Star Trek: Voyager (1995): S01E14 – Faces


Introduction

“Faces” is the 14th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager.

In this episode, a Vidiian scientist named Sulan (Brian Markinson) captures and performs medical experiments on the half-Klingon, half-human B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson). He separates her into a full-blooded Klingon and a full-blooded human to find a cure for a disease, known as the Phage. The Voyager crew rescues Torres and restores her to her original state, while she attempts to reconcile with her identity as a half-human half-Klingon. The episode guest stars Rob LaBelle as an unnamed Talaxian prisoner. Actress Joy Kilpatrick was cast as Dawson’s photo double to avoid a reliance on split screen.

“Faces” was developed as a character study to further explore Torres’ internal struggle with her identity. Dawson was originally resistant to the episode, but later identified it as one of her favourite performances, which deepened her understanding of the character and strengthened her acting. Human Torres and Klingon Torres were treated as two separate characters during the development and filming of the episode. Michael Westmore designed the characters’ makeup to emphasise the differences between them.

The episode received a Nielsen rating of 6.1/10 ratings share; a drop from the episode broadcast the previous week. “Faces” was generally well received, and Dawson’s character and performance were praised. Its final sequence garnered negative reviews from critics and fans for the lack of empathy shown to Torres by the rest of Voyager’s crew. The episode has also been the subject of academic analysis on race.

Outline

Crew members Tom Paris, B’Elanna Torres, and Peter Durst have gone missing on a mission. They have been captured by the Vidiians. Vidiian Chief Surgeon Sulan has conducted a procedure on Torres, changing her from a half-human, half-Klingon hybrid into two bodies (a full-blooded Klingon and a full-blooded human). He infects Klingon Torres with the Phage, a deadly disease that afflicts his species but to which Klingons have a natural immunity, so he can study her genetics.

Commander Chakotay, Security Chief Tuvok, and Ensign Harry Kim form a search party but are discovered by the Vidiians and beam back to the USS Voyager. Sulan examines the Klingon Torres while she experiences pain from the Phage. Klingon Torres expresses pride in her Klingon identity, though she remembers hiding her Klingon heritage as a child.

Recognising Sulan’s attraction to her, she tries to seduce the scientist and escape, but his desire to find a cure overcomes his lust. The human version of Torres is kept imprisoned with Paris and Durst. Human Torres is characterised as weaker and more timid than her Klingon counterpart, and is deemed too ill to work in the mines. She secretly works on a security console in the barracks in an attempt to contact Voyager but is caught.

Meanwhile, Sulan kills Durst and grafts his face over his own to appear more appealing to the Klingon Torres. Klingon Torres escapes from Sulan’s laboratory, and rescues her human version. After arguing about their respective weaknesses, and past expulsion from Starfleet Academy, the two halves formulate a plan. Human Torres suggests shutting down the shields for the complex so that Voyager can transport them to the ship, while the Klingon Torres deals with guards.

Chakotay, disguised as a Vidiian guard with the help of the Doctor, breaks into the facility at the same time Torres deactivates the shields. Klingon Torres sacrifices herself to protect the rest of the crew members from Sulan. Transported back to Voyager, Klingon Torres refuses medical help to die an honourable death. The Doctor explains that Human Torres would not survive without her Klingon half and restores her to her original self by reintegrating the Klingon DNA. Human Torres admits to feeling incomplete without her Klingon half. After being restored, she realises that she will spend the rest of her life dealing with her inner conflict.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Winrich Kolbe.
  • Writer(s): Jonathan Glassner and Kenneth Biller.
  • Release Date: 08 May 1995.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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