Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 10/18/2000
Written by Michael Taylor
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"I was just going to congratulate you. She's not a Borg, she's not a hologram, and she's not dead. Looks like you might've finally found yourself the perfect woman." — Tom to Harry
In brief: An average, amicable, marshmallow-consistency show in which some underused characters actually show up.
If you're looking for something substantive, you'd best look elsewhere. "Drive" is a featherweight Voyager outing — an amiable episode that will hopefully make you grin from time to time, hopefully make you glad that they've actually dealt with a character theme that has been largely ignored for the past three years, and hopefully remind you that the plot of last week's "Imperfection," while mired in overused Borg milieu, was a pretty meaty story — which this is not. The plot details of "Drive" are an excuse to give us a relationship show on a series which the now-only-peripherally-involved Brannon Braga has always maintained "is not a relationship show."
In other words, this is generally effective marshmallow fluff. Ambitious? Hardly. Reasonably well-executed on its terms? For the most part, yes. A pleasant, likable hour? I think so.
It's a rare Paris/Torres episode, with a subplot involving Harry "I'm Such a Hapless but Lovable Chump" Kim. For once we have a story that is actually about the characters, and not about the plot. Well, sort of. Sure, the relationship story involving Tom and B'Elanna may be a fairly standard iteration on a formula — but, hey, I'm glad the writers made the effort. Maybe Kenneth Biller, running the show from here on out, will actually deliver on some of those rumored reports of increased continuity and character development for Voyager's final season. "Drive" displays some possible signs of that.
Regarding the plot — it begins as a somewhat refreshing change of pace in that the aliens we meet aren't automatically shooting at us. On the contrary, Kim and Paris find themselves testing the new Delta Flyer and drag-racing another pilot in the episode's teaser. Shuttle drag racing — that's sort of an interesting idea. ("Imperfection" and "Drive" were flip-flopped from the originally intended air schedule, which I think is proven here as a dumb idea — the whole idea of establishing the "new" Delta Flyer is at least made into something of a point here, whereas in "Imperfection" it was reduced to a lame joke.)
The drag-racing opponent in the teaser is a woman named Irina (Cyia Batten, who was the first of three actors to play Dukat's daughter Ziyal on DS9), whom Harry very quickly attempts to befriend. (Place your bets now on whether Harry will hook up, but I urge you to consider his track record.) Irina informs Tom and Harry of a racing event taking place nearby. This region of space, you see, was once a big war zone, but now the formerly warring societies have established this shuttle race as a celebration for the anniversary of a peace treaty that is only a few years old.
Paris is excited about this race. Very. It's a great opportunity for him to play up one of the two character traits he's known for: the Expert Pilot. (The other trait is of course Lt. One-Liner.) Janeway thinks a race in the interests of peace is a perfect way to take a breather and to exercise Federation diplomacy, so Paris is pleased as punch about the chance ... except that in his state of pilot's rapture he forgets all about the romantic weekend he and B'Elanna had planned in the holodeck. Doh!
B'Elanna's reaction to Tom's apology is surprisingly restrained — and she even encourages him to follow through on whatever "makes him happy." Okay, guys — this is where a red flashing light and a buzzer should be going off in your head right now: RELATIONSHIP TROUBLE AHEAD. B'Elanna's response is a mix of understanding and hidden exasperation. But mostly masked disappointment. She begins to realize that perhaps she and Tom are too different to be together.
I liked Dawson's less-is-more performance. When she sulks in the mess hall, it's underplayed in a way such that her disappointment shows through all the more. It reminded me of her detachment in "Extreme Risk," an episode where her performance transcended the shallowness of the story.
Tom also comes across reasonably. He obviously cares for B'Elanna, but what exists here is a failure of communication for these two to clearly reveal their perceived relationship problems. B'Elanna feels like Tom assigns her too low a priority, but hasn't told Tom she feels this way. Tom is more than willing to make B'Elanna his top priority, but isn't sure that she wants him to overwhelm her with "mushy stuff." The way all of this comes to a head is after B'Elanna becomes Tom's co-pilot in the race in order to spend time with him doing something he feels is important. This allows issues of control and possession of responsibility during the race to be melded into the psychology of these two and their relationship.
