The Great Space Race 2377! Tom and Harry race to the finish as Tom and B’elanna consider where their future lies… Originally broadcast on October 18, 2000 this is Drive!
Captain’s Log Stardate 54058.6 Drive
Tom Paris participates in a space race with the newly built Delta Flyer, only the race isn’t everything it is cracked up to be.
After the destruction of the previous flyer at the hands of the Borg, Tom and Harry test out the newly build one, that somehow was operational in the previous episode. Pushing the Flyer to it’s extremes, Tom attracts the attention of Irina who invites him to race her. Despite Harry’s protest, he does and manages to beat their challenger and also rescue her when her ship catches fire. Taking Irina back to Voyager, Tom and Harry are fascinated when she tells them about the Antarian Trans-Stellar Rally.
Returning to the ship, Janeway is not quite ready to allow her crew to participate in a race but, after a little prodding, Tom and Harry convince her on the grounds of it being a diplomatic opportunity. Janeway goes a step further announcing that the crew can take some time off to enjoy the race but only if Tom and Harry ensure that this will be a win for the Federation.
Despite the excitement, B’Elanna is not happy with Tom as the race will take place during their planned weekend getaway that she has been saving up for. Even though she knows he didnt do it on purpose, she feels that he simply does not consider her feelings and plans to break up with Paris once the race is completed. However, after talking with Seven, B’Elanna realizes that this is an opportunity to do something with her boyfriend and, much to Tom’s surprise, she replaces Harry as his copilot and the two prepare to work together to bring glory to the Federation.
The race begins and the crew watches on until it is revealed that one of the ships appears to have been rigged to explode resulting in Irina’s copilot, Joxom, to be hurt. After an investigation, the race begins again although now it may very well be a race that could result in a war if anymore attacks occur. Harry joins Irina as her new co-pilot and the race resumes.
Soon Tom and B’Elanna begin talking about their relationship and it is soon clear that B’Elanna is concerned that they do not belong together. Tom stops their ship, knowing that he may lose the race so that he can help repair the relationship he has with B’Elanna. As this is going on, Harry learns that Irina is actually terrorist who oppose the current state of peace. She is using the race, and the fuel converter that was installed on the Flyer to send a message and spark hostilities. Kim is able to inform Paris using Morse code. Just as Tom is about to propose to B’Elanna as he realizes that he might lose her, they are interrupted by Harry’s message and swoop in to save the day. Tom proposes during the rescue operation and after they succeed in rescuing their friend (while also losing the race), the two marry and take a (once again) freshly repaired Flyer out for their honeymoon.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is an enjoyable episode giving Tom, Harry and B’Elanna a very fun adventure while also showing the crew enjoy some down time. We don’t get to see the Voyager crew let loose or relax very often, which makes sense seeing that they are doing all they can to survive, but when we do it is a rare treat. Not only that, but this episode allows Janeway to participate in a little Diplomacy which she really does seem to enjoy.
While the race is the ‘main’ story the episode is really about Tom and B’Elanna’s relationship. For quite a bit of the series they have been courting one another but never really taking their love to the next logical step. They have fought side by side, nearly died together, had numerous adventures but the adventure they have been putting off finally comes to a head, the decision to finally tie the knot. While we don’t actually get a chance to see the wedding itself, we get a nice look at how much the two of them care for one another. It speaks a lot to B’Elanna’s growth as a character, especially with the history of her own parents. While they are not completely out of the woods yet, this episode marks a major move in this ever growing relationship.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I think it should have been the second episode of the season as it was originally intended (remember Tom’s ring in the last one?). This is one of my favorite couples in Star Trek and while we do get a chance to see them grow this season, I really hope we see more of them in future Star Trek series.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 1 photon torpedoes fired, -20 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -6 remaining
- Poor Harry, just can not catch a break with a woman, had to choose a terrorist this time.
- I don’t quite think that attaching bouys or cargo containers to the Delta Flyer would have been allowed by Tuvok…I mean, seems like a significant waste of resources.
- We never see nor hear from any of the aliens in this episode even though Janeway made some serious diplomatic moves.
- A keen eye will recognize Patrick Kilpatrick as Assan, one of the pilots. I had a chance to chat with Patrick sometime back and he was quite happy to discuss his time on Star Trek.
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: Repression
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Late To The Game 3/8/2021
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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