While Voyager investigates a school of breeders in space, Kes undergoes the onset of the Ocampa version of puberty, where she must mate with a willing member of the crew or else she would be unable to produce a child for the rest of her life.
This episode has the following tropes:
- Artistic License Biology: The episode establishes that Ocampa can have children only once in their lifetimes, and strongly implies — though to be fair, it wasn't said outright until later — that they give birth to only one child during their one and only pregnancy. And since nothing in this or any other episode says that male Ocampa also give birth, this means that the best-case scenario is that every generation of Ocampa should be half the size of the previous one. Not to mention that it makes no sense from an evolutionary standpoint for the physical act to take six days, during which the couple must be bonded together. Any species that takes that long to conceive would be open to attacks from predators.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Averted; when Neelix wants to go ahead, Kes then has second thoughts, eventually deciding not to have a child.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: It is very likely that this applies to the Ocampa, as we see Kes in "Before and After" giving birth out of a sack on her back and we learn here that conception occurs only after a male touches the female's palms after they begin to secrete some kind of yellow mucus.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Kes gives birth from a sac on her back, and when she reaches sexual maturity you rub her feet until her tongue swells up.
- Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The space creatures propel themselves via flagellation, essentially whipping their tails back and forth as a means of moving forward. In keeping with the theme of the episode, this happens to also be how sperm propels itself.
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Kes holds up her hands to show some sticky yellow residue on them.NEELIX: What's that?
KES: The ipasaphor. It makes the mating bond possible.
NEELIX: It does?
KES: If we begin, we must stay bonded for six days.
NEELIX: Six days?
KES: In order to ensure conception. And after the ipasaphor appears, we only have fifty hours to begin the process. So I need to know your answer.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Neelix's pepper sauce.
- The Comically SeriousTuvok: It appears we have lost our sex appeal, Captain.(Janeway tries not to laugh)
- Clingy Jealous Guy: Neelix; while his jealousy of Tom Paris is somewhat justifiable, the same can't be said of his jealousy towards the Doctor, a hologram lacking any genitalia altogether!
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Teen pregnancy.
- Elevator Going Down: Chakotay interrupts a couple making out in the turbolift. Good thing he never finds out what some Slash Fic writers have him getting up to in there.
- Fake Pregnancy: Proximity to the field generated by the space breeders caused the onset of puberty in Kes, but once Voyager escapes the symptoms reside.
- Fan Disservice: Kes in a state of sexual heat looks like a sweat-stained, hollow-eyed junkie. Fans wanting to see a sexy Kes should check out "Warlord" instead.
- Flowers of Romance: Neelix brings Kes flowers to apologize for his jealousy. When she starts eating them, he drags her off to Sickbay.
- Generation Ship: Chakotay points out that if it does take 75 years to get back home, Voyager will need a replacement crew in half that time.
- Get Out!: The Doctor to Neelix, after he keeps complaining and getting in the way while the Doctor is trying to find out what's wrong with Kes.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Check out this Techno Babble!CHAKOTAY: If the smaller creatures are sexually attracted to our subspace emissions, then the large one may perceive us as a rival. That plasma burst it sent out might have been aggressive posturing.JANEWAY: Then you'd think it would be happy to see us leave. Lieutenant, is there any way we could generate a short burst at impulse, enough to get us away from this swarm?
- The Glomp
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: A Space Whale tries to hump Voyager.
- I Ate WHAT?!: Kes starts eating the bugs and nitrogenated soil in her airponics bay.
- Interspecies Romance: Talaxian and Ocampa.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Averted; at the end Kes and Neelix do both.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Kes drops into Sarcasm Mode when Neelix starts backing off from having a child with her.
- Parental Substitute: Kes proposes either Janeway or the Doctor massage her feet in lieu of her absent parents. As the captain is too busy, the Doctor ends up doing it.
- Ramming Always Works: Averted; it only makes the Space Whale that's bothering Voyager respond more aggressively.
- Reset Button: Turns out Kes can still have kids. Which she does in an alternate history timeline.
- Series Continuity Error: Kes puts up a forcefield in Sickbay to keep the Doctor away from her. But the Doctor is shown in other episodes to be able to walk through a forcefield by projecting himself on the other side.
- Ship Tease: J/CJANEWAY: Good work, Commander. In the future, if I have any questions about mating behaviour, I'll know where to go.
- Someone to Remember Him By: At the end of the episode, Ensign Wildman goes to have a quiet word with the Captain. Turns out she's pregnant, and her husband stayed behind on Deep Space Nine on the other side of the galaxy. After all, Voyager was only supposed to be out for a few weeks
- Space Whale
- Teen Pregnancy: According to the Doctor, this is very common for the Breen.
- With Due Respect: An unusually-aggressive B'Elanna says this to Captain Janeway, when she's reluctant to harm the space creatures.