Scotch and Star Trek

Scotch… the final frontier.

Several years ago, I came to the realization that I have never actually seen much of the original Trek. This provided me with an excuse to go through from the beginning to see the process by which a cohesive, generation-spanning and inspirational setting is presented to viewers. In the end, though, it’s an excuse to get snarky and pick apart a show I’ve loved since childhood.

Why the drinking? Because every time I reflect on the scope of this project I realize there are over five hundred hours of Star Trek ahead of me.

Here’s to you, Scotty. 

Today’s feature:

VOY: S3E06: "Remember"

In which B’Elanna is willing to trade irreparable brain damage for reading the end of a romance novel. Also, nazis. 

Some poses are universal.

Some poses are universal.

Voyager is heading for the home planet of some colonists they’re Ubering for, in exchange for interstellar friendship and also revolutionary energy-conservation techniques that might make their trip home a little easier. The older colonist is quite nostalgic for home, and the younger one is exchanging flirty glances with Harry Kim. Unussally for these situations, it doesn’t seem to be against the alien culture, and Torres plays the dutiful wingwoman and goes to sleep early rather than chaperoning. But later, Torres wakes up in not-actually-her-room to meet her lover at the window to get torrid. She’s Korrenna in her dreams, and she has to wake up to Chakotay. That’s not how you want to wake up from a sex dream to find out you’re late for work. This is becoming a habit with B’elanna, and Chakotay is playing the concerned superior, and once she’s dressed she tells him about her sex dream – it’s about one of the visiting species, but not one of the people actually present.

In honor of the visitors, Neelix has decked out the Mess Hall in Enaran decor – blues and greens and cushions and slightly colder than human comfort level. Harry goes to find his date, near where Janeway is listening to one of the Enarans is playing the theramin-guitar. Janeway picks it up, and seems to be doing very well – notably becomes the Enarans are telepathic and can send out knowledge and procedural memories (‘muscle memory’) to others. Don’t worry, there’s no precedent for this to turn sinister. *coughcoughEveryEpisodeWhereTroiGetsALoveInterestcough*.

Torres goes back to sleep early, only this time her dream includes some Romeo-and-Juliet family drama about why her love is so forbidden. Her Romeo was hiding in the other room the whole time, though, and then turns into a horrific monstrosity. Maybe disease, or radiation burns, or flaying. Either way, it’s not pleasant. This seems like an appropriate conversation to bring u with your first officer, so she tells Chakotay about the whole torrid romance-novel affair, and the two of them turn this into an Investigation.

Soon, Torres starts having these memories in her waking life, too. She remembers being a member of the colonial corps, being sent out on the eve of their new terraforming tech. So she must be getting the memories of one of the older colonists – the first wave, who grew up on the home planet. And it seems like there’s some kind of caste structure, or curfew, or otherwise creepy authoritarian non-Federation-approved social structure on the Enaran homeworld.

The Doctor wakes Torres up after her latest reverie, and it seems the implanted memories are causing brain damage. The Doctor gives her an inhibitor, but she refuses, because then she’ll never know how the story ends. Once the Doctor points out that she is patently insane for making this priority call, she realizes that this is correct, and lets him put on the inhibitor. Also, Janeway gives her two days off so she can stew and wallow with nothing to do but contemplate how the story ends. They talk to the patriarch to see if all of them can figure out how this is happening.

"Listen, do you mind if I use my days off to write a personal holonovel...?"

“Listen, do you mind if I use my days off to write a personal holonovel…?”

The Enarans have strict taboos against unconsentual memory transfer, but there are occasonal instances of Enarans having interactions with alien species, and if that’s the case, she’s probably picking up random memories from every Enaran on the ship and organizing the snippets into a narrative. This is very disappointing, and also clearly a lie. Janeway starts listing the reasons why they should trust the Enarans, and Tuvok immediately susses out that she’s going to keep investigating. But they shut Torres out anyway.

Voyager is arriving at Enara, and we’re no closer to figuring out the mystery because it’s the very next scene. Thus, Torres takes off the inhibitor and get some… ahem… sack time. This time, she’s worried about doing her duty to resettle the Enaran version of the Amish. The weird curfew thing is apparently some sort of Trail of Tears thing, and Torres’ memory character is helping do the census of the resettlement. Her lover is on the list, and at the end of the vision, she gets an injury across her cheek that’s in the exact same place as the old woman from the first scene has a scar. Torres goes to meet her, and finds her passed out on the floor. She’s been deliberately feeding Torres these memories, out of some form of guilt, the necessity of telling the truth.

The night after the resettlement census, Karrina’s lover sneaks into her house and asks her to elope with him. He hasn’t heard from anyone who’s been resettled. There are rumors that the transports are an elaborate hoax that kill the undesirables. Her father comes in to try to lay her mind at rest and top off her propaganda meter and poison her against her boyfriend. She reveals him, possibly intentionally, and he’s taken to a public square for execution via burning.

Years later, Karinna is telling children why there are no more of the Regressives – they all moved away. And they couldn’t take care of each other so they all fought and caught plague and died. The Enarans erected a monument to the genocide, and when Torres wakes up, the old woman Morel is dead. Torres decides that the best idea will be to confront their diplomatic party at their closing ceremony, and tell the whole story to everyone present. Everyone is all very understanding, but Torres won’t buy it. Torres is making the only guy old enough to have taken part uncomfortable, and Janeway calls Torres into the principal’s office.

Janeway adds a little reason into the discussion – Torres tried making this public and the young people didn’t believe it. Janeway sticks to the Prime Directive, particularly since she was able to find no evidence of murder that could allow Voyager to investigate. Janeway’s cancelled trade negotiations and shore leave, but that’s really all she can do except give Torres one last crack at the engineers.

Her last shot is to tell the engineer, “Hey, if I’m wrong, just prove it to your own satisfaction. Find the colony.” As it turns out, the engineer can pull the memories from Torres, as well as pushing them and somehow, maybe, the truth will come out eventually.

Did we miss something awesome?