Star Trek: Voyager: Threshold   Rewatch 
April 17, 2017 6:26 AM - Season 2, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Adult Mutant Starfleet Salamanders, Adult Mutant Starfleet Salamanders, Adult Mutant Starfleet Salamanders, heroes on the Threshold! (Amphibian power!)

Memory Alpha will never speak of this again:

- The story idea for this episode came from Michael De Luca, who was – at the time – the head of New Line Cinema.

- The writers began developing the story by asking themselves what it might be like to break a fundamental rule of the Star Trek universe that had existed ever since the early days of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jeri Taylor recalled, "Gene [Roddenberry] made the determination at the beginning of Next Gen that warp ten would be the limit, and at that point you would occupy all portions of the universe simultaneously, which always seemed like a wonderfully provocative notion. Then the question is 'What happens if you do go warp ten, how does that affect you?' So we all sat in a room and kicked it around and came up with this idea of evolution and thought that it would be far more interesting and less expected that instead of it being the large-brained, glowing person, it would be full circle, back to our origins in the water. Not saying that we have become less than we are, because those creatures may experience consciousness on such an advanced plane that we couldn't conceive of it. It just seemed like a more interesting image."

- Supervising producer Brannon Braga later commented, "I wrote the episode, or at least the teleplay [....] And... it had some good intentions behind it. It had a good premise, breaking the warp ten barrier. I don't know where this whole 'de-evolving into a lizard' thing came from [....] I think I was trying to make a statement about evolution not necessarily being evolving toward higher organisms, that evolution may also be a de-evolution. You know, we kind of take it for granted that evolution means bigger brains, more technology, you know, more refined civilization. When in fact, for all we know, we're evolving back toward a more primordial state. Ultimately, who can predict?" In a 2011 interview, Braga stated, "I was trying something [....] It was my homage, I guess, to David Cronenberg's The Fly."

- In fact, Brannon Braga thoroughly edited the script during the rewrite process. He remarked, "It's very much a classic Star Trek story, but in the rewrite process I took out the explanation, the idea behind the ending, that we evolve into these little lizards because maybe evolution is not always progressive. Maybe it's a cycle where we revert to something more rudimentary. That whole conversation was taken out for various reasons, and that was a disaster because without it the episode doesn't even have a point. I think it suffered greatly. I got the note that it wasn't necessary, but in fact it really had a lot to do with what the episode was about. Big mistake taking it out." Later, Braga complained, "Unfortunately, none of [the evolutionary theorizing] came across in the episode. And all we were left with were some lizard... things crawling around in the mud. So, it was not my shining moment." In 2011, he named this episode as the one installment from the entirety of Voyager that he would "just as soon forget" and remarked, "That's a real low point [....] It really backfired on me. It was poorly executed by me."

- Robert Duncan McNeill was generally puzzled by this episode, so he tried to rationalize it for himself. "When you try to tell the story–he breaks warp ten, starts shedding skin, he kidnaps the captain and then he becomes one with the universe, [he and Janeway] are salamanders, and have a baby–it sounds ridiculous," McNeill remarked. "What is this about? Before you can even start to tell the story you have to find the moral. What is the simplest point of this episode? Once you can say that in a sentence then that is what the episode is about. To me [...] the whole warp ten [challenge] and salamanders and all of that frosting was about Paris trying to find some sort of salvation outside himself and ultimately realizing that he had to find his own self worth from within. Here is somebody who thinks he's got to break warp ten and prove to everybody, his father and himself that he can do this outside thing, but ultimately your happiness comes from within." In the end, McNeill still thought the episode was very strange. "That was a bizarre show," he exclaimed. "It really was."

- In 2003, seven years after having written the installment, Brannon Braga said, "It's a terrible episode. People are very unforgiving about that episode. I've written well over a hundred episodes of Star Trek, yet it seems to be the only episode anyone brings up, you know? 'Brannon Braga, who wrote 'Threshold'!' Out of a hundred and some episodes, you're gonna have some stinkers! Unfortunately, that was a royal, steaming stinker." At the 2009 New Jersey Star Trek convention, Kate Mulgrew remarked to the audience that "Threshold" was the episode of Star Trek: Voyager she was most uncomfortable with, noting that she didn't like the thought of mating with Paris as a lizard. This episode was also panned by critics, frequently being voted as the worst ever episode of Star Trek: Voyager and even the worst episode of Star Trek in general.

