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Elogium (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)
"Elogium"
VOY, Episode 2x04
Production number: 118
First aired: 18 September 1995
17th of 168 produced in VOY
19th of 168 released in VOY
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 168 released in VOY Remastered  
375th of 728 released in all
Ipasaphor
Teleplay By
Kenneth Biller and Jeri Taylor

Story By
Jimmy Diggs & Steve J. Kay

Directed By
Winrich Kolbe
48921.3 (2371)
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Voyager encounters a swarm of spaceborne aliens, while Kes and Neelix must decide whether to have a child.

Summary

Teaser

Aboard the USS Voyager, Chakotay is walking down a corridor to the turbolift. As the door of the turbolift opens, Chakotay catches two crew members kissing inside. Embarrassed, they quickly exit. Behind Chakotay comes Tom Paris and Kes, carrying bushels of cabbage for the mess hall. Paris asks what went on, Chakotay responds that it was an example of "indiscreet shipboard fraternization." Paris expresses regret at missing it. They proceed to the mess hall.

In the mess hall, Paris and Kes drop the cabbage off with Neelix, who is visibly upset and jealous with the friendliness between Paris and Kes, perceiving that Paris is making a move on Kes. He questions her about it and Kes emphasizes that Neelix is seeing things that aren't really there.

On the bridge, Captain Janeway tells Paris and Chakotay about strange energy readings. Harry Kim says they appear to be a magnetic disturbance. They are going to investigate it. Janeway comments that Chakotay seems preoccupied. He relates the turbolift incident and wonders if they should establish a policy regarding fraternization. Janeway is hesitant about such an action, noting that while the couple in question might be encouraged to show more discretion, Starfleet has always been hesitant to regulate such matters. Chakotay points out that relationships might cause more problems down the road that would not appear under normal circumstances. Janeway observes that they are a long way from home and eventually, people will begin to pair off. Chakotay asks, "Including you?" Janeway responds that as captain, she doesn't have that luxury and she hopes to be home before Mark gives her up for dead.

At that time, the disturbance comes into visual range. They notice that the disturbance is actually space-dwelling lifeforms. They decide to take a closer look, so Janeway orders Paris to take the ship into bio-scanner range.

Kes, working in the hydroponics garden, is munching on some of the beetles used for cross-pollination. She is horrified as she looks and realizes what she's doing.

Act One

The bridge crew estimates the number of lifeforms present in the cloud to be less than 2,000. They are moving at an average speed of 1,000 kilometers per second. Janeway and Chakotay observe the movement to be similar to protozoa. They do not have a digestive system as such, but their outer layer appears to be porous so as to absorb nutrients directly from space. Ensign Wildman speculates that the rapid movement is due to the low density of matter in that area of space.

Meanwhile, Kes is gorging herself on all manner of food from the replicator when her door chime rings. Quickly hiding the bowls of food, she asks the person to come in, who happens to be Neelix. Neelix presents Kes with a bouquet of flowers, apologizing for his jealousy. Kes just wishes he would trust her. Neelix says that it is not her he has a problem trusting it is "him" (referring to Lt. Paris).

Scouring the room for a vase in which to put the flowers, Neelix discovers the dishes Kes was hiding. Upon questioning, Kes reveals it to be a Terran dish to which Ensign Wildman introduced her: mashed potatoes with butter. Kes considers them great and can't stop eating them (she's had six bowls), but Neelix thinks they're awful. Kes explains that she put nitrogenated soil in them (saying this while eating two pieces of fruit simultaneously). After hearing about her eating the beetles, Neelix calls sickbay to prepare for an "emergency patient." Kes claims to be fine - she just can't stop eating (while she proceeds to eat the flowers Neelix gave her). Neelix picks her up and carries her off, kicking and screaming.

On the bridge, the creatures have changed course and are accelerating. Janeway tells Paris to back off and give them room, but they find that they are actually accelerating, being pulled by the magnetic resonance field created by the creatures. Upon trying to reverse thrusters, they find the helm controls are not responding and the shields are non-functional. They have been pulled into the swarm.

Act Two

Life support is functioning, but there's a fluctuation in the EPS grids. Janeway asks B'Elanna Torres about possible ways of getting free without harming the swarm with the warp engines; Torres suggests a variation on a targ scoop, used on Klingons ground vehicles to disperse targ herds in their path. The deflector array would be used to emit an inverse magnetic resonance field directed at the swarm. Janeway agrees.

