Monday, January 7, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 34: B'Elanna Torres

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, our subject is B'Elanna Torres from Voyager.

Torres serves as Chief Engineer aboard Voyager, a role that Torres has to earn during the first year of Voyager's stranding in the Delta Quadrant. Thanks to the calming influence of Chakotay, who served with her aboard the Maquis vessel that also was thrown into the Delta Quadrant, she proved her worth and became a loyal member of the Starfleet crew.

Torres is half-Klingon and half-human, which caused her to be alienated and insecure in her upbringing. Those qualities provide Torres with a huge chip on her shoulder that she carries in a visible way throughout Voyager, as this is a personality trait that is hard to break.

In one of the most unlikely pairings in Star Trek history, Torres falls in love with Tom Paris, a ladies man who is always looking for the next conquest when he starts on Voyager. However, both of these crew members have complementary flaws that end up bringing them closer together, thanks to the common understanding they share about things like tough family upbringings. Torres and Paris have a child at the end of the series.

The Torres character really started as an unruly teenager or girl in her young 20's, and she grows into a confident woman over the course of the series. In addition, the character holds the nickname BLT, although it is unclear if the L refers to an unknown middle name or the letter sound in the name B'Elanna.

Torres is the first female chief engineer as a regular cast member, but the first female chief engineer shown in a Star Trek series was Sarah McDougal on the Enterpise-D.

Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Barge of the Dead:
"I inherited the forehead and the bad attitude - that's it."
Actor: Roxanne Dawson played Torres, and she has not been very active in television or movies since Voyager. She did play in movies Guilty by Suspicion and Mortal Sins in the 1990s.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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