(written from a Production point of view)
A trip to "Planet Hell" proves therapeutic for Tom Paris and Neelix.
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The episode opens with Kes training in a shuttle simulation, assisted by Tom Paris. Kes is jokingly berating Paris for putting her through a scenario involving clogged plasma injectors, calling his training challenge a 'dirty trick.' During their discussion, another problem in the scenario causes the simulated shuttle to throw Kes off her feet, into Paris's arms. Paris hesitates before releasing her and they leave the simulation joking and laughing, while Neelix is revealed to be hiding around a corner from the holodeck, watching the pair depart.
After the simulation, Paris goes to Harry Kim's quarters, where he interrupts Kim's clarinet practice. He confides that he has fallen in love with Kes, to the shock of Kim, who cautions him that he needs to tread lightly.
Meanwhile, Kes is shown having a romantic, candle light dinner with Neelix. As she recounts the shuttle simulation earlier in the day, Neelix becomes more and more agitated. Despite efforts to hide his jealousy, Neelix's bad mood is picked up on by Kes and the dinner become tense.
After an altercation in the mess hall between Neelix and Tom Paris over Kes and involving hair pasta, Captain Janeway has the two of them to go down to a promising planet in a shuttlecraft to search for food supplies while also ordering them to settle their quarrel. EM interference causes the shuttle to crash, stranding them on the surface while USS Voyager is stuck in orbit.
High levels of trigemic vapors cause Paris and Neelix to search for a cave in which to shelter. After sealing themselves in, they discover a nest of eggs. One of the eggs hatches, revealing a reptohumanoid creature.
Neelix and Paris discover that the baby needs food, and it is getting weaker without any. After rejecting the field rations, they find out that the vapors contain amino acids that should nourish the baby. Going back out into the open, the baby recovers.
Voyager disables the weapons of the alien ship, and descends into the planet's atmosphere, followed by the other ship. Voyager locates Paris and Neelix, just as the adult reptohumanoid reaches the baby and rescues it.
When Neelix and Paris are beamed back aboard Voyager, they are greeted by Kes. She is both relieved to find them alive and shocked to find that Neelix and Paris have apparently resolved their fight over her, as Neelix leads the pair to the mess hall in order to open a bottle of Potak cold fowl that he had been saving for a special occasion.
"We lost communication with Voyager thirty seconds ago. You don't have to impress me with your technobabble."
- - Neelix, to Paris
"Captain, I don't know what we'll find when we get to the surface, flora or fauna, friend or foe."
- - Chakotay
"Set a course for Planet Hell, Commander."
- - Janeway, to Chakotay
"Clogging someone's plasma injectors is a dirty trick!"
"Ah, yes well, I'm famous for my dirty tricks, you know?"
- - Kes and Tom Paris
"Oh, a guy just can't win..."
- - Tom Paris
"You subclass genus!"
"I beg your pardon?"
- - Neelix and Tom Paris
"I'm going to kill you!"
"Too late! I'm betting your hair pasta already did the trick!"
- - Neelix and Tom Paris
"Oh Harry, I'm in trouble."
"I think I'm in love..."
- - Tom Paris and Harry Kim
- - Paris, to Kim indicating Kim's clarinet
"Play something different."
- - Paris, to Kim after he plays a melody from the first movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major, KV622.
"You should consider it a high compliment. Throughout history, men have fought over the love of a woman. Why, I can quote you autopsy reports from duels as far back as 1538."
"That's not funny."
"It's not meant to be. You've always been interested in autopsies."
- - The Doctor and Kes
"Are all Talaxians so jealous?"
"I wouldn't know. I've only met one."
- - Kes and The Doctor, regarding Neelix's jealousy
"I'd say it's becoming more and more evident we chose the wrong cave."
- - Neelix, to Tom Paris after spotting footprints
"On my homeworld, it's so much simpler. You choose a mate for life; there's no distrust, no jealousy, no envy, no betrayal..."
"Hm. Your homeworld must have very dry literature."
- - Kes and The Doctor
"There is an old Chinese expression: 'Stay out of harm's way'."
"That's not a Chinese expression."
"If it works, use it."
