Paris goes against orders and gets demoted. Originally broadcast on December 9, 1998 this is 30 Days.
Captain’s Log Stardate 52179.4 30 Days.
Okay, let’s expand on this, Paris goes against orders so he can do ‘the right thing’ and gets imprisoned resulting in his demotion to Ensign.
Seriously. That is the gist of the story. We are told a story post event with Paris writing a letter to his dad explaining how he got jailed for 30 days and ultimately demoted to Ensign. How it happened you asked? Well…
After playing in his Captain Proton holodeck program, Paris is called to the bridge to investigate a strange sensor reading. Turns out they found Water World…no literally a world made of water…and nothing else. Soon they are visited by
three ghosts aliens who show up and identify themselves as members of the Monean Maritime Sovereignty. Deputy Consul Burkus takes a liking to the Voyager crew for them not being dicks and offers a tour. Paris gets excited because he wanted to serve on Seaquest DSV The Federation Naval Patrol but was forced into Starfleet by his dad. They soon learn that the Moneans have no way to get to the center of their water world due to the pressure and Paris requests permission to take them in the Delta Flyer.
He gets the okay from Janeway and, taking the Flyer into ‘The Water’ with Harry, Seven and Riga (another of the Monean people) they begin their undersea voyage. Soon Seven detects a structure deep within the water planet and the flyer goes to investigate. There they find a device that is over 100,000 years old and is responsible for holding the planet together. Kim downloads it’s database but, just as they are about to leave they are attacked by a giant electric eel and the ship is damaged to the point of being stuck…underwater.
Although they can leave using the buoyancy of
citrus the Delta Flyer Paris wants to stay to see if they can fix the field generator which has also been damaged by the giant electric eel. Back on Voyager the crew notice a giant column of vapor erupting from the planet indicating that the containment field has been breached. Back on the Flyer, Kim discovers that the containment program is working and that this venting of vapor is normal as the pressure has been building up over time. Paris figures out that they can boost the power using the Flyer allowing this ancient device to handle the pressure without venting any water.
Riga soon discovers the origin of The Water (planet) finding out that the device came from a long dead species who shunted off their oceans and all of the life into space for some unknown reason. Then Riga is even more shocked when he learns that it is not the ancient device that is causing the water loss….but the Moneans and their oxygen mining operations on The Water.
Somehow getting back to Voyager (maybe the buoyancy?) Paris and team inform Burkus of their findings informing them that they must stop mining oxygen or they will lose their world. Burkus clearly has no plans to act on the news but Paris is worries about the fate of the planet. Janeway reminds Paris that they are bound by the Prime Directive to not interfere but he does so anyway taking Riga with him in the Delta Flyer to disrupt the oxygen mining facilities so that they have to stop mining. Just as Tom is about to destroy the facility, Voyager stops them by destroying the torpedo that he launched.
Paris returns to the ship and, even though he had good intentions, he is stripped of his rank of Lt Junior Grade, demoted to Ensign and sent to the Brig for thirty days.
In the end, Paris is released and instructs the computer to transmit his letter to Star Fleet at the next opportune moment.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Nope. It’s lame. I mean, to be fair it is a well made episode but seriously, Janeway punishes one of her crew for violating the Prime Directive after she and many other members of her crew have done things just as bad. I mean, heck, Tuvok and Torres should have been demoted when they stole the transporter technology from the Sikarians. Every time Janeway traded technology with other species (ahem holodeck technology and the Hirogen) she should have been jailed or demoted. Even Janeway destroying the Array in the pilot to protect the Ocampans is a massive violation of the Prime Directive, one that is just as bad as this one. Even in this VERY SAME EPISODE, MOMENTS before telling Paris he can’t violate the Prime Directive, Janeway gives the Moneans the schematics to the Delta Flyer increasing their technology beyond their current state violating that very same Prime Directive. So there is really no excuse here. Janeway punishing Paris with jail time or ‘hard labor’ is one thing, sure she has to maintain order, but actually demoting him is simply hypocritical and downright mean.
The most interesting part of this episode, the 100,000 year old Water World technology isn’t even explored. Not only do we find out nothing about where it actually came from and who built it, Voyager does NOTHING with the vast amount of data they downloaded from it. Who knows what amazing secrets they have in their database now that no one will ever even look at because, well….they just don’t.
Plus….these people have been living on this water world for, well, a long time and they have NO IDEA as to how the ocean planet has been made.
This is a great example of what I have been saying for most of this series so far, Voyager is a series of missed opportunities and once again, we are faced with more. Shame really, because I love a good Tom Paris story, unfortunately this is not one of them.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 2 photon torpedoes fired, -2 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -1 remaining
- We finally meet the DeLany Sisters after four years of being discussed….only to never appear again.
- We hear Neelix telling a female Monean that he is fascinated by their species. Dude is lonely, it shows.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Counterpoint
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Late To The Game 11/23/2020
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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