Dreadnought is the third episode about B’Elanna Torres and focuses on her incredible engineering skills as in Prototype, while Faces took advantage of the character’s partial Klingon nature. Just like in Prototype, the plot revolves around technology taking over humanity, but in this case it’s all about the artificial intelligence of a computer rather than a robot. There’s a Cardassian war missile reprogrammed by Torres that has decided to destroy a planet in the Delta Quadrant and it’s up to her to convince it not to detonate and kill two million humanoids on the planet Rakosan. The episode is, consequently, a huge technobabble full of shield frequencies, teleports, antivirus and firewalls… But don’t get me wrong, I like this stuff and I enjoyed this episode!
However, it’s clear that when Janeway starts the USS Voyager self-destruct sequence, no one can take her seriously. The series is called Star Trek: Voyager, I very much doubt that in the middle of the second season it was decided to blow to pieces the starship called Voyager! But this is nothing new, it’s not that anybody thought that the Enterprise could explode in 11001001 and Where Silence Has Lease, respectively of the first and second season of The Next Generation. Those episodes came early on and the series had yet to settle down. I find it ridiculous that, with all the Star Trek experience accumulated at the time of making Dreadnought, the writers couldn’t think of anything better than menacing to self-destruct the ship to build tension!
In any case, Torres saves the day at the last second, the USS Voyager can continue its journey, and the Federation’s reputation in the Delta Quadrant improves a little. The most interesting thing about the episode is the theme of past actions bearing consequences on what we do now and what we’ll do in the future. Maquis Torres had made a strong decision, that is to take revenge against the Cardassians using their own weapons, and this icy decision turned out to be counterproductive because the dreadnought turned against its creator. It should be emphasized that it was a decision taken against the will of Chakotay, who despite being a maquis, had a certain ethics even during the war. So it’s a moment of growth for the character of B’Elanna, despite the focus being on the technobabble side of the story, and this is commendable. Ciao!
PS: the director of the episode is LeVar Burton, that is TNG’s Geordi LaForge!
PPS: The Delta Flyers podcast shout out: Garrett Wang admitted that he thought the first three seasons of the series weren’t great and that the quality of certain episodes are taking him by surprise. I couldn’t agree more with him!
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Next episode: Death Wish