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Recap / Star Trek: Voyager S6 E3: "Barge of the Dead"

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After yet another shuttle accident, B'Elanna Torres finds herself on a barge taking dishonored souls to the Klingon afterlife.

Notable for being the final Trek episode written by fan-favorite Ron Moore, who left due to his dissatisfaction with the VOY creative process, or lack thereof.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • A Day in the Limelight: One hell of a B'Elanna episode!
  • Affectionate Nickname: "Lanna". B'Elanna's mother used to call her that, and (dream) Janeway does so as well.
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  • Afterlife Express: The Barge of the Dead.
  • Alien Lunch: Of course Neelix has to replicate some gagh for the Klingon bash, but as it's not alive he injects it with a kinesthetic agent to make it move.
  • And You Were There: The Voyager crew appears in B'Elanna's Ironic Hell, accusing her of rejecting their friendship and trying to drive them away.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The Science Heroes of Starfleet might pay lip-service to Federation ideals of respecting religion, but find it hard to believe there's an actual hell out there.
  • Artifact of Doom: The bleeding slab of metal emitting the screams of damned souls certainly gives this impression, but it's a Bait-and-Switch for what's really happening.
  • As Long As It Sounds Klingon: Fans complained of the "Blind Idiot" Translation used in this episode, despite Paramount having invented the Klingon language in the first place.
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  • Awesome, but Impractical: B'Elanna describes the bat'leth as a clumsy weapon, "overstated like everything else Klingon".
  • Badass Bandolier: B'Elanna buckles on a Klingon baldric before recreating her near death experience.
  • Call-Back:
    • To "Juggernaut", with B'Elanna's meditation session with Tuvok.
    • To "Day of Honor", in that B'Elanna's honor lies in facing things she's been avoiding, rather than following Klingon rituals.
    • To "Mortal Coil". Like Neelix, B'Elanna has a Near-Death Experience in a shuttle which causes her to question what she believes in (ironically what she discovers is the exact opposite of what Neelix finds out).
  • Captain Crash: Averted; when B'Elanna wakes up in Sickbay she's told the crash-landing never happened. She was found unconscious in the Delta Flyer, drifting on the edge of an ion storm (though it was B'Elanna's idea to retrieve the multi-spatial probe from the ion storm in the first place).
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  • The Cast Show Off: The Doctor and Seven do another duet. In Klingon.
  • Catapult Nightmare: When B'Elanna is revived in Sickbay, after her first experience on the Barge.
  • Coming in Hot: B'Elanna during the Action Prologue.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Fek'lhr — the guardian of Gre'thor, and the legend that the Klingons slew their own gods, are aspects of Klingon culture mentioned in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • The Doctor and Seven's song is the same drinking song Worf sang in DS9's "Way of the Warrior", now with translation.
    • Chakotay mentions that his grandfather thought he could turn into a wolf. It's revealed in "The Fight" that he was going insane, which is why Chakotay didn't accept he was a Magical Native American.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Averted
    • It appears Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale again when B'Elanna catches a chunk of Klingon metal in her warp nacelle — turns out the metal slab only existed in her dream.
    • Miral and B'Elanna both dying at the same time; however at the end Miral says they will meet again in Sto-Vo-Kor, "or maybe, when you get home" so she is apparently still alive, and what B'Elanna saw on the Barge was only a possible fate. Possibly played straight, as Miral is indicated in a later episode to be dead.
  • Cuddle Bug: At the end of the episode B'Elanna hugs her mother, then the captain when she wakes up, leaving Tom standing there like a Third Wheel. Maybe her true affections are with Janeway?
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon
    B'Elanna: And if you even think of joining in on this "embrace your heritage" nonsense, I swear I'll rip out your tongue and wear it as a belt.
    B'Elanna: I inherited the forehead and the bad attitude. That's it.
    • Neelix greets Tom with a plate of gagh and a typical Klingon greeting which B'Elanna translates as; "Eat this or I'll ram it down the gullet of your corpse."