"Can you wake him?"
"I don't see why not. WAKE UP LIEUTENANT!'"

- Captain Janeway and The Doctor, on Paris

"In principle, if you were ever to reach warp 10, you'd be traveling at infinite velocity."
"Infinite velocity, got it. So, that means very fast."

- Harry Kim and Neelix

"Here lies Thomas Eugene Paris, beloved mutant."

- Tom Paris, aloud in sickbay

"Great! Now it will read '...beloved radioactive mutant!' "

- Tom Paris to The Doctor, regarding a radiation treatment

"I lost my virginity in that room. Seventeen. Parents were away for the weekend."
"I'll note that in your medical file."

- Tom Paris and The Doctor

Poster's Log:

So... was it really that bad?

tl;dr--IMO, I don't think so. Not the worst installment of Trek, not the worst Voyager episode, not even the worst this season. That doesn't mean that it's exactly good, of course, and the ending in particular has a dreadful record-needle-scratch moment, plus there's a whole lot of wasted potential. In that respect, there's a lot of similarity between the previous candidate for worst Trek episode ever, "Spock's Brain." Again, in my very humble opinion, it's not only not the worst episode ever, or even the worst one in that season; that would be "Turnabout Intruder", the one that put an uncomfortable truth (that, despite TOS' progressive values, women seemed to be excluded from command positions) in the mouth of a homicidal maniac. "Spock's Brain" had a bunch of really interesting ideas--that people could learn even highly sophisticated skills and professions by downloading them directly into their brains, albeit temporarily; that a society could manage their physical needs by having a brain wired to manage their environment, in effect turning their entire infrastructure into a giant cyborg; even that strict adherence to traditional gender roles, to the extent of physical separatism, was a bad idea. But it was done pretty clumsily, and in what was probably the worst sin for a Trekkie of the time (excuse me, "Trekker"), made Spock look silly as he slowly marched around with McCoy remote-controlling him like a model Cessna. And thus a similar status for "Threshold", with mutated Paris and Janeway and their implied amphibious shtupping and the abandonment of their babies on some random planet and the two of them chatting later in their hospital gowns like it was no big deal.

And it's really a shame because, even though the episode was basically high concept--The Right Stuff meets The Fly--that's not necessarily a bad thing. The former film touches on a moment of sublime horror with the government representative who comes to the homes of the wives of test pilots to let them know that their husbands were killed, like some natty Grim Reaper; the latter is really about the unintended consequences of testing a method of transportation not unlike Trek's own transporters. A really good episode could have been made out of just focusing on the potential downside of creating a new form of transportation, either that not only was there not a clear path to curing/treating Paris but that the transwarp method might produce more fatalities before the bugs were worked out--thus putting Janeway in an ethical dilemma as to how much it would be worth to pursue this route, especially as continuing through Kazon territory might produce even more casualties--or that the method would always carry this sort of risk that couldn't be finessed away. (There's a very good Stephen King short story called "The Jaunt" about a hidden drawback to a method of teleportation that has revolutionized the world that's well worth looking up if you haven't read it.) That episode could have even fit in Paris' thing about wanting to redeem himself and fulfill all those expectations that his father and others had of him, by asking himself if it would have been worth it if he died before finding out if it even worked.

But noooooo, the writers had to put in the stupid twist of his turning into some salamander/catfish thing. I honestly don't know enough about evolutionary biology to know when the idea that evolution is necessarily progressive started to be challenged, but it's arguable that the sort of Roddenberrian progressivism that the franchise is based on is a challenge to that idea--that the need to boldly go &c. is that the only way that humanity will become more sophisticated is by taking on increasingly sophisticated challenges, as opposed to building a comfortable and safe utopia for themselves and letting an AI run everything. It's not that there's a predestined course of evolution that leads either to a "large-brained, glowing person" or to a sexy salamander. That's not the way that evolution works, and it's not the way that Trek works. And it was really unnecessary to the episode, which could have been a neat little unintended-consequences-of-science installment, not to mention a decent addition to Paris' character arc. It could have been avoided if they'd posed the question to one of the innumerable people inspired to take up STEM careers by the franchise.

