Mark Watches ‘Voyager’: S03E20 – Favorite Son

In the twentieth episode of the third season of Voyager, the more I think about this episode, the worse it seems. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Trigger Warning: For extensive talk of misogyny and consent

Well, this was a hot mess. But it was also much more of a mess because there’s an idea in “Favorite Son” that could have been awesome. Like, this is such a horror staple, y’all! The whole idea of warping the tale of the sirens isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it could have been a neat horror story, and instead… lord. LORD.

Where do I even start with this disaster? It honestly feels like it was a power fantasy written by a bunch of dudes who just wanted to imagine how cool it was to have a planet full of women desire them. WHICH IS MINDBLOWING BECAUSE THIS WASN’T WRITTEN BY A MAN. Perhaps that is the reason this turns into a subversion of the siren story, but it’s not this episode’s saving grace. Instead, the whole thing paints women in a terrible light! They’re set pieces with no real characterization here aside from what needs to exist to make sure that Harry is no longer an alien at the end of the script. I have to wonder if Lisa Klink’s script wasn’t heavily edited or changed because it honestly felt like two stories in one, and by the time the evil siren plot came to fruition, the truly interesting shit was gone from the episode.

Yet I still feel conflicted by that! The idea that Harry Kim was actually Taresian could have been interesting because it would have allowed Garret Wang and the writers to add a new layer to this character. That would have been a lot of fun to see! His character hasn’t been allowed a whole lot of growth, either, so I kind of got excited at the opportunity to explore something new. At the same time… whew, the consent issues are completely glossed over. Like, his mother was impregnated against her will! Just because she wanted a child doesn’t mean she was cool with aliens from another quadrant putting a child in her, especially one who was genetically coded to return to his homeland and NEVER COME BACK TO WHERE HE WAS BORN. It’s all in the details, y’all.

And ultimately, that’s why this episode falls apart. The show can’t commit to anything. Make Harry an alien! I want to go on that journey! Show him conflicted by the revelation! Or tell a story about how male power fantasies are fucked up and misogynist! “Favorite Son” can’t really give us either, and it’s just uncomfortable to watch more than anything else. With one exception, of course: GODS, I LOVE SEEING JANEWAY GET RIGHTEOUSLY ANGRY. It’s so satisfying!

I can’t wait to forget this episode. I mean… at least it’s not like “Threshold”? I feel like that’s the saddest bar ever set, though.

The video for “Favorite Son” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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