In sickbay, Neelix is panicking with Kes on the surgical biobed. He is worried that the beetles or the flowers were poisonous, but The Doctor states emphatically that there are no toxins in her system. Neelix badgers The Doctor about a possible reason for her eating all these "strange foods"; The Doctor suggests a nutrient deficiency is a possible answer. Constantly having to move Neelix out of the way, he notes the elevated temperature and increased electrophoretic activity. When Neelix insists they be brought down, The Doctor points out that there is increased electrophoretic activity in the atmosphere in general because of the swarm. When Neelix insists The Doctor do something, The Doctor throws him out of sickbay, as it is impossible for him to "think," much less treat his patient.

Neelix promptly goes to the bridge, where Janeway is hovering over Ensign Wildman and the science station. He demands to know if it is appropriate for a hologram to throw a "flesh-and-blood" person out of sickbay, as his "loved one" is sick and "obviously" needs his comfort. Janeway asks if Kes is sick. Neelix confirms this, stating that "the hologram" doesn't know what's wrong, but thinks it has something to do with the creatures. Janeway asks how the creatures are affecting Kes. Neelix says that's what he was trying to find out when The Doctor "summarily dismissed" him from sickbay.

About that time, The Doctor calls from sickbay, asking Janeway to come because there's a problem. When Janeway and Neelix get there, Kes has erected a force field around The Doctor's office, keeping even The Doctor out. The Doctor tells Janeway that Kes' fever has increased and her pulse and blood pressure are dangerously high. He also notes a strange growth on her back that was not there the last time he examined her.

Janeway convinces Kes to lower the force field and let her in. Kes runs to Janeway's open embrace. Kes confirms a growth on her back, saying it is the sac where her child will grow. It is the elogium, a time of change equivalent to puberty in Humans. Kes says that it is much too early as it usually happens between the ages of four and five and she isn't even two yet. As Janeway tries to console her, Kes point out that the Elogium only occurs once – if Kes is ever going to have a child, it has to be now.

Act Three

Chakotay reports to the captain that there has been no change – they are still being pulled along by the swarm. Kim reports that all systems are functioning within normal parameters. Torres' last report on the modifications to the main deflector was that they'd be ready within another half-hour. Janeway asks Chakotay to join her in her ready room.

In the ready room, Janeway relates Kes' condition to Chakotay, and that she has to make the decision within the next forty to fifty hours. Kes is going to talk to Neelix, but Janeway comments that there are a number of factors involved, including complications with having the elogium this early, whether they are genetically compatible and whether Neelix even has any intentions of being a father. Janeway calls Chakotay's concerns about fraternization "prophetic."

Chakotay notes that he wasn't even thinking about procreation, but considers it inevitable. If it takes the predicted 75 years to get home, they will begin needing replacements in about half that time. Janeway wonders if they are even able to provide the necessary things for raising children, not to mention the reality of a starship moving through possibly hostile territory. Chakotay asks if she is ready to tell people they can't have children. Janeway comments that she can't do that. She has made it clear to Kes that it is her choice whether to have a child.

Kes suffering through elogium I

Kes suffers through the Elogium

Neelix is trying to wrap his head around the notion that Kes must conceive now or not at all. Kes says she needs him to help her decide, as she would want to mate with him. This catches Neelix off guard. He asks about the dangers of conceiving a child at her age. Kes responds that she doesn't know, as she's never known anyone as young as her to have a baby.

Neelix asks if she would be "terribly unhappy" if she never had a child, to which Kes responds with an emphatic "Yes," then backing her way down to "I don't know." She had always assumed she'd be a mother some day, just not so soon. When Kes asks Neelix if he ever thought he'd be a father some day, he responds that he never really gave it much thought. He talks about never having had the stability in lifestyle for raising a child. When Kes points out that it would be different now, on a starship, Neelix backpedals and talks about the difficulties of raising a child on a starship, leading Kes to conclude that Neelix doesn't want a child. Neelix again backpedals, saying he's just trying to look at all sides, pointing out that someone would have to make sure the "little guy" didn't stick his finger in an EM socket and wasn't playing with the plasma injectors (which Kes says is called parenting) and that Kes would have to give up her medical studies (which Kes immediately refutes, pointing out that he's just making excuses).

