Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky and Lisa Klink
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 3, Episode 6
Production episode 148
Original air date: October 9, 1996
Captain’s log. Voyager is ferrying a group of Enaran colonists back to their homeworld of Enara Prime. In exchange for getting them home in a fraction of time that their own slower ships would get them there, the Enarans provide Voyager with their superior energy-conversion technology.
Torres and Kim are working in engineering with two Enarans named Jora (who’s much older) and Jessen (who seems to have the hots for Kim). They knock off for the evening, and Kim suggests dinner. Jora begs off, wanting to just go to bed, and Torres hastily does the same when she realizes she’ll be a third wheel with Kim and Jessen.
When Torres goes to sleep, she finds herself in a very vivid dream in which she’s a young Enaran woman named Korenna having a secret torrid affair with a young Enaran man named Dathan.
The dream is sufficiently intense that Torres oversleeps and only awakens for her shift when Chakotay breaks into her quarters and wakes her up. Torres promises she’ll make up the time but, to his credit, Chakotay doesn’t care about that, he’s more worried about her. But she reassures him that it’s just because she’s having awesome sexy dreams.
However, as the days go onward, the dreams get more intense and seem to have a plot and narrative structure. Korenna’s father Jareth doesn’t approve of Dathan and doesn’t want her to have anything to do with him. Dathan’s part of a movement called the Regressives, who reject technology.
The Enarans are telepaths who are able to, in essence, download memories into people. One Enaran, Jor Brel, mistakes Janeway’s desire to learn how to play an Enaran musical instrument with permission to download his memories of how to play into her. Brel apologizes, which Janeway accepts, as it was a wonderful experience.
While on her way to engineering, Torres collapses in the corridor and has another dream, this one with Korenna receiving an academic award and then has a brief, clandestine meeting with Dathan. Kes finds her in the corridor and brings her to sickbay. The EMH reports that her brain has received a considerable amount of memories telepathically. He prescribes a cortical inhibitor. Torres wants to know the rest of the story, but the EMH doesn’t want to risk brain damage, so Torres acquiesces.
Janeway and Tuvok question Brel, who is shocked that any Enaran would do this without consent. Further, from the way Torres describes the dream, it could be a composite of various memories from all the Enarans on board that are bleeding into her subconscious for some reason.
Tuvok will continue to investigate, while Janeway orders Torres to take some time off and rest.
Deciding that she needs to risk brain damage to find out how the story ends, Torres removes the inhibitor. In her next dream, we find out that the Regressives are considered too dangerous to live on Enara Prime, and they’ve agreed to move to a colony world. However, it soon becomes clear that not all the Regressives are leaving willingly. When the Regressives are being processed onto the colony ship, Dathan’s name is called, but he’s nowhere to be found. Jareth accuses Korenna of warning him, but until his name was called, Korenna had no idea Dathan was going offworld. And then another Regressive resists going and there’s a riot, and Korenna is hit.
Torres wakes up with an injury on her face from the blow in the dream—one that is an exact match for the scar on Jora’s face. She immediately goes to Jora’s quarters and finds her collapsed on the deck. Jora reveals that she is Korenna and these are her memories—she must give them to Torres so that someone will know the truth who won’t deny it.
And then Torres is back in Korenna’s bedroom, playing a musical instrument. Dathan sneaks in, and says that he doesn’t want to go offworld, he’s heard that the Regressives aren’t being resettled, they’re being rounded up and killed. Nobody’s heard from the ones who’ve gone offworld, and all attempts to communicate with the Regressive colony have gone unanswered. Then Jareth enters; Dathan hides, and Jareth convinces Korenna that the Regressives are starting those rumors to avoid going to the colony, that they must be taken away to preserve their society. Korenna is convinced, and gives Dathan up.
Dathan and several other Regressives are arrested and put to death publicly. Korenna joins in the cheering at their punishment. We then jump to years later when Korenna is a teacher explaining to children that the Regressives all killed each other due to their stubbornness and they’re all gone now, thus preserving Enaran society.
Torres wakes up, and Jora is dead.
Janeway is throwing a going-away party in the mess, which Torres interrupts and accuses the Enarans of rewriting their history to erase the atrocity they committed. Brel and the other older Enarans are in denial, however, and the younger Enarans like Jessen refuse to believe it.
The party ends awkwardly, with Torres accusing Brel of killing Jora to cover up the truth. However, the EMH’s autopsy reveals no foul play. The Enarans disembark and Voyager prepares to go on their way once they’re gone. However, while Janeway can’t force the Enarans to confront the truth of their history, she encourages Torres to share her story with the other Enarans.
Torres goes to Jessen and they link their minds so Jessen can receive Torres’ memories. And Torres shares with Jessen what Jora shared with her.
