(written from a Production point of view)
The Vidiians capture B'Elanna Torres and split her into two people, one fully Klingon, and one fully human.
A long-haired and apparently lifeless body strapped to a vertical apparatus slowly comes to, as a man's voice calmly issues technical instructions, ending a regeneration process. The restrained individual becomes completely awake; it is a fully Klingon female, but her scientifically-minded captor refers to her as none other than B'Elanna Torres.
Act One Edit
- "Captain's log, stardate 48784.2. We have completed our survey of the Avery system and are returning to retrieve Lieutenants Paris, Torres and Durst. By now, they should have concluded their inspection of the magnesite formations on the third planet."
In the mess hall of the USS Voyager, Neelix presents Tuvok with a bowl of plomeek soup that he made using a recipe from the ship's database. Despite Tuvok objecting that he is content to have the same dishes as the rest of the crew, Neelix launches into a diatribe concerning the merits of preparing dishes from the crew's homeworlds. Tuvok tries the soup but finds it is unusually spicy; Neelix explains that he added a touch of spice to the dish, as he found it otherwise bland. Tuvok argues that changing the recipe makes the soup less authentically Vulcan. Summoned to the bridge by Chakotay, Tuvok exits, leaving Neelix to enjoy the soup. "Oh, there's no place like home", he remarks after slurping some down.
Tuvok is later on the bridge when Captain Janeway arrives; he and Chakotay join her as she makes her way to the operations station. In unison, Chakotay and operations officer Ensign Harry Kim notify Janeway that the recent three-person away team has essentially gone missing. Kim believes that geologic shifts in subterranean passages on Avery III is responsible for the team's absence. Chakotay volunteers to lead a search party but the officers are initially uncertain of how to ensure that this proposed, secondary team will not also go missing, until Kim exclaims, "Breadcrumbs!" He elaborates that the search party could use a chain of subspace transponders like breadcrumbs. Janeway finally agrees. Departing, Chakotay assigns Kim and Tuvok to his away team.
As the Klingon Torres lies restrained to a metallic surgical table, her captor, a Vidiian, reveals he is Chief Surgeon Sulan of the Vidiian Sodality. Speaking uneasily, the Klingon captive demands to know more about her situation, so Sulan shows her a reflection of her own face, inadvertently alarming her. Sulan is unforthcoming about the procedure that turned Torres, once a half-Human and half-Klingon hybrid, into a full-blooded Klingon. He instead confronts her with questions of his own, wishing to know more about her. Eventually, he admits the genetic methods he used to make her purely Klingon and explains to the appalled Torres that he did so in the belief that her Klingon genetic structure has an immunity to the phage that has debilitated his society. He intends to test his theory by having infected B'Elanna with the illness.
Elsewhere in the Vidiian complex, a pair of Vidiians lead a group of prisoners, including Paris and Durst, through a corridor and into their bunkroom. Paris breaks up a physical conflict between Durst and one of the Vidiians, drawing Durst away before the confrontation can escalate. "They're the ones with the guns, remember", Paris reminds the lieutenant. After the guards leave them, Paris and Durst conspiratorially assess their situation and discuss how they will make an effort to escape. However, the plan is ridiculed by a nearby Talaxian prisoner, who has no confidence that the escape attempt will work and comments that the prisoners are used not only as sources of organs to be harvested but also as slave laborers to dig tunnels for the Vidiians, as they are weakened by the Phage. When Paris asks where B'Elanna might be, the Talaxian assumes she will have been taken to the facility's organ processing department, saying that captives who don't stay strong are taken there.
Meanwhile, the Voyager search team makes their way through the underground tunnels, Kim leaving one of the transponders behind. The team discover evidence of the first away team's kidnapping.
A fascinated Sulan enters the medical lab to find the imprisoned B'Elanna experiencing excruciating pain, a symptom of the Phage. He is also amazed to discover that her body is internally fighting against the infection. However, Torres is nowhere near as excited about the findings as he is. Sulan insists that she will ultimately be glorified by the Vidiians for having been instrumental in the curing of the Phage, but such honor is not appreciated by the Klingon woman. Sulan notes that, unlike earlier, Torres seems proud to be Klingon and, though she is angered by what he has done to her, he imagines that she may become grateful to him. Basing his observations on her, Sulan repeatedly compliments the Klingon form.
While Paris sleeps, a Vidiian guard brings a female Human Starfleet officer into the bunkroom. Paris awakens only to find that the newcomer is, somehow, a completely Human B'Elanna.
Act Two Edit
The Human Torres, who has finally been returned back to Tom and Durst, is shaken by her experience, feeling weak and sickly. She remembers having been taken to a lab and told that they have completely extracted her Klingon DNA. She feels strange not having the ridges on her forehead any more and tells Tom how, as a child, she did everything she could to hide those ridges. She remembers that in the Federation colony where she grew up, she and her mother were the only Klingons. They stood out and were different. After her father left them, she was so sad and traumatized that she actually believed that he had left because she looked like a Klingon.