This isn't the deepest material ever conceived, but I thought it was adequately conveyed by Michael Taylor's script and the actors. Dawson and McNeill do a good job with the material they have, but they still don't have a natural, unforced chemistry with each other that truly sells intimate scenes, especially concerning the "mushy stuff." I must confess a bit of a soft spot for relationship shows that give us a payoff after years of setup (or in the case of Voyager, occasionally acknowledged setup), so I found this mostly enjoyable even if a little hackneyed. One apt moment is when Tom stops the Flyer in mid-race to have an immediate, serious talk with B'Elanna.
All of this segues into and out of a plot involving somebody trying to sabotage the race and tear down the uneasily maintained peace treaty. (The reasons for this, once revealed, are hopelessly perfunctory, but an even bigger question I had is why golf balls in the 24th century have blinking, bleeping lights inside them — but forget it.) A sabotaged console on Irina's shuttle blows up, injuring her co-pilot. This leads Harry to volunteer as her replacement co-pilot. No points for guessing who the saboteur is; the Law of Economy of Characters basically gives you two choices: Irina herself, or gruff (red-herring) opponent Assan (Patrick Kilpatrick, who appeared as a hardened Starfleet soldier in DS9's "The Siege of AR-558"). If you didn't guess Irina, you obviously weren't paying attention to the implications of the Harry Kim attraction angle.
This poor sap. I'm beginning to think the writers take some sadistic pleasure is teasing him with potential girlfriends who are, of course, not what they seem. Of course Irina is the saboteur. It's inevitable. If she weren't, Harry might stand a chance to hook up, which simply would go against everything about the Harry Kim (Not) Getting the Girl rule. (Hey, at least the writers are consistent!) If this guy isn't a walking poster boy for the theory "nice guys finish last," then I don't know who is.
Structurally, I thought the way the climax was executed, with the crosscutting between the Tom/B'Elanna and Harry/Irina dialog scenes, worked pretty well, explaining the sabotage plot while Tom and B'Elanna face their communication barrier. I should probably point out that only on Voyager will you likely see a marriage proposal happen in the middle of a speeding attempt to move a bomb from A to B during a 30-second countdown. (This isn't the usual gratuitous Action Insert, but instead gratuitous full Action Integration.) Peace is maintained, Irina is exposed, Harry is still a chump, and Tom and B'Elanna live happily ever after.
The episode ends with an off-screen wedding and then a scene on the Delta Flyer, in which an enormous conceit of cuteness was taken in having "JUST MARRIED" written on the back end of the Flyer. I sort of enjoyed the idea of the two teasing each other about the last name (marital struggle #1: "B'Elanna and Tom Torres" or "Tom and B'Elanna Paris"?). Whether or not you like this — or any of it — may simply depend on whether you've ever liked the idea of Tom and B'Elanna together. I'm one who always sort of liked it, but didn't find great insight in the way it was executed. Such are my feelings for "Drive."
Next week: The trailer claims mutiny, but somehow I doubt it. Maybe it's "Worst Case Scenario, Part II."
Previous episode: Imperfection
Next episode: Repression
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81 comments on this post
Thu, Oct 25, 2007, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
I had to smile, though, when it turned out that Harry's new crush was a xenophobic assassin. If the writers aren't going to have him grow beyond his Trek Bible Bio, at least they're consistent.
Mon, Apr 6, 2009, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 25, 2009, 9:21am (UTC -5)
The race was okay, but Belanna in that racy outfit was better.
Thu, Jul 23, 2009, 10:50am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 15, 2010, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
But no: It's about Tom Paris acting out a juvenile boyish fantasy (racing) with a 24th-century twist AND Harry "No-Lock" Kim screwing up.
But sarcasm aside, I thought Torres supplanting "No-Lock" was really sweet of her. I also liked the jumpsuits they wore, especially the gray vs. white contrast. But much of the Paris-Torres sparring would be more suited to some third-rate soap-opera than a sci-fi series. It was nice when they reconciled though and, call me sentimental, but i really enjoyed the soppy ending, mainly because it didn't come across as contrived.
Neelix succeeds in being a massive pain in the ass in every single scene. On the other hand, Irina has a nice ass, so they pretty much cancel each other out.
