Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 1/24/2001
Written by James Kahn
Directed by Peter Lauritson
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Offspring can be disturbingly illogical, yet profoundly fulfilling. You should anticipate paradox." — Parental advice, Tuvok style
In brief: Some exceptionally good and believable character work, with an ending that falls a bit short.
"Lineage" is just about a perfect little straightforward character show for four acts before settling for some oversold melodrama at the last moment. For once, everything seems to be clicking — the dialog, the characters, the acting, the directing, the editing. The ending pushes too hard, but I guess you can't have everything.
Keeping in tune with what I hope is a final-season trend (evidenced this past fall by the marriage in "Drive"), this is an episode that shows the writers actually committing to a change in some of their characters. B'Elanna learns that she is pregnant, much to both her and Tom's surprise; despite their attempts, they weren't expecting to beat the odds against Klingon/human conception. But Doc has good news: B'Elanna is pregnant with a healthily developing baby girl.
Once this information floats around the ship, everyone is offering their advice on parenting. One theme Voyager has often pushed is one of a ship-bound "family." That's sort of the way it works here, with B'Elanna and Tom taking in information from their shipmates, the extended family that exists where traditional family cannot because of a 30,000-light-year separation.
One thing "Lineage" gets very right is its single-minded focus on what's important. This is a B'Elanna and Tom show, and the script demonstrates that it's aware of that fact. Compare this to "Shattered" last week, which wanted to be and could've been a standout Janeway/Chakotay show, but wasn't because the story was such an over-plotted mess with umpteen unnecessary characters. This time the writers get it right; the plot is straightforward and the story runs with characterization and decision-making. There are no unnecessary twists or distractions. With a premise that probably could've taken about a hundred obvious wrong turns, "Lineage" has the courage to take none of them.
Take, for example, the interaction between the characters, of which there is plenty. There's a short scene here between Paris and Tuvok. It's a scene that makes a great deal of sense and works because it respects the characters and the sincerity that would likely arise from such a discussion. Without being an ultra-serious message moment, this Paris/Tuvok scene manages to avoid poking any obvious jokes at Tuvok's overly serious Vulcan sensibility — something this series has had a tendency to do. Instead, it remembers that Tuvok is a parent and simply has Tom take the prudent action of asking for Tuvok's advice. The scene ends with a nice Vulcan-like line of advice about raising children. It's an effective line because it reveals the truth in the characterization and is played with a note of simple pleasantness and sincerity.
Or take the Janeway scene, once the show's main conflict between Tom and B'Elanna arises. B'Elanna wants Janeway to act as captain in a personal disagreement. Janeway will not. She tells them they must work it out themselves. Her dialog is level-headed and fair. Good for her.
Or take the Harry Kim scene, where the writers have him say just enough without saying too much. Harry knows to help out a friend and give him some advice. But he knows when to pull back and stay out of things, simply telling Tom that until B'Elanna cools down, "My couch is your couch."
Why are Tom and B'Elanna in disagreement? That's actually where the core of the episode becomes evident: B'Elanna wants to tamper with her baby's genes and remove Klingon biological traits, like redundant organs. This would also have the effect of giving the baby a human appearance. She argues her position to the Doctor by saying her baby's health would benefit and is the primary issue, but Tom sees right through this argument and calls her on it flat-out: "You don't want her to look Klingon."
He's right, though it goes much deeper than that. "Lineage" has a flashback structure to it that goes back to B'Elanna's childhood. The flashbacks reveal a young B'Elanna (Jessica Gaona) at an age where her headstrong adolescence began crashing into her father's (Juan Garcia) own doubts about his shaky marriage. This comes to light gradually, eventually revealing that B'Elanna blames herself for the dissolution of her parents' relationship. As a child, she said and witnessed things at a time that would shape certain opinions for life.
Now she hopes to keep history from repeating (she fears her Klingon side and the possibility that Tom, like her father, might not be able to deal with it), though getting her to admit the full truth is like pulling teeth. One thing I've always liked about B'Elanna is that she's got that element of self-torture and fallibility. She's flawed. She's perhaps the series' most complex character, and an episode like "Lineage" shows why. She goes to extremes here that eventually seem beyond any reason, except for that self-torment we know is there. She manipulates the situation — in ways that quite frankly seem to me as potentially relationship-damaging actions. Tom's cool head and ability to listen is admirable. He's upset but understanding that B'Elanna takes things so far, which she does here by altering Doc's program just enough to make him believe the gene alterations are in the baby's best health interests.
For B'Elanna's character, this plays as a sort of companion episode to last season's "Barge of the Dead" (still one of favorite Voyager outings). It's like the flip side; last year we learned about her mother, and this year we learn about her father. In the middle has always been B'Elanna, a character torn between two very different cultures and, I suspect, not completely comfortable in either. In addition to bringing up interesting ethical questions about genetic manipulation, B'Elanna's actions also play on the issue of self-sensitivity along racial or cultural lines: How exactly do some of us fit into groups when we feel as if we must "choose" one over the other and don't automatically fall into one or both? The answer, of course, is in asserted individuality —while not denying who we are. B'Elanna is a character who has coped with an identity crisis probably all her life.
As good as "Lineage" is as a character outing, it falls a little bit short with an ending that I found just a bit too melodramatic. Dennis McCarthy goes overboard with the violins while B'Elanna's tears come flowing, and the whole thing becomes a tad maudlin. It's credible given the depth of B'Elanna, and even effective to a degree, but for my tastes it seemed to be pushing it in trying to punctuate the Moment of Truth.
No matter. "Lineage" is one of Voyager's best-characterized episodes in some time, showing a cast that comes across as well oiled and execution that for the most part is flawless. It's not the sort of sci-fi/action outing that many fans of the series may hope to get, but it shows the creators of this series still know how to tell good, truthful, understated stories about their characters.
Next week: Interstellar convicts take Voyager hostage and hold a knife to Seven's throat. Don't just stand there and take it — assimilate his sorry ass!
Previous episode: Shattered
Next episode: Repentance
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114 comments on this post
Wed, Sep 26, 2007, 11:46am (UTC -5)
I must add that Icheb's pronouncement that he thought B'Elanna must be infected by a parasite was hilarious! As well as Seven's most droll expression when she announced to the Doctor that she believed B'Elanna was pregnant.
Wed, Feb 13, 2008, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 23, 2008, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 4, 2008, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 8, 2009, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 25, 2009, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
and this scifi-setting is reflecting racial problems. it is a classic story and at least finally really good character work in this series.
i loved this very, very much. one of the best outings of the series, as far as I am concerned.
Wed, Dec 23, 2009, 2:11am (UTC -5)
Sat, May 15, 2010, 2:44am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 17, 2010, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
0.5 stars, and that's only because I'm in a good mood.
And BTW, what the !@#$% is this crap with Paris having a toaster in his and Torres' pad!? How the hell many of us wash our clothes using a threshing board or by stirring them with a huge paddle in a boiling pot?! For godsakes, enough already with this 20th-century tripe!!
Screw it, ZERO stars!! lol
Sat, Jul 17, 2010, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
If these character episodes also in fact contain all the bling and blang of sci-fi-, it just makes that much more special because it's something that only star trek can do.
It must be said, this story could not be told in Gilmore Girls. It does use sci-fi concepts and procedures that are not available now.
Nonetheless, if what you want is accurate depiction of the 24th century, this isn't it. The entire Federation's economic model doesn't make sense. It didn't make sense in socialist China or the soviet union. It doesn't make sense with the way many of the modern economies are progressing towards now. And it won't make any more sense in the 24th century either.
Trek has always been about big concepts and ideas. Maybe Voyager hasn't, but it has enough "sci-fi show with a different forehead of the week" as it is. It's very refreshing that this show is different from the usual trash the writer's put out week after week.
Sun, Jul 18, 2010, 7:23am (UTC -5)
I would maintain, however, that the themes of "exploring one's troubled relationship with one's [insert parent]" or "coming to terms with one's [insert psychological trauma or complex]" have no place in a sci-fi show. There are many other genres that would accommodate such subjects better and there is a cornucopia of T.V. shows with that exact focus. What's the essential difference between this episode and a movie about a Southern girl agonizing over whether to abort her kid because the father is African American, apart from Toress' forehead ridges and the possibility of genetic engineering? None. For the same reason I have a low tolerance for any romances, friendships, enmities... - this is not supposed to be a show about individual PEOPLE, and certainly not the characters' personal drama and trauma.
I don't think any program could deliver an accurate depicton of the 24th century for the simple reason that it's not happened yet :o) I find the Star Trek universe unimaginative, unrealistic and superficial. Still, much of the series content is based on some laws or suppositions of the natural sciences. We have a fair theoretical idea of how technology might develop in the next several centuries, and I expect from Star Trek firstly and foremostly to visual portray those ideas. Of course, liberties must be taken perforce ("poetic license") but the order is SCIENCE, then FICTION.
I again declare that this episode was boring, useless and unsuitable for the type of show Voyager is meant to be.
Sun, Jul 18, 2010, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
... based on what criteria? Does trauma suddenly stop happening in the 24th century? Do parents suddenly become perfect?
In DS9, Garek, Jake, Kira and a pile of other characters had such episodes. They were all good ones too. Some of the best. Are you saying The Visitor was not a fantastic sci-fi rendition of a boy losing his father? If Star Trek didn't tell this story, Gilmore Girls and any other pop drama show would never be able to.
In the abstract sense, if you care about the show and its characters, you should care about stories that are based on such characters... no matter if they deal with their parents, traumas, what they do on the holodeck, and any other kind of character piece.
If you don't care about the characters... then why are you watching the show? If you want a show that features a different cast every week, and they purely just talk about sci-fi concepts and ideas, then it wouldn't be Star Trek. I can't think of a show like this at all that would be the least enjoyable to watch.
The thing is, shows are and should be about individuals. There is no collectivist society or tv show. The crew shouldn't be a bunch of borg. This is an accurate depiction of REAL LIFE, as everyone in the real world is an individual too. Are you saying the show, if it is to be a work of art, is not supposed to objectify parts of our own reality?
Yes, no television show can give an accurate depiction of the 24th century, however we already know using logic that what is depicted in Star Trek CANNOT be it. By the 24th century, if Humans have not learned that these types of governments produce non-free societies, then humanity is more likely to be dead than produce something called the Federation.
Of course, if you take the phrase "sci-fi" or "science fiction", it doesn't suggest that their should be an emphasis on either. The genre doesn't dictate %'s of science to fiction. It is not implied in the term. So when you say it should contain more science than fiction... based on what? Your preferences? Whim? I would say any science fiction show, if it is to be called science fiction, just needs to have some elements of the two in any way the writers saw fit to express their art.
As for "the show Voyager was meant to be"... let me as you a question. What was it meant to be? It had no focus. No goal. After looking at the forest, it wasn't really trying to be anything other than a collection of mostly isolated adventure stories with very little cohesively binding them together.
