Star Trek: Voyager: Lineage   Rewatch 
June 25, 2018 6:43 AM - Season 7, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Torres discovers that she is pregnant, and faces a private fear that she has had to deal with since her childhood.

Memory Alpha wonders why we haven't seen Toby the Targ lately, or really at all:

- In the documentary 50 Years of Star Trek, Roxann Dawson referred to this episode as "the moment that I felt was so haunting to me." She went on to say, "I wept when I read the episode [....] It was a difficult and wonderful episode."

- The Doctor calls Lieutenant Paris "Tom". This is a rare example of The Doctor calling a crewmember by their first name.

- According to B'Elanna Torres, there were 140 Humans on board.

"Mom warned me not to marry Miral."
"Mom loved Miral."
"Sure she did, but she never thought I had the constitution to live with a Klingon and now I'm living with two of them."

- B'Elanna's father John and uncle Carl about B'Elanna's mother

"I heard what you said to Uncle Carl."
"You shouldn't be listening to private conversations."
"And you shouldn't have said what you did about Mommy!"

- Young B'Elanna and her father, John after she overhears his conversation with Uncle Carl.

"If you can't stand living with us, then why don't you just leave?"

- Young B'Elanna to her father

Poster's Log:

Well. This far into the rewatch--nearly halfway through the last season, pretty darn near the end--there's not an awful lot that outrages me about the show any more; part of my reaction to "Tattoo" was that they managed to screw things up that badly so early in the run. My take on actually rewatching "Fury", although not great, wasn't as bad as my feelings just thinking about the episode in between viewings. I didn't remember feeling that bad about this episode during the first watch.

And so I get to rewatching it, and... it's about B'Elanna barricading herself into sick bay, and even hacking the Doctor's program, so that she can have a fully-human baby. A fully-human, white, blonde baby. And she's talked back to sanity by her fully-human, white, blonde husband. What the hell, show.

There was a lot of promise in the premise, and at first the show looked like it was going somewhere. Lots of people with varying levels of appropriateness and boundary-respecting, which lines up with reported experiences of pregnant women. Tom and B'Elanna haven't talked over some important things and that causes friction, again resembling some real-life circumstances. Tom reaches out to the only guy on the crew that he can get advice based on experience from. (Oddly, no one even mentions Samantha Wildman, the only woman to bear a child on the ship, or her half-human daughter Naomi. I bet either one of them could have provided some perspective or relevant experience.) B'Elanna starts reflecting on her own childhood experience and specifically some racist (deliberately or not) bullshit that she had to put up with.

And then, well. I think that the episode writer and director meant well. There's probably a good episode or two to be made out of the subjects of the extraordinary degree of prenatal diagnostics and even prenatal surgeries and treatments, and how far you can go before the problems outweigh the potential benefits, and what's really necessary and what's really just about the parents' wishes, justified and not. (Trek works best when it's an allegory of our own situation, but not too anviliciously.) And there might be a good episode about biracial kids and the difficulties they face and how they, as adults, deal with both their own lingering issues and the ones that they anticipate for their children. But it probably wouldn't be made by a white male director and writer. I was trying to think of a good story on the subject and remembered The Wedding, which came out a couple of years before this episode. Make a note of who made it.

Like I said, I think that they tried. They had B'Elanna try an end run around the Federation's prohibition on genetic engineering by using the loophole (first described in DS9's "Doctor Bashir, I Presume") that it's allowed in cases in which a condition might threaten the life of the child; justified in the case of the "deviated spine", not so much in the case of redundant organs (a nod to TNG's "Ethics") that are much more likely to be beneficial than detrimental. And we've seen before that Federation people can be racist; note the anti-Cardassian prejudice occasionally shown by O'Brien and others on DS9, or even go back to TOS' "Balance of Terror" and Stiles' reaction when it's revealed that the Romulans are Vulcanoid. But we've also seen before that VOY doesn't particularly do race or psychology well, and sadly, this episode is no exception.

Poster's Log, fundamental: Did they ever say why Harry switched from the clarinet to the saxophone? Was that just Garrett Wang's preference?
posted by Halloween Jack (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Particle of the Week: Klingon DNA.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Grown up Miral Paris appears in a number of missions in the MMO, as a member of Starfleet.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -21.
* Crew: 137. They seem adamant about the '150' here too though, given that 140 of those are supposed to be human.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* Argh.

This episode is not one I remembered. I missed a ton of S7 during the original airing, and this was on the list of stuff I never caught later, so I didn't really know what to expect. The tl;dr here is that I'm with Jack: I think the director meant well, which is honestly a first for race and Voyager, but ended up mangling this badly in the second half.

And we've seen before that Federation people can be racist; note the anti-Cardassian prejudice occasionally shown by O'Brien and others on DS9

For what it's worth, the depiction of racism toward B'Ellana has been pretty consistent and painfully accurate on Voyager too, and it's even more knife-twisty than usual here. Her dad's whole reaction to microaggressions was exactly what a privileged person would say, down to only being willing to observe it through the lens of his own (less serious) experiences and the whole 'don't be so sensitive' thing. Tom's reactions were pretty spot-on too: 'teach me the 101 stuff!'

They don't hate Klingons, they just make a ton of assumptions about them, treat them differently and get defensive when called on it while characters that are just as privileged but less prejudiced are unable to see the problem at all. I've never heard Janeway say something upsetting about B'Ellana's heritage, but the problem remains invisible to her, with her chalking it up to *just* marital problems.

So I thought this might be going somewhere, and I can also see why Roxanne Dawson liked the episode, even though I most certainly did not. All the flashbacks to her early family life were indeed very accurate and *very* hard to watch for me.

Then this happened:

And so I get to rewatching it, and... it's about B'Elanna barricading herself into sick bay, and even hacking the Doctor's program, so that she can have a fully-human baby. A fully-human, white, blonde baby. And she's talked back to sanity by her fully-human, white, blonde husband. What the hell, show.

And I was back to 'fuck you, Voyager.' They were so close to not pissing me off, then... wow.
posted by mordax at 9:12 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's been many years since I saw this, and I'd seen it only once. I remembered the flashback stuff quite well. I didn't concretely remember the ending, but I did have a feeling of, I don't know what you'd call it, meta-foreboding? about its Standard Third-Act Plot Point throughout this rewatch.

Trek works best when it's an allegory of our own situation, but not too anviliciously.

I don't recall whether the phrase "designer babies" had yet entered general use in early 2001, but I seem to recall that the notion was being discussed. I found myself wondering if that controversy might have been part of this script's genesis.

What I'm more certain of is that a big part of this script's genesis was the desire to do a Heavy Issues episode before it got too late in the season to have it fit well. Good for them that they gave it to somebody other than Seven and the Doctor. But, yeah, too bad about that final act. In a way, it's worse than the Jamake Highwater stuff because this time they don't have "being hoodwinked" as an excuse.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:31 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


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