TrekGeeks’ Star Trek Voyager Challenge
One Geek’s mission to make all the way through Star Trek: Voyager without being sentenced to relive it every fourteen hours…
As the episode opens, we see black and white footage of Tom Paris and a woman meeting up for a romantic encounter from someone else’s viewpoint. We discover that the observer is the woman’s husband, and he confronts Paris and his wife. Paris doesn’t take too kindly to this and he stabs the husband who falls to the floor as the black and white vision fades away. Tom Paris has just relived this entire scene and will continue to do so–every fourteen hours–as his sentence. Tom Paris has been found guilty of murder on the planet Banea–a murder he says, he did not commit.
The U.S.S. Voyager finds one of her shuttlecraft, but there’s only one life sign aboard. Harry Kim is severely dehydrated and injured. Kim and Paris were on the Banean Homeworld meeting with engineering physicist Tolen Ren who designed navigational arrays and they were invited to his home for dinner where they met Ren’s wife, Lidell. There’s obvious chemistry between Paris and Lidell, something that even Kim notices right away. Things between the Rens have not been going well, and she definitely shows an interest in the Voyager helmsmen and the two of them spend some “quality time” together.
Tolen Ren finds out about the rendezvous and confronts his wife. Tolen Ren then winds up dead. It appears he fell on a knife rather mortally. Paris is arrested, tried, and convicted of the murder.
That’s all Janeway needs to hear. She orders the ship to head for Banea so they can investigate. Neelix tells the Captain that they will undoubtedly encounter a Numiri patrol vessel. Seems the Numiri and the Baneans are at war with each other. They’re not exactly fond of the Baneans receiving visitors. They provide a few warnings to Janeway, but ultimately allow the Voyager to proceed to Banea without conflict.
Janeway meets with the Banean Minister. He explains that the evidence proves Paris’s guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt–the memory of Tolen Ren. Paris again denies having killed Ren. He speaks with Janeway and Tuvok and, while he’s telling his side of the story, he hits the fourteen hour mark and relives the murder. Again. The Baneans allow Janeway permission to take Paris back to the Voyager for a medical exam.
After examining Paris, The Doctor says the implant which causes Paris to relive the crime is causing significant damage to his brain. Tuvok interviews Lidell, who says she witnessed Paris murder Tolen. Later, Paris remembers that Lidell gave him a cup of tea the night Tolen was killed and he theorizes to Tuvok that she might have spiked it with something.
It is then that the ship is attacked by the Numiri out of the blue. They are repelled by the Voyager, but they’ll certainly be back. Tuvok decides to perform a Vulcan mind meld when Paris relives the 14-hour cycle so he can witness Ren’s memory. After the meld, Tuvok is convinced of Paris’s innocence and he also knows why the Numiri attacked the Voyager.
Tuvok gathers the interested parties and reveals that Paris wasn’t the man Tolen saw before he was murdered because someone altered his memory engrams. Tuvok also says that Lidell lied in her interview: the man that Tolen saw with his wife was almost equal in height with her and Paris is several centimeters taller. Tuvok also says that the murderer had to know Banean anatomy because he knew where the Banean heart was–where Tolen was stabbed.
We also get an explanation of the series of written characters that Paris sees in reliving the murder–those are equations that existed in Tolen Ren’s weapons research. It appears that the killer not only was romantic with Lidell, but was also a traitor providing information to the Numiri. That’s why they attacked the Voyager—they wanted to get hold of Paris to get the equations. Whomever put the memories in Paris’ head altered the engrams to include the secret research equations.
That person could only be doctor who performed the procedure and Lidell Ren had to be his accomplice. The Doctor denies having ever met Lidell before the other day, which Tuvok can easily disprove. He lets Lidell’s pet dog, Neeka, in the room and she immediately treats the Banean doctor as if she knows and recognizes him.
Later on in the Voyager Mess Hall, Paris approaches Tuvok to thank him for having saved his life. Tuvok states that he just conducted an investigation searching for the truth and that Tom didn’t owe him anything.
Paris thanks him again stating that, whether Tuvok likes it or not, he made a friend today.
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
- This episode was directed by TNG alum LeVar Burton—the first of eight Voyager episodes he would helm.
- The concept of the punishment for murder–being forced to relive the crime from the victim’s point of view over and over.
- Harry’s POV is the audience’s POV in the exposition of what happened prior to Paris’ sentencing. It’s an effective use of the character in this sense.
- Tuvok’s investigation is…well…logical. Tim Russ nails it as a Vulcan in this episode, despite the script being a kind of also-ran procedural crime drama.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
- The Doctor’s quest for a name seems forced. It’s a conversation that was bound to come up at some point, but this conversation between the EMH and Kes is just kind of flat.
- Janeway is fretting a bit too much when they shuttle is discovered with only one life form aboard and again before Tuvok attempts the mind meld—almost like a worried mother. It doesn’t fit her character as a Starship Captain.
- The Baneans almost remind me of the character Hawk from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. (In fact, every city on every planet in Star Trek looks like the same matte shot being recycled—which also looks like it came from Buck Rogers.)
The scene with Neelix in the Ready Room where he’s briefing the Captain on the Baneans is just painful…especially when Neelix laughs.
- How does Neelix know all these things—that’s something that’s never really rung true to me. I can’t believe he’s traveled that much of the Delta Quadrant in that tiny little ship of his.
- Since when does Neelix sit in a chair on the Bridge next to the Captain?
- Star Trek should know after all this time that trying to make a dog look alien is bound to fail.
- Tuvok has the same reaction to having made Tom Paris as a friend that I have. YAWN.
PHOTON TORPEDO COUNT
The Voyager didn’t fire any photon torpedoes this episode, so the count still stands at 37.
Ex Post Facto is, at best, filler. While the concept of the punishment is interesting enough, the episode itself seems like every other crime show on television from Hawaii Five-0 to Law & Order. It’s hard to come up with a lot that’s bad about this episode, but it’s also hard to come up with a lot that’s good about this episode. Well, that, and the alien dog was the chief witness. (Seriously?!) Ex Post Facto rates 2 and 1/2 Deltas out of a possible 5.
Harry Kim manages to make an entire race question its concept of an afterlife in Emanations.