I fail to see how Lineage doesn't fit with that premise, because it's ridiculously broad and unfocused.
Tue, Jul 20, 2010, 9:47am (UTC -5)
No, but psychological traumas should not be the subject of a sci-fi show!!
Look, there are no criteria for what makes a sci-fi show, let alone what makes a GOOD sci-fi show. Star Trek is, after all, a form of artistic expression, and art is all about opinions. You think this is a good episode, I think it sucked. You feel this type of subject is suitable to a science-fiction show, I don't.
DS9 is the only Star Trek series I gave a miss. (I even somehow plodded thru the ridiculous Original Series.) I gave it a chance and really wanted to like it, after the nonpareil Next Generation. But every one of the dozen or so time I tuned in, there was shot of some bar/club (cf. Voyager's mess hall with Annoying Neelix) or someone crying or talk of some "prophets" (WTF!?!)... The only sci-fi part of it seemed to be that it was all happening on some space base.
A "boy losing his father"? How many freaking times has THAT been done!!?
Frankly, no, I do NOT care about the characters. In a sci-fi show the characters are the catalysts for the story, the means to an end. Sure, it's great that they have their quirks and personalities and what-have-ya, but they and their quirks and personalities should NOT be the focus of the story.
Real life? Well, first of all, Star Trek is hardly about real life but, even if it was, "real life" has a multitude of aspects. Let me put it in a very pedestrian way: I do not want to see the characters "exploring" themselves, their emotions, their complexes and all that bullshit for the same reason I don't want to see them taking a shower, brushing teeth or getting dressed. It is not the salient feature of SCIENCE FICTION!
I am interested in the character(s) when I'm watching a true-story drama of some sort; otherwise I'm not. Star Trek is all fictional: The universe, the inhabitants, the show's characters and, for the most part, the technology, too. Why the hell would I want fictional characters in a fictional universe "exploring" "real world" dilemmas?!?
Anyway, this is all my opinion from which anyone may dissent. You like this type of episode, I like the episodes with clever use of technology and/or someone phasering someone's ass to smithereens.
To each their own.
Tue, Jul 20, 2010, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
This is not true. As I already explained, the term "sci-fi" itself does not imply fiction (and character development is a big part of fiction) should take a back seat.
You may not like the character development - that much is true - but it is not accurate or logical to say that sci-fi should not deal with such issues.
RE: "Look, there are no criteria for what makes a sci-fi show, let alone what makes a GOOD sci-fi show."
You have contradicted yourself. First you claim that there is a criteria that psychological traumas should not be the subject of a sci-fi show... and then in your next line, you say there is no criteria that makes a sci-fi show. Which one is it? Unlike Janeway, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
As for a GOOD sci-fi show, you would have to define what "good" is. Good is a very vague term. it can mean many things to many people. If you simply mean it as one that YOU enjoy as opposed to one that can be objectively declared as good art, then there can be no debate.
In any event, GOOD FICTION has to be a part of good science-FICTION. If it's not, science-fiction is a contradiction in terms - which it is not. Lineage has many good qualities that account for good FICTION.
RE: "Star Trek is, after all, a form of artistic expression, and art is all about opinions."
Art is a selective re-creation, and often an exaggeration, of someone's value judgments about reality. Arts job is to distill a set of concepts into a set of percepts to easily communicate the concepts of those value judgments by the artist.
RE: "You think this is a good episode, I think it sucked. You feel this type of subject is suitable to a science-fiction show, I don't."
I don't FEEL anything. By using logic and definitions, I have actually proved that this episodes does in fact fit within the premise of voyager, and does in fact qualify as science fiction. You are confusing two aspects of the debate... "is it sci-fi?" and "is it good?"
Second, just because you don't like something personally, doesn't mean it is bad art. If you want to objectively rate this episode, it is actually quite good storytelling, even if you hate the source material. There is no feeling involved at all.
RE: "DS9 is the only Star Trek series I gave a miss."
Then you missed the best Star Trek series ever produced.
RE: "(I even somehow plodded thru the ridiculous Original Series.) I gave it a chance and really wanted to like it, after the nonpareil Next Generation. But every one of the dozen or so time I tuned in, there was shot of some bar/club (cf. Voyager's mess hall with Annoying Neelix) or someone crying or talk of some "prophets" (WTF!?!)... The only sci-fi part of it seemed to be that it was all happening on some space base."
For a show that was very focused on science and fiction... and for a show that had an excellent premise... I am shocked you didn't find value in it. Compared to Voyager, it is a far superior series. They are not even in the same league.
RE: "A "boy losing his father"? How many freaking times has THAT been done!!?"
Yes, but "The Visitor" does it in such a way that could NOT be told with any other genre. Have you seen the episode? It is extremely good Science AND fiction. It is considered by many to be among to the top 10 or 15 episodes of DS9.:
Search Season 4 of DS9 on the review section of this site!
RE: "Frankly, no, I do NOT care about the characters. In a sci-fi show the characters are the catalysts for the story, the means to an end. Sure, it's great that they have their quirks and personalities and what-have-ya, but they and their quirks and personalities should NOT be the focus of the story."
Then I don't know why you watch Star Trek... or TV in general. Documentaries are probably more your thing.
RE: "Real life? Well, first of all, Star Trek is hardly about real life but"
You're wrong. The value of judgments of the writers in today's reality are scattered and emphasized constantly in all of the Star Trek episodes. You must look deeper. Even though these episodes occur in space, and the aliens are not human, they nonetheless convey concept the artists which to communicate. Sometimes very, very obviously.
RE: "even if it was, "real life" has a multitude of aspects. Let me put it in a very pedestrian way: I do not want to see the characters "exploring" themselves, their emotions, their complexes and all that bullshit for the same reason I don't want to see them taking a shower, brushing teeth or getting dressed. It is not the salient feature of SCIENCE FICTION!"
How is FICTION not part of science fiction? See above.
RE: "I am interested in the character(s) when I'm watching a true-story drama of some sort; otherwise I'm not. Star Trek is all fictional: The universe, the inhabitants, the show's characters and, for the most part, the technology, too. Why the hell would I want fictional characters in a fictional universe "exploring" "real world" dilemmas?!?"
Because that is what art is.
RE: "Anyway, this is all my opinion from which anyone may dissent."
Not, it's not. I've put forth a very good logical argument. You have not :) All I've heard is whim and opinion from you.
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 10:26am (UTC -5)
Yes, science fiction has to involve fiction; of course it does. Otherwise it would be a science documentary. I believe that the "fiction" part should be in the service of the "science" part. If it's not, then there is nary a difference between Star Trek and, say, the Chronicles of Narnia or a James Bond installment or a Terminator movie. If the preponderance of "fiction" begins relating to character "development," then you no longer have a sci-fi show but some sort of fantasy/romance/drama/adventure.
I am interested in Torres the engineer. I want to see her used to solve problems on Voyager by erecting force-fields, depolarizing the shields, repairing the warp core, etc. I don't want to see her eating dinner, getting dressed, talking about her feelings for 40 minutes, praying, getting counseling, daydreaming, or anything similar. That is BORING. I don't care about her childhood or her relationship with her whatever. The only difference between such an episode and one of Gilmore Girls shows are the ridges on Toress' forehead and a tricorder or hypospray lying around. Pathetic.
Your attempts at defining "art" are misguided. The definition of "art" is controversial at best, and "good art" defies definition altogether. Face it: This is all about taste and there's no accounting for it. I feel Star Trek should be about something different from what you feel it should be about. Judging by the reviews of this episode on this site, I'm in the minority. Fine by me.
"All I've heard is whim and opinion from you."
Well, yes; that IS the reason I said "this is all my opinion." LOL! Take it easy, Ken :)
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
I have never been trying to convince you that you should like it. Re-read all of my posts. I am merely pointing out your muddled and contradictory thinking.
RE: "I believe that the "fiction" part should be in the service of the "science" part. If it's not, then there is nary a difference between Star Trek and, say, the Chronicles of Narnia or a James Bond installment or a Terminator movie."
Not true. Chronicles of Narnia is NOT sci-fi. It is fantasy, and family-oriented fantasy at that. James bond is action-adventure. There's really nothing sci-fi about it. Terminator IS Science Fiction though.
The problem is that you "BELIEVE" that sci-fi should be in the service of the science part. What are your believes based on? Where do they come from? Logic, your emotions or simply whim? If you cannot explain this, then your claim to this belief is arbitrary and it has no basis in fact.
RE: "If the preponderance of "fiction" begins relating to character "development," then you no longer have a sci-fi show but some sort of fantasy/romance/drama/adventure."
Characters and their development is seriously one major part of all fiction. No genre of fiction is void of characters and their development, which follows that science fiction is not void of them either.
Like all television, there is going to be a mix of genres. Some new genres are born purely by mixing two related genres.
RE: "I don't want to see her eating dinner, getting dressed, talking about her feelings for 40 minutes, praying, getting counseling, daydreaming, or anything similar. That is BORING."
There is a difference between getting dressed and dealing with childhood issues. One is a mere activity that if it doesn't contribute to the plot in a meaningful way... it WOULD be boring.
The concepts conveyed in lineage though DO HAVE MEANING to both the plot, insight into the character, as well as the long-term development of that character.
It that character development boring to you, that does not mean it is not good art or good fiction. Like I said, you can both recognize and acknowledge good story-telling without liking the source material.
RE: "Your attempts at defining "art" are misguided. The definition of "art" is controversial at best, and "good art" defies definition altogether."
In what way is it contradictory? This definition holds up extremely well. In which what is it controversial?
Good art would seem to exemplify the definition to its fullest, so there is no contradiction.
RE: "Face it: This is all about taste and there's no accounting for it."
No, it's not. I have found a mountain of contradictions in your logic.
You cannot objectively say things like, "I feel" and "I believe" and blah blah... and then come around and say things like, "Sci-fi should not deal with character development". This is not logical. And for you to continue to believe what you believe in the fact of these logical arguments makes you out to be quite irrational.
Emotion is not a valid form of cognition. Only logic is. Simply saying, "It is about tastes (i.e. my emotions) and there's no accounting for it" does not make it true. No matter how many times you should decide to reiterate this.
"I feel Star Trek should be about something different from what you feel it should be about. Judging by the reviews of this episode on this site, I'm in the minority. Fine by me."
There is no FEELING involved at all. I am pointing out that this episode does, in fact, fit in the premise of the show. The premise is taken from looking at all the episodes in their entirety, and judging what that premise was.
I am also pointing out that this show is, in fact sci-fi. I have proved it. There is no feeling, whim, tastes, etc. involved at all.
Judging is forming and evaluation and coming to a conclusion based on the facts and context. It is a process of logic. Some people say that judging produces "opinions", but if the proper logic and facts are used, the two "opinions" should converge to the truth.
