Elogium is an episode that is trying really, really hard to be poignant and discuss a controversial subject. Sex in space. And it comes at it from many different positions…I mean angles. It wants to be about pregnancy, the right to have a child, sex and sexuality, the nature of fatherhood and what it would be like to be in the middle of space sperm. Unfortunately Star Trek in general is hamstrung by its strict adherence to a PG rating.

Because of this it seems watered down. It can’t seem to say what it wants to say. Its like a group of adults discussing sex in front of children. There are a lot of winks and nods and the use of technical terms that just destroys a natural tone and turns what could be an interesting discussion into an awkward mess.

And there is a bunch of ideas being thrown about here as well, none of which gets to be explored in any meaningful way. This adds to the messiness of the plot. Basically there is sex going on all over the place but no one gets to talk about it except in general and clinical ways.

First Chakotay finds two crew members making out in a turbo lift. This leads to he and Janeway discussing the crew getting busy and creating a Generational ship – because you can’t just have sex for fun you gotta procreate, this is Star Fleet after all. (To be fair Chakotay does say that procreation hadn’t crossed his mind, so we know what he’s all about).

Then the ship is put in danger (that is mated with) by a flock of space sperm. Yes, yes its supposed to be protozoa but c’mon, that’s totally sperm. Then the space sperm causes Kes to go into a premature reproductive cycle and finally we find out a crew member we’ve never heard of before is pregnant. That’s a lot of sex stuff.

“In the future, if I have any questions about mating behavior, I’ll know where to go.” – Captain Janeway

All of these things could have been been the subject of their own story, but for some reason they are all thrown together and as a result none get to breathe or are given enough time to be explored adequately. So we are given a rushed, weird episode with strange comedy beats that just don’t hit.

Of course the real focus of the episode is on Kes and Neelix trying to decide if the want to have a baby. Kes is very young and Neelix doesn’t know if he’s responsible enough to be a father and it is all supposed to be very serious but in reality it just turns into an after-school special on teen pregnancy. The message is, essentially, having a child is a big deal you should think about it before you do it. The end.

Not really ground breaking stuff.

I suppose – if you tried really hard – you could use the ship’s submissive behavior and Kes’ dominant, aggressive attitude toward Neelix and subsequent decision not to have a child as a metaphor for gender roles and the right of a woman to chose what happens to her own body. But that is only if you tried real hard and I don’t want to do that because obviously the writers didn’t.

So the episode is a mess, but that is not say there aren’t good things in it. Jennifer Lien’s performance is quite good and we really feel her urgency and fear. She’s acting her brains out. And kudos to the writers for coming up with a mating/reproductive cycle that is actually alien. It is sloppy wet and kinda gross. Rub my feet till my tongue swells indeed. I mean imagine what aliens would think of human reproduction/sex, I’m pretty sure they’d be grossed out. Also the bug eating in the cold open was very creepy and well done.

And Neelix and Tuvok having the fatherhood discussion in the mess hall was very nice. That helped to not only move the story along but helped to add a tender character moment for both. The jealous Neelix in the open was just the opposite however and that particular side of Neelix’s character needs to be jettisoned as soon as possible.

So overall not a great episode but I’ll give it points for trying to touch on subjects that are a bit controversial and different, even if it doesn’t get it right.

Next Time On Star Trek Voyager