In the caves, Tuvok notes a tunnel has now been blocked. With no geological activity, it must be a disguised force field of some kind. Tuvok discovers the energy configuration to be identical to the force field matrix used by the Vidiians, determined from their earlier encounter with them. Janeway immediately has Ayala look for other vessels while Chakotay uses his phaser on the field to break it up. It's unsuccessful, surprisingly. Then, Kim sees two Vidiians watching them and they quickly beam out.
The Klingon Torres, alone, is able to partly break through the restraints. Sulan interrupts her, and she tries to seduce him in order to let her up. She agrees with him that she's grateful for her transformation and notes that Klingon females have reputations for their sexual prowess. He seems to be enticed, but refuses. He tries to convince her that he does have feelings despite his grotesque appearance, and appears to regret what he's doing. He says his people were once attractive, and supposes he won't disgust her when he's able to cure the phage.
Act Three Edit
When Paris sees the Vidiians come to take him and Torres to the tunnels for work, and recommends she look strong so they don't take her to organ processing. She thought they might leave her to recover. Instead, they take Durst, claiming the prefect wants to discuss their request to contact their ship. Paris says he's the senior officer, but they are insistent. Durst leaves with the Vidiians.
Meanwhile, Kim is able to determine the area of the compound. However, he can't see inside it. Since they are unable to get through the force fields with their phasers, Janeway orders simulations to figure out a way through. If they can get through, they can.
Meanwhile, the Klingon Torres learns that Durst was killed: Sulan grafted Durst's face over his own, in an attempt to appear more appealing to the Klingon B'Elanna. This attempt is unsuccessful, and B'Elanna uses the opportunity to use her strength to break the restraints. She pins him to the wall in a chokehold, but they are interrupted and she escapes.
Act Four Edit
On Voyager, Janeway hears Kim's analysis. It appears there are micro-fissures in the force field as it remodulates. Instead of using their phasers to open them, and possibly alert the Vidiians, Kim proposes narrowing a transporter beam to get someone through. The timing is critical, but this person could deactivate the force field to make it easier to get to them. Janeway asks how this person won't be captured, but Chakotay has an idea. In sickbay, he is disguised by The Doctor to look like a Vidiian and is provided with Vidiian attire by Tuvok. Chakotay prepares himself and he is beamed down, unable to contact Voyager until the Vidiian security cloak is disabled. All Janeway and crew can do is wait.
Paris and the human Torres are on work detail when Torres collapses. Paris sits her down and, kindly, the Talaxian from before kindly offers water to them. Torres is having more trouble than that, though. She's overcome once again with terrifying fear, paralyzing her and robbing her of her strength, due to her human transformation. He encourages her she can get through it when a Vidiian guard interrupts them, determining that she is too ill to mine the tunnels with the other captives. Paris tries to get the Vidiians to let her stay, but B'Elanna wants to return to the barracks, in the hope that she may find a way to contact Voyager.
The Klingon Torres finds the Talaxian and finds out where Paris was sent. She also is told about the existence of the human version of herself, now in the barracks. Meanwhile, the Human Torres begins to work on the security console in the barracks while the guards are distracted, however, the guards are alerted to her activities on the console. They begin to take her away just as the Klingon Torres finds them. She rescues the Human Torres from the guards and carries her when she collapses.
Act Five Edit
The Human Torres wakes up to find her Klingon half making food, determined to help her recover so she doesn't have to carry her. During, they confront each other about their respective weaknesses. The Human Torres, who is very calm as well as apprehensive and cautious, confronts her other half by stating that she always responds with violence and anger to every obstacle in her way – blaming her for having been thrown out of the Academy. The Klingon B'Elanna believes that she should be eternally grateful for being kicked out of that institution, but the Human Torres is not grateful, for her Klingon temper has gotten her in trouble more times than she can remember. However, she realizes that there is no point to this debate, for they are actually each fighting with themselves. A plan is finally formulated in which they decide to return to Sulan's lab and use the console there to shut down the security cloak that shields the tunnels from Voyager's sensors. It may not be as exciting as fighting their way out, says the Human Torres, but it stands a much better chance of working. Moreover, she needs her Klingon half, B'Elanna, to follow her back there and cover for her, while she works, for she is unable to do this on her own.
Chakotay, in disguise, enters the base and finds Paris. He then convinces a Vidiian officer that he is bringing Paris to an organ harvesting center for processing. Meanwhile, the two Torres enter Sulan's lab and the Human gets to work. She trips an alarm, alerting the Klingon, but the Human is not scared, she keeps working. Sulan returns to his lab and threatens the Human with a weapon, unwilling to harm the Klingon. Just then, Chakotay arrives and Sulan is disarmed. Torres has deactivated the cloak and Chakotay communicates with Voyager. However, Sulan had another weapon and fires it and, as he does so, the Klingon B'Elanna throws herself in the line of fire and is critically wounded. The four transport to Voyager, where the Klingon B'Elanna dies after telling her other half that she feels it is an honorable death.