While you might be arguing that "my emotions are right dammit!", I am pointing out that your logic is muddled and that you should probably rethink your ideas. If you didn't understand what was said, I suggest you re-read it.
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Whether you like it or not, deeming a sci-fi production good, bad or otherwise IS based on personal feelings, perceptions, taste and whims. The quality of art, of which this is a form, cannot be objectively assessed or established. That is what makes art different from science, which can.
I don't like this episode at all, for the reasons I enumerated supra. You do. These are both opinions, neither of which can be proven to be objectively correct.
Now please go find some more worthwhile pursuit and leave it be.
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
RE: "This is supposed to be a SCIENCE FICTION show, goddamnit!!!"
This was one of the points you had originally said to which I debated was incorrect. I defended my arguments, and pointed out it was wrong and should not be a basis for why this episode is objectively good or bad.
Then I pointed out several other errors and contradictions in your thinking along the way.
RE: "Whether you like it or not, deeming a sci-fi production good, bad or otherwise IS based on personal feelings, perceptions, taste and whims. The quality of art, of which this is a form, cannot be objectively assessed or established. That is what makes art different from science, which can."
It's not about what I like or not. Art can be objectively judged. Just because you and most of the population do not know how, does not mean that it is impossible to judge it.
For further reading on why this is the case, read The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand.
RE: "I don't like this episode at all, for the reasons I enumerated supra. You do. These are both opinions, neither of which can be proven to be objectively correct."
This, to me, sounds like conceit. Instead of using logic, which is the only valid form of debate, you insist that emotional is to be used, instead. You claim I have used opinions and emotions, but I have not. You, on the other hand, have done so.
Instead of using logic to justify yourself (because you can't), you claim that this is an emotional matter. I guess, you think that gets your reasoning off the hook.
You are free to think what you want, but you are not free to escape the consequences of your thoughts.
Thu, Jul 22, 2010, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
There's no point arguing with somebody who insists there is no distinction between objective science and subjective art. What presumptuousness to think you know better than thousands of professional artists and art critics who for centuries proffered widely divergent opinions on various artistic expressions.
Anyway, this is my last word on the subject. Keep believing you proved whatever you think you proved.
Sun, Sep 5, 2010, 1:44am (UTC -5)
The purpose of a genre like "opera" or "romance" or "sci-fi" is to give the narrative a framework which allows it to explore mythology and storytelling in a way unique unto itself. Otherwise, we would not bother with making distinctions, for which I give Michael some credit here.
However, that being said an example of plain old bad drama/fiction is one in which the story obsesses over its genre. Take for example sappy romance stories of which I'm sure, Michael, you are not a fan (neither am I). What does that mean for romances in general? Well, simply that the premises of romances should not overwhelm the potential for genuine mythos and drama. The same goes for sci-fi. This story is NOT possible outside of a sci-fi framework--the medical "science" is in two ways unique to this genre, 1. the genetic manipulations and 2. the metaphorical implications of Torres' biracial status. Imagine if there were a half-black character whose white father abandoned her and her mother because of her "blackness"--how the sh*t would fly! But sci-fi let's us take these imaginary species (contextualised as races) and pose the same argument and its consequences via metaphor without incensing us to conventions we actually experience in "real life."
So, the story is made possible by its genre which makes it uniquely more powerful than just some story about a girl and her abandonment issues, but the meat of any good story draws from those mythical sources which are common to ALL genres. Seeing her fixing warp cores and such is not exciting in the least unless it's connected with her character (her job is not her character). So in the end, I must declare Ken the winner of this debate. Michael, I suggest you watch Power Rangers to get what you're looking for in a TV show.
Tue, Sep 7, 2010, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 6:55am (UTC -5)
My problem are my expectations/wishes. I would like Star Trek to be more like a documentary; perferce fictional, of course, but the focus should be on the science, technology and the like (yes, "fixing warp cores," if you will) and NOT on the characters. The chatacters should be little more than the instruments facilitating the interaction between the fictional science and technology of the 24th century and the viewer. Naturally, I DO want some character continuation and depth, but that should be secondary. Put it this way: The point of interest is attaining Warp 10 - how it's done and the consequences; who actually breaks that speed and what that person's relationship with his/her mother is like I REALLY DO NOT CARE!
Before anyone jumps down my throat, the above is predicated on my opinion and proclivities. I am NOT saying that Star Trek is not a sci-fi show because it doesn't conform to those parameters.
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 7, 2011, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Yes...I like watching "Hot In Cleveland" even though (and quite possibly because) it's so awful.
Fri, Apr 8, 2011, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was perhaps a bit much to dedicate a whole episode to it, prompting me to almost sympathise with Michael's inevitable grumbling :) (I'll give you one thing, I actually find myself along with sometimes thinking "Jammer won't like this" also thinking "Michael definitely won't like this"!) - but indeed, to each their own. Though advocating Warp 10, and thus the lizard thing that went on and completely ruined that episode, is worthy of an e-smack across the back of the head! Haha
For me, they kept things flowing, and kept the odd little twist and turn going (like the Doc's reprogramming) which kept me hooked.
I share the enjoyment of the Paris/Tuvok discussion, that was very good and I hope they develop some form of friendship over the final season as that'd be kind of cool. Nothing like some last minute development and bond forming.
A small nitpick but I'm not sure about it.. genetic enhancement is illegal in the Federation (as those familiar with late DS9 will know).. obviously this is more alteration than enhancement which is why I'm not sure but I'm tending to think the Doc's case against it should've been even stronger than it already was. No matter.
I liked the touch of humour about the "parasite" - actually kind of true :))
3 for me, but 3.5 isn't much of a stretch. It's great to see some character development other than Seven or Doc again.
Tue, May 10, 2011, 6:07am (UTC -5)
And, call me a moron if you will, but I could have done with an action insert and a B-Plot about Neelix pinching Tuvok's socks.
Sun, Aug 14, 2011, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
I think B'Elanna went way too far by altering the Doctor's program for the genetic procedure. I do agree that what she did was relationship damaging.
I also felt like much of the episode was family sitcom fluff.
Suffice it to say, it gives you an intriguing idea to ponder but ultimately it's not something I'll watch again and again.
Oh, and when Icheb mistakes B'Elanna being pregnant for a parasite I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
Sun, Nov 13, 2011, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 14, 2012, 11:15am (UTC -5)
@Michael: I have been steadily working through all the seasons, and coming here after watching each episode. I have gritted my teeth for six and a half seasons now and I can't take it any more. Are you a ten year old boy? What do you want to see each week? An hour of space battles and laser fights? *That* would be inanely boring, *not* this episode - which is mesmerising and speaks to me on so many levels (I am in a mixed race relationship myself). The futuristic context absolutely brings something to the table that mainstream soap operas could never hope to reach.
This episode is a morality play - commenting on issues from a unique (sci-fi inspired) perspective. That is what Gene Roddenberry set out to accomplish - he (and every Star Trek fan except you it seems) did not want another teenage, banal, tasteless, shallow Sci-fi serial. I think you would be quite happy if Captain Proton was a real show.
Change the record. Stop writing the same damn comment on practically every episode except ones where the Borg blow everything up.
I apologise in advance. That was many months of pent-up frustration.
Sat, Feb 18, 2012, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 5, 2012, 4:43am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 7, 2013, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
In my opinion, for any TV-show to work, one must be able to identify with, or like or like to dislike characters. For this to happen, characters must be given some depth, then shows like this one works.
For instance, this one touched me very much because I grew up like B'elanna: being identified as a stranger because I was born asian. In my time (hmpff, makes me feel old) there wasn't the racial and cultural diversity there is today in my country and I can assure you it wasn't easy every day as a child. How many times have I thought of reshaping my eyes (when I was a teenager), so the genetic issue blended with the racial problem is really well thought. Today there are still racial problems but due to other things than being one in a thousand.
So, like I said, I believe it's important that popular sci-fi shows make people think about those kinds of issues. It won't touch everyone, but if it can make 1/4 of the watchers think, the job is done.
I didn't make this comment to whine about myself - I've accepted who and what I am with time and age - but to make some commenters understand why those kinds of shows, whatever the social or mythical allegory are, are worth existing, worth watching and worth our attention. And if english were my language, I'd have explained even better...
Conclusion: I like Star Trek for what it wishes to say, not for its bad science. If I want pure entertainment without any thinking, I've got plenty around to choose from :p.
Sun, Feb 17, 2013, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
I appreciated that, even though we saw the turmoil and pain her father caused B'Elanna, he wasn't presented as some monolithic, one-dimensional ogre of a father, but as a human with human failings. It made the flashbacks ring all the more true, and B'Elanna's internal conflicts all the more thorny and complex.
I've always been more of a fan of DS9 than Voyager. For all its faults, though, as I peruse these old episodes on Netflix, I'm finding the later series to have a lot more strengths than I initially gave it credit for.
Fri, Jul 19, 2013, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek is a show about exploration...exploration of HUMANITY!!! That's what it started out being and that's what it's always been. It is able to explore deep and complex issues because of the sci-fi setting but the "science" part is and always has been the secondary factor, there to allow for this exploration without mainstream backlash. Think about it. Why has Star Trek always been so popular and thrived to produce multiple series since its inception? Hint: it isn't the tricorders or the photon torpedoes. Yes, the science part is neat and fun, and can carry the story here and there but if that's all you want to see, then don't effing watch Star Trek because it is MEANT to be cerebral and introspective and make you think about something deeper than "me want blinky lights and lasers pew pew pew!"
If this is all you want, then perhaps you should stick with something more along the lines of your emotional maturity...like Power Rangers, as was suggested above...or any other variety of one-dimensional show directed at 10-12 yr-old boys. And don't give me that "I'm entitled to my opinion of what I want to see" bull crap. Yes, you like what you like, but this franchise has had a long-standing identity since its beginning. It's never going to be what you want it to be if you're going into it expecting anything other than what it was created to be! By now, we all know what Star Trek is and isn't and pissing and moaning about it is pointless and even quite gauche.
There is no argument here. You want something different, go seek it elsewhere and quit making the same asinine, pathetic argument over and over and over again. The majority of us who actually have at least an ounce of emotional depth and therefore can relate to it in these characters, would abhor a show that has flat, stale set-dressing characters. THAT is boring and superficial and practically no one would watch it. And again, this was NEVER what Star Trek was meant to be! People are the heart of the show, and the passions, struggles, and self-discovery of what it means to be human is the entire point! Comparing that to some teen-angst melodrama or sit-com just shows a grievous lack of understanding and, frankly, an emotional immaturity and small-mindedness that I can only pity.
