Ex Post Facto

Episode Guide/Review by Charlynn Schmiedt

Season 1, Episode 7

Stardate Unknown (2371)

Episode 7 of 168 Released in Star Trek: Voyager
Episode 7 of 168 Produced in Star Trek: Voyager
Production Number: 108
Original airdate: February 27, 1995

Directed by LeVar Burton
Story by Evan Carlos Somers
Teleplay by Evan Carlos Somers and Michael Piller


Synopsis

Lieutenant Paris has been convicted of murder on the Banean homeworld. As punishment, he must relive the last moments of the victim’s life every 14 hours. Paris swears he did not commit the crime, but it is clear from the victim’s memories that Tom is the culprit. Tuvok conducts an investigation and ultimately proves Tom’s innocence while uncovering the true murderer.

Social Commentary

This episode displays a unique punishment for murder: reliving the victim’s final moments before death every day for the rest of the murderer’s life. It makes me wonder if societies here on Earth would consider it a proper punishment for the crime if humans developed similar technology. Would we use this type of a “life sentence” in lieu of overcrowded prisons that cost money to maintain? Or is it not punishment enough? This episode got me thinking about the justice system in the U.S. and where a punishment like this might fit within the system as our world becomes more and more technologically advanced.

Strengths

Kes has a wonderful way of making the Doctor rethink his limitations—what he sees as limitations, that is. Their interaction provides a wealth of character development for these two; we see Kes is far wiser beyond her years, and she opens the Doctor’s subroutines into considering the full realm of his capabilities.

Neelix is actually useful as a guide in this episode. Good for him.

It’s nice seeing Tuvok do something a little different as chief of security. He is also the, ahem, logical choice because logic is quite useful when it comes to solving a crime. We see just how effective it is in the final reveal; he wipes away every counter-argument with so much ease that it makes me wonder how the criminals thought they’d get away with it. Go Tuvok!

Flaws

Were the usual makeup artists on vacation the week this episode was shot? Whose brilliant idea was it to glue bird feathers on these people and call them aliens? Not only that, but they put a bunch of hair gel on the dog and gave him a “doghawk” so he looked more unique. Not high-quality work for ‘90s Trek.

Robin McKee is a weak guest star. Her “acting” is sub-par and sometimes cringe-worthy.

As far as mysteries go, this one pieces together too easily as we’re given the clues, so it’s not a shocker when we find out “whodunit.”

Additional Thoughts

LeVar Burton directed this episode, thus becoming the first TNG cast member to direct an installment ofVoyager. He will direct more episodes throughout the series run.

I laughed when Paris said “You know how it is when two science guys get together” to Janeway when she herself has a background in science.

We learn that Tuvok has been married to his wife for 67 years.

Chakotay’s use of an “old Maquis” trick is a nice touch. So is the conversation between Janeway and Chakotay shortly after he sets things in motion.

Janeway: Not to belittle Maquis tactics, Commander, but this is a very old trick.
Chakotay: It worked against those Starfleet runabouts.
Janeway: You were lucky I wasn’t commanding one of them.
Chakotay: Besides, out here in the Delta Quadrant, every old trick is new again.

And when the “old trick” succeeds…

Janeway: That’s one old trick you won’t be able to use again when we get back.
Chakotay: I have more.

Memorable Quotes

“Take your time. After all, you will ‘be’ that name for the rest of your life.”
—Kes to the Doctor

“Maybe I kill myself slowly because I don’t have the courage to do it quickly.” 
—Lidell Ren, as she’s smoking

“What are you looking at?”
“Not the same thing you’re looking at, that’s for sure.”
—Tom Paris and Harry Kim, after Kim notices Paris’s interest in Lidell Ren

“There are some who’d say you risked my future on the eyewitness identification of a dog.” 
—Tom Paris, to Tuvok

“I was bored. You know how it is when two science guys get together.” 
—Tom Paris

“That rehab colony back in New Zealand doesn’t seem so bad right now.” 
—Tom Paris

Remember

The Doctor’s search for a name. It’s far from over.

Final Word

The few moments of decent dialogue between the Doctor and Kes—and Janeway and Chakotay—don’t redeem this episode. The film noir atmosphere intended for the a-plot falls flat and feels more like a Murder, She Wrote story instead. The mystery itself doesn’t do much for me, either. Combine this with appalling alien makeup and I’m glad this is a forgettable episode.

Rating

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 (4 out of 10)

Guest Stars

Robin McKee as Lidell Ren
Francis Guinan as Kray
Aaron Lustig as Banean Doctor
Ray Reinhardt as Tolen Ren