“Elogium” is the fourth episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, the 20th episode overall.
The story was written by freelancers Jimmy Diggs and Steve J. Kay, based on Diggs’ experience while serving in the United States Navy.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet and Maquis crew of the starship USS Voyager after they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant far from the rest of the Federation. In this episode, Voyager encounters a swarm of space-borne lifeforms, which mistake the vessel for a member of their species. The presence of the aliens induce a premature mating cycle in Kes (Jennifer Lien), causing her and Neelix (Ethan Phillips) to question whether or not they are ready to have children.
Taylor incorporated Diggs’ suggestion to name a character “Samantha Wildman” after an organ donor who saved his wife’s life. The script was Biller’s first work for the series and earned him a permanent spot on the Voyager writing staff after impressing the producers. The episode received Nielsen ratings of 5.7/9 percent, placing it in 87th position for the week overall.
The episode was praised by the cast, and although director Winrich Kolbe was satisfied, he felt that Kes could have been taken further in the episode. Critics gave the episode a mixed response, lauding Lien’s performance while criticising the character dynamics and the message about women wanting motherhood.
On stardate 48921.3, USS Voyager encounters a cloud of space-dwelling lifeforms, and Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) takes the ship in for a closer look. The ship is soon drawn in and engulfed by the swarm of creatures, whose proximity disables the helm controls and shields. The crew endeavour to escape without harming the swarm, but when the creatures begin attaching themselves to the hull, they wreak even more havoc on the ship’s systems. A version of the creatures as large as Voyager arrives, and the crew realise that they have been mistaken for another of the species; the smaller creatures are attempting to mate with the ship. When the larger creature attacks, Voyager adopts a position of submission, based on behaviour the crew observed in the smaller members of the species. Losing interest, the smaller creatures detach from Voyager and allow it to leave.
In response to Voyager’s exposure to the swarm, Kes (Jennifer Lien) begins eating abnormally, including insects and soil. In sickbay, she has a fever, a dangerously elevated pulse and blood pressure, and a tumorous growth on her back. She resists the Doctor’s (Robert Picardo) treatment and locks herself in his office, finally relenting only to explain to Captain Janeway that she’s undergoing the elogium: the Ocampa mating cycle. This process only happens once and usually affects Ocampa between four and five years old – but Kes is not even two. Neelix (Ethan Phillips) and Kes agonise over whether to have children and the ramifications of becoming parents. After discussing children and family with Lieutenant Tuvok (Tim Russ), Neelix decides he is ready to be a father, while Kes has instead decided against it. Ultimately, because the Doctor believes the elogium was artificially induced by the creatures’ proximity to the ship, it may come upon her again later in her life when she is ready.
Throughout the episode, concerns arise over shipboard fraternisation. After Captain Janeway and Chakotay (Robert Beltran) discuss whether the ship is an appropriate place to raise children, Ensign Samantha Wildman (Nancy Hower) announces that she is pregnant by her husband, who is still in the Alpha Quadrant.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Winrich Kolbe.
- Writer(s): Jimmy Diggs and Steve J. Kay.
- Release Date: 18 September 1995.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.