Star Trek: Voyager “Threshold” (part 4 of 7)
When we get back from commercial, there’s still no sign of Paris. Tuvok says that he did indeed cross that threshold we’ve been hearing so much about. Kim says searching for him might be hopeless, because he could be anywhere in the universe. Janeway gives perhaps the only decent line of the entire episode when she says, “We’ll just have to keep searching our small corner.”
Thankfully, we won’t have to see any of that search, because the shuttle Cochrane suddenly comes streaking out of warp and appears alongside the ship. Their sensors indicate Paris is onboard, but “his life signs are weak”. So Janeway has him beamed directly to Sick Bay. Which, I think, happens on at least every third episode of this show. Hey, here’s a great idea, gang. Why not have your transporter room right next to Sick Bay? Or perhaps put the transporter in Sick Bay? Then you wouldn’t have to keep giving the order to beam people directly there.
Cut to the holographic Doctor sweeping a device across Tom’s unconscious body. The Doctor tells the captain that Paris is in perfect health, and is “just… asleep.”
Janeway asks the Doc to wake him, so in a mildly comedic bit, he hunches down by Tom’s ear and yells, “Wake up, Lieutenant!” and Tom starts awake. Okay, so he was just asleep? Then what was up with his life signs being “weak” in the previous scene? Oh, it was for the purposes of creating fake drama in a desperate attempt to keep people tuned in? And also for the purposes of this silly little joke? Okay. Carry on, then.
Janeway asks Paris if he remembers what happened, and it turns out he had some kind of shaman-esque OOB experience where he could see himself, he could see the outside of the shuttle, he could see inside Voyager. “I could see inside this room!” And also, one assumes, inside everybody’s quarters. But I suppose he can’t really delve into that here. I’m sure he’ll answer all speculation about whether Kes’ carpet matches the drapes in one of his future personal logs.
“For a moment,” Tom says, “I was everywhere. I mean, everywhere, Captain!” And he still couldn’t get into Nobu! He talks about being back home, in other galaxies, and during this rant he even specifically mentions being “with the Kazon”, and “with the Klingons”. Um… how could he possibly tell which was which? And why are those the only two races that deserve shout-outs in this recap of Tom Paris’ metaphysical non-corporeal infinite journey to all points in the universe and beyond? What, hangin’ with the Ferengi wasn’t memorable, Tom? What about the Breen? They know how to party!
Then comes another mildly comedic bit. After hearing this long, universe-spanning litany, the Doctor simply says, “Well, I’m glad you had a good time.” Kickin’ it with the Kazon and Klingons? How could he not? Paris says he came back to Voyager because he saw they were looking for him. But, just like a really awesome dream, all those memories are slipping away from him. “It was all so vivid, and now…”
B’Elanna rushes into Sick Bay to check on Tom. Despite this being a few seasons before they officially hooked up, she sounds awfully concerned about him. Tom asks about the shuttle, and she reports that it doesn’t have a scratch on it. And the sensor logs confirm that he did indeed go to warp 10. Or, for crying out loud. How much more confirmation do these morons need, anyway? What, Tom’s description of the entire universe wasn’t enough proof that he went to warp 10?
Janeway congratulates Tom on entering “the history books”. Tom wants to leave, because he really wants to help download the shuttle’s telemetry sensor matrix logs, or some such crap like that, but the Doctor reigns him in. He has “some tests I’d like to run on Your Majesty before I release you back into the realm of ordinary humans.” Foreshadowing! And also: Heh. He’s so underwhelmed. I have no idea why the Doctor cares so little, but I love it, and I’m in total agreement.
Then we get an extremely fascinating scene of Kim boarding the shuttle and “downloading the logs”. In Engineering, B’Elanna sees they describe “every cubic centimeter in this sector! It’s over five billion gigaquads of information!” Which sounds pretty awesome, except it’s all porn. And also, none of these sensor logs will ever be referenced again on the show.
Janeway’s there, and she and Torres discuss how achieving infinite velocity could not only get them home, but “change the very nature of our existence!” More foreshadowing! And of course, Weaselly Traitor Guy is sitting there, and we get a shot of him furtively listening to them discuss the whole thing.