In sickbay, Torres is informed by The Doctor that her cells ability to synthesize proteins has been severely compromised and that she needs her Klingon genes to survive. While speaking with Chakotay, she realizes that as a Human she is more at peace with herself than she has ever been before – but she also feels incomplete for she doesn't feel like herself. She admires her Klingon half's many qualities, such as her strength and bravery, but also realizes that she has to accept the fact that she will spend the rest of her life fighting with her. She touches over her forehead one last time, remembering her other half and thus the person who is such an integral part of her.
"Did you know that Klingon females are renowned in the Alpha Quadrant not only for their physical prowess but also for their voracious sexual appetite as well ? Why not let your creation out of her harness? Study her in action?"
- - Klingon B'Elanna Torres, to the Vidiian scientist Sulan
"I must point out, that if you take the liberty of changing a time honored recipe, you are hardly presenting a 'taste of home'."
- - Tuvok, to Neelix upon tasting his version of plomeek soup
"B'Elanna? B'Elanna Torres, wake up!"
- - Sulan
"You've surgically altered my face!"
- - Klingon Torres, to Sulan after seeing her full Klingon facial features in a mirror
"Nobody ever escapes this place. Those Vidiian leeches can yank the beating heart out of you...in a heartbeat. Heart out of you in a heartbeat! Now that's funny!"
- - Talaxian prisoner and Pete Durst
"I'm sorry I can't replicate you a souffle."
- - Klingon Torres, to Human Torres
"Listen to me. Listen to us. This is ridiculous. Do you realize that we're each fighting with our self?"
- - Human Torres, to her Klingon counterpart
"lf I remember correctly, I'm the one who rescued you from that prison and carried you here. Don't you think you could at least acknowledge that? Can't you even admit that you won't be able to get out of here without me?"
- - Klingon Torres, to Human Torres
"It's OK, Tom. They're the ones with the guns, remember?"
- - Pete Durst, to Tom Paris shortly before his death
"Just before you rescued me, I logged onto the Vidiians' computer system. I only had a few seconds, but I think I found a way to access the force field that's cloaking this place. With a few minutes more, I could've deactivated it."
"Then Voyager could get a lock on us. Beam us back, Paris too."
"It may not be as exciting as fighting our way out, but it stands a much better chance of working if... I have your help."
"So... you need me?"
- - Human Torres and Klingon Torres
Background information Edit
Story and script Edit
- The story idea that ultimately became this episode was originally pitched by writer Jonathan Glassner, prior to Executive Story Editor Kenneth Biller joining the staff of Star Trek: Voyager. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 145) According to Biller, the premise, in common with the episode's final version, was "B'Elanna gets split in half." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 50) In fact, in the original version of the story, B'Elanna Torres walked into a machine and came out the other side, having been divided into Human and Klingon versions of herself; aliens responsible for the scheme were experimenting on purification within a species. Executive Producer Michael Piller later commented, "In the first draft of the story we did, it was somebody's idea that this could be the result of a hideous concentration-camp kind of experiment, that is, genetic demonstration of some sort." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 145 & 146)
- Neither Ken Biller nor Executive Producer Jeri Taylor were enthusiastic about the initial plot concept. Biller opined, "The original idea was very melodramatic and hokey." Taylor admitted, "I was not even in favor of buying this idea originally. I thought it was a tired idea, and it was too on the nose for B'Elanna." Accounting for the writing staff's decision to purchase the idea, Producer Brannon Braga remarked, "Usually, when a show does the evil twin, it's on its last legs and they're desperate. We figured, 'Hey, why not get it out of the way right now?'" However, the story line was still of problematic credibility. "I always felt that splitting her was a mistake," Braga recalled, "like making Data human. Why do it? Why see it? Why resolve any of her feelings?" Michael Piller noted, "This was a story that a lot of people had trouble with, and it was almost abandoned at one point in time [...] but it seemed that the half-human, half-Klingon conflict between B'Elanna as a woman divided would be really interesting to see." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 145 & 146)
- Tackling the episode was one of the first duties assigned to Ken Biller after he joined Voyager's writing staff. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 48) He was set to work on this episode's script immediately after completing work on the episode "Elogium", his first writing assignment for the series. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78)
- Ken Biller decided to involve the Vidiians in the plot, due to their technology. He recalled, "One of the problems with the story was there didn't seem to be a believable way of splitting B'Elanna in half without it seeming really hokey. I thought there may be a way for the Vidiians to do this that sounded technologically viable." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63) Biller clarified, "It suddenly occurred to me that Brannon had created these aliens in 'Phage' who, we have already established, have this incredibly sophisticated medical technology and have been searching for a cure to this disease [....] I hit upon what I thought was a very organic way of doing something that might otherwise be really hokey." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 145)
