Threshold shocked me. I don’t understand how such nonsense made it to an episode of a reputable series like Star Trek: Voyager in a season that so far hasn’t been all that great, but also had some very good peaks in quality (see Alliances, for example). I don’t even know how to start summing up the plot of this episode…
Kim, Torres and Paris are working on an engine capable of going to warp 10, a theoretical impossibility according to which anyone traveling at that speed would be simultaneously everywhere in the Universe. They can do this thanks to a new material found in the Delta Quadrant. If they succeeded, returning to the Alpha Quadrant would be child’s play, it could be done in a second! And of course they succeed, with Paris making the first trip ever at warp 10. But soon after he begins to mutate and the Doctor realizes that he’s evolving at insane speed, millions of years of evolution in 24 hours. While trying to cure him, mutated Paris escapes and kidnaps Janeway: he goes to warp 10, makes her evolve too, and when Chakotay finds them they are big slugs that can barely move and have three children. Back on the Voyager, the two officers get back to normal and the finale wraps up everything with a surreal dialogue along the lines of “We had children, but who cares, after all we don’t even know who courted whom! Haha.“
What? Should I assume that Voyager now has the technology to travel at warp 10? And that the consequences of doing so are minimal, since the Doctor can bring giant slugs back to human form, even with the same hairstyle they had before evolution? We are used to similar miraculous procedures in the future: think of the treatment of B’Elanna Torres in Faces, or, in The Next Generation, that of Geordi LaForge in Identity Crisis, Season 4, and that of Picard, Ro, Guinan and Keiko in Rascals, Season 6, and finally that of Worf, Troi, Riker and Barclay in Genesis, Season 7.
So, Janeway should simply decide to go to warp 10, go back to the Alpha Quadrant in one second, and then have the Doctor cure everybody! Being simultaneously in every place of the entire Universe apparently has no consequence either on the traveler’s brain or on the structural integrity of the spacecraft! I still don’t understand why we should evolve towards semi-immobile amphibious slugs, though. And why does going at high speed trigger this DNA shift?
There’s even a scene where crew member Jonas (Raphael Sbarge) contacts Seska’s Kazons to send information about the new warp engine. What will they do with it? Will they use it to evolve into slugs with crazy hair? And what about the fact that, in all the places in the Universe where slug Paris and Janeway could have escaped, they went just three days from Voyager? Incredible, isn’t it?
And finally… the final message was really ridiculous. Paris teaches us that we shouldn’t care about the opinion that others have of us, we should simply be happy with ourselves. Wow. The only good thing in this whole episode is the interpretation of Robert Duncan McNeill, forget everything else (I’m starting to have serious doubts about Brannon Braga’s skills as a screenwriter, to be honest!). Ciao!
PS: Am I wrong or in The Next Generation’s future they reached warp 13 (in All Good Things…, Season 7)?
PPS: The Delta Flyers podcast shoutout: Robert Duncan McNeill was honest enough to admit that Threshold is not a great episode, even though he had a lot of fun making it! Yet apparently there are people who like it…
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