Kes points out some bumps on her hands, which, according to her, make the mating bond possible. If they begin, they must stay bonded for six days. Once it, the ipasaphor, appears, they only have fifty hours, so she needs to know his answer. Neelix is relieved to hear this and says that they can "sleep on it." Kes, on the other hand, is visibly disappointed.

In the mess hall, Neelix is serving lunch, obviously distracted as he misheard a crew member to say they wanted "lots of pepper" in their meal. Tuvok enters and asks about the lunch special, which Neelix says he didn't get around to making, but instead there is the leftover soup from the night before. Tuvok assents.

Neelix follows Tuvok to his seat, asking him what it is like to be a father. Tuvok initially responds that "the question is so broad, it is difficult to make a response." Neelix asks about the responsibility and such involved in parenting and when Tuvok agrees, Neelix concludes that it is more trouble than it is worth. Tuvok indicates that he is aware of the present situation. He says that if Neelix has doubts, he should likely not enter into it. However, he points out that fatherhood can have "infinite rewards."

Neelix then begins to think that raising a son could be "fun," as he could teach him things such as survival skills, piloting and "romantic techniques." Tuvok points out that there is an equal chance of having a daughter. Neelix says he doesn't have anything he would teach a daughter. Tuvok asks why it would be different than what he would teach a son, and when Neelix argues that she would learn more from her mother, Tuvok indicates that his one daughter benefits as much from him as his three sons, and expresses regret at being so far removed at this time.

Later on, Torres comes onto the bridge to tell Janeway they are ready to try the inverted field. When they do, the swarm begins attaching itself to the warp nacelles, draining energy from ship systems and causing guidance, tactical and navigation systems to fail. They have only a few seconds before clearing the swarm, but Tuvok detects a massive magnetic mass moving toward them from the port bow. Outside, a much larger creature similar to the others approaches.

Act Four

Unsure as to the exact reason for the size difference, Janeway decides to continue out of the swarm, hoping that the creatures on the nacelles will drop back and rejoin the swarm. Instead, the larger creature moves with them, generating an electrically-charged plasma stream. Janeway orders full stop.

They observe the smaller creatures attaching themselves to the larger one as they did to the warp nacelles. Kim observes that the plasmas stream had nearly the same subspace signature as their nacelles, leading Janeway and Chakotay to conclude that the creatures are attracted to it like some animals are to pheromones. Chakotay comments that it is possible the creatures mistook Voyager for a potential mate.

Meanwhile, Neelix comes to Kes saying that he is ready and willing to mate with her. When asked what is next, Kes tells him that a parent performs a ritual wherein her feet are massaged until her tongue swells. In lieu of a parent, Kes is going to have The Doctor do it. Neelix expresses some reservation, first in that The Doctor isn't "real" ("he's very real to me," replies Kes) and then in general ("it's a ritual, someone has to do it"). Neelix then assents.

In sickbay, while massaging Kes' feet, The Doctor analyzes the medical properties of the ritual. Kes asks The Doctor if she's doing the right thing, noting that her father would normally be performing the ritual and that she's feeling lonely right now. The Doctor points out his inadequacy in discussing parenting. Kes says that while Neelix was opposed to the idea, she was sure she wanted it, but now that he's on board, she isn't so sure. She wonders if she's doing it merely because she can. The Doctor points out that it is normal, that species use the urges to survive. Kes begins voicing doubts, her ability to care and show responsibility for a child.

On the bridge, as the crew tries to deal with their situation, it is suspected that the larger creature may consider them a rival, hence the plasma stream as aggressive posturing. Janeway orders a short impulse burst to get away, but instead of getting away, the creature comes toward them. They are losing power and the creature hits them.

Act Five

In light of the aggressive action, Tuvok agrees with Torres that retaliation may be in order. While Janeway continues to try to avoid aggressive action, Paris notes that the feeling is not mutual. Janeway has Tuvok launch a class four probe. Another plasma burst ensues, dropping shields to 64%. Torres and Tuvok indicate that an equivalent response to the creature as was given them would be the best action, that is, ramming him. Another bump by the creature and the shields drop to 47%. Janeway tells Paris to use maneuvering thrusters to bump the creature. The bump results in a bigger one by the creature. Janeway tells Tuvok to prepare a field of photon charges to show the creature they mean business. Chakotay wonders if they need to rethink their strategy, as each aggressive action on their part results in one more so by the creature. He suggests acting as the other creatures and demonstrating submissive behavior. They decide to go into a roll and vent plasma residue to mimic the behavior of the smaller creatures. At first, it looks like nothing happens, but then the creatures start detaching and moving off. "It appears we have lost our sex appeal," Tuvok tells the captain. Janeway jokes to Chakotay that if she has any questions about mating behavior, she'll know where to go.