Plus, of course, the whole gosh-Captain-I-sure-am-sorry-about-kidnapping-you-and-subjecting-you-to-the-same-thing-as-me-I-guess-the-devolution-made-me-do-it, hey-no-worries-Tommy-boy-let's-just-never-speak-of-our-slimy-little-babies-again thing. Not even sure where to go with that. And then there's the whole question of why, if it was that easy and quick to evolve/devolve/revolve/whatever Paris and Janeway, no one suggested that they rig up Voyager with transwarp and simply give everyone the same treatment when they got back to the AQ? An easy answer is that they didn't know what would happen if the non-human (or the part-human, like B'Elanna) crew went through the same process, but it's like it wasn't even on the table.

So, in conclusion, "Threshold" is a land of contrasts: not the Worst Trek Ever, but a maybe-not-bad episode idea kind of ruined by a pretty dumb one.

Poster's Log, supplemental:

The scene in which Mutant-Tom rips out his own tongue is simultaneously super-gross and not really convincing; hard to do your tribute to a champagne horror film on a Budweiser budget. Also, in the spirit of "Living Witness" and "Distant Origin", it's fun to imagine some kid millions of years hence delivering a school report on her theory on the origin of species, with the teacher commending her for her imagination before gently pointing out the flaws in her theory, and later recounting the theory to the great amusement of his fellow dinner party guests, with one of the guests, an archaeologist, laughing a bit less loud than the others, then returning to her study to contemplate her latest find: a badly-corroded but still recognizable Starfleet communicator.
posted by Halloween Jack (25 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Those post tags are gonna be hard to top.

I agree basically completely with Jack—I actually kind of got into the first part of the episode, right before they brought in the mutation stuff. I guess where I differ is here:

not the Worst Trek Ever, but a maybe-not-bad episode idea kind of ruined by a pretty dumb one.

I'd say, "No, definitely not the worst ever, but possibly the worst ever from a science POV (which explains all the nerdrage), and a potentially-actually-good episode definitely, thoroughly ruined by a baffling and stupid ending."

Because even if you watch this episode while setting aside every scientific memory engram you possess, even if you have not one jot of Trek nerdery in you, the salamander stuff is impossible to take seriously, and even worse is the way the episode caps everything off…I mean, I genuinely LOLed. You half expect Mulgrew and McNeill to turn to the camera and shrug in unison.

…Actually, what they REALLY should have done? Is push the episode back about six or seven slots in the season, and have John DeLancie appear in the final scene, and all he does is start cracking up, and THAT's the coda. I would have actually kind of LIKED that episode.

And then there's the whole question of why, if it was that easy and quick to evolve/devolve/revolve/whatever Paris and Janeway, no one suggested that they rig up Voyager with transwarp and simply give everyone the same treatment when they got back to the AQ? An easy answer is that they didn't know what would happen if the non-human (or the part-human, like B'Elanna) crew went through the same process, but it's like it wasn't even on the table.

I thought of that too on this rewatch. To quote MST3K: "They just didn't care."

So what you do with "Threshold," then, is you watch it for McNeill's better-than-average performance, and as soon as Paris falls ill in the mess hall, you skip to the next episode.

Oh, and here's a further fly in the teleportation chamber ointment from the MA page:
[T]his episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup for a Series; Robert Duncan McNeill noted that putting on his makeup here "helped them win an Emmy." This episode beat out DS9: "The Visitor", which was nominated in the same category.

I mean, OK, the makeup was probably better, but… "Threshold" beat "The Visitor" for an award for ANYthing? >:|
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:51 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Huh, Netflix doesn't have this episode available. I know you're going to tell me it's there, but whenever I click on it, instead of the episode starting, my nose bleeds. Each and every time. Not sure what to make of that. Same thing happened for that DS9 episode "Profit and Lace". That's some technical glitch, I tell you what.
posted by Servo5678 at 7:03 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Particle of the Week: Antiprotons, although radiometric deserve honorable mention. (See below.)
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Stable transwarp is readily available in the era of Star Trek Online, allowing for both engines that have a cruising speed well above Warp 10 and for instantaneous transit between certain fixed points.

