In which Paris and Neelix fight over two infants.
Paris and Kes are in a shuttlecraft that appears to be falling apart in a wormhole. Or Kes is undergoing some sort of simulation training, which I bet Neelix is loving. As the test continues, the shuttle is attacked by Jem’Hadar warships, and Neelix is devastated as they exit the holodeck laughing.
Voyager’s food stores are now at 30% capacity, which calculation presumably accounts for recycling and the amount of energy that takes. They’re also passing a day away from an M-class planet, because they’re suddenly concerned about that. You guys had the opportunity to stay on course and be rid of Neelix, and now you’re worried about going off course by one day to save everyone aboard from starvation? Man, I just do not understand the priorities in play here. Also, the planet is really weird, shrouded in radiation, and Stellar Catrography have named it Planet Hell.
Harry spent a week’s worth of replicator rations to make a clarinet so he can practice. It’s good to have a skill. Paris drops by to complain about how he’s in live with Kes. To his credit, he doesn’t want to be in love with a two-year-old who’s already in a relationship. I think for the first time, Harry gets a chance to mess with Paris and it’s actually kind of great. Meanwhile, Neelix and Kes are having dinner, where neelix is trying hard not to go insane.
The planet is covered in vapors that might cause a rash, and the Doctor reveals that his operational protocols allow him to eavesdrop on areas of the ship and because he has that ability he’s already creating a salve that will protect against the atmosphere of Planet Hell. Janeways orders him to stop eavesdropping, so no more preemptive solutions to forseeable problems. Good job, Janeway, way to remove tools from your arsenal. The transporters and comms will also be broken, so they have to call Harry away from protecting Tom from Kes and/or Neelix. Making this episode of Voyager a classical farce than a farce as a mere function of the writing quality. Continuing with the farce timing, Paris and Neelix get called to Janeway’s office just moments after getting into a food fight. Presumably, Paris will need to pilot and Neelix will need to identify plants that are ‘edible.’ And if we lose both of them, it’ll be a wash.
Kes is not happy about all the fighting / treating her like a possession. I know, shocking, right? The Doctor has to point out that Tom Paris shows all the physiological signs of attraction in humans, that Kes is 2 years old and also not preprogrammed for those specific responses, and to basically just deal with it.
So, this is one of those episodes where two people hate each other and are going to have to learn to get over it or die in the attempt. The shuttle crashes, probably because Paris and Neelix were arguing instead of monitoring instruments. Janeway is not quite continuing her pattern of throwing good resources after bad, since she’s only diverting crews to work on fixing the transporters and not landing the ship… yet.
With the shuttle leaking, they go out into the atmosphere… to try to find an airtight set of caves? harry goes to console Kes about her last interaction with Paris and Neelix being angry. And then someone attacks the ship. Now back to the planet, where Paris and Neelix collapse a cave on themselves so it’ll be that much harder for Voyager to locate them once the transporters. Meahwile, they’re saving flashlight batteries but wasting phaser batteries heating up rocks.
Turns out there is, in fact, a course in the academy for survival, although I still believe there’s specifically one for being stuck in past Earth or low-technology environments. Neelix and Paris now register life signs in their cave, and the ship Voyager was attacked by takes up a guarding position over the planet.
Nifty, now there’s a clearly-manufactured bootprint in the cave, and a whole bunch of eggs, one of which is hatching into an extra from Land of the Lost. Congratulations, Neelix and Tom, you’re now daddies.
The transporters are okay now, but they’ll need to take Voyager closer, which means they’ll need to bypass the other ship, which means we’ll have to rely on Tuvok’s stunning tactical genius. Which is matched by Chakotay’s casual glance.
Neelix atempts to convince Paris to adopt the dinosaur, shaming him into letting Neelix keep it. Neither of them are even remotely qualified herpetologists, either.
Janeway is about to waste one of their precious remaining 47 photon torpedoes on the ship when Tuvok manages to disable it.
Cut back to the planet, where this life-form apparently gets its main nourishment from the irritant vapors on the planet, which are full of proteins and amino acids. The hatchling is now starving, and also this planet is either a total waste of time, or a goldmine of food, depending on how exactly replicators work and whether they could reconstitute food from the obviously complex molecules abundant throughout the planet’s atmosphere. Tragically, I suspect that the answer written into the episode is ‘lol who cares.’
Neelix wants to pump the lizard full of stimulant drugs, but Paris has a less insane idea – use the hypospray to suck in vapor and squirt it into the dinobaby’s mouth. So apparently that’s a standard function and not something they had to build special to check for Changelings. This is the moment where Neelix and Paris have their heart-to-heart, not because it’s come up naturally but because there’s five minutes left in the episode.
Voyager makes contact, and rather than just beaming them up due to the a) closing atmospheric transport window and b) the probably-hostile life-form closing rapidly, they jaw for a bit because they wasted all their urgency at the top of the episode wondering if it was worth diverting for a day to top off their food supplies. Also Neelix refuses to leave until they’re sure the parent will accept the child. Which it does, and they beam out, and they’re all friends now, so Neelix offers to open up a bottle of chicken-gland scotch because of course that’s a thing.