Day of HonorBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 3:08 PM GMT
See Also: 'Day of Honor' Episode Guide
Voyager encounters its umpteenth desperate, duplicitous species which takes advantage of their generosity, the same week the crew decides to use Seven of Nine's help to see if she can help them recreate Borg transwarp technology. The experiment fails, endangering the ship, so Torres is forced to eject the warp core. When she and Tom Paris try to retrieve the core, their shuttle is destroyed by the nasty aliens.
As they wait in pressure suits for their inevitable rescue by Voyager, B'Elanna confesses that she loves Tom. Of course, they're saved, and the warp core gets recovered. Janeway throws the Prime Directive out the window, Seven gets warm and fuzzy for a minute, and the crew's one big happy family lost in space again. A real character development episode for all.
Oops. Did I sound sarcastic, there? Maybe because this episode was odious. I usually agitate for relationships on Trek, particularly on this show where, after three years lost in space together, you'd think people would be falling in love and forming bonds. But whenever we get a relationship episode, I remember the big drawback of them, namely: Trek writers wouldn't know a mature, realistic, nondemeaning romantic relationship - you know, like John and Delenn on Babylon Five - if it were taking place right in front of them. I might have to get off the "Janeway/Chakotay - More Than Just CO & XO" bandwagon, for fear of hearing the captain spout drivel.
B'Elanna Torres says a couple of times that "Day of Honor" is the worst day of her life, and she's right about one thing: Voyager's writers would be hard-pressed to come up with worse dialogue for her than this. And I thought "Persistence of Vision" was bad! The episode is a weak tie-in with Pocket Books' miniseries about a Klingon ritual, the Day of Honor, which nobody knows much about without buying all four volumes, so we got to hear all the Klingon cliches we're usually spared on Voyager about honor and a warrior's heart without even learning anything new about Klingons.
One of my favorite things about Voyager was that it has no full Klingons aboard. I'm going to cry if Torres gets into this painstick and bat'leth stuff. She's half-human - one would think she could give us a new, refreshing perspective on Klingon ritual, which has been shown to be pretty damn sexist. But no, she appears to consider it a failing on her part that she doesn't buy right into the traditional mumbo-jumbo. Sigh.
The Bad Science Meter was off the scale for this episode. I'm not even going to dwell on Tom and B'Elanna wasting their oxygen discussing the meaning of life. That permitted one of the fun gimmicks of the episode: Torres sharing her air with Paris, just like in the classic Space 1999 episode about the robot who gave Martin Landau and Barbara Bain the Love Test to see if they'd do the same.
Then there are the annoying Trek inconsistencies. Two weeks, two shuttles...well, maybe they're self-replicating. In that case, though, why didn't Janeway and crew test the transwarp conduit with a shuttle, rather than risking the entire ship? And there's the nagging question of just who has the authority to dump the warp core. In "Cathexis" during the first season, Chakotay took over Torres' body to make her dump the core, and Janeway figured out that Torres couldn't have done it by herself because only a command-level officer could eject the core. The entire episode hinged on that revelation. I thought it was stupid at the time - obviously the chief engineer should be able to dump the core if she needs to! - but the writers might at least have been consistent about it.
Once again, I find myself with only good things to say about Seven of Nine. I still hate her costume - I will recite that every week like a litany until they change it. But she was smart and smooth and tough with the captain. I don't like that they're already softening her edges - they did that with her body, can't they leave her attitude for a little while? It made for some interesting moments with Janeway, though, who was having a good episode until she contradicted the technological non-interference policy she established in episodes like "Prototype" and "Alliances," just to get her warp core back the easy way.
Things I liked: Torres taking Neelix seriously instead of laughing him off like most of the characters do, too often. Chakotay telling her not to give him lip about having a Borg babe in engineering. The return of Vorick. I had mixed feelings about Janeway announcing that it's time to stop talking and do something: she was right, but she's been doing a lot of that lately before really thinking out alternatives.
As for Paris and Torres, I have mixed feelings. Yes, I'd like to see an ongoing pairing on Voyager, even if this is the wrong pair. There's not a lot of chemistry - plus, I find Tom increasingly condescending as he's rewritten in hero mode. The previews asked ominously of Tom and B'Elanna's love story, "Will it end before it begins?" Given this inauspicious start, I am tempted to hope that it already has.
Next week, Angry Warrior Chakotay returns with a vengeance. Then again, he's been angry and snappish at everyone this season already. I miss the man who abhorred violence, but fat chance of that lasting on a mindless action series.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.