Thursday, 17 October 2013

Review: Voyager 1.8: Ex Post Facto

Lidell Ren, the classical disillusioned seductress.
Star Trek Voyager - Season One, Episode Eight - Ex Post Facto
Written 31/5/13

Ex Post Facto plunges Voyager into a new genre, taking a look at Agatha Christie style interbellum detective stories - with a suitably sci-fi twist to proceedings. Larger than life characters and rather hilarious line reads feed into an attempt at discussion of justice and of life in general, pushing the boat out and producing an episode that, despite its silliness, has some really good ideas.
     Tom Paris is sentenced for murder on Banea, forced to relive the final moments of the man he supposedly killed every 14 hours in a vivid hallucination. As Kim is sent back to Voyager, he tells the tale; the two of them met with scientist Tolen Ren to fix one of Voyager's systems, and Paris was attracted to disillusioned wife Lidell. Supposedly, Tom was found kissing Lidell and then killed Tolen to cover his tracks. The crew protest his innocence, with Tuvok mind-melding with him to watch the vision himself. He discovers that he has been framed by an agent of the Baneans' enemies, The Numiri, and Tom is set free.
     The episode reads like a Film Noir script, often to hilarious effect. Lidell Ren is a stereotype through and through, and it's wonderful, with such lines like, "Maybe I kill myself slowly because I don't have the courage to do it quickly" and "ending a marriage... it's a quiet thing." I also loved that Tuvok got the chance to become a main player for the first time, investigating the case in a wonderfully dispassionate way. Tim Russ is one of the show's best players and I'm glad that he got the chance to make himself known.
Tom has his first vision.
     Ex Post Facto felt like a pretty decent investigative story, and despite the fact that it's been seen a million times before it was executed in such a way to make it fun. Voyager in general is at least good at that. I do find it odd that Voyager finds so many different diversions on its trip home (they stop off and look at something every episode, they're not exactly being urgent), and the troubles between the Baneans and Numiri would have been more interesting had we knew who they were, but in the early seasons of Voyager you just have to take what you can get.


NEXT WEEK: Voyager gets deep and talks about the Afterlife. It's Emanations.

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