- The idea of including the Vidiians in the story, to account for B'Elanna Torres' physical divergence, seemed to mesh well with the prospect of using her as the main character. "These Vidiians might be searching for a species that was immune and they had never seen anything like Klingons before," Biller said. "She could be the savior of their people." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63) Biller further explained, "I realized that the Klingons have these systems that allow them to fight off disease and injury much more effectively than other races, and they're so virile. Maybe they would be resistant to this thing. If I were this scientist with this incredible technology and I encountered a species I'd never seen before and it seemed that there was some promise she might hold the secret to a cure to this disease, I would do exactly what [Sulan] did." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 145)
- At first, Ken Biller had some difficulty in making the aliens seem like more than one-dimensional baddies. He recalled, "I got an interesting note from Michael Piller on the story document when it was approved. Michael was paraphrasing Gene Roddenberry, cautioning me... saying he really liked the story but the aliens should never be patently evil. They may have a set of values that differ from our own, but be careful of making them mustache-twirling villains. This was something that Gene had always said to Michael. So I really took this to heart. I never got to meet Gene, but I felt I was getting a bit of his legacy passed along to me from Michael. I worked really hard on that script [....] to try to make [Sulan] on some level sympathetic; or at least we should be empathetic with him so we can understand why he's doing what he's doing." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 135-136)
- Ken Biller started to think about Sulan and the Klingon Torres as being similar to the pair of main characters in the tale Beauty and the Beast, but with the Klingon B'Elanna being much more manipulative than her counterpart from that story. Biller remembered, "It became a beauty and the beast story. It occurred to me that if you came from this culture your ideal beauty may be someone who was physically imposing and powerful, like a Klingon. It appealed to me that this scientist, Sulan, would develop an infatuation with B'Elanna and she might use that Klingon sexuality to get him to do what she wanted. This was an episode that functioned on a bunch of different levels." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
- One of those "levels" allowed Ken Biller to meet his agenda of accentuating horror-like elements in the series, especially in the scene wherein Sulan shows Torres that he has grafted Durst's face onto his own, a scene that Biller described as "a sick moment of inspiration." He explained, "Brannon and I are both interested in some horror elements. 'Faces' was a classic horror movie moment – a guy stepping into the light with a grotesque disfiguration. It was made even more grotesque by the fact that he thought he was making himself more beautiful. We aren't going out of our way to be dark or to do horror episodes. If it hadn't fit organically into the story they wouldn't have let me do it. But it did fit one of the themes which was appearance and self-image. Our main character is dealing with her altered appearance and that was reflected in the villain of the piece who was clearly uncomfortable with his own appearance." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78)
- Exactly how much the episode would have a lasting effect on the character of Torres was a subject of some debate. "I wanted to leave her Human at the end, where she is touching her forehead and realizing that she is going back to looking the way she looked and being this very conflicted person," commented Ken Biller. "I was very vocal that we do not have to see her restored. We know [The Doctor] is going to fix her up and she'll be back in the next episode. The trick was to not destroy the character. We couldn't get to the end of the episode and say that Torres has now resolved all her issues and is at peace with herself. That's fundamental to the character." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
- The episode's final script draft was submitted on 24 February 1995. 
- The episode was originally set on a jungle planet but, because the installment was already extremely costly, director Winrich Kolbe found himself having to make cutbacks, so the setting was changed to being inside caves. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
Cast and characters Edit
- Actress Roxann Dawson found this episode extremely challenging. "I think I was shaking the first time I read the script," she remembered, while the installment's production was in full-swing. "I was wondering if it was something I could even do." (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 27) During the hiatus between the second and third seasons, she recalled, "'Faces' was the greatest acting challenge that I've tackled. It came pretty early on in the first season and I felt I barely had a handle on B'Elanna... let alone split her in two!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 83) Dawson also recollected, "I remember being terribly frightened, thinking 'I barely know this character, and I have to split her into two!'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 18)
