The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Parallax

Voyager has commenced its long journey back to the Alpha Quadrant, but first Janeway needs to integrate Chakotay’s Maquis cell into the crew. One of the top priorities is to get a new chief engineer, but it should it be the reliable Lieutenant Carey, or fiery ex-Maquis B’Elanna Torres? An encounter with a quantum singularity might be just the test needed to pick out the better engineer.

Voyager sails into the technobabble bollocks at warp speed in this episode, which features such ridiculousness as punching through an event horizon. It’s too stupid to even bother analysing, but fortunately can mostly ignore it in favour of character development. We all know that Torres is going to become chief engineer, but of course we have to go through the motions of everyone except Chakotay thinking she’s not up to the job. Naturally, B’Elanna proves her engineering creds by being the only person to come up with a) decent ideas and b) theories that agree with Janeway’ own thoughts.

Characterisation

  • Chakotay has accepted his role as first officer, but he still feels loyal to his Maquis crew. They in turn want to support him – to the point of mutiny – but of course things will calm down relatively swiftly.
  • Kes starts to develop a little personality of her own, as she starts a hydroponics garden and interacts with the Doctor. She’s a much better character when not hanging around with Neelix, who spends his time barging in and mansplaining.
  • Seska makes her first appearance in this episode, but has yet to receive a name. She is wearing a blue uniform here, but switches to gold – presumably this is part of the ex-Maquis settling into roles they are most suited to.
  • Paris is now doomed to become a medical assistant for now and after Kes leaves, just because he took Biochemistry for two semesters at the Academy. Since medical skills are so important on a ship with a holographic doctor, why is it just left to the ship’s pilot to be the one who becomes a field medic? Surely it would be better to have several people do shifts in sickbay, for redundancy.

Other points

  • The Doctor tells Janeway his height has been shrinking by 5cm every half an hour, yet prior to that, he shrinks around 10cm during Kes’ visit to sickbay, which only lasts a few minutes. Also, Kes switched him off, so who re-activated him to enable him to talk to Janeway on the EMH channel?
  • It is established in this episode that the holodeck power grid is incompatible with the rest of the ship, enabling numerous terrible holodeck episodes to ensue.
  • Paris says “it’s the Voyager”, instead of “it’s Voyager”, as becomes standard.

Sheer filth

“We found the crack. That’s the important thing. Now, how do we make it bigger.”

“Put a wedge in it and force it open.”

Summary – Parallax: In which a renowned scientist and captain punches a hole in an event horizon.

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