(written from a Production point of view)
Harry seemingly learns both that he is actually a member of a Delta Quadrant race and that "his" people want him never to leave his new home.
Commander Chakotay suggests using a trinary star system as a focal map point for the sector the USS Voyager is passing through. Ensign Harry Kim asks if Voyager had been to this system before, only to have Tuvok suggest that he was experiencing a "paradoxical state dependent associative phenomenon", or as Captain Janeway puts it, "déjà vu".
When Voyager encounters an alien ship they have never seen before (the Nasari ship Nerada), Kim instinctively transfers tactical control to his station. Though the Nasari show no apparent hostile intent, Kim raises Voyager's shields and fires phasers without orders, claiming that the alien vessel is charging weapons.
Voyager takes heavy damage in defending itself from the Nasari vessel, forcing them to withdraw. Janeway demands Kim explain his actions, and Harry tells her that he just knew the Nasari were going to attack. Tuvok says he detected nothing but a tetryon surge coming from their ship, and points out that there could be any number of explanations for that. Kim is suspended from duty, and shadowed by a security guard, pending investigation of his overly-hostile actions. Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres was severely injured during the attack in engineering and is brought to sickbay.
Kim then goes to sickbay on Captain Janeway's orders to look at a cut on his forehead and to watch The Doctor and Kes treating Torres' injuries. He feels extremely guilty over his actions and Kes comforts him, telling him that what's done is done and that he cannot change that fact.
In sickbay, The Doctor scans Kim with his medical tricorder and cannot find an initial cause. However, when Kim remembers dreaming about Mendakan pox he had as a child and suggests a possible connection, The Doctor half-sarcastically tells the ensign he will note it. Fortunately, Torres then wakes up and is all right, proving as such by teasing Kim about his condition.
Kim reports to the captain's ready room and admits fault about starting the last engagement. Janeway reveals that he was right about the Nasari ship charging weapons, and they would have caught Voyager with her shields down had he not acted. The question now is how did Harry know they were going to attack. Kim can only say this part of space has become increasingly familiar.
Tuvok suddenly alerts Janeway that there are three Nasari ships approaching them. Kim immediately has a star chart pulled up on one of Voyager's computers at the ship's conn and convinces Janeway to set a course to a nearby system. Upon arriving, Kim sees a planet and knows its name is Taresia. Prior to being attacked by the Nasari, Voyager is defended by an unknown ship which forces the Nasari vessels to retreat. Voyager answers a hail from the unknown ship which is from Taresia. The woman communicating with Voyager from the Taresian ship recognizes Harry as a Taresian and welcomes him home.
- "Captain's log, stardate 50732.4. The Taresians have escorted us back to their home world so we can continue to investigate their claim that Ensign Kim is a member of their race."
Kim, Janeway, Tuvok, and Paris beam down to Taresia. The Taresians tell a shocking story of how Kim was implanted with their DNA at birth. When he was an embryo, he was put in stasis and taken to Earth, where he was implanted in the womb of a Human woman, his mother. After the implantation process, Kim began to incorporate DNA from his "surrogate" parent, so he developed as a Human. Tuvok asks if all of their children are born to alien parents. Lyris tells him yes, and that each child that returns to their homeworld brings an infusion of genetic material as well as firsthand information of alien species. After this revelation, Kim decides to stay with the Taresians, at least temporarily, to learn more about his newfound species and himself. Voyager leaves orbit to attempt negotations with the Nasari. They learn from the Nasari, Alben, that the Taresian males who return to Taresia never leave, but, oddly, provides no more information and promises to fire if they do manage to get Kim back.
Voyager returns to Taresia where they find a protective polaron grid encircling the planet which also blocks communications. "I guess we're not welcome anymore", Chakotay tells Janeway.
Kim participates in the joining (marriage) ceremony of another male Taresian, Taymon, where he is joined (married) to three women. Eliann tells Kim that he will remember how to perform the ceremony with everyone else as soon as it begins. After the ceremony is over, Kim tries to contact Voyager through his combadge but is unsuccessful. Lyris tells him the ship may still be conducting negotiations with the Nasari and therefore delayed. She encourages him to join the wedding celebration while he waits.
Back on Voyager, Janeway and Chakotay walk down a corridor towards sickbay. Chakotay announces to the captain that the crew has been able to poke some holes in the tachyon grid, but Voyager is too big to go through. Janeway asks if a shuttle could, but Chakotay doubts it. Even if it could, a powerful Taresian vessel patrols the other side. Upon entering sickbay, The Doctor meets with the captain and first officer in his office to inform them that he discovered something about Kim's Taresian DNA: it was implanted, possibly by a retrovirus. The Doctor confirms that Kim is fully Human but warns them that the alien DNA from is beginning to alter his genetic structure; in a few days he will be indistinguishable from a Taresian. The Doctor reviewed the transporter biofilter logs and found that the alien DNA made its first appearance on stardate 50698. Chakotay remembers that was the date of the away mission on the planet where Vorillium was found. The Taresian's whole story was a lie but Janeway wonders why the Taresians would go to so much trouble to lure Kim to their planet.