- - Kim and Paris
"The moment we came in here, it became our responsibility."
"And you expect to take care of this thing until what? It graduates from high school? College?"
- - Neelix and Paris
"You know, if you skip lunch, the result might be a lower blood sugar level, which could... I'm sorry. It's in my program. I see something wrong, I must attempt to diagnose it."
- - The Doctor
- - The Doctor
"Lock onto us Voyager. If you hear muffled screams, consider that a request for a beam-out.'"
- - Paris
Script, story, and titleEdit
- This episode's stardate is not mentioned in the episode's final version but is established in the episode's shooting script. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- This episode was partly written as an attempt to remedy the fact that Voyager's producers felt the character of Tom Paris had been underused in the first season. (Star Trek Monthly issue 6; Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 91)
- The episode's script was also motivated by concerns that executive producer Michael Piller had about Neelix, because Piller feared that the character was becoming too comical and the writers wanted to deal with his jealousy and possessiveness towards Kes, qualities that Piller thought were becoming irritating. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages) In addition, the writers wanted to put an end to unfriendly tension between Neelix and Paris, regarding Kes. Executive producer Jeri Taylor explained, "We wanted to resolve what had been a lingering bitterness between Paris and Neelix. It just becomes unattractive to have Neelix continually responding in that way and we didn't want to perpetuate it. What is Kes going to say after a while? Stop being such an asshole? No. So we wanted to create the feeling of a family, not a lot of people with resentments. So we were looking for a way for Paris and Neelix to resolve their differences and this plot worked out very nicely." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 84)
- This episode's plot follows a template previously used in numerous films. Jeri Taylor remarked, "It's a classic formula–Three Men and a Baby [for example]." In fact, the formula dates back to the Western movie 3 Godfathers. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 84)
- Despite bearing the writing credit of Tom Szollosi alone, this episode was the subject of an uncredited rewrite by Michael Piller. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 88)
- The Voyager crew's nickname for the planet in this episode is an inside joke, as "Planet Hell" is the unofficial name used by Star Trek production staff for their generic and oft-reused cave set on Paramount Stage 16, a naming tradition that originally began during production on Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- The episode's final draft script was submitted on 24 July 1995. 
- The installment had the working titles "Fog" and "Echolocation".  The term ultimately used as the episode's title, "parturition," is defined as 'The act of giving birth.' (Star Trek Monthly issue 9, p. 10)
Cast and charactersEdit
- The episode facilitated an uncommon collaboration between Paris actor Robert Duncan McNeill and Neelix actor Ethan Phillips. After working on the episode, director Jonathan Frakes recalled, "[It] was primarily with Ethan Phillips and Robert Duncan McNeill, who [...] ended up having great chemistry. They very rarely got to work together on the show before this episode so they loved it. They came together wonderfully." (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #105, p. 50) McNeill himself explained, "Ethan Phillips and I really get along well outside the show, so when we did the episode 'Parturition', it was really nice to get an opportunity to play around for a whole episode together." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20) He also noted, "Ethan Phillips and I laughed all day." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #11) Phillips commented, "It was nice to work with Robbie, because I get along with him really well, and we had some good, funny times." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 106) In addition, Phillips remarked, "It was cool to work with Robby in 'Parturition'. We don't normally get to spend that much time working together so it was really good fun." A scene that Phillips particularly enjoyed performing with McNeill involved the hair pasta. He noted, "Frankly it was fun to throw that pasta on Robby in a jealous rage." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20)
- Both Robert Duncan McNeill and Ethan Phillips thoroughly enjoyed this episode in general. Speaking midway through Voyager's third season, McNeill declared of this installment, "That's my favorite episode so far. I loved that one. It was a perfect combination of really good character development combined with some jeopardy and a little bit of action." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #11) During the fourth season, McNeill stated that the episode "was [...] a lot of fun." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 44) Ethan Phillips agreed, "I think it was a really good show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 107)
