45 – The Chute

Grade: C

The Chute (1996) on IMDb


Harry Kim slides down a chute and enters a nasty prison. The other inmates surround him and take turns beating on him, until Tom Paris comes to his aid and then punches him in the stomach. Apparently, both of them have been accused, tried, and convicted of a terrorist attack which killed 47 soldiers. Now it’s up to Janeway to rescue them.


I’ll be honest – this episode is not one of my favorites. In fact, back in 1996, I thought it was far too dark and violent for Star Trek. The Chute makes The Thaw look like a day at the circus. In fact, I would guess that this episode is a much darker remake of the same exact story that we saw in The Thaw. I rate Chute a little higher than Thaw because the acting is better, but the stories are similar.

There are some scenes here that I have never forgotten in nearly 17 years. So it’s at least memorable, I’ll say that. Unfortunately, however, it’s not the performances of the actors that will stay with you when you finish watching this episode.

And that’s really a shame, because Garrett Wang and Robert McNeill really put in some great performances here. The character of Zio was interesting, though I personally didn’t like him very much. At first, I thought it was Gerard Butler, but he was only 27 when this was filmed – probably too young to play the part.

The scenes that took place on Voyager really aren’t worth watching, I’m afraid. Everything that was done on the ship has been done to death somewhere else in the Star Trek universe. I didn’t find those scenes to be interesting at all, and just about everyone on Voyager just mailed in their performances. The only scenes worth watching at all were the ones in the prison.

One thing that I thought was particularly bad was the execution of the rescue attempt. Why was Janeway leading the rescue? Why didn’t Chakotay talk some sense into her and not allow her to go head first into the chute? Well, we all know what happened, but really, it doesn’t make sense to me one bit. I would have sent down some kind of gas that would put everyone to sleep first. Then I would have sent in a few officers who could secure the area before going to look for Kim and Paris. And how convenient that they just so happened to be hanging around the chute right when Janeway showed up. So I found the ending to be somewhat lacking.

But I did enjoy the very last scene when Paris and Kim were talking. Kim, who is obviously deeply affected by what happened, admits to his friend what he was thinking. Tom says that what he remembers is when Kim said, “this man is my friend” as he defended him. I liked that, and I also liked seeing their friendship get tested and become stronger.

So it’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either. Actually, if you skipped this, you wouldn’t miss too much, and you might not have to deal with some rather disturbing imagery.

Of Note

Robert Pine stars in this episode as the alien leader of the planet who talks to Janeway. Robert Pine is actually Chris Pine’s father, who is the new Captain Kirk in the two most recent Star Trek films.

This is the first time we see Neelix’s ship since the pilot episode.