Ongoing Equipment Tally: Rolling all counts forward again.
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: 34
* Shuttles: Still only down 3, somehow.
* Crew: 148.
* Bio-neural Gelpacks: 47
Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 5

Notes:
So, we're finally here. I made a point of watching this early, so Easter wouldn't interfere with my ability to get here bright and early. Sorry to hear Netflix is having trouble, Servo!

I guess I will start with the problems. As what is billed as the worst episode of Voyager, (quite a bar to clear), Threshold has them in abundance:

* Warp 10 doesn't work that way.

I'm surprised to hear that the Warp 10 thing comes from Gene Roddenberry given that warp 10 gets exceeded all the freaking time in Star Trek. This isn't even a TNG thing - beings routinely exceed it in TOS. I'd be hard pressed to list every instance, but offfhand? The Kelvins, the Borg and the Excelsior could all exceed it. (I realize some of them are billed as 'transwarp,' but the Borg can explicitly interact with vessels in normal warp while they're doing what they're doing, so I'm not sure what the difference is intended to be.)

So... yeah.

* R&D doesn't really work that way.

This is another one of those 'complaint about Star Trek versus complaint about this episode' things I'm fond of, but the whole thing where Warp 10 was impossible a mere one month earlier just feels fast. Like... that was it? Then why is no one in the Delta Quadrant using some variation on this tech?

* 2%? Really?

Every time someone goes on an Away mission, the odds of them being attacked by salt vampires, toyed with by the very gods of Olympus, attacked by carpet monsters, etc. is pretty high. I wish they'd gone with a higher - but still arguable - percentage. Maybe 10? 20?

* Radiation doesn't prevent mutation.

I know this seems petty to complain about with so many things going on, but seriously, radiation to *stabilize* genes? IIRC, it's kinda the cause of mutation, not the solution.

* Evolution doesn't work that way.

Given we're all literate adults, I guess we don't need to spend a ton of time on this one, but whoa does evolution not function in anything resembling this manner on any level.

* Trek features a lot of forgotten game-changing tech, but this is up there.

So, the thing about 'they can go home and just antiproton up after' has already been addressed, because anybody would notice it except a lazy Voyager writer.

Even leaving that aside - like, maybe they just don't want to because gross - there's another angle to consider: the *shuttle* is fine. That means that this tech is the gateway to all kinds of advances: torpedoes that can strike a target past shields from anywhere in the universe. Sensors that can map entire regions of space in ridiculous detail and presumably cannot be jammed by any conventional means.

That feels like a pretty big deal, even relative to Voyager's loose approach to continuity or consequences.

* The ending is gross, as already mentioned.

Just disgusting on every level. First: ew, mutant lizard sex and babies. Second: consent issues, although I guess it's nice the episode takes a moment to address them for a change. Finally, there's just the handwavey kind of 'shit happens' talk at the end, where Janeway puts Paris in for a commendation. They should both be significantly more horrified than they are.

And it's funny, because the ending is the only problem I am unwilling to forgive. The attitude of the entire thing, from Chakotay's exchange with Tuvok, to Janeway and Paris talking, is completely WTF in a way that leaves me just.. viscerally disgusted.

Everything else, I can sorta work with because the lowest circle of writing hell isn't stupid writing, it's boring writing. Say what you will about Threshold, it moves pretty fast for about 35 minutes of the run time. I wasn't ever bored watching this.

A few things they did right:

* The Doctor was great.

Jack mentions this in the post, but I wanted to call it out because it may be the funniest exchange I can remember on all of Star Trek:
Doctor: There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with him. He's just asleep.
Janeway: Well, can you wake him up, then?
Doctor: I don't see why not.
*the Doctor leans in close beside Paris' ear*
Doctor: WAKE UP, LIEUTENANT!
The bit about Paris' virginity is also pitch-perfect. On a less funny note, the scene where the Doctor and Kes are watching the camera in engineering and stuff is happening off screen is actually pretty effective, IMO, which brings me to the main thing I like about this episode:

* This whole thing is actually sort of Lovecraft.

Paris' description of the transcendental out of body experience he had, and his subsequent mutation, actually feel sort of Mythos-y to me. He sought out this impossible experience, and it touched him with madness and body horror. It's especially Lovecraft when he's doing stuff like horking up his own tongue with a smile, or talking about time folding from his perspective and how he's become 'more.'