- The storyline involving a development of romantic feelings between Paris and Kes did not win the approval of Robert Duncan McNeill, so he was grateful that it is brought to an end here. McNeill admitted, "I never thought the Kes thing was right. It made Paris look really bad, flirting with Kes. Luckily, [...] they really cleared it up and dropped it so Neelix and Paris could become the odd couple." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #11) McNeill also felt that his character of Paris allowed himself to become somewhat vulnerable here. The actor related, "I think Paris let his guard down quite a bit in that one." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 44)
- This was the second of three episodes of Star Trek: Voyager to be directed by Jonathan Frakes, the other episodes being "Projections" and "Prototype". Frakes would also appear briefly as Riker in "Death Wish". Both Robert Duncan McNeill and Ethan Phillips enjoyed collaborating with Frakes on this episode. McNeill said, "Jonathan Frakes was a blast to work with on that one." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #11) Likewise, Ethan Phillips related that, while working on this installment, he found Frakes to be extremely funny but also very efficient and made working conditions seem casual. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 106)
- The infant reptohumanoid in this episode was a cable-operated puppet. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 84) Moments after describing the puppet as "that 'rubber chicken,'" Ethan Phillips commented, "It took six guys to operate that chicken. Six guys and two girls, they were an eight-man team. There were all kinds of wires and levers and prods. It was very complicated but it was very realistic." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 107)
- Although his Talaxian makeup made Ethan Phillips feel particularly uncomfortable, he was relieved that the production period was generally informal fun. "It was kind of goofy down there with that [baby reptile puppet], and we had quite a few jokes with that," Phillips recalled. "There was a lot of smoke on the set. When you have the smoke you can't have the air conditioning. So I was not only hotter than normal, everything was more irritating than normal, for like seven days. But Jonathan [Frakes] was just so great that I didn't notice it as much as I normally might." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 106-107)
- A scene in which Janeway, Chakotay, Torres and Kim are at Kim's ops station, planning a way to get through electromagnetic disturbance in the atmosphere of this episode's planet, was one of many for which video coordinator Denise Okuda had to decide what displays would play on the bridge's monitors. She also had to keep track of the graphics, including each animation's placement on the bridge set. To help her with the latter task, she had a typical breakdown sheet for the scene. Okuda remarked, "In scene #46 [i.e., the aforementioned scene], I have to know what's going on. Is the Bridge on Red Alert, or in Normal Condition? What would be appropriate for a particular character's monitor?" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #8, pages 43-44)
- This episode was filmed in its entirety by the time the earlier-produced "Projections," which aired four weeks before this episode, was first broadcast. (Star Trek Monthly issue 8)
- The holographic wormhole that Tom Paris and Kes fly through in the holodeck shuttle simulation is a re-use of the interior of the Harry Kim wormhole from VOY: "Eye of the Needle".
- The ships featured in the holodeck simulation are Jem'Hadar attack ships from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In fact, the footage seen is from the DS9 Season 3 premiere "The Search, Part I". This episode marks the only appearance of Dominion ships on Star Trek: Voyager as well as their only appearance outside of Deep Space Nine.
Continuity and miscellaneous triviaEdit
- Captain Janeway wears her hair more along the lines of her style from seasons four through seven in this episode as opposed to her traditional season one and two "bun."
- This is the first time that wet food was spilled on the costumes. Prior to this, only dry food was allowed to spill on the uniforms (as washing the costumes took a lot of time and money).
- This episode contains at least two lines of dialogue that appear in other sci-fi productions. When Tuvok suggests a plan to combat the alien ship, he adds, "But, of course, I cannot guarantee its success," which is exactly what Spock says of his own plan to find humpback whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In addition, when the alien hatchling won't feed, Paris says, "Come on, kid, ya gotta eat," a line spoken to another fussy reptilian infant in the film Enemy Mine.