Meanwhile, on Taresia, Kim is led to his quarters by Eliann. She tells him to lie on his bed and relax. "Lekaria san", she tells him. She asks if he understands the Taresian word. "Pleasant dreams", he replies. She asks him to close his eyes while she applies "the essence of rikka flowers" to Kim, something very soothing. Kim kisses Eliann and promptly falls asleep. However, Kim begins experiencing some more strange dreams, of Taresian women welcoming him home, of Janeway and Chakotay on Voyager's bridge, telling him how lucky they've been to have him and how special he has been all his life. His mother appears and tells him he knows where his real home is. Suddenly, Eliann appears and asks him to stay with her as they begin to kiss passionately. Doubt begins to creep up on Kim after waking up to two very "interested" Taresian females, Eliann and Rinna. They try to reassure him but their attempts to do so instead make him outright suspicious. Kim ties up Eliann and knocks out Rinna so he can escape. Kim makes it to Taymon's quarters to try to free him as well. When he enters, he finds Taymon's corpse in bed.
One of Taymon's wives, Malia, enters the quarters and Kim overpowers her. He learns what The Doctor discovered and that the Taresian reproductive process is deadly to the male, meaning that more males have to be repeatedly harvested from space due to the high female population. Taymon's other two wives enter the quarters. Kim throws Malia at them to continue his escape and they all fall onto Taymon's bed.
Voyager finally finds a way to get inside the polaron grid and beams Kim up as he is surrounded by more Taresian women who try to forcibly have him joined, armed with their staffs. When Voyager leaves the system, a Taresian ship fires at Voyager when three Nasari ships appear and also fire at Voyager and the Taresian ship. The Nasari later concentrate their fire on the Taresian ship allowing Voyager to leave.
Kim meets with Neelix and Lieutenant Paris at the mess hall where he tells the Talaxian the story of Odysseus and the call of the sirens, a tale strikingly similar to the situation he just found himself in. The captain of ancient ships ordered the crew to block their ears in order not to be seduced by the singing of the sirens. The sirens would cause the ships to crash, marooning the crew. Neelix says he's glad Kim is back aboard but admits he misses the spots Kim had. Kim tells Paris that he wished he was more like Paris with women. Paris states he has tried to be like Kim since he joined the crew of Voyager. Paris puts his hand on Kim's shoulder as he tells the young man he is "reliable, hard working, extremely punctual. Did I mention polite?" "Thanks a lot", Kim replies.
"Perhaps you are experiencing a paradoxical state-dependent associative phenomenon."
- - Tuvok and Janeway
"We raised you to be a responsible boy."
"I try to be."
"I'm suspending you from duty!"
- - Mary Kim in her son Harry's dream
"What's your next trick, Harry? Pull a shuttlecraft out of a hat?"
- - Chakotay
"Is this the standard "welcome home" reception?"
"For males, it is. They're very rare. Our population is ninety percent female."
- - Paris and Taymon, as Paris sees the attention Kim is getting on Taresia from the ladies
"Harry. What happened to your face?"
"We're still trying to figure that out."
"It's kind of cute. Makes you look like a speckled targ!"
- - Torres comments on Kim's new spots
"Sometimes I wish I could be more bold, more confident with women, more like you."
"Like me? You might want to reconsider that, Harry. There may be prison time involved."
- - Harry Kim and Tom Paris
Story and script
- This episode had the working title "Heritage". 
- While undergoing a typical episode rewrite process, this installment of Star Trek: Voyager was severely altered. Director Marvin V. Rush – who usually served as a Director of Photography on the live-action Star Trek spin-off series – noted, "It went through some rewrites." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15) The initial storyline, from which Lisa Klink wrote a script, was organized in such a way that the entire episode was going to be about how Kim truly was an alien. (Star Trek Monthly issue 33, p. 35; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17, pp. 38-39) Kim actor Garrett Wang commented, "They were going to keep it that way. They were talking about keeping me in alien spots for the rest of the series." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17, pp. 38-39) Recalling how the script thereafter evolved, Wang stated, "They changed it so that Kim ended up trying to get away from these life-force sucking women. Everything got flipped around." (Star Trek Monthly issue 33, p. 35) He further explained, "Some big-wigs looked at it and said, 'More sex, more action,' and suddenly, it became convoluted. The arc wasn't clear. They added in the vampire-like, blood-sucking women. But they didn't go all the way with it." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17)
- The episode's final draft script was submitted on 12 December 1996. 
