Voyager rewatch 3.24 – “Displaced”

I cannot BELIEVE these inoffensive aliens turned out to have a sinister agenda!

I held off on this post for a couple of days because I couldn’t think of a way to start it other than “I don’t have much to say about ‘Displaced’,” and that seems self-defeating.

Because it’s not entirely true! I wish to note the following things:

One

The third episode of this season featured what appeared to be a planetary prison, but was actually a spaceship. The third-last episode features … the same twist. (This is not a criticism — I enjoy parallels and mirroring, even when it’s probably accidental.)

Two

Like “Distant Origin”, this is primarily an ensemble piece, with moments for everyone except Harry and Kes. I’m picturing Berman tossing a coin, deciding who to fire.

Three

Unlike “Distant Origin”, “Displaced” remembers to include an emotional subplot, focused on Tom and B’Elanna and their developing relationship. Well done, Lisa Klink

I have some stuff to say about Tom and B’Elanna

I saw an extremely clever Tumblr post the other day — whose link I promptly lost — pointing out that B’Elanna doesn’t actually have a wild, irrational temper. In fact, she only loses her cool when she’s provoked, often by the same men who are telling her how irrational and emotional she is.

“That’s very interesting,” I thought. “I wish I’d realised that myself, and I can’t wait to apply this theory to upcoming episodes.”

Then comes “Displaced”, where B’Elanna is ill-tempered because Tom has pressured her into “exploring her culture” via a holodeck program she clearly stated she wouldn’t enjoy. And while she could do with a refresher course on safe bat’leth handling, she’s not actually violent.

I generally like Tom/B’Elanna, but sometimes I wonder what it would look like if it was written by people who understand boundaries, and who treat B’Elanna’s emotions as something more than a puzzle for Tom to solve.

Oh, and I sure do have feelings about the way he fetishises her Klingon heritage here.

But this happens all the time with Klingons! It’s always Dax giving up Trill stuff to accommodate Worf, never B’Elanna exploring … whatever Tom’s culture is.

BASICALLY it’s a form of othering, and I don’t care for it.

Other observations

  • Unlike in “The Chute”, Janeway ensures that the other prisoners are also freed. Thank goodness.
  • Chakotay gets to take the lead for an act, and handles it with panache. Seeing how well he’s used in season 3, it really saddens me that his arc is essentially going to come to a screeching halt somewhere around season 5.
  • Even Memory Alpha doesn’t have much to say about this episode, but it does have a note from … oh, someone behind the scenes, I cannot possibly be expected to open another tab and find the actual quote … saying they wished the aliens had been abducting Voyager’s crew to eat them.
  • Actually, the most amazing thing about that is that it wasn’t Bryan Fuller saying this.

In conclusion

This is a solid episode, but to my mind, skippable. Or at least something to have on in the background while you’re otherwise engaged. Two habitats out of five.

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