Meanwhile, Kes enters the mess hall, where Neelix is chopping food. She asks to help, but Neelix declines. Kes notes that Neelix has been very quiet since she decided not to conceive, noting that Neelix seems disappointed. Neelix observes that once he'd decided to become a father, he was looking forward to it. Kes points out that he might have his chance someday. Neelix is puzzled, but Kes says that The Doctor believes that the elogium was a false alarm and that she'll be able to conceive again, at the right age. Neelix says, excitedly, "You mean, we might still be able to have a daughter?" Kes responds, "or a son," but Neelix says that he definitely wants a daughter, one who looks just like Kes. She kisses and hugs him.

"Captain's log, stardate 48921.3. I continue to wonder about the issue of procreation aboard the ship. Certainly, it's wrong to interfere with the private lives and decisions of the crew, yet I remain concerned about the environment we could provide for any child born here."

As Janeway ponders the issues recently raised by Kes in her Ready room, and feels for the person she left behind in the Alpha Quadrant, Ensign Wildman enters, clearly nervous, saying she felt she should inform her of her 'physical condition'. Janeway is confused, as Wildman states that she and her husband (who is still at Deep Space 9) were trying for months and she's only just found out. Janeway realizes that Wildman is pregnant, as the Ensign notes that she knows Voyager isn't the best place to have a baby, but it is the only thing she has left of her husband. Janeway, knowing she can't stop Wildman from having her baby and isn't willing too, offers congratulations as the two exchange worried smiles knowing the issue of officers having children on the ship has suddenly gone from a possibility to very real.

Memorable Quotes

"It appears we have lost our sex appeal, captain."

- Tuvok


"What was that all about?"
"I'd call it an example of indiscreet shipboard fraternization."
"Really? Sorry I missed it."
"Deck six!"

- Tom Paris and Chakotay, on the two crewmen kissing in the turbolift


"Good work commander. In the future, if I have any questions about mating behavior, I'll know where to go."

- Captain Janeway


"If we vent plasma residue, it might make us look blue."

- Harry Kim


"It's not my intention to harm the creature."
"The feeling definitely isn't mutual."

- Janeway, just before Voyager is rammed by the lifeform and Tom Paris' response


"You can't mean my body lacks dirt?"

- Kes


"However, I must point out that as illogical as it seems, being a father can have infinite rewards. Far more than would seem possible. My children occupy a significant portion of my thoughts, now more than ever."

