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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 5 E 16 The Disease

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Harry Kim and Captain Janeway have it out something fierce, and wait till you hear the reason why.
Voyager assists the Varro, a rather paranoid and xenophobic species, in repairing the engines of their Generation Ship, while the crew, Harry included, pursue their own excitements aboard. Unfortunately, he forms a biochemical link with the lovely Tal, which causes his skin to glow and an insatiable desire in both of them, resulting in... rather strained relations with the Varro.

This episode provides examples of

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  • All Species Are Sexually Compatible: Averted with a Getting Crap Past the Radar discussion over the matter.
    Kim: I've got to be honest, I wasn't expecting something so different.
    Tal: Neither was I. Our species look so similar... well, at least on the surface.
    Kim: I would've never guessed when it came down to the basics. Well, let's just say the birds and bees will be very confused.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Varro's Generation Ship, which has been in operation for hundreds of years, separates, and Harry has a long road to recovery, choosing to tough out the symptoms of his heartbreak rather than dull them with drugs. But, the dissidents get their own system where they can be content.
  • Boldly Coming: Way to go, Harry! Make that skin glow! Just, um... don't cause an interspecies incident or anything. Ahhh, oops...
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  • Broken Pedestal: Janeway talks about how Harry came fresh out of the Academy and was the most protective of him, but Harry points out this was five years ago and he's changed: maybe he's not the perfect officer anymore. Ultimately this trope is averted, because Janeway claims that while that might be true, he's a better man.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Harry. He finally gets some lovin', and is reprimanded for violating regulations and both Janeway's and Jippeq's direct orders. He also nearly gets suspected of being part of Tal's separatist movement. Oh, and the olan'vora leaves him feeling literally lovesick.
  • Call-Back: Janeway again recalls Mark when talking about love with Harry.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Harry finally has some luck in the romance department... and it results in a diplomatic incident, an STD in all but name with symptoms that hang around for weeks, a formal reprimand on his record, and a broken heart.
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  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: Tal says this to Harry after their first time having sex. Harry, however, is too busy fretting over the fact that he violated Starfleet regulations and Janeway's direct orders.
  • Continuity Nod: Janeway mentions that she wouldn't have been surprised if Tom Paris had been the one to have an illicit affair instead of Harry. Understandable, given his track record.
  • Crapsaccharine World: According to the stowaway, the Generation Ship is this, enough to foment La Résistance.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tuvok's in fine form!
    • When explaining how he brushes off Tom so fast, "I wait until his own illogic overwhelms him."
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Seven of Nine clinically dismisses romantic love when first asked, but by the end of the episode she tells Harry, with some grudging respect, that her attitude has changed.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Harry having sex and coming down with a condition practically screams "STD."
  • Double Standard: At the end, Janeway admits that she held Harry to a different standard than the rest of the senior staff (most of which isn't even Starfleet) because he had always been "by the book" before having relations with Tal.
  • Extreme Doormat: Harry considers himself to be this and rules are the feet that walk all over him; he can't break one without feeling incredibly guilty, but he knows being with Tal feels great...
  • Fake Static: Not in the most general sense, but Tom cuts off Harry's communication with Tal before he can be discovered.
  • Fatal Attractor: Harry's finally hooked up with a girl who's hot and willing and shares his interests! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Geeky Turn-On: Harry and Tal bond over the qualities of a class 3 nebula.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: Janeway introduces the Varro to the concept of crossing fingers. Unfortunately, it doesn't help matters.
  • Hypocrite: Harry Kim gets reprimanded for intimate relations with a new alien species. Even if you discount Kirk and Riker's many conquests, Chakotay and possibly Janeway herself have exchanged fluids with first contact aliens to varying degrees.
    • However, it's brought to attention that Harry engages in first contact without being medically cleared (which is brought up for the first time in the franchise) and does end up catching a biochemical disease (unlike some of the previous sexual encounters where the people involved were simply manipulated, sometimes through what some may consider dubious mental abilities), not to mention that this particular encounter had the Varro captain issue strict orders against any non-work related contact, and that Harry himself is just an Ensign (as opposed to the higher-ranking commanding positions Kirk, Riker, Chakotay and Janeway have) and as such his transgression will always be treated as a violation of orders. It's also worth noting that Chakotay questions whether a formal reprimand is an appropriate punishment or overly harsh.
  • Like a Son to Me: Janeway doesn't say it literally, but she does admit she's more protective of Kim than other crewmembers, which is why she was so angry at his indiscretion.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Aaaaand how.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The opening shot has Voyager dwarfed by the huge generation ship it's docked to.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Tal doesn't share her species' xenophobia, and it turns out that she's not the only one.
  • Not Brainwashed: The episode seems to be heading toward the explanation that Kim disobeyed orders because he was biologically compromised by his and Tal's bond, but in the end he's responsible for his own actions.
  • Not So Different: Janeway compares the Varro situation to their own, speculating that Voyager may be in the Delta Quadrant for multiple generations too.
  • Oh, Crap!: Those parasites do their job well, ripping the Generation Ship apart before our eyes... with Voyager still docked!
  • The Oner:
    • A rather spectacular one from the outside of a gigantic Generation Ship, zooming into the windows of an apartment, twisting around to... Harry and Tal entering and making out.
    • Another one, full of tension in which Harry tries to convince Janeway that his and Tal's biochemical bond is not a danger as long as they're together, coming from the briefing room, through the bridge where Harry yells at his Captain in full view of everyone, and into the ready room.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Harry disobeying regulations? And the captain's orders? And then yelling at her on the bridge? Lampshaded by Janeway herself, who points out that Harry isn't behaving like himself—and he's actually glad that she noticed.
  • Plot Parallel: The solution to the technobabble problem of the week is for Voyager to extend its shields around the Varro ship to save the Varro's people, which uh, mimics the other theme of the episode.
  • The Power of Love Glows: The olan'vora!
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The revolutionaries have taken to creating parasites to eat their Generation Ship to force a change in the Varro way of life. Too bad the parasites migrate to Voyager...
    • ... and TAL is in the movement!
  • Romantic Wingman: Tom Paris, for all his teasing, helps cover Harry's illicit courtship as best he can.
  • Running Gag: Harry keeps going after impossible women, with call backs conveniently provided by Tom.
  • Series Continuity Error: Fans complained how we'd never heard of this regulation before, especially given Captain Kirk's reputation. Of course, the regulation could have been made after The Original Series. And who's to say the other main characters don't make a discrete visit to the Doctor before engaging in an Interspecies Romance with the Guest Star Of The Week?
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Voyager has, at most, 40,000 light years to go, 35-40 years left if they don't get help, hardly multiple generations' worth. Maybe Janeway was trying to talk Jippeq up and play up the Not So Different aspects.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Harry has to face the Captain after the Doctor tells her of his... indiscretion...
  • Unfortunate Names: Why did they call a sex episode "The Disease"?
    • Because Seven's description of love makes it sound like a disease, as Harry points out. That, and Harry comes down with a condition as a result of his affair.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Seven again doesn't understand romantic love, equating it to "an attraction based on sexual desire; one that facilitates procreation." Most likely due to the Borgs' very clinical analyses of the attachment rituals of the various species they've assimilated.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Janeway chews Harry out twice for his indiscretions.
  • You Owe Me: Tom quietly tells Harry this after covering for him earlier.
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