The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Repentance

When Voyager comes to the aid of a damaged ship, they end up taking on board several prisoners bound for execution. Although the crew agrees to transport the prisoners, there is uneasiness about how the wardens treat them, and at Voyager’s complicity in taking them to their deaths.

I wasn’t looking forward to Repentance. The one thing that had stuck in my head about this episode was the prisoner escape, and it really annoyed me that the forcefields aren’t backed up with physical bars in case of power failure.

In fact, this is a much smaller part of the episode than I remembered, and Repentance was a far more enjoyable experience than I dared hope. I like the twist that the initially odious prisoner turned out to be the nice guy, whilst the one that Neelix bonded with turned out to be a psychopath.

Continuing nicely on from Lineage, Repentance explores the idea of self, and how much it can be altered by medical intervention. Although unintentional, The Doctor’s treatment of Iko causes him to experience guilt and empathy for the first time – surely this is a good thing, and points to a treatment for psychopaths. But where do we stop? We could treat autistic people, to help them be able to function better in society. But if that person is high-functioning, shouldn’t we celebrate their difference and leave them as they are? Where do you draw the line on when a personality needs medical intervention, and where they are just gloriously different?

This episode also sees Seven of Nine examine her own feelings of guilt about the terrible things she did as a drone. Whilst I can see that the show would drag if it spent too much time on this, I did feel as if Janeway dismissed it a bit glibly.

Themes in this episode

  • Systems of justice, and capital punishment.
  • Personality alteration due to brain damage.
  • Institutionalised racism.
  • Ethical treatment of prisoners
  • Living with guilt.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 17

Destroyed Delta Flyer running total: 1

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 10

Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3

Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 5

Summary – Repentance: Better than I remembered.

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