- Tuvok

Background Information

Introductory Details

Story and Script

  • This episode began as a story outline by freelance writers Jimmy Diggs and Steve J. Kay. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 50) The storyline came to Jimmy Diggs one morning while he was reminiscing about a strange experience that had occurred when he had been serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. One starless night, the captain of his ship, which was about to pull into port after a long tour of duty, ordered that the crew clean the craft for an upcoming inspection and that – because there was no full moon nor many stars – the vessel be illuminated with its own lights. Diggs was one of the deckhands who helped with the cleanup operation and noticed that the bright lights of the ship were attracting a large school of fish, a collection that had grown to become thousands of marine animals by the time the ship had docked. Diggs remembered, "The way the fish glistened in the water from the lights, it seemed, surreal. It felt like we were in outer space surrounded by millions of moving stars, and we were on a starship, our own, Enterprise." His memory of that event, having remained with Diggs for years, inspired him to suggest – early one morning when he was in a story pitch meeting with Executive Producer Jeri Taylor and Supervising Producer Brannon Braga – the notion of small space creatures being attracted to Voyager (due to its resonance signature) and wreaking havoc on the ship. [1]
  • At the same meeting, there was some question as to how Voyager's crew would rid the starship of the swarm, which prevented the craft from engaging warp, and Jeri Taylor brought up the idea of Kes' coming-of-age tale, and her need to mate, as the episode's 'B' story. Diggs then came up with a humorous line of dialogue. "You know, I sold the story on a tag line," he recalled. "I said, when the crew discovers a way to rid themselves of the creatures and the beings eventually drift away from the vessel, Tuvok can say, 'Captain, I believe that we've lost our sex appeal.' That made Brannon [Braga] laugh, and say the magic word, 'Sold.' Star Trek bought my very first story because of that one, funny, tag line." [2]
  • Once his story was bought, Jimmy Diggs made a simple request, writing a letter to Jeri Taylor which asked that a character in the story be named after a certain person who Diggs wanted to honor. [3] The character of Samantha Wildman was thus named in memory of a seven-year-old girl organ donor whose kidney, several years beforehand, had been used to save the life of his wife, Linette. ([4]; Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 284) Since the young Samantha Wildman had liked animals, the character was given the specialty of xenobiology. [5]
  • Also following the story's purchase, Jeri Taylor wrote a seven-page treatment of the storyline. (Delta Quadrant, p. 56) She subsequently scripted a teleplay for the episode and used the episode as an early script assignment for Kenneth Biller, whose work on the episode ultimately won him a place on Star Trek: Voyager's writing staff as executive story editor. His task was to rewrite the teleplay that Taylor had already scripted. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 50)
  • The challenge was presented to Ken Biller almost immediately after he was referred to Jeri Taylor by a friend of his, René Echevarria. Recounting how he got the assignment, Biller explained, "Usually when something like this happens, you think you'll hear something from somebody in a few months. But she called me the next day and said, 'I really liked your writing and I want to give you a script!' And I said, 'Great!' and immediately panicked, because I didn't know what the hell I was doing." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 48)
  • Simplifying the episode's themes reassured Ken Biller that he was up to the challenge. He said, "So they sent me a premise for a story. I read it, and panicked. I thought, 'I can't write this.' But then I started looking at it and decided it really wasn't about space creatures. It was about eating and sex. And I thought, 'Well, I can write about eating and sex,' and suddenly I had a handle on it." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 299) In essence, Biller's reaction was "a show about eating and sex – these are things I know a lot about." (Delta Quadrant, p. 56)
  • Ken Biller thereafter began working on the script. The episode was titled "The Alamak" before he came on-board, changing to "Elogium" during the story process. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78) Another early working title for the installment was "The Running". [6] Biller worked through the story process with the series' writing staff. He recalled, "So I went home and wrote a draft of my script." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78) Recalling when this was, Biller noted, "I pretty much wrote that script when the pilot ["Caretaker"] was being shot in August [1994]." At the time, Biller was unaware that he was being tested by the other writers nor that writing the teleplay would lead to him joining the series' writing staff. He admitted, "The truth is, I had no sense at the time that I was doing anything other than writing an episode, getting my $15,000 and going home. I didn't have a sense that I was auditioning to be on the show." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 48) Biller also stated, "I thought I'd take my script money and go home. I had no sense at that point this was going to turn into an ongoing thing or that there was even a staff position available. I was just a freelance writer who got a gig and I was happy about it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 77)
  • As Ken Biller worked on the script, Jeri Taylor gave him rewrite notes. She was responsible for much of the story material regarding the elogium itself, such as Kes concealing herself in The Doctor's office, her dialogue with him, and the subsequent foot massage. (Delta Quadrant, p. 56) Ken Biller dealt with the plot-thread that concerns the space-dwelling organisms. (Delta Quadrant, p. 56; Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 284)
  • Some of Kes' encounter with puberty was intended to be metaphorical for the controversial issue of teenage pregnancy. Ken Biller explained, "There is a little metaphor in there about teen pregnancy. Does Kes, just because she is capable of having a child, have to make the decision to have a child? It's certainly one of the biggest social problems of our day. I'm not saying we weren't trying to tell a good story too, but sometimes what happens is you get an interesting sci-fi idea like Kes going through puberty, and as you begin to write it you discover parallels and themes." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 79)
  • The writing staff and Ken Biller decided how intense to show the relationship between Kes and Neelix. "That was a big discussion," Biller recalled. "I wanted them to be living together and doing it, but Jeri [Taylor] and Rick [Berman] had some concerns that she is so young. Are we sending the right message to say that they are screwing? Isn't it more interesting if we show the time they have to first confront this issue? [....] We [ultimately] suggested the bizarreness of alien sex. For example, they will have to be bonded for seven days and you see the look on Neelix's face that he was metaphorically going to have to keep it up for seven days. So we were trying to play with the weirdness of alien sexuality." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 80)
  • After writing his first draft, Ken Biller was asked to attend a meeting regarding the episode. He recalled, "They called me in for a notes meeting." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78) Biller continued, "I turned in my first draft, and they told me they really liked it a lot–and then proceeded to give me three hours of notes, which seemed to bely the fact that they liked it a lot!" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 48) He elaborated, "I was told the response was very good, but the first words out of Michael Piller's mouth were, 'I don't think the teaser works at all.' I got so many notes I couldn't believe it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78) Subsequently, the realization that he was being tested slowly dawned on him. He remembered, "I began to have the sense that I was being tested; they gave me another couple of weeks to do a revision, which I did." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 48)
  • The writing staffers who were already working on Voyager were very impressed by the technical aspects of the rewritten script draft. "After I did my rewrite," Biller noted, "Jeri Taylor said they loved how I handled the tech and asked if I had a science background. I said I specifically went to Brown University so I did not have to take a science course. I just made it all up [for the episode]." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78)
  • In fact, Biller's work on the episode impressed the producers so much that he was offered the place on Voyager's writing staff. He explained, "The day after I did the rewrite, I got the call from Jeri asking me if I was interested in coming on staff." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, pp. 48-49) This occurred in early October 1994, the week before filming began on the regular episodes of Voyager's first season (i.e., discounting the feature-length "Caretaker"). (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, pp. 47-48) Brannon Braga later commented, "Ken is the only writer in years who turned in a draft we thought was terrific, and when you see someone who shows a glimmer of potential in grasping Star Trek, you hire him." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78)

