Threshold (Star Trek: Voyager)

Last updated

"Threshold"
Star Trek: Voyager episode
Threshold (Shuttle Kidnap).jpg
A mutated Paris kidnaps Janeway in the warp 10 shuttle
Episode no.Season 2
Episode 15
Directed by Alexander Singer
Story by Michael De Luca
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Featured music Jay Chattaway
Cinematography by Marvin V. Rush
Production code132
Original air dateJanuary 29, 1996 (1996-01-29)
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
 Previous
"Alliances"
Next 
"Meld"
Star Trek: Voyager season 2
List of episodes

"Threshold" is the 31st episode of American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager and the 15th episode in its second season. It first aired on UPN on January 29, 1996. [2]

Contents

The series follows the adventures of the Federation starship Voyager during its journey home to Earth, having been stranded tens of thousands of light-years away. In this episode, Lieutenant Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) becomes the first known person to travel faster than Warp 10; however, the achievement causes him to mutate into a salamander-like creature.

The episode is widely regarded by fans and critics as one of the worst episodes of Voyager and of the entire Star Trek franchise.

Plot

Voyager 's crew discovers a rare, more stable form of dilithium that they conjecture could power a warp drive beyond Warp 10. This would allow Voyager to reach the Alpha Quadrant near instantaneously. Although simulations prove disastrous, Lieutenant Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) comes up with an idea after an off-the-cuff discussion with Neelix (Ethan Phillips). The next simulation is successful and a shuttlecraft, dubbed the Cochrane, is prepared for a full test flight. The Doctor (Robert Picardo) identifies a rare medical condition in Lieutenant Paris indicating a 2% chance that he will suffer lethal effects from the test-flight and recommends assigning Ensign Kim (Garrett Wang) as test-pilot. Paris convinces Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) to allow him to fly the shuttle despite the small risk.

Paris successfully breaks the Warp 10 barrier in the Cochrane, rapidly disappearing from Voyager's sensors. The crew begins to try to track the shuttle, but soon the Cochrane reappears, Paris unconscious at the controls. Once awake, Paris explains that he has seen everything at every point in space, and the shuttle's database similarly contains a massive amount of information about the Delta Quadrant. However, Paris starts to suffer allergic reactions, and he is raced to Sickbay, where the Doctor determines that Paris is now allergic to common water. Paris's body soon changes again, and no longer can process oxygen, forcing the Doctor to create a special environment that Paris can exist in.

As Paris's body continues its strange transformations, the Doctor hypothesizes that he is becoming a new form of life. Before the Doctor can use an "anti-proton" treatment to return Paris to his human form, Paris escapes, disrupts Voyager's internal systems, and kidnaps Janeway on the Cochrane. As Voyager follows the shuttle's trail, they come to a planet covered in swamps. The Doctor explains that mutations in Paris' DNA are consistent with those of evolution. Near the shuttle, they discover two amphibian beings, with trace DNA of Paris and Janeway. Paris and Janeway have both turned into giant salamander-like creatures, and mated and had three babies. Tuvok (Tim Russ) and Chakotay (Robert Beltran) recover the transformed Janeway and Paris, still in their amphibian form, leaving behind their salamander offspring, and the Doctor returns the two to their human forms.

Notes

Science analysis

Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Genetics, Evolution, and Life on Other Worlds [6] by Mohamed A. F. Noor discusses how such extreme mutation is more likely to result in cancers or death than transmutation, the genetic mutations were too repeatable, and the speed of change was remarkably fast. The book suggests some of these problems may be allayed very slightly if the changes were epigenetic rather than genetic, but the premise is an extreme stretch in the biology either way.