If not for the horrible lizard-babies ending, I would probably consider this episode a pretty cool experiment in storytelling for Trek because of that. It actually reminds me a lot of the body horror episode of TNG 'Genesis,' which is stupid but still entirely watchable. Threshold has some good scares. There's actually the bones of a fun outing here if the writers had been just the teensiest bit smarter about it.

Also, water allergy is totally a thing, although it doesn't work like Voyager indicates.

In closing: this is far from the worst episode of Star Trek. Like Jack, I don't even consider it the worst episode of Voyager this season. My personal low point for the franchise is actually still probably Sub Rosa on TNG, although Turnabout Intruder does indeed deserve special mention. On Voyager, I was genuinely upset after watching Faces, Tattoo, Elogium and Parturition.

So... yeah. Pretty bad, but far from the worst of Voyager. I'll be curious what the rest of you regard as the franchise low.

Also:
Those post tags are gonna be hard to top.

Agreed, ahahaha.
posted by mordax at 7:40 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


This whole thing is actually sort of Lovecraft.

Paris' description of the transcendental out of body experience he had, and his subsequent mutation, actually feel sort of Mythos-y to me. He sought out this impossible experience, and it touched him with madness and body horror. It's especially Lovecraft when he's doing stuff like horking up his own tongue with a smile, or talking about time folding from his perspective and how he's become 'more.'


Yes, and there was even an entire movie made on the concept of an experimental starship drive gone horribly, horribly wrong: Event Horizon, a vastly-underappreciated film. That would even take care of the reset-button problem: even if 24th-century Federation medicine could completely reverse the physical effects, the existential horror that resulted may make the experience not endurable in the long run. (This might have required that the test pilot be someone other than Tom Paris.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:28 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Yes, and there was even an entire movie made on the concept of an experimental starship drive gone horribly, horribly wrong: Event Horizon, a vastly-underappreciated film.

I love Event Horizon and it's a very apt comparison in retrospect, yeah. I didn't really notice any of this during the original airing, but it really struck me this time. Especially toward the end, where Paris is acting like he has some sort of deep/insane insight into stuff. I mean, this is creepy:
PARIS: The present, the past, they're both in the future. The future is in the past.
EMH: I beg your pardon?
PARIS: Listen to me! I am more. I'm everything. Let me go.
(This might have required that the test pilot be someone other than Tom Paris.)

Guess they should've gone with Harry Kim. There's a guy with a resilient SAN score.
posted by mordax at 8:38 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I've always thought of this episode essentially being Voyager does Outer Limits, and dig it for that as an episode, even as it totally doesn't work as part of a story history for Voyager as a series.

I don't get the above quote by Braga;

"It's very much a classic Star Trek story, but in the rewrite process I took out the explanation, the idea behind the ending, that we evolve into these little lizards because maybe evolution is not always progressive. Maybe it's a cycle where we revert to something more rudimentary. That whole conversation was taken out for various reasons, and that was a disaster because without it the episode doesn't even have a point. I think it suffered greatly. I got the note that it wasn't necessary, but in fact it really had a lot to do with what the episode was about. Big mistake taking it out." Later, Braga complained, "Unfortunately, none of [the evolutionary theorizing] came across in the episode. And all we were left with were some lizard... things crawling around in the mud. So, it was not my shining moment."

The doctor's hypothesis on it being an evolutionary change pretty much does make that clear, without explicitly demanding one see salamandering as a reversal of human fortunes. I mean, sure, it might look like that from where we sit now, but salamanders are nifty, so it worked for me just fine. People selectively breeding over millenia to enhance their more catfishian/salamandic traits is totally believable, well, maybe not totally I suppose...

This is something I wish they'd done more as a slow build up, a little like Janeway's aborted holonovel adventure, with just a little talk about trying to break the warp ten barrier over the course of the season, before devoting a whole episode to it near the season finale. They could perhaps have had Kazon sympathizers steal the shuttle and simply disappear with it, and have a coda showing a family of salamanders cavorting around a jungle pool and hull of an abandoned shuttle craft or something to seal off the events better from the rest of the story of the show.

McNeill is really good in this episode, as is Picardo, and there is a lot of enjoyable dialogue as well. I like Paris fixating for a moment on Torres not seeming like she cries as a sort of precursor to their involvement, for example.

