The salamanders had a purpose in Star Trek: Voyager’s Threshold

378599 54: Robert Duncan McNeill stars as Lieutenant Tom Paris in "Star Trek: Voyager." (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Delivered by Online USA)
378599 54: Robert Duncan McNeill stars as Lieutenant Tom Paris in "Star Trek: Voyager." (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Delivered by Online USA) /

Anyone who watches Star Trek: Voyager’s Threshold for the first time is generally creeped out by the salamanders

The second season episode of Star Trek: Voyager starts off with Lt. Tom Paris intent on breaking the Warp 10 barrier. He knows it’s dangerous, but he’s determined to prove himself. Then he does, and the consequences are more than gruesome, causing Paris to devolve into an amphibian, take Captain Janeway (who becomes a salamander as well) captive, and have a little family with her.

It sounds as gross as it came across on screen. No one understood the point of Paris turning into a salamander, but amazingly, Brannon Braga, who wrote the episode actually did have a reason for including the creatures. The explanation was just left out of the final script.

Threshold’s inclusion of the amphibians made a little more sense in the original script.

In The Captains’ Logs Supplemental—The Authorized Guide to New Trek Voyages, Jeri Taylor, co-creator of Voyager, said that, in the writers’ room, they kicked around the question of how does going warp ten affect you. And the group came up with the idea of evolution, thinking they could bring things back full circle by having Paris and Janeway devolve back to the water rather than growing more sophisticated.

"Jeri Taylor: Then the question is ‘What happens if you do go warp ten, how does that affect you?’ So we all sat in a room and kicked it around and came up with this idea of evolution and thought that it would be far more interesting and less expected that instead of it being the large-brained, glowing person, it would be full circle, back to our origins in the water. Not saying that we have become less than we are, because those creatures may experience consciousness on such an advanced plane that we couldn’t conceive of it. It just seemed like a more interesting image.”"

Brannon Braga, on the Season 2 DVD of Voyager admitted that he didn’t know where the idea of “de-evolving into a lizard thing” came from. He postulated that he was trying to make a statement about “evolution not necessarily being evolving toward higher organisms, that evolution may also be a de-evolution. You know, we kind of take it for granted that evolution means bigger brains, more technology, you know, more refined civilization. When in fact, for all we know, we’re evolving back toward a more primordial state. Ultimately, who can predict?”

Braga had gotten a note that the explanation wasn’t necessary and so, on during the rewrite, he removed it, including the idea behind the ending. Later he admitted that the episode was a disaster, without it, as it didn’t make sense and didn’t have a point.

"“That whole conversation was taken out for various reasons, and that was a disaster because without it the episode doesn’t even have a point. I think it suffered greatly. I got the note that it wasn’t necessary, but in fact it really had a lot to do with what the episode was about. Big mistake taking it out.”"

I’m not sure fans would have seen this the same way Braga saw it in his mind anyway. The idea that going at such a velocity could cause a person to devolve was still a little on the shaky side. Honestly, is there any reason that would make viewers accept the salamanders and their babies?

Next. Watch: Hilarious parody about Star Trek: Voyager’s Threshold. dark