Star Trek: Voyager: The Haunting of Deck Twelve   Rewatch 
May 14, 2018 8:23 AM - Season 6, Episode 25 - Subscribe

While the USS Voyager is without power for several hours, Neelix tells the children a ghost story of the events that lead up to it… or is it more than just a story? This is really going to be scary... I'm not kidding you this time!

Memory Alpha wants to hear "The Tale of the Haunted Replicator" again:

- In this episode, Neelix claims intent to install curtains, and even carries the fabric at one point. He has claimed this intent several times, but he never followed through.

- Some visual effects include looking out the viewscreen as the ship jumps to warp and the replicator replicating the coffee before replicating the mug. The effect of the ship jumping to warp was evidently reused from "The Child".

- This episode is notable for showing some detail of how the turbolift shafts have horizontal junctions.

"Gather round, but I'm warning you: this is not a tale for the faint of heart."
"We're not faint of heart."
"Our cardiopulmonary systems are reinforced."

- Neelix, Mezoti, and Icheb

"The turbolift started to fall faster and faster…! Anybody hungry?"
(Outraged) "Neelix!"
"Well, you haven't touched your snacks…"
"Snacks are irrelevant! Continue the story!"

- Neelix and Mezoti

"I am giving you an order."
"And I'm disobeying it! You're coming with me if I have to drag you by your pointy little ears!"

- Tuvok and Neelix

Poster's Log:

This is a collection of venerable Trek tropes (the "monster" that's really a sentient being; the incorporeal life form that takes over the ship; the captain playing chicken with the invader until it backs down first) that has a decent-enough framing device, the "ghost story." It works well enough--although it's never really scary--because nobody ends up sciencing the shit out of it; most other times, someone would figure out that reversing the polarity of the plasma conduits would flush it out like a goldfish down a toilet bowl, problem solved, let's move onto next week's crisis. But instead, it's a thing that has to be negotiated with and even tolerated for a while until it can be re-housed. In that way, it's not completely unlike the supernatural, something that operates according to its own rules and needs to be dealt with using those same rules. It's also an interesting twist that it effectively retcons the nebula ghost into the ship's history since before the Borg Babies came on board. Retconning stuff into continuity can be questionable, especially in a not-very-big ship, but I think that Voyager is just big enough (it's almost as big as the original Enterprise, with a much smaller crew) that it can work if it's not done too often.

Lots of neat little details in the story; my favorite was the bit with the replicator coffee showing up a few seconds before the cup. When the shot reverses to Janeway being in front of the replicator, you can see the coffee running down the front of the replicator. The framing scenes also worked well, with the kids (particularly Mezoti) getting sucked into the story, and Icheb being quick to dismiss it all because Nadions Don't Work That Way. (I'm pretty sure that nebulas don't work that way in terms of dissipating that quickly, but then again I've never driven a twenty-fourth-century starship through one, so who knows.) And we got a nice Tuvok/Neelix scene that went a bit beyond the usual let-me-get-on-your-nerves-Mr.-Vulcan shtick.

Poster's Log, supplemental: This has absolutely nothing to do with Star Trek, but what the heck: since I linked to Count Floyd above the cut, here's 3D House of Representatives. Oh, and hey, we saw Tal Celes again, so there's that.
posted by Halloween Jack (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Particle of the Week: Deuterium got them into this mess.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: There's a few neat ghost stories in Star Trek Online, one of which has the player interact with Scotty and Bones directly. I do recommend them.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -11
* Crew: 140.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

* Haven't I seen this stuff before?

This is yet another episode where Voyager is seen through the lens of someone's narrative instead of directly, putting it in there with Live Fast and Prosper and Muse. Going further back, this also gives it commonality with the popular Living Witness.

This episode's premise is also somewhere similar to The Cloud, wherein Voyager hurt a weird gaseous life form in the pursuit of fuel and ended up at risk of destruction to help it.

This is an interesting trend that I did not remember anything about coming into this rewatch. Like all the other episodes of this type, I thought The Haunting of Deck Twelve was pretty good even though it has a bunch of plot holes due to competent execution of the strange premise.

Like... I don't really get why the children shouldn't know what was up. Along with everything else, Naomi Wildman wouldn't have needed to speculate: she was there for these events and would've told Mazati. Also, Voyager's a small ship and I wouldn't expect there to be many secrets generally, even from newcomers. (Especially since these newcomers are smart, curious and - apart from Icheb - have nothing else to do.)

