Star Trek: Voyager

“Barge of the Dead”

4 stars.

Air date: 10/6/1999
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller
Story by Ronald D. Moore & Bryan Fuller
Directed by Mike Vejar

"Tell me what you want from me!"
"We don't want anything from you, B'Elanna. We only want you."

— Torres' battle of the self

Review Text

Nutshell: Surprisingly powerful. The best Torres show in years, and among the series' best installments.

First, we must note the interesting coincidence of the week. If you look at the first three episodes of seasons four, five, and six, you might notice the weird parallel: First episode, Janeway-heavy show; second episode, Seven show; third episode, Torres show.

But I don't mean to get lost in trivialities, because "Barge of the Dead," a potentially routine episode that came billed as an hour about "Klingon hell," turns out to be an unexpectedly powerful character development episode. Yes, that's right. Character development—on Voyager. Finally, here's a B'Elanna episode that makes sense. After the way last season had no idea where the character was going or why, this episode gives me hope; it successfully reaches into the thoughts and identity of the multidimensional B'Elanna that intrigued me in the earlier seasons.

The story is ostensibly about a near-death experience Torres has while on a shuttle mission, but the creators go the extra mile and truly make the show about the character. I've long maintained that Torres has the potential, on a writer's good day, to be the series' most complex character. With the help of the always watchable and sometimes riveting Roxann Dawson, "Barge of the Dead" shows why.

The episode begins with B'Elanna escaping serious injury as she crash-lands a shuttle into the Voyager shuttle bay. Then weird things start to happen: The captain mistakenly calls her "Lanna" ("That's what my mother used to call me"). A piece of debris from a Klingon ship is found lodged in the shuttle's engine, and later B'Elanna hears distant screaming and watches as the metal fragment inexplicably oozes blood. Tuvok turns into what seems to be a Klingon cultural advocate, appears angry with B'Elanna and accuses her of detesting all things Klingon, then cuts her with a bat'leth during a strange demonstration.

These off-kilter events, of course, are not real; they are part of the "naj," or "the dream before dying," which ends with the noteworthy implicative sight of Klingon warriors slaughtering B'Elanna's shipmates right in front of her, during what was up to that point a jovial mess-hall celebration in the name of the Klingon Empire.

Suddenly, B'Elanna finds herself on the "barge of the dead," which we soon learn is the Klingon afterlife (according to legend). This barge sails for all eternity, transporting the recently deceased to Gre'thor (Klingon hell of eternal dishonor). B'Elanna has always dismissed this afterlife as simply myth—beliefs drilled into her by her mother when she was a child—but now she begins to think differently.

The ship is piloted by Kortar (Eric Pierpoint), the first Klingon who according to myth slaughtered the gods who created him and must forever pilot the barge as punishment. This sort of Klingon cultural information seems to emanate from the realm of Ron Moore, who has co-story credit on the episode, although the script itself was written by Bryan Fuller, who does a wonderful job turning this into a Voyager character episode.

I thoroughly enjoyed the production design; the barge has a convincing look and feel, and the lighting and effects supply plentiful hellish atmosphere. Voices scream from afar and lure Klingons to jump from the ship into the murky waters, where they are attacked by sea creatures. What does it mean when a dead Klingon gets eaten by a sea creature in the realm of the already dead? I honestly don't know, but what Klingon episode would be complete without an ominous, sincerely delivered line like, "There are things here worse than death"?

The story is only partially about Klingon spirituality. Much of it is about B'Elanna and her troubled past. While on the barge, she witnesses the arrival of her mother, Miral (Karen Austin). What is her mother doing here? Before she can find out, B'Elanna suddenly wakes up in sickbay, saved from a nearly fatal shuttle mission.

Needless to say, this is a disturbing experience for B'Elanna, who has spent her entire life resisting the Klingon afterlife mythology of Stovokor and Gre'thor. It prompts her to question her spirituality and priorities. There are some genuinely good dialog scenes here. One of the best is the Torres/Chakotay scene in Torres' quarters, where the big question comes up: "My whole life I've immersed myself in science and schematics, but what if it's time to start looking beyond that?" Chakotay's answers are nicely stated, too, voicing the reasonable possibility that B'Elanna's visit to the barge wasn't necessarily experienced through her death but was instead her subconscious pulling memories from her childhood beliefs.

Of course, it's hard to watch "Barge of the Dead" without revisiting the debated issue of religion in Trek. I think "Barge's" approach is even-handed and fair, and lets the viewer decide the validity and usefulness of the spiritual elements—and without being a ponderous mess the way third season's "Sacred Ground" was. Does Torres really die? Does her soul truly venture into the Klingon afterlife and back? You can make the call, but ultimately it doesn't matter because the story is a symbolic tale of the character's past and her journey of the self.

B'Elanna wants answers, and when she discovers that turning her back on Klingon ways is what resulted in her mother's dishonorable damnation, she decides to try to set things right by "going back" to the barge of the dead with the help of the Doctor, who can simulate the conditions that caused her first near-death experience.

This is of course met with the understandable skepticism, which the story addresses in the sensibly anticipated ways, with Janeway at first refusing to let her engineer risk her life for matters of the soul that can't simply be assumed as so easy to manipulate. The story's notion is itself making some assumptions; who is to say that B'Elanna can control anything in the afterlife, much less rescue her mother by essentially "cheating" in taking her place? I suppose it's all a matter of belief. If she "felt" the realism of afterlife the first time, perhaps she simply "knows" she can make changes from there. But Paris' response is a reasonable one; wouldn't exploring her spirituality in life ("Go to church or something?") be the more appropriate course of action? It's hard to even say what would be appropriate under circumstances that prove so personally troubling in a sci-fi/fantasy world.

B'Elanna's return to the barge is where a massive battle of the self begins. Saving her mother from the fate of Gre'thor is why B'Elanna chose to simulate another near-death experience, but that's not why she is here. She is here for a greater personal purpose—to confront her past, which has discordantly wound itself into her present and future as a person.

The episode is packed full of imagery, parallels, and symbols, but unlike last season's dreadful "The Fight," this is a show where the images grow out of the story and actually mean something, rather than existing for the sake of pointless atmosphere. There's symbolism here that makes a great deal of sense if you're willing to dissect it. (And even if you're not, the underlying events are still here and provide a perfectly solid story.)

First is the aforementioned annihilation fantasy where Klingons kill all of B'Elanna's friends. I won't overanalyze this point, but B'Elanna's tendency to repress her Klingon heritage certainly plays into the game, and there's dialog where she openly states that the only Klingon attributes she inherited were "the forehead and the bad attitude." These are the remarks of a conflicted individual uncertain and angry about her self-identity, and in the early stages of the "naj" when Tuvok confronts her for dishonorably disavowing her Klingon half, we realize B'Elanna's tortured dilemma.

Of course, the use of Tuvok in itself is interesting. Perpetually the antagonist within these scenes of introspection, Tuvok comes across as some sort of adversary that serves to attack Torres' sense of self-identity. We don't see all that much Tuvok/Torres interaction in general on the series, but this confrontational relationship is interesting. Deep down I get the sense that Torres suspects he's right; particularly during the early "naj" scenes we sense his remarks are hitting too close to home.

Naturally, a connection is also drawn between B'Elanna's mother and Janeway as maternal figures (the echoing of the line "request denied" and B'Elanna's mother wearing a captain's uniform provide nice touches). The idea makes sense given B'Elanna's circumstances of learning, adapting, and aiming to please, even if we must note that this means Janeway is a maternal figure to at least three characters on the show.

Perhaps most intriguing, however, is the particularly telling notion that once B'Elanna reaches Gre'thor, it turns out to be an eternal version of Voyager. "I don't consider Voyager hell," she says, but is she trying to convince herself? Does she hate where she is? Who she is? The idea that she'll be stuck in that place for 50 years? The story's stance seems to be that if Voyager is hell, it's because B'Elanna hasn't been able to do enough to make it more than that. She keeps everyone at "arm's length," says an image of Harry. "Even Tom, who you claim to love."

I suspect that a big part of her problem is in trying to live up to expectations when she isn't sure whether she's being true to herself in trying to meet such expectations that have been forced upon her. In a crucial scene on the barge, B'Elanna confronts images of her mother and her shipmates. She pleads with them: "What do you want?" Her mother responds, "Who are you asking?" B'Elanna doesn't know. She's probably asking everyone.

Just who is B'Elanna Torres? It's a question she needs to answer herself, rather than feeling compelled to exist as a functional unit for some organization or another person. In doing so, she needs to open herself to others. She generally won't let people see inside, and I see this quest as her own way of telling herself she should try.

Having B'Elanna's life hang in jeopardy through this near-death journey is milked for perhaps a bit of routine, unnecessary suspense, but in context it makes sense and provides the story with a way of taking the character through the journey she's found so difficult to travel. Even B'Elanna's choice to go through with the near-death simulation highlights her adamant tendency for total independence; Tom tries to convince her to find another way. "We'll figure this out—together," he pleads. "Next time," she says. She needs to do it alone.

As a quest of a character, this is all truly compelling stuff. Here's a person boxed inside herself by a deeply repressed identity crisis. Constantly trying to live up to the expectations of the moment, unsure of whether she's human, Klingon, Starfleet, Maquis, lover, daughter, a melding of some or all of the above, she has essentially cut off her private torment from those she is closest to. She finally admits to herself that she is tired of fighting. The lesson here, I think, is to embrace vulnerability to overcome it, rather than burying it under a tough, stubborn facade.

It's also interesting that B'Elanna's decision to simulate a near-death experience to save her mother is considered by her mother (or the image of her mother, rather) as choosing the "easy way." Digging deeper, this says to me that B'Elanna's turmoil runs so unconsciously deep that it requires her almost dying before she can at last fully confront it.

Essentially, this story reveals B'Elanna as a long-tortured, conflicted, private, complex character who is still looking to understand herself. The episode is about the growth she experiences only when she truly turns inward and confronts these tough questions. It's rare to get a character show where we feel we truly understand an individual with such complex layers, which is what makes this outing so special.

