Delta Redux: A Voyager Rewatch: Parallax

By Last Updated: May 20, 2015Views: 2424

Welcome back everyone to the Delta Quadrant where the crew of the Voyager are getting on with their first adventure and the first real episode of the series. The pilot set up the premise and introduced the characters but here we start to see what the show will do with those characters and that premise. And it is…a very first season Star Trek episode.

What I mean by that is that all the Star Trek series (with the exception of the original series) have had some growing pains in the first season. The Next Generation, while prefect in every way, was…less perfect in the first season. In fact there were some episodes that were a level of perfect that could be considered horrible. DS9 similarly had episodes in it’s first season that were downright awful. But these things were needed to get their footing and establish a direction. So I definitely had this in mind when watching Parallax.

It’s not bad mind you, perfectly watchable and enjoyable. But that is about it. A middle of the road type episode. And that is fine.

“In command school they taught us that maneuvering a starship is a delicate process. But over the years I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to punch your way through.” – Captain Janeway

The Voyager comes across a Type-4 Quantum Singularity (oh no! not one of those!) and respond to a distress call from a ship trapped on the event horizon. The ship turns out to be Voyager in the future and the distress call is actually the hail that Janeway sends when they first encounter the ship. All of this is due to quantum time displacement or, as Steven Moffat so eloquently put it, wibbly-wimey timey-wimey stuff. Look, let’s face it the science in this is kinda crap with Janeway trying to explain how sometimes “effect can precede cause ” which is, you know, bullshit. But the show knows this and actually has Paris attempt to explain it all and finishes by saying, “Does any of this make sense?” to which Janeway replies, “No, but that’s okay.”

And it is okay because we get to see our first spacial anomaly, hooray! Spacial anomalies are already cliche in Star Trek at this point but that’s okay too because it’s really only the background to what the episode is really about and that’s establishing the Maquis conflict and attempting to integrate them with the crew. In particular B’Elanna Torres who is still angry by the way. So angry in fact she punches a superior officer for having a differing opinion. Granted the guy is kind of a dick but she hits him so hard she nearly fractures his skull. That’s kinda not okay.

Despite this Chakotay lobbies hard to get Torres made chief engineer because she’s the best damn engineer in the whole blah blah blah. Chakotay actually goes about this by being a bit of a dick himself, and to be honest I like it and wish he’d keep it up. Janeway meets with Torres to size her up and Torres is predictably angry and says angry things and is dismissed from her position forever for being disrespectful and violent.

No no no, that’s not what happens – this is Star Trek! Torres is given a second chance to prove herself in a crisis and come up with a solution. And by golly, she nails it. She and Janeway have a bit of a bonding moment as they bounce ideas off each other and they get to shout the solution together (Warp particles!) the same way the two ladies remembered the name of the french waiter in the international coffee commercial (Jean-Luc!)*.

Well the situation is solved and B’Elanna is made chief engineer and everyone has a tender moment to reflect on the past and the future and all is well for another day.

And it is all just fine. As I said, a middle of the road episode – not bad, not great. I know there will be many of these type of stories for a while as the show attempts to find it’s way and the actors figure out who their character is so I don’t fault it for being what it is…an okay piece of television.

Also there was a minor storyline about the Doctor shrinking that was the comedic relief for the episode that was not worth mentioning so I won’t.

*In a completely unrelated note I like to think the waiter in that commercial was actually Jean-Luc Picard as a student trying to make his way through the Academy.

Next Time On Star Trek Voyager

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