In addition to the other movies mentioned, the episode also called to mind Altered States, as another in the crazy evolution department.

For me, needless to say I suppose, this is nowhere near one of the worst episodes of Voyager, much less the entire franchise. It doesn't fit neatly into the series, but it's the kind of idea I would have liked to see more of since it does feel like something of the kind of out there idea they had in TOS, but seemed to shy away from since then. For obvious reasons I guess given the reaction to this show.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:48 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised to hear that the Warp 10 thing comes from Gene Roddenberry given that warp 10 gets exceeded all the freaking time in Star Trek. This isn't even a TNG thing - beings routinely exceed it in TOS. I'd be hard pressed to list every instance, but offfhand? The Kelvins, the Borg and the Excelsior could all exceed it. (I realize some of them are billed as 'transwarp,' but the Borg can explicitly interact with vessels in normal warp while they're doing what they're doing, so I'm not sure what the difference is intended to be.)

My understanding was always that sometime inbetween TOS and TNG the warp scale was redefined. I take TOS speeds greater than 10 to be slower than 24th century 9.whatever, but faster than federation ships were capable of at the time.

By that understanding, "transwarp" technologies aren't faster than warp 10, but are based on alternate technologies which make it easier and safer to hang out in the 9.999999 speeds, at which point you need to rejigger your scale again to make it practical.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:08 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


also: liiiiizzzzaaarrrrd babies
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:09 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


My understanding was always that sometime inbetween TOS and TNG the warp scale was redefined.

Oh, you're right. D'oh. I forgot about that. (In my defense, it's just a retcon on the part of the franchise to cover for the real problem, but now that you mention it, I do specifically remember that you are correct.)

This is something I wish they'd done more as a slow build up, a little like Janeway's aborted holonovel adventure, with just a little talk about trying to break the warp ten barrier over the course of the season, before devoting a whole episode to it near the season finale. They could perhaps have had Kazon sympathizers steal the shuttle and simply disappear with it, and have a coda showing a family of salamanders cavorting around a jungle pool and hull of an abandoned shuttle craft or something to seal off the events better from the rest of the story of the show.

That could've been a lot more fun. (Especially if the episode just focused on the one-off guys, so we saw the whole horrifying deal.)
posted by mordax at 6:36 PM on April 17


I've always interpreted "transwarp" as simply meaning "being able to get from point A to point B significantly faster than any existing warp drive we know of." It's not necessarily instantaneous, a la the Iconian gateway that was found by the Jem'Hadar in DS9; even the Bajoran wormhole took some time (albeit a matter of seconds) to take people to the Gamma Quadrant. It may or may not involve subspace; the DS9 tech manual speculated about deeper layers of subspace (in a section about potential Cardassian Wunderwaffe). The quantum slipstream drive, which we'll see a couple of times, seems to be something more like a limited-duration wormhole.

As for this ep's Warp 10 whatchamacallit, it's arguable that, even though Paris seemed to disappear from normal space, instead of actually occupying every point in the universe, he encountered an aleph. Still pretty useful WRT mordax's point above about using it for surveying, but maybe not the instant gate to anywhere.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:23 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Since I was short on time earlier I put aside mentioning the most troubling aspect of the episode, which, for me, isn't the 'manderbabies, the reactions of Tuvok and Chakotay, or Janeway's talk with Paris at the end, which all seem legit enough given the outlandishness of the premise, it's the abduction of Janeway by evoParis that creates the bad dynamic for all that follows. Were Janeway to somehow have joined Paris in one of his flight under her own accord, then the rest wouldn't carry the same sort of lingering implication. Even allowing for Paris not being Paris and lacking rationality it doesn't really erase the problem, just allows it to be rationalized without further necessary character implication. I won't go so far as to say it suggests something even more unsavory than is apparent from the surface since the absurdity the excess, lack of connection to anything else we've seen about the characters and closing conversation helps cover for that, but it seems clearly added just as an excuse to have the ending, which isn't sufficient justification for it.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:15 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that kidnapping was the writers' taking a plot point more-or-less directly from The Fly without realizing the long-term implications of those characters not only surviving past the end of the present story, but having to interact for another five seasons and change. So they just sort of hand-waved it away.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:01 AM on April 18


I've always interpreted "transwarp" as simply meaning "being able to get from point A to point B significantly faster than any existing warp drive we know of."