"Barge of the Dead" is punctuated by a wonderful visual sense—sometimes appropriately dark and creepy—and the typically compelling cinematics of director Mike Vejar. Noteworthy are the good transitional elements, like the thoughtful way B'Elanna stares at the cut on her hand from one scene to the next, pondering its meaning; or the way B'Elanna is physically attacked (repeatedly "killed") with a bat'leth—usually by Tuvok—used as the story's way of switching from one plane of the apparent afterlife to another. And the bigger theatric gestures I thought worked well too. In particular, the use of the bat'leth as a consistent device, especially when B'Elanna finally hurls it into the sea, proves nicely symbolic.

"Barge" comes together as the best overall episode of Voyager in nearly a year, if not longer—and one of the series' best. It's a story that understands its central character and puts her through a wringer where she learns and grows, all the while remaining true to who the character overall has been (excluding some of the fifth-season schizophrenia, of course).

I guess the next question is whether we'll see any change in B'Elanna in the future because of the events of this episode. Such events certainly invite change, but I of course don't expect ongoing continuity these days on Voyager. This episode comes billed as a "first step" for B'Elanna accepting who she is and deciding who she lets into her life. I'd like it to be a first step and not the last. This episode can stand on its own as a great episode, but it also shows what kind of potential this series' characters can have if they're permitted to be believable people who change.

"Barge of the Dead" is a hugely successful thought piece. I hope it can ultimately become even more than that.

Next week: Says the trailer, "Fascination II: The Voyager Version." Kill me now. But wait ... such an episode might be my Gre'thor.

Previous episode: Survival Instinct
Next episode: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

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Comment Section

110 comments on this post

    Ron Moore's only Voyager episode is one of the best. You can see the DS9/BSG quality here.

    Yeah, but his style hadn't really evolved to what it is today in his TNG days. In some ways, his new style is informed by a sort of rejection of the formulaic standard of TNG.

    Actually, to nitpick, Moore's only full writing credit for VOY was on "Survival Instinct." He only got story co-credit on this one.

    Yeah I noticed that afterward - still I think his imprint shows here.

    I defintely agree---this is one of my favorite episodes. Also one of the best Klingon episodes---it was originally Moore's story from DS9 (much better than "Soldiers of the Empire")---but lets give credit to Fuller's teleplay which is excellent.

    Yup. Agreed with all of the above. I especially liked the sequences aboard the titular Barge and B'Elanna's Gre'thor vision (the "Eternal Voyager"). I usually have no particular liking for Klingon Klaptrap, but this episode managed to overcome that dislike.

    Besides, seeing the crew carved to pieces by the Klingons (the scene in the casino) was fun.

    While I did mostly enjoy this episode, it isn't one of my favourites. I love B'Elanna as a character and Roxann can do no wrong in my book, however, I really can't get excited about Klingons, their culture, warrior yadda, honour yadda, yadda. They're only marginally more interesting than the Ferengi!

    Also, I find it hard to swallow that Janeway would allow a key member of her crew to allow herself to be nearly killed on purpose just to satisfy some delusion she experienced while being near death originally. Janeway should have stuck to her guns and not changed her mind.

    This is a better episode than I remember... I just find it overly cliche- especially the ending. By throwing the bat'leth over the edge she takes her first step towards freedom? Freedom from what? Sure, she's always had a bad attitude but she's a ray of sunshine compared to Worf or any other Klingon we've ever run into. As tired as I've gotten of Voyager's happy endings have some denoument to experience would be nice too. Still, it's way better than many Voyager episodes. This and Survival Instinct do give us an idea of what Voyager would've been like with Ron Moore being involved... shame it never came to be.

    For once, I totally disagree with this review. There episode was nothing short of boring. I don't feel anything, and I didn't want to finish it. It's not that I don't commend the writers for 'trying' to make real character changes (even if they will never be acknowledged)... it's just that the changes themselves lack so much weight.

    The *only* good moment in the episode is when Torres hugs the captain at the end of the show. We get a sense of what the experience meant to B'Elanna. Still, the experience was so boring and pointless and was going, "What? You threw a batleth in the ocean and you are suddenly better?" And we are supposed to believe that this has cured her anger issues or something? Ugh.

    Even after the hug... there was scene missing at the end. There was something needed to cement these changes into her character... like a talk with the captain... or chakotay... or something. It just didn't end at the right spot.

    Ultimately though, I was bored out of mind for the first 3/4 of the episode. The intro was not catchy either, nor was I in "suspense" or clueless as to what was going on.

    This was an episode I didn't care for, personally. I didn't feel there was anything new being presented in regards to Klingon culture. I realize the point was not regarding whether or not B'Elanna's visions were real, but for me to care I need to know. 'Cause if this was merely some kind of a dream, I'd rather they featured B'Elanna in a story affecting her in the real world.

    This, to me, was just another example of a Voyager crewmember acting selfishly (in my opinion) rather than considering his/her obligations to the ship, and the seemingly constant support by Janeway and company to indulge these crewmembers in their crazy personal pursuits whatever they may be.

    I agree. The whole scene where Janeway and B'Elanna are arguing... I just felt like, "who cares?" We know how ridiculous the argument sounds... and we know it's outcome. Of course, to move the plot, Janeway has to capitulate to B'Elanna. There is no other outcome. God forbid Janeway says no... and the episode ends right there.

    Oh my freaking god...

    What's this show about? Torres "finding" herself, and her inner conflict. Am I human or am I Klingon? Am I valiant or a coward? Why did mom and dad split up? Why did I have such a troubled relationship with my mother?


    Acoushla Moya to Torres: "How are you feeling?"
    Torres: "Erm, a little out of place."
    Acoushla: "Would you like to talk about it?"

    NO, SHE GODDAMN WELL WOULDN'T!!! Knock off a Beverly Crusher or Deanna Troi hologram, lie on a sofa in your quarters, and let them provide you with some goodass counseling... - OFF CAMERA! Spare the rest of us these preposterous, boring personal journeys of self-discovery and self-affirmation or whatever the hell this episode is meant to be about. Oh, you have a FEELING; why, let's TALK AAAAAAAAAALL about it, and then at the end we'll have a group hug a nice cup of cocoa. Thank crap Acoushla Moya didn't decide to go on one of his buffalo-seeking trips, too.

    I mean, get a load of this shit:
    Torres: "The sins of the child. [My mother]'s being punished for my dishonor. I turned my back on everything Klingon and now she has to pay the price."

    Paris: B'Elanna, you can't even be sure your mother is dead, much less blame yourself for what happens to her in some afterlife.

    Torres: "Look at this. The 11th tome of Klavek. It's a story about Kahless returning from the dead... 'Still bearing a wound from the afterlife.' A warning that what he experienced wasn't a dream. The same thing happened to me. [...] And the only reason Kahless was in the afterlife to begin with was to rescue his brother from the barge of the dead and deliver him to Sto-vo-kor. [...] Don't you see? I have a chance to rescue my mother if I can accept responsibility for her dishonor before she passes through the gates of Gre'thor. I have to go back [to the mystique afterlife phantasm]."

    Imagine how ludicrous it would be if a human crew member started talking about Moses or Methuselah or King David like that!!

    If one of the most important senior officers on my spaceship began spouting off this kind of moon-man talk, I'd put her in a shuttle, disable the shuttle's navigation systems and launch it in the opposite direction from the one I was traveling in.

    Psychological introspection, spiritual nonsense, references to "sacred" texts and their interpretation. Sorry but FOUR stars!!? This junk doesn't deserve even a half!!

    (Yes, I'm slightly peeved! LOL)

    Personally I thought this episode was simply fantastic. The above criticism flies right over my head.

    I usually dislike the klingon tripe as well, but in this episode it's just a veneer covering surprising depths, and the execution is flawless.

    The only thing that set me on a poor attitude with this episode (and thus skewed my view of it) was the glaringly obvious "welp, DS9’s just ended, we'd best force feed some Klingon-ness into Voyager so we can bring the Klingon Episodes there" from the writing staff. And so I viewed it primarily as a way of changing B'Ellana into the Klingon cultured person she has until now avoided being. It grates with its obviousness.

    Other than that and trying to look at it purely for itself and not for what the writers wanted to achieve with the character, it was an entertaining story and worth the unusual trip into character development (on Voyager, goodness me)

    One of the big problems I have with this episode is that the writers force the characters to behave in ways that are totally out of character. The characters are just tools to "tell the story the writers want to tell". I don't think the characters are real and are involved in their story at all.

    I don't buy it that B'Elanna would be interested in her Klingon rituals/upbringing.

    But more over, I don't think the captain would agree to something that could potentially kill her chief engineer. This is absolutely stupid.

    Janeway and B'Elanna have this argument that we already know B'Elanna is going to win. And the thing is, I strongly disagree with the way it played out!

    But of course, only on Voyager do we see this - a show where the captain constantly lets her chief engineers and chief medical officers go off and do all of these risky things to cause death that will never bring them any closer to the alpha quadrant. Isn't that the point of this series? What would happen if they lost all of their chief officers?!

    Janeway would/should never have allowed this. But the truth is... if Janeway ACTUALLY behaved in character, there wouldn't be an episode to tell.

    Shame on the writers. Really, they are horrible at establishing premises that actually work and are logically well-thought out.

    @Nathan: Agreed. I don't think I can ever bring myself to watch this episode again. I am at a loss as to how this episode got 4 stars.

    I'm astonished to see so many negative reviews for this episode. It was an outstanding character episode with great production values. Simply one of the best in Voyager history and even Star Trek. B'Elanna has always been one of my favorite characters but has received such precious little attention. Although she is central to a number of episodes, besides this one, only the early-season "Faces" comes to mind. Thus, as a later-season episode, "Barge of the Dead" perfectly bookends the B'Elanna character.

    I'm with Nathan and shrug of an episode.

    As much as I disliked "Mortal Coil," that's how much I liked this episode. I think a lot of the negativity from other reviewers has more to do with issues of spirituality, and whether they belong in 'Star Trek.' It would be hard to fault the script, performances or production design.

    Gotta say, completely agree with Michael. This is easily one of my least favorite episodes. Stupid, boring, completely implausible storyline.

