Star Trek: Voyager – 3×20 – “Favorite Son”

Star Trek: Voyager
“Favorite Son”
Originally Broadcast March 19th, 1997
Reviewed by Chakoteya

The Story

Stardate: 50732.4

Voyager is mapping the sector, when Kim experiences ‘deja-vu’ over a trinary star, and a ship hails them, welcoming them to Nasari space. Everything seems fine and friendly, but Kim insists they are hostile and takes over weapons, firing on the other vessel. In the ensuing battle, Torres is badly injured before Voyager inflicts enough damage to drive the Nasari away. Kim insists that he detected them charging weapons, that he knew the whole welcome was a trick, but cannot explain how. Janeway suspends him from duty while Tuvok studies the sensor logs, just in case.

Down in Sickbay, Torres has stopped breathing. Kes and the EMH are working to snatch her from the jaws of death when Harry comes in to have a cut treated. He blames himself for her injuries, and is losing the certainty he had had up on the bridge. His dreams are full of images, including his mother taking care of him while he was ill, but he wakes up when she tells him that she is suspending him from duty. He goes to bathe his face and discovers some freckles on his forehead. The EMH cannot find a cause, but knows that it isn’t contagious. Scans reveal that Harry’s blood chemistry is changing too, and he worries that his recent behaviour might be being caused by the same thing that has caused the spots. Torres awakes and thinks that they make him look cute, like a targ. She doesn’t blame him for her injuries, which makes him feel a little better.

In Captain Janeway’s ready room, Ensign Kim takes full responsibility for his actions of the previous day, and the Captain tells him that he was right, the Nasari had been charging weapons. Now all they need to do is work out how he knew, and if it is connected to what is happening to him. Tuvok interrupts their discussion to announce three more Nasari ships headed towards them. Kim and the Captain go to the bridge, and the Ensign looks at a star chart, then suggests that they head towards one particular star system. As he has been right so far, they set a course.

Kim recognises the planet as Taresia, an image from his dream. A ship comes from there and disables all three Nasari ships before hailing Voyager and welcoming Harry home.

‘Captain’s log 50732.4. The Taresians have escorted us back to their homeworld so we can continue to investigate their claim that Ensign Kim is a member of their race.’

Lyris, the leader of the group, welcomes Harry back formally, and explains that he was conceived on Taresia, then the embryo was taken to Earth by his father and secretly implanted in his human mother. His genes were programmed to bring him back one way or another, along with various racial traits – customs, appearance, language. He is quickly surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women, all competing for his attention. Paris talks to the only male Taresian present – Taymon, another recent returnee – and learns that the population is 90% female. Meanwhile, Lyris continues to explain about Harry’s inheritance to Janeway and Tuvok, including an instinctive distrust of the Nasari. She recommends that they stay until the three ships get fed up waiting and go away again.

Janeway and Tuvok take a sample of Taresian genes to Voyager to compare with Kim’s, and the EMH confirms the match. Programming them with specific knowledge is an amazing feat of genetic engineering, but possible. As the Nasari only seem to be hostile to Kim, the Captain decides to see if she can negotiate some kind of truce while Harry is on Taresia. Down on the planet, Harry is talking with Taymon, exchanging stories of how they found their way home. He is introduced to Malia, Taymon’s first wife. He will be marrying three women that night, and encourages Harry to indulge himself while he is there. Eliann, a brunette, begins massaging Harry’s shoulders and telling him that he could be happy with them. She suggests that he change into something more comfortable, and he strokes her cheek with the back of his hand – the Taresian way of saying ‘thank you’.

Talks are going well with Captain Alben, and he tells Janeway that he doubts Kim will be returning to Voyager. No one who comes home to Taresia ever leaves, and he will fire on any ship carrying a Taresian. Voyager returns to the planet to discover a network of satellites has been activated, generating an impenetrable polaron grid. Their communications are also being blocked.

It is evening on Taresia, and in the middle of a circle of women, and Harry, Taymon and his three wives are going through the joining ceremony. They paint circles on his temples and throat before blindfolding him and tying his hands behind his back and leading him away. After the ceremony, Harry tries contacting Voyager, but Lyris suggests that they are still talking with the Nasari, and tells him that he is welcome to stay the night.

On Voyager, the defensive grid is proving difficult to breach, and the EMH has important information for the Captain and First Officer. It turns out that an inspection of the transporter logs have shown that Kim only acquired the Taresian DNA on or shortly after stardate 50698, on an away mission to collect vorillium. The conclusion is that his transformation is the result of a retrovirus, and that the Taresians story is a lie.

Eliann shows Harry to his room, and massages essence of rekka flowers into his forehead to help him sleep. He dreams of his shipmates, and his mother tells him that he knows where his true home is, before Eliann and Rinna begin making love to him. As Eliann puts the blindfold over his eyes, he wakes up to discover the two women really are in his room. They insist that he has a duty to stay and pass on his genes, but he still wants to return to Voyager. After thinking for a moment, he kisses them both, then invites Eliann to sit in a chair while he ties her up and gags her, suggesting that it could be exciting, and they did say that they want to make him happy. Rinna starts to untie Eliann so he knocks her out with a candlestick and makes his way to Taymon’s room. There is no reply so he forces his way in to discover the young man’s desiccated remains. Malia comes in and Harry demands the truth from her. It turns out that they arrange for alien males to be transformed into Taresians, so that they can extract enough genetic material for conception. There are no males, because the process kills them. Harry takes Malia hostage.

Up on Voyager, they have found away through the planetary defence by reconfiguring the shields, but they’ll only have a few seconds to find Harry before the patrol ship catches up with them. Chakotay is at ops, doing the scans, while Kim is fighting Lyris and a group of women armed with staves. As they surround him, and Lyris tells him that he has nowhere to go, the transporter is activated and he is snatched from the middle of the circle. Harry may be safe, but there are three Nasari ships coming from one side and the Taresian patrol ship from the other. Fortunately the Nasari are more interested in getting at their old enemy than Voyager, and Paris is able to pilot them away from the conflict safely.

Now fully human again, Kim is telling Neelix the story of Odysseus and the Sirens as an explanation for what had happened. He had found the notion of being something more than just Ensign Kim somewhat exciting, and wishes he could be more confident with women, like Tom is. Paris doesn’t see what’s so bad about being himself and claims that Harry is his role model, reciting his virtues reliability and politeness as they leave the mess hall together.

Review

It had to be young Harry as the centre of this story. No other main character would have had the innocence, the belief that he was still the Someone Special that his mother had always told her only child that he was. This time though, he doesn’t fall for the wrong woman. Despite their near-slavish attention to him, he never totally succumbs. Baby wants to go home to Mama, or at least the nearest equivalent – Kathryn Janeway.

It could have been a very sexual episode. There’s lots of handling, and even a touch of bondage (gasp), but somehow it never quite gets there. There’s something slightly antiseptic and false about it. I blame the nice tidy sets and the small number of people we get to see. If this society is so desperate for males that they go to all the trouble of booby-trapping distant planets and altering aliens, I’d have liked to know why, and how they got into this state in the first place.

Technobabble gripe – just what was the Taresian defence? One moment it’s a polaron grid whose density is too high to penetrate, then it’s a tachyon grid that can have holes smaller than a shuttlecraft punched in it, and finally the whole ship can push through with just a change to the shields. Please!

All in all, it’s a nice insight into Harry, his attitudes, his relationship with his mother and now his Captain. The final scene with Tom tells a lot too. As for the rest, well, average. I suppose the men may enjoy watching the lovely ladies, but that doesn’t really do it for me.

Grade: 4/10

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