Oh, and before I get the, geez calm down and quit taking it so seriously, it's only a TV show...that's exactly the attitude that dumbs down expectations of the quality of our art and entertainment: see anything by Michael Bay for supporting evidence. We cease to grow when we stop caring to learn about ourselves, and even the things we produce for entertainment can say a lot about us and our culture and allow us to transcend conventional means of relating to one another to connect in more intangible and resounding ways. See the Qomar in Voyager's episode "Virtuoso" for an example of people who took single-mindedness to such an extreme that they had no sense of culture at all. Though a bit cartoony in portrayal, I believe that the social commentary there still has merit. They ceased to recognize and appreciate the soul and purpose behind such forms of expression too.
Ok, phew...sorry, had to get that all out of my system. It was like an itch I'd been trying not to scratch but just couldn't hold back anymore. Now that that's all been said, I want to say that I ADORED this episode. This is the kind of characterization I've been longing to see in Voyager applied to someone else other than Seven. And I, too, really liked the ending. Yes, perhaps what B'Elanna did seemed a bit too crazy, but she's got some damage where this issue is concerned and it took an extreme situation to tear down those long-built barriers and get her to finally open up to Tom. I thought her anguish was well-played and it even made me misty-eyed.
The last scene with Doc really made me smile and warmed my heart. I loved his reaction to feeling the baby kick and when B'Elanna asked him to be the child's godfather, the expression on his face said everything! It was poignantly touching. Also, seeing the change from the previously disappointed and horrified expression to that motherly look of adoration and love was beautiful! One of my absolute favorite episodes of Voyager!
Tue, Jul 30, 2013, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
This is the second time i've seen a boring Torres episode get high marks from this reviewer. The other time was with Barge Of The Dead, another tedius episode.
I tuned in to watch a sci-fi show, not EastEnders. The acting is also not good enough from Torres due to the forehead ridges that restrict her expressions kind of like botox does. You're just never going to get a good performance from Torres because of the botox ridges, so any episode with her featuring prominently is going to suffer from that.
Overall, i think the reviewer is smoking a Torres spliff.
Fri, Aug 9, 2013, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 2:15am (UTC -5)
As for this episode, I typically find the "let's trace my issues back to my childhood via flashback" episodes trite and boring. This one wound up engaging me, though, because of the twist about her fearing Tom would turn out like her dad. I thought the ending was effective, and Tom's tenderness warmed my heart. I still feel cheated that we didn't get an on-screen wedding a few episodes ago; it seemed very anticlimactic to have it off-screen but that's a critique that belongs to another episode, so I'll just say I really liked them here.
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
however, unike michael, i like good character shows.
this will never be my "favorite" episode. but for a character episode i liked it. i thought the last scene with belanna and her dad along with the present discussion with tom was moving. i am glad tom didnt act like Shallow Tom.
i enjoyed the episode.
3 star overall. 4 star for character show.
Fri, Sep 13, 2013, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
For Michael's sake, I must say that I think I understand what he may have been trying to convey. (Please forgive me if I am misrepresenting you, Michael.) I think he means to say that he prefers a different kind of character development in a science fiction story; one that remains more focused on the characters interacting and nurturing their understanding of the science. He seems less interested in personal character analysis, especially if it dominates the storyline. In this case, it may feel more like another type of genre other than science fiction. And...that is his preference, to which he is fully welcome.
@Ken - - after reading this thread, all I could really sense from your comments was a strong desire to pull Michael into a debate at all costs. You were combative, argumentative and confrontational to such a degree as to lose credibility. I just don't see the point.
As for this episode, I was shocked by the developments here. I would think that regardless of the century, or maybe even more because of the century this story is supposed to have taken place, it would be deemed disturbing to see a mother so psychologically damaged that she would subvert protocols, sabotage a sentient crew mate, lie to her husband and perform genetic alterations on her unborn fetus! Regardless of the "breakthrough" that B'Elanna has with Tom, she should have been put into immediate counseling and placed under surveillance. And...Tom would have to ask Harry to create a Holo-Attorney!
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 9:52am (UTC -5)
I have no shame in admitting that I welled up. Many times.
Everything was brilliantly done. The way that the characters react to such a gigantic tidal wave of complicated emotions and a completely life changing moment was beautifully captured with all of the realistic depths it deserves.
Never for one moment do we think of these people as merely fictional, we feel with and we understand them. The characterisation was nothing short of perfect, particularly Torresses' agonising personal pain.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much the flashbacks really fleshed out the story, even the haunted gloomy way it was shot just spelt out the level of heartbreak we're dealing with. And I also absolutely loved the ending, it nearly made me sob!
4 out of 4 stars.
Fri, Feb 14, 2014, 7:48am (UTC -5)
This episode was about people with complex problems with a 24th century twist – exactly what I'm looking for in Star Trek! So glad it wasn't muddled with a boring B-plot. The B'Elanna/Tom issues got all the time and attention it needed.
Tue, May 6, 2014, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 6, 2014, 12:08am (UTC -5)
Easily full 4 stars for me.
Lastly, almost every comment here complained about the long and somewhat boring debate that has taken place cause by one of the famous pieces by Michael. But after seeing the superb final response offered by Elliot, I can only be glad that all that had occurred. Another full 4 stars for Elliot on that one.
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Outstanding use of characters. Very intelligent ensemble drama, with great use of flashbacks.
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 28, 2014, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
But this was a very nice little show. 3 stars.
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 10:55am (UTC -5)
What we have here is an examination of people dealing with the consequences of what future science may (and in Trek can) do. They established the premise that genetic modifications could be executed safely with the spinal issue first. Then they provided the characters with motive to leverage that technology for dubious reasons.
It's examinations like this that in my opinion make some of the very best Science Fiction. It's how they relate to the real technology of today and how they spur the imagination of technology to come. For good, or bad.
Great episode. And I loved Season 7 for how they finally begun implementing more running plot items and continuity. It's a shame much of Season 7 wasn't integrated in earlier seasons in my opinion.
Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
And yet, no sign of her. Of all the people on Voyager, she is the most fit to give you advice, because she's been through all of it.
Everyone on Voyager is giving you parenting advice, except the one person that actually knows what they're talking about.
Sure, there are probably other parents on the ship, but she comes closest to B'elannas situation. Damn shame, that is.
Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 2, 2015, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
S6's "Barge Of The Dead" showed her relationship with her mother. I can't imagine the relationship being any better/worse than any other Klingon mother/daughter relationship. She always was there for her daughter no matter what life threw at them. Though I kind of felt the writers were once again slightly undermining the Klingon's spiritual beliefs. (Can't imagine any Klingon saying "forget the ritual".) But anyhow that strong sense of honor is what I always liked about Klingons. Argue, fight and still be there for one another. Worf and Kurn's bond comes to mind as well.
Compare that to the (very) human relationship between Jean-Luc and Remy. They never quite bonded like that. They were close but at the same time they were distant, if that makes any sense. And it was clear his father never approved of his son's choice in life regarding Starfleet. The conflict was great enough that he did not return for I believe 20 years or so.
That's what makes this episode so fascinating regarding the human side of relationships. It showcases why her father left and the happenings that led to it. His family gently warned him that being in a Klingon relationship would not be as easy as it seemed. An adolescent B'elanna was already warring with her Klingon half. That headstrong nature combined with human insecurity and doubt. Her mother seemed to anticipate it and had no issues with it.
As for her father...the ultimatum was pretty much there. And in the end it was too much for him to deal with. He may have even concluded they were better off without him in life. And B'elanna...well, after watching this and Author, Author it was clear she missed him and still loved him. Wanting to eradicate the Klingon gene in her daughter was extreme to say the least. But then again so were her emotions regarding it.
It was also clear that although he felt his leaving would make life better for them he also missed her dearly as well. The scene where they talked briefly in Author, Author I believe Gene Roddenberry would have approved of. It felt like the trek of old. Optimistic. In a time where cynicism is (sadly) the norm I liked this. I'm pretty sure both her parents got to see their granddaughter, just wish the writers had done a scene with them together later in the series, however briefly. Actually that could have easily been another episode. The concept alone is more interesting than Natural Law was. At least we got to see her in Endgame.
Initially I felt Jammer gave it one too many stars. But these family ones hit so close to home it's hard not to get caught up in them and force one to examine one's own family and relationships. The writers even allowed Tuvok to be a Vulcan father and not satirize his sensibilities (again). That joke got old quickly in the series. So I'll call Jammer's rating even steven.
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
I think perhaps they should have shown if she was reprimanded for what she did. Tampering with the doctor's program could have made him not function properly when he needed to save a life. Remember he has had malfunctions before when he altered his own program.
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
@Michael - Watch "Through The Wormhole" – Several episodes explore different future technologies. There is an episode that goes into what genetic engineering could be like in the future, but it doesn’t have much of the personal touch – sounds like this is for you.
Ensign Wildman was pregnant when she came to Voyager. This conception between Tom and B’lanna is the first in 7 years. Frankly I’m shocked it’s been the only one, considering they knew they were 70,000 light years from home and knew they would need replacement crew in half that time, as quoted by Chakotay in an early episode. People should have been shacking up and popping out babies left, right and center. Don’t complain about one pregnancy that actually involves the future science and issues of genetic manipulation.
I agree personal hygiene can be left out, but then again, seeing Seven on the toilet for the first time would have been funny. Neelix had to teach her how to swallow. Imagine him on the other side of the door telling her how to poop and wipe. Unless of course they use 3 seashells like in Demolition Man. We know they can do a fetal transport, how about a fecal transport. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Michael is Michael Bay.
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
But to me it was just a little too soap opera - mother-to-be makes bad choices because of repressed childhood trauma before a cathartic conclusion - and the rest of it took its own sweet time building up to that conclusion. 2.5 stars.
Thu, Mar 24, 2016, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 6, 2016, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
In this case, I entirely concur. I particularly enjoyed the exchange between Tuvok and Tom. However I have to agree with Spicerak2 above. I think B'Elanna got off wayyyyyy too lightly here. At the best of times she can be an aggressive, hostile and moody bitch (played brilliantly by Dawson). On this occasion she was borderline psychotic, and what she tried to do, and the way she did it, was utterly reprehensible. There should have been serious professional consequences, not to mention marital ones. If my wife tried to pull a stunt like that, I can assure you that there would be absolute HELL to pay, yet Tom's reaction is so tame I couldn't believe it.
On a side note, there were many occasions I laughed out loud, not at the dialogue but at the thought of Michaels reaction to it. I could clearly picture him hurling into a bucket throughout lol. I wonder if that's who Jammer had in mind when he said:
"It's not the sort of sci-fi/action outing that many fans of the series may hope to get".
All in all, 3 to 3.5 stars sounds about right to me.
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, the ending was probably a bit too over the top with the violins and all, but not at all over the top in terms of the plot or the acting. That part was perfect. And the overall story was very, very good. Finally, we get to see what makes B'Elanna tick. And while I'm normally not a fan of the idea of a singular event in the past being the defining aspect of everything about a person (this is the reason I think Tapestry is overrated, even if it is overall a fun episode), it works here. Because it's not just about the event, but rather about young B'Elanna's interpretation of the event. By showing us the whole picture of the camping trip, we can look at it both through B'Elanna's eyes as well as objective ones.
