Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barge of The Dead

*** (3 stars out of 5)
When a page from Worf's life is glued into B'Elanna Torres' script, she learns a lesson she already knew: Hell is other Klingons.

Injured in a shuttle accident, the engineer finds herself on the "Barge of The Dead" bound for Gre'thor. Gre'thor has nothing to do with Chris Hemsworth: it is the afterlife reserved for dishonourable Klingons. Where they eat nought but burning hot coal and drink nought but burning hot cola. Where 'George' Francisco from Alien Nation is the Ferryman, and Lanna's mommy is consigned to eternal punishment for the effrontery of having borne a human child.

But what IS hell when all your oldest friends are dead, you have clinical depression, and your fickle boyfriend is Tom Paris? Maybe hell is other humans, after all. Maybe hell is another 30 years of terrible jokes about Neelix's pot roast. Maybe hell is EATING Neelix's pot roast.

Citing religious freedom, B'Elanna makes the Doctor put her back into a dangerous coma the minute she recovers. She hopes to trade her fate for that of her mother, Miral.  It's tough to say what actually happens next. Was she really dead? Is Miral? What it comes down to, in my interpretation, is that Torres chooses to embrace her humanity- defying authority by throwing her bat'leth out to sea.

Certainly the dead gods or whoever runs the Klingon afterlife (does the paperwork and such) aren't going to be very impressed by her refusal to fight. "Oh, my mistake! Welcome to Sto-Vo-Kor, pacifist! Yes, if you don't like bloodwine we have some soothing steeped teas..." Still, the path of non-violence requires a lot of courage and discipline, too. So does loving your family when you have totally different beliefs. It's food for thought, anyway.

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