78 – Random Thoughts

Grade: C-

Random Thoughts (1997) on IMDb


Voyager has been hanging around a planet of friendly aliens (it’s about time, isn’t it?). But there is something unusual about these aliens. They are telepathic and do not have any crime. But this is Star Trek, so you know not everything is exactly how it appears at first. Someone bumps into Lt Torres, and it all goes downhill from there.


This is not my favorite episode. In fact, I think it’s rather predictable and pedestrian. I don’t expect this one to be on anyone’s “Best of Voyager” lists, despite the fact that it does have some potential.

One thing I really hated was hearing Janeway say “I dread the day when everyone on this ship agrees with me.” I don’t believe I’ve ever heard such a lie in my life. Janeway has always been an autocrat – more than any other captain in Star Trek. I actually agree with Seven of Nine quite a bit. She recognizes Janeway’s need to be right all the time and to be smarter than everyone else.

Well, enough about that. So what is it about this episode that I hate so much? Well, for one thing, I’m not a fan of stereotypes, and this episode is full of them. The most obvious one is B’Elanna Torres, whose thought started this whole thing. Actually, it’s a bit ambiguous if she caused it or if it was just blamed on her. We are constantly reminded that she’s only half-Klingon, but the writing usually gives us plenty of examples of her Klingon-style anger management issues. I honestly don’t see too many differences between her character and any other random full-blooded Klingon.

This episode has a great deal in common with the Next Generation episode when Wesley Crusher jumps over a small railing to retrieve a lost ball. In that episode, Captain Picard breaks the Prime Directive by beaming Wesley off the planet when he is unable to convince the legal authorities to be lenient in his case.

In this episode, Janeway doesn’t follow Picard’s example. If it had been me, I would have beamed down a security detail and forced my way into the holding cell to prevent B’Elanna’s “treatment.” No way would I allow one of my people to be subject to ridiculous laws.

And that brings me to a point I raised earlier – Seven tells Janeway that it would have been unacceptable to lose the ship’s chief engineer only to fulfill some ridiculous human need to explore. Janeway of course disagrees because there’s this rule that Janeway must always be right about everything, and another rule that she must always disagree with anything that is common sense. She seems to think it would be acceptable to lose their Chief Engineer. Well, at least until “Nothing Human” when she changes her mind. Whatever.

Finally, one last thing that bothers me about this episode. They say this has never happened before on their planet. How could it be possible for this planet to have avoided contact with all other violent species? Are these people just xenophobic?

Of Note

At the beginning of this episode, the away team says they will be returning to the “transport site”, but since when do they have a specific site to transport from?