    Captain Jim, agreed. He's just a Trek hating troll. Discovery of self is at the heart of every Trek series. If that's a concept you can't handle then Star Trek is not for you.

    That being said, while I liked lthis episode a lot I still wouldn't give it 4 stars. More like a strong 3.5. Roxann Dawson did her usual fantastic job. She is possibly the most unsung actor in Star Trek history.

    i think it would have been good had the ending not been so wishy washy. its like the set out to tackle themes of religion and the afterlife, but then chickened out at the very end and made it about self improvement.


    I fell asleep twice while attempting to make it thru this episode. True story. Zzzzzzzzz. Sucks donkey.

    I don't think this episode was boring, but I don't think it was a masterpiece either. More like three star episode to me.

    This is probably the review that I most disagree with.
    There are many Star Trek episodes that venture outside of the realm of sci-fi and into the realm of fantasy. But the literal existence of a “Klingon hell”, which anyone can go to with the Doctor’s convenient technobabble, took it one step too far.
    The episode doesn’t even seem to play by its own rules. First, Miral says she doesn’t want to cheat her way into Sto-vo-Kor by having Torres be revived at the last second, but nevertheless that is exactly what happens (of course Torres couldn’t really die, but it could have been handled better). Then she says “maybe we’ll see each other again in the real world”, which implies that she's not actually dead. If that is the case, what was the point of all this? I'm still confused after several viewings.

    However, I do commend the writers for focusing on the characters for once. The climactic scene (where Janeway says “We only want you”) was very well written and performed. It's just that ultimately doesn’t mean anything in the long run.

    2 stars.

    Wow this episode seems to have divided a lot of people, which I can understand since spirituality stories tend not to agree with everyone. My personal appreciation for this episode is definitely among the same lines as the review.

    It's just such a rich and appropriately raw spiritual inner journey for Toress, which is equally fascinating and emotional to watch. Not to mention that Klingon mythology has never felt so alive. The symbolism was beautifully done, it struck the balance between creepy and touching which made it all the more powerful.

    I think the whole episode just had a wonderful life of its own and its easily up there with the classics. A firm 4 stars.

    I didn't like how at the end she hugged the captain and ignored Tom. Tom seems to get the shaft a lot in their relationship.

    Also, Harry Kim is even a whiny bitch in Torres' dreams. It's late...whaaaa whaaa.

    I understand why this one got 4 stars. as a character bit, it makes a lot of sense. you see growth....

    and the whole time i kept thinking... Michael is gonna hate this!!!

    however, i am not a fan of the klingon and ferengi centric episodes. the just dont "entertain me."

    so..i give it a 2 star for entertainment.

    I'm surprised that ths episode gets 4 stars. Most of it is a retread of conflicts and themes we've seen done elsewhere better. The whole "Klingon tradition" vs human sensibility had been done to death by this time thanks to Worf through both the TNG and DS9 series. Snooze.

    As far as the "spiritual journey," Star Trek has never done religion well. It's either dismissed out of hand or used as a gimmick. This time the gimmick is Torres putting her life in jeopardy to redeem her mother in the afterlife. I was left shaking my head.

    I appreciate the attempt to develop Torres, but as I said, this Klingon stuff is so old hat. My interest waned as soon as she woke up and started talking about restoring family honor and Stovokor. I've heard this tune before.

    At least her experience wasn't due to a soul-sucking alien like Janeway a while back.

    A positive: the barge set was well-done; very atmospheric without getting cheesy.

    Love B'Elanna, love Klingon episodes, episodes that explore religion, and episodes that toy with reality and feature dream-within-a-dream scenarios etc, but I just couldn't take this seriously. It's ridiculous that they'd almost let B'Elanna die - and facilitate her almost doing so - just so she can pursue a near-death experience and try to rescue her mother from Klingon hell. It's an outright stupid scenario that should have been dismissed from the start and undermines the episode's entire drama. Further, I didn't feel this episode delivered on a character level. If anything it regressed B'Elanna - although this is season 6 of 7, the episode showed her dealing with issues she should have resolved in an earlier season and that we thought she indeed had. By this point in the series, B'Elanna seems professional and together and is even in a serious relationship - she seems comfortable with her heritage and her role on the ship. This episode unnecessarily and unconvincingly wound the clock back on her, suggesting that she still doesn't accept her Klingon heritage and that she pushes everyone away, when we've seen no evidence of either.

    Notice how compliantly the doctor puts B'Elanna under without the slightest protest.


    It's established that the doctor can overrule the captain on all medical matters, and that he follows the Hippocratic Oath of "first do no harm", but there wasn't even a discussion on how taking B'Elanna to the brink of death is not harmful compared to not doing so. This episode should've ended less than halfway through.

    Full marks to Michael on his assessment.

    I completely agree with Ken and others. The problem with this episode is that for one episode only, B'Elanna suddenly believes in the literal truth of Klingon religious texts, which is completely inconsistent with how her character has been established in earlier episodes. Now, I am willing to believe that her experience and interaction with her mother could force a change in her character, and that is in essence the challenge for the writers to take us on that journey, but they fail miserably. She just starts believing in it. We don't see her doubts slowly erode or her natural skepticism struggle against her need to deal with the guilt she feels for falling out with her mother. Her transformation is just far too fast, unexplained, and easy. This is a recurring problem with the writing on this show. Ronald D. Moore or no Ronald D. Moore, this episode stunk!

    @Nancy "At least her experience wasn't due to a soul-sucking alien like Janeway"

    Now now, I know Janeway can be a bit obnoxious at times, but she's not an alien

    Silliness beyond acceptable.

    First, because like many have pointed above, this was simply out of character. Yeah yeah, I know, a near-death experience usually makes people to get shacked up. But then, that's easy, huh? You just throw the near-death card and then you can artificially introduce character "changes" out of nowhere? Please. Torres becoming religious in a second? Haha. "A lot happened since the last time I saw you, I've changed". Yeah, a lot has happened: 5 minutes of episode have changed 5 years of character.

    Even worse is the very sudden "wow, what if there is a heaven or a hell" and the "feeling guilty by my mom who I can't even know to dead". Oh my! The 21st centurish way religion was often dealt with in Star Trek (mostly in DS9) is infuriating. The dumb sudden way religious moments are introduced for very atheist characters, is oten poor and out-of-the-franchise. It comes as no surprise, however, that this sort of artificial "character conflict" receives 4 stars from Jammer, while other stellar episodes are rated with 2 stars or so. It is consistent to some absurdity he tolerated or even enjoyed in DS9's last seasons.

    Last but not least, here we have again our captain agreeing with any sort of stupidity. And all one has to do is to now use the "you are like my mom" card. Holy teenager-soap-opera-crap. Then just at the following scene we have Paris claiming that he couldn't believe the captain allowed this craziness to go on, since Torres was in a coma just a second ago. Yeah Paris, pretty much nobody can either. By the way, these quick lines from Paris looked like they have come from a spiritual writer just whispering at the alive writers' ears: this is stupid, don't follow the silly road....... It is just a shame that they ended up not listening the sacred whispers themselves.

    Anyway, now you guys, dreaming of writing Star Trek episodes yourselves, you already know that's an easy job. Whenever you want to create a fake character development out of a sudden, just introduce the magic beans.

    I have to join the dissenters on this one. The Klingon after life appears unambiguously real to a maddeningly literal degree. Also, the ending does not benefit the episode in any way.

    On the other hand, we are to interpret the Klingon after life as only a fabrication of her mind, we are given very little information with which to find any meaning in the episode.

    For the record, I am usually a big fan of Klingon episodes.

    I meant: On the other hand, if we are to interpret the Klingon after life as only a fabrication of her mind...

    I too love this episode. It had some meaningful dialogue and good visuals, and actually used the Torres character in an interesting way. It's a lot more fun than most of the Klingon stuff on DS9

    I will say, though, that the ending was a bit too ambiguous. We're not sure if the afterlife stuff was real or not, and we're not exactly sure what lesson B'Elanna was supposed to have learned, other than a fairly generic "let go of your anger" sort of thing. And I wish that the Captain/Mother parallel was reasoned out a little more clearly.

    However, I especially loved the quote Jammer mentioned and its delivery on the show. The show hinges on Torres' low valuing of herself: she's all too willing to risk death for her mother, doing so without hesitation, without realizing that there are so many people out there that love her and want her to live. Giving one's life doesn't mean anything at all if you don't value the life you have.

    I didn't care for it, for a very simple reason. I dislike any episode where the afterlife is depicted as actually existing and following the rules of whatever species they belong to. The afterlife isn't meant to be confirmed or denied. They seem to understand that in so many other Trek episodes. Even the one where Neelix suffers from a near death experience leaves him in doubt as to whether or not his version of the afterlife actually exists or not.
    This one has too much detail and confirmation to be credible. You can't confirm or deny the existence of an afterlife. You can only hint at it. Any character development that follows in this episode was ruined for me, just because of this.

    Silly concept, poorly executed, boring as hell (no pun intended).

    @Xylar, I'm not sure anything in the episode explicitly confirms anything is real, it could all be a hallucination, medically induced or otherwise.

    That sure is a lot of words to say "I am a petulant child who can't handle more than 5 minutes between explosions."

    My question is - do they later establish that Miral is indeed dead? I always wondered that, but after rewatching B'Elanna talk to her father in Author Author, it seems the show might have subtlely established whether this was real or an halucination.

    Whenever the klingon culture is the subject, the story will fail. I TRULY do not get how any intelligent fan can stomach it. First it's just a human culture ( and a boring one at that) - which is so uncreative given they are aliens. But despite all of Worf''s belching bout "honor", klingons come off as aggressive, irrational power hungry animals. Of course women have a very limited role (OF COURSE)... And yet, when an intelligent woman decides rather than join this brain dead, misogynist, archaic and very human way of thinking, she will become an accomplished engineer, and a valuable member of her community, and raise a sane family - she has defied the religion she is not allowed to ever, ever leave and her mother gets to go to hell... Clever... Like any fundamentalist religion, it is stupid and offensive to any thinking person.