  • Death Is Cheap: Lampshaded when Kortar greets B'Elanna by name, saying she's come close to boarding the Barge many times.
  • Did You Die?: Tom checking on B'Elanna after her crash landing.
    Tom: Are you alive?
    B'Elanna: You tell me.
  • Dutch Angle: The corridors of Hell!Voyager.
  • Dying Dream: It initially seems that B'Elanna Torres brings a cursed Klingon artifact on board after being caught in an ion storm. The episode progresses in this way for about fifteen minutes until she witnesses a Klingon warrior slaughtering her crewmates during the Klingon bash in the messhall. After B'Elanna also is cut down, she wakes on the Barge of the Dead.
    B'Elanna: But I was on Voyager with my crew!
    Klingon: That was the naj — the dream before dying. When we can't accept that we've died, we create the illusion of life to hold on to.
    B'Elanna: (seeing the helmsman, Kortar) He slaughtered my friends!
    Klingon: No. He slaughtered the dream. He dragged you from the illusion of life. This is where you belong.
  • Epiphanic Prison
  • Fantasy Keepsake: After being rejected in favour of her mother, B'Elanna wakes up in Voyager's sickbay with the same hand injury she received on the Barge. She then has to convince her shipmates she didn't imagine the whole thing, and that she has to return to the Barge (i.e. recreate her near-death experience) in order to save her mother.
    B'Elanna: Look at this — The eleventh tome of Klavek. It's a story about Kahless returning from the dead still bearing a wound from the afterlife. A warning that what he experienced wasn't a dream. The same thing happened to me!
  • Fate Worse than Death: During the Barge's journey to Gre'thor, passengers are beckoned by voices of loved ones to jump into the water. As seen with one guy, those that do are grabbed by the kos'karii and devoured. Those remaining on the Barge remark that such a thing is worse than mere death.
  • The Ferryman: Klingons who die without honor aren't allowed into Valhalla (or "Sto-vo-kor"), but are instead sentenced to Gre'thor, their version of Hell. The Barge of the Dead is the mythological ship to Gre'thor, captained by Kortar, the very first Klingon. When Kortar became more powerful than the gods who created him, he destroyed them, and, as punishment, he was condemned to ferry the souls of the dishonored for all eternity.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The gates of Gre'thor.
  • Flatline Plotline: B'Elanna and the Doctor recreate the physical conditions of her accident in Sickbay, so B'Elanna can return to the Barge to rescue her mother.
  • Foreshadowing: The discovery of the Klingon artifact leads to speculation that a Klingon vessel might have arrived in the Delta Quadrant before them. This sets up "Prophecy" in Season 7.
  • Hand Gagging: Kortar has Miral silenced when she forbids B'Elanna sacrificing herself for her.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: When B'Elanna talks about her mother sending her to a Klingon monastery, Tom quips "Out of the plasma cooker, into the fire."
  • Honor Before Reason: Miral refuses to go along with B'Elanna's plan (to swap herself for her mother, then get revived) preferring to face hell with what little honor she has left. Turns out Kortar knows what B'Elanna is planning, so it wouldn't have worked anyway.
  • Internalized Categorism: Tuvok puts down B'Elanna's dream to "the self-loathing you experience when you look in the mirror and see a Klingon."
  • Ironic Hell
    • While on the Barge, B'Elanna notes that she's repeating the exact same argument she had with her mother ten years ago.
    • B'Elanna is thrown off the Barge into Gre'thor...and wakes up on Voyager.
      Hell!Neelix: Fifteen decks. Computers augmented with bioneural circuitry. Top cruising speed, warp 9.975. Not that you'll be going anywhere.
      B'Elanna: No Fek'lhr? No Cavern of Despair?
      Hell!Neelix: Don't need them.
      B'Elanna: I don't consider Voyager hell!
      Hell!Neelix: Are you sure? Have you ever been truly happy here? If you thought fifty years aboard this ship would be difficult, try eternity!
