I’m watching the TNG episode where Wesley hangs out with not-Tom Paris and it made me think about the concept of redemption.
The idea of Tom Paris being a convict in Voyager is sound. It promises to create an interesting character that always has something to prove. Someone that has to earn the respect of others because he is trusted neither by the Voyager crew or the Maquis.
Yet exactly like with the Maquis Voyager drops this very fast. Tom is a trusted officer, although deemed slightly boyish, almost straight away. They didn’t even go into the conflict between him and Chakotay, which was a shame because there was so much room for natural tension. So much potential never utilized.
Maybe if they had stuck with the character being Nick things would have been different. Then we would already have seen him be on the bottom and everyone’s mistrust would have been understandably deep.
This is interesting. I know they felt like Nick was irredeemable, and that’s (part of) why they created Tom instead of using Nick. But it really would have forced them into conflict instead of allowing them to brush it over from the get-go. Of course, I’m not sure they would have known how to deal with that. They set up so many potential conflicts and brushed ALL of them under the rug immediately. But it would have been really interesting.
Also, I really do love that episode. And I will never stop complaining about the lack of Nick/Wes fanfic. To this day, the only fic written about them is the one written by the wonderful @mia-cooper and everyone should read it.
We all know the real reason Tom never talks about his Academy days is that it hurts too much to be reminded of his ex Wesley.
If this was Ds9 they would have taken that thing about being irredeemable as a challenge. He fucked up real bad and someone died. That’s truly an interesting character to explore and watch grow. Because there are people that have to live with that. How do they cope? How do they grow when everyone knows what you did?
I’m positive that B’Elanna and Chakotay and the other Maquis made choices that left people dead too. Maybe even people they cared about. What makes them redeemable? Because they thought they did was right and Locarno did it because he was young and reckless? I don’t know if Locarno can be forgiven for that exactly, but it sure would have been interesting to explore a version of Tom where that was his starting point.
Because that makes the rest of his arc more powerful, you know? When he marries B’Elanna, gets promoted, finds a family. He isn’t just moving from a short stint in the Maquis where he did nothing and hurt no one and a life of boyish pranks fueled by daddy issues, to a trusted family man. He would have made a journey that could have really said something about how you can learn to forgive yourself.
A real story about redemption.