For example, note how kid Torres thinks everyone hates her because she's Klingon. And note that, in the entire flashback, we never have one instance where the older cousin seems to resent B'Elanna or dislike her in any way. It's probably similar with her classmates. Some probably tease her, and she magnifies those events in her mind. But others probably don't care. And yet, because of her interpretation, B'Elanna is probably withdrawn and projects a bad attitude towards all of her classmates. Which means the rest of her classmates probably feed off that bad attitude and are cool or distant to her, thus creating a positive feedback loop for B'Elanna's feelings of isolation. It's nothing new, it's nothing kids haven't had to deal with for ages, but it probably hurts her nonetheless. So the obvious yet kinda stupid answer, that everyone hated B'Elanna because she was half-Klingon, is eliminated, but eliminated in a way that makes it believable that B'Elanna herself could believe that.
Yet people grow up, and many are able to see their childhoods in different lights. What was incredibly important back then becomes irrelevant as an adult. So why was it not with B'Elanna? And the episode provides the answer by having her overhear her dad's conversation. Now, there's a bit of an oddity with that conversation. I mean, seriously John, you're interpreting a 12 year old girl getting moody to her being a Klingon? Because no 12-year old girl ever gets moody, right? Sheesh... But then again, he was probably just venting frustrations. It's clear that his marriage was already on the rocks, and the stress of raising B'Elanna during this time probably didn't help. And maybe he simply feared for the future, who knows? But it was important to have B'Elanna hear those words, to make her believe that her dad resented her. Because she was a Klingon.
I don't think he did. Like I said, he was just venting to his brother. He probably just had a poor choice of words. Besides, even if he did think it would be a challenge raising her because she's Klingon, that doesn't mean he doesn't love her. Or want to be with her. But that's a bit harder to explain to a 12 year old, so we can see why B'Elanna was so upset about it.
And so, like with her interpretation of her classmates, her relationship with her dad undoubtedly worsened considerably at this point. And so when her dad decided to divorce her mom... well, no point in mincing words, he's a coward for leaving her too. He probably justified it as being easier on B'Elanna, that he couldn't be a good dad when she hated him, but still, no excuse. Because that did have a huge impact on her life, and continued her deep isolation with the rest of society.
Up above there's a huge debate about what sci-fi is. Besides the obvious fact that this episode considers the impact of genetic engineering on families, another part of sci-fi is to take universal themes and societal changes and place them in a new environment. Well, this episode was created at a time when there were major societal changes, when new generations of children were growing up in divorced families for the first time in mass quantities. And one common issue that appears in these children is their belief, deep down, that the divorce is their fault. This episode looks at that theme with a new twist, and does it by showing rather than telling. We see why B'Elanna feels it's her fault (or more accurately, her Klingon half's fault), even though the fault lies in her father alone.
Meanwhile, all of this flashback is important because it gives this episode its weight. And it gives B'Elanna's character its weight. If B'Elanna went to such great lengths to remove her child's Klingon DNA just because she had such a hard time as a kid, well, we would condemn her for her actions. But that's not why she did it. It's because she believes (perhaps incorrectly, but believes it nonetheless) that it will destroy her family. It already drove away the most important man in her life as a child, perhaps it would also drive away the most important man in her life as an adult? We can still say she's in the wrong, of course. But it's at least understandable.
That's why I don't complain about the ending, and instead praise it. To see her lay it all out like that, to see Tom recognize the problem and comfort her and reassure her, was absolutely needed. And it was very, very touching to see. For so long, their relationship was in the background, barely existing. But their scenes here made it real, made me truly believe that Tom cared about her. And it made it clear how much her dad leaving her messed up B'Elanna, providing the final say on her past and who she is.
We have not had too many B'Elanna-centric episodes that focused on her as a character (rather than as a plot device). Of those few, three of them (Faces, Day of Honor, and Barge of the Dead) have focused on her rejection of her Klingon self. If the writers were going to go back to that well so many times, there needed to be a real payoff to it, not just that it's in her character sheet and they don't have any other ideas. This episode reinforced these previous episodes and gave them more real meaning. Her entire life was shattered as a child, and she interpreted the reason for it as because she was Klingon. It was both a rational and irrational interpretation on her part, so we can see why she's overreacting but at the same time sympathize with her.
It's a lot like Dark Page in that sense - that episode makes Lwaxana's over-bearishness towards her daughter understandable - but this is a far superior version of that idea. And it was touching and hit all the emotional chords needed. One of my favorite episodes.
(By the way, I even like the end that she chose the EMH to be the godfather. On the one hand, she fears a difficult childhood for her daughter due to being isolated. Well, it's not hard to see that the EMH has some experience in being different and treated differently, to put it mildly. But as a more subtle point, B'Elanna has always treated the EMH worse than most of her companions, even though she works with him quite a bit. So there's a bit of a parallel here; she feels she was treated poorly because of who she was, even though she did the same to others. By giving the EMH this honor, it is perhaps her way of apologizing, not only for what she did in this episode, but also for her attitude and her own hypocrisy.)
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 8:22am (UTC -5)
I have often felt that they dipped into the "Torres can't come to terms with her Klingon side" (Faces, Day of Honor, and Barge of the Dead) well too many times. Probably I'm more sensitive to this because VOY has this problem a lot of re-learning lessons (Kim learns to "man up" and stop being green once a season at least). I'll include Juggernaut as well, because her "temper" was often code for her "Klingon side". At the time I felt some of this weakened "Lineage". Now I just think "Juggernaut" was a stupid episode, especially for S5. Did the person acting as Chief Engineer of a starship for FIVE YEARS really need to learn to control her temper now?
But if you look at Faces/Day of Honor/Lineage, all of which have a good span of time between them, falling about 3 seasons apart each, they actually form a really nice character arc. I won't include "Barge" because a) I don't really care for it and b) although it's very Klingon I think it's more about coming to terms with religion than race. In Faces you get introduced to the idea that she resents her Klingon-side because she feels she can't always control her "Klingon temper". She eventually realizes that her Klingon side adds things to the mix and without it she wouldn't be her. It's a good lesson, if a bit pedestrian. We are who we are, warts and all, and if you start pulling at threads you unravel the person.
But Day of Honor and Lineage are actually 2 sides of the same coin. This episode actually strengthens that one. She keeps Tom at arms length because she's afraid he'll leave her one day.... because she's Klingon. These 2 episodes taken together (and with Faces) show a really good arc. In Faces she learns that she needs her Klingon side because she isn't her without it. That's not acceptance or love, it's just tolerance. Before that you could say she wasn't even tolerating it. In Day of Honor she decides to let Tom in... but she does so in spite of her fears, not through accepting them and moving on... in fact she's "faking it" in the hopes that she'll "make it". But she doesn't. She never really lets go of the idea that who she is makes her unlovable in the end. And that's what Lineage is for.
Actually she's really one of my favorite characters in Trek (not just Voyager) and a really good example of how to do serialization well on an episodic show. It doesn't piss me off that VOY didn't serialize like DS9, it pisses me off that VOY couldn't figure out how to do THIS with all of their characters. Each DS9 character has a character arc of some kind. VOY... they really don't. But Torres has 2. Her relationship with Paris, especially from her side, is really, really well done and visited once a season. From "Blood Fever", to "Day of Honor", to "Alice" (which I don't love, but she's pretty good in it) to "Drive" they really do a nice job showing her slowly growing to let him in. And the 2 arcs together are very sweet as she goes from thinking she's worthless and unlovable to a respected and valued member of this family with a husband and a child.
And she gets some good one-shots also ("Dreadnaught", "Remember", "Extreme Risk" and "Muse"). It really sucks because if VOY could have given their entire ensemble this level of care with their story arcs it'd really have made a huge difference.
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
I too like B'Elanna as a character, and find it frustrating that the writers basically didn't do anything with her character. It's probably why the Klingon stuff feels so pronounced; there was nothing else there! So the fact that this season so far has shown a real commitment to Torres and Paris has been a pleasant surprise.
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 11:46am (UTC -5)
I honestly think these expectations are unrealistic in Trek.... and any other "SCI-FI" show for that matter. The science has ALWAYS been the backdrop to humanistic type stories. I'm assuming you don't like TOS much with all the Roman Gods, Abe, etc...
Gus, you've expressed my feelings about Voyager in a way that's sort of eerie. :-) I 100% agree with you and have stated so a few times in a comments over all the episodes.
This is exactly what Voyager does so well that the other trek's did not. I'm elevating Voyager here, not bashing the other incarnations. But man, there is something for everyone to grab here if you just let yourself.
I'll just inject a changed view of mine since I originally saw this episode. I initially didn't like the thing; I actually considered it a skipper (along with Barge of the Dead). I was steadfast in my opinion that the Klingon side of her would not allow this. Her actions here were not very "Klingon". Come on B'Elanna, grow up... etc.
Life has changed my view I think. I am now a proud parent of a "special needs" child. A wonderful kid that has difficulties learning. What I wouldn't have I done to change something.... move a gene .... insert sci-fi genome technobabble of choice here.... this episode had me in tears many times, not just the ending. One can only pray that technology progresses to the point where helping on this scale is possible and seemingly commonplace.
Then of course you have folks like Khan (Augments) to counter the argument... where to draw the line debates will flourish...
I also loved how everyone was involved with this episode and I agree with Jammer that they were all brought in perfectly. It did make it seem more like a "family" episode.
I'm a sap... the scene with B'Elanna and Doc at the end was moving to say the least, more moving to those of us that are parents I suppose.
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
I have not re-watched any of Trek really since I've had kids. I wonder if my opinion will change of things. Interesting how that happens.
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
It's easy to play arm-chair qb... I seem to go back to the grueling schedule putting out 24 episodes a year. But you're right, it is disappointing at times.
One of my favorite things in life has been watching trek with my kids. It always amazes me that they all have their favorites and all of them are different. (I have 5 boys)
They aren't trekkies to the extant I am, but they all enjoy it. ST09 and STiD were family affairs. I think I'll only have one at home for STB.
Sat, Sep 24, 2016, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 21, 2016, 12:20am (UTC -5)
I normally like medical episodes but I didn't think much of this one. This could have been a reasonable B story, but a whole episode... No thanks.
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 25, 2017, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 22, 2017, 11:19am (UTC -5)
To start with, Elliot says that, "an example of plain old bad drama/fiction is one in which the story obsesses over its genre." I submit that another example of bad genre fiction is one in which the story obsesses over its characters, to the exclusion of other necessary elements. Soap opera comes to mind if you need a tangible example. We have genres because there are other elements besides characters that are as important as the characters. All of these elements, like setting, plot, etc have to come together to make a quality work.
