Star Trek: Voyager: Drive   Rewatch 
May 28, 2018 6:50 AM - Season 7, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Tom Paris enters the new Delta Flyer in an interstellar starship race. When B'Elanna becomes his copilot, will they drive... each other crazy?

I got a Memory Alpha with a 396, Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor:

- Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres are married at the end of the episode. This marriage should not be confused with the marriage that took place in "Course: Oblivion", in which the biomimetic copies of Paris and Torres are the ones who actually got married.

- At the end of the episode the Flyer trails lines of storage containers, tied together, with a sign reading "Just Married" painted on the stern.

- This was the second marriage on Star Trek between main characters. The first was between Worf and Jadzia Dax. Worf and Torres are also both the only main characters who are also Klingons. The marriage between Miles O'Brien and Keiko occurred on TNG when O'Brien was not yet a main character. Odo and Lwaxana Troi were also married during "The Muse". Deanna Troi and William T. Riker were later married in Star Trek Nemesis.

"Say Qapla'!"

- B'Elanna Torres, upon taking a holo-image of Tom Paris

"No, no, actually, I was gonna congratulate you. I mean, she's not a Borg, she's not a hologram, and she's not dead? Looks like you might have finally found yourself the perfect woman!"

- Tom Paris, commenting on Harry Kim's latest crush

""B'Elanna Paris". That has a nice ring to it."
"Thanks, but I already have a ring. Anyway, I kind of like the sound of 'Tom Torres'."
"I hope you're kidding."
"Hey... it is the 24th century."

- B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris

Poster's Log:

A literal space race! This one was fun, even if the plot was a little telegraphed: with the race being an important step in reconciling two formerly-warring powers, it was likely that someone wanted to screw it up (especially once that was confirmed via dialogue), and Hard Luck Harry's romantic life wasn't bound to improve that much, especially after Tom lampshaded it via the dialogue above (referencing Seven, Marayna from "Alter Ego", and Lyndsay Ballard from "Ashes to Ashes", respectively). But there's still a big surprise in that, once Tom realizes how badly things are going between him and B'Elanna, he stops the Delta Flyer to talk things over. Hey, that isn't the way these things are supposed to go! You're supposed to pull off a last-minute miracle and win the race anyway... [sighs, tosses the index cards in the trash] eh, I like this resolution better. And the episode has a bunch of nice touches throughout: the Doctor putting in sick bay, Neelix hyping up the play-by-play, the crew cheering at the mess hall windows, Tom's expression when B'Elanna takes his picture, even that corny "Just Married" Delta Flyer redress.

Big ups to the guest star list, too, with the three main ones having a DS9 connection: Cyia Batten, first of the three Ziyals, eventually an Orion woman on Enterprise, and outside of Trek a founding member of the Pussycat Dolls; Brian George, aka Bashir's dad, also on The Orville; and Patrick Kilpatrick, who also played the first Maje in "Initiations" as well as Reese, aka That Scary Soldier with the Necklace of Jem'Hadar Ketracel White Tubes, in DS9's "The Siege of AR-558".

Poster's Log, supplemental, starship spotter division: Bernd does a good job in running down the different models of starships at the starting line, including other appearances in the franchise.

Poster's Log, supplemental, earworm division: Who's gonna drive you home tonight?
posted by Halloween Jack (8 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The thing that stuck in my craw about this one was the clunky, obvious, generally weakly-written dialogue. I can't recall a VOY episode with such painful dialogue. Really took me out of the proceedings.

I also have to question the choice of a race as a MacGuffin. On the one hand, it's never thrilling. On the other hand, Trek has so rarely even attempted fast-spaceship-stuff that we can hardly be surprised that it's not thrilling—DS9 had like one or two kickass moments of speedy ships—and, on that same second hand, the race is, of course, not the point here. And it IS good that the show devoted time to really developing B'Eltomma (as opposed to Chakeven).

And I dig the racing outfits, and I gotta give 'em credit for the amount of stuff in here that we haven't seen before. So I count this as more of a win than not.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:20 AM on May 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Particle of the Week: Viridium.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: The racing uniforms shown here are available in the MMO's cash shop.

