What to expect when you’re expecting a child with Klingon DNA. Originally broadcast on January 24th, 2001 this is Lineage.
Captain’s Log Stardate 54452.6 Lineage
After discovering that she is pregnant, B’Elanna begins to have flashbacks of her own childhood and soon decides that her child should not have any Klingon appearance, no matter the cost.
B’Elanna and Tom learn that they are expecting their first child and soon B’Elanna begins to worry that she will go through the same problem that her mother did when B’Elanna’s father left them. Concerned that their child’s Klingon heritage will scare Paris off, and after a series of flashbacks to her childhood, B’Elanna soon decides to alter their child’s DNA so that it has no Klingon in it, when the doctor and Tom refuse, B’Elanna alters the doctor’s programing to get her way. This leads to Paris discovering that B’Elanna is undergoing a dangerous procedure without his knowledge forcing him to get security involved. They stop to procedure and Torres realizes that she is not being reasonable as she has a partner that will stand by her no matter what. Fixing the Doctor, B’Elanna returns and asks The Doctor to be the child’s Godfather, asking his forgiveness in the process. In the end, she looks at the holographic image of her child and thinks about the future.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is an episode that has been coming for some time. We have seen this self doubt crop up in B’Elanna time and again as she and Paris have gotten closer so, it is really no surprise when her anxieties manifest again when a child is brought into the picture.
The thing that makes this episode so great is that it really dives into the ‘human’ side of the crew, namely Paris and B’Elanna, and how they adjust to their upcoming life change. Series like these tend to focus more on the ship as a whole and the ‘threat of the week’ but sometimes we get a chance to see a battle but not one with phasers and torpedoes but one of words and emotions. For B’Elanna, this is more than just altering her child’s appearance but her attempt at fixing her own past and her father’s departure. She has blamed herself for years because he left only 12 days after she herself told him that he should. While it is not reasonable to believe that he left because of this incident, B’Elanna is damaged and hurt hoping beyond hope that she does not have to relive the most painful moment in her life. Thankfully, Paris is the one person who would stand with her no matter what and their union is pretty special.
Additionally, this episode also touches on the very real consideration for altering genetics to prevent your own child from having specific issues or diseases. There is an old question that if you knew that your child would have a genetic predisposition for anything, having Down’s Syndrome, developing alzheimer’s, being prone to certain cancers, would you alter it’s DNA to prevent these things? In doing so, will you have fundamentally changed who your child would have been seeing that they will not have the same experiences they would have had? Do you even have the right to even consider it to begin with? Taking this further, what if you could alter their sexuality, their religious affiliation, what kind of person they will be attracted to? The concept is limitless yet, while this is explored briefly the episode doesn’t quite dive deep enough into this question to really have the impact it could have. Instead, the story relied on the emotional side of the story, which is all well and good but there was so much more that could have been discussed in this entry. That being said, the fact that this is all but ignored does cause some issues in the story itself.
Janeway says that what B’Elanna wants is ‘ethically questionable’ however, according to events in Deep Space Nine concerning Bashir’s own genetic modifications, it is not just questionable. What B’Elanna is suggesting and what she attempted is illegal in the Federation and would result in their daughter not only losing her Klingon heritage and potentially causing damage to her in the future, but would prevent her from certain jobs and careers in Star Fleet. Then, when she is informed that the procedure is not going to be permitted, she alters the Doctor’s program and even locks sickbay down preventing access to him so she can….do genetic experiments on herself. The problem is, she is let off the hook because she was simply having a biochemical reaction which caused her to act out irrationally. Really? If anything B’Elanna should have been demoted if not removed from duty for a time. I mean, Paris was and we have even seen some of the crew confined to quarters for lesser offenses, but no, no one even bats an eye at it and B’Elanna is allowed to just go about her business like nothing happened.
All in all, this is a tremendously emotional and fantastic episode with such a large flaw that it is hard to enjoy if you think about it too much. So, my advice, just enjoy the story and try not to think about the implications.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, -24 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -6 remaining
- Klingon pregnancies run 30 weeks. But hybrid pregnancies can be much quicker.
- ‘You should anticipate paradox’ Tuvok on raising a child.
- We learn that Klingon traits are dominant and will remain for several generations.
- We actually see B’Elanna’s father and B’Elanna herself as a child!
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: Repentance
For more reviews: check out the weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Late To The Game 3/26/2021
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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