Threshold (Star Trek: Voyager)

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Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 15
Directed by Alexander Singer
Story by Michael De Luca
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Featured music Jay Chattaway
Cinematography by Marvin V. Rush
Production code 132
Original air date January 29, 1996 (1996-01-29)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes

"Threshold" is the 31st episode of American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager airing on the UPN network, the 15th episode in the second season. This episode won a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series.[2]

The series follows the adventures of the Federation starship Voyager during its journey home to Earth, having been stranded tens of thousands of light-years away. In this episode, Lieutenant Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) becomes the first known person in mankind to break the Warp 10 barrier.

This episode features special effect sequences with the high-speed shuttle Cochrane, marking the presentation of the Class 2 shuttle


Voyager's crew discovers a rare, more stable form of dilithium that they postulate could power a warp drive beyond Warp 10. This would allow Voyager to reach the Alpha Quadrant near instantaneously. Although holodeck simulations prove disastrous, Lieutenant Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) comes up with an idea after an off-the-cuff discussion with Neelix (Ethan Phillips). The next simulation is successful and a shuttlecraft, dubbed the Cochrane, is prepared for a full test flight. The Doctor (Robert Picardo) identifies a rare medical condition in Lieutenant Paris indicating a 2% chance that he will suffer lethal effects from the test-flight and recommends assigning Ensign Kim (Garrett Wang) as test-pilot. Paris convinces Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) to allow him to fly the shuttle despite the small risk.

Paris successfully breaks the Warp 10 barrier with the Cochrane, rapidly disappearing from Voyager's sensors. The crew begins to try to track the shuttle, but soon the Cochrane reappears, Paris unconscious at the controls. Once awake, Paris explains that he had seen everything at every point in space, and the shuttle's database similarly contains a massive amount of information about the Delta Quadrant. However, Paris starts to suffer allergic reactions, and he is raced to Sickbay, where the Doctor determines that Paris is now allergic to common water. Paris's body soon changes again, and no longer can process oxygen, forcing the Doctor to create a special environment that Paris can exist in.

Paris's body continues its strange transformations, the Doctor postulating that he is becoming a new form of life. Before the Doctor can use an "anti-proton" treatment to return Paris to his human form, Paris escapes, disrupts Voyager's internal systems, and kidnaps Janeway on the Cochrane. By the time the crew restore the damage Paris had done, the Cochrane has taken off to Warp 10. As Voyager follows the shuttle's trail, eventually coming to a planet covered with swamps, the Doctor explains that the mutation patterns in Paris' DNA are consistent with those of evolution. Near the shuttle, they discover two amphibian beings, with trace DNA of Paris and Janeway. The two have mated and have had three offspring. The crew recover their transformed crew-members to be returned to human by the Doctor, and leave the offspring behind.


  • The mutated Tom Paris was made into an action figure, with his three offspring as accessories.[3]
  • "Threshold" won the 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series, beating out Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "The Visitor."[4]
  • The writing staff were dissatisfied with the quality of the episode, to the point that Brannon Braga later called it a "royal, steaming stinker" on the commentary for the DVD release.[5]:1, 7
  • Jeri Taylor commented that the fans were appalled at the episode, mainly centred on the implausible idea that the two stars were turned into salamanders. "It is not one that took with the audience. The fact that we were turning people into salamanders was offensive to a lot of people and just stupid to others."[6]
  • After Robert Duncan McNeill read the script initially, he had trouble understanding it. He later referred to it as bizarre.[7][unreliable source?]

Science analysis[edit]

Star Trek has been analyzed by real world scientists.[8] In The Physics of Star Trek By Lawrence M. Krauss, which includes a foreword by Stephen Hawking, the show's presentation of faster than light travel, what the show calls "warp drive" is discussed including going warp 10.[9] According to the scale presented in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Warp 10 would be infinite velocity.[10] However, they note that in other cases fictional spacecraft are reported to be going faster that Warp 10 and recommended, "One shouldn't concern oneself unduly with the details"[11] For warp drive in general, it was noted that it may not be impossible, calling it a "nonimpossibility", however there was some concern for repercussions of such a technology in regards to the equations of General Relativity and in particular travelers are implied to have negative energy.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Star Trek: Voyager" Theshold (1996) - Full cast and crew". IMDb. n.d. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Primetime Emmy Awards (1996)". IMDB. September 7, 1996. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ "10 of the Most Pointless Action Figures Ever Made". io9. January 4, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Primetime Emmy Awards (1996)". IMDB. September 7, 1996. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Star Trek: Voyager "Threshold" (1996) TV Recap". the agony booth. September 27, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2009. 
  6. ^ Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (1996). Captains' Logs Supplemental: The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages—Entire Deep Space Nine and Voyager History. New York: Little Brown & Co. ISBN 0316883549. 
  7. ^ "Threshold (episode)". 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ [5]

External links[edit]