Ever since the conclusion of Star Trek: Voyager in 2001, many fans have speculated why our beloved Ensign Harry Kim never received a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant (and all the rights and privileges thereto). Some have even gone so far as to create memes on the subject!
Despite being the ‘greenest’ member of the crew by some margin, Mr. Kim proved on several occasions that he was a man of integrity, capable of tremendous acts of courage. However, it’s far more enjoyable to recall the young officer’s spectacular blunders, so let us take a trip back to the Delta Quadrant and explore five examples of when Harry was a Grade A klutz who completely deserved his rank.
5. Inadvertently cloning the entire crew
As seen in: ‘Demon’ (Season 4, Episode 24)
Voyager is dangerously low on deuterium and the only source within range is on an inhospitable world with extreme surface conditions. After the senior staff decide it’s too risky, Mr. Kim decides to be assertive for the first time in his career and insists that the crew shouldn’t give up on such a rich source of deuterium. Of course, the repercussions of this action are the cloning of the entire ship and its crew, and the ethical conundrum that comes with it.
Unable to survive outside of the planet’s atmosphere, the cloned crew remain on the planet, only to conveniently forget they are clones and fly off into the sunset to eventually meet their demise. Because the source of the deuterium was a sentient organic fluid, were the crew even ethically allowed to mine it? I guess so, because Voyager was able to take off and sustain itself afterwards. Well done Harry; you brought out the worst in everyone.
4. Accidentally transporting weaponry instead of medical supplies
As seen in: ‘Nightingale’ (Season 7, Episode 8)
“Let’s call this ship ‘Nightingale’ after Florence Nightingale”, famous of course for the clandestine shipment of military equipment. Oh wait. Kim’s inexperience really shines through during this Season 7 episode, where he takes command of a ship to inadvertently transport a cloaking device for the Kraylor in order to turn the tide on their war with the Annari.
A more experienced officer may have exercised more caution and perhaps researched the ongoing conflict in greater depth. Hell, they may have even remembered there’s something called The Prime Directive. Captain Janeway is of course back on Voyager negotiating with the Annari for essential supplies, so the Ensign’s sanctimonious desire to play Captain could have had serious ramifications. Pipe down Harry, back to Ops you go.
3. Contracting a form of Space AIDS which would make Cupid blush
As seen in: ‘The Disease’ (Season 5, Episode 17)
In his ongoing effort to provide Paris with comedic fodder, Harry adds another absurd romance to his list by doing the dirty with an alien named Tal, who he becomes biochemically bonded to. For brevity, this condition will be referred to as ‘Space AIDS’.
Harry’s headstrong actions once again endanger Janeway’s efforts to establish positive relations with an alien race, and the Ensign repeatedly disobeys orders throughout the episode. He justifies his disobedience to the captain by explaining that he’s in love, despite mounting evidence that what he’s experiencing is literally a disease. The episode’s conclusion sees Kim refusing to take the Space AIDS antidote that The Doctor has been labouring over. Janeway’s response? ‘Meh, let him suffer’.
2. Genuinely believing he was a member of another race
As seen in: ‘Favourite Son’ (Season 3, Episode 20)
Come on, how deluded must you be to think that you are basically the saviour of an entire race? After some covert genetic manipulation, Kim finds his way to Taresia where he discovers he is a Taresian whose destiny it is to make passionate love to hundreds of woman to spread his seed. By that of course, I mean the female population will dry him out like a prune and harvest his DNA to impregnate themselves. Sexy. Not only is the premise rather implausible, but the fact that he would even believe the Taresians for a second shows he’s got a long way to go for that next pip.
1. Crashing Voyager and killing everyone on it
As seen in: ‘Timeless’ (Season 5, Episode 6)
The grand-daddy of them all. It would seem that while Season 5 attempted to give Mr. Kim some much-needed character development, it inadvertently highlighted how incredibly inept he was.
15 years in the future, a jaded Harry laments over a miscalculated slipstream flight that led to the death of the entire Voyager crew, barring himself and Chakotay. If only he’d have seen how cool the crash itself was; he probably wouldn’t have given the crew a second thought.
Given how much Kim was obsessed with getting back to Earth, one might have hoped that he’d put a little more effort into the calculations, but apparently not. I suppose some blame should fall on Janeway for this one; what kind of captain would assign the responsibility of making such crucial, paradigm-altering calculations to a single ensign? And one that has Space AIDS at that? Ignoring the fact he was able to rectify his mistake and restore the timeline, you don’t hear of many Lieutenant’s accidentally killing all their crewmates.