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Overview – B’Elanna discovers that she is pregnant. Her husband, Tom Paris, is excited, and B’Elanna is a bit nervous. While the crew rally around the new parents-to-be, B’Elanna is showing that she is a bit overwhelmed by the attention. When the Doctor discovers a deviation in the spine of the fetus, he offers genetic modification treatments to correct the issue. This prompts B’Elanna to begin considering if similar treatments could make the child look less Klingon. Things come to a head when she attempts to reprogram the Doctor to cause him to perform the modifications that she desires. As she recalls how members of her family treated her due to her Klingon heritage, she confides in Tom that it was her Klingon traits that likely drove her father to leave. In doing so she reveals her inner struggles with her heritage and identity.
Score: 8/10 – This is a character driven episode that is almost devoid on action and danger, and yet is as compelling based on the issues it deals with. While some may want to have more fighting and cool aliens, Star Trek often is strongest when it tackles complex social issues and delves into character development. Here we see Torres once again struggle with her Klingon heritage. Just when she seems to have come to grips with her Klingon traits, she now faces the fact that her child will also have physical Klingon characteristics. We see, via flashbacks, her troubled childhood and are taken deep into the sources of her anxiety. We are also given a good showing by Tom Paris who has fully cast aside his bad-boy attitudes and has transformed into a deeply devoted husband who is excited to become a father. It is also nice to see the crew have something to celebrate, and everybody gets in on it. Even Tuvok shows a Vulcan-like joyfulness for Tom and B’Elanna. The different crewmates vying for godparent is fun, though minor, and I like B’Elanna’s final choice. It fits in well with the story, (spoiler alert), and adds another layer to the relationship between Torres and the Doctor.
Relevance – 3 points. The pregnancy of B’Elanna will factor into a future episode “Prophecy”. The birth will occur in the finale “Endgame”. This scores a point for each episode. The issues that Torres has with her Klingon heritage has been building for several episodes throughout the series, as early as the first season episode “Faces”.
Continuity – 3 points. Character continuity checks out for everyone. I pretty much guessed how everybody would act with the news of the upcoming child. Neelix clamoring to be a godfather again, Janeway showing her motherly side, even Tuvok showing a fondness for parenting and offering advice for Paris. Story line works well, and the universe as we know it in Trek stays consistent.
Character Development – 3 points. This is a strong episode for B’Elanna and Tom. I have heard from many fans who dislike the character of Torres was that she is heavy on the drama (for one with Klingon blood). Well, this episode really ramps up that drama. I think it adds some much-needed depth for our chief engineer. I think that we gain a better appreciation of the conflict that rages inside her due to her mixed heritage. Personally, I always found that Roxann Dawson was able to capture the essence of how conflicted her character is, and this episode shows us her talents. Tom Paris also shows how far he has come since he started this adventure almost seven years ago. His carefree days are largely behind him, and while he still has his energy and youthful obsessions, it is better tempered now that he is committed to his relationship with Torres. Now that he knows he will be a father, it is even deeper. Great development for both of these characters.
Social Commentary – 3 points. A lot of us feel conflicted about who we are. It may not be like B’Elanna where we are at odds with our heritage, but there often comes to each of us a moment where we feel unhappy about who we are, and if given an opportunity to save someone we care about (our child, for instance), who among us wouldn’t be tempted to save them some of the pain we endured previously. I think in this episode we are given a look at how someone is at odds with how they perceive themselves and are willing to go to great lengths to change it, if not for themselves then someone else. In many of those cases, when we accept ourselves for who we are and what we are, whether it be our heritage or anything else, we can find peace within ourselves.
Cool Stuff – 1 point. I score a point for the idea that in the future we can give holographic representations of what an unborn child may look like. That was cool.
Rank – Admiral (21 points). Fans of Tom and/or B’Elanna will enjoy this episode, but so will any of us that appreciate a good character driven story that most people can relate to. A strong showing in the final season of Voyager.
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