Shield Scraping is also totally available via the Pilot captain skill specialization. I can't speak to whether it's any good - never had much call to use it in the ships I prefer to fly.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -17. Based on the tiny explosion in proximity to civilian vessels, I think the one they fired here was a dud? Willing to revise my count if anybody disagrees.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

* It's That Gal and also some of Those Guys!

Like Jack, I noticed the guest stars. Cyia Batten's profile pic on the IMDB is still from her appearance on Enterprise at the time of this post. (I admit I didn't recognize Patrick Kilpatrick beneath the makeup, but as soon as I saw his pic I knew I'd seen him in all kinds of stuff.)

* Astronomical Nitpicking.

The course's 2.3 billion km length isn't that far. It translates into about 15.3 AU, and for comparison, Saturn's about 9.5 while Uranus is about 19.2. There isn't really room for dwarf star clusters - per a casual Googling, those can be as big as 30 LY across. Can't speak to the rest of the stuff, but the course just isn't big enough to have a bunch of natural obstacles in it. Probably should've been artificial stuff.

This is Star Trek, and this obviously doesn't matter, it just leapt out at me. (Really, I guess it's weirder when these numbers check, like how the ocean planet's volume in Thirty Days was described halfway accurately in a place or two.)

* The terrorist plot felt shoehorned in.

Really, nothing about Irina's plot makes any sense. I would've been happier without the weird abrupt turn to villainy. Or if the turn to villainy had simply been to escape Harry's advances? But seriously, it left me with a big ole 'what?'

* Better relationship stuff than is normal for Trek.

But there's still a big surprise in that, once Tom realizes how badly things are going between him and B'Elanna, he stops the Delta Flyer to talk things over. Hey, that isn't the way these things are supposed to go!

Hehe, right?

Most of the time, Tom and B'Ellana come off like a real couple, with plausible insecurities and blind spots. Considering where we started with Trek - and even where TNG ended up with this stuff most of the time - that's pretty cool. It's a spot where I'd give Voyager and DS9 about equal credit: Tom/B'Ellana is kind of their Benjamin/Kasidy, and that's a good thing.

That said, I am amused that this is the second time their relationship got pushed forward via shuttlecraft damage.

I also liked that we got another good Seven/B'Ellana talk, just like I'd wanted from last time. Those two are a good onscreen pairing.

So... hm. Overall, I think this was a successful episode for the character work, even though I am tired of the 'lovelorn Harry Kim' stuff and the way the terrorism subplot fell flat for me. I especially appreciated both B'Ellana and Tom trying to put each other first, especially given the era in which this aired.
posted by mordax at 9:55 AM on May 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I liked this one, too. Nice character development for Tom and B'Elanna and I liked the "stopping in the middle of the race" plot twist, which was unexpectef..

Did anyone notice this?

Tom: "Come on, you can say it."
B'Elanna: "It's embarrassing."
Tom: "I just want to make sure we're clear on what we're doing."
B'Elanna: "Right at the light, then readjust my sight."
Tom: "Meaning?"
B'Elanna: "Come about eighty six degrees at the red giant then recalibrate sensors to compensate for photonic interference."
Tom: "Right. Next?"
B'Elanna: "Do I really have to spend my morning reciting nursery rhymes?"
Tom: "It got me through the Academy."
B'Elanna: "You were expelled."

Somebody in the writer's room mixed up Nick Locarno with Tom Paris. Oops.

Locarno was expelled. (See TNG: "The First Duty.") Paris wasn't. He graduated from the Academy, crashed a shuttle killing three people, then falsified records to cover it up, confessed and was court martialed. Paris was dishonorably discharged.

A minor but dumb error.
posted by zarq at 4:49 AM on May 29, 2018 [4 favorites]

I find episodes centred around Tom and B'Elanna's relationship (or Miles and Keiko's in DS9) so uncomfortable to watch, and I remember having a hard time seeing them get married for that reason. There just never seems like there's any warmth or respect between them, and both couples are so passive-aggressive and mean to each other, and it comes off like a really bleak indictment of straight marriage. I know why tv shows and movies aren't motivated to show characters communicating effectively with one another, cause there's no story there, but dang, it makes my skin crawl to watch characters be so shitty to each other.

