31 – Threshold

Grade: D-

Threshold (1996) on IMDb

Summary

Tom Paris and Harry Kim find a way to break the Warp 10 barrier. Tom volunteers to take the first Warp 10 flight and ends up mutating. He becomes allergic to water, steals a ship and kidnaps Janeway, they turn into giant lizards, and they end up having baby lizards together. Yeah, it’s true. That’s what happened in this episode.

Commentary

Oh man. This one is absolutely awful. You should never see this episode. It flat out stinks. I honestly can’t believe this episode was ever shown on TV, except that I remember seeing it when it first aired.

Actually, this probably is one of the most memorable Voyager episode ever created. If you’ve seen it, you really can’t forget it. Unfortunately, the reason this is so memorable is because it is so awful. And because it’s so memorable, I really can’t rate it a total failure. Maybe that’s why I gave it a D- instead of an F. I’m still not sure on that, though.

All of the most common Star Trek clich├ęs are here: the Reset Button; Fun With DNA; technology suddenly doesn’t work; an unauthorized shuttle launch; hyper evolution; Voyager almost gets home; etc. It’s all here, and it’s all bad. Usually, just one of these is enough to make a lousy script. But all of them combined are enough to make this one of the worst episodes ever made by this series.

There’s just so much nonsense going on here that it’s impossible for me to just enjoy the episode. For example, we have someone going faster than infinite speed. Then he becomes allergic to water, even though the human body itself is 65% water. Then we have DNA being rewritten as he mutates into a lizard, supposedly becoming an “advanced human”. Then to add insult to injury, we have yet another example of an unauthorized shuttle launch, and he kidnaps Captain Janeway. Why Janeway? Who knows. Who cares. It’s in the script.

Just three days later, Voyager catches up to the shuttle. Wait, hadn’t he been going infinite speed? How come it didn’t take Voyager 3 years or 3 decades or 3 centuries to find them? Is Voyager capable of going 1/3 the speed of infinity? Whatever. In 72 hours, Janeway has also turned into a giant lizard like Tom Paris. He impregnated her, and they’ve had baby lizards. Yes, this all happened in 3 days.

Chakotay rescues them, and brings them back to Voyager, but leaves the orange baby amphibians on the planet to fend for themselves. Once they’re back on Voyager, the Doctor zaps them with antiprotons and magically turns them back into contemporary human beings. So there’s our Reset Button for this week.

But this ending also raises an enormous red flag. If it’s Janeway’s goal to reach Earth as soon as possible, and if Paris proved that Warp 10 is possible and that they could return home almost immediately, and since the Doctor can reverse the effects by zapping them with his antiproton rays, why wouldn’t they go home immediately? Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s because that would mean this would end the series, since the only reason it exists is to show them making it back to Earth. Oh, and there may also be a few dozen baby lizards running around on Voyager by the time they reached Earth, and we certainly can’t have that.

Oh I wish I had a reset button and I could erase this one from my memory. But then again, if that happened, I’d probably watch it again since I wouldn’t remember how awful it is.

Watch this one at your own risk. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Of Note

Even the episode’s writer Brannon Braga admits that this episode is garbage.