Favorite SonBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:34 PM GMT
See Also: 'Favorite Son' Episode Guide
Harry Kim violates orders on the bridge on the basis of a hunch which turns out to be correct, and directs the ship to a safe haven when it is attacked by aliens. He also begins to display unusual skin characteristics, and the Doctor concludes that in fact his DNA is not human. On the planet which is protecting Voyager, Harry learns that he is a descendant of the people there, sent away as an embryo and implanted in his human mother's womb so that he could find his way back and tell them of the galaxy.
Harry decides to explore the planet further, especially since women outnumber men there by several dozen to one, and marriages consist of three girls to every guy. But when he becomes anxious to get back to Voyager, he discovers that his communications have been blocked. Worse, he finds out that on the wedding night, the brides suck the life out of the groom; this is the real reason there are almost no men. Harry stages an escape while Voyager breaks through the planet's interference, and the Doctor tells him that his DNA was altered; he is, in fact, human, and always has been.
There is no getting around the fact that this is an APPALLINGLY bad episode. It's misogynistic, it's predictable, it's humorless, and it's boring. So someone please explain to me why I was rolling around on the floor laughing and thoroughly enjoying it?
I think it has something to do with the fact that it reminded me of Bad Classic Trek. Yes, really, though I admit that the idea of Harry Kim standing in James "Tomcat" Kirk's shoes when it comes to getting the babes is pretty scream-worthy. This seems like something they might have done on TOS around the era of "That Which Survives" or "Spock's Brain" - something so sexist and so stupid that all you can do is hold your head and howl.
This isn't insidious misogyny like Paris morphing into a salamander and raping an oblivious Janeway, or like Q pressuring the captain to have his baby in exchange for a trip home. This is "Vampire Bimbos From Outer Space," but since it's Trek in the '90s, they're not even in super-sleazy clothes, and Harry doesn't even get lucky! Moreover, the entire episode is redeemed by the sight of Patricia Tallman, Lyta Alexander on Babylon Five, playing a killer babe with a painstick here. Who can take any of this seriously?
Garrett Wang is a very mediocre actor - with the exception of "The Chute," he has never been better than OK on this series. He couldn't even manage to fake chemistry with all the women throwing themselves at him, and he was so comically awkward feigning interest in kinky sex that one could only titter. People Magazine named him one of the sexiest men alive last year, but they must not have been looking past his pretty face.
My favorite sequence in "Favorite Son" is Harry's hallucination when he becomes ill, in which we learn that he thinks of Janeway and Chakotay as his parents. If only they knew that, maybe they could stop acting like such holier-than-thou dutiful prudes, and get married and adopt the whole crew. Then when they start running off at the mouth about how they're all one big happy family, they can at least mean the last part.
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.