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Star trek: Voyager 6.02a - Barge of the Dead

Stardate around 53090
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

Seriously injured in a horrific accident, B'Elanna (Roxann Dawson) is transported to the Barge of the Dead: the boat which ferries dishonoured souls to the Klingon after-life. When B'Elanna escapes the barge, her Klingon mother, Miral (Karen Austin), is taken in her place. To save her mother's eternal soul, B'Elanna faces the ultimate sacrifice.

Persons of interest

  • Kate Mulgrew .... Captain Kathryn Janeway
  • Robert Beltran .... Commander Chakotay
  • Roxann Dawson .... Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
  • Robert Duncan McNeill .... Lieutenant Tom Paris
  • Robert Picardo .... the Emergency Medical Hologram
  • Ethan Phillips .... Neelix
  • Tim Russ .... Lieutenant Tuvok
  • Jeri Ryan .... Seven of nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix 01
  • Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
  • Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
  • Karen Austin .... Miral
  • Eric Pierpoint .... Kotar
  • Sherman Augustus .... Hij'qa
  • John Kenton Shull .... Brok'tan
  • Bryan Fuller .... Storywriter, Screenwriter
  • Ron Moore .... Storywriter
  • Mike Vejar .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Marge of the dead.

Sorry, too much Simpsons, couldn't resist. What I saw is... Klingon stuff!

Well, if your heart beats faster at the thought of large, unwashed, bodies with rippling foreheads then this is the episode for you. Who would have thought that Voyager could manage a Klingon episode all the way over in the Delta Quadrant?

First up: the after-life. Klingon culture has been pretty well covered in Deep Space Nine what with having a resident Klingon from Season Four on, the on again, off again Empire/Federation alliance and a cross-species marriage and The next generation with their Klingon/Romulan troubles. The one thing that hasn't had much exposure is religion, perhaps because the Klingon society is focussed on physical aspects rather than spiritual (ie the warrior and their honour). The few religious titbits which have been thrown your way (the first Klingons killed their gods for being too weak) showed that they don't have the time or inclination for the worship of non-corporeal beings. And rightly so. In Barge of the Dead you spend most of the episode learning about Klingon attitudes to the post death experience, how to get there and how to get back. It's ironic that, once having disposed of their gods, they set up a belief system that replaces gods with people.

So for Klingon-philes this is an education experience made fun. But what about the rest of you who can take them or leave them, or downright dislike them? Well, you're out of luck. There's no second story line, no strange aliens, no interesting spatial phenomena, just B'Elanna and her genetic heritage. Tom gets a bit of a look in as both medical officer and boyfriend, Janeway gets to play momma and Tuvok has a wee bit, but this is 95% B'Elanna's episode. That also means that it's also 95% Roxann Dawson's episode. She's had fun with her Klingon side before when it was split from her Human side (see Faces), but this episode is just about being a Klingon mongrel (and that's a quote!). In that sense it's not as exciting as the earlier one because the dichotomy is lost, the conflict becomes internal rather than external so is harder to show in a primarily visual medium. Roxann does well but she doesn't have the best of material to work with. You have already learned that B'Elanna has a history of problems in this regard so seeing her work on it some more isn't overly rewarding.

What is interesting, from a character point of view, is that B'Elanna has chosen Janeway as her replacement mother figure and they both know it. Janeway has always been fond of her reclamation projects (Tom, Chakotay, Neelix, Kes, Seven) but none have been as close to her as B'Elanna. They are both thinking women: science and learning run in their veins. They are also women of action, at the forefront of any fight and not afraid to get their hands dirty. They also have a barrier around them that keeps others away, but once they let someone in, it's forever.

Anyhoo, I have raved on for too long. This is an ok episode that you might or might not enjoy, depending on your proclivities.

Security censorship classification

PG (Medium level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 9 March 2000

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