- Roxann Dawson dealt separately with the two halves of her usual persona on the series. She remembered, "I said to myself 'Well, I guess this is a good way to learn about my character.'" (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 83) She said further, "I was able to delineate these two sides that up until then were just sort of metaphors. I was able to personify two aspects of this character, and it was very revealing to me and it taught me a lot." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146) Dawson also said of the installment, "I used it to teach me a lot about who B'Elanna was. It was a chance for me to learn these different sides of her and to really delineate them." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 18)
- Roxann Dawson dealt with the separation of her character's personality not only in her own mind but also with copies of the episode's script. The actress explained, "I had two scripts–one labeled 'The Klingon' and the other labeled 'The Human'. I went through each script, treated both as two totally separate people and made sure that each persona really lacked something important. The Human lacked strength and courage and the Klingon lacked the reasoning and coolheadedness of the human–traits which definitely heightened the battle between them. I also wanted to make sure that the Klingon side was heard because she's really the bad sibling, who nobody wants to talk about and who always ends up locked away in the closet. As a result, I wanted the intense relationship between the Klingon and Human and the Klingon's eventual respect for the Human half to be present in the episode." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 56)
- Ultimately, Roxann Dawson thoroughly enjoyed the experience of portraying the divided sides of Torres' character. While the episode was in production, she ecstatically stated, "It's an amazing challenge [....] I've enjoyed every minute of it because it's such a great opportunity for an actor." (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 27) The actress later mused, "It was great. It actually was just this wonderful learning experience [....] It was really a lot of fun." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146) Towards the end of Voyager's seventh and final season, Dawson said about this installment, "I loved doing it; that was definitely a highlight episode for me." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 18)
- One element of Roxann Dawson's satisfaction with the episode was her appreciation of its script and plot. During the episode's production, she enthused, "It's a very well-done script. It deals with learning to respect the parts of one's self that make up the whole person, and it does that without any sugary sweet resolution [....] There's still room for overcoming those internal struggles, but what happens in 'Faces' is a very big step for B'Elanna." (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 27)
- Winrich Kolbe enjoyed working with Dawson on "Faces" but found her inquisitiveness somewhat challenging. "That was the first time I really worked with Roxann Dawson [....] She wants to know everything. So, I really had to do my homework," said Kolbe. "It worked out quite well. We enjoyed ourselves and she did a hell of a job on that one." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15, p. 12)
- Both Jeri Taylor and Chakotay actor Robert Beltran were also impressed by Roxann Dawson's performance in this episode. Taylor noted, "I thought Roxann did a wonderful job of playing two completely different characters." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 145) Likewise, Beltran enthused, "I think it was a terrific Roxann episode, and she was really good." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #7, p. 17)
- Joy Kilpatrick, an extraordinarily realistic photo double for Roxann Dawson, was also used for the episode. "She was very intuitive and very much able to almost mimic me," Dawson reminisced. "I was able to tell her what I was going to be doing so she could give me the beats that I could react to properly. She was very good and supportive, and I was able to act off of a real person, which was helpful." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146)
- Harry Kim actor Garrett Wang found that, in this episode, he didn't have very much to perform and reckoned, "Really, it's a lot of technobabble for me in this one." (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 28)
- Robert Picardo was accepting of the smallness of The Doctor's role in this episode. During the outing's production, Picardo remarked about his scene near the end of the outing, "It's interesting, because they didn't use that moment to build any relationship between B'Elanna and The Doctor. He's just a functionary doing his job. It's too early in his development as a character for him to care about the importance of what he's doing to B'Elanna. As much as I would like really to share a scene with Roxann and have B'Elanna and The Doctor begin to have some sort of a relationship, I must say I think what we've done here makes sense." (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, pp. 28-29)
- Because Sulan transfers Durst's face onto his own, actor Brian Markinson was used to play both roles.
- Besides playing a Talaxian prisoner in this installment, Rob LaBelle was also a long-term friend of Ken Biller. The actor recalled, "Even though we've been best buddies for a lot of years the fact that he worked on the show was in no way helpful in my getting the part [....] In fact, it would have been a huge blow against me if anyone knew, so in the audition I made sure not to let on that we knew each other." (TV Zone, special #23, p. 16) LaBelle would later appear on the show without prosthetics as Kafar, a Takarian, in "False Profits" and then back in Talaxian make-up as Oxilon, in "Homestead".
