The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Favorite Son

As Voyager approaches a new region of space, Harry Kim starts experiencing deja vu, as if he has somehow been here before. And when the ship arrives at the planet Taresia, its inhabitants welcome harry home, claiming that he is a long-lost member of their race. Whilst Voyager investigates these claims, Harry starts enjoying the attentions of the predominantly female Taresian people, but can their story really be true?

If there’s one thing we can learn from sci-fi, it’s that when a planet full of women all want to have sex with you, it probably is too good to be true. Harry Kim gets the Mary Sue treatment in this episode, in which he puts on a “little old me?” act whilst the Taresians praise his virtues and attempt to seduce him, all in an attempt to harvest his DNA for conceiving the next generation of their race. Yep, that old chestnut.

It’s pure hokum, and the more you think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes – more on that later. I must have been less discerning as a teen, because I think back then I quite enjoyed it. These days, my tastes are more refined, and whilst there are still worse ways to spend 42 minutes, this is hardly going to go down anywhere as a particularly impressive, or even very good, episode of Voyager.

I Call Bullshit

Before we go into the ‘facts’ of the episode, let’s first examine the lie that the Taresians told Voyager about Harry’s origin, and why that in itself is so problematic. First off, in this scenario, why would Taresian men travel across the galaxy with something as delicate as an embryo – surely it might easily die along the way if they didn’t find a host? It seems a waste of time not to take a whole bunch of embryos at a time if you’re going to do that, and even then your ship might get attacked and destroyed. Besides, if the goal is to incorporate genetic variation from new species, given that they’re claiming to have genetically engineered their offspring with all this knowledge, why not just genetically engineer the desired variations into them?

Secondly, whilst it’s made to sound less horrific in the episode because Harry’s parents wanted a baby and had been trying for years, the fact is that these Taresian men would be implanting embryos inside alien women without their knowledge or consent. Why is sci-fi so obsessed with impregnating women against their will? Maybe in this scenario, the men are supposed to actively seek out women who want a child, but in many cases – and certainly in Harry’s case – they had already chosen a father for that child.

And now the rest

Of course, the above scenario was all a lie, anyway, but why weren’t the questing and intelligent minds of the Voyager crew asking the same questions as I just did? Now onto questioning the ‘reality’ of the episode.

  • Again, given that the Taresians seem to have enough skill in genetic engineering to create a retrovirus, why don’t they work on genetic engineering to combat the lack of male children born to them?
  • Does fatally harvesting a man’s DNA really work better than luring in males and keeping them captive for years, such that they can father many children? And, having lured Voyager in, why select just Harry? Why not harvest sperm from all eighty-plus men on Voyager? They could even figure out a way to do it without the crew noticing, after luring them all down for shore leave. That way, they wouldn’t have such a bad reputation.
  • Why is marriage still purely heterosexual in the enlightened 24th century?

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 7

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 5

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1

Summary – Favorite Son: In which Harry narrowly escapes death by jamaharon.

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