    • Leads to an Ironic Echo of the party from earlier in the episode, but one in which B'Elanna is mocked and scorned instead of celebrated.
  • It Is Not Your Time: The first time B'Elanna arrives on the Barge, she's rejected as it isn't her time to die yet. She wakes up in Sickbay having been resuscitated by the Doctor after her shuttle accident.
  • It's the Only Way
  • Large Ham: The Doctor (as usual) while translating a Klingon drinking song for Seven.
  • Mark of Shame: B'Elanna is branded when she first appears on the Barge, but the burn doesn't appear on her skin as It Is Not Your Time. When she agrees to take her mother's place, the brand disappears from Miral's cheek and reappears on B'Elanna.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: We're never sure if B'Elanna is actually in the afterlife or it's just a dream.
  • Meaningful Echo: Chakotay says regarding his grandfather's belief that he could shapeshift that it was real to him, even if Chakotay didn't believe it. Later when Janeway expresses disbelief that her Chief Engineer went to hell, B'Elanna says that it doesn't matter. "It was real to me!"
  • My Beloved Smother: B'Elanna blames her mother for driving away her father and herself with her insistence on Klingon honor.
  • Mythopoeia
  • Near-Death Experience
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A mysterious relic unleashes an ancient evil... Not really.
  • Not Himself: While demonstrating the use of a bat'leth Tuvok slices B'Elanna's face, then angrily dismisses her from his quarters when she protests. This is an early indication that what she's experiencing isn't real.
  • Palm Bloodletting: Kortar lacerates B'Elanna's hand shortly before she's resuscitated, as a reminder of the afterlife.
  • Parental Substitute: Lampshaded when B'Elanna's mother appears in a vision wearing a Starfleet captain's uniform.
  • Playing Gertrude: Karen Austin is only four years older than Roxann Dawson.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Janeway gives the Gooey Look when telling B'Elanna she is, in fact, proud of her.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Dream!Tuvok gives B'Elanna a blistering one after slicing her cheek with a bat'leth.
    "You're not worthy of the blood in your veins! A true Klingon would try to kill me where I stand!"
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: When B'Elanna Torres wakes up on the Barge of the Dead she says that Klingon hell is a myth. The ferryman replies that if she truly believed that, she wouldn't be here.
  • Shout-Out: When Voyager is depicted as the Klingon hell, Neelix is introduced as the Ambassador to the Recently Deceased.
  • Sins of our Mothers: Inverted; Miral is going to Gre'thor because her daughter is not an honorable Klingon.
  • Slow Motion: When the naj starts going all hell-y.
  • Take Me Instead: Despite her mother's protests, B'Elanna insists on going to Gre'thor for real once it becomes apparent that Kortar can't be tricked.
  • The Triple
    EMH: Try to get into the spirit of things. Think Qapla'! Think "Long live the Empire!"
    • "You, Kahless, the Tooth Fairy...anyone who's supposed to tell me what I'm supposed to do!"
  • The Un-Reveal: Although Voyager will later reestablish contact with the Alpha Quadrant, and B'Elanna even has a chance to talk to her Disappeared Dad via Subspace Ansible, it's not made clear if Miral really is dead.
  • Walk the Plank: As the road to Hell is paved with hot coals, B'Elanna is shoved off a plank lowered from the Barge.
  • Warrior Heaven: Sto-Vo-Kor is basically Klingon Valhalla.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Though it's a slow process; when B'Elanna first tries to apologize for her rejection, Miral can tell her daughter is still too angry with her to really mean it.
  • The X of Y
  • You Have to Believe Me!
    • B'Elanna trying to convince Harry Kim she saw the metal bleeding. As they've been up all night scanning the thing to no avail, Harry just wants to stick it in stasis and worry about it in the morning, suggesting B'Elanna hit her head too hard.
    • B'Elanna trying to convince her friends she was on the Barge of the Dead.
  • You Remind Me of X: B'Elanna says Janeway reminds her of her mother, though it's not a compliment. "You're as dedicated to Starfleet principles as she was to Klingon honor!"
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