The racing outfits are fun, though.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:47 AM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

ITheCosmos, I was thinking about that WRT Cheeses' comment above WRT the "clunky, obvious, generally weakly-written dialogue", and how I was probably giving the show a lot of credit simply for trying. Trek is generally pretty weak WRT portraying long-term, stable romantic/marital relationships; TOS had no married main members (Spock's wedding having not been, uh, very successful) and the one married couple on the original 1701 had their marriage terminated by death almost as soon as it started. Even though Miles and Keiko were aboard the E-D, I suspect that they got their status as the only canon married couple on the ship because the writers didn't want to have to deal with their marriage very often (remember, this was the ship that was supposed to have all sorts of families on board, and you saw kids running around, but rarely the parents.) DS9 did pretty well with Sisko as a single dad (and courting Kasidy), and with Worf and Jadzia, but Miles and Keiko were usually at odds because of whatever mindfuckery Miles was going through that episode.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:58 AM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Miles and Keiko were usually at odds because of whatever mindfuckery Miles was going through that episode.

Yes. Also, they established in the pilot that Keiko was unhappy because she was a botanist and there was nothing for her to do with that specialty and her skill set on the station. So she wound up founding and running an elementary school aboard the station, which was blown up by a Bajoran by the end of the first season over a teaching science vs. theology storyline. The school was apparently rebuilt, but in season 3 she closed it down for good and took a months-long mission as a botanist on Bajor.

They wrote her out of the show for over a year during the Dominion War.

Memory Alpha shows that she was in 19 episodes of DS9. Mostly prior to the 5th season.

It's a shame. Rosalind Chao is a wonderfully talented actress. They could have done a lot more with her.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

I know why tv shows and movies aren't motivated to show characters communicating effectively with one another, cause there's no story there, but dang, it makes my skin crawl to watch characters be so shitty to each other.

Heh. This is fair. I liked it more because - and this is sad - it feels aspirational compared to many couples I do know. (I would never stand for that in my own relationships anymore, but I know plenty of people who wouldn't have stopped the shuttle.)

But your perspective makes total sense too.

Re: Miles/Keiko -
Memory Alpha shows that she was in 19 episodes of DS9. Mostly prior to the 5th season.

This was the reason I didn't like that relationship, almost entirely. With Tom/B'Ellana or Benjamin/Kasidy, we got to know them both. I never really had a handle on 'who is Keiko O'Brien.' I wanna say the longest stretch we ever see her on screen, she's possessed by a literal demon.

With the others... even when the relationship wasn't good, I felt like I had enough external context to get why anybody would pick to be in a room with them at all. Like, Tom and B'Ellana are depicted as good, fun people in many other situations so I could infer that their relationship might also have high points even if we didn't see many.

That said, I suspect they wouldn't have lasted if the ship weren't stuck in the Delta Quadrant. I do get the impression that they were less a perfect match, and more the best possible one out of some pretty finite options... which also kinda rings true to me based on RL stuff I see.
posted by mordax at 11:28 AM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Really, nothing about Irina's plot makes any sense.

Step 1: Find Voyager.
Step 2: Wait until they've taken the Delta Flyer out for a test flight.
Step 3: Taunt the pilot into racing you, in the hopes that he will take the bait.
Step 4: Almost die in a ship malfunction so that they'll beam you onboard their ship (remember when transporters were totally unheard of tech to most Delta Quadrant species?) so you can tell them about the big race.
Step 5: Hope that the pilot convinces their captain to take part in the big race.
Step 6: Hope that their technology needs to be altered to take part in the race so you can give them a booby-trapped fuel converter.
Step 7: Kill, or almost kill, your co-pilot so you have an excuse to drop out and be far away from the finish-line explosion.
Step 7A: If you get a substitute co-pilot, try to kill him too.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:21 PM on November 16, 2021

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