Star Trek: Voyager: Prophecy   Rewatch 
July 2, 2018 7:31 AM - Season 7, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Voyager becomes a battleground for the descendants of a group of Klingon zealots, some of whom believe that B'Elanna Torres's child is their savior. Kept waiting for three of them to show up with gold, frankincense, and gagh.

Memory Alpha remains a devoted follower of the First Church of the Sisko:

- The episode was originally scripted to open with a scene aboard the Klingon cruiser, where Kohlar ascends to the captaincy following the death of the previous captain as a result of the nehret. This scene was filmed on 15 November 2000, but was cut for time.

- Sherman Howard previously played Endar in TNG: "Suddenly Human" and the Vulcan Starfleet officer Syvar in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Shakaar". Paul S. Eckstein also guest-starred in DS9. He played Limara'Son in "Rocks and Shoals" and an unnamed Jem'Hadar in "The Dogs of War".

- According to Larry Nemecek, the idea was pitched to Voyager during the series pre-production, before Caretaker even aired.

- The bat'leth given to Torres is the same prop originally made for The Sword of Kahless, suggesting that it was already very old when Kohlar's grandfather gave it to him.

"You're going to get yourself killed!"
"What makes you so sure I'd lose?"
"Oh, please."

- Torres, to Paris

"Today would be a very bad day to die."

- Torres, to Paris, before the match

"The child cured me?"
"Well, I was the one who devised the treatment."
"Doctor."
"Yes, of course, the child cured you."
- T'Greth, The Doctor, and Janeway

Poster's Log:

It's not the worst Klingon-themed episode. It's not the worst Klingon-themed episode on this show. It's not even the worst Klingon-themed episode (or at least the worst dealing with B'Elanna's Klingon heritage) this season, thanks to "Lineage." But it's got a couple of big problems. One, Kohlar's "plan" to ditch their old ship by self-destructing was massively dumb--they make it clear later that they didn't know how fast the modern Starfleet ship could beam people over--and if Kohlar had wanted them to settle on a planet all along, well, how will that work with them having blown up all their equipment? If they've been knocking around the ass-end of the DQ or the AQ for the last several decades, how would they know about the current capacity of Federation replicators? An easy alternative would have been for them to have sabotaged their own life support as a gambit to get aboard Voyager, and maybe give impetus to Kohlar's plan by saying that, even if it were fixed, their ship simply wouldn't last that much longer.

The other thing that I didn't like was the B story; I guess that it's supposed to be funny that Harry is being chased all over the ship by a Klingon woman that wants to mate with him, but the idea that, once a Klingon has set their eye on you, you have to mate with them or kill them, is not only not backed up by previous canon but also horribly offensive; the oversexed-potentially-rapist member of another race is one of the worst racist tropes. It could have easily been done as Neelix sparking up a romance with Ch'Rega, only to have second thoughts after he realizes that his status as a former draft dodger would be seen as dishonorable.

That having been said, there was a lot about this episode that I liked. Wren T. Brown did a great job as Kohlar. I was glad to see that there was a group of Klingons who weren't all Kahless-this and Kahless-that. And I was intrigued by the thought of a bunch of Klingons knocking around in a D7 for most of a century; in fact, another shortcoming of the episode for me personally was that they didn't go into that a bit more--maybe giving Voyager some info on some of the people and planets that they might encounter coming up, or maybe even having a few dissenters who wanted to repatriate with the Empire and join Voyager's crew.

Poster's Log, supplemental: That tune sounds familiar... Also, this episode is not to be confused with the 1979 eco-horror film Prophecy, starring Robert Foxworth (who had a couple of roles in other Trek shows) and Kevin Peter Hall, the future Predator, as a mutant bear.
posted by Halloween Jack (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Well, at least this B-story wasn't the A-story.

I was glad to see that there was a group of Klingons who weren't all Kahless-this and Kahless-that.

Yeah, this was a standout factor for me in this rewatch. It helped mitigate the otherwise kind of tiresome aspects of the A-story.

And I was intrigued by the thought of a bunch of Klingons knocking around in a D7 for most of a century; in fact, another shortcoming of the episode for me personally was that they didn't go into that a bit more--maybe giving Voyager some info on some of the people and planets that they might encounter coming up, or maybe even having a few dissenters who wanted to repatriate with the Empire and join Voyager's crew.

It is indeed a pretty huge bomb to drop without much follow-up. Even a throwaway scene mentioning the D7 crew's adventures with the Gubbleenians and the Joblomi and the Terrellians. But potential new recruits for Voyager would be very strange this late in the (not-quite-End)game, which may be why they didn't even hint at it. Plus, had they put in some dissenters looking to join the crew, I can imagine the audience being disappointed when that didn't happen.

It could have easily been done as Neelix sparking up a romance with Ch'Rega, only to have second thoughts after he realizes that his status as a former draft dodger would be seen as dishonorable.

Ooh, that's good. Or, he DOESn't realize it, and they have a big dramatic confrontation when she finds out. But now we're pitching ^_^
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:59 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Particle of the Week: Miral Paris' DNA is the clear winner here. (Generically, 'Klingon DNA' has shown up a lot more often than I would've expected from the outset of the series.)
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: I feel obligated to mention that Miral Paris' status as the potential Kuvah'Magh comes up in the MMO.

However, the thing that really caught my eye was the opening fight: in the MMO, most ships with a bog-standard Klingon cloaking device cannot re-cloak during combat. Birds of Prey can, but a D7 would be unable to do so. Also: Voyager's ability to penetrate the cloak and hit the ship anyway is a stock ability - cloaking devices do not render ships in the MMO completely invisible, but offer a +50% dodge bonus. (Also, my favorite ship in the game features an enhanced battle cloak like the one used in ST:VI, which can fire torpedoes with the cloak up. Every other kind of cloak just annoys me now.)