Cast and Characters

  • Actress Jennifer Lien thought highly of the way in which this episode developed her character of Kes. "I think the progress that they made as far as delving into the procreation process of the Ocampan species and what goes on inside Kes' mind and body is great. It really took my character to a different level," Lien commented. "The writing and interaction with various members of the crew were both very productive and informative as far as finding out more about Kes and her people." (TV Zone, special #23, p. 19)
  • Similarly, Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew liked how this episode explores the character of Kes. "It was a splendid show for Kes," Mulgrew enthused. "It showed my involvement with her on a very female level, a very maternal level, which I liked. The show gave Kes many different ways to go, which God knows Jennifer [Lien] can do. She is a constant and wonderful surprise." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #5, p. 24)
  • Director Winrich Kolbe was also impressed by Jennifer Lien's performance in "Elogium", remarking, "I thought Jennifer was very good in that." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • Tuvok actor Tim Russ enjoyed this episode for the universal nature of one of its themes. "This episode dealt with puberty," he observed, "and that reflects a nice range in stories [....] All this stuff is dealing with things that people go through and that is the essence of what [Gene] Roddenberry was putting together in having the science fiction of this show capture or deal with questioning our values and our concepts and what our traditions should be. That, I think, is the most important part of Star Trek." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)

Production

  • This episode is a bottle show. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 76)
  • Winrich Kolbe was interested in emphasizing Kes' predicament even more extremely than it is depicted in the episode's final version. He explained, "I wanted to go even further with the character, but the studio wouldn't let me. The show went soft at the end. That happens quite frequently in television. You wind up with some wonderful concept, but somewhere along the line, the guts fail and everything is pulled back." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)

Visual Effects

  • This episode was one of two, from the first season and a half of Star Trek: Voyager, that involved pioneering large-scale CGI usage, the other episode being "Twisted". According to visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore, the intertwining of the effects elements, such as the gigantic "space worms," cried out for the effects to be done almost entirely with CGI, accompanied by a few stock shots of Voyager alone. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #105, p. 56) According to the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 56), the optical effect for the cloud of spaceborne organisms, despite being CGI, was partly composited from magnified footage of sperm. The CGI visual effects company Santa Barbara Studios was involved in the creation of this episode's effects – in particular, the large, dominant space-dwelling lifeform. (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 28)

