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Tom Paris has been getting stir crazy. He hasn’t been putting his heart into his work, been showing up late to duty, has been skipping his roster time with the doctor, and has been hiding from everyone in the holodeck fixing a 1969 Camaro. Chakotay tells him that he’s turned his life around, but that doesn’t mean that he’s done growing as a person. He must keep working at his life, or he’ll slip back to who he once was.
An alien named Steth pulls out of a “coaxial warp drive” jump, but his engines are overloading. Coaxial warp drives are only theoretical for the federation, so Paris is very excited about it. He asks to help fix the ship and comes up with the idea of fixing the particle problem with a 24th century version of a carburetor. However, the time he’s been slacking off and the time he’s spent with Steth has strained his relationship with B’Elanna. Steth asks him how he likes his life on Voyager, and he tries to sound optimistic about the positive things, but actually sounds angry and ungrateful. Steth, who is a body snatcher, transfers their consciousness and puts him into the shuttle, sending him back to the original planet he came from.
The body snatcher (BS) starts manipulating the crew. He ditches the doctor and then romances B’Elanna. (On a side note, I’m pretty sure B’Elanna is raped by him….they at least insinuate that they were getting romantic…) He gets drunk and threatens Seven, who reports him to Janeway. He’s called before her and tries to talk his way out of it, even saying “You can’t take the word of a Borg over mine!” Janeway orders him to sickbay, but he attacks her. Tuvok runs in and shoots the BS as he’s choking Janeway.
Tom wakes up in Steth’s body, having jumped to the other planet. A warship is waiting for him, and arrests him for body stealing. The REAL Steth, who is trapped in a woman’s body, realizes what has happened, and they fly back to Voyager to catch the alien.
The Doctor has found an alien DNA strain in Tom’s body, but he doesn’t know what it means. Janeway gets a hail from Tom and Steth, trying to explain what happened, but Janeway puts a tractor beam on them, saying that they’re the ones responsible for attacking Tom in the first place. She runs to the shuttle bay, where Seven is adding a coaxial drive to a shuttle. Janeway stuns Seven, revealing the BS has taken her over, and she takes the ship out. Tom figures out what’s happening, and convinces Chakotay by talking about their discussion a few days earlier. Chakotay lets him go, and Paris knocks out the carburetor system he developed, capturing the BS alien. Everyone gets returned to their bodies, and the real Steth says that he’s going to try and retrace all of the BS alien’s victims.
Paris and B’Elanna have one last moment in the garage, where he apologizes for shutting her out. He shows her the finished Camaro, and they get a little romantic time in the car.
Favorite Part: It was a pretty bad ass car, with some excellent 60s throwback lines and lingo.
Least Favorite Part: There were some pretty big plot holes in this episode. B’Elanna is never really angry enough for being stood up by Paris, violated by fake Tom, or for her man being swapped by an alien entity. Janeway was being choked by the alien, but Janeway was the alien at that point. (Yes, it might have finished the process just as Tuvok shot, but it’s still rather weak).
If the coaxial drive works, why isn’t this looked at as a possible way home?