Mar 1, 2018
Star Trek: Voyager “Threshold” (part 5 of 7)
Cut to the Doctor and Kes furiously working in Sick Bay. The Doctor, being his bad holographic self, walks right through the isolation force field and messes with some Whatever Devices next to Tom. Tom’s up and alert, even though, putting it delicately, his head currently looks like a butternut squash. He says, “You’re losing me, aren’t you? I’m gonna die!”
The Doctor replies, “You’re too stubborn to die, Mr. Paris.” Not a fantastic line, but in an episode this putrid, I’ll take it, and spend at least a short moment appreciating that it’s not technobabble. The Doc prepares a technobabble-licious treatment while Tom morbidly envisions what will be written on his tombstone: “Here lies Thomas Eugene Paris, beloved mutant!” Strangely enough, that’s what was already going on there, before this all happened.
The Doc initiates some sort of “radiometric” treatment, and Paris says his epitaph will now read “beloved radioactive mutant!” Sorry, but I think that one’s already been taken by Tor Johnson. Now, time for go to bed!
Then, in between gasps for air, Paris just starts full-on babbling about his imaginary funeral, and pretty girls crying at his funeral, but not B’Elanna because she doesn’t cry, and his dad thinks crying is “a sign of weakness”, and he’d cry in his room all the time as a kid, because his room was quiet, and he liked to go there, and he “lost [his] virginity in that room. [!!] Seventeen. Parents were away for the weekend.” This is like, his Virginia Woolf moment.
The Doc says, “I’ll note that in your medical file.” Heh. (By the way, is it worth nitpicking that B’Elanna did cry, in the first season episode “Faces”—right in front of Tom? Nah, I didn’t think so, either.)
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Anyway, Tom gets worse, and the Doc yells at Kes to push a button. Sadly, that appears to be her primary function in this scene. No lines, just worried looks and pushing a button.
I guess the Doc is upping the dosage, or rads, or whatever, because this prompts Paris to yell out, “Pepperoni!” [??] Apparently, he’s “starving” right now, and would really love a pepperoni pizza with “Kavarian olives”. So either he’s mutating into a pothead, or a pregnant woman. Then he yells out that his “last request” is to get a kiss from Kes. Okay. Definitely a pothead, then.
Oh, but initially, the Doc thinks Paris wants a kiss from him, ha ha. But of course the Doctor doesn’t actually kiss him. I mean, this show aired on UPN, not the WB.
Tom finally resigns himself to his fate. He tells them to contact Starfleet Headquarters (presumably, once they actually can contact Starfleet) and tell his admiral father that he “did it”. Did what? “Tell him…” He falls silent. The Doc puts a little Whatever Device on Tom’s forehead that turns out to be the 24th Century equivalent of defibrillator pads. I’m just guessing, because they make a whiny noise, while the Doc tells Kes to keep giving him the juice. Aw. Look at sweet little Kes, dramatically pushing that button. She’s like, putting her heart and soul into pushing that button.
The Doc yells, “Again!” Tom jerks around. “Again!” Tom jerks around. “Again!” Tom doesn’t jerk around. Kes wants to keep trying, but the Doc says it’s no use, and they’ve lost him. So, all in all, a very accurate recreation of a scene witnessed on just about every TV medical drama in the last fifty years. Although, most medical dramas would end this scene with somebody noting the time of death, but thankfully, the Doc spares us.
He lowers the isolation forcefield and Kes rushes to Tom’s side. The Doc does that standard pathos-generating “about to lay a hand on her shoulder, and stops himself” move on Kes. But she’s too busy staring at Tom’s veiny face to notice.
Instead, the Doc tells Kes that they’ll have to perform an autopsy on Tom in the morning. What a lovely sentiment. Although, the guy’s last words were about losing his virginity, so I guess that was called for, actually.
Kes then grants Tom’s last wish, by planting a kiss on his veiny, splotchy, disgusting cheek. Hey, better late than never, is what I always say. You know what else I always say? “Hope that mutant disease that causes veiny, splotchy, disgusting marks isn’t catching!”
And then Kes nonchalantly walks out of Sick Bay, and leaves his body just lying there on the table. What, is he the pope? Is he lying in state? Will the whole ship file through and pay their final respects? Come on, guys, can’t you afford a sheet? Not even a Space Sheet?
Now, I think we all know—just like everybody knew when this episode originally aired—that they weren’t really going to kill off a regular cast member like this. But even taking that into account, this is easily one of the most unmoving character death fakeouts I’ve seen on series television. Other than Kes, there’s absolutely no indication anybody in the crew is the slightest bit bummed to hear Paris died. Though, that might say less about the script than about what a whiny jerk Tom Paris is.
There’s a transitional shot of the ship cruising through space, and then it’s after hours in Sick Bay. We know it’s “after hours” because the lights are dimmed. Wow! So this is “Sick Bay After Dark”, right? I wonder if the Doc ever puts on a smoking jacket and lights a pipe while chatting it up with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. or Linda Rondstat.
As the Doctor works at his desk, he hears an odd sound like ripping or crunching—okay, who’s got Grape Nuts?—and gets up to go have a look-see. Eventually, he can tell that the sound is coming from Paris’ body, which thankfully is at least covered now, with some kind of gray cloth. Though, from afar, it initially looks like a plastic tarp.
As you probably guessed, the Doc pulls back the Space Sheet and discovers that Paris is still alive. Star Trek Regular Character Death Fakeout #589! Yeah. I bet Paris is feeling mighty happy right now that his name isn’t Ensign Kozlowski.
Tom is breathing heavily, and that crunching noise, it seems, is coming from his hand [?]. Well, if you have stiffness in your joints, I’m sure being dead doesn’t exactly help, you know? He reaches up, scratches behind his ear, and pulls off a big chunk of hair. “Wha—What’s happening?”
The Doc runs to his Whatever Device and sees that all of Paris’ organs are functional again. “In fact,” he adds, “You seem to have an extra one!” Sweet! That’s even awesomer than when you order a six-piece McNuggets at the drive-thru, and they accidentally give you seven! And a switchblade! The way the Doc says it, it reminds me of that Taxi episode (wow, second reference to Taxi in this recap) where one of the mechanics tells Louie he put an engine back together, and nonchalantly adds that there were a few pieces left over.
The Doc reveals that Mr. Paris now has “two hearts”. But the big question is, are they believing in just one mind? Beating together, ’till the end of time?
I wonder how many people will actually get that reference. Okay, how about this one?
Hey Tom, that’s great! Because as we already know, “two hearts are better than one”! No? Not a lot of Yes fans reading this, I’m guessing?
Well, I’d go for a joke aimed at the Stacey Q fans out there, except I just realized there are no Stacey Q fans out there.
There’s a shot of the Doc’s screen, and a cross-section of Paris’ chest reveals that, sure enough, he now has two hearts. And you know what? That’s actually two more than he had in there yesterday!