We begin with a scene of Harry Kim falling into what looks like a basement prison. He’s immediately punched in the face by Tom Paris, who claims Harry as “his.” There’s some weird racialization going on here, since it turns out they ARE in prison and that Tom did that so everyone would think Harry’s “his” to abuse and treat as “beta.” Like, why doesn’t Harry ever fight anyone on his own this ep? In “Non Sequitor” he engages in some minor hand to hand combat, so it’s not like he’s INCAPABLE of fighting… he just leaves it to the white males around him. ICK.
In a bit, Tom explains that they’re in a prison, there’s a chute that food occasionally comes down (but that’s a bloodbath because everyone fights over it), and that everyone has a “clamp,” a synaptic thingy that Tom thinks is messing with peeps’ brains.
Back on Voyager we hear a Captain’s Log that I shall summarize for you. Ahem.
Jesus Christ, where the shit are Tom and Paris? Local authorities are a TRIP, guys, because they’re refusing to say if they know anything about our idiot crewmen.
Anyways, Voyager‘s crew has been accused of terrorism, and the local authorities are all GTFO and Janeway’s all, “Fuck you guys, we’re gonna find whodunnit and make you say you’re sorry.” While this is high drama, my cat fell asleep about now, so feel free to imagine little kitty snores punctuating the action.
Back to the prison. Harry and Tom are trying to MacGyver a pipe that’ll short the forcefield around the chute, which is the first part of a tentative escape plan. Harry nearly succumbs to the clamp’s influence, but Tom brings him out of it by talking about food. They have an extended back and forth about that which is good to NOM, and begin trying to escape. The other prisoners come, get angry, and stab Paris. By the way, no one here is unjustly imprisoned — like, the only good prisoners that try to retain their humanity are our guys. Anyways, Tom’s all OH MY STARS, and people start trying to call dibs on his boots. Harry is all NOOO!, grabs Tom, and tries to hide in the hovel they’ve claimed, only to discover that a “crazy” prisoner (and I use “crazy” here because they throw it around a lot in the ep to mark prisoners who aren’t engaged in Enlightenment-era analysis of their state) has taken it over. Kim goes to Zio (who’s established a kind of trading post and is another prisoner) for help, promising that if Zio helps Tom they’ll take him with them when they try to escape again. They go to do so, but then when they climb up, it turns out that the chute opens into a docking area, meaning they’re on a space station. They can’t escape.
They climb back down, and Harry tries to rouse the other prisoners but they’re all SIT DOWN MEATWAD, and he heads back to the shelter… only to find Paris has succumbed to the clamp, and is trying to take apart the MAGIC PIPE OF ESCAPE. They fight, and Harry really hurts Tom. However, when Zio is all, FINISH HIM…
Harry is all, BUT DADDY I LOVE HIM!!
Meanwhile, Janeway is all WHO ELSE COULD MAKE TRILITHIUM EXPLOSIVES??? B’elanna is like, IDK, like everyone? It’s wicked easy to make if you’ve got PARAlithium and that’s used to power tons of ships. They figure out what ships by them use it, and find the REAL terrorists: a pair of siblings, one of whom is like 14. The teen girl, by the way, is FIERCE, and tells Janeway she’s a coward for only being interested in freeing her own people, and not all the people in the prison. She’s right, by the way. Considering how often Janeway ignores the Prime Directive it’s pretty suck of her to be all non-interference now. Anyways, Janeway is like, YOU SUCK, everyone to the brig! And they head back to the baddies’ star system.
It turns out that the local authorities are not interested in releasing Tom and Paris, even though Janeway’s got the REAL terrorists. Janeway tells the sibling pair that she’ll let them go if they help her free her men. Neelix helps by piloting his little Talaxian ship so that the rescue team can get close to the prison space station. They jump on, rescue Tom and Harry, then jet away… leaving a bunch of prisoners in an extremely fucked up facility. Harry realizes that both Zio and Tom were right: the clamp did mess with your brain, and the guards use this technology to prevent a prisoner uprising. The prisoners are too busy being mad at each other to fight back against the state.
I wasn’t thrilled by this ep, and am thinking of skipping the rest of s3. So far it’s been mediocre.