- Having been an avid watcher of original series Star Trek reruns while in graduate school, Rob LaBelle was delighted to work on Star Trek for this episode, especially enjoying working with the cast and crew. "It was a huge thrill for me to be on Voyager," he noted. The actor also reminisced, "It was a real blast to be on the show and to work with Ken [Biller]. I worked mostly with Robert Duncan McNeill, Roxann Biggs-Dawson and director Winrich Kolbe, but everyone on the set was very nice." (TV Zone, special #23, p. 16)
- Shortly prior to this episode's production, Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore stated, "With the aliens from 'Phage,' I'm prepared to land on their planet again, and duplicate a half-dozen of them." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #2, p. 37)
- Robert Beltran found difficulty with performing in the full-facial mask he wore as Chakotay's Vidiian disguise. "I was in that raw, wounded face, which made me feel very vulnerable as a person," he explained. "It was a challenge for me, having to act in that much makeup." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #7, p. 17)
- The facial look of the full-Klingon Torres involved, in the words of Roxann Dawson herself, "a forehead, nose and teeth." Comparing these makeup elements to the usual appliances she wore as the hybrid Torres, Dawson stated, "[They] were far less sophisticated because there weren't too many nuances and skin tones." While her usual makeup took two hours to apply, however, Dawson's full Klingon appearance took about three hours to apply. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 57)
- The set for the Vidiian mine was constructed on Paramount Stage 18 and incorporated artificial rocks that were actually a combination of heavy gauge aluminum and a fibrous, brown material. (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 26)
- The security console in the Vidiian laboratory here seems to be a reuse of a set piece that was often reused in Star Trek productions, as tactical consoles for the bridges of Klingon Birds-of-Prey. (Delta Quadrant, p. 46)
- This episode's production period was slotted toward the end of Star Trek: Voyager's first season, due to budgetary considerations. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78)
- This was the fourth of eighteen Voyager episodes directed by long-time Star Trek director Winrich Kolbe (including the series pilot "Caretaker"). Midway through the making of the episode, he offered, "This is only the third episode of Voyager that I've done so far, so I'm not quite as familiar with the arc of the show as a whole as I might be if I had done more episodes [...] [but] things are running pretty smoothly." (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 29)
- Winrich Kolbe was freed from having to rely on split screen, for the two B'Elannas, thanks to the casting of Dawson's photo double. Despite this, the episode's shooting schedule was mindful of the facts that Roxann Dawson was performing as two different characters and that one of her roles required extensive makeup. The actress recollected, "They were very careful in scheduling and tried not to have me split a day where I was in one character and then the other, not only for me but because the makeup was so long and difficult. They only concentrated on one character for the most part one day and then switched to the next character the next day. It was sort of like doing repertory theater." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146)
- This episode had some production problems. Winrich Kolbe commented, "I wanted to do more in the cave scene with the two B'Elannas, but it became an issue of production costs and how much split-screen stuff we could do. I would have liked [the production] to seem bigger. At times it looked like there were four prisoners and two guards instead of a whole complex of people [...] and, of course, we had to go back to those caves we always use." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
- The caves set evoked a great deal of excited chatter, however, on a day when the scenes being filmed included the one wherein Chakotay, Tuvok, and Harry Kim determine that one of the cave walls is illusory but encounter a pair of Vidiians, only to be beamed safely back to Voyager. After the area was prepared by more than twenty technicians (whose activities included spraying water on the set's fabricated rocks), one shot from this scene was rehearsed, overseen by Winrich Kolbe. Since the technical aspects of the shot seemed fine, the director then concentrated on the actors. Robert Beltran blew one of his lines, pointed his phaser at the two extras playing the Vidiians and made a joke about their appearance, to which the entire set broke into laughter. Following a few subsequent takes that Kolbe was not completely satisfied with, he ordered the action to commence by uttering, "Let's put a little acting into this one, please." After one more take, Kolbe captured the shot, the way he wanted it. (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 26)
- The next shot to be filmed, which Winrich Kolbe immediately moved onto, involved Chakotay's urgent order for Voyager to beam up himself, Kim and Tuvok. Robert Beltran, Garrett Wang and Tuvok actor Tim Russ were meant to step quickly out of the shot, while the camera was to continue running, capturing footage of the empty area. In one take, Beltran inexplicably leaped out of the camera's line-of-sight, then awkwardly tried to catch his balance and keep from falling on several rocks strategically arranged on the ground. "Graceful, Robert, graceful," Kolbe teased the performer. "Shall we move on now?" (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, pp. 26-27)
- While Winrich Kolbe and other members of the production crew were studying a video playback of one scene, a bemused Nana Visitor, wearing civilian clothes, wandered onto the set by mistake. "Oh, my god," she laughed, "this is the Voyager set. No wonder I hardly recognized any of these crew people." After observing the goings-on for a few minutes, Visitor excused herself and went in search of the Deep Space Nine set she was actually meant to be on. (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 27)
- Later that day, Winrich Kolbe had a short rest against a railing outside Stage 18. He jested to reporter Ian Spelling that the production shoot for "Faces" was entirely without any challenges whatsoever. Kolbe went on to say, though, that the most challenging scenes in the episode were the ones that involve the Klingon Torres meeting the Human Torres, and that the use of a photo double for the wide shots "has worked out very well." The director concluded, "It's a complicated show, but we have it under control." Kolbe was then called back inside by his assistant director, who signaled to him that the lighting crew had finished its job and that the next shot was ready to be filmed. (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 27)
- After exploring some other areas of the Paramount lot, Ian Spelling returned to the shoot for "Faces" at 7 p.m., by which time the cast and crew had moved to Paramount Stage 9 and Kate Mulgrew had called the sound stage, learning that her presence there would not be required until at least 10 pm. As everyone already on the set prepared to take a lunch break, the rock formation was given another hose down and both Garrett Wang and Robert Beltran teasingly serenaded a mildly amused Tim Russ with an almost on-key rendition of "Mr. Sandman", the song having temporarily been renamed "Mr. Tuvok" to fit the occasion. (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 29)
Visual effects Edit
- Winrich Kolbe found this episode to have lots of visual effects, commenting, "We have many opticals in there to create the illusion of having two Roxanns." The outing's VFX also included the beam-out effects for the appropriate caves scene. (Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer, issue #8, p. 27)
- When the guards come to take Pete Durst into questioning, Tom Paris tries to stop them claiming to be the superior officer. Technically Pete Durst was the higher ranking officer as a Full Lieutenant, whereas Tom Paris is only a Lieutenant junior grade. It is likely that Tom's superiority comes from his billet rather than his military rank.
