Star Trek: Voyager: Season 2, Episode 15

Threshold (29 Jan. 1996)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 478 users  
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After finding a type of dilithium that can survive at a higher temperatures, Tom Paris comes up with the ingenious idea of attempting to cross the transwarp threshold in an attempt to find ... See full summary »

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Title: Threshold (29 Jan 1996)

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Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres (as Roxann Biggs-Dawson)
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After finding a type of dilithium that can survive at a higher temperatures, Tom Paris comes up with the ingenious idea of attempting to cross the transwarp threshold in an attempt to find a way to get home faster. After a bumpy start and the help of Torres and Kim, they succeed in a holodeck simulation. When it is presented to Captain Janeway, she is impressed and gives them the go ahead to try it, but traveling faster than warp 10 has never before been attempted. The first run goes very well. Tom Paris manages to cross the warp threshold which means that the shuttle craft in which he is traveling exists simultaneously everywhere. But Tom then disappears and Harry is unable to find him anywhere within five parsecs. Tom somehow manages to return to Voyager through subspace, but there are unforeseen side-effects of his transwarp travel and Tom begins to mutate. The doctor tries to treat him with a type of radiation that will prohibit cell mutation, however this fails and Tom dies. To ... Written by Leila Reid (edited by Jeff L.)

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29 January 1996 (USA)  »

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This takes place in 2372. See more »

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Tom's mutation into an amphibian or reptilian creature started off with an allergic reaction to water. It would be interesting to know how a water-resident creature can survive with a water allergy. See more »

Quotes

[Paris plans to put the first ever warp 10 flight into practice]
Captain Kathryn Janeway: Well, good luck, Mr. Paris. If this works, you'll be joining an elite group of pilots. Orville Wright, Neil Armstrong, Zefram Cochrane - and Tom Paris.
Tom Paris: I kinda like the way that sounds.
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Referenced in Zero Charisma (2013) See more »

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Star Trek: Voyager - Main Title
(uncredited)
Written by Jerry Goldsmith
Performed by Jay Chattaway
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The Worst
2 February 2011 | by (New York, NY USA) – See all my reviews

Utterly ridiculous pig-foul.

Can I be anymore clear? Utterly ridiculous pig-foul.

This episode was a puddle of hot vomit. A dead skunk stuffed down your throat. It's not only the worst episode of any "Trek," it might very well be the worst programming ever broadcast, the worst THING that ever was, and I'm embarrassed to have witnessed the crime.

The inconsistency of Voyager has always been a constant- some weeks the crew seems resigned to their fate of being stranded in the Delta quadrant and in others they are willing to risk not only their lives but the very fabric of space-time in order to get home. This episode begins with Torres, Kim and Paris test-piloting a shuttle-craft at trans-warp speeds. In the holodeck.

Already we're served two absurd premises. First, Star Trek has created the rule that traveling at a speed faster than Warp 9.9 is impossible, since a craft would theoretically occupy all spaces in the universe at once, breaking every known law of physics and destroying whatever galaxy, reality or dimension in which they exist. Luckily it turns out this Iron Law of Existence can be broken by three curious officers with a couple hours free time. Breaking your own fictional rules is destructive and short-sighted, and the attempt shows the writers' desperation and lack of respect for both "Trek" canon and actual scientific knowledge.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that they're testing this idea on the ship's holodeck. Insanity goes to Cuckooville.

The holodeck, as we all know, is a completely synthetic environment, which reacts solely based on the programmer's instructions. The holodeck has no innate intelligence of its own and cannot be accurately used as a flight simulator since no one could have programmed the holodeck on how to appropriately react! How could the holodeck gain sentience and the foreknowledge of a design problem which even its own programmers could not foresee?

How could ANY Captain authorize a mission so inherently dangerous based only a holodeck simulation- with the safeties on? So far the episode has destroyed physics and the entire conceit of the holodeck, as well as the collective reputations of Tom, Torres, Kim and Janeway. And we're only seven minutes in.

The test flight begins, and Tom transcends space-time and reaches an infinite identity occupying every molecule of matter at precisely the same instant, gone from Voyager's sensors. But that one moment of quasi-reality is destroyed when Tom reappears- seconds later- in the exact same place from which he started! Just luck I guess... thank you, Universe, for dropping Tommy off so close by. Can you give me a ride to the shoe store?

Suddenly, Tom's coffee tastes funny! This is not a drill- Set phasers to Sweet & Low... fire Folgers torpedoes. Tom keels over from the whack java and is rushed to Sick Bay where we learn he's allergic to water. (Luckily not the water that makes up 90% of his body... what a break.)

A series of mutations changes every organ in Tom's body. Except his brain. For no reason. We know he will end up completely back to normal by episode's end, so we don't care when the doctor degrades Tom's condition from stable to not-so-stable to dead. And then back to stable. Yes, its true: Tom dies and then returns, growing EXTRA body organs, including a bonus heart- in case the first should ever get broken. Tom evolves into some squishy creature who taunts Janeway and then vomits up his own tongue. Luckily this doesn't stop him from talking. Quel surprise!

Doctor comes up with a sloppily-written plan about anti-proton chemotherapy nonsense, which is as meaningless as it sounds. Tommy Boy escapes and miraculously wipes out the ship's computer, stealing a shuttlecraft and bringing Kap'n Kate along with him. He achieves trans-warp again and disappears, but this time he's a whole half-mile away. There's a big surprise when Voyager goes to pick up Paris & Janeway: they're lizards.

Yeah, they're lizards, and the episode goes from astoundingly-stupid to mind-blowingly incompetent. Piling on the Awful, Tom & Kate Lizard have mated and spawned Junior Lizards, who go swimming happily into the sea to begin the long process of evolution. Get it? GET IT?!? Oh wait, there's nothing to get, this is just peanut diarrhea in a bowl. With a spoon.

Back in Sick Bay Janeway and Tom are human again, thanks to the Doctor's handy De-Lizardizer Machine. Dialogue reaches an all-time low as Paris declares he, "feels a little overwhelmed."

Janeway tries to encourage him, assuring him that the events of the last few days have won him a newfound respect among the crew(?) Why the writers would pour schmaltz onto an already-excruciating episode is incomprehensible. Brannon Braga- the stunted manchild who secretly hated Trek because he was intimidated by its size and stature- makes his most brazen attempt at killing the series from the inside... and comes dangerously close to succeeding.

Robert Duncan MacNeill's acting here is the worst I've seen; he assures the Captain that he learned a very important lesson- it doesn't matter what others think of him, only what he thinks of himself. What the hell is he talking about? Is this Star Trek for the mentally retarded? Because THEY'RE insulted.

Janeway inspires Paris to "keep reaching for that rainbow" and the pain is finally over. To scrape this low for a storyline in Season Two does not bode well for the life of the series, and to defy rules of your own universe for no good reason is devastating.

"Threshold" is fatally-flawed in conception and offensively executed... the worst of the worst. I reserve the letter grade F for episodes that cross the line between poor and offensive... this show insults the intelligence of every Star Trek fan ever to watch an episode.

Congratulations, boys... you've crossed the threshold.

GRADE: F


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