14 – Faces

Grade: C+

Faces (1995) on IMDb


B’Elanna Torres has been kidnapped by a Vidiian doctor and turned into a full Klingon. Apparently, she went on an away mission with Tom Paris and Lt Durst. Janeway, Tuvok, Chakotay and Kim have several technobabble sessions before deciding to send Chakotay down to rescue the three officers.


This probably will make me very unpopular with a lot of Star Trek fans, but I’m not a fan of this episode. In fact, I think it’s pretty mediocre. It starts off on the wrong foot when it tries to artificially create tension right off the bat. The opening is only a few seconds long and it ends with B’Elanna Torres looking right at the camera, and she’s clearly fully Klingon. I think this type of filming is deliberately manipulative, and I prefer a more organic approach. So right from the start, I didn’t think I’d like this episode.

The Vidiians are the Star Trek aliens that I dislike the most. They have no redeeming qualities at all. We are often told that their civilization used to be artistic and creative, but now that they have been battling the phage for the last 2,000 years, they are a disgusting people. Their civilization can only survive by killing other species and harvesting their organs. Basically, these guys are parasites. By the end of the episode, I was hoping Janeway would have destroyed their whole colony. Isn’t that what she said she would do?

Well, with that said, let’s get back to the storyline that focuses on Torres. There are two Lt Torres characters in this episode. One is fully human and the other is fully Klingon. I don’t understand the explanation or why both characters appear to be the exact same age or where the Vidiian doctor found the material necessary to build another person out of thin air. I certainly don’t understand why Klingon Torres suddenly has long hair, speaks English, wears Klingon clothes or why she knows anything about the Klingon culture. Besides, even if it were possible to separate the Human DNA from the Klingon DNA, the new person would still have to grow up from an embryo into a real live being. So this episode as shown is technically impossible. Usually, I try not to let science get in the way of a good story, but this time, it really was too much of a stretch for me to accept.

Speaking of which, it’s never explained how the Vidiian doctor found out that Klingons are immune to the phage, but it is revealed several times that B’Elanna is the first Klingon he has ever seen. So how would he know he should make her 100% Klingon and then use her as a test subject? He should have explained that when he tested her after she was abducted, that he found out she might be immune. Maybe this is something that ended up on the cutting room floor, but it should have been spelled out in this episode.

I really hated it, by the way, that Klingon Torres spoke with that typical Klingon stilted speech. It seems to take her three times as long to say anything because she has to pause…after…almost…every…syllable. I hated it when TNG Klingons speak this way, and I hate it here too. Luckily, that doesn’t last the entire episode.

Something else I didn’t like was how little remorse was felt for Lt Durst. He basically dies so that this Vidiian doctor can have a nicer looking face. That’s bad enough, but what makes it even worse is that Klingon B’Elanna is the one who put the idea in his head in the first place. OK, so she didn’t say “kill Durst and steal his face, and then you and I can be together.” But she did mention that if he let her out of her bonds that she would show him a good time. Obviously, he thought that was a good idea, so he takes it one step further and gives himself a new look. But I’m guessing B’Elanna will never again think about Durst or how he died or ever need counseling about it – since these episodes are self-contained and they have little to do with the ones that follow.

I didn’t care for the ending scene, either. I knew the entire episode that Torres would have to be put back together again into her Human/Klingon hybrid. But if what the doctor said was true, then both versions of Lt Torres should have been dead right after the Vidiian doctor extracted her DNA. It doesn’t make any sense that they would both live just long enough for the doctor to rescue them and put them back together. In all honesty, I wish they would have found a way to keep both of them alive, similar to what they did with Riker in the Next Generation. If not that, then I would have liked to have seen Torres as a full Klingon or a full human for the rest of the series run. But alas, we get the Voyager Reset Button once again, in which the writers can magically tie up everything into a neat package and forget about any character or plot developments that they gave us within the episode. The application of the Reset Button in this episode is probably the biggest reason why I didn’t like it.

Of Note

Here we have an example of Janeway’s tendency to micromanage. At the end of the episode, they’ve decided to transport Chakotay down to the surface to help rescue the crew. They can only do this through a rift in security or something that happens every few seconds. To make sure they transport him when one of the rifts is open, they have to synchronize the transporter to the pattern when the rift opens and closes. I assume that would be handled automatically, but Janeway says “on my mark.” Why not just let the computer to the work so that it’s more precise?

You may recognize the Talaxian prisoner in this episode. The actor who plays him will show up again in the 7th season of the series as a Talaxian, but the characters are different. At first, I thought they were the same character.