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -21.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 15. This one was egregious enough that Paris comments on it in-universe.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* Voyager: still pretty racist.

Jack covered the worst of that already, with the B-plot. The other super racist trope that really stuck out to me was the idea that Klingons just inherently smell bad, to the point where Janeway offered to have someone tweak the environmental controls to filter it out. I didn't need either trope, now or then. They should've had the crew complain about the Klingons being belligerent or loud or something instead.

* Meh?

It's not the worst Klingon-themed episode. It's not the worst Klingon-themed episode on this show. It's not even the worst Klingon-themed episode (or at least the worst dealing with B'Elanna's Klingon heritage) this season, thanks to "Lineage."

This whole segment basically sums it up: we've had worse stuff going on here, but this is still pretty dumb for the reasons outlined. The transporter sequence was particularly face-palming. I liked Jack's suggestion about sabotaging the life support better.

I did like the cynicism the Klingon leader had about his own religion, but I'm not sure how a theist would feel about that whole subplot.

At any rate, not a ton more to say about this that hasn't been covered. I think my favorite suggestion was this one:

Plus, had they put in some dissenters looking to join the crew, I can imagine the audience being disappointed when that didn't happen.

That would've been neat.
posted by mordax at 9:53 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I feel like this show is now competing with itself for worst racist trope in a single episode. Which sucks.

On the other hand, I am here for The Odd Couple.

Neelix: "What a day. I never met a more ravenous group in my life. I must have served over three hundred meals."
Tuvok: "Mister Neelix, may I ask what you're doing here?"
Neelix: "We're bunkmates."
Tuvok: "There must be some mistake."
Neelix: "No, there's no mistake. I gave up my quarters to a Klingon family. By the time I checked with Commander Chakotay, you were the only one who hadn't been paired up."
Tuvok: "You should have consulted me."
Neelix: "We're such close friends, I knew you wouldn't mind."
Tuvok: "Mister Neelix, as much as I enjoy your company, I prefer solitude in my own quarters."
Neelix: "You don't really want me to go back there and tell that family to get out, do you? Good. Because I promise you we're going to have fun, Mister Vulcan. I learned some Klingon drinking songs. I'll teach them to you." [sings] "'ej HumtaH 'ej DechtaH 'Iw'ej Doq SodTah ghoSpa' Sqral bIQtiQ."

Also:

Paris: "Captain, I'm detecting multiple transports. Some of our people are being beamed down to the surface."
Janeway: Cut power to the transporters."
Paris: "I can't."

I really don't think Robert McNeill gave that scene his best effort.
posted by zarq at 9:59 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I really don't think Robert McNeill gave that scene his best effort.

Okay, I laughed out loud. :)
posted by mordax at 10:02 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I recently showed TWoK to younger relations who had never seen it. IIRC that moment was the only one that provoked a mocking laugh.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 11:59 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I think that it's an effective pay-off, given that up until then, Khan had just kind of sailed through all the obstacles in his way since Chekov and Terrell beamed down to his planet.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:08 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


I always felt the same, Jack. But I can see the corniness too. And come to think of it, they also mocked (also justifiably) the hair on all the Khan Buddies. I guess Ceti Alpha V had plenty of VO-V.

Still not half as laughable as Benebatch Cumberdict as Khan, though.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:20 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I think you've nailed something that was nagging me about Discovery, but couldn't quite place it, and it bums me out. I officially hate the new Klingons. I don't see a Worf or honorable Dominion War warriors anywhere. Just racist brutality, torture porn, and rape. When your new show makes your auduence long for the "funny" racism of series past, you've made a huge mistake.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:14 PM on July 2 [6 favorites]


I think you've nailed something that was nagging me about Discovery, but couldn't quite place it, and it bums me out. I officially hate the new Klingons. I don't see a Worf or honorable Dominion War warriors anywhere. Just racist brutality, torture porn, and rape.

Which, by the way, makes Tarantino doing a Nu-Timeline-Trek worrisome.

I stopped watching DISCO about seven episodes in, but I was wondering where they were planning to go with the Klingons. Mrs. CoB and I had a very spirited discussion about their aesthetic around episode 2 or 3, but I was willing to suspend my criticism for a time. But nothing I saw, or thereafter heard, has negated my original assessment: that if this show was to end up having any more depth and "real Trek spirit" than the J.J. movies, it wouldn't be much more.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:53 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I definitely count it as 'real' Trek versus nuTrek - without getting into spoilery specifics, they end up solving a fair number of their problems with thinking and diplomacy over violence and adrenaline.

However, DISCO Klingons are terrible in precisely the ways Brocktoon described, and the show really kinda takes its time getting to a better place.
posted by mordax at 2:27 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


....they end up solving a fair number of their problems with thinking and diplomacy over violence and adrenaline.

Also, in an epic moment: blade kicking.
posted by zarq at 3:04 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


...it's not a spoiler if we don't give any context, right?
posted by zarq at 3:05 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


If anybody minds, we could start a thread on Fanfare Talk. I'm gonna vote 'no' though.
posted by mordax at 3:20 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I have a whole thing about the Disco Klingons and why they make sense both continuity wise, and for the themes of the show, but this is probably not the place.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:09 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Okay, we officially need a space for this talk then. Here you go, please expound over yonder, runcibleshaw!
posted by mordax at 7:30 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


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