Roundtable Voyager: S01E08 – Ex Post Facto

Roundtable Voyager: S01E08 – Ex Post Facto

Ryan – Oh! Did anyone notice this episode was directed by LeVar Burton?

Tim – I did! I thought he did a pretty good job, personally. Well, except for Paris hamming it up in the memory sequence, but that could just be Paris’ writing.

Seth – It could also have been deliberately hammy, since it was really the Banean doctor pretending to be Paris.

Ryan – Actually, the hamming I took to be the first sign that the memory was a forgery.

Tim – Oh that’s true. I’m just off all over the place today. For some reason I thought that the first portion of that memory was actually factual.

Seth – Nope, Paris was unconscious by the time the memory begins.

Tim – Well then I stand completely corrected! Top notch direction (by my amateur impression) all about! Here’s a question- So, a bit was made about the way Paris’ character was “marred” when this episode was first aired. The writers suggested that it was because the episode was written before Paris was even cast, so they fell back on the whole “Paris-is-a-womanizer” stereotype they’d used for him…did any of you feel like he was actually out of character? Because he did everything I thought Tom Paris would do in that episode.

Ryan – No, this felt in character. If anything it did seem to lean a little heavy on the Paris-as-womanizer characterization, but it certainly felt like the Paris we’ve come to know.

Seth – I didn’t feel that he was out of character. The reliance on the stereotype didn’t do anything to further his character, but that’s fine, because this episode was really about developing Tuvok. And at the very least, it establishes that he may be a womanizer, but he’s not (deliberately) a home-wrecker.

Tim – Ha! As I’m reading further, apparently this is the episode that kills his character arc for the first season. (we’ll see about that) “Later, Taylor said, ‘After episode six, I didn’t allow any more smarmy womanizing references to go through, because that’s all we were saying about his character [….] Unfortunately, we didn’t replace it with anything else, so Tom Paris didn’t do much of anything. That’s why we needed to develop him in the second season into something more heroic.’ (Captains’ Logs Supplemental – The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 140)”

Seth – Heh.

Ryan – I have to say I’m still somewhat surprised the writers chose him (or a character of that type) as one of their main characters.

Tim – They needed their Riker/Kirk. I think it comes down to what you pinpointed in our first discussion: this was the character intended as wish-fulfillment for their target audience.

Seth – “We couldn’t possibly have a Star Trek without some kind of womanizer!”–how I imagine the brainstorming session went.

Ryan – That certainly held true through the reboots too.

Seth – It would be remiss if we didn’t touch on the little conversation between the Doctor and Kes at the beginning of the episode. I think it’s interesting that they’re making a determined effort to develop the Doctor at least a little in every episode.

Ryan – I almost forgot about that!

Tim – Oh yeah!

Seth – Nothing huge, but we got a little bit more information about how the Doctor sees himself, and some questioning of whether human thought processes are significantly different from an advanced computer program.

Tim – I thought that was actually a really nice touch. And, once again, it begs the question of why nobody in the Federation ever considered that angle before. Or at least, nobody significant enough to maybe lay that groundwork. But yeah, I really enjoyed that part. Perhaps one of the more interesting comparisons to make is that, while Data had to change himself to become more and more human, the suggestion here seems to be that the Doctor is -already- a person- they just don’t realize it yet. And this discussion really hammers that point.

Ryan – It almost seemed a bit like there was an implication there that the Doctor’s (i.e. an androids) way of making decisions was little different than a sentient being.

Seth – It’s strange, but at the same time entirely believable that Starfleet would have come to consider Data a fully sentient being without ever considering the ramifications for other AI. I mean, those kinds of blind spots are humanity all over.

Ryan – Yeah, I got that impression as well Tim. That it was more like the Doctor had been programmed to think he’s incapable of humanity, rather than him actually being capable of being so.

Seth – I could see that. Someone looked at the Doctor’s programming and thought, “gee, this is awfully complex. We’d better make sure this program doesn’t start thinking it’s alive or something.”

Tim – Heheheh. Well, final bit of trivia from me: This was the only episode of Voyager in which a character was shown smoking.

Ryan – Again very noirish, and it did feel surprisingly archaic for a TV show.

Tim – Indeed!

Seth – At least this probably means we won’t see Chakotay pulling out a peace pipe…

Tim – Any other last thoughts?

Seth – It’s interesting to think that apparently some time in Star Trek’s past, humanity decided that moderation wasn’t sufficient as an approach to recreational drug use (excepting, of course, alcohol, because it would seem that’s a-OK by 24th-century standards).

Tim – That is interesting! Do we see any drugs referenced in other series?

Ryan – Chakotay’s peyote!

Tim – AH! That’s true!

Seth – In the TNG pilot, Q makes reference to a period in human history in which soldiers were controlled through the use of addictive substances. I wonder if that had anything to do with humanity later giving that sort of thing up (almost) entirely…and I guess in DS9 the Ferengi Grand Nagus uses snuff, but that’s about all I can find with some quick searches.

Ryan – I was going to ask if any of the alien races have substances they use.

Seth – Oh, I just remembered, every once in a while someone would smoke on TNG in the context of a holodeck program where that made sense. I suppose caffeine is also rampant what with all the tea/coffee people drink.

Tim – Caffeine? What? Caffeine isn’t an addictive substance. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Tim begins to guard his 2 liter of Mt. Dew with a vicious paranoia. The rest of the table looks nervously at their twitching companion…

Join us next week for another installment of Roundtable Voyager! We’ll be discussing Star Trek: Voyager s01e09 “Emanations.” If you would like, watch the episode ahead of time and contribute your own thoughts in the comments of this post! We’d love to have you help shape our discussion! Or, if you’re more interested in “Ex Post Facto”, was there anything you feel we missed, or theories about the episode that you would like to share? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section below! 

If you enjoyed this roundtable, please consider donating to Team Acagameia’s Extra Life charity page, where 100% of all funds raised go to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Simply click on the name of the participant you prefer (Dave, Tim, or Seth) and, once at their page, click “Support Me!” All donations are tax deductible and go to support Hurley Children’s Hospital.

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