Speaking to technology journalist Becca Caddy for her "Science of Star Trek" column, Dr. Charles Foster, Bioinformatics Research Associate in the Virology Research Lab at the University of New South Wales and Prince of Wales Hospital, observed: "If strong external pressures are applied to a population—or experienced by a population—one would expect there to be 'sped up' evolution." Caddy concluded: "Who's to say space newts don't have some inconceivable, advanced consciousness beyond our wildest dreams? And who knows how we'd evolve if we were simultaneously at all points in space—talk about external pressure." [7]

Accepted paper

In 2018, Dr Mohamed A. F. Noor, a biologist and fan of Star Trek, wrote up a research paper based on this episode. He submitted it to ten open-access journals known or suspected of charging fees without providing services, such as peer review and vetting of the paper's claims. Four accepted the paper and one, the American Research Journal of Biosciences, published it. [8]

Reception

In 2015, "Threshold" was included in Geek.com's 35 greatest moments in Star Trek they ranked Tom Paris hitting Warp 10 as the 30th greatest moment of all Star Trek. [9]

In 2018, The Doctor included this episode in a list of Star Trek episodes that are "so bad they must be seen". [10] In 2012, Den of Geek listed this as the worst episode of Star Trek: Voyager. [11] Fox ranked this episode as the fourth worst episode of all Star Trek up to 2018. [12]

Den of Geek included this episode on a binge watching guide that included a roadmap of episodes that although not typically achieving high ratings, were still entertaining. [13]

In 2017, Screen Rant ranked this episode the fifth worst episode of the Star Trek franchise. [14] In July 2019, they again ranked "Threshold" as one of the top five worst of the series, although they felt there was a good start to the episode. [15] The following year, they ranked it the second worst episode of the series, noting an IMDb rating of 5.3 out ten; they elaborate: "It barely gets off the ground from there before it crashes and burns into some kind of drunken daydream..". [16]

Brannon Braga called it 'a real stinker'. [17]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tom Paris</span> Fictional character from Star Trek

Lieutenant Thomas Eugene "Tom" Paris is a fictional character in the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager and is portrayed by Robert Duncan McNeill. Paris is the chief helmsman, as well as a temporary auxiliary medic, of the USS Voyager, a Starfleet ship that was stranded in the Delta Quadrant by an alien entity known as the Caretaker.

"Timeless" is the sixth episode of the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager and was also the series' 100th episode.

Flashback (<i>Star Trek: Voyager</i>) 2nd episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: Voyager

"Flashback" is the 44th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager airing on the UPN network. It is the second episode of the third season.

"The Thaw" is the 39th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 23rd episode of the second season. In this science fiction television show, the crew of a spaceship discover aliens who are mentally connected to a computer. The spacecraft finds a planet that was destroyed by a solar flare, and the survivors are in hibernation pods.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Course: Oblivion</span> 18th episode of the 5th season of Star Trek: Voyager

"Course: Oblivion" is the 112th episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, the 18th episode of the fifth season. It is a sequel to the fourth-season episode "Demon".

"Blink of an Eye" is the twelfth episode from the sixth season of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, 132nd episode overall. The show is set in the 24th century of the Star Trek universe, aboard the USS Voyager spaceship on a decades long journey back to Earth.

"Time and Again" is the fourth episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. The episode first aired on January 30, 1995, on the UPN television network.

"Future's End" is a two-part episode from the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, the eighth and ninth of the season and the 50th and 51st overall. "Future's End" made its debut on American television in November 1996 on the UPN network in two separate broadcasts, on November 6 and 13, 1996.

"The Chute" is the 45th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the third episode of the third season. In this science fiction story, two members of the crew of the USS Voyager are trapped in an alien prison. The episode was directed by Les Landau with a story by Clayvon C. Harris. It aired on UPN on September 18, 1996.

"Renaissance Man" is the 170th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and the last standard-length episode of the seventh season. The succeeding episode, "Endgame", is a double-length episode and the series finale.

"Shattered" is the 157th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, aired on the UPN network. It is the 10th episode of the seventh season.

"Workforce" is a two-part episode from the seventh and final season of the TV series Star Trek: Voyager. Part one was directed by Allan Kroeker, and part two by Roxann Dawson. The crew of the USS Voyager finds themselves working on a planet, but troubling memories are resurfacing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Year of Hell</span> 8th and 9th episodes of the 4th season of Star Trek: Voyager

"Year of Hell" is a two-part episode from the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager which aired on UPN in November 1997. It aired in two parts, on November 5 and November 11, 1997. Part I was directed by Allan Kroeker and Part II by Mike Vejar; it was written by Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky. This includes a number of guest stars, including Kurtwood Smith.

