Monday, October 5, 2015

Character Insight No. 162: Best of Harry Kim

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, we continue the "Best Of" series with a look at the best episodes featuring Ensign Harry Kim, from Voyager. 


(Promotional shot of the character, courtesy

It's actually relatively difficult to make a list of best Harry Kim episodes, as he was the focus of episodes about as frequently as he was considered for promotions, which is to say, not much at all. One recurring theme was Harry's struggles with love interests, which reaches a crescendo in the season 5 episode The Disease:

Harry Kim: Have you ever been in love, Captain? 
Captain Kathryn Janeway: Your point? 
Harry Kim: Did your skin ever flush when you were near another person? Did your stomach ever feel like... someone hollowed it out with a knife when you were apart? Did your throat ever swell when you realized it was over? Seven of Nine - Seven of Nine told me love's like a disease! Well, maybe it is. Pheromones, endorphins, chemicals in our blood - changing our responses... physical discomfort; but any way you look at it, it's still love! 

When not making sweeping statements about love and dealing with his emotions, Harry is often found in brutal situations, as he's often the main character put in serious distress. His friendship with Tom Paris proves invaluable in surviving imprisonment for an alleged terrorist attack in the season 3 episode The Chute

Harry Kim: Tom, listen to me. I... I almost killed you. 
Tom Paris: What are you saying? You're the one that kept me alive. 
Harry Kim: I was ready to hit you with the pipe. Don't you remember? 
Tom Paris: You want to know what I remember? Someone saying "This man is my friend. Nobody touches him." I'll remember that for a long time. 

On some occasions, Harry does get to be the unlikely hero. One example of this is the two-parter The Killing Game from season 4, where Harry saves the ship and shows some ability to think fast on his feet when grilled about his fake claim to be a 20th Century American citizen (part 2). 

Tom Paris: [as Davis] Look, I don't have time for 20 Questions. You say you're an American? All right, then. If Betty Grable came around that corner, what part of her would you be staring at? 
[Kim thinks hard, but doesn't come up with an answer
Tom Paris: [cocking his gun] Sorry. Time's up. 
Harry Kim: Her legs! I-I'd be staring at her legs! 
[after a moment's hesitation, Davis smiles
Tom Paris: Bullseye - lucky for you. 

However, there's one episode that easily stands out for this character as the best, and that's Timeless from Season 5. The episode is a bit of a time travel mess, but Harry proves to be the hero through the alternate timelines by sending a message back in time to himself to correct a phase shift correction error that led to 150 crew members dying. 

Harry Kim: [in a recorded message to his younger self] Hello, Harry. I don't have much time, so listen to me. Fifteen years ago, I made a mistake, and 150 people died. I've spent every day since then regretting that mistake. But if you're watching this right now, that means all of that's changed. You owe me one. 

Ensign Kim was clearly the short straw when it comes to Voyager's writing staff, and it was disappointing to see a young character not experience more development over the course of this show. However, every character will eventually have some great moments, and this is no exception. Actor Garrett Wang is at least a great ambassador to Star Trek fans on Twitter and at other social events and conventions. 

Until next time, keep striving for that promotion. 


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy.

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