Half-Klingons Rule: an Ode to B'Elanna Toores
As you know from my March 2017 post, "Spock and Olives," Bob and I have gotten to be Star Trek Voyager Trekkies, and though we like Captain Janeway, enjoy Tuvok's steady character, appreciate Neelix's bizarre cooking, and are amused by the Holographic Doctor's awful bedside manner, our favorite character thus far is--drumroll please--B'Elanna Toores: the half-Klingon, half-human, fully courageous Chief Engineer of Star Trek Voyager.
B'Elanna starts out as a headstrong, rebel Marquis engineer. However, from the first episode, "The Caretaker," on, she shows a tremendous amount of courage and can-do attitude. B'Elanna is a not only a courageous woman who will go down a dragon's throat," as J.R.R. Tolkien describes Sam Gamgee's character in The Lord of the Rings, but she also possesses an unwavering lack of fear--whatever the dragon's size. B'Elanna is sort of an intergalactic equivalent of Tauriel from The Desolation of Smaug. B'Elanna, being half-Klingon, extremely smart (most likely because of her more pronounced forehead and larger brain), and having her fair share of emotional baggage because of the stigma attached to Klingons, is an unlikely heroine, but unlikely heroines are often the best kind.
My favorite episodes with B'Elanna in season two of Star Trek Voyager are episode thirteen, "Prototype," where B'Elanna must destroy a robot in order to save the galaxy, "It was difficult but necessary" seems to be a life motto that readily fits B'Elanna and everything she does) and episode seventeen, "Dreadnought," where B'Elanna must destroy a machine that has gone awry. Then, we have episode sixteen of season three, "Blood Fever," which I will wholeheartedly agree is not entirely appropriate. Nontheless, the idea of B'Elanna Toores chasing Tom Paris, who she usually finds entirely revolting (for understandable reasons) around because of a mind-melded Pon Farr is somewhat comical.
The end of "Blood Fever " has a scene that takes place on a turbolift where Tom Paris halts the lift and discusses B'Elanna's "big, scary, Klingon side" tongue-in-cheek. This scene, along with the fact that Mr. Paris is the only one to climb in a shuttle to save B'Elanna (am I the ONLY person who thinks it odd that on a ship of 240 plus individuals, ONLY one offers to go after B'Elanna?!) is why I think these two characters end up together about a season later.
Season four of Star Trek Voyager has episode three, "Day of Honor," episode five, "Revulsion," episode seven, "Scientific Method," and episode twenty, "Vis a Vis" that basically provide explanation as to how in the universe B'Elanna Toores ends up with Tom Paris.
Don't get me wrong, Tom Paris does have a few apparent virtues--emphasis on Few Apparent. Episode three, "Day of Honor," in season three is basically a spotlight feature on Tom and his relationship with B'Elanna (I understand that at the end of this episode B'Elanna discusses how she feels about Tom, but the oxygen-deprived dialogue here does not a coherent plot line make) whereas episode five of season two, "Revulsion," is more about how B'Elanna relates to Tom (human nervousness meets "Cake by the Ocean" Klingon-style--strange, but true). Episode seven in season three of Star Trek Voyager, "Scientific Method," and episode twenty, "Vis a Vis," are about how Tom and B'Elanna relate to one another about each other: awkwardly, very awkwardly.
To be honest, when when I found out that B'Elanna ended up with Tom Paris in this series, I was ticked at the writers and dismayed at THAT prospect. However, episode eleven in season seven of Star Trek Voyager, "Lineage," convinced me that despite their apparent ill-fit, B'Elanna and Tom were (I grudgingly admit this in my Vulcan logic), pretty perfect for each other in the show--ugh. The reason B'Elanna and Tom were a good match in the show was because when either one of them made up their mind to succeed at and/or to accomplish something, they did. Also, both characters were unsupported and because of or in spite of these facts came to be able to trust and to support one another because, well, no one else was really willing to.
My two, all-time favorite B'Elanna episodes on Star Trek Voyager are season seven, episode three, "Drive," and episode eleven, "Lineage," found in the same season. I find the marriage proposal twenty seconds before a warp core breach, imminent explosion, and death humorous in "Drive."
"Lineage" is my favorite B'Elanna episode because it is a rare glimpse of B'Elanna when she is vulnerable and admits to being frightened. She is afraid her daughter's Klingon traits will cause her daughter the same "difficult but necessary" life experiences she has suffered and will break apart her marriage in the same way her parents' human/Klingon marriage was broken apart. The reaction of Tom Paris to his wife and her behavior/actions in this episode is unexpectedly redemptive of him and his character, and why I believe that, in the end, they were a good match in theory; but, I digress.
B'Elanna Toores essentially remains the same person she was in season one of Star Trek Voyager when the curtain closes on season seven. B'Elanna has the same beliefs, but she also grows into herself and outward as she continues to find her way home through the galaxy. B'Elanna's ability to change her outward vantage point and to yet remain the same person in her core beliefs is her greatest personality trait. Here ends my tribute to B'Elanna Toores, Chief Engineer of Star Trek Voyager, at least until next week;).