Reception and Aftermath

  • The trailer for this episode misleadingly billed it as a "who's the father" drama surrounding an already-pregnant Kes. In the actual episode, however, there is no suggestion that anyone other than Neelix could be the father of Kes' child.
  • This episode was originally held to the end of the first season so it would not conflict with the earlier Season 1 installment "The Cloud", as both episodes involve a different but similar kind of space-dwelling lifeform (a nucleogenic cloud being in the earlier installment). (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 76)
  • Although Voyager's producers had intended "The 37's" to be the series' first season finale, UPN insisted on airing "Learning Curve" as the final episode of the first season. However, Jeri Taylor felt that, like "The 37's", this episode would have made a better season finale than "Learning Curve". Taylor said of "Elogium", "That would have actually been a nice closing episode also, because it leaves us with the realization that someone aboard the USS Voyager (i.e., Ensign Samantha Wildman) is pregnant!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 6)
  • As it was, Ken Biller lamented the fact that this episode aired during the second season. "It was unfortunate that it became a holdover, because it seemed a little odd," he said. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 79)
  • This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.7 million homes, and a 9% share. [7]
  • Although the Voyager episodes that Star Trek director Allan Kroeker worked on did not include this one, he did watch this installment (when it aired during the second season) and later said of Jennifer Lien's acting herein, "That was a brilliant performance." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • Cinefantastique gave this installment 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 79)
  • The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 60) scored the episode 1 out of 10.
  • Believing that (like the first season outing "Emanations") this episode demonstrates "challenges to our concepts and ideas and attitudes and traditions" (in the way this episode, specifically, deals with the theme of puberty), Tim Russ wanted to see more examples of such challenges in episodes following this one. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)

Continuity

  • In the opening scene when Chakotay, Paris and Kes enter the turbolift, Chakotay calls for deck six – but they are immediately next seen entering the Mess Hall on deck two.
  • Following her introduction in this episode, Ensign Samantha Wildman became a recurring character in Star Trek: Voyager. The fact that the episode was moved from the first season of the series to its second caused an implication, regarding Ensign Wildman's pregnancy, that seems much like a mistake. In the interim between the two seasons, Jeri Taylor stated, "Because UPN is withholding it and showing it at the beginning of the season, it now makes it seem that Humans have a very strange gestation period – in which this woman was apparently pregnant for seven or eight months without realizing it!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 6) Likewise, Ken Biller felt that ending the episode with Wildman being pregnant was especially one of the episode's aspects that, due to the timing of the installment's broadcast, seemed odd. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 79) Years later, in the sixth season episode "Fury", the writing staff would finally explain Wildman's long pregnancy as having been a consequence of the baby's half-Ktarian genes.
  • This episode establishes for the first time that, although Neelix and Kes may have been virtually inseparable, they weren't sharing quarters aboard Voyager. "Because of when it ultimately ran," said Ken Biller, "I thought it began to feel less believable and a little odd to tell the audience almost a year later that these people have never had any kind of sexual relationship. What I'll also say about this is that they are aliens. Who knows what mating is for an Ocampa? [....] Just because they didn't have a sexual relationship is open to discussion and people can kind of believe what they want." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 80)

Video and DVD releases

CIC Video released the four season 1 "hold-over" episodes in their production order, as part of the first season release. This is the second episode in Volume 1.9, which begins with "Projections". Volume 2.1 begins with "Initiations".

Links and references

Main cast

Guest star

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

References

airponics; airponics bay; Asil; Benaren; bio-scanner; blood pressure; butter; diaper; digestive system; electrophoretic field; class 4 probe; Deep Space 9; Delta Quadrant; digestive system; driver coil; electrophoresis; elogium; EM resonance field; EPS grid; fever; flagellate; fraternization; gabosti stew; Gree; Greskrendtregk; ground assault vehicle; hair follicle; impulse burst; impulse capacitance cell; impulse reactor; inverted magnetic pulse; ipasaphor; Johnson, Mark; kilometer; Klingons; logic; magnetic wake; mashed potatoes; mess hall; mineral; mitral sac; nitrogenated soil; Oblissian cabbage; Ocampa; pepper sauce; pheromone; photon charge; plasma injector; plasma residue; plasma stream; pollination; procreation; protozoa; pulse; rolissisin; Sek; senior staff; shock wave; space-dwelling lifeform; spawn beetle; subspace signature; swarm; sympathetic nervous system; targ; targ scoop; turbolift; vitamin; Vulcan


Previous episode:
"Projections"
Star Trek: Voyager
Season 2
Next episode:
"Non Sequitur"

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