    So she has to die and go to hell to rescue her mother's "honor".... And what exactly has she done wrong to doom her mother to hell? NOTHING... She rejected the idiotic religion imposed on her, which I for one think is a good thing, but like all religions, that means burning in hell... Seriously, this is the premise here. It is so anti-thought, anti-reason it's scary. Star Trek should just burn witches - it's the same thing. And somehow we are to think there is honor or nobility in this garbage.

    As for the "character"... come on! The actress is really talented - but to to all the klingon garbage all she gets to do is spout technobabble or gripe about the stupidest culture ever created that she's wise to reject... It is boring and they have done it and done it and done it with her character already. There was nothing new here. I fear the next Star Trek will be as bad as the old ones often were when this gets 4 stars from fans.

    Mixed feelings about this one. The whole point of the ST mythos was not just showing cooperation of other alien races and their overall role in Starfleet. It was also to show acceptance of those other races' cultures' values, mindsets and spirituality. I really detest the way the show continues to trivialize and satirize any way of life that isn't consistent with middle America (or more specifically it seems, the writer's values).

    B'elanna's whole attitude towards her Klingon half displays a self loathing that K'Ehleyr herself never showed. All that in spite of the fact her Klingon half had already changed lives in the delta quadrant for the better exclusively because she was Klingon. (Faces, Lifesigns, and Prophecy sort of). We know that contempt stems from her human half, whom clearly shows a lot more intolerance and contempt. Just watch S1's Faces and you will see what I mean.

    She still wanted her father's acceptance while rejecting both her mother and her Klingon half. keep in mind her mother at least stayed with her thru all of it in spite of her headstrong ways. But her mother is Klingon and it seems to be par for the course for them.

    Ironic that the human half is what made her push them all away yet that's the half she desperately wants to embrace. I suppose the one thing about this we can take from it is humans really have low to zero tolerance for others. At times it borders on outright xenophobia, at least from watching Voyager (and ENT). Runs contrary to the whole point of ST and Gene Roddenberry's vision of a utopian future.

    With that being said, I enjoy the heel face turn in the story we get not too long after the ceremony in the mess hall. Things take a decidedly different route. And then we are thrust head first into a scenario that no one saw coming. I know I sure didn't. Didn't see how the title of the ep fit in until that moment.

    Speaking of which in spite of her vehement denials of her Klingon side it seems there was a part of her that very much believed in it. After all, she wouldn't have appeared on the barge of the dead otherwise. The Klingon in her runs deeper than she likes to admit, even to herself.

    And just as things get suddenly comes to an end and she finds herself awakened startlingly in sick bay.

    I'll skip over her sudden deep belief in Klingon lore. Those scrolls she looked at in engineering must have been poured over throughout her childhood up until she left home. I guess she didn't accept it until it happened and had to look up the details to see if there were a way to undo it. Like a good engineer, I suppose.

    Anyways after some pleading convictions to the Captain she's recreating the shuttle accident's environmental conditions and abra ka dabra, she's back on the barge of the dead.

    She does indeed get to confront her mother. And it seems the conversation begins where it left off 10 years ago for both of them. I mentioned in the S7 Lineage review how this paralleled Jean-Luc Picard and his older brother, Remy. And apparently their father as well. Except it would take him 20 years and a forced borg assimilation before he returned to his roots.

    In any case She gets to lift her mother's dishonor and take her place in klingon's Hell. As surprised as I was I'm sure no one was more surprised than she was as to where exactly that Hell would be located.

    The rest was more of an awakening of sorts for her to just accept who she is and stop running away. (Still can't imagine any Klingon saying to forget any part of their lore, especially when she flagellated the point to death in B'elanna's youth. Enough to drive her father away and eventually B'elanna herself. Writers needed to reword that some.)

    This ep is a companion piece to S7's Lineage. Which I will admit I found a bit more fascinating and almost as infuriating. (Wasn't quite as meticulously executed, tho.) Because it found B'elanna right back at her seeds of contempt regarding her Klingon nature. It wasn't as if she had a monopoly on Klingon temperament and ridges (that weren't even that pronounced). But at least that episode had a reason for her to be that way. The pregnancy triggered that dormant self loathing she still had about being Klingon. I'm guessing it mirrored how her father had felt at the time about it all. And she didn't want her child to have to go thru that as well. Seems with Klingons it always comes down to the sins of the father doesn't it?

    This one was very well paced and executed with pinpoint precision. I was definitely riveted to the screen till the end. At least it tried to restore a respectability to Klingon beliefs. In spite of B'elanna's misgivings (not to mention serious patronizing from a few members of the crew) it's hard not to give it a perfect 4. Except the show had an annoying tendency to belittle all the nonhuman species' beliefs far too often (glares at the doctor). Klingons just got hit the hardest. Gotta dock it half a star. Still, In spite those flaws this is nonetheless an outstanding one this late in the series.

    Well.. I as Christian found this episode very interesting.. and I often wonder what was the example for the Klingons on ST? The mogols? Russians? Now vikings when it comes to the spiritual ways....

    and by the way.. did anyone notice Torres' make up after she woke from her last "death".. well, when I was in tooth surgery I wasn't allowed to wear make up.. just saying.. it is for controlling purposes.. with red lipstick you cannot notice whether the lips turn purple/blue.. and the other make up restricts views on the skin (make turn grey.. pale...) and so on.. well.. Greetings from Munich, Germany, if anyone wondered why my English wasn't better..


    quote "Imagine how ludicrous it would be if a human crew member started talking about Moses or Methuselah or King David like that!!

    If one of the most important senior officers on my spaceship began spouting off this kind of moon-man talk, I'd put her in a shuttle, disable the shuttle's navigation systems and launch it in the opposite direction from the one I was traveling in.

    Psychological introspection, spiritual nonsense, references to "sacred" texts and their interpretation. Sorry but FOUR stars!!? This junk doesn't deserve even a half!!" end quote

    well.. first: If a Christian would talk like that.. that'll be nonsense in a non believing ear of course.. as it is for yours as well.. so good for Torres, she had the luck to have Janeway as captain to offer her.. or let her just "do what she had to do" (as men often say :P )

    BUT: between what you would do and what Janeway did.. there'd be another (non believer) possibility:

    Bring her to the doc.. who might find out whether she had major head trauma and maybe that caused it.. ro what if any alien had manifested in her head? (I wonder what discussion the writer of this episode had with him/herself... or with whom. Maybe there were these plot possibilities but nobody went after those..) And: to put B'ellana merely on a shuttle (how many are left? good, they build another one ;) )and toss her into space.. erm, nope. sorry, this is no Federation Captain's doing.. you, Sir, are no Captain "material"... thx for your opinion.. but: no!

    This episode was quite good, especially the relationship and interactions between B'Elanna and Miral, until in the last act it did a 180 and made clear the whole experience was a delusion and Miral was suddenly acting different, completely supportive. Still 2.5 stars.

    @ Wilt, that B'Elanna doesn't want to follow Klingon customs and even disapproves of them doesn't mean she has contempt for them doesn't mean she has contempt for them, let alone self-loathing. I thought the episode did a good job of showing her mixed albeit primarily negative thoughts about her Klingon heritage, that she did love Miral and yet was an individual, also feeling uneasy and doubtful about humanity's supposed ideal Starfleet.

    I agree with Jammer; great episode. Funny how most of the common complaints people see are actually easily explained away, or are actually strengths of the episode:

    1) Stop complaining about the religious aspect. The show went to great lengths to make it appear like this is all in her head. First of all, does it strain credulity that Miral would die at the exact same time that Torres had a near death experience? What are the odds of that? Secondly, Miral even said at the end that she wasn't really dead. So yeah, this whole thing was in her head. I mean, sure, Kahless may have brought Torres there to fix her or something, but this is definitely not a normal religious experience.

    2) It makes perfect sense for Torres to try this. First of all, based on her performance in Day of Honor and this, I think Torres is, deep down, a believer in Klingon mythology, even though she hates it. We know, now, that she was in a Klingon monastery as a kid, so she was exposed to a lot of it. We also know that she had really big fights with her mom, and that said mom put a lot of effort into getting her to accept Klingon culture. So she consciously rejects the religion because she wants to reject her mother. But, deep down, she hasn't fully thought things through. I'm reminded of Mel Gibson's character in Signs. Her rejection of the religion is due to rejection of other factors. I loved the scene with the Bat'leth in PseudoTuvok's quarters. B'Elanna is completely dismissive of the blade. Meanwhile, Worf, a well trained warrior, seems to love it and is highly skilled in its use. We see Tuvok wield it well and sing of its praises. But all Torres says is that it's overstated... like everything else Klingon. She can't see past her own hatred to view the bat'leth or anything else in a rational light. She's blinded by her own loathing.

    (I'm not trying to say that the bat'leth or anything else Klingon is totally awesome, but merely that B'Elanna is being highly judgmental and highly biased in her assessment. We shouldn't take her word for it. Ezri's famous Klingon speech was nuanced, with plenty of praise for Worf and not criticizing the Klingon ideal; just that the current version is far from this ideal. She is able to criticize Klingon culture based both on knowledge from Curzon and Jadzia as well as her ability to look at things as an outsider. B'Elanna is too close, too emotional to have that ability. But that's why this scene works so well. It shows us what we need to see, that B'Elanna is not a good judge precisely because of her inner turmoil.)

    In any case, like I said, she consciously rejected her religion, so wouldn't care about it. But a small part of her still believes in it. Enough that when her mother's immortal soul is in danger, she would have the incentive to go through with it. If it was just her soul, she wouldn't care. But this is family! I can definitely see her being more willing to risk herself, as well as allowing herself to take a second look at at her religion. Plus, she probably had a concussion and wasn't thinking straight.

    3) As for why Janeway would let Torres do this? Well, yes, she said it was too dangerous, but still, medical knowledge in the 24th century is awesome. I think the risk to Torres was already relatively small despite Janeway's protestation. After all, if nothing else they can just pump her up with Seven's magic nanoprobes like they did with Neelix. I mean, the risk here couldn't be any more risk that all of Chakotay's drug induced vision quests would turn him into a barely functioning, wooden caricature of an officer... ok, bad example...