It's a bit ambiguous even within the show, but there are some clear retcons going on, IMO. (The way Threshold requires the scale to work is too clunky to be intentional - the logarithmic nature of it just isn't a good measuring system.)

As for this ep's Warp 10 whatchamacallit, it's arguable that, even though Paris seemed to disappear from normal space, instead of actually occupying every point in the universe, he encountered an aleph.

That's potentially consistent with Trek lore, yeah. I mean, the entire galaxy is surrounded with a wacky energy barrier that can grant godlike powers, and Satan was trapped in the center of the galaxy. No reason to think that other difficult to reach places wouldn't have similarly bizarre problems. Hell, maybe 'infinite space' could've been where the Q live, and they prank anybody who steps on their lawn.

it's the abduction of Janeway by evoParis that creates the bad dynamic for all that follows. Were Janeway to somehow have joined Paris in one of his flight under her own accord, then the rest wouldn't carry the same sort of lingering implication

Yeah, that's definitely the reason why it leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. It's impossible to separate later events from the fact that he went all Mars Needs Women on her, but they just pretend that wasn't what happened.

So they just sort of hand-waved it away.

So lazy. It's the Voyager way: get halfway to an acceptable script and stop.

(Best case without changing the events leading up to the ending: they could've pointed out that Paris was temporarily insane, and thus not responsible for his actions. Alternately, they might have had him need to kidnap someone in order to access the shuttle, rather than for the explicit purpose of mutating up Bride of Lizard Man.)
posted by mordax at 7:38 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Apropos of nothing: Next Time on Star Trek Voyager, a Tumblr that is basically like the TNG S8 Twitter.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:31 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


... okay, you win this thread.
By exploiting a loophole in the computer system, crewman Biddle gives themselves an infinite number of replicator rations. This is all fine and well until he phrases something wrong and the computer begins filling his room with cheesecakes.
Clearly, we need to send these in as pitches for the new series. (I'm going to call this one The Balance of Cheesecake.)
posted by mordax at 2:31 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Surely More Cheesecakes, More Troubles.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:01 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


The Trouble with Cheesecakes? Oh, no, I got it: A Piece of the Cheesecake!

Oh, on a slightly less silly note: what all do the rest of you regard as the franchise low? I mean, only considering TOS/TNG-era stuff - no matter where someone falls on 'is JJTrek acceptable?' it's clearly a different beast.
posted by mordax at 10:11 AM on April 19


Does that include Enterprise?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:11 PM on April 19


Yeah, it seems close enough. Anything non-reboot?
posted by mordax at 11:14 PM on April 19


I'd say the movies are pretty much a separate thing since Hollywood simply isn't going to be a great venue for the kind of thing TV trek fans want, or seem to best like about the franchise. Some of the movies are good, of course, but they are a different animal than the shows.

I don't know what I'd consider the lowest point for the franchise myself, there are a few Voyager episodes still to come that I had an awfully hard time sitting through, but they are much fresher than TNG or TOS for me, so I can't say they are actually any worse as I remember being pretty unhappy with some late TNG and a few TOS episodes too, even if the specifics escape me at the moment.

I was also pretty disappointed with A Man Alone from DS9, which is as far as I've gotten so far. It's not good, not good in any way really. Reading the comments on the show makes me think a lot of people are relying heavily on a hindsight tinted perspective for some of the early stuff there as I've no doubt the show does improve, but the start was rocky, just like with Voyager, though DS9 did have the advantage of the premier being better.

(As an aside, I'm trying to decide whether to post to those old rewatch threads, start a new first watch set, or just make the occasional comment here when something seems particularly notable in connection to conversation. Any thoughts on the matter?)
posted by gusottertrout at 11:39 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Oh, on a slightly less silly note: what all do the rest of you regard as the franchise low? I mean, only considering TOS/TNG-era stuff

Probably TNG: "Code of Honor." But I admit I have not actually brought myself to watch it in a verrrrry long time.

(As an aside, I'm trying to decide whether to post to those old rewatch threads, start a new first watch set, or just make the occasional comment here when something seems particularly notable in connection to conversation. Any thoughts on the matter?)

