Parallax

Episode Guide/Review by Charlynn Schmiedt

Season 1, Episode 2
Stardate 48439.7 (2371)

Episode 2 of 168 Released in Star Trek: Voyager
Episode 2 of 168 Produced in Star Trek: Voyager
Production Number: 103
Original airdate: January 23, 1995

Directed by Kim Friedman
Story by Jim Trombetta
Teleplay by Brannon Braga


Synopsis

With Voyager underway on its mission back to the Alpha Quadrant, tensions between the Maquis and Starfleet crews are high—so high that B’Elanna Torres breaks Lieutenant Carey’s nose in a fit of rage. This undermines Chakotay’s plan of recommending Torres for chief engineer, and Janeway is dubious at best when he makes the suggestion. Meanwhile, Voyager finds itself trapped in a quantum singularity, and Torres proves herself to Janeway when the two work together to free the ship. Janeway ultimately accepts Chakotay’s recommendation and promotes Torres to chief engineer.

Social Commentary

We see the development of some new ways to conserve resources on the ship, such as the airponics bay. In a way, this is akin to choosing locally-grown foods as opposed to mass-produced products that have traveled hundreds (perhaps thousands) of miles before they hit the supermarket shelves. Doing so saves money on fuel for transportation, the food is fresher, and it supports local business. Voyager is growing some of its food “locally” out of necessity, but I think the movement is gaining momentum here on Earth because we too see the necessity of choosing more sustainable options for a constant need such as food.

Strengths

It’s easy to forget these earlier episodes where there was conflict between Starfleet and Maquis crew members. They didn’t meld together overnight. Yay conflict! Torres breaks Carey’s nose, the Maquis crew members are ready to stage a mutiny, and poor Chakotay has to deal with all of it. And not only that, but Chakotay has to deal with his captain. The Janeway/Chakotay conflict really shines in this episode. Their debate on how they are both siding with their original crews—Janeway with Starfleet and Chakotay with the Maquis—was necessary and fun to watch.

Janeway and Torres are also fun to watch together in this character-driven piece.

An aeroponics bay makes sense on Voyager, and I love that Janeway assigned Kes to lead the project. It gives Kes a chance to thrive and contribute something to the ship. She needed a purpose outside of being Neelix’s gal-pal.

Flaws

Paris’s two semesters of biochemistry means a promotion to field medic on Voyager? Then with all the classes in psychology I took for my bachelor’s degree, I’d make a terrific psychiatrist! Sign me up! I understand that Voyager must work with what they have, but really, there must be someone with more medical training than Tom Paris.

The “deer in the headlights” close-ups of Janeway that lead to commercial are already annoying. I’m so glad they eventually dropped them.

The technobabble factor in this episode is off the charts. Thank goodness the character development overshadows how reliant the a-story is on TECHing the TECH to TECH the TECH.

Additional Thoughts

Does anyone else notice when Doc says “hold still” to Carey that Carey doesn’t even hesitate to sit back up in an instant? Follow directions, Carey!

Memorable Quotes

“On the one side, I’m facing a Vulcan who wants to court martial you. And on the other, I’m facing all the Maquis who are ready to seize this ship over this. You’ve turned this into one lousy day for me, Torres!” 
—Chakotay to Torres

“Now I know how Hippocrates felt when the king needed him to trim a hangnail.”
—The Doctor

“Sometimes you have to punch your way through.” 
—Janeway

“Would you have served under me?” 
—Chakotay to Janeway
(Could this be the line that started a steady stream of Janeway/Chakotay fanfics since 1995?)

Remember

The aeroponics bay. We will see it again in future episodes.

Final Word

The character moments in this episode are worth the watch. The technobabble is distracting.

Rating

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(5 out of 10)

Guest Stars

Martha Hackett as Ensign Seska
Josh Clark as Lieutenant Joe Carey