    4) The bit at the end, with Torres throwing away the bat'leth? OK, a little bit cheesy, but still, it made sense given the context if you were paying attention. The whole point of this exercise was to force Torres to come to grips with her own isolation. There was more to it than simply giving her a Klingon identity and wanting to reunite with her mother. They had to show her that Voyager was her own personal hell.

    Well, not Voyager exactly. More like life. She was pushing everyone away, resentful of anyone trying to be friends with her. I like the fact that they brought up that Tom and B'Elanna's relationship wasn't exactly lovey-dovey. Sure, most of the time we saw it from Tom's angle, playing around on the holodeck with Harry or working on some new car in the holodeck. Makes you wonder if they were ever really in love. But now, there's a bit more to it. If B'Elanna's been distant, not letting Tom get close, then maybe that's why he's always off. And it fits in with her character so well. Her irrational anger at times, which we've seen so often. And then in Extreme Risk, we saw how private she can be. It fits her joining the Maquis, despite not having any emotional ties to those planets. She likes engineering stuff, she hates herself. The Maquis offered her a chance to do her job while not getting close to anyone.

    And now that's the same thing she's doing here. She hates Seven, is annoyed by Neelix (can't blame her for that), doesn't acknowledge the EMH, barely tolerates Tuvok, respects Janeway and Chakotay but aren't that close, and even keeps Tom at arm's length. Whether it comes from her troubled childhood (divorced parents? Divorced parents primarily caused by being different species, which makes a mixed species like her automatically stuck in the middle? That'll hurt) or not, it's still there. And that's what the bat'leth in the end represented, her pushing everyone else away. So throwing it into the ocean meant that her solution to her dishonor (the same dishonor she felt from Day of Honor - not traditional Klingon honor, but her own self-loathing) was to stop forcing everyone away. Yeah, like I said, it's a cheesy metaphor. And it's not that easy. But it shouldn't be that easy. This is just the first step to her path of maturing. Or one of her first steps. Either way, it worked.

    So, yeah, I liked it. Actually, the counterpoints above said most of what I loved about the show, besides the typical stuff that I'm never any good at saying. I mean, atmosphere great, acting great, exciting and well plotted, all that's good. So yay!

    But I do want to give special props to the scene in sickbay when Tom is pleading with B'Elanna not to do this. That's one of the very few scenes that actually made me feel that they were a real couple with actual feelings towards each other. Tom wasn't being dismissive of her, regardless of how much he may have wanted to be. Instead, he was trying to meet her halfway and come up with a new solution. His line about reading every Klingon text really draws out how desperate he is, and how much he cares about her. Despite him not believing her, he still wanted to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Just a quiet, nice "filler" scene before moving back to the barge of the dead, but I thought it was handled quite well.

    Also, Jammer brought up the use of Tuvok as the adversary here. I too think it's interesting. Perhaps because Torres admires Tuvok's ability to control his emotions while simultaneously finding him annoying and preachy? Perhaps because he too must walk between the logical and the spiritual, much like how Torres is feeling at the moment? Perhaps because of that aspect, because he himself seems a contradiction to Torres (a peaceful warrior, a logical philosopher, an emotional stoic), his voice is the one that breaks through her own contradictions that she has created in her own mind? I don't know, but I think it works.

    Count me among those who weren't particularly engaged by this one. Don't get me wrong, it was nicely atmospheric with some great moments (the crew's death by bat'leth being a nice one). And I actually quite enjoyed the ambiguity over the reality of what was happening.

    But I also found B'Elanna's sudden born again Klingon nature a bit jarring. Indeed I was struggling with it all until right at the end, when I suddenly realised this was a companion piece to Extreme Risk. In the previous episode B'Elanna wanted to feel alive. Here she chooses to live, full stop. And actually through that prism the episode made much more sense to me - which is not to say I enjoyed it a lot more. 2.5 stars.

    A detestable, over blown melodrama about feelings that .. zzzz

    Can't find anything to like about this, would have been watchable if she was a 15 yr old - because you could buy the premise of identity confusion, but from an adult this kind of self absorption and 'oh .. I just don't know who I aaaam .. ' made me vomit in my mouth.

    I didnt mind the concept of the near death experience, and the Klingon Death Barge - all very nicely done - I just hated the story about 'mummies gurl' - seriously, grow the fk up. Even worse, she is supposed to be tough - a half Klingon - this makes her look like yesterdays dishwater.

    I had a further thought - the story I would have actually enjoyed watching.

    B'Lanna returns and then gets into a screaming match with her mother - and the two grabbed weapons and beat the crap out of each other - finally B'Lanna drives her mother to the ground and full of Klingon fury she raises her weapon to finish her off - then the captain of the ship grabs her wrist - her mother starts laughing at her hyserically.

    Perhaps her mother quips "Oh, hell isnt good enough for me, did you follow me down here to finish me off entirely?" Unspoken is B'Lanna's own realization - and the silent words of her mother - "Now lets see you deny who you are B'Lanna, lets see you rationalize your way out of this one."

    B'Lanna gets to vent all the built up anger at her mother - B'Lanna's mother finally recognizes that B'Lanna has Klingon in her blood - she never needed to be taught how to be a Klingon.

    They can part finally on good terms - and perhaps B'Lanna wakes with the wounds of that battle to remind her - 'Not all mysteries can be solved by logic'.

    Yer - frankly - I like my story better - rather than B'Lanna sobs into her blankie and tries to feel good about herself, while secretly still cursing her mother.

    OK, I'm not sure how to review/rate this.

    Forever until about 3 days ago, I detested this episode. "Another "yawn" Klingon blah blah episode.... now there is a half-way house?"

    I was in Michael's court completely. A skipper every time.

    But then I came here, read Jammer's review (and everyone else's comments) and I actually watched this this time through.

    I've been swayed some. I DO love Roxann and enjoy her more each time I re-watch this series. I still get somewhat confused watching it, but I see where it was going. Taking into consideration Jammer and Skeptical's reviews/comments and my last viewing, I now can enjoy this episode. I don't have any issue with Janeway conceding and trusting the EMH, I think B'Elanna hatred for her Mother and herself was genuine. She truly did blame mom and ultimately herself for her fathers departure from the family and that's haunted B'Elanna her entire life.

    Walking the plank and throwing the bat'leth at the end was a little cheesy, but B'Elanna's abrupt awakening and emotionally hugging Janeway in place of her mother was more than moving for me. That was one of Voyager's biggest heart grabs (and the series has many).

    So I'll go from probably 1 star because I love Roxann to 3 stars.

    I used to like Bloney, but ever since the actress got pregnant they've neutered her character into this psycho mess (*)

    This is probably the most divisive voyager episode. It really seems to be a love it or hate it affair.

    I'm on the side of the haters. I normally love the character driven episodes, but I don't like Klingons and I can't stand B'elanna, so this episode is definitely not for me.

    1 star.

    The only thing I didn't really like about this episode is everyone seemed to sound out of character, even when they were supposed to be in character it seemed to me to be a little off-putting. But I do love Ron Moore's take on the Klingon heritage.
    Sidenote: I thought this would have been a good episode to bring in Martok for a cameo. That would have been cool.

    Decent. Interesting. Not 4-star great, but different strokes, right?

    The annoying bit for me: why the candles in sick bay? It's a medically induced coma/NDE/Klingon vision quest. Is mood lighting really necessary? Also, who's replicating all these candles that pop up every few episodes? Or, has Neelix found another hobby/job description?

    Robert D. Moore cannot get over his enormous boner for magic space religion. Unfortunately, it's never a good premise for a Trek episode, and this episode is no exception. Just dull, dull, dull the whole way through. Is it better than The Fight? Of course it is, but The Fight was one of the worst episodes of a terrible season, and Roxann Dawson is a much better actor than Robert Beltran. Being better than that is not a high bar to clear.

    I remember not liking this episode when I first watched it. I guess I've just grown bored of Klingons beating their chests and droning on about honor.

    I'm fine with Klingon ritual and tradition (I love "First Born" from TNG), and I don't have a problem with B'Elanna or a show about self exploration. But when it is clear from the beginning that the whole Barge experience is in her head--who cares? I despise daydreams, dreams, hallucinations, whatever. If it's not real, count me out--find some other way to tell the story. A "journey of self-discovery" might as well take place with the character sitting on a couch and thinking.

    Wow, I absolutely hated this episode. Just rewatched it and still hate it. Cliched. Unimaginative. Unbelievable. Just awful. Some stupid speech pushes Janeway into doing what she knows is wrong. A silly cliched spirituality vs science story. Just horrible.

    I think of this as a fairly typical Voyager episode about the questioning of faith and a character's own weaknesses/habits and reconciling the past. B'Elanna's always been a fighter with a potentially passionate side and so here's the episode that peels back the layer of her interesting character. There's plenty here that's a stretch with recreating near-death experiences etc. but that's typical VOY used to illustrate a story.

    Pretty cool visuals with the barge of the dead -- reminds me of Clash of the Titans as Perseus and co. sail to Medusa's world. There were definitely some corny moments for the crew when Voyager was B'Elanna's Gre'thor.

    The ultimate payoff seemed like a big confusing riddle within a conundrum within an enigma as B'Elanna figures out what she must do after saving her mom and trying to save herself. But I didn't think this was particularly compelling. Dawson does put forth a believable performance but the whole Klingon honor/faith thing has always been wishy-washy for me.

    3 stars for "Barge of the Dead" -- it's good insight into an intriguing character but ultimately not exceptional. Some more Klingon faith stuff if that's your thing -- it's not really mine. But works is the various things Torres realizes about herself and her relation to the crew which really rings true -- it's almost as if the average person would benefit from having these realizations about those around him/her.

    I didn’t care for this. It is basically “it all happened in your head “episode with a bunch of metaphysical Mumbo jumbo coupled with your standard Klingon honor schtick. The only worthwhile thing was the fact it meant a breakthrough in the character of B’elanna Getting some inner peace but honestly the path to that payoff was uninspired and boring
    2 stars

    Look at all these divisive reviews... people going to GREAT lengths to either praise or disparage this episode.