Stupidity peak: Paris and the Morse Code. Tantamount to a N.A.S.A. astronaut being able to recognize and decipher a flag semaphore message. *sigh*
Overall, a watchable and rather entertaining episode. I'd give it 2.5 stars.
Sat, Mar 12, 2011, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 3, 2011, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, average fluff really. And alas, poor Kim yet again. Pleasant enough but far from amazing.
I'm a little disappointed that after all those years of buildup they get an off-screen wedding. I was looking forward to watching Lt One-Liner snarking his way through the marriage vows.
Wed, Apr 27, 2011, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 27, 2011, 9:41am (UTC -5)
It did seem a bit of an anticlimax skipping all the stuff normally considered important and just 'ending' like that, but without spoiling Voyager's grand finale too much... erm, let's just say, get used to it :)
Mon, Sep 5, 2011, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 10, 2012, 12:40am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 5, 2012, 2:18am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 5, 2012, 2:19am (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 11, 2012, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
However... aren't they only supposed to be INSIDE the ship? The ship should still coast though space, just like in the TNG episode when they were towing the Constellation.
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
Really though, since Doc is just a hologram he could really do whatever he wants if they made one of those yellow plastic cube things that the TNG crew put Moriarty and the Countess in...
Sun, Oct 14, 2012, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 8:01am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 11:55am (UTC -5)
@michael, i think i enjoy his comments more than jammers reviews.
i am suprised Michael liked the mushy stuff. Michael reminds me of Fred Savage on "Princess Bride." lol
finally, if you watch this episode in 2013, does it make you think of the Boston Marathon bombing?
Thu, Sep 12, 2013, 12:55am (UTC -5)
I think his character is complimentary and shows more depth of emotion than some of the others. For that matter, I think Quark was an amazing character in DS9. I just don't get all the hate.
Tue, Oct 8, 2013, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Its just a shame that the writers all too often either ignored him or ruin his interesting love of the 20th century by constantly ramming it down our throats. Another failing is that we really needed to see Tom and Torress as more of a couple with a vibrant relationship, and not just when the plots forces it.
The good news is that this is a very good Tom episode which allowed him to shine at his brightest for a change. This was fun, natural, cool, stylish, tight and layered with all the right emotional cues which make great entertainment.
The only thing I would have liked to see was at least a glimpse at the actual wedding, even a montage over the closing credits would have been satasfying. All in all, 3.5 stars.
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 6:27am (UTC -5)
I think it's that he's so absolutely unrelentingly cheerful at all times, often when it seems inappropriate. There is only so much one can stomach of a "happy go lucky" sort of character.
Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 7:05am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Not saying it's good or bad mind you, that's just how I see the way Star Trek "thinks" (and it's not a hard rule or anything, things like Bird of Preys or the Defiant, when they're decloaked anyway, are a bit more in the fighter plane category).
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode for its cheesy but sweet story. I've always enjoyed the B'Elanna and Tom relationship for the most part, although I didn't like when it became a vehicle for us to just see them bicker. It's especially fun to watch because my husband and I are a lot like them! I'm kind of glad it didn't show the wedding, although it did make the end of little confusing – you don't realize that they're married until you see the last shot of the Delta Flyer. I much prefer church weddings myself, and the Starfleet ones always seem a little dry to me. The version of their wedding in the episode when they were actually metallic slime didn't do much for me - glad they didn't try to reprise it. But maybe they could've given us a five second shot at the end of this episode with people smiling and toasting Tom and B'Elana in the mess hall, presumably at the end of the ceremony? It would've gotten the point across more clearly before the scene in the Delta Flyer.
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 1, 2014, 1:11am (UTC -5)
The conversation between Paris and Torres when just stops the Delta Flyer to debate their relationship, was interesting to watch.
It was not an awesome episode, for sure, but a good enough one.
Sat, Jun 7, 2014, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 9:44am (UTC -5)
What I thought really didn’t work was the constant cross-cutting in the final act between the romance scene and the plot « revelations » regarding Irina. This may be one of the worst editing choices made in Star Trek. And although I thought Cyia Batten made the best Tora Ziyal, her performance here wasn’t all that convincing. Really, they should have just dropped the entire sabotage subplot and focused more on the excitement of the race itself. That being said, I did appreciate how the guy who was so obviously set up as the Hard-Headed Alien of the Week [TM] turned out to have done nothing wrong.
Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Further, on a side note, I like that characters like Quark and Neelix that provide humor and contrast to the show. In my view, Neelix is not as interesting as Quark, but he's a fine addition to the cast of characters.
Overall, I thought the show had a good balance of romance, humor, competition, diplomacy and mystery. I think those elements complement each other rather than undermine each other.
I'd give the show at least 3.5 stars.
My only quibbles: 1) the romantic scenes could have have been a little more direct and therefore could have had a little bit more of a payoff. I feel like the writers and the actors were terrified of coming across as corny. But, you have to "go for it" in romance at some point. You have to take a leap of faith that the audience will support your sincerity and go along with it.
2) I know the show is only around 40 minutes, but they completely sidestepped the handling of the punishment of the conspirator. The ending, as a whole, was rushed.
Very good episode.
Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 10:03pm (UTC -5)
This does leave me conflicted because it is the one element in the show that could potentially topple the other elements. That's why the situation should have been addressed in the show's ending.
Ultimately, I think it is, after all, a TV show, and the fact that the woman appeared to be relatively independent in her actions does soften some of the horror of the situation.
Perhaps the fact that the writers took that element of the story quite that far is the biggest flaw in the episode. (That is to say, the writers decided that the conspirator not only wanted to kill one ship, but also many innocent bystanders.) This theme, therefore, risks being too serious to be an afterthought.
But I still hold that it is a very solid episode in that so many ingredients were effective. Every cultural work is flawed somehow. I guess that's why the subjective nature of our tastes is important to our views. We all chose to tolerate some things and not others.
Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
it would be great if we could edit our posts, oh well
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 12:14am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Enjoyable episode to me. Glad something finally happened between real B'Elanna and Tom.
Wed, Jun 17, 2015, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Whether they stay together or break things off, it's all the same to me.
It also comes as no surprise that Harry falls for the cute alien chick. At this point, we don't even need dialogue to know that's going to happen. The second she beamed aboard the flyer and I saw she was cute, I knew Harry was going to be into her. It's just become that predictable.
I'm curious how her sabotage was intended to work, however. She apparently set some sort of rudimentary timer on the Flyer's fuel conversion unit and was betting on it to explode at the finish line. But how did she know the flyer was going to win? What if the flyer ran into trouble and was slowed down? They would just blow up in the middle of the course, with no damage done to anyone but themselves and possibly some other competitors. Just feels a little wonky for a sabotage plan. Could have easily backfired on her in many different ways.
Thu, Mar 10, 2016, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
But alas, the title was right. It's called Drive, not Race.
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Otherwise, this is a properly lightweight outing in the main. It's amiable enough in the main, although all the relationship stuff is pretty shallow and it never really seems to be tapping into any deep emotion. And it's odd that the wedding is never shown - although that's almost made up for by the cute little Just Married on the Delta Flyer. 2.5 stars.
Sat, Apr 9, 2016, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
In any case, Gretchen asked what B'Elanna sees in Tom. The other side of that is what does Tom see in B'Elanna?
Let me ask you a question; what is B'Elanna interested in? We know Tom is interested in fast cars, fast ships, 20th century pop culture, and creating holodeck settings. Harry is interested in playing the clarinet, playing that Vulcan chess game I'm too lazy to look up, and being Tom's sidekick. Chakotay is interested in anthropology, boxing, being boring, and spirituality. But Torres?
We have nothing about her interests. Engineering? Other than Prototype, her interest in it has barely been shown, and she hasn't used that interest to help the ship (the way Tom did by designing the Delta Flyer). Being Klingon? Before Barge of the Dead, it was clear she didn't even like being Klingon. Sports? We see some in Extreme Risk, but that seems to be due to her being depressed and bordering on suicidal. Socializing? She's had antagonistic relationships with the Doctor, Neelix, and Seven, and tends to have a perpetually pissed off attitude in the show. So what does she do? What is she interested in? How does she spend her downtime? I have no idea.
