The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Distant Origin

Dr Gegen of the Voth has long been a proponent of the ‘Distant Origin’ theory – the hypothesis that his people did not originate in the Delta Quadrant, but came from a planet many thousands of light-years away. When he and his assistant find a human corpse, it seems to confirm their theory, leading them on a quest to find living proof – in the form of the crew of the starship Voyager.

Even though the idea behind this story – that dinosaurs evolved into a space faring race and left Earth millennia ago – is a bit far fetched, I still enjoy this episode. Episodes where the main cast become side characters on their own show are generally a bit hit-and-miss, but Distant Origin is a definite hit. Gegen is a sympathetic character, and the Voth Minister Odala makes a good antagonist. From Gegen’s initial discoveries to his forced recanting of his own theories, the episode spins out a good story, and remains engaging throughout. With so much of season three having proved mediocre, it’s nice to have something decent to point to as a season highlight.

Hadrosaurs in space!

Between them, Chakotay and Gegen theorise that a Saurian civilisation could have thrived on a single continent, left Earth and subsequently had all trace of their existence erased. How likely is this?

Well, first off, any civilisation advanced enough to develop space travel would surely be able to travel to other continents, settle them, and defend themselves against hostile fauna. I guess you could argue that their population growth was small enough that they decided not to expand the borders of their civilisation, preferring to remain localised.

Even so, the kind of industrial society needed to develop space travel would surely leave its footprint on Earth’s atmosphere. Presumably the Voth were dumping pollutants out into the atmosphere even as we do today, and we might reasonably expect to see some evidence of this from fossil records.

Other points

  • The body found by Gegen and Veer is that of Hogan, who died in the season opener, Basics.
  • They also stop by the Nekrit Expanse, and manage to find some warp plasma from Voyager at Bahrat’s space statipn. However, in Fair Trade, Neelix never actually sold Voyager’s warp plasma; apparently this sample came from the Tak Tak, as seen in Macrocosm.
  • The last common ancestor of humans and dinosaurs was likely to have been a nondescript lizard of some sort, but there doesn’t seem to be any particular evidence identifying it as the eryops. Also, it is now believed that hadrosaurs were warm-blooded rather than cold-blooded.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 7

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 5

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1

Summary – Distant Origin: Dinosaurs are alive, and thriving in the Delta Quadrant.

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