    And for what? It’s funny... that human need to be seen and have our opinion heard and, maybe, even validated. But at the end of the day, so what?

    Makes me question now why I’m bothering to type *this* haha

    But... before I go... This episode drools, Threshold rules!!!! Nyah nyah!

    To me, it is an ok+ episode. Nothing more. Too much Klingon babble-lore is kinda boring.

    Actually, very little about this story made any sense. That's not B'Lanna Torres' fault, of course. The complete illogic of Klingon spirituality long predates the creation of her character. To wit: How can mortals kill "gods" if they're truly "gods"? Obviously some progenitor race created the Klingon "species," and the latter killed the former in Klingon prehistory, and that fell into legends that recast said creators as "gods". The only other possibility - that Kortar actually "killed God" - isn't possible, let alone believable.

    But even if one allows that impossibility for the sake of argument, if the Klingons really did "kill their gods," what entity decreed the creation of Sto'vo'kor and Gre'thor, the criteria of what determines which Klingons wind up in each, and the mode of how each works? If honorable Klingons wind up in Sto'vo'kor, who judges that? Ditto those who wind up on the Barge of the Dead? And how is it just that Torres' life sticks not just herself, on the Gre'thor Express, but her mother, Miral, as well? What if Miral lived an honorable life? How can the actions of her daughter, completely out of her control, pluck her away from Sto'vo'kor?

    That Klingon spirituality is such an inexplicable mess is what persuades me that Torres was never dead in the first place. It simply cannot exist as depicted. Then, there's the matter of there being no such thing as increments of death; it's binary. Either you are or you aren't. "Afterlife" means just that - after. If the Barge (or wherever) is where Torres is truly headed, and she showed up there, she wouldn't be able to "go back", because *she would be dead*. So the whole episode did, after all, take place in Torres' own subconscious and her soul never went anyplace. Kinda makes all that well-crafted symbolism and character development awfully pyrrhic, if you ask me.

    That Tom Paris calls B’Elanna a “born-again Klingon”, in a way that shows his remark is intended as less than complimentary, suggests that Evangelicals will be not unfamiliar in the 24th century. If their function as figures of fun has been adopted by some later group after their extinction, that cannot be inferred from canon.

    Gods can be killed - though whether this is a credible concept, depends on what one understands by the concept of godhood. Mesopotamian religion has several deities being killed, such as Tiamat and Kingu, who were killed by Marduk in the best-known of several Mesopotamian myths of creation. Horus is killed by Set in Egypt, and most of the Norse Aesir are killed at Ragnarok. So the myth about Ko[r]tar is not in the least implausible. It seems to be a mixture of Etruscan, Greek, Mesopotamian & Norse elements. The writers are to be congratulated on their ingenious mixing of familiar ancient motifs to produce something new. Gods who need to be refreshed by sacrifices (conceptualised as their meals) can presumably - in principle - undergo death.

    What made Gre’thor ? Maybe, the Klingon gods, before, or even after, they were killed. Without knowing a lot more Klingon mythology, one can only make informed guesses using analogies from real-world ideas. The details of all these things are not incoherent, so much as fragmentary. A Klingon mythographer or theologian would presumably be able to fill in the masses of missing detail. Maybe Gre’thor is made out of the bodies of dead gods. Myths are characteristically resistant to harmonisation and systematisation, so one cannot expect a harmonious and internally self-consistent picture of the Klingon afterlife here. B’Elanna perceives it only in broken flashes, as might be expected of someone with a busy life like hers.

    The sight of Gre’thor’s gates looks uncommonly like illustrations of the description the gates of the city of Dis in Dante, Inferno, canto 9. 7That the idea of killing gods seems implausible, is perhaps a testimony to how deeply Western culture has been saturated with Jewish & Christian ideas.

    I found this episode rewarding to watch, because of its various narrative elements, which made it thought-provoking. As I have never had much of a head for the sciences, the scientific problems in this episode don’t spoil it for me, as they might for others. The last 5 or 6 minutes seemed not really to lead anywhere very much, but they were interesting for their echoes of earlier moments in the episode.

    3/4, I think. A good episode in many ways, though not exceptional. And there was no reliance on holodecks.

    Gotta say, the episode had merit, but the continuity damage of making Klingon hell and associated deities real and accessible is significant enough that I would not give this above a 2.5, at best.

    I’m ambivalent about this episode as a whole. But was there any reason, hot on the heels of Equinox, to stick a hatchet into the Doctor’s character again?

    It’s been previously established on this show and Trek as a whole that doctors in the 24th century adhere to the principle of primum non nocere. So of course the Doc is more than happy to starve Torres of oxygen for a while to take her to the brink of death.

    I like Voyager but inconsistent characterisations are the single biggest (though clearly not the only) flaw that stopped it from approaching the level of TNG. The thing is, they could so easily have changed it in a way that improved the story, strengthened the bond between the characters of B’Elanna and Paris as well as developing both WITHOUT doing a number on the Doc.

    *Doc refuses point blank to help Torres citing the Hippocratic Oath. B’Elanna asks Tom for his help. He’s learned enough during his training to be a glorified nurse to be able to pull off the procedure but he initially refuses. Torres then gives him a speech about how important it is to her and, out of his love for her and despite his fear of losing her, he agrees.*

    How hard would that be?

    * struggle* *strain*..... no, I just can't do it. I TRIED to get into this episode again, and I just don't care. I can't take Klingons seriously. They're an idea that should have been left in the 60's, or at least downplayed, instead of trying to persuade us that a culture like this could ever get into space., where they go around head butting each other and saying, "The toaster has no honour!" And though I actually liked B'Ellana as a character, I just couldn't get interested in this story, or take it seriously.

    I'm with the dissenters. I'm struggling to give this a single star, and could barely get through the episode.

    The story didn't make any sense at all to the logical part of my brain. Worse, it didn't resonate with me emotionally, at all, but perhaps that is due to my lack of spirituality and the complete reliance on this episode on a allegorical journey through a literal after-life.

    For what it is worth ... I DO like Klingon shows, so perhaps my feelings here are in part due to the fact that I just never took to B'Elanna. For me, she's right up there with Neelix, Paris, that Starfleet Engineer who vanished after season one (or two?) and so on. Have them in the background, sure, but don't try and build an interesting story around them.

    I'm not sure whether my lack of investment in B'Elanna is due to the scripting (where her level of Klingonness ebbs and flows as per the story requirements), or the actress's acting, or something else.

    The half-human / half-alien thing has been done a lot, and it can be a dreary cliche.
    But look at K'Ehleyr (from TNG). I totally bought that she was a half-Klingon, struggling with a raging temper, stuck between two cultures, wanting to belong to either (or both), but accepted by neither.

    Compare K'Ehleyr with B'Elanna, the former is awesome. Whilst the latter comes off as cranky and inconsistent, with a lack of emotional control or maturity which for me makes it hard to accept that she is supposed to be an amazing Engineer who does miracles on the most advanced ship in the fleet. Perhaps it is that I associate Engineering with critical reasoning, mental discipline, curiosity, mathematics and logic, and I don't see an intersection here between that and B'Elanna.

    Who knows how I would have felt if Suzie Plakson had played B'Elanna ...

    If you enjoyed it and think it was great, then ... fine!
    I'm not trying to convince you that you are wrong - please re-watch it over and over and enjoy it.

    But me for me ... it's the Fast-forward button.


    Why are there no seat belts in the Trek universe. Especially on the shuttles?

    I've always tended to dislike the Klingon cultural stuff in all Trek. Not sure why it always gets such rave reviews. Granted, it's usually well-written and produced. It's obvious they put real time and effort into it. But they could have made any episode of Voyager be awesome with the same amount of effort.

    I found this one kind of boring, Klingon stuff isn't my fave.

    I was born and raised and have lived my life in the USA, but my parents were immigrants. I relate to B'Ellana's struggle. As a kid, you want to be like everyone else, even as you love and cling to your parents and their ways, even as you feel pride in your heritage. Being different is hard and confusing and frustrating.

    In B'Ellana's case, it's believably led to self loathing.

    Tuvok, logic and reason, calm and dutiful, is a good opponent.

    I found it very dull. The only interesting thing to me was the Tuvok/Torres interaction. Originally, his character was to be a mentor to her. This was the closest I've seen to that idea.

    A decent attempt at character building (for Voyager), an accomplished lead performance by Dawson, and some competent direction -- but unfortunately I have some major problems with this one thematically. The reality is that near death experiences are notoriously unreliable evidence for "spiritual" phenomena, but the plot more or less abandons any scientific or skeptical counterpoint in order to provide us with a wholly fantastical depiction of Klingon mythology (which, it turns out, is a ill-conceived ripoff of Ancient Greek mythology). The script tries to leave the question of the veracity of Torres' experience open to interpretation -- but we are clearly meant to buy into the value of her journey and I just can't take that leap.

    2.5 stars from me.

    I truly felt this amounted to a one star episode of Voyager, a uniquely weak instalment of the series. When I first read the preview text, I said out loud, “I bet we’ll hear about targs, bloodwine, p’tahks, qaplah, bat’leth, Stovokor, honor, gagh, and Fek’lehr.”

    As though the writers were reading their own Klingon wiki page, we get remarkably little new lore for the fan-favorite race, save that their dead ride a viking ship to an afterlife contained within the walls of a particularly bad miniature of Castle Grayskull.

    For the record, I love Klingons. Some of the best hours of late DS9 centered on Worf and Martok and the Empire. I’m also one of those odd people that loves Ferengi; I’m a sucker for any Trek race beyond the standard humanoids with nasal ridges. My issue isn’t that we spent another hour with Klingons.

    As many other commenters noted, this episode is derivative. Unlike the reviewer, I have been marathoning these episodes long after they initially aired sequentially along with TNG and DS9. Lazy Klingon tropes, half-baked musings on religion, what amounts to a full-episode dream sequence without even the courtesy of a technobabble explanation, odd character behavior, and unimpressive sets lead me to write my one and only comment so far (I have been a regular reader of these reviews during my marathon).