In particular, the science in sci fi is its own character, similarly to whatever elements comprise other genres, like romance, adventure, fantasy, etc. Sci fi, therefore, has to be about more than just meeting interesting characters. I can and have done that at a train station or an airport. Sci fi as a genre is about ideas and the far reaching implications of those ideas, not only as they relate to characters, but the universe at large. And it has to be respected as its own character. In other words, it is not merely a vehicle that the characters are driving to get where they're going; it is the driver of that vehicle, a character all its own, who along with the characters in the story are all traveling to some hopefully wonderful place. All the good stories of any genre that I've ever witnessed treated their individual fields of endeavor with the utmost respect and shine as a result. This episode was Soap Opera and very bad Sci fi.
B'Elanna had a relatively tame childhood bullying experience and also her father was seriously derelict in his fatherly responsibilities. Boo hoo. And for that she's goes waaaaay overboard with issues that should've been largely addressed in that episode where B'Elanna was split into human and Klingon halves that had to work together and come to terms.
It's amazing the level of double standards that come out of Jammer's reviews. Whenever Harry gets any late series development, it's too little too late. Whenever 7 goes through some issues, it's we've seen this before. Here magical thinking concludes "'Lineage' gets very right... its single-minded focus on what's important" i.e. B'Elanna's old, tired, raggedy ass struggles with her Klingon heritage. If "Barge" wasn't sufficient enough to deal with this same old tripe, how many episodes of this garbage do we have to sit through before I can see some light at the end of the tunnel? This isn't character development; it's wallowing in "maudlin" self-absorption.
The thing that really burns me up about this episode is this emotionally challenged heifer mind rapes the Doctor. He doesn't even chastise her about it. That was so out of character it was utterly ridiculous. In any other episode the Doctor would've been outraged. Similar to when those hostile holograms mind raped him with their memories or when Janeway tampered with his memories. Here he just lets her slide totally off the hook with an "apology accepted." Then at the end she asks him to be her godfather, to which he eagerly accepts. WTF?!?
The current movie Passengers was called "justification of stalking" by many critics. I bet you many of those same people wouldn't have a problem with this episode, since the Doctor isn't female. No matter that he was mind raped by someone he probably trusted as a friend and definitely needs to rely on as one of the few crew members who can understand and repair his holo-matrix. No. They'd probably say the same crap I see above. They were "moved by the powerful acting." And "as a woman, I was very moved in the final scenes." Not to mention, "I also absolutely loved the ending, it nearly made me sob!"
It's just disgusting how the Doctor is treated. He's a sapient being. He has rights and deserves respect. But constantly the crew craps all over him. If it weren't for the fact that he'd be off the show, I'd want him to have become the leader of the holograms in Flesh and Blood after killing Iden. At least then, he could live among people who wouldn't automatically treat him as less than an autonomous individual. And then they could forge whatever society they wanted, like Iden's original plan.
I agree with Shakaree. 30 days in the brig sounds about right. And the Doctor should've never forgiven her for what she did, let alone be the godfather for her baby.
Wed, Feb 22, 2017, 11:51am (UTC -5)
In the first part of your analysis, you complain that Lineage is bad because it's not sci-fi. You then go on to define two tropes of the sci-fi genre: "science" and "far reaching implications" of ideas.
The problem with your analysis, is that Lineage ticks both of those boxes. The genetic manipulation angle is definitely science. And the implications of that genetic manipulation and how far a mother could take it, is definitely a "far reaching implication" in my book.
I think what you are really complaining about, is not that it isn't sci-fi (which it definitely is) but that it's not action-adventure (a genre Trek has only ever nominally belonged to).
The rest of your comment is just incoherent rambling. Especially your half-formed rant about something to do with rape and sexual equality.
Fri, Mar 24, 2017, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Also, great character development. We finally know why B'Elanna is such a chronic asshole. It turns out, she has a long history of being a self-hating, super sensitive baby, with a persecution complex and a distorted perception of realty.
The only social interaction thing she has ever been right about (other than Tom's love affair with his alien ship in "Alice") is the reason her family fell apart. If her mom was anything close to the douche B'Elanna Jr. was (and, as we saw in "Barge of the Dead," she definitely was), I'd have left her and her stupid mom too.
Sat, Jun 3, 2017, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
It's painful to watch.
Sat, Jun 3, 2017, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
She'd never be trusted again. By anyone. And she needed a demotion and brig time at the very least. I bet Carey was thinking "Way to go, Captain. First she breaks noses, and now she mutilates unborn babies. Still, you know best..."
As Quincy notes above, this is another case of double standards in regards to how the sexes are treated.
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
This was one of the strongest outings in season 7, to my mind. Incredible character piece which finally let you in to get a full, raw understanding of B'Elanna. This sort of pathos absolutely has a place in Star Trek and sci-fi more broadly.
Good sci-fi isn't just about tech. The tech facilitates a story, and stories are, at heart, about people.
Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 12:04am (UTC -5)
This was just cliche after cliche after cliche.
I had a bad childhood, I don't want my kid to have one. I think it's my fault my parents split up. We are going to become just like my parents. You will leave me like my daddy left me. You don't understand me, you aren't different like me. etc. etc.
The culmination of all the boring cliches is, Torres decides to lose her mind and break a bunch of starfleet regulations, and make a bunch of immoral choices, and surprise, everything is resolved in 2 minutes and no one cares what she did.
She should be severely punished, Tom should divorce her, and the EMH should demand that she never be allowed to work on his program again. But no. No one cares.
Reset button again. No surprise though. What's new?
Sat, Aug 19, 2017, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Most of the good I saw in the episode has already been mentioned so I'll just go with the one important point I haven't seen raised.
Particularly touching, which I was surprised Jammer didn't mention was the godfather subplot. After Torres takes advantage the doctor's artificial nature (one would think a substantial crime under the circumstances but I'll let that slide since the doctor seems to forgive her) she asks the doctor to be the godfather. The doctor's expression is one of the best non-verbal acting scenes in the series. You can see it all on his face before he says anything, that even though the crew has accepted him as sentient, this request really drives it home for him that somebody would really consider asking him, and accepting him to the same level of an organic crew member.
Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
It would be nice if you could read and understand plain English. Allow me to post what I actually stated: "This episode was Soap Opera AND VERY BAD SCI FI." For something to be "very bad X" it must first be X. Clearly, this directly contradicts your claim.
And the problem with your "analysis" of my analysis is you apparently didn't understand my analysis. Yes, Lineage ticked the sci fi box. No, it didn't effectively explore the far reaching ideas of genetic manipulation. Instead it wallowed in myopic self-pity, which B'lanna seems to do every time the subject of her Klingon heritage comes up. Amazing how Jammer notes on one 7 of 9 episode that "At the same time, Seven of Nine stories are getting a bit repetitive (doesn't she essentially learn the same lessons every time, unable to later apply them to similar situations?)" Magically, this insight doesn't apply to B'Elanna's Lineage.
If there was any doubt you had trouble with reading comprehension, your assertion about action-adventure reveals all. If you'd truly understood the part of my post about genres, you'd have readily come to the conclusion that if I were indeed "really complaining about" Star Trek being "not action-adventure" then I would've been elsewhere watching Stalone, or Schwarzenegger instead of here complaining. You know... because... that's where the action is... in the ACTION GENRE.
You posting that nonsense along with "(a genre Trek has only ever nominally belonged to)." in the same sentence necessarily means you never had even a "nominal" understanding of my post. Obviously, there's no way that an action genre, adrenalin junkie would ever have failed to notice this critical fact about TOS, TNG, DS9, STV, and Enterprise long enough to find Jammer's site and complain about it.
Besides, I've unequivocally stated elsewhere on this very website that those allergic to action and those who binge on it should all get a room together, in order to make each other miserable for all eternity. They're two sides of the same bad penny. Guess which side of that penny you've revealed yourself to be on? Happy nuptials!!! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
"The rest of your comment is just incoherent rambling. Especially your half-formed rant about something to do with rape and sexual equality."
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Plain English, remember. If you need the plain English crib notes, just ask and I'm sure some helpful person will email them to you.
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 3, 2017, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
"Instead it wallowed in myopic self-pity, which B'lanna seems to do every time the subject of her Klingon heritage comes up. Amazing how Jammer notes on one 7 of 9 episode that "At the same time, Seven of Nine stories are getting a bit repetitive (doesn't she essentially learn the same lessons every time, unable to later apply them to similar situations?)" Magically, this insight doesn't apply to B'Elanna's Lineage."
I think Jammer explains this in many of his Voyager reviews; the difference is in regards to the portrayal of character development. Whereas, as you say, Seven seems to have to learn a very similar lesson over and over again, Torres in the final seasons seems to experience an arc. In many ways Torres actions here can be seen as a result of her experiences from previous character episodes, and there are many hints to suggest this. As Jammer implies, this really is a culmination of B'Elanna's experiences in Barge of the Dead and Drive and earlier episodes.
"B'Elanna had a relatively tame childhood bullying experience and also her father was seriously derelict in his fatherly responsibilities. Boo hoo. And for that she's goes waaaaay overboard with issues that should've been largely addressed in that episode where B'Elanna was split into human and Klingon halves that had to work together and come to terms. "
As you know, Sci-fi allows us to explore many complex themes, one of which is identity. Many Trek series have explored this with characters who come from two different species or cultures. Spock. Deanna. Worf, as raised by humans. Worf in many ways is a mirror of Torres, especially in regards to his feelings regarding his son Alexander. These issues provided by these characters and their quests for identity are best explored over time and through interaction with other characters and perspectives. I believe the acting in this episode did a good job of making the character's motivations seem more real.
Finally I would agree with your comment about her treatment of the Doctor. Especially coming on the heels of Flesh and Blood in which Torres and the Doctor share some significant moments and lessons regarding holographic life. There should have been more said about his rights or feelings.
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
The whole part about Torres hijacking the Doc is ridiculous though -- going to that extent (calling it a criminal act) to get the genetic modifications done to the baby. Surprising that Torres could violate Doc's program, erect force fields, shut out the security officer etc. What a pregnant woman can do... But that's a fairly minor flaw in a very strong character episode for Paris and Torres.
Paris and Torres do the husband and wife bickering thing pretty credibly for me. Paris does the reassuring husband role really well -- says all the right things, while Torres does the pregnant woman moodiness fantastically. And you could see it in Torres' eyes how she wanted to remove all the Klingon components of the baby based on her painful childhood memories.
This is one of those episodes where all the crew members had some role to play and all their parts were well acted and written -- even minor little things like Tuvok's dialog with Paris, Harry Kim letting Paris stay with him and Janeway not overruling the Doc.
The flashbacks were kind of heavy-handed but not bad for Trek guest actors -- the point was made and credibly so. It's a technique that works here for supporting what Torres thinks could happen to her baby and marriage. Important backstory for her father as well after we learned about her mother ("Barge of the Dead").
