It’s time to play with dinosaurs! The Voth have a theory that they came from another planet far away, and when one scientist finds Hogan’s remains from “Basics, Part II,” he’s sure of it. But speaking truth to power doesn’t always end well, not even when you’ve got Chakotay arguing for your side. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch curses your sudden but inevitable betrayal with “Distant Origin.”
What I particularly like is that Gegen is our POV character. This episode is about him, and his quest to learn the truth about his people—and his conflict with the hidebound government of his people. In a year in which the disconnect between politics and science is particularly brutally sharp, this episode resonates. Odala isn’t interested in evidence, she’s only interested in maintaining the status quo, and she does so by dismissing the evidence as “just one person’s theory,” as if a theory wasn’t something heavily backed up by evidence. (If it’s not, it’s a hypothesis. Theories have the weight of research behind them.)
This episode also gives Robert Beltran a chance to shine, and he nails it. His quiet plea to Odala, his heartfelt explanation of how awesome the ancestral Voth had to have been, and how proud they all should be of them, is magnificently delivered. Concetta Tomei’s bland refutation of everything Gegen and Chakotay say is equally magnificent, perfectly embodying the hidebound politician who sounds so reasonable when she ignores reality.