- The script was somewhat ambiguous. Marvin V. Rush noted, "The story was a little unclear as to what we were trying to accomplish." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
Cast and characters
- Garrett Wang described the earliest version of this episode's script as "excellent". In the early stages of the episode's development, he eagerly anticipated the chance to play Kim as an alien throughout the rest of the series. "It would have given me a chance to add a little more color to him," Wang related. "I was very excited about that, because I had always said that it was easier to write for the non-Human characters on Voyager than the Human characters." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17)
- Lisa Klink noted that, ultimately, the installment leads Harry Kim to reevaluate his lifestyle: "This is an episode that forces Kim to question his identity a little bit. He gets to take a walk on the wild side, and then of course discovers that he is who he thought he was all along. Maybe it's not so bad to be Harry Kim." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Ultimately, Garrett Wang still enjoyed performing Kim's central role of this installment and Marvin Rush was pleased with Wang's performance. Rush noted, "Garrett Wang had some fun doing it [....] Garrett played his part very well." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15) Wang also regretted, however, that the episode turned out the way it did. "'Favorite Son' was, to me, something of a miss-hit," the actor related. "Intentions were good, but I don't think, personally, that it came out the way it should have." For this, Wang blamed the collaborative method in which the episode was written, believing that too many voices wanted to have a say in its development. "There were different opinions in how the episode was to go [....] You end up with a mediocre [episode], because no solid choice in one direction is chosen," Wang commented. "I think that's what happened with 'Favorite Son'. You have three or four different opinions of how this episode should be written, and all of a sudden you have no clear delineation of where this episode should go. It becomes gray. There are no colors in there. It kind of tired me out a little bit, especially after doing 'The Chute'." (Star Trek Monthly issue 33, p. 35) In essence, Wang thought this episode did not entirely achieve its potential. "It was an OK episode," he commented, "but it could have been so much more." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17)
- Marvin Rush also worked with the performers playing the Taresian females of this episode, although their characters presented Rush with a challenge. "I had to maintain a sense of tastefulness about it," Rush explained. "The best comparison to the society in 'Favorite Son' is the Geisha girls of Japanese culture. The Western mind thinks of Geishas as prostitutes. That's an element to being a Geisha, but they are far more than that. A Geisha is a woman whose whole purpose is to entertain men, in every possible way, intellectually and with great beauty. It's the entire package. A Geisha is not a dummy; she's a bright woman. But her role is to be completely captivating to men. That was the goal for the characters in 'Favorite Son': To be so totally devoted to the male that whatever he wants, he can have. These guest actors had to come in and play very non-'90s women. I had to do a little convincing, but we got there. It was a difficult show to do well." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- Garrett Wang was ultimately dissatisfied with the design of the Taresian females. "They had these matronly women with no sex appeal instead of babes dressed like I Dream of Jeannie," Wang recalled. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17)
- This episode includes two past DS9 performers: Deborah May (Lyris) previously played Haneek in "Sanctuary" and Christopher Carroll (Alben) appeared as Gul Benil in "Second Skin".
- Marvin Rush noted that, during the production period, the cast and crew attempted to make this essentially "a male fantasy piece with a dark twist" and that they tried to give the episode more depth than was in the script. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- The Nasari ships were a reuse of a studio model originally used as a Romulan scout ship in TNG: "The Defector". The Taresian starship was an oft-reused studio model previously utilized to depict such ships as Baran's mercenary ship in the TNG two-parter "Gambit, Part I" and "Gambit, Part II" as well as the Miradorn raider in DS9: "Vortex". (Delta Quadrant, p. 176)
- This episode had a complicated shooting schedule, split in half by the Christmas holiday break. Marvin Rush commented, "It's hard to keep things focused when you have 15 or 16 days off between one part of the show and the next. It adds one more bit of complexity to the process. Sometimes there's no way around it." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- One scene that Marvin Rush especially concentrated on was the one that incorporates an overhead shot of Kim, while the malevolent Taresian females are closing in on him and he looks up at the camera, moments before he is whisked away, in the nick of time, by Voyager's transporter. To capture this footage, Rush had the crew remove the ceiling from the set, then build a rig and mount the camera onto it. Rush later said of the shot, "I wanted to show him having no way out. Kim is about to get beaten up. I wanted to cut to an odd angle that we hadn't seen before. Rather than show it from ground level, I thought we should show him encircled and ultimately escaping at the last second. It just seemed right. Fortunately, my grips on the show had prepared the night before, so we didn't take any extra time. The shot went off without a hitch." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- Michael Okuda noted that the art department had forgotten to add the Taresian writing to the staff props used in the scene. Okuda and producer Merri Howard had to rush to the set with Sharpies to get them ready in time for filming. 