    It’s no secret: Star Trek has never been able to write compelling stories about religion. Pah’wraiths and prophets, giant floating God heads in need of starships, Chakotay’s tech-enabled vision quests, or Tuvok’s bizarre role as ship’s zen master are part and parcel to the series. At best, the franchise leans into the mystery, doubt, and ambiguity of religion (take Sisko’s perspective on the validity of the Prophets to the Bajorans, for instance) . Here, we get a bizarre moral lesson: to barter with Satan for the souls of the damned, attempt a near-suicide.

    Unlike Sisko and the Prophets, Janeway has no reason to believe Torres can access the afterlife. When her crewman exhibits sudden belief in Klingon spirituality AND believes herself to have traversed to the world of the damned, Janeway meekly protests and then consents. And so does the Doctor. And everyone else. Yes, Picard and Sisko allowed Worf to pursue certain physical risks in consideration for his cultural values, but Torres demands to engage in a likely death ritual to enter the realm of a magic Hell boat (why she thinks partial death will suffice or how the procedure results in her vision is left frustratingly unclear). Torres needed a counselor; her racial self-loathing having been suddenly transformed into zealous self-harm apparently elicited only minor concern (Jameway was much more worried when Harry Kim had sex that time...). A truly shabby episode.

    The genius of Voyager is how they make the impossible believable.

    Seems a lot of people are having trouble accepting that there are things in the universe that can't be scanned with a tricorder.

    Supreme episode, 4 stars.

    Ehh. Mediocre episode. 2+. I could have lived with a 3, but I’m in indignant reaction to Jammer rating it so highly.

    And yet, while rating it so highly, he couldn’t even notice that it COULD be a payoff for the bitchy, confrontational bad B’Elanna mood he’s so frequently objected to over the past half season? Could it POSSIBLY be the writers were planting hints ahead of time that something’s wrong with B’Elanna? I guess the proof of that pudding won’t be known till we see if there’s a kinder, gentler B’Elanna in subsequent episodes, but I’m willing until then to give the writers some credit for gradual character development.

    And I do think the episode provides significant - and convincing, well-supported - character development.

    It’s just that the means of getting there are so very transparent, the “symbolism” so transparent - and fergawdsake (so to speak), Tuvok even TELLS us we’re to interpret the visions symbolically, metaphorically. That it’s NOT literal. Given that orientation, the episode leads us by the hand, does all the interpretation for us.

    Is B’Elanna human, Klingon, Starfleet, Maquis, daughter, lover, engineer, believer, blah blah blah? Well, clearly, like all of us, she’s a mixture of identities and roles, DUH, she’s ALL of them.

    Her problem, for whatever reason (and who are we to judge her right to inner conflict?), is that she hasn’t successfully reconciled and integrated the roles. She’s a psychological battleground. So what does she learn as she flings her weapon in frustration into the monster-writhing chaos of the storm-tossed deeps?

    Why, to STOP FIGHTING. Enough with the inner turmoil. Accept all her roles.

    So I like where she goes psychologically, and even that she gets there through the metaphoric agency of mythopoeic symbolism - it’s just that it’s all about as subtle as Pilgrim’s Progress. I guess I like my mythic tales a little more ambiguous, even a bit vague and mysterious - not so slavishly, by-the-numbers allegorical.

    It’s just not a surprise to me that psychological processes can dress in symbols and proceed as mythic role-playing. The execution and the production were all defy enough - and it was great to see B’El in full Klingon raiment - but the dream sequence itself just seemed ploddingly sophomoric.

    I don’t object that B’Elanna worked out her conflicts in Klingon religious terms; I don’t think her scientific bent and overt hostility to her Klingon-ity makes that unrealistic. On the contrary, it seems appropriate. It doesn’t matter that she has consciously and rationally rejected belief in the literal reality of Klingon mythology; she was inculcated into the true religion as a child - sent to religion school, as it were - so those images are burned into her subconscious. She can’t escape them.

    And both of her “near-death” experiences can be fit into a rigidly scientific and materialist context - if we can accept that the entire episode, from her bang-up shuttle landing at the beginning clear through to her waking up at the very end, are all part of the same near-death/coma fever dream. (This gets Janeway and the Doc off the hook for idiotically trying to recreate such an experience, and fits in with several other ST episodes where characters are subjected to multiple levels of sleep/dream, during some of which they believe they’re really awake - and during which the audience is intentionally deceived.)

    In such a reading, there is no debate about whether the Klingon afterlife is “real.” It’s simply that B’Elanna is “dreaming” the whole thing. We don’t need clues that it isn’t real, because we all know what it is to have dreams which seem to us, at the time, to be perfectly real. We’re experiencing everything from her perspective - including the interactions with other crew members toward the middle of the episode, when we believe (with B’Elanna) that we’re “awake” in Voyager’s literal reality. It’s during these interactions that B’Elanna’s rational, engineering mind comes to the fore, and she presents arguments with herself about varying interpretations and roles of religion and its relationship to reality. (And they’re only mildly interesting observations, fairly pedestrian questions.)

    So...during her extended vacation from reality, her unconscious mind works up a little psychodrama for her, in the guise of the mythology imprinted on her as a child, wherein she works out internal conflicts relating to identity, her relationship with her mother, etc.

    And all that sounds pretty good, really - a pretty strong brief for a prime-time TV show to illustrate the common grounding of myth and religion in the deep psychology of the human mind, and put it all in a defensibly scientific comtext. I feel like I ought to have liked the episode better than I did...

    I just keep coming back to the transparent, predictable, color-by-numbers imagery, symbols, and plotting employed for the dream sequences - which take up most of the running time, and are the focus of the episode. The Wizard of Oz is more entertaining.

    I’m not a Klingon-hater, but maybe the reason the episode falls flat for me is that Klingon religion is good with retribution, guilt, shame, stalwart discipline and honor - but low on grace, freedom, and transcendence. One feels no sense of the divine. There’s no mystery, no at-one-ment. By comparison, the Great Link seems a better metaphor for spirituality.

    The most affecting theme of the episode for me is actually the opening-up and surrender to vulnerability demonstrated at the end when B’Elanna embraces Janeway. It suggests the resolution of one of her deepest issues, the one which pre-dates the Starfleet/Maquis conflict - which is that she was rejected (or at least abandoned, and to a child what’s the difference?) by her father, then resented and pulled away from her mother till both of them rejected each other.

    Psychologically, she’s a motherless child - and the scene suggests to me that she’s both come to terms with own mother, and now accepts Janeway as her spiritual (or at least substitute) mother. Thus her first emotional opening is to Janeway - before even Tom. I liked that.

    But I have a question. If the bargemaster killed the Klingon gods...who then had the power to condemn him to an eternity running the River Styx ferry?

    Just re-watched this gem and it's even better than I remember it to be.

    I love what it does with Torres as a character, and I love how it depicts Klingon culture, and I absolutely love the last scene. But if you don't like B'Elanna (talk about character development!), Klingon culture or mystical concepts (FYI near death experiences is a very real and very powerful phenomenon), then this isn't for you.

    4 Stars.

    Yes this is a classic. Great episode to pair with Mortal Coil, the episode that already explored these themes just as well or arguably better. Oh that episode featured Neelix though. Unwarranted Neelix hate means this episode is the better remembered of the two

    I'm coming up short trying to decipher what this episode is even about. Is it B'Elanna coming to terms with her place on Voyager? Her reconciling with her mother and thus confronting the Klingon side she's tried so hard to repress? Her need to find a mother figure in Janeway? All of these things are brought up but none are developed or even rooted in the character's history (since when has Torres been so hung up about her mom?), making the big decision she undertakes—to recreate a near-death experience—fall completely flat. But mostly, I'm just wondering how an episode that features literal Klingon hell can be so damn boring.

    I am definitely floating in the middle between two very different reactions to the episode, thinking both the lovers and detractors are going overboard.

    I think Jammer and the lovers definitely overrate the goings on in this episode with four stars. To me, it was too ambiguous for that. A true classic ought to be more universally understood. Something with this many unanswered questions and confusion just can't go the full 4-stars with me.

    But I also don't get the full-on boredom and hate. There are a lot of interesting moments and thoughts here. The visceral reaction to the religion/afterlife themes are odd to me, too. Those themes are fine for exploration to me.

    I'm like a strong 2.5 stars or weak 3 stars here, seeing the value in the acting, the production and the premise, but it's definitely no Top 10 Voyager for me.

    I find it kind of ironic that those who didn't like the episode remind me of
    B'Elanna herself. Their loathing of the episode and its mystical and spiritual concepts mirror that of B'Elanna's loathing of Klingon culture and beliefs.

    It's almost like deep down they're scared of something, some inner truth they're trying to suppress. Maybe one day you'll find yourselves. And on that day, revisit Barge of the Dead. After all, it does sail forever doesn't it?

    Mostly agree with the review. I was a bit apprehensive early on as soon as it was clear things were a dream/illusion/going to be undone, but it turned into a sound and well done character piece.

    My only quibbles:

    1 - It does feel like we've been here before - B'Elanna has to learn to accept her self. When her mum said "You've taken yoyr first step..." I though "THAT'S her FIRST step?" Has she not learned anything from all her previous episodes treading the same ground?

    2 - More a general quibble about B'Elanna as a character, but does she ACTUALLY have a bad attitude? Her 'aggression' and 'quick temper' feel much more like traits we are simply informed about (a lot!) rather than ones we ever see really play out. She's had many small confrontations with other characters (Tom, Seven and Chokotay most often) over the years where I've thought "A genuinely short-tempered person would have bitten their heads off there' but she responds positively diplomatically.

    Of course Neelix is the first thing she sees in hell. 4 stars for that haha.

    Strong episode. It's not among my personal favorites, but I do think it's high quality.

    RichardH said: "I though "THAT'S her FIRST step?" Has she not learned anything from all her previous episodes treading the same ground?"

    Torres seems to have a lot of "character growth" episodes but the writers never seem to have the character actually grow as a result of them.


