Tom Paris faces punishment for a crime he may have not committed in the episode that originally aired on February 27,1995 this is Ex Post Facto.
Captains Log Stardate undetermined: Ex Post Facto
‘duuuuun dun dun dun’
The Planet, Banea in the Delta Quadrant, Tom Paris is accused of a crime and, as punishment, he is forced to re-live said crime from the perspective of the victim every fourteen hours for the remainder of his days. The trouble is, it seems a mistake has been made. That’s where I come in, I’m Tuvok and this is Voyager.
Lt Tom Paris is being interviewed by a man and we see a flash back to what appears to be Paris in a passionate embrace with an alien woman only to be confronted by what appears to be her husband. Paris insists that these events did not happen this way but he is informed that his trial is over and he must face his punishment. In his mind Paris sees himself kill the husband with a knife. It seems Thomas Eugene Paris is a criminal and will suffer for his crimes.
After discussing the Doctor’s quest for a name, Kes and The Doctor are interrupted by news of an incoming injured crewman. Upon arrival of a severely damaged shuttlecraft they find a dehydrated and exhausted Harry Kim claiming that Tom Paris has been detained for murder. Kim explains the events leading up to the accusation explaining that it all began with their introduction to an Engineering professor named Tolen Ren. Ren invited Tom and Harry to his home only to discover that Ren and his wife are clearly having marital problems.
It is clear that Paris finds Lidell, Tolen’s wife, attractive but shows respect for their relationship. Soon, as far as Harry could tell, Tom and Lidell became close and soon Tolen was murdered as to which Tom was blamed. With the facts in hand, Janeway plots course for the Benean homeworld knowing that they could face a Numiri blockade in that system as the Numiri are at war with the Benean. Calling Neelix for his expertise he suggests not confronting them but Janeway makes it clear it is not an option. Soon they encounter their first Numiri which Neelix identifies as a standard patrol vessel. Voyager is allowed to pass the blockade in what Neelix considers to be a rather friendly manner. Something is up.
Beaming down to the planet, Janeway and Tuvok begin their investigation into the crime Tom Paris was convicted of. It seems that, without their knowledge, Paris has gone through an accusation, a trial and the punishment of having to live through the final moments of Professor Tolen Ren’s life. Janeway and Tuvok meet with Paris alone in order to get to the bottom of the situation. Paris maintains his innocence although he does admit that he and Lidell were interested in one another before the death of her husband. Telling his side of the story and indicating that Lidell was clearly unhappy in her marriage despite how kind Tolen is to her. As Paris is describing the events he suddenly begins living through the events of the murder once again. Indicating that they had issues with the synaptic transference, the magistrate allows Paris to be returned to the ship with the stipulation that they not leave orbit.
On Voyager, the Doctor discovers that the memory engrams are degrading Paris’ brain causing continual damage with each cycle. Tuvok begins his investigation despite the mounting evidence against his fellow crewman. Tuvok returns to the surface and visits Lidell where it is clear the dog does not like strangers. Tuvok is shocked that Lidell is still in residence despite the violent attack indicating that she seems dispassionate concerning her husbands death. Soon she begins to tell her story and would make it seem that she and Paris were more than just ‘close’ as she had already told her husband that it was over. She then confirms that the events transpired with the death of her husband but she forgives him.
Back on the ship Tom claims that his last memory was drinking tea with Lidell. The Doctor informs Tuvok that Paris is being honest and just as they are putting things together the ship comes under attack from Numiri warships. Using a Maquis trick, Chakotay and Torres make it seem as if Voyager is severely damaged. Tricking the Numiri Chakotay fends off the attackers disabling them in the process. Neelix warns that the Numiri will be back and that they should arrange to leave as soon as possible.
Tuvok, knowing that their time is limited decides to institute a Mind-meld in order to witness the crime himself. Despite the Doctor’s protests, Tuvok goes through with it and watched the events transpire from the victims point of view. Pulling himself from the mind meld, Tuvok indicates that he not only knows that Paris is innocent but he also knows why the Numiri are attacking.
Janeway informs the Benean’s that they will be returning Tom Paris to the surface via shuttle fully expecting a Numiri attack. Soon their suspicions are confirmed when the Numiri capture the shuttle craft looking for Tom Paris. Beaming her men back to the ship, Janeway makes informs the Numiri Captain that the shuttle is a bomb and her gambit pays off. Returning to the scene of the crime Tuvok, using comparable height and a dog as a witness, provides clear evidence maintaining Tom Paris’ innocence. Additionally it seems that Lidell and the Benean Doctor who performed the operation had been involved with one another with the Benean Doctor acting as an agent for their enemy, the Numiri.
With Tom Paris’ innocence cleared, Voyager returns on it’s journey home with Paris informing his Vulcan savior as a friend.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Structurally this is a pretty solid story. Taking a nod from the classic Agatha Christie novels, it is really the Trek Version of a Poirot novel with Tuvok wearing the mustache. While the story is solid and honestly it was one of the most by-the-book episodes this season, I can’t get past the feeling that something feels…off about it.
While I understand that Paris is being built up to be the ‘Riker’ of Voyager with his ‘woman at every port’ mantra, but at this point it kinda seems a little forced. Sure the guy keeps talking about the so far unseen Delaney Sisters, has shown some passing interest in Kes and talks a good talk with Harry Kim but so far, he really hasn’t come across as one to just sleep with random alien women. Well, at least not yet. I guess what bothers me is…why? Why do these shows think they need an overly sexual character? Riker, Bashir (at least tried) and now Paris? I mean, seriously, the guy just got out of a Federation prison and should be on his best behavior on this ship, not to mention how obvious was Lidell and her ‘no one understands me’ routine. Geez Paris, you are so much better than this.
That being said, the episode is not a bad one, with a pretty solid, if not predicable, plot it serves as a decent ‘mystery’ episode for Star Trek. I mean, it’s not like Paris would be in any danger this early in the series so the odds of him being guilty were pretty astronomical but still.. not bad.
Although this episode was directed by none other than LeVar Burton and he does a marvelous job at it, this one remains one of my least favorite episodes to this day. Maybe it is the odd placing of the episode or the fact that it feels like an unused script from Star Trek TNG but there is something that seems off with this being so early in the series.
I would like to point out that although Mind Melds (last seen in TNG) were always believed to be intimate things, this is the second time in Trek history that we see one being used to solve a crime, The first time during Star Trek Undiscovered Country between Spock and Valeris (something that seemed a bit like a violation in that case). In a way this opens the door for Tuvok to just whip out his Mind Meld abilities every time the script calls for it. Hey, we think Jackson is a traitor MIND MELD! Hey this alien won’t tell us where the missing crewmen are MIND MELD! Neelix refuses to tell us what is in his special chili MIND MELD!!! The list goes on. Thankfully this Deus Ex Mind Meld won’t be abused…hehe yeah right.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 37 remaining.
- We get the continuation of the ‘Doctor Names Himself’ story arc. So far the candidates are Doctor Galen, Doctor Salk and Doctor Spock… no that last one was not the Vulcan as he was not a Doctor. It was probably this guy.
- While we never see the Baneans again we do catch a glimpse of a Numiri in a later episode.
- Neelix actually knows a few things about these people. I guess a broken clock is right twice a day huh?
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Late To The Game 4/17/2020
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