I think this is a side-product of Voyager's lack of characterization. Not only did the show have an overabundance of technical people (Torres, Kim, Seven), but their lack of interest in two of those three meant they were relegated to nothing but technobabble. In the end, the writers just seemed to stop caring about B'Elanna. And because of that, it's hard to see how this relationship survived. Practically everything was seen from Paris' perspective. We had Torres building him a tv set. We saw them go on dates in the holodeck that he picked out. We saw him getting in trouble because he spends too much time on the holodeck. We never really see what she brings to the relationship. She is always the one reacting (both positively and negatively) to Paris' actions.
The only two times you could really feel what Torres was thinking in this relationship was Alice and here. First, Alice ended up providing a nice summation of Paris' obsessions, courtesy of Harry. Yes, Tom gets obsessed with random projects at times, and jumps into them to the extent that he ignores practically everything else (including B'Elanna at times). But the two constants he has is his love of piloting and his love of her. I think that episode showed that she accepted that part of him, showing understanding that he does get these projects stuck in his head, and is willing to live with them even if it annoys her. The fact that she is able to do that shows a lot more patience and understanding than we normally give her credit for. And probably shows just how much she cares about him.
Then we have this episode. Where she is really understated about things and feels she needs to break up with him. And we see that she doesn't really want to, but just thinks its necessary. And it is, in part, because she thinks Tom doesn't prioritize her. She wants a permanent relationship but fears that this is all just more fun for Tom. That's the one reason I can kinda see their marriage being so fast. They both wanted it, they just both thought the other didn't. Again, the fact that she accepted Tom's mistake with such understatedness shows the depth of her relationship, and is far better than what we expected to happen (her blowing up about it). Likewise, the fact that throughout the episode, it was clear that Tom cared more about how Torres was feeling than the actual race. That, too, may have influenced their decision to marry so quickly. Yeah, still weird that they went 3 years without figuring this out, but whatever.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 9:30am (UTC -5)
It would have been a turd I think had B'Elanna gone off on some temper tantrum. I really like the way they (she) play this... once again Roxann sells the story. Has she ever had a bad acting day on Voyager?
I think not.
I too think her conversation with Seven was a good one.
Cyia Batten, IMO, was the best of the three actresses that played Ziyal. She also played the Orion Slave girl Navaar in ENT: Bound. I always enjoyed her but I don't think she has the screen presence that Kelly Waymire did.
Loved the Neelix play-by-play of the race along with Tuvok getting into it as well.
Poor Harry :-) I wish she hadn't been the terrorist and joined Voyager for the remainder of the series.
There really nothing to gripe about in this episode. Why did it take 3 years for them to get married? What's the rush? Why marry at all?
I'll go 3.5 star here.
Sat, Sep 24, 2016, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 19, 2016, 5:59am (UTC -5)
Oh and Harry's crush of the week was cute..
Tue, Apr 18, 2017, 12:32am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Janeway is the worst captain in the history of starfleet.
And some alien they just met installs a device on the flyer that turns out to be a bomb, while somehow sabotaging an important system, and noone notices? They don't do any sort of diagnostic on the flyer before the race or anything? They don't inspect the part? nothing?
The suits looked alright though. 1 star plus another 1/2 star for the suits.
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
And I’ve always wondered why B’Elanna wasn’t more involved in Tom’s holo adventures. I would have thought that a pilot and a chief engineer would have found sharing those episodes interesting as well. There were times during the three years worth of episodes that I couldn't tell if they were still together.
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
I know this was the season Ken Biller gave fans what they thought they wanted and had been missing in earlier seasons so I'm sure somebody out there was heavily invested in the tom and belanna relationship. I was not one of those folks. I thought they had zero chemistry so that part of the story was meh.
The B plot sucked. I mean of you're going to do a B movie plot like a space race you should at least make it be exciting. This was not. I mean they stopped in the middle of the race. And Harry was long passed being a lost cause as a character
Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Tom was my favorite character on Voyager, and I loved all the episodes that centered on him - Threshold, Alice, the Chute, etc. I think this was a nice way to advance the Tom/B'Elanna relationship. B'Elanna was open to Tom about her feelings on their relationship, and Tom made it clear that he prioritized her over everything.
And I will never truly understand the hate for Neelix. I thought he did a great job narrating the race. He made it fun.
Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Neelix was missed potential. While I do generally like his character, I think he could have been a very popular character if the writers had really given him more depth. We get flashes of it here and there, more obviously in "Mortal Coil" and more subtly in "Memorial", but too often he's written as simply a goofy babysitter. This is a character with amazing potential.
He's part of an endangered species, having lost his entire homeworld and family to a brutal war, he's a veteran from the most destructive war his people have ever faced. While I'm not opposed to his outwardly cheerful disposition (everyone has their own ways of coping with grief), why didn't we see more of the tough bad-ass that Neelix would necessarily have to be at this point in his life? When we first meet him he's so happy to have a bath because he's been scraping by just to survive; he couldn't even fathom having enough water to "waste" on things like a bath. Yet we very rarely get anything from him other than goofball, jealousy over a woman he's known for less than a year, and the occasional mention of his sister. And he adapts so quickly to Voyager you'd think he's spent his whole life living in the Federation wanting for nothing.
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 1:07am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 6:42am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 22, 2017, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Nothing profound here but I thought the idea of a space race between the species is a good idea and it gave the Voyager crew another chance for some light-hearted acting. The idea of some cheating, sabotage, treachery is obviously needed -- it can't just be a normal race.
Nevertheless, I thought the stuff between Paris and Torres was decent -- Paris is true to the character of being extremely determined when he gets an idea (whether its racing or proposing to Torres as the shit's hitting the fan). And Torres is a fun character with her fiery nature -- although she was more subdued here but still one to wear her emotions on her sleeves.
2.5 stars for "Drive" -- enjoyable hour of VOY. Just a bit convenient with meeting all these aliens and getting on with the race. No idea what happens to the chick Harry falls for or what happens to the relations between the various alien races -- the episode really downplays that whole major plot device and ends up with the Delta Flyer having "Just Married" painted on it and flying away. Basically, the Torres/Paris romance has gotten to the next level from this episode.
Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 5:03am (UTC -5)
The episode's real lean meat is the Tom/B'Elanna story, and I guess here I'll say that I find the leads likable and that some of the dialogue lands, but mostly I feel unsatisfied with this as their Wedding Episode (!). Throughout the relationship, there have been periods where Tom ignores B'Elanna to work on his own flyboy or whatever obsessions (Vis a Vis, Alice, that time in Memorial where he gets distracted by the TV, ho ho) and periods where B'Elanna pushes Tom away while he tries hard to make an emotional connection (most of season three, "Klingon" eps like Day of Honour and Barge of the Dead), and then the occasional episode like Extreme Risk which manages to portray both. This one also tries to do both, but somehow the two elements here never quite gel -- at first Tom forgets about B'Elanna because of the possibility of the shuttle race, and then later on he reveals he has been not pushing things because he was afraid she wouldn't like the mushy stuff. Those two things don't *quite* have that much to do with each other, in that I don't really think Tom's insensitivity is because he was afraid to show too much feeling for her, but it's something of a valiant effort to stitch together two long-standing traits that we have seen in the relationship in an attempt to make something fully coherent about them. Reading the vacillation between Tom losing interest in B'Elanna over whatever new toy he has and B'Elanna's frustration with that, and Tom begging B'Elanna to let him in and her pushing him away, as being the result of a cycle of pushing back and forth and disappointment seems to sort of make sense, though, I dunno, it still feels to me a little like two parallel tracks of the relationship that rarely actually seem to make sense enough to occupy the same episode, and when they do (Extreme Risk) it doesn't really seem to make sense. But still: while I don't think this episode is very deep or insightful about their relationship, I guess it doesn't undermine it exactly either. I like that when Tom realizes he'd forgotten about his and B'Elanna's date, he offers to drop out of the race and B'Elanna says it's fine, both keeping their emotions (regret, disappointment) low-key, and even B'Elanna's considering breaking up with Tom doesn't play out in melodramatic fashion at first but as a reckoning with the possibility that their relationship just isn't going anywhere. Tom's melodramatic stalling at the end of the race -- ending the *shuttle*'s motion so that he can propose that he and B'Elanna's relationship *can* finally go somewhere -- breaks the low-key tone but in a basically character-consistent way. The jump to "just married" is maybe reasonable given that this is the Final Season and all, but I think that it would have maybe worked better if B'Elanna hadn't wanted to break up with him earlier in the episode.