    I like this episode quite a bit. The symbolism can be a little tricky, and I won't say that I understand all of it, but I think it mainly works.

    What are some of B'Elanna's character traits?

    Self-loathing ("Faces"), rage ("Juggernaut"), a fear of emotional connections with other people ("Day of Honor"), and a compulsion to needlessly endanger her life ("Extreme Risk.") All of these elements are present in this episode.

    She's a half-breed who was mocked by human children. She blames her mother's strict adherence to Klingon culture for driving away her father and as a consequence has contempt for her mother's culture. She's a "woman without a country" so to speak. So she doesn't want to be a Klingon, but feels that she is "contaminated" by it and doesn't fit in with Humanity either. Eventually this leads her to feeling that she doesn't belong anywhere.

    To me that's the central fact in understanding her: she wants to belong, but because she thinks she is unworthy she always thinks of herself as a misfit and an outsider. And no matter what anyone tries to tell her she can't convince herself otherwise.

    She hates Klingon culture, she feels like an outsider among humans, she joins Starfleet but flames out, she joins a group of rebels and still feels like she doesn't belong even among a group of people who are themselves outsiders. She finds a home on Voyager, but she still doesn't feel she belongs. Everyone is treated with hostility or kept at arm's length. Why? Because she thinks she is a fraud and is unworthy of their friendship and love. She admits as much at the end of "Day of Honor."

    On the symbolism:

    (strictly my opinion)

    - The Barge of the Dead is actually the Barge of B'Elanna's bad relationships. The first, and most important, is her broken relationship with her mother. This is where things first went wrong for her. The strained relationships she has with her crew, and everyone else in her life, all follow that one. She's in a Hell of her own making and she's "condemned them all" as Harry says.

    - The Bat'leth - I think this symbolizes Torres' rage. Everyone she loves is harmed by it and B'Elanna herself is wounded by it several times.

    - "Defend Yourself" - I think the ending of "Day of Honor" is essential in understanding the Torres character. She says she doesn't have a "shred of honor." Now, you shouldn't look at this as "honor" in the traditional Klingon sense. What Torres means is that she doesn't have enough self respect to admit the truth about herself. How can you have honor if you can't even stop lying to yourself? In the end of both episodes her "defense" is to just admit the truth about herself. In "DoH" she admits her shortcomings and confesses her love, while in "Barge" she throws away the symbol of her rage; the rage that she has used to keep her distance from her crewmates.

    - Miral. Torres fears emotional pain more than physical harm. She finds it easier to face physical death than leave herself vulnerable to more heartbreak by connecting with someone emotionally, even her own mother. Torres both loves and resents her mother. She feels guilty for not speaking to her for 10 years, but still blames her for many of her life's problems. She wants to save her mother, but doesn't respect her mother's beliefs enough to do it fairly; she wants to trick the gods into letting them both escape. The first step in coming to terms with herself is when she says she will freely take her mother's place. She has to admit to herself, that no matter what her mother's perceived faults, she really does love her. She does it because they share a bond of love and not out just because it's "the right thing to do." Torres admitting that is the key. Truly connecting with Miral is the first step to truly connecting with the Voyager crew.

    There are a lot of comments above that I disagree with. I won't go through them all, but I'll attempt to rebut a few of them.

    1) "How dare they show the afterlife as real!" and "Damn atheists!"

    - This is about as evenhanded a treatment of the subject as you're ever going to find. Everything is highly ambiguous and you can take whichever side you want or none at all. They give no definite answers and don't attempt to push the audience in any direction.

    2) "B'Elanna has no interest in Klingon culture" & "B'Elanna would never take that risk"

    - "Day of Honor" shows that she at least has some interest in Klingon rituals. "Extreme Risk" and several other episodes put the lie to point #2.

    3) "Janeway would never do that!"

    - Have you ever watched this show before?

    4) "B'Elanna finds religion too quickly"

    - We learn in this episode that Torres spent time in a Klingon monastery as a child. Having religion drilled into you at a young age tends to stick with you to some degree for the rest of your life. Sometimes those buried beliefs have a way of popping up at unexpected times. 30+ years of anger and self-loathing, combined with guilt over her broken relationship with her mother, combined with her strained relationships with her crewmates, combined with the stress of being stuck in the DQ, and topped off by a near death experience - I can buy a sudden change in a person's personality.

    5) "Character studies bore me, and symbolism makes my head hurt."

    - I can't help you with this one, folks.

    “It doesn’t matter if you think it was real; it was real to me!”
    - Torres to Janeway

    This line made the episode for me. Top 5.

    For once I completely agree with Jammer. While there are some logical flaws (why would Captain allowed it, also Chakotey suddenly not thinking that spiritual journeys are real etc), emotionally it was top notch for me. I even teared up at that desperate "What do you want?!" rant. I didn't mind religious/spiritual side of this at all. Considering that I absolutely hated religious plot of DS9 ( along with politics and war lol) that's saying a lot. I think that's because religion was presented here as merely an aid in personal spiritual/psychological journey, instead of restrictive, dogmatic authority that are institutionalised Earth religions, at least most popular ones. This was engaging and effective episode. ****

    A tedious, irritating boring episode. Klingons bore. Day time soap opera writing bores. Unwatchable, like 11:59. 0 stars.

    I was bored by this episode. While I'm glad Dawson got some screen time, what did this episode accomplish? All it did for me is to emphasize that the writers have done nothing with her chief engineer character for 6 seasons.

    Scotty was iconic and Geordi had some great episodes focused on his engineering prowess. I can't think of a single episode focused on a complex engineering issue where Torres plays a central role. What exactly is her value on Voyager? Regrettably, the only airtime Torres gets is as Tom's arm candy and on boring Klingon religious episodes.

    Frankly, the Torres character is a huge mistake. While I have no issue with a female engineer (Seven is brilliant), the idea of an angry, rebellious Klingon doesn't work. Torres doesn't walk, talk, or act like an engineer. Engineers need to have some measure of geekiness, quirkiness, insane emotional attachment to the ship, and genius, and Torres has none of those. Leah Brahms would have been perfect for the role.

    The Torres character would have been much better as first officer. TNG did it with Worf's brother, and it was interesting to see the captain and crew react to a stern Klingon. Torres has the edge to pull this off. Chakotay...bless his too much of a mush.

    Barge of the Dead. Initially I was taken out to sea on it , largely because I started watching it after midnight. I was tired, missed 25 percent of the scenes, nodded off, then awoke to see the final scene.

    Then I read the reviews, Jammer's first, then everybody else's. Never been a huge fan of Klingon episodes. Liked Worf in TNG; loathed him in much of DS9. I like B'Elanna and always look forward to Roxann Dawson's contributions, but my bias against Klingon bombast is pretty hard to shut down.

    So, as I read the reviews, I agreed with many of the so-called dissenters, based on my 'half-out-of-it' impressions of the scenes. THEN I watched the episode when actually awake. Changed my mind.

    Final assessment: it's a powerful episode, very Beowulfian. The scenes with B'Elanna and Janeway are just too emotionally overwhelming to ignore. Will watch it again with much interest. I need that lump in the throat from time-to-time. 4 Stars.

    Maybe I'll try to rewatch just the Torres/Janeway scenes, but this did nothing for me.

    The whole thing just felt like it had been done a zillion times.

    The Noble Klingon stuff was pretty well used up in TNG itself. I didn't like much of the Klingon stuff in DS9, most especially Worf, though Martok was good.

    B'elana gets a number of eps a season and some good roles in other episodes that aren't particularly about her. Don't see how she is underused, she gets ep more than Harry, Tom and Neelix these days and on par with Tuvok.

    Really? No comment about *yet another* duet of the Doc and Seven?

    Dawson is truly a very underrated actress, and I say that knowing that she's held in high regard by most.

    Still not high enough in my book. That she's able to somewhat sell this classic "trek tries to flirt with spirituality" crap to the point that jammer would give this 4 stars is nothing short of unbelievable.

    But boy oh boy, that plot... the mix of the typical, vague "science isn't everything - maybe" spineless and opportunistic trek cliché, plus a nice compilation of dumbed down klingon stereotypes...oh my.

    I got nothing against klingons. Whenever trek uses klingons for their twisted and messed up politics, their usage as cold war metaphor in TVH, the chess piece maneuvering in late DS9 - nice.

    But this was all "klingon go arrrrr" trope, through and through, mixed with some fortune cookie level appeals to the part of the target audience that like to think of themselves as religiously or spiritually enlightened (as showcased in quite a few comments)

    "it's true for Me". "we just want YOU" - Oh my. So very deep! *eye roll*

    But again, that Dawson is able to somehow sell this - amazing. Four stars for the ever dependable Dawson. Zero stars for the plot. Don't care about the production values, which I guess were good and done with a lot more love and dedication than this cliché plot deserved.

    I just could never get passed the premise of the Captain letting her chief engineer basically commit suicide. If the writers would have written Janeway’s character consistently, upon hearing Tores’s nonsense, she would have temporarily relieved the engineer of duty, sent her to serious counseling and warned her that if she attempted any self harm, Tores would be spending the rest of the trip to the Alpha Quadrant in the brig.
    But for those of you who could get over this flawed initial premise, then glad you enjoy the episode.

    The Klingon kills the Doctor with a bat'leth. Fascinating.

    Don't really care for the Klingons and never have to be honest. Sure, they have interesting history but the episodes usually make them seem quite boring and slow. I couldn't stand this when I was younger and it's an episode i always skip when watching through Voyager but honestly, after Jammers review I decided to give it another shot. I'm really enjoying it at the moment. Love the fakeout at the beginning as well.
    This is the most interesting Klingon episode ever made for trek in my opinion. It really gives a great in-depth look in to B'elannas struggle.

    I half wanted B'elanna to wake up and say "What day is it?" and Naomi Wildman to answer "why, it's Christmas day, of course!"

    Dickens never gave us a follow up on Scrooge's progress, but I'm pretty sure I can rely on VOY to revisit how this episode really changed B'elanna over the course of the next two seasons. Right?

    4 stars? Are you joking? No issues with performances but the episode was flat out boring.

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