38 – Innocence

Grade: C-

Innocence (1996) on IMDb


The story opens with Tuvok assisting a crewman who became injured during a shuttlecraft crash. His injuries are too severe to be treated outside Sickbay, and unfortunately, the shuttle is too damaged to return to Voyager. After the crewman dies, Tuvok finds a young girl who asks for his help.


This episode is a slight improvement over last week’s, but not very much. I actually liked most of it until the very end. I thought the death of an unknown crewmember at the beginning of the episode didn’t carry nearly enough weight, since we don’t have any knowledge of this character, and as such, we don’t have any relationship with him. So in many ways, it was entirely pointless. We don’t even see the crash that causes the crewman’s injuries, so it makes even less of an impact than it should have.

I liked most of the episode – especially the parts which helped establish Tuvok’s character. It was good to see how Vulcan parents might interact with their children, who are less skilled or experienced in controlling their emotions. I didn’t mind these scenes as much as maybe some other people might. There’s only one complaint I have about these scenes. In at least a couple of instances, Tuvok is visibly impatient. This obviously is out of character for a Vulcan, who should not be displaying any emotions whatsoever.

I also thought most of the interactions between Janeway and the leader of the Drayans were also done well. The tension between them was obvious, and grew gradually and realistically. I had the feeling that a battle could break out between these two at any time.

So why did I rate this so low? Well, the ending was really bad. After hearing over and over again about how Voyager’s presence on their moon has offended them, all seems to be forgiven and forgotten at the very end – only because Tuvok has been such a nice guy in assisting their “children.” What bothers me is that if it wasn’t that big of a deal, why were they trying to shoot down their shuttles and why did they try to kill Tuvok? How could everything suddenly be fine?

Another problem I have with the ending is that the Drayan leader explains that the people on Voyager don’t know that they “age in reverse” – meaning they become younger and smaller as they grow older. Personally, I never expected to hear something like this in a supposedly serious series like Star Trek. This is something I would have expected from the Animated Series, but not from one aimed at adults. It’s a silly premise.

But here’s the other problem I have with this ending. She could have mentioned it at least 35 minutes ago when she found out that Tuvok was on the moon in the first place. She has no motivation for saying this now as opposed to before. And I’m tempted to say that she probably wouldn’t know that it’s unusual for a race to age this way, but I think she probably does know that this is unusual. After all, she had said earlier that her race decided to be more isolationist, in part because they didn’t trust other races. Obviously her people do have some experience with aliens.

Regardless, it doesn’t really matter. There was nothing at the end of the episode to prompt her to reveal their reverse aging process, so this is something that could have been disclosed earlier, and really should have been. But then, the entire episode would have been much different, obviously. Well, in my opinion, it really should have been different.

Star Trek seems to do this far too often, though. There’s an opening scene when some xenophobic race insists that the ship is not allowed in their space and that they need to leave immediately. Of course the captain never listens and hangs around anyway, because if he didn’t, then there would be no story. So for our benefit, they stick around either because they are curious or because there’s some kind of accident that forces them to stay involved.

In my opinion, this kind of story is usually very weak anyway, and maybe they don’t deserve to be produced in the first place. An exception to this would be something that is really compelling. At the end of this particular episode, it seems like it was absolutely not a big deal that Voyager was there and that Tuvok had spent so much time on the moon. I would have preferred to have seen the Drayans say that they would have to repair the extensive damage that was caused by Voyager’s interference or something that showed there would be consequences for their meddling. But that never happens.

Speaking of which, wasn’t this episode a perfect example of a violation of the Prime Directive? I’m actually happy they didn’t mention it, but if there ever has been an episode in which the PD needed to be discussed, it was this one.

Of Note

The shuttle that Janeway and Paris attempt to fly to the surface of the moon looks like the Delta Flyer, which hasn’t actually been built yet.

After Crewman Bennett dies, his body is never seen again, nor was it ever buried.

In this episode, Voyager is still looking for the polyferranide that they started looking for in Tattoo, which was 5 months ago. Did they find some other source or did they just start looking for it much earlier than they really needed it?