Second Union

Second Union


“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.”

Early in Star Trek: Voyager’s run, Neelix was written to be the jealous boyfriend to Kes’ earthy jail-bait temptress. The disparity in their respective ages was taken to an extreme level. It wasn’t just that Kes was a young woman, mid-twenties by the looks of it, but being Ocampan (with the short life span) puts her age at between roughly one and two years of age, which made Neelix’s companionship all the more disquieting. When Tom Paris comes lurking, his eyes are on Kes. This drives Neelix crazy, and jealousy is not the most attractive of emotions. Voyager encounters a swarm of living creatures; fairly basic lifeforms that live in clusters moving through space. These creatures mistake Voyager for one of their own. They become sexually attracted to Voyager and can’t keep their iridescent tendrils off her.

The lifeforms are having a deleterious effect on Kes as well. She starts eating everything in sight, including bugs and dirt. She goes through a process known as the “elogium,” a hyperactive hysterical onset of puberty and a form of urgent estrus that requires her to choose a mate and produce offspring within a short period of time. Jennifer Lien is such an astoundingly good actress that she almost overcomes the constrictive characterization the writers had placed on Kes. Unfortunately, she chooses Neelix to be the father of her child, which provokes such an enormous amount of anxiety in him that he must quiz Tuvok about his abilities as a father. Tim Russ, like Nimoy, has a rare talent of being able to express concern without showing it. Yes, being a father does grant considerable rewards that greatly outweigh the difficulties.

At the beginning of the episode, Chakotay accidentally spies a couple of crewpersons making out in the turbolift, which leads to an awkward conversation between himself and Janeway. Janeway speculates about whether or not Voyager should be designated a “generational” ship with their offspring continuing the proposed 75-year journey home. She doesn’t want to think about it, and her fiance, Mark, can’t wait around forever. She has no problem with the crew pairing off either. Chakotay comes up with the idea to play submissive to get these over-sexed creatures off Voyager’s back. The plan works, Voyager escapes, and Kes’ elogium is abated, but the over-arching theme continues when Samantha Wildman (introduced in this episode) informs Janeway she is pregnant. “Elogium” was an episode produced during Voyager’s first season that was held until the start of the second season.

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