Harry is a sap as always, yeah, but I like that he does get the chance to figure out Irina's plan and so gets to play the hero a little bit. I enjoyed making fun of Harry as much as everyone back when the show was on, but I'm finding I have a little bit more of a soft spot for his character now. It's true that Wang's performances aren't regularly compelling, but he could be good when the material was interesting (Timeless, e.g.) and mostly he was stuck with a character that the writers never had much interest in doing anything with. So it's nice that even in the midst of the standard Harry-is-a-loser plot he does get to do some day-saving.
The Irina motivation stuff -- uh, something something peace -- uh, whatever. Not every alien plot has to matter much but this really does feel especially perfunctory.
Barely 2.5 stars -- watchable but nothing special.
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
Lineage (late-Paris/Torres works for me)
Worst Case Scenario (ensemble piece but he has the most material really)
Author, Author (Doc show but he has a lot of material)
Day of Honor
Blood Fever (Paris/Torres stuff)
Non Sequitur (I like the Paris stuff in this otherwise lame episode)
Gravity (mostly a Tuvok show of course, but a key and decent supporting role)
Bride of Chaotica!
Time and Again
Ex Post Facto
Vis a Vis
Investigations (does this even count since they shuffle it to Neelix?)
Most Tom episodes worthwhile are relationship-related -- Tom/B'Elanna of course, but also his friendship with Harry, his relationship with the Doc -- and those have a mixed record but basically I think lead to some worthwhile stuff. Tom as a character in isolation works less well and usually those episodes are middling to terrible.
Tue, May 1, 2018, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 1, 2018, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
If I may ask, since you don't want anyone to blow it for you, where did you learn about Tuvok dying?
"Tom and B'Elanna get married on Voyager about two seasons ago?"
That was in Course: Oblivion in season 5, and it was not the real Tom and B'Elanna, but biomimetic copies, who got married.
Wed, May 2, 2018, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
A friend told me he dies. Which I though was terrible of him to tell me, mid-binge. Perhaps he is messing with me. Perhaps I should reassess my friends. :)
Wed, May 2, 2018, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
Sun, May 27, 2018, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 2, 2018, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
I'm enjoying this show, but it's taken me over a year to watch it because I get frustrated with inconsistencies. How does the ship begin and end with 150 on board after seven years? Janeway celebrates Tuvok turning 100, but isn't he more like 120? He served on Sulu's ship over eighty years ago. How has Voyager and the Delta Flyer survived seven years of battle? Speaking of battle, aren't there any nice aliens in the Delta Quadrant that don't doublecross Janeway? And the aliens on TNG and TOS are very distinctive from each other, so why do most of the Delta aliens only have different foreheads, noses, and/or ears?
Forgive all the questions not related to this episode. I've only been a fan of Star Trek for two years (since they started showing episodes on BBC America for the 50th anniversary, and I am hooked and a little obsessed.
Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 11:19am (UTC -5)
Don't forget Voyager's infinite shuttlecrafts & photon / quantum / whatever torpedoes too!
"I've only been a fan of Star Trek for two years (since they started showing episodes on BBC America for the 50th anniversary, and I am hooked and a little obsessed. "
Welcome to the fold! Watch TNG season 3-5 immediately, and all of DS9 when you can. Voyager is terribly inconsistent but it's a Picasso next to Discovery.
Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 8, 2018, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Thank you for the warm welcome! So far I have seen 1-3 TOS, 1-7 TNG, 1-part of 7 Voyager, and a few Enterprise. I wish BBC would show some DSN so I can acclimate to it!
I missed (thankfully) the First movie, but have seen all the rest except the last half of the last movie. I couldn't handle it after Troi's mind rape on her honeymoon and what I knew would happen to Data. Except for the wedding, I pretend it never happened.
I do like the rebooted three movies ok. It's jarring how different rebooted timeline Enterprise is from TOS. I do like how they kept a version of the original outfits.
PS this was longer but my phone died and I didn't have the heart to retype it all. I miss my desktop internet. Long story :-)
Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
“Remember how the ship is trapped tens of thousands of light years from the Federation and they’ve only got like 37 photon torpedoes, that definitely can’t be replaced until they get back home? Yeah, well screw you, you tragic basement-dwelling virgins. We’ll just make Janeway launch one of those precious torpedoes as a starter pistol.”