- This episode serves as a turning point in Neelix's possessiveness towards Kes, a quality in their relationship that can be seen in such previous episodes as "Phage", "Elogium" and "Twisted". Before working on this episode, Kes actress Jennifer Lien commented, "I think Kes and Neelix still need to explore some issues of trust. I think Neelix's jealousy is getting to be minimal because the character is learning. They've grown in this relationship. When it becomes too obsessive, it becomes scary, and I don't think that's what the character of Neelix is about." (Sci-Fi Universe, September 1996 ed.; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages) Following production on Voyager's second season, Ethan Phillips said of the writers, "This past year they have played up the jealousy aspect, but by the end of 'Parturition' I think Neelix basically said good-bye to that part of his character, and I don't think the writers are going to pick up on that so much anymore." (Star Trek Monthly issue 21) Phillips further explained, "I think they've started to play that down. I think they've explored that as much as they've wanted to. Sometimes people liked it and sometimes it made for some tedious drama." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20)
- This episode also involves an end to hostilities between Neelix and Paris, the former having previously been suspicious of the latter's encounters with Kes in each of the three aforementioned episodes. Remarking on the nature of the relationship between Neelix and Paris before this episode and how it changed here, Robert Duncan McNeill stated, "First they had that incredible clashing over Kes and the jealousy thing which I think, while at the time it was not particularly pleasing to watch, it was a nice motivation for what happened in 'Parturition'–a nice build-up to that. Even though it hasn't been explored a whole lot since 'Parturition,' I think that that stays with the fans and informs everything that's happened between Tom and Neelix since then. Which has been nothing but mutual admiration and friendship." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
Reception and aftermathEdit
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.6 million homes, and a 9% share. (X)
- Star Trek Monthly gave this episode 2 out of 5 stars, defined as "Impulse Power only". (Star Trek Monthly issue 13, p. 50)
- Cinefantastique gave the installment 2 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 83)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 75) scored the episode 4 out of 10.
- Ethan Phillips enjoyed throwing pasta on Robert Duncan McNeill here to such a degree that Phillips hoped for a similar scene in the future. Shortly after beginning work on the third season, Phillips speculated, "Maybe I'll get to throw something else on him this season!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 20)
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- CIC Video released the four season 1 "hold-over" episodes in their production order, as part of the first season release. This is the third episode in the second season release. From this point, releases follow the normal broadcast order.
- As part of the VOY Season 2 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
- John Copage as a science division officer
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Unknown actor as Reptohumanoid officer
aftershave; Alfarian; Alfarian hair pasta; Alpha Quadrant; Baytart, Pablo; clarinet; class M; Concerto in A Major; cordrazine; covariant phaser pulse; Delta Quadrant; dermal osmotic sealant; deuterium flow; driver coil; duel; dunghill bird; Earth; emergency medical holographic channel; evasive maneuvers; eye dropper; fall; family reunion; Felaran rose; field coil; flight instructor; garnesite; genus; glandular secretion; hair follicle; high school; holodeck; hypoglycemia; inertial dampers; itch; Jem'Hadar attack ship; junk dealer; kilometer; Kim, Mary; leola root broth; lime; mess hall; Milky Way Galaxy; Molière comedy; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; nest; Ocampa; Ocampa (planet); Palliantyne pea; Paris, Owen; phase retraction; planetary geosciences division; photon torpedoes; "Planet Hell"; plasma injector; playing favorites; Potak III; Potak cold fowl; pupil; red alert; replicator ration; Reptohumanoid; Reptohumanoid vessel; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Talaxian; Tanzian flu; technobabble; trigemic vapor; turbolift
- Duty Roster – Planetary Geosciences Division: Bernard, Alan; Bernard, David; Bosché, Mary Ellen; Braga, Brannon; Brownfield, Dick; Chamberlin, Mandy; Chess, Joe; Chronister, Richard; Conley, Tom; Dean, Doug; Fleck, Jerry; Fukai, Arlene; Genovese, Cosmo; Gocke, Bill; Jacobson, Phillip; Johnson, Ralph; Kunz, Carol; Longo, Joe}; McKnight, Scott; Mees, James; Moore, Tom; Nesterowicz, John; Peets, Bill; Russo, Charles; Ramirez, Maricella; Rowe, Rick; Sepulveda, Fernando; Sims, Alan; Simmons, Adele; Smothers, Waverly; Sordal, Bob; Stimson, Mark; Stradling, Michael; Thompson, Kim; Thoms, Bill; Thorpe, Jim; Vescio, Elaina; Ward, Lazard; Wiltz, Murphy; Wright, Edmond; Yacobian, Brad
- "Parturition" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Parturition" at Wikipedia
- Parturition at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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"Persistence of Vision"