"Fury" is the 143rd episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 23rd episode of the sixth season. It saw the return, for this episode only, of former regular cast member Jennifer Lien as her character Kes. As with her final regular appearances in the first two episodes of the fourth season of the show, Lien is given an "Also Starring" credit, after the opening title sequence and before the Guest Stars are listed.

"Sacred Ground" is the 49th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the seventh episode of the third season. In this episode a crew member of the star ship Voyager is injured by an energy field in an alien temple.

"Coda" is the 57th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 15th episode of the third season. This science fiction television show episode focuses on the characters Janeway and Chakotay of the Federation spacecraft USS Voyager. In the 24th century, a spaceship Captain and first officer are traveling by shuttlecraft back to USS Voyager when they have an incident.

"Gravity" is the 107th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager originally airing on the UPN network, the 13th episode of the fifth season. Lori Petty guest stars as the alien Noss. Joseph Ruskin, who played Galt in the original Star Trek episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion", is the Vulcan Master in this episode of Voyager.

"Fair Haven" is the eleventh episode from the sixth season of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, 131st episode overall. The crew of starship USS Voyager explore a holodeck program crafted by Tom Paris, set in Ireland, meanwhile Voyager encounters a space storm. The show focuses on the experiences of Captain Janeway during this time.

"Spirit Folk" is the 137th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager airing on the UPN network. It is the 17th episode of the sixth season. Set in the science fiction universe of Star Trek, the titular USS Voyager spacecraft is stranded on the other side of the Galaxy as Earth and the United Federation of Planets. In this installment, the crew go on an adventure in the holodeck, but things go wrong.

"Scorpion" is a two-part episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager that served as the last episode of its third season and the first episode of its fourth season. "Scorpion" introduced the Borg drone Seven of Nine and Species 8472 to the series.

References

  1. ""Star Trek: Voyager" Threshold (1996) - Full cast and crew". IMDb. n.d. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  2. "Star Trek: Voyager". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on September 1, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  3. "10 of the Most Pointless Action Figures Ever Made". io9. January 4, 2013. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  4. "Star Trek: Voyager "Threshold" (1996) TV Recap". the agony booth. September 27, 2006. Archived from the original on September 17, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  5. Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (1996). Captains' Logs Supplemental: The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages—Entire Deep Space Nine and Voyager History . New York: Little Brown & Co. ISBN   0316883549.
  6. Noor, Mohamed A.F. (September 18, 2018). Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us About Genetics, Evolution, and Life on Other Worlds. Princeton University Press. ISBN   9780691184111 via Google Books.
  7. Caddy, Becca (June 29, 2022). "Star Trek | The Science of Voyager's 'Threshold' (No, Janeway Can't Turn into a Newt)". The Companion. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  8. Taylor Redd, Nola (February 13, 2018). "Fake Science Paper About 'Star Trek' and Warp 10 Was Accepted by 'Predatory Journals'". Space.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  9. "The top 35 moments in Star Trek history | Geek-Cetera | Geek.com". www.geek.com. Archived from the original on January 4, 2015.
  10. "Star Trek: 20 Episodes So Bad They Must Be Seen". CBR. December 12, 2018. Archived from the original on December 13, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  11. "Top 10 Star Trek: Voyager episodes". Den of Geek. October 3, 2012. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  12. Heller, Leejay (June 16, 2018). "The Worst Star Trek Episode of Each Star Trek Series". Digital Fox. Archived from the original on June 8, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  13. "Star Trek Voyager: an episode roadmap". Den of Geek. Retrieved February 3, 2024.
  14. "15 Worst Star Trek Episodes Of All Time". ScreenRant. May 22, 2017. Archived from the original on June 8, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  15. "Star Trek: The 5 Best Episodes Of Voyager (& The 5 Worst)". ScreenRant. July 11, 2019. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  16. "Star Trek: Voyager - The 10 Worst Episodes, According To IMDb". ScreenRant. August 2, 2020. Archived from the original on August 13, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  17. Otta Wenskus Umwege in die Vergangenheit.Star Trek und die Antike. p.131. 2009, Innsbruck (in German)