3 stars for "Lineage" -- a real Trek drama that could be a typical credible episode on some other show. Genetic modifications to fix a spine get ramped up into a whole bunch of what-ifs -- pretty interesting stuff that poses a good ethical questions. The writers have something good going with Paris and Torres as a couple.
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
This is a reasonable response. Much better than the other one I got. However, I have to disagree. Seven goes from full blown Borg, fully determined to remain so, to full fledged individual, who bucks the captain every other show. Absolutely no one, and I mean no one on the show, had a character arc as deep as hers. Nobody else even comes close. Certainly not B'Elanna, who was often nothing more than an inappropriately hostile hamster on a treadmill. Her main character development was letting Tom knock her up. It never even made logical sense how a half Klingon struggled so mightily with what full blooded Worf handled much more readily. She should've been more like Worf's baby mama, confidently comfortable, while rejecting her Klingon heritage.
I repeat, all her issues about her Klingon heritage should've been taken care of in the Faces episode where she was split apart into Klingon and Human halves in the very first season. If they wanted to do an arc, she should've remained split up for the entire season. Anything else just pales in comparison. Who cares if you got bullied as a child, like every other child in Creation, when you've had your entire ass cleaved in two and was forced to work closely with your hated left @$$ cheek just to save your life? Lineage, Extreme Risk, Barge of the Dead, etc was just old tired garbage that got stuck in the recycling bin.
Not really. Only thing we have in common is we both like good sci fi. Michael (if I'm thinking of the right commentator) seems to hate drama focused episodes and finds A.I.s having the same rights afforded to sapient beings completely unbelievable. Even though he has no evidence he himself is anything other than wetware, grown, rather than manufactured.
I have no problem with drama. I enjoy it very much when it's done well. I just don't like the sci fi genre being subordinated to it. In genre fiction the genre is the hero of the dish, to paraphrase Gordon Ramsey. Lineage was like cooking a dinner where the entree was one of those generic gas station frozen hamburgers , while the side dishes were McDonalds fries and coke. Not much of a hero either way, but still glaringly obvious who the supposed champion is.
Meanwhile, it's also glaringly obvious to me that TNG is the first Star Trek franchise to posit sapient holograms, not Voyager. Minuet and Moriarty immediately come to mind. Not to mention, that episode, Emergence, where a brand new sapient life form is created from the wealth of holodeck records, logs, and ship systems. They actually say this out loud in the episode.
"Picard argues that the formed intelligence did not only come from the ship's systems, but also from the crew's personal records, mission logs, etc. 'Now if our experiences with the Enterprise have been honorable, can't we trust that the sum of those experiences will be the same?'" - Memory Alpha
Clearly, the writers intend for the audience to regard the ship as a ecosystem complex enough to create emergent sapient lifeforms all on its own and the Doctor as a sapient being worthy of respect, like any such organism, regardless of anyone's problems with that concept. And even though they back track quite a bit for dramatic license, they generally err on the side of that being the case. I see no reason to indite Voyager for following in TNG's well tread footsteps.
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 2:01am (UTC -5)
hahaha... oh boy, OK. Pent up frustration from some random dude’s repetitive comments on Star Trek Voyager episodes at a website called Jammer’s Reviews.
Remind me when the Zombie Apocalypse happens to be nowhere close to those 2, cause they have “first to go” written all over them. ;-)
And fwiw, Michael... wherever you may be... you are (were) kinda cloyingly repetitive. lol
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 11:36am (UTC -5)
And that opening with Icheb thinking the baby was a parasite and Seven informing us otherwise was priceless!!
Thu, May 10, 2018, 7:16am (UTC -5)
Wow, you guys are special kind of fucktards, are you not? Michael has had his share of responses already, so I'll let that be... Mephyve, always commenting every episode with a one sentence long "review" that contribute nothing to this site (i.e., they are basically either "hospital episode(*)" or "fun episode(****)"). DLPB, you must realize how idiotic it is to comment here before you have even finished the damn episode in question?
You guys suck.
(Like others on this comment section, I had to vent out this frustration that had built up during several months of watching Voyager on Netflix and visiting Jammer's reviews after each episode. Regarding "Lineage", it was an episode that really surprised me; when I realized what its all about, I expected the worst, but I ended up really enjoying it and it even got me a bit emotional! I'd say 3 to 3,5 stars in a Jammer-scale.)
Sat, Jun 16, 2018, 7:41am (UTC -5)
The comments about this episode not being sci-fi are ridiculous. The most popular sci-fi shows rely on character, and very often -but not always - the tech, to pull us in. Blade Runner relies on us questioning the main character's background - is he a replicant? The focus is on the characters, but replicants couldn't exist without the sci-fi setting.
Alien is a horror film about the crew surviving a monster attack - I'd say the sci-fi is almost superfluous - it could have been set on an oil tanker, and they could've diverted to some island for some reason and picked up a "Love Craftian Horror" there.
The Martian is 100% a survival film about the main character overcoming the odds in a harsh environment. Mars make for an overwhelmingly harsh environment, but the basic premise is enhanced by the sci-fi setting, not requiring of it - but benefiting from it.
This episode is along those lines. 'Torres fearing her husband won't love the baby because it has her traits and her own father didn't' does not need to be a sci-fi. But add race into the reason, and a Sci-Fi situation allows all [human] races viewing it to identify rather than not, and it being a sci-fi setting allows the question of whether its right to modify the child (something we cannot do). This is the very best version of sci-fi where the story and characters are center and their problem isn't technobabble "we found a subspace harmonic wave" and the solution isn't "invert the polarity of the ventral EPS conduits and phase - change the deflector to get us out!"
Rather its using a situation that could happen today - genetic deformation - and that can be solved using tech as part A of a problem, and then using the technology to change the fetus as a a "problem B." Problem A is "human condition corrected by tech." Problem B is "human desire can be corrected by tech" and problem B can only be overcome by the characters, not the tech.
Science Fiction doesn't always have to have characters overcoming problems created by tech, but that is often much more interesting than tech problems being solved by tech.
I also enjoyed the Doctor and B'lanna's role reversal from the Doctor's own experience with a family he created to be perfect earlier in the series - where she insists part of being a father is dealing with the difficulties of reality. Here she is insisting he make her baby 'more perfect' (so perhaps the Paris baby won't make friends with a real life Larg and K'kath upon returning to the Alpha Quadrant).
Also, perhaps her fears are more justified than the episode lets on? Paris did already father children that looked different than him, and both him, and the mother (Janeway), abandoned them...
Mon, Aug 6, 2018, 5:06am (UTC -5)
Wh... How? I do not get that. I really don't.
This episode was just on in the background as my wife and I ate dinner. We repeatedly looked at each other and groaned, and eye-rolled, and sighed at how dreadful and cheesey it was. I would have gotten up and done something about it, except I was still managing to enjoy dinner. But only just.
When both it and my dinner finished, my wife said it was the suckiest episode ever.
I said that I've always thought that 'Threshold' was the worst episode of any Trek, ever, but that this episode just beat it. Hands down.
As bad as Threshold is (and I really hope that there's no one here who would argue about that judgement) at least Threshold *was* Sci Fi. Utterly stupid, stomp-all-over-the-established-in-universe lore, ridiculously ridiculous magic reversible DNA, yes, but at least it had both 'Sci' and 'Fi'. And it had some good make-up effects.
But this episode was just pure and utter drivel. Schmaltzy saccharine sap.
It was worse than a soap opera, because at least the real soapies don't try and pretend that they aren't soap.
I'm no fan of B'Elanna, but c'mon, can no one else see that this is the zenith of her unlikability?
The only way I can make *any* sense of some people here liking this episode, if perhaps they have had kids. Parenthood seems to have a side effect of turning some part of the brain to mush. Generally though, the effect is specific and triggered only by people's *own* kids. People who are parents still seem to be able to recognise that *other* kids are grotty.
If you like it ... then ... good for you. Re-watch it, like I like to rewatch DS9's "The Wire", or "In the Pale Moonlight", or "Siege at AR 558", or TNG's "Q Who", or ...
For me, however, this is ZERO stars. And that's only after including a star for Paris being actually quite good.
Fri, Oct 12, 2018, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
A solid episode. Smart idea to develop an episode on B’Elanna issues that go all the way back to season one upon her hearing she’s pregnant.
Too bad more episodes like this weren’t done early on featuring her I may have ended up liking the character rather than being indifferent to her
This also actually felt like a TNG episode. It had that feel to it. That’s a compliment since so few VOY episodes felt like Trek to me. This one was quite emotionally involving. It’s also the only episode where Paris and Torres felt like a couple with actual chemistry.
I also enjoyed the crew’s reactions to learning of B’Elanna a pregnancy. The crew felt like a family which it so rarely did In the course of the series.
Sun, Nov 11, 2018, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Very sweet and brought a tear to my eye.
B'Ellana is still working it all out, but she does make those steps forward.
It is realistic for someone with serious abandonment issues to be triggered by upcoming, life changing events. She's going to control it this time. She's going to keep Tom from leaving her (and her daughter) the way Dad did. She's going to nip it in the bud, no matter what it takes.
I was at first mystified by the Doc's turnaround and agreement with B'Ellana; clever writing.
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 2:07am (UTC -5)
I am also not really a fan of the more emotional, touchy/feely episodes. I do understand that Michael is a bit...extreme, and I do not want to see nothing but flashy space stuff, but I also do not want a soap opera
But with that said, Star Trek has also shown allegories on real life issues, and this one is no different. To me, it was telling that when B'lanna did her first genetic alteration, the first thing that happened was the holographic girl got blond hair. To me, this episode is about minorities who no longer want to be part of their race. It is a flawed viewpoint, but the way some races are sterotyped an understandable one that really can only be addressed by viewing people as God does-as human, not one category or another based on race-it is based on the actions of each individual, not the colour of their skin, or some other superficial external feature.
I also agree that B'lanna should have been punished for what she did to the doctor. Yes, he forgave her, but as Chief Engineer, she probably has more knowledge and access to the doctor's program than anyone else, and she needs to learn that this is a responsibility that can not be abused. Just like the genetic alterations she wanted to make could (and no doubt would) cause unforseen issues with the child, changes to the doctor's programming (especially ones that involved his reasoning and diagnosis) could easily turn catastrophic if he from then on misdiagnoses patients throughout the ship.
