. It makes the mammal crazy aggressive, wanting to bite everything, while simultaneously making the mammal terrified of water. Why? Because the virus concentrates in saliva, and biting will spread it, while drinking will dilute the virus through swallowing.

This is a rare one where I strongly disagree with both Jammer and Elliot. This script did its homework.
Sat, Oct 8, 2022, 8:38pm (UTC -6)
This was a good episode. When I was watching it I predicted that people here would hate it. I guess it's a group think factor.

The science was good. The use of a virus to change DNA is actually possible. It does happen on Earth right now.

There are three things that stand out in this episode:

1, Harry does not yield to his internal desires. This is a massive lesson for us humans. We often let our desires get us into trouble. Given how so many men in this world are slaves of their desires, you have to respect Harry.

2, The words that Paris tells Harry at the end are inspiring. The guy has all these noble traits yet fans dislike him. If more humans were like Harry Kim the world would be a better place. He is a role model.

3, The episode raises some intriguing questions about the ethics of those aliens. Do we humans not harm other species for our own good?
Sat, Oct 8, 2022, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
"I really hate to be trashing Voyager like I have been recently. (Honestly, I don't have an axe I need to grind upon the series. "

You are clearly biased. You gave DS9's Meridian a good review even though it may be the worst Trek episode. You give Picard better ratings than classic Trek episodes!!! Insanity!
Thu, Apr 13, 2023, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
This is like a very bad episode of The Original Series that fails in every respect.
Fri, Apr 28, 2023, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Ok dumb episode. Some thoughts:

- the nisari ship in the beginning of the episode sidles up to voyager with the apparent intent of opening fire presumably because they detect at taresian on board. This implies that the nisari know what the taresians have been up to, infecting unwitting dupes with DNA altering viruses and whatnot. So why wouldn’t the nisari just explain the situation to Janeway and co? “Excuse me, but our scans indicate that one of your crew has been infected by those lunatics over there, who are trying to lure you over to harvest your genes, which will kill you by the way. So, you know, heads up.” Boom done.

- Harry Kim should no longer be trusted as a bridge officer. Subverting the chain of command in order to fire on an unidentified alien ship ought to be viewed by Janeway, Chakotay, and Tuvok as universally unacceptable. The fact that he turns out to be correct really doesn’t matter. Altered DNA or not, from the captain’s point of view he acted on a hunch to hijack the ship and use lethal force. That cannot be allowed to stand.

- I found the scene where Harry ties up that one broad and bashes the other poor girl over the head with a vase to be super weird. Aside from the fact that hitting someone over the head with a solid object in order to incapacitate them is more along the lines of a three stooges bit than Star Trek, it also simply didn’t seem necessary. These two women were pressuring Harry to give in to their temptations, but neither of them could have reasonably stopped him from just walking out the door, they weren’t armed to super strong or anything. No need for the creepy bondage routine. Unless Harry was actually revealing something about his own sexual preferences..
Sun, Apr 30, 2023, 1:08am (UTC -6)
This will likely be controversial, but they should have destroyed the planets shield generators as part of the escape. It would be "inadvertent", but the Nizari would have done the dirty work of ridding the galaxy of these mass murderers who are almost worse that the Borg, as at least with the Borg you know what you're getting.

Instead they will continue to pray on thousands - maybe millions - of people in the future. It appeared like the girls only produce girls, and men have to be terraformed - so they will just continue to produce more and more murderers.

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