Neelix has a morning talk show on Voyager. Then, he learns that Paris — who has been acting like a jerk basically since he turned into a lizard or something in the enormously awful “Threshold” — is leaving the ship to join a Talaxian convoy. Almost immediately after, he’s captured by the Kazon. Meanwhile, Neelix uncovers covert transmissions to the Kazon and Janeway and Tuvok inform him that Paris leaving the ship is all a ploy to draw out whoever’s been communicating with the Nistrim — whom viewers know is Michael Jonas, first established in “Alliances”. After a talk with Seska, Paris escapes and informs Janeway as he returns to the ship that Jonas is the traitor. Jonas and Neelix end up fighting in engineering and Jonas is killed in the struggle. Paris makes it back to Voyager — and lets everyone know his behavior was part of a larger plan.
Why it’s important
This episode is borderline for the tapestry, but it’s the next step in the Kazon storyline that was so much of the show in season two. It’s also the finalization of the Jonas plot that had been going on since “Alliances”, so we decided to include it.
What doesn’t hold up
So much of this episode is just ridiculous. While it’s somewhat laudable that the creators built the Jonas and malcontent Paris storylines up over several episodes, the execution, again, is off.
Let’s talk about Paris first. As noted above, his bad behavior begins — and is apparently orchestrated — shortly after his trip at warp 10 turned him into a lizard back in “Threshold”. That episode is among Trek’s stupidest hours and only should be watched for amusement’s sake (we won’t be reviewing it). But, given the timing, would it have been all that difficult for Voyager to use that experience as the alleged rationale for Paris’s behavior? Even a line in the scene before Paris leaves the ship about how he “hasn’t felt the same” since the warp 10 trials would have been easy to insert. So what if some viewers would have been confused for three seconds? Classic Voyager misstep.
Then, there’s the plan itself.
Essentially, Janeway, Tuvok and Paris decide that Paris will act like a jerk for several weeks to justify his move to eventually sign on with a Talaxian convoy. They figure that the news will make it to the Nistrim — and that the Nistrim will try to move on the convoy and capture Paris, who can then discover the identity of the spy and then (I guess?) make it back to Voyager. There’s just so much about this plan that’s remarkably stupid.
For one thing, how did Janeway, et. al, know that the Nistrim would be able to attack the convoy so quickly? We know from previous episodes that the Nistrim has like six ships. What if it had taken the Nistrim several weeks to find the convoy and capture Paris? Voyager, which is supposed to be moving quickly toward the Alpha Quadrant, might not have been able to retrieve Paris in time.
But let’s say Janeway and Tuvok planned for that and figured, after a few weeks, they’d find the convoy and retrieve Paris if the plan didn’t work. Wouldn’t they have abandoned the plan because it put the Talaxians in very real danger? Granted, the convoy commander tells Janeway that no one was hurt or killed in the attack, but Janeway couldn’t have known that in advance. The Kazon are freaking brutal thugs. It’s not out of the question that they would have captured Paris and killed all the Talaxians as a matter of course.
Then, the plan hinges on the Kazon and Seska (tactical genius Seska) being stupid enough to leave Paris in a room with a working computer (where he learns Jonas’s identity). They could have just as easily tied Paris to a chair and interrogated him as they did Chakotay in “Maneuvers”. The plan hinges on Paris getting on Culluh’s ship, being able to get into its computers and then being able to steal a Kazon shuttle and escape. That, my friends, is about the worst plan imaginable. It shouldn’t have worked — and only did because the creators had the ability to make it work.
I’m not a Neelix hater like some Trek fans. He’s not a great character, but he has his moments. He’s overly perky, but it was actually nice that he got something to do in this episode that didn’t involve making some gross stew or bantering with Tuvok.
Coming next week …
The Kazon storyline wraps up.