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 7:35am (UTC -5)
“Don't know if it's ever been confirmed, but I always thought it was meant to be the same person. I remember he had a remarkably similar backstory about having done something stupid that led to the death of his team mate, or am I misremembering. They changed his name because Nick Locarno was already claimed by another series, or some such.”
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Alternatively and in brief: Nicholas Locarno was a character in the aforementioned TNG episode played by Robert Duncan McNeill, who was a Starfleet Acadamy cadet and star student pilot who got booted out of the academy for orchestrating a stunt that got a fellow student killed and for subsequently trying to cover the incident up.
It’s widely accepted that the character of Tom Paris is based on Locarno and indeed he was originally intended to BE Locarno. However this idea was nixed because the writers who created the original character would’ve been due a royalty payment for every appearance on Voyager. So instead the Voyager team used the same actor, tweaked the character’s background slightly and renamed him.
Mon, Nov 5, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
But other than that, I liked it very well. I liked the idea of the race and the way that whole thing was handled, including Neelix doing the color commentary.
And the love story part was very sweet and Tom's proposal was reminiscent of how B'Ellana first declared her love - when their lives were in danger!
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 12:00am (UTC -5)
I have to say, I agree with the people who say they don't understand what Tom sees in B'lanna. She has an abrasive personality, she doesn't really share Tom's interests, and she's not very attractive at all (in my opinion) Still, it was good they got married.
I do feel bad for Harry. He always seems to get the short end of the stick
I don't get either why people dislike Neelix, Harry, and to a lesser extent, Chakotay. In my opinion, the person who was most annoying in this episode of Tuvok! Trying to do a weekly report when it was obvious everyone in the room was into the race-an unemotional Vulcan doesn't mean purposely being a killjoy!
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 24, 2019, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
Where did they get hold of all the DC10 cockpit parts for the flyer?
Harry 'I'm useless with women' Kim fails to convince with his creepy alien chat up lines, but not quite as creepy as a certain Mr La Forge.
A bit dull, the only highlight is Torres in that race suit.
Seemed very un-trek, also had to rewind it because I thought Torres said 'I'm wet' for some reason. Happy to report I heard it wrong. Very wrong!
Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Seven was not in this enough. Oh well....can't have everything....
Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 9:55am (UTC -5)
While I am here I have to admit that I had thought Paris and B'leanna were already married. I have never been a big fan of B'elanna, but her acting and the situation of her character softened me to her a bit in this episode.
Sat, May 9, 2020, 12:35am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
The least I would expect from Star Trek writers is that they have their astronomy well figured out. Alas, apparently, they have no clue...
Wed, Nov 11, 2020, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 13, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Yep, see this comment I made about Scorpion Part 1:
"Near the beginning when the 15 Borg cubes approach Voyager, Ensign Kim says they're 2.1 light years away. They then immediately show up on-screen right behind Voyager and pass them, despite being at impulse speed. Full impulse is apparently anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 light speed, so if they were 2.1 light years away, it should've taken the cubes anywhere from 4.2 to 8.4 YEARS to reach Voyager. Even at warp 9 it would take about half a day to travel that distance. Oops."
Fri, Jun 25, 2021, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
If I was a crewman, the second some senior officer on Voyager started giving away complex tech to fix up someone's astro rat rod, I would mutiny. How many people have died fighting off innumerable threats to preserve Voyager's supplies? We are a starship trying to get home, not Pepboys.
Tue, Aug 31, 2021, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 23, 2021, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 26, 2022, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
I was really burned out early in the series by Tom and Neelix fighting over that two year old.
But I liked this. There was still plenty of that relationship here but at least it went somewhere.
And I genuinely didn't guess where the plot was going. To me it seemed like they sidestepped a lot of Voyager cliches.
For example, I expected Harry and the alien girl to have an ongoing pitched battle. But, nope, he subdued her then worked the problem.
Tom and Torres dropping out of the race at a very lucky moment to deal with their relationship was its own kind of cliche, but it wasn't a Voyager cliche so it felt fresh ;)
The race might well have been inspired by Phantom Menace, but at least this did it right and focused on the story instead of endless monotonous race fx.
Sun, May 15, 2022, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
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