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Star Trek Voy - Season 4 - Episode 10

Star Trek Voy - 4x10 - Random Thoughts

Originally Aired: 1997-11-19

Synopsis:
A telepathic race arrests Torres. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.32

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 21 2 4 3 7 24 14 8 7 3 2

Problems
None

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Torres under arrest for "aggravated violent thought resulting in grave bodily harm."
- Seven of Nine having no sympathy for Torres.
- Tuvok bluffing about wanting in on the dark thoughts black market.
- Tuvok sharing his dark thoughts with Guill.
- Tuvok and Torres talking after Voyager left the Mari planet.
- Seven of Nine expressing concerns regarding Voyager's exploratory nature.
- Janeway to Seven regarding their disagreement: "I dread the day when everyone on this ship agrees with me."

My Review
A fair episode with a meager premise but a decent set of details which make the episode quite pleasant. Beside the fact that the Mari look exactly like humans, the Mari are shown to think of themselves perfect; there's a certain arrogance and aristocracy in their behavior which is quite annoying. Fortunately, Tuvok wastes no time pointing out the imperfections in their legal system. In the end, the Mari are a much more complex race than they first appear, which piqued my interest. The idea of a black market for thoughts is analogous to the black market for drugs, or child pornography. This episode makes a point about how prohibiting certain things can have both positive and negative effects on a society. The idea of restricting what people can and cannot think in a race of telepaths has some merit, but it isn't sufficiently explored in this episode. Voyager just kind of packs up and leaves, leaving the reforms and decisions of what to do to the Mari. This is certainly consistent with the Prime Directive, but leaves the viewer somewhat unsatisfied, as if all Tuvok's work to point out the "dark side" of the Mari culture went partially to waste. Sure, he saved B'Elanna, but we'll never know what effect this incident has on Mari culture. Some details I really liked were Seven of Nine's few brief scenes. She may not have had much screen time, but her dialog was well crafted. The scenes at the end depicting Tuvok and Torres then Janeway and Seven both having their own small argument reminded me a lot of the scenes at the end of TOS episodes, usually between Spock and McCoy. The dialog in both scenes was interesting and funny, a suiting end to the episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From TheAnt on 2013-10-11 at 12:11pm:
    Snuff and stuff for telepathis

    The idea of telepathy were almost phazed out of the ST universe in TNG after some early episodes with Riker and Troi.
    But here the idea is investigated again and gets a full treatment.
    (I am almost surprised that this episode have yielded no comments since it provided both a setting that provide for the hard core trekkie as well as one intelligent story that provide food for thoughts. Said in passing.)

    For example we get another angle on why the Vulcans have to be so much in self control. Also one possible consequence of a society where certain thoughts are outlawed - creating a black market, even fetish which we can see in the Mari pusher, for forbidden thoughts and experiences.

    There's one thing that make ST great, and that is the message of personal freedom and choice.
    That contrast so well here with the Mari society that have developed into such an nightmare of an oppressive state, that they brainwash or 'lobotomise' their own citizens who do not comply with the 'purity' of thoughts.

  • From pbench on 2015-09-03 at 5:57pm:
    this episode is preposterous. voyager formula: interesting premise buried under mediocre writing, engage!

    janeway's lack of real protest to the whole incident was absurd. again, we could have had a plot where the mari go hog wild on b'elanna in spite of janeway's protestations but we get instead a very weak and poorly thought-out version of the prime directive, misapplied. in fact, the only person who gets close to pointing this out is seven of nine: that the real fault here is ignorance of protocol. given that this is a contact between two alien cultures, the premise that b'elanna is de facto responsible is preposterous, since any diplomatic relationship would require the mari to prompt their new acquaintances with this fact of mari life: i.e., be careful with your thoughts. the mari have either never come into contact with anyone before (unlikely given the ease with which they stroll about w/ voyager crew), or they have, and presumably would have had to explain this at some point. what's the true answer? not something complex; the writer's just literally never thought of this stuff. the entire premise rests on them not explaining themselves but since they are so open to communication and *not* a race with esoteric rituals or a deep suspicion of outsiders, it isn't believable. the main investigator is 100% communicative and so this misunderstanding about a major aspect of their society falls flat.

    so let's say they never communicated it anyway. okay. we could see the mari still stubbornly decide to try her, as has happened in trek before. you could run with this plotline as janeway pointed out their lack of procedure and the mari scream for blood. but instead we get a hint of a morality play that never really happens, as tom is made to seem impatient or too confrontational. given the situation they are in--lost in the delta quadrant--janeway's motivation to keep her crewmembers alive, especially crucial ones, is multiplied a thousandfold. even while trying to tow the federation line and submit to different cultures' laws, she could challenge the premise of the whole interaction or even threaten to break b'elanna free, after which i would've thought we'd see the clever plot device that the mari have developed to counter-act a full-on direct assault, necessitating the whole careful sting operation.

    instead...milquetoast anger and weird acting. and then tuvok's insistence at the end that he would have let b'elanna be lobotomised had she been 'actually' guilty...horrible logic, as he should be able to deduce that the true fault was diplomatic and not merely one of personalities. and then, plot hole covering scene with seven & janeway at the end there...yeah. weaksauce.

    voyager is a joy to behold and there are some awesome moments in here for sure, tim russ being a freaking god. love tuvok. but geeze why's it gotta be in such a painful wrapping??
  • From Chris on 2018-04-09 at 2:23pm:
    I didn't care much for the episode. Standard fare, I guess...
  • From Gary on 2018-06-13 at 12:44am:
    OK, a minor point, but... Tuvok was beaten up by 3 Mari, really? A starfleet-trained, Vulcan, head of security... yes, against 3, but 3 civilians in a society that outlaws violent thoughts, so we can be pretty sure doesn't have martial training, in a situation where Tuvok should have been on-guard.

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