Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Repentance”

It’s The Death Penalty Episode, with Jeff Kober doing Jeff Kober things. The episode is not as subtle as it could be, but it’s not as heavy-handed as it could be, either. But it doesn’t quite deliver the message it thinks it’s delivering, either. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch has some “Repentance.”

An excerpt:

Okay, it’s obvious that the Benkarans are meant to substitute for people of color who are disproportionately imprisoned and sentenced compared to white criminals. But instead of shining a light on this disparity, we find out that the Benkaran whom Neelix has befriended is not an innocent person being put to death, but a nasty-ass criminal just like Yediq said he was. He even tries a lame attempt to get the same consideration that Iko got—trying to claim that he, too, is mentally ill.

Meanwhile, Iko is a Nygean, one of the “mainstream” species, and he gets a redemption arc. So the equivalent to the white guy gets to be forgiven by the audience, if not by the victims, and the equivalent to the POC gets to be the asshole who stages a prison break and goes back on his word. This isn’t quite failing your saving roll versus social commentary, but it’s a very very low roll…

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