Star Trek: Voyager (1999) – The Disease, and Course: Oblivion

Captain’s log: stardate unknown

Micheal Taylor pens this Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) episode from a story by Kenneth Biller. It first aired on 24 February, 1999.

The Voyager comes across a race of aliens, the Varro, a group of space-faring nomads, that are more than a little xenophobic. They’ve been in space for four centuries, and their ship is in need of repairs, something Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and the Voyager crew are happy to offer them, despite the fear.

Things get complicated, however, when Harry becomes romantically entangled with one of the Varro, Derran Tal (Musetta Vander).

Both Tal and Harry have rules (and orders) that both have violated to be with one another, Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) is aware of what is happening and is covering for his friend, but even he warns the young ensign to be careful.

But soon, the secret is out, and Harry Kim is in a world of trouble, but he obviously cares for Tal, and she for him… but the rules, the culture, and the guidelines established by Starfleet are all in place for a reason.

Janeway’s disappointment in Harry resonates with the character because she has been someone he has looked up to for so long.

It’s a great story for Harry, and brings an oft-asked question about love. If it is a disease, would we want a cure? Would we take it? Or is the pain of it when it ends worth the risk of enjoying the beauty of the moment?

It’s bittersweet, hopeful, and is arguably one of Kim’s best episodes.


Captain’s log: stardate 52586.3

Bryan Fuller and Nick Sagan pen this episode, from a story by Fuller, that serves as a sequel to the previous season’s episode, Demon. It debuted on 3 March, 1999.

There is something wrong with the Voyager, crew members are dying off, and there is a terrifying secret at the heart of their existence.

This ends up being a great what-if episode as we see Torres (Roxann Dawson) and Paris getting hitched (and the clue that something isn’t right is right there on the helmsman’s dress uniform), and the reveal that they are only two years away from home.

As we watch, each one of the crew that we have become close to over the past seasons, falls ill, becoming disfigured, and succumbing to the strange sickness that is killing them off. They aren’t who they seem to be, but are, in fact, duplicates…

Not only serving as a what-if, the story ties up a story thread from the previous season, completing an arc that may otherwise have been left unresolved.  It isn’t done just to tie up a story thread, however, it’s done to tell a Trek story, as it contemplates what is real, and what constitutes being who you are. Are the duplicates their own being? It’s an interesting thought that is explored through the course of the episode.

The Human Adventure continues next week as Star Trek: Voyager – The Complete Series on DVD from Paramount Canada boldly goes…




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