FacesBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 1:55 PM GMT
See Also: 'Faces' Episode Guide
Torres, Paris, and Durst are abducted by Vidiians, who send the two men to work for them and lock Torres in a laboratory, where they split her into her component Klingon and Human halves. Apparently they took readings of her body when they last had contact with Voyager, and determined that her Klingon DNA held potential for curing the phage. While the Human B'Elanna is sent to slave labor with Paris, the Klingon Torres is kept for experimentation by a sadistic doctor with a crush on her.
The Human Torres is relieved to be free from her violent, uncontrollable Klingon side, but she also feels very weak and insecure. Paris helps her deal with that, while the Klingon Torres flirts with the doctor in a bid for some freedom. The Vidiian scientist, believing her overtures, has Durst killed and grafts the man's face onto his own as a ploy to gain her affection, but Torres is disgusted and horrified.
Chakotay beams down disguised as a Vidiian and meets up with Paris to devise a rescue. Working together, the two B'Elanna's escape, but must hide together while they flee until they are rescued, and they argue bitterly about their differences. The Klingon Torres gives her life to save the Human Torres, and dies in her arms on the transporter pad. But the Doctor announces that Torres must be reinfused with Klingon DNA to survive, and the episode ends with her tearfully admitting to Chakotay that she'll never be free of that side of herself.
A more subtle and complex character schism than the Good and Bad Kirk from the original series, this episode made terrific use of the aliens introduced in "Phage" while giving us a gut-wrenching look at B'Elanna's inner war. Even if she herself has doubts in the end, it's clear that both her halves have integrity, wit, and strength. She managed to grow and learn in a situation that would have made many people fall apart - literally. She reminds me of Kira Nerys during the early days of DS9, when she was trying to reconcile her past as a terrorist with her future as an officer of peace.
Torres and Paris have similar pasts - betrayed and abandoned by their fathers, the one physically, the other psychologically, they were both hounded out of Starfleet and joined the Maquis. The interaction between Tom and the Human B'Elanna was lovely - who would have suspected that he was so sensitive? I liked her gamely trying to be strong for him, and the way he acted as a senior officer on this mission, demanding to be taken away to probable death in Durst's place. Apparently Janeway's faith in him is justified.
I wanted to slap Chakotay for leaving Torres alone at the end, awaiting integration with her other half, but in a way it was right that she should be alone, contemplating the things the Klingon said to her. I don't really understand why the Klingon B'Elanna would accept Klingon ideology about honor and strength just because she had the physiology; they BOTH didn't get along with mother, so one would think they would both resist the trappings of her culture. Still, the interaction was enlightening and moving. I hope we see the Klingon peeking through Torres on the series on occasion; she hasn't broken any noses in a fit of righteous anger in awhile.
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.