Janeway wants to use these logs and make a “star chart” of the sector, and has the data transferred to “Stellar Cartography”. Just out of curiosity, if the shuttle really did occupy every point in the universe, why would it only have sensor logs of the sector they’re currently in? And also, is it possible that this is the most exciting thing they’ve done up in Stellar Cartography all year? I have a hunch it is. After all, we’re still a couple of seasons away from Seven of Nine taking a fulltime position down there. (On a related note, what happened to all the people who were working in Stellar Cartography before Seven took over?)
Cut to the Mess Hall. As Paris and Torres pore over e-padds filled with data about the flight, Neelix pours them coffee and announces this new blend is called “Paris Delight”. Because when I think of Tom Paris, I’m filled with delight. Sky rockets in flight, Paris Delight. Tom once again blows Neelix off, and B’Elanna tells him to get used to the hero worship.
Then Paris has a sip of Paris Delight, and is not delighted at all. You might even say he’s the opposite of delighted. B’Elanna takes a whiff and thinks it smells okay, but Paris advises against drinking it, sarcastically implying it’s deadly. Plot point! Although, crew members being served bad coffee by Neelix is kind of par for the course on Voyager.
The two of them are discussing repeating the test flight, when suddenly Paris gets nauseous, and he thinks it’s the coffee. Hmm, well, there’s one surefire way to tell. Do you feel a strong compulsion to take a dump right about now? But he abruptly gets a splitting headache, and when he tries to stand up, he collapses to the floor. A close-up on his face reveals the purplish-bluish-greenish Veiny Makeup of Illness has already been applied to his temples.
Torres orders someone in the transporter room to beam Tom directly to Sick Bay. Now, what did I just say about the placement of the transporter room in relation to Sick Bay? Why didn’t they get on that in the six hours between that scene and this scene?
Unfortunately, the nameless transporter crewman can’t beam Paris over because “his pattern keeps changing!” One day it’s plaid, the next it’s paisley, then it’s stripes, what’s up with that, misssster? Anyway, Torres orders a medical team to the Mess Hall, and we fade out on Paris gasping like a fish out of water. Even more foreshadowing! But you know what’s really interesting? Back in the pilot episode, we were told Sick Bay was so short-staffed that Paris had to double as a field nurse. And now we’re supposed to believe there’s a whole medical team on Voyager? That we’ve never seen before?
When we return, this previously unseen medical team drops Paris off in Sick Bay, then quickly leaves, so they can attend to the business of vanishing back into thin air. The Doctor deduces that Tom is having an allergic reaction to something, and asks what he’s eaten. B’Elanna says he had some of Neelix’s coffee, and the Doctor dryly replies, “It’s a wonder he’s still alive.” Oh man, he’s so awesome in this episode. Putting it mildly, it takes quite a bit of chutzpah to crack jokes when a guy’s gasping for air right in front of you. Anybody else get the feeling he wouldn’t give two shits if Paris died right there on his examination table?
He pushes a button and two halves of a shiny black arc rise up and surround Paris’ chest, giving off that great “iron lung” vibe that’s been sorely missing from television since the ’50s. I mean, it’s about time Polio Chic made a comeback.
But it turns out, alas, that Paris’s allergic reaction is not to the coffee, but to the water in the coffee. Wow, so he’s like that freaky “no liquids” chick from Ed Wood. Or maybe he’s turning into one of the aliens from Signs. Well, hey, he can just drink motor oil from now on, right? So what’s the big deal?
As you might have guessed, Tom’s “entire biochemistry is changing!” Accordingly, Tom starts gasping and wheezing like Ruben Studdard after running a quarter-mile. The Doc realizes his lungs are “no longer processing oxygen!” He and Torres move back, and the Doc puts a force field around Tom and has the computer pump the area full of “80 percent nitrogen and 20 percent acidichloride!” Tom quickly chills out and breathes normally. But naturally, we don’t get the slightest clue as to how the Doc knew Tom’s lungs would be able to process a nitrogen-acidichloride mixture.
The Doc assumes this has “something to do with his experience on the shuttle!” Hmm. What would give him that idea? Tom lets out a bloodcurdling shriek, because he already knows how this episode ends. The Doc tosses out more medical technobabble, and then says, “He’s dying.” He sends Torres out of Sick Bay to get more information on what happened on that shuttle.