Others have recently posted in the existing threads, FWIW, and I think one or two have earned replies. I'm sure I'm not the only one with some DS9 threads still in my "Recent" Activity. A new first-watch post series would be weird, since we just finished the DS9 rewatch a few months ago; I doubt there'd be much participation.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:33 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I'd say the movies are pretty much a separate thing since Hollywood simply isn't going to be a great venue for the kind of thing TV trek fans want, or seem to best like about the franchise. Some of the movies are good, of course, but they are a different animal than the shows.

That's probably fair, although it's a separate discussion worth having some other time.

A Man Alone

That one is pretty lousy, yeah.

Reading the comments on the show makes me think a lot of people are relying heavily on a hindsight tinted perspective for some of the early stuff there as I've no doubt the show does improve, but the start was rocky, just like with Voyager, though DS9 did have the advantage of the premier being better.

Hm. Probably? I know I'm less forgiving of Voyager in these threads because I remember it kept throwing out clunkers right until the finale, (which I'm'a have a pretty long and unhappy discussion about), so I'm a lot more interested in picking apart 'why does Voyager suck' than I would be with DS9. When I've watched DS9 again in the past, I knew the bad ones were just something to get through on the way to the good stuff.

At the time - like, original airing - I do know that I wasn't very impressed with DS9 S1, but I remembered how bad TNG S1 was too. (Offhand, I'd be willing to bet a shiny nickel that TNG S1 was, in aggregate, worse than Voyager S1, but that it improved while Voyager was always pretty Voyager-y.)

Probably TNG: "Code of Honor."

Oooh, good pick. TNG had some real bombs in there, and that one definitely deserves to be legendary.

My pick, by the way, hinges in no small part on this scene:
CRUSHER: Yes. And there was a voice, a man. He whispered my name. It was as if I knew him, or more like he knew me. He knew exactly how I liked to be touched. It was the most physical dream I've ever had. The sensations were very real and extremely arousing.
TROI: Frankly, I'm envious.
CRUSHER: I did fall asleep reading a particularly erotic chapter in my grandmother's journal. She wrote very detailed descriptions of her experiences with Ronin.
TROI: Well, that's bound to cause a dream or two. So, shall we start going over the personnel reports?
CRUSHER: You know, I think he had a ring on one of his hands when he touched my shoulder, my neck. I wonder if I'll have another dream tonight.
TROI: I'd read two chapters.
I still can't believe that actually aired. (Sadly, I can believe Code of Honor did. According to Wikipedia, it was voted the 2nd worst episode of Star Trek by fans at least once though, so good for us fans.)
posted by mordax at 9:15 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Others have recently posted in the existing threads, FWIW, and I think one or two have earned replies.

Oh, I hit post too fast, meant to address this:

I agree that posting to the old threads is probably better until more time has passed. The topic might be worth a Meta for some idea how long people want to wait, but DS9 was specifically pretty recent.

A quick note in Fanfare Talk might draw a few more people to talk in the old threads again though.
posted by mordax at 9:18 AM on April 20


Others have recently posted in the existing threads, FWIW, and I think one or two have earned replies. I'm sure I'm not the only one with some DS9 threads still in my "Recent" Activity. A new first-watch post series would be weird, since we just finished the DS9 rewatch a few months ago; I doubt there'd be much participation.

Oh, yeah, I get that. The question was more one of thinking about the difference between a first watch and rewatch since the conversation in the DS9 thread is so heavily tilted towards knowing how the show will develop, which makes speaking of the issues I have with these early episodes more difficult since the dominant tone is one of connecting the beginning to things that happen later. I don't doubt that I would do the same once I see more of the series, but it isn't the way I'll be seeing it as I go. The problems I see in these early episodes are more pressing than the promised outcome, even if that does later soothe those concerns.

That isn't to suggest that the people who did post in the DS9 thread wouldn't be understanding or anything, just that the dynamic is a bit different, which is why I was wondering about it.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:15 PM on April 20


TOS is freshest in my mind, so I have to go with The Alternative Factor. There's bad episodes in later shows, but nothing quite approaches that same mix of boring and nonsensical.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:01 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


« Older Book: Saga, Vol. 2...   |  FEUD: Abandoned!... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments