ThresholdBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:07 PM GMT
See Also: 'Threshold' Episode Guide
Paris, Torres, and Kim come up with a way to break the Warp 10 barrier and test it on the holodeck, but when they plan a real attempt in a shuttle, the Doctor advises that Tom not be permitted to fly because a rare genetic condition could cause him to develop heart trouble. Paris pleads with Janeway, saying he always wanted a shot at greatness, and she agrees to let him fly.
The attempt is successful, but upon returning to the ship, Paris begins to mutate. His skin alters, he stops being able to process oxygen, his tongue falls out. The Doctor announces that he is becoming an amphibian, the evolutionary future of the human race, and plans to resequence his DNA, but before he can do so, Paris escapes, abducting Janeway and taking her with him on a shuttle at Warp 10.
When Chakotay and Tuvok find Janeway and Paris, they have both become giant salamanders. (Yes, really.) They have also mated and produced offspring. Chakotay elects to leave the babies on the planet and takes Janeway and Paris back to the ship, where the Doctor restores their physiology and they blush a lot. Janeway gives Paris a commendation.
OK, in a nutshell: this episode, which went from incredibly stupid to patently offensive, is without a doubt the worst hour of Star Trek ever filmed, even counting "Turnabout Intruder." The idea that human beings could evolve into amphibians is utterly ridiculous; we evolved FROM amphibians. Moreover, Tom should not have been able to speak coherently at all once his tongue fell out. Probably the writers justified this episode by claiming that it was character development for him, but gee - we already knew he wanted to be a hero, we already knew he and his father didn't get along, we already suspected he lost his virginity at a young age. And we already suspected that given an opportunity, he'd boff Janeway. So what did we learn?
Well, we learned that the captain is a real woman - she can be raped and impregnated by a more powerful man. Great. I'm trying to imagine what Kirk would have done to Spock for raping him, even with pon farr as an excuse, or what Picard would have done if Troi forced him to have sex with her in that episode where that evil guy's hormones made her horny. I suspect that in neither case would the captain have said "That's OK" and given the ravisher a COMMENDATION.
Oh, I can't bear to go on. Now we know how Brannon Braga thinks about Janeway: as a woman whom her crewmembers would like to knock up. And now we know what he thinks the future of humanity is as well - horny salamanders. Can we have Gene Roddenberry back, please?
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.