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? The Enarans have super-duper energy-conversion technology, which they share with Voyager in exchange for a ride home. The nature of this technology is never discussed, nor will it ever be referenced again.
There’s coffee in that nebula! Janeway is very taken by the Enaran music, and learns how to play Brel’s instrument via their telepathic sharing of memories. She also encourages Torres to tell the story Jora died telling her to anyone who’ll listen.
Half and half. Torres is chosen by Jora to be the receptacle of her memories, probably because Jora recognizes that Torres won’t be bound by politeness, y’know, ever.
Mr. Vulcan. Tuvok expresses a great deal of curiosity about Enaran telepathy, and he also promises to investigate Torres’ dreams.
Everybody comes to Neelix’s. When their arrival on Enara Prime is imminent, Neelix throws a party in the mess hall where he serves only Enaran food, redecorates the place to look Enaran, and also insists that everyone dress in Enaran clothes instead of their uniforms. It’s actually quite a nifty little bit.
No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Kim and Jessen are shown to be into each other in the teaser, which is barely referenced again after that. Meanwhile, Torres experiences the passionate romance Korenna/Jora had with Dathan—as does Jessen at the end.
“The situation will resolve itself.”
“And yet, you fully intend to continue investigating.”
“I wonder how long it’s been since I did anything that surprised you.”
–Janeway and Tuvok doing the usual banter, with Janeway apparently forgetting that she surprised him just a couple episodes ago.
Welcome aboard. Eve H. Brenner, having played an elderly telepath in TNG’s “Violations,” plays another elderly telepath here as Jora. Charles Esten, having played a young Klingon who sees visions in TNG’s “Rightful Heir,” plays a young Enaran troublemaker here as Dathan. Legendary character actor Eugene Roche plays Brel while Athena Massey plays Jessen.
But the big guest is the great Bruce Davison in his first of two Trek roles as Jareth. He’ll be back in Enterprise’s “The Seventh” as Menos.
Trivial matters: This was originally a story that Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky came up with when they were both on staff on The Next Generation, and they had conceived of it as a vehicle for Deanna Troi. The story never got to the production stage, and Lisa Klink dusted it off and rewrote it for the Voyager crew.
Set a course for home. “I don’t think satisfying your curiosity is worth brain damage, Lieutenant.” I want to like this episode a lot more than I do. When I was watching it, I was very much into it, at least for most of the episode’s run-time, and fully expected to say nice things, and then I got to the climax and it all kinda fell apart, and I finished the episode being annoyed by it and fully expecting to write a scathing review, and then I wrote the plot summary and remembered all that was good about it.
All right, for the first four acts, this is excellent. Roxann Dawson, scripter Lisa Klink, and director Winrich Kolbe deserve a great deal of credit here, as Dawson does a superlative job of playing Korenna. This isn’t Torres inserted into someone else’s life, this is very specifically her being Korenna and she is fantastic at it. On top of that, Kolbe does his usual brilliant job of creating the atmosphere of Enara Prime, with Klink’s script doing a fine job of economically introducing us to this culture. On top of that, you’ve got Bruce Davison, who is never not wonderful, perfectly embodying the tyrannical father.
But then Act 5 kinda ruins it. The entire scene where Torres bursts into the middle of a party and starts accusing the guests of honor of genocide just falls completely flat. Especially since the genocide itself doesn’t have the oomph that it should. We see the Enarans execute some agitators, including Dathan, and then later Torres-as-Korenna tells the kids that the Regressives killed themselves off, but it loses something in that particular telling, and Torres blurting it all out in the middle of a party just doesn’t work, and provides nothing like the kind of catharsis that the script wants it to. It’s just awkward.
The ending, mind you, is perfect. Torres going to pass on the story to Jessen is exactly the right thing to do. Because, as both Torres and George Santayana have said, those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And cultures live by their stories, something that has been the subject of some great Trek episodes in the past, notably “Birthright II” and “The Inner Light.”
I just wish the climax had worked better.
Warp factor rating: 6
Keith R.A. DeCandido’s latest Star Trek project was announced this week: he’ll be one of the contributors to the Star Trek Adventures Klingon Empire Core Rulebook. He’ll be talking about it as part of the “Day of Honor” virtual conference on Saturday the 11th of July, on Modiphius’s panel at 3:15pm Eastern Time, alongside Rick Sternbach, Jim Johnson, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Derek Tyler Attico, and others. Keith will also be doing a panel on The Mandalorian as part of the virtual “Shore Leave 41.5” this weekend, also on Saturday the 11th, at 1:30pm Eastern Time, along with Mary Fan, Christopher D. Abbott, Glenn Hauman, and Laura Ware.