Delta Redux: A Voyager Rewatch: Threshold

By Last Updated: May 29, 2017Views: 1787

So now we come to Threshold. This episode is considered by many fans to be the worst episode of Star Trek, not just Voyager mind you – but the entire franchise. This is simply not true. There are in my opinion far worse episodes in the Star Trek universe. Remember the space hippies in the original series? Or the time Sisco was visited by a dream version of the greatest baseball player in history which turned out to be a short, pudgy guy? Or how about the time Data had sex? (Seriously, try to get past the idea of Data being a fully-functional sex toy). So there are many episodes across the multiple expanse of Trek-ery that are worse. Hell, I don’t think this is even the worst episode of Voyager.

That being said, it is far from being good.

“When I was a boy, my father used to tell me that I was special. That one day I’d do something significant. My teachers at school, all the kids, everyone used to say, “Tom Paris is gonna do something important when he grows up”. Obviously that didn’t happen.” – Tom Paris

To illustrate how not-good it is let me give you a little behind-the-scenes of how I write these articles. First I sit down and watch the episode straight through making mental notes on particular lines or themes but basically just trying to enjoy the show as a whole. Afterwards I jot down a few thoughts and then I watch the episode again a second time, usually a day or so later, this time taking notes and giving it a more critical onceover. Typically I have no issues with this system and generally look forward to the second viewing. In the case of Threshold…not so much.

After the first viewing my only note was: “wow that was stupid” and then began a long period of dread knowing I has to sit through it again. In the end I did not watch it a second time and simply chose to not inflict pain upon myself. Maybe it would get better on a second view, maybe it would get worse, I’ll never know – once is plenty thank you very much.

The basic things that go wrong in Threshold are a) it makes no sense and b) the ending is a complete and utter ridiculous mess.

The whole story revolves around Paris conducting experiments to break the “threshold” of Warp 10, a complete impossibility. Except of course it’s not. In TNG’s “All Good Things we get a flash forward to ships using Warp 13 so even in the Trek’s established cannon this is not so much an impossibility as a thing the hasn’t happened yet. Also in Star Trek III there is “Transwarp Drive” that goes faster that Warp 10 (I think) so what’s the big whoop?

Also, surpassing Warp 10 supposedly takes you to “infinite speed” and allows you to be in all places in the universe at once. This is not only stupid but gets real close to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy territory. I almost expected a newly created plant and a whale to show up.

Oh, and it turns Paris into a reptile.

Which brings us to the ending: Paris turns into said reptile escapes sick bay, kidnaps Janeway and flies off at Warp 10 (turning Janeway into a reptile as well) then they settle down on a planet mate and have reptile babies.

I’ll say that again. Paris and Janeway become reptiles, mate and have babies.

Let that sink in.

It is an ill-conceived and just plain ridiculous ending.  And one that has no consequences; aside from a snide, offhand comment from Janeway it is never spoken of again. Not even a glance over a cup of coffee to say, “Remember that time we were reptiles and had sex? That was weird, right?”

But, strange ending aside, there are implications here that are never addressed again in the series:

First there are now Paris/Janeway reptile babies evolving on a planet somewhere…how exactly does that fit into the Prime Directive and maybe some one should check up on that.

Second, why not just use this “infinite speed” to get home? Yes, I know that it turns you into a horny reptile (actually they may be amphibians but I don’t feel like looking it up) but the Doctor was able to cure them and turn them back pretty easily. So why not, I’m just spit-balling here, use the new tech to get back to the Alpha Quadrant and once there have the Doc restore everyone back to human form. Bada-Bing, series over.

Of course this will never happen and I’m pretty sure the events here will never be mentioned again for the entity of the run of Voyager.

This is a bad episode, not the worst, but bad. So let’s just do what the series itself did…sweep it under the rug and never speak of it again.

Next Time On Star Trek Voyager

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