However, the device of Neelix telling the children a true story but being disbelieved due to his inability to offer full and accurate details, is still fun to watch and neat to think about. This dovetails effectively with some ideas I hold about who and what we choose to believe.

For me, that makes this episode loads of fun.

* I did miss Naomi Wildman.

Seven takes up a lot of screen time, which has left me missing characters like B'Ellana and Tuvok. Now, the Borg Babies are displacing Naomi. I am a bit sad about that even though I like Icheb, Mazati and The Rest. (And they really are fun here: 'Snacks are irrelevant' cracked me up.)

* This episode is the high water mark for VOY beating TNG.

I complain about Voyager a lot, and... really, the rewatch has more tempered that than removed my desire to do so. However, credit where it's due: a ghost episode was the very worst episode of TNG, and this episode was fun, so I think this moment marks the largest favorable quality gap between Voyager and a story idea TNG had done.

Good job, Voyager.
posted by mordax at 9:07 AM on May 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, come now... Sub Rosa cannot possibly be the worst episode of TNG in a universe where season one exists! What about Angel One? Or The Planet of 1940s African Tribal Movie Stereotypes? (I think Sub Rosa is fun, so long as you have to have a high tolerance for gothic camp.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:18 PM on May 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

TNG S1 is the worst aggregate season of Trek, but I'm not sure any single moment in Trek compares to Crusher and Troi oohing and aahing over erotic passages from Nana Crusher's ghost sex journal. I'm not even sure TOS can truly compete with the level of awkwardness on display.

Sub Rosa also gets some bonus points for the guy who played the ghost. If you haven't seen his IMDB biography, you gotta. (He also played Shakaar, a connection I can no longer unsee. Like, 'run, Kira! You don't understand: he's actually an anaphasic lifeform!)

That said, I can see the appeal. Minus the weird lizard babies ending, I actually like Threshold.
posted by mordax at 6:13 PM on May 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

The thing about Sub Rosa is by that point it was well established that TNG could put out consistently good (if not always memorable) episodes. Season 1 absolutely sucks more in aggregate, but at that point it wasn't clear that TNG would do much more than suck. If Sub Rosa had been a Season 1 episode it probably would have stood out as a highlight. As it is, it sticks out as a low point.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:24 PM on May 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Agreed that where an episode takes place in the context of the show matters, even if it isn't part of a character or plot arc. And, of course, it can matter in the context of the featured character's arc; as much as I disliked DS9's "Profit and Lace", it could have worked for early-season Quark, since we didn't know that he wasn't that kind of guy, and it would have worked to change him so he wasn't that kind of guy. "Fury", on the other hand, wouldn't have worked in any season, since it only made sense in the context of Kes aging, and yet it was a betrayal of everything that had gone before. Plus, it was just badly written. WRT TNG, the first couple of seasons were done in the context of all the backstage drama with Roddenberry and his lawyer, so it was practically a different show from the one that came later.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 AM on May 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

mordax: If you haven't seen his IMDB biography, you gotta.

Wow. That's, just ... wow. I once stumbled across the sentence "Reading it is like moisturizing with Tabasco." and never really grasped the meaning of it until now.

Pretty sure 'automonograph' isn't even a(n English) word*, as dictionary searches come up empty and the fourth search result (of 306) for the word is Regehr's Wikipedia page, clearly written by the same fawning soul.

*appears to be plucked from a Serbian usage, no idea if it's any more valid there

posted by myotahapea at 7:59 AM on May 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wow. That's, just ... wow.

Right? I laughed until it hurt, and then did a similar search for automonograph. (Good work tracking it to Serbian, I didn't make it that far.)
posted by mordax at 8:32 AM on May 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I thought The Haunting of Deck Twelve was pretty good even though it has a bunch of plot holes due to competent execution of the strange premise.

That's the beauty of the framing device, though. Neelix is more than capable of exaggeration for dramatic purpose, so even if the core of the story is true, any inconsistencies can be handwaved away as artistic license on Neelix's part.

I really enjoyed this - I think this is probably my favorite Neelix episode.

"Snacks are irrelevant!"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:17 PM on August 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

TUVOK: Rest assured, this crew is doing everything possible to regain control of the ship.
NEELIX: You're right. I'm just being silly.
TUVOK: I concur.
NEELIX: Of course, the crew of the Salvoxia probably thought they were going to regain control of their ship, too. Did I ever tell you about the Salvoxia?
TUVOK: If I say yes, will it prevent you from telling the story?
posted by Brocktoon at 3:12 PM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

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