Voyager rewatch 2.07 – “Parturition”

[“Liz, did I blink and miss your ‘Persistence of Vision’ post?”

Yes. I hit “post” instead of “save” because I am very smart, and it was up for a whole 24 hours before I noticed.]

Will a baby save Tom and Neelix’s relationship? Actually, yes.

Oh happy day! Good news, everyone: when the credits roll, the jealous!Neelix subplot will be finished forever!

We just have to grit our teeth and get through the episode.

Not that it’s all bad! There are some very enjoyable moments, such as Harry trolling a lovelorn Tom via clarinet, and, um. Kes has a very cute outfit. The Doctor has an amusing line?

A brief recap

Tom has belatedly realised that he’s not only attracted to Kes, but he’s actually in love with her. Although from Harry’s reaction, you’d think Tom declares himself in love with every girl he finds attractive, which is … not exactly in line with everything else we know. The important thing is that my interpretation — that Tom was not conscious of his attraction — was correct.

He resolves to keep his distance, but Neelix takes this as proof that there is something going on, and starts a food fight during lunch. Hair pasta is thrown. (Not a metaphor.)

Naturally, the only way to resolve this situation is to send them on an away mission to replenish Voyager’s dwindling food supplies. The bickering is interrupted by the hatching of the first alien lizard baby of the season, which prompts Tom and Neelix to bond over parenthood and gender stereotypes.

Jealousy subplot: resolved forever.

Let’s talk about the good bits

Harry, and his freshly replicated clarinet, having minimal sympathy for Tom’s situation: delightful. Harry is at his best when writers remember to give him a little bit of spike. He’s supportive of Tom without indulging the melodrama. Perfect.

There’s also a nice scene between Kes and the Doctor, in which she reveals that the Ocampa mate for life and don’t experience jealousy. This … certainly seems like something which could have come up a lot earlier, but it kind of makes sense — you live for a decade, you haven’t got time to waste on that nonsense. But the best bit is the Doctor’s response:

“Your people must have very dry literature.”

As for Ocampan monogamy, don’t worry, I’m pretty sure we’ll never hear about it again.

Okay. The less good bits

The interactions between Tom and Neelix on the planet are steeped in very odd assumptions about gender. Tom declares Neelix the godfather of their new alien lizard baby, but then sees Neelix is very nurturing and switches to godmother.

(It shouldn’t be a surprise that Neelix is good with infants — I mean, his girlfriend’s only two!)

Equally strange, and maybe even more annoying, Tom eventually tells Neelix that he’d never make a move on Kes because … he respects Neelix too much.

Mate. Say you respect the choice that Kes has made. Or the relationship itself. Don’t make it all about Neelix, for heaven’s sake!

Ugh. Men. And that goes for the writers, too.

Wig watch

Or, rather, lack of wig watch: for this episode, and this episode alone, Janeway’s wig is replaced by Kate Mulgrew’s real hair. No one remarks on this, or wonders aloud about just where Neelix got that hair pasta. It’ll be long again in a week. Which is probably for the best, because I spent every single Janeway scene wishing I could just pop back in time a couple of decades and give her a conditioning treatment.

Other observations

  • Was it his experience in “Non Sequitur” which inspired Harry to finally get himself a new clarinet? Let’s assume yes.
  • (Much as I wish Voyager had better continuity, I like that we have to work to make these connections, they’re not just handed to us on a platter. Just … you know. Balance.)
  • Voyager is rapidly running out of food, so sure, Neelix, just throw some hair pasta around, that’s a great idea.
  • This is not a great episode at all, I’m just so glad the whole subplot is over and done with forever.

In conclusion

Oh, you can definitely skip this. Two alien lizard babies out of five.

Next week: an episode I actually like! I’m as grateful for the change as the rest of you.

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