Star Trek: 20 Worst Episodes Ever

18. Threshold (VOY)


"I don't know what to say, except I don't remember very much about, er, you know."

You can call me crazy, but a part of me actually likes "Threshold," which is usually derided as the nadir of Star Trek: Voyager (there's even a special feature on the DVD devoted to apologizing for the whole affair). I wouldn't call it a good episode, but for about half of the running time it is a fun romp that captures the essence of Tom Paris, who until this point had been mostly reduced to a background character.

Unfortunately, no viewing of "Threshold" can come without the second half of the episode's running time, which is bizarre, tedious, awkward, and totally illogical, often all at once. Part of the problem with the episode can be neatly summarised by recounting the second half of the episode's plot, which is, for lack of a better word, insane.

After successfully breaking the Warp 10 barrier, Tom Paris begins to undergo a bizarre transformation into some sort of salamander-like creature. At the last minute, The Doctor discovers a treatment, but before he can act, Paris escapes, kidnaps Captain Janeway, and takes her on a Warp 10 flight. By the time Voyager locates them, three days later, they have fully "evolved" into the salamander creatures, mated, and produced salamander offspring together. No worries, however. The Doctor successfully returns them to their human form, which leads to an awkward scene between the Lieutenant and the Captain in sickbay.

The other problem, of course, is that the episode is a complete betrayal of its own premise. You see, travelling at Warp 10 means going so fast you occupy every point in the universe at once. In other words, you can go anywhere you want to at the push of a button. The only side-effect is that you begin to transform into a salamander, but thanks to The Doctor, that can be completely reversed! The only logical place for this to go is for Voyager to hit Warp 10, make it back to Earth in a split-second, and then treat the crew before they begin to exhibit the same mutations Paris and Janeway did. But, since that would mean ending the series, no one ever speaks of it again. Actually, given the rest of the episode, maybe that's for the best.

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Michael is one of the founders of FACT TREK (, a project dedicated to untangling 50+ years of mythology about the original Star Trek and its place in TV history. He currently is the Director of Sales and Digital Commerce at Shout! Factory, where he has worked since 2014. From 2013-2018, he ran the popular Star Trek Fact Check blog (