- This episode marks the midpoint of live-action Star Trek productions; there were 363 episodes and movies before and there were 363 episodes and movies after.
- The concept of this story had been previously explored in a non-canon story. Nearly twenty years earlier, the anthology The New Voyages had a story titled "Ni Var", wherein Spock is divided – by an alien machine – into his Human and Vulcan halves.
- Voyager's writing team were wary of making this episode seem too much like TOS episodes such as "The Enemy Within" and "The Alternative Factor". Michael Piller remarked, "We knew we could not do the evil-versus-good story that the original Star Trek had done." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146)
- This episode marks the death of Durst, who is introduced in the previous episode, "Cathexis". He is the first casualty of the Voyager crew since their arrival in the Delta Quadrant.
- In this episode, Paris is wearing pips for lieutenant junior grade, whereas for all the previous episodes, he was wearing the rank of full lieutenant. He continues to wear the Lt. JG rank from here on.
- The events of this episode are referenced in the second season episode "Lifesigns".
- This installment is the first of three Torres-centric episodes, in the first two seasons of Voyager, that feature Roxann Dawson communicating with someone or something that is not another Human. The other two such episodes are both second season installments – namely, "Prototype", in which Dawson's co-stars are the robotic Automated Personnel Units, and "Dreadnought", which finds the actress communicating with the automated Dreadnought missile.
- Roxann Dawson felt that this installment, of all the episodes in Star Trek: Voyager's first four seasons, had some of the most friendly moments between Tom Paris and Dawson's own character of B'Elanna Torres, as this episode features discussion about their pasts. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 93)
- This episode has the shortest teaser in the first season of Voyager, being the only one that is under a minute long (although the teaser of "Projections" – which was produced during the first season but aired during the second – is also under a minute in length).
- In this episode, Torres recalls how she believed her father left because she and her mother were too Klingon. In the seventh season episode "Lineage", her emotional crisis is caused by the same belief.
Reception and aftermath Edit
- Due to a familial relationship of his own, Ken Biller found that this episode appealed to him. "I have a younger adopted brother who's biracial, and it's very interesting to see how he has had to deal with his identity. So this story idea, thematically, is very interesting to me," explained Biller. The melodrama of the episode's initial version did not, in his opinion, escape his rewrite of the story. Biller stated, "I admit my version was melodramatic too, but I think melodramatic in the tradition of Star Trek." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 145) This episode's teleplay was Biller's favorite from the three scripts he wrote for Voyager's first season, the other two being "Elogium" (which, despite having been written before this episode, was held back until after it, eventually airing in the second season) and "Jetrel". (Delta Quadrant, p. 45)
- Ken Biller especially liked the scenes that explore B'Elanna's identity and the way she views herself. He commented, "I love the moment when B'Elanna finds herself human, touches her forehead and realizes she doesn't have these ridges anymore, and it causes this memory of being a little girl with these Klingon ridges on her forehead in a place where nobody else looked like her. Then there's the irony that she suddenly looks the way she wanted to as a little girl, yet she's stuck in this prison camp, dying." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 145) In addition, Biller remarked, "What a wonderful, strange irony if you suddenly touch your forehead and these ridges are gone and you looked the way you wanted to look, but you were a prisoner in this camp and were dying." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
- Another highlight for Biller was when Sulan reveals to Torres that he has not only killed Durst but also transplanted Durst's face onto his own. Biller raved, "I love the beauty-and-the-beast aspect of their relationship. When he cut that guy's face off... that's my classic moment in Voyager first season." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146) At about the end of that same season, Biller described the moment as his "proudest moment of Star Trek." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 78) Even at this horrific point in the story, Biller believed his aim to make the Sulan character consistently sympathetic had been successful. "[The Vidiians are] great aliens in the tradition of Star Trek because they're ruthless, scary, formidable, but they have pathos," he commented, before further saying of the face-splicing scene, "That moment in particular sort of personifies that [....] While I certainly don't embrace [Sulan's] point of view, it is hopefully an interesting and complex one that makes it more than just a horrific moment. It's a horrific moment that has another kind of resonance." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146)
