"Star Trek: Voyager" The Chute (TV Episode 1996) Poster

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This one is a lot better than the mediocre score would indicate
MartinHafer16 February 2015
Paris and Kim find themselves literally dumped into a hellish prison. There are no guards, there are no rules and the prisoners have their own "Lord of the Flies" style society. What's worse--Paris and Kim were convicted of a terrorist bombing they didn't commit.

When Janeway learns about this from the locals, she finds that they are mighty unfriendly. So, she decides to look for the real bombers. They catch them...but there is a SERIOUS problem. The folks from this $&%@ planet don't care and won't release Paris and Kim! And, considering that Paris just got stabbed, he won't last much longer!

This episode has a lot to say about prisons and rehabilitation. I also liked how awful and stupid the aliens were in this one! Overall, creative, filled with action and among the better season two episodes.
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Tweekums5 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This episode opens with Harry being dropped down the titular chute. At the bottom he is set upon by a large group of aliens, as he tries to stagger away he sees a friendly face: Tom Paris. Strangely however when he goes to Tom, he beats him as well. We soon learn that they have both been accused of a terrorist bombing and their new home is a subterranean gaol. There are no guards and the prisoners will kill each other for the meagre rations they are given. When Captain Janeway asks what has happened to her crewmen she is told that Voyager is to be boarded and the rest of the crew arrested as the trilithium bomb material could have been made from Voyager's dilithium fuel. Voyager leaves at speed and sets about looking for the real source of the explosives. Back on the planet things aren't going well; their attempts to deactivate the force field protecting the chute have failed and Tom has been seriously wounded in a knife fight. Harry's second attempt succeeds but when he gets to the top of the chute he makes a startling discovery that will make escape much harder.

This was a good episode, it may have lacked spectacular special effects laden action but the prison was suitably claustrophobic and the mind-effecting clamps they were forced to wear added to that feeling. While one knows that they will ultimately get out their method was never clear, especially when we learn the nature of their prison. This episode gave Garrett Wang chance to shine as Harry Kim while Robert Duncan McNeill's Tom Paris took the secondary role after getting wounded.
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Could have been so much better. . .
Laecy23 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'd read several critiques of Voyager citing that Janeway was very inconsistently written. Up to this point, I didn't think her attitudes varied too much outside the range of a believable complex character. But in this episode, her behavior is just stupid.

Going from refusing to be boarded in one scene to using the exact same lines the planet leader used when she found the terrorist/freedom-fighter's ship had me face-palming. She then hauls off to the planet preparing to turn a fourteen year old girl and her big brother over to a regime that obviously doesn't deal with criminals in a fair and just manner without even any of the moral angsting she's so fond of. Then, when the planet leader is inexplicably uncooperative (you'd think he'd be more interested in the actual terrorists), she demands the big brother tell her how to get into the prison since he just happens to have the access codes (and a small cargo ship that resembled Neelix's - so why he never carried out his own rescue mission is unknown). Then, when he demanded to be allow to rescue his own people, she threatened to send them to the planet out of hand. Rather than pointing out the obvious fact that she would thereby sacrifice both her bargaining chips and the only people remotely willing to help, he capitulated and gave up his only bargaining chip.

Then Janeway jumps blindly down a chute into an unknown hostile environment. I know there's no Riker demanding she stay safe on the ship, but COME ON. Tuvok doesn't have a SWAT team he can call into action in situations like this so the next best thing is to send the CAPTAIN?? THEN they fly off into the sunset without a backward glance at the political prisoners of a corrupt regime being beaten, starved, tortured, and murdered.

REALLY?!? The only saving grace of this show was the environment inside the prison. They averted the noble sympathetic local forehead with Mr. Manifesto. He was exactly what you'd expect a philosophical political activist to be after years in an environment designed to make him crazy.
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Great Parallel!
ah831321 August 2011
I enjoyed this episode a lot! But in a lot ways it hit close to home. I felt like it paralleled different ethnic groups in the modern era. The easiest way to control a group of people is to turn them against themselves. That's what was occurring in the prison. Star Trek is great at taking everyday life themes And secretly transporting them into the show, disguising them as Something else but in actuality they represent a much deeper aspect of Our own society that can sometimes be hard to look at otherwise. I wasn't a big Harry Kim fan but my favorite scene of the episode was when Ensign Kim pleaded with the prison inmates to work together to attain their freedom but none of them listened to him. Great Parallel! So true!
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The Inmates Running The Asylum
Bolesroor2 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Tom and Kim are prisoners in a brutal penal colony.

How did they get here? Why has Voyager made yet another unnecessary stop, and allowed their two officers to be tried and convicted of a crime they didn't commit? We'll never know, since it all took place before the beginning of the episode! Yes, another nightmarish premise from outer space is off and running!

Kim is the wimpiest washcloth of a human being I've ever seen, and with him leading the breakout effort you can be sure you'll be in prison for a loooong time. This episode does get bumped up a full letter grade for the scene in which Harry finally climbs to the top of the chute and finds that he's actually imprisoned in a floating space-station penal colony, a bad dream come true if ever there was one.

Eventually Janeway slides down the chute and saves both of their sorry asses. Why couldn't they have just started the episode here? GRADE: B-
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An Episode Worth Skipping
Elmer_Cat2 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Although I am a huge fan of Star Trek Voyager, the episode "The Chute" (3.3) is definitely not one of my favorites. It is a rather predictable story of wrongly convicted crew members sentenced to harsh confinement at a dark and violent alien prison; I did not find it very entertaining.

This is a cheap episode; cheaply written and cheaply produced. The so-called "Chute" that dumps new prisoners inside, is a poorly disguised air conditioning duct that moves as people try to crawl through it.

Most disappointing however, is that this episode adds absolutely nothing to the understanding of any characters in the show, other civilizations, or anything about Voyager's saga through the Delta Quadrant. Consequently, the best thing about "The Chute" is that it is an episode worth skipping; there's nothing you'll miss!
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Dark Prison
Hitchcoc21 August 2018
There is something missing here. Somehow Harry and Tom end up in a horrid prison. The chute in the title is where prisoners are dumped into a harsh, bleak place filled with evil men who have become more dangerous because of years of confinement. The two Federation guys must join forces because death waits around every corner. Tom is stabbed and in danger of losing his life and Harry is starting to crack. There is one prisoner who has become a sort of leader/philosopher. The others are scared of him. The planet that has imprisoned them on trumped up charges refuses to release them, even though Janeway manages to get the real felons. Action is necessary. It is a dark episode.
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