Paris may be seen as a happy-go-lucky kid/adult who likes to play with fast cars, fast ships and pretend to be a superhero from old serials, but he must have a LOT of patience and maturity to marry and deal with B'lanna! I frankly couldn't see someone like that ever marrying! (And not because of her race)
Look, this may also seem insensitive, but even in the flashbacks, a lot of what she took offense at really seemed blown out of proportion. She told her dad her cousins hated her. I was expecting them to all gang up on her when out of sight of the adults (not physically, but mockingly), and that didn't happen. The oldest girl seemed to genuinely like her, the one boy barely had a speaking role, and the other boy was mischievous. *(I am not excusing what he did, and perhaps a spanking would have been in order, but I don't think he was anti-Klingon. Yes, he made a reference to Klingons liking live food, but I think it was just a prank he would have done to anyone not meant with malice)
I don't want to have my comments seen thru the glasses of what race I am, but I will say, as a Black person, I have seen some instances of racism, but much more have I seen instances where other Black people automatically assumed an event transpired a certain way because others were racists when it simply wasn't true! I think Torres has that problem too. (But that's not my main issue with her-she is just far too quick tempered, and abrasive and that has nothing to do with her race. Even in the fictional Star Trek universe, Worf has certain traits, and yet is a very likeable person. Torres is just...ugh!)
Well, that's my opinion.
Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 1:44am (UTC -5)
B'Ehlanna is fully half-Klingon and her forehead ridges are some 90% reduced compared to the average Klingon.
It's hard to buy that her one-quarter Klingon child would have basically the same forehead ridges that she has, as was presented here. DOc says taht the ridges are dominant through several generations, but even a cursory look at B'Ehlanna shows that isn't the case.
Also, post-natal surgery on the child's forehead would seem far more practical and moral then randomly altering DNA, if B'Ehlanna was really that worked up about it but it isn't even brought up.
It made the entire conflict seem more than a bit too contrived.
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 7:22am (UTC -5)
Roxann Dawson is shining in an episode which, as some comments mention, must (partly) have just happened to tie everything together just perfectly, regarding Torres character. And thank God for that, because when I see this, I can't help but LOVE Voyager.
A masterful piece of not only VOY but Star Trek in general.
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, this has to be one of my favourite episodes - I do enjoy character work as some of the Fi with the Sci, and this was very well done in my eyes, and very ... I think 'authentic' is the word I'm looking for. It's entirely realistic that pregnancy and the thought of a new life would trigger suppressed trauma to (re)surface.
The one thing that shocked me was B'Elanna tampering with the Doctor, especially after all the holographic rights already dealt with (including way back to whenever he was given autonomy) but it felt in-character and plausible. I did appreciate that she truly felt remorse over it, and the Doctor was very gracious in his response to it but again plausibly so (I thought, anyway).
Man, season 7 overall is shaping up to be pretty much how it ought to have been from the start. Some of the episodes have had interesting shot choices which made even otherwise quite flat or banal episodes a bit more interesting. Ah well, no point lamenting there wasn't more of this quality now, it's best just to appreciate the good we *did* get. (Admittedly it is easier to say straight after a sterling episode such as this than after some of the worse episodes.)
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
Love the Tom/B’Elanna exchange when she tells him about her dad. You can see how much he loves her there. And you can also she why she hesitates around him. This is definitely an episode that makes me like the two characters together. One of the best things Voyager did.
Depending on your life experiences, you will most likely adore or despise the episode (as we’ve seen in the heated chat above). But you can’t deny the great acting. I believed everything that happened and felt they did a great job of making B’Elanna react so crazily when she saw her baby. She really thought the Klingon side would not show by being with Tom. And them showing the fix of the spine certainly gave her ideas.
The only thing I’d have wanted them to add was Tom saying that B’Elanna’s Klingon side was one of the things he loved about her. It is a cool feature and makes the character interesting.
Glad the pregnancy factor could explain her behaviour with the Doctor. Extreme, but I believed it.
Tue, Apr 21, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
i was so angry about B'elanna after watching this episode.
Like Tuvok with Neelix, i tolerated her. But where Tuvok had a bit of a warm spot for Neelix, i just had to suffer her because i had no choice.
But this episode really crossed the line for me when i first saw it, and now on a rewatch, i feel the need to tell the world. Thats how bad it is. :)
For all the people that are going to defend her, and im sure there will be a lot of people who liked her, just think about this one thing:
When B'elanna is angry about something someone did to her, and takes action against it. In your mind, just turn it around and think about what B'elanna would have done, when someone did this thing to herself.
She is the prime example of someone who can dish it out really well, to agitate her you just have to let slip one wrong word, make some little mistake etc.
Wich may be totally ok if she would be able to stand some criticism or opposition herself. But she is always the first one to explode after even the tiniest insult/objection.
What she tried to do to their child is nothing short of criminal and just imagining how she would have reacted, if Tom would have done a thing like this, without even discussing it with her, i arrive at an open airlock and a helmsman gasping for air.
Wed, May 6, 2020, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
I like her. She’s got issues, but who wouldn’t if they were the only one around with a bumpy forehead and bad temper as a child.
Mon, May 11, 2020, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Great episode, four stars.
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, this was a lovely episode. No need for an anomaly or some alien of the week, just a well executed story that understands and thoughtfully considers the perspectives of its characters. I always liked this relationship in its early stages and felt it was a shame to see it fall by the wayside in recent years, so I've been pleasantly surprised to see episodes like this and 'Drive' which put them back in the spotlight before the show ends.
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
It’s super high concept.
“What if a victim of racism could erase those racial traits from their child?”
Also, the idea that science fiction can’t be character stories is ridiculous. Science fiction is ultimately about science’s impact on humanity, and that impact can be shown at any level, from the galactic to the microscopic. Why not the personal?
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 1, 2021, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
It was storytelling at its finest. There was just enough misdirection where you can think "yeah, we know B'Elanna doesn't like her Klingon side, but would she really remove genes just to have her daughter be fully human? That seems a bit petty, even for B'Elanna." Where her motives seem somewhat plausible while still outrageous. Until you finally discover the true thing she fears, losing Tom and her child losing Tom.
B'Elanna was the first one to tell Tom she loved him. B'Elanna was the one who thought she was losing Tom during the spaceship race, even though she openly admitted she loved him. She has always been the vulnerable one who knows she will always love Tom, but is often unsure she will be loved in return, or is even deserving of love in return.
So seeing B'Elanna go to the extremes she does is entirely believable. She is terrified and she believes she has no other choice. Everyone's acting in this episode was spectacular and made the story truly compelling. And the writers did a fantastic job of setting up a story that reveals things as it goes along and ends with a big payoff. When Harry tells Tom to "just listen" we think it's sound advice, but mostly just a way for Tom to reach B'Elanna. It's not until the very end that we all understand that Tom just needed to discover what B'Elanna's true fears really were all along.
Thu, May 27, 2021, 9:30am (UTC -5)
I pity their lives, they are most likely unable to understand half of what is happening around them / why people act like they do. If must be frustrating.
If such an episode is of no interest to you then I really feel bad for you, you are missing so much of the experience to be human.
Wrt Belanna’s actions, just because one understands her motivation and even sympathizes to a certain extent, doesn’t mean she was right to do what she did and should not be sentenced accordingly.
My favorite quote of all these comments is:
“ This episode was just on in the background as my wife and I ate dinner. We repeatedly looked at each other and groaned, and eye-rolled, and sighed at how dreadful and cheesey it was. I would have gotten up and done something about it, except I was still managing to enjoy dinner. But only just.
When both it and my dinner finished, my wife said it was the suckiest episode ever. ”
It is both amusing and depressing. Dude, seriously, I give your marriage 5 years max. If you both are not interested in seeing how others deal with REAL differences and disagreements within a couple, I do not think you will be able to hold yours for long. I wish you luck. When your wife will go through a difficult time, you will probably look at her, groan, eye-roll and sigh. You will probably think bout doing something about it but you will probably still enjoy your dinner while she is languishing in agony.
Actually, there is another quote that had me laughing out loud:
“ I would maintain, however, that the themes of "exploring one's troubled relationship with one's [insert parent]" or "coming to terms with one's [insert psychological trauma or complex]" have no place in a sci-fi show.” Hummmmmmmmmmm.......... star wars?
So funny to see people complaining about trek being “soap-opera”, when it clearly is not. This is not about exaggerated cliches of social situations, it is about dissecting, understanding, theorising about deeply human behaviours. Amalgamating the two is just mind-boggling.
How can someone mainly interested in exploring “science”, with a strong aversion for exploring what it means to be human watch star trek at all? Let alone watch all of TOS, TNG and come this far into VOY!!!??? You should know by now you will not find what you are looking for.
Oh wait, there is STD (glorious abbreviation if there ever was) and Picard now, these shows were made for you guys! Hope you are happy at last. “This is the power of math people!” Yeah plenty of science and no fiction there.
As for someone suggesting that the like / dislike proportions in the thread have a gender bias, as a guy I resent that lol.
Thu, May 27, 2021, 9:34am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 16, 2021, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
2.5 stars - the designer baby issues (i.e. the actual sci-fi component in this soapy episode) are well done and very intriguing. I wish Trek had done more with this stuff (Khan and Bashir notwithstanding).
Mon, Jul 19, 2021, 12:02am (UTC -5)
I've also known many others of mixed race and there is an inherent identity issue in many of us. We all deal with them in different ways, some not healthy... some of us find acceptance in one heritage and not the other, some might find acceptance in both or neither...
B'elanna is still struggling with her identity issues into her adulthood, but it is a very good and realistic portrayal of what some mixed people might go through. And I appreciate that she has continued to struggle and deal with the issue throughout the series and it wasn't just swept away as an afterthought.
Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
I agree with other commenters that this plot wasn't enough by itself. A story about pregnancy, childhood trauma, and marital issues is a B story. I care about character development, but I want to see sci-fi on a sci-fi show.
Sun, Oct 17, 2021, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Paris as an adult was also nice to witness....for a change. 4 stars.
Fri, Dec 24, 2021, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, we feel sorry for Kirk in "City on the Edge of Forever" and "Requiem for Methuselah", and we feel sorry for Picard in "The Inner Light", but these episodes offer kind of distant, intellectual sympathy.
With "Mortal Coil" and "Lineage", in contrast, "Voyager" seems to reach something more raw and gut-wrenching. These episodes incrementally torment their lead character, use this torment to touch upon some really big themes (existentialism, the death of God, self-hate, miscegenation etc), and then build to a powerfully sad breakdown.
MemoryAlpha says this episode was written by James Kahn, who joined Voyager in season 7. One wonders if his script, which is about Torres hating her mixed-race heritage, was autobiographical.
Regardless, he was responsible for four of the season's better episodes. His "The Void" seems to be his most popular script, but IMO "Lineage" is much better. A little masterpiece, it's arguably the only great Tom Paris script other than "The Chute", and is filled great character work throughout; the Doctor is wonderfully sympathetic, Kim, Chakotay and Janeway get neat little scenes, and Roxann Dawson (as is typical when she gets an episode all to herself) is excellent.
IMO this is the best "Voyager" episode since "Muse", another Torres episode.
Fri, Nov 4, 2022, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 9, 2022, 3:49am (UTC -5)
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