Captain’s log: stardate 52179.4
Oh, Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), you were doing so well… and then this episode happened. Written by Kenneth Biller, from a story by Scott Miller, this episode debuted, just days before Star Trek: Insurrection opened in theaters, on 9 December, 1998.
Tom has been busted down to ensign for disobeying orders, and is in the brig for thirty days. While there, he relates, via a letter to his father, what happened to cause this.
The story adds some wonderful layers to Paris’ character, and also shows how a relationship built on respect with Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). An ocean world in the middle of space allows for some underwater adventure and a solid tale for Paris.
It’s nice to see the character shaken up a bit, he was a little edgy when he first came aboard, and has since settled into his role as conn officer, This up ends that a bit, which is cool to see, and for a little while at least, he’s a little more roguish.
And there’s also a secret to be revealed about the underwater realm, before the story concludes, and Paris is demoted.
The best part of the story is, he does the right thing, even if it violates the Prime directive. Or at least he does the right thing from his perspective. There’s an ecological theme at work, that resonates today, and maybe, sometimes, we have to operate outside the Prime Directive…
And after being alluded to for a number of seasons, the Delaney sisters (Alissa and Heidi Kramer) make an appearance.
The episode also received an Emmy nod for Best Visual Effects.
Captain’s log; stardate unknown
Micheal Taylor pens this episode that debuted on 16 December, 1998.
The Voyager is entering a region of space seen over by Devore space. This species is paranoid about telepathic beings, and conduct constant inspections on ships passing through their realm, including the Voyager.
The Devore inspection teams are led by Kashyk (Mark Harelik), and Voyager is carrying telepaths… including Tuvok (Tim Russ). They are also smuggling a number of Devore telepaths secretly.
There is a lot going in this episode, and there’s a lot of layer and nuance between Kashyk and Janeway, as he comes to ask for asylum… but is he playing her, is she playing him, there’s a lot going on here under the dialogue, and the pair share a wonderful chemistry.
It’s a great episode for Mulgrew, and it lets her do more than sip coffee, and issue orders from the bridge. She turns in a wonderful performance, and Janeway is changed after this story. I love how her character arc plays out through the episode, and how it fits further into her overall arc.
The Human Adventure continues next week as Star Trek: Voyager – The Complete Series on DVD from Paramount Canada entertains and informs.