- Some of Ken Biller's fellow writers were also satisfied with the installment. Shortly after scripting the episode, Biller said of Executive Producer Rick Berman, "He's very pleased with 'Faces,' so I've gotten some positive feedback from him." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #3, p. 50) Michael Piller enthused, "It wasn't until Ken Biller got the rewrite that he solved every problem overnight. I was very impressed because I hadn't figured it out, and Ken did a lovely job on it. I think the show turned out quite well." Brannon Braga commented, "None of us believed it could be pulled off, but Ken did it with the Phage aliens. If anyone has the technology to do this, they do. In the end, it was an effective episode." Similarly, Jeri Taylor remarked, "Ultimately it turned out far better than we had any right to expect. Ken Biller came up with marrying that idea [of splitting B'Elanna] with the Phage aliens, and that's what I think ultimately made it work and made it credible." Also impressed by the story's ultimate form was freelance writer Skye Dent, who had helped to create the Vidiians in "Phage". She enthused, "I thought they did a great job. It was better than mine, actually. It was just so dramatic." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 145 & 146)
- Winrich Kolbe had a mixed opinion of the episode. On the one hand, he regarded the outing as "a very good episode" that he "was generally pleased with." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15, p. 12; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63) However, he also remarked, "There were a few moments that I thought were missed. I wasn't 100% happy with the tag." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 6.1 million homes, and a 10% share. (X)
- According to Jeri Taylor, the episode's conclusion generated a considerable amount of complaints and negative mail. Taylor revealed, "I got a number of really nasty letters, largely about a couple of things. One, that our people got out of there and left the poor devils behind in that awful prison. And two, that nobody seems terribly sympathetic with B'Elanna at the end. That wasn't our intent. What was written in the action line as Chakotay's attitude toward her, which is certainly comforting and all of that, made it look like he was simply not responsive. People said, 'Couldn't he put his arm around her and show some warmth?' In retrospect, they're probably right." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 146)
- Cinefantastique gave this installment 4 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 63)
- In their unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 82), co-writer Mark A. Altman rates this episode 3 out of 4 stars (defined as "good") while fellow co-writer Edward Gross scores the installment 4 out of 4 stars (defined as "classic!")
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 48) gives the episode a rating of 6 out of 10.
- In Star Trek Magazine's retrospective "Ultimate Guide", the magazine gave this episode 3 out of 5 Starfleet-style arrowhead insignia. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 30)
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series. DS9: "Distant Voices" won the award.
- Roxann Dawson thought that this episode provided an example that more subsequent episodes should follow. She explained, "Obviously we can't always be split into two people, but I'd definitely like the conflict between the two halves to be re-explored under certain circumstances in future episodes." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 57)
- With hindsight, Roxann Dawson felt that her performance in this episode would have differed, if the episode had been later in the series. In the interim between the second and third seasons of Voyager, Dawson commented, "I certainly would play that part differently today. B'Elanna is a different person to me now than she was then." (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 83)
- In a 2001 interview for StarTrek.com, Dawson named this episode as her favorite to film and recalled having found that playing the two different sides of Torres' persona had been "challenging and very absorbing." She added, "I really enjoyed that." (X)
- A year after this episode first aired, an action figure of the fully Klingon B'Elanna Torres was released by Playmates Toys, complete with three Klingon hand-weapons and a Vidiian bioscanner/phaser. This was not only the first episode-specific Star Trek: Voyager action figure but was also the only one to be released in 1996.
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's a Wrap! sale and auction on eBay were Vidiian special effects makeup pieces. 
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 1.7, catalog number VHR 4007, 9 October 1995
- As part of the VOY Season 1 DVD collection
Links and referencesEdit
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Kerry Hoyt as Crewman Fitzpatrick
- Julie Jiang as an operations division lieutenant
- Bob Shuttleworth as Human prisoner
- Simon Stotler as an operations division ensign
- Beverly Swanson as Human prisoner
- Unknown actor as second Vidiian guard
Stunt doubles and stand-insEdit
- Joy Kilpatrick as photo double for Roxann Biggs-Dawson
- Lynn Salvatori as stunt double for Roxann Biggs-Dawson
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Barton Tinapp
Alpha Quadrant; Avery III; Avery system; biomatrix; bunion; campfire; cave; chief surgeon; circumference; comfort food; corn salad; dermal stimulator; DNA; Federation; force field; forehead; genotron; geological scan; granite; guinea pig; immunity; infection; joint; Kessik IV; kilometer; Klingon; magnesite; mining cart; Miral; mirror; mitosis; nucleotide; organ; organ processing; Paris, Owen; peanut butter and jelly sandwich; phage; plomeek soup; petaQ; prefect; Qo'noS; restraints; rodent; sculpture; senior officer; sick to stomach; Starfleet Academy; subspace transponder; sweat; systems operations; tailor; Talaxian; Talaxian ship; tear; tika cat; Torres, John; transporter lock; Vidiian; Vidiian Sodality; Vulcan; water
- "Faces" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Faces" at Wikipedia
- Faces at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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