Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Innocence”


Tuvok is stuck on a moon with three bratty kids, and he does a lot better than Picard did in the same situation. Janeway has to navigate a difficult first-contact situation, but Neelix is off the ship, so she’s got a chance. It’s actually a really good episode until the stupid surprise twist at the end that doesn’t work at all. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch maintains its “Innocence.”

An excerpt:

This one is personal for me, because I spent the years between 2008 and 2016 watching my grandmother suffer from dementia, and the notion that running around and playing and asking silly questions and demanding things you can’t have and being scared of monsters is exactly the same as dementia or Alzheimer’s or senility or whatever (the script soft-pedals the notion, which doesn’t help) is at best ignorant and at worst insulting. The biggest issue with the analogizing of childishness to senility is that throughout the episode, Tressa, Corin, and Elani are completely coherent. Their sentences follow from one to the other, they’re aware of their surroundings, and they remember what they just said a minute ago.

And yes, they’re aliens, and yes, you can excuse why it’s not the same because of that, but the script is constructed in such a way that we’re supposed to think that the kids were acting like that due to the symptoms of old age, and we’re supposed to recognize it from human experiences. Star Trek aliens are almost never intended to be truly alien anyhow, they’re generally meant to be analogues for a type of human behavior, and this is a prime example of it. This was an attempt by people who don’t really get science fiction beyond “oooh, it’s weird space stuff” to do science fiction and failing at it.

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