- Garrett Wang participated in reshoots during the episode's production, for which he blamed the design of the Taresian females. "As a result, we had to do a lot of reshooting," he said. "The scene where we had the marriage was originally going to be shot differently. We had all these women and the lighting was different, but the producers didn't like it. We reshot it with darker lighting and no kissing–a very ceremonial, ritual wedding." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17)
- Executive producer Jeri Taylor cited this episode and the preceding one ("Rise") as being among the weaker offerings of Season 3, feeling that they were both let down by their execution. She specifically said of this installment, "'Favorite Son' was an interesting idea that in the making of it just came off as looking a little silly." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 12)
- Marvin Rush thought the cast and crew were successful in making this episode "a male fantasy piece with a dark twist." He commented, "I believe that's what we achieved. I would have loved for a little more depth in the piece. We tried for it, but I'm not sure we got it. 'The Host' and 'The Thaw' [Rush's previous directorial outings] had more depth. This one was not as satisfying an experience as the previous two. It was not as cerebral." On the other hand, he added, "I thought it was entertaining and it moved along." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- In lieu of any overarching theme or morals, Marvin Rush interpreted such a moral from a particular scene of the episode, in which Kim is tempted with drugs but doesn't take them and instead starts to realize that he is being drawn in by a corrupt culture. "That was a really important scene for me," the director remarked. "If there's a message to that show, that's the scene with the message." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.4 million homes, and a 7% share.
- This installment is the last in what is known to some fans as the "trilogy of terror" – three consecutive episodes that are often considered to be remarkably bad (the other two episodes being "Darkling" and "Rise"). (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 304)
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 1 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Star Trek Monthly issue 30, p. 59 scored this episode 4 out of 5 stars, defined as "Trill-powered viewing".
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 176) gives this installment a rating of 2 out of 10.
Continuity and trivia
- The Doctor and Chakotay suggest that Kim was infected during an away mission to a planet while looking for vorillium, on stardate 50698, which places that mission shortly after the episode "Darkling" (where the Voyager crew were already looking for vorillium). Although in that episode, Voyager received a lead to an asteroid rather than a planet.
- Towards the end of the episode Lieutenant Tuvok responds to an order by Captain Janeway with an "Aye, sir." This form of address to a female officer was common, but eschewed by Janeway in "Caretaker".
- In the "Virtual Voyager" sub-game of the Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force expansion pack, Seven of Nine mentions that Paris has written a holo-novel program entitled Man Slave of Taresia based on Kim's experiences on the planet.
Video and DVD releases
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Cari Shayne as Eliann
- Deborah May as Lyris
- Patrick Fabian as Taymon
- Kelli Kirkland as Rinna
- Kristanna S. Loken as Malia
- Elle Alexander as a Taresian woman
- Reba Shaw Alexander as a Taresian woman
- Debbie David as Russell
- Steve Carnahan as an Security guard
- Cheryl Eckelberry as a Taresian woman
- Jennifer Ferdinand as a Taresian woman
- Noelle Hannibal as a Taresian woman
- Stacy Hawkens as a Taresian woman
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Kerry Hoyt as Crewman Fitzpatrick
- Linda Li as a Taresian woman
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Julie Riley as a Taresian woman
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- Rainelle Saunders as a Taresian woman
- Patricia Tallman as a Taresian woman
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Kenny Yee as young Harry Kim
Alpha Quadrant; Ashmore; bearing; binary code; bioscan; blindfold; blood pressure; burn; coordinates; defense mechanism; déjà vu; Delta Quadrant; density; diagnostic tool; DNA; Essence of rikka flowers; evasive maneuvers; Federation; generation; genetic engineering; genetic memory; hatana; hidden power; Kim, John; Kim, Mary; Klingon; level 1 bioscan; lungs; medical scan; Mendakan pox; microcellular scan; Milky Way Galaxy; milligram; miracle child; mood enhancer; Nasari; Nasari space (Nasari territory); Nerada; Nerada-type; neural tissue; nucleation; Odysseus; oxygen (oxygen deprivation); paradoxical state-dependent associative phenomenon; plasma conduit; plasma injector; polaron grid; pulmonary regeneration; pulmozine; rash; red alert; respiration; retrovirus; rikka flower; Sirens; soup; spots; tachyon grid; tactical control; Taresia; Taresian; Taresian cutlery; Taresian language; Taresian chime; Taresian starship (aka Taresian ship/Taresian patrol ship); Taresian system; Taresian system primary; targ; tetryon; tone deafness; transporter buffer; trinary star (aka trinary system); trinary system; trinary system sector; vorillium; warp field
- "Favorite Son" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Favorite Son" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Favorite Son" at Wikipedia
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