My #startrekvoyager rewatch S4E10 “Random Thoughts”
Paris and Neelix are talking about dating. That is NOT how I want to start my morning. And telling Neelix to be himself is, at best, dubious advice. Telepaths. We’re clearly heading toward some kind of Minority Report nonsense.
B’Elanna is arrested for “aggravated violent thought.” So far it’s all a little stiff and heavy-handed. It seems violent thoughts can spur others to violence. B’Elanna is arrested and will be forced to undergo dangerous memory alteration. Janeway tries to intervene.
Violence spreads and Neelix’s friend is killed. B’Elanna’s violent thought is to blame which shouldn’t be happening. In his own investigation, Tuvok uncovers a black market in violent, dark thought. It gets gross and salacious and what might have been interesting degenerates into a simplistic metaphor for illicit behavior that almost ends up being pro-thought-police. I suspect that the writer was trying to be anti-violence but you could read the ending as an anti-free expression or a message that behavior outside the norm should be punished.
There’s a Potential essay here about why there are right-wing Trek fans. The final 3 minutes redeem things a little. Tuvok and B’Elanna have an exchange that’s reminiscent of classic Spock/McCoy Banter and earn a good laugh. Tuvok says, “Burdened as you are by your primitive Klingon psyche, it is a wonder that you were able to keep your violent thoughts under control as much as you do.” Then a conversation with Janeway and 7 explains why Voyager isn’t trying very hard to get home. Still, ending on a high note or two is not enough to save the episode. Bleh.
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