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The Doc and Seven Undergo the Old Switch-a-roo in "Body and Soul": But Is It a Hoot or a Howl?

Posted: 05:51:00 on November 16 2000
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Reviews - Voyager

Reviews Ex Deus
"Body and Soul"

Written for TrekWeb.COM by 'O. Deus'

Summary: Sex on a Starship. Ryan does a bad Picardo imitation, aliens of the week menace the Delta Flyer again, Tuvok goes through Pon Farr in 5 minutes.

To begin with, it's hard to figure out why this episode was made. Could the producers really have taken a look at the 7th season so far and thought, "what we need here are more light episodes"? As it is, Body and Soul is an episode that swallows two interesting plot ideas inside a one-shot gimmick that manages to be passably entertaining for a Wednesday night. While UPN promos for Voyager have been historically deceptive, B&S's promo nails the episode pretty well. If you've seen the promo for Body and Soul, you'll find that there's not much to the episode you haven't seen.

Body and Soul starts out, as quite a few recent Voyager episodes have, with an uneventful journey aboard the Delta Flyer. Shockingly enough, the Delta Flyer is attacked by aliens who in the episode's one and only twist are after photonic lifeforms like the Doctor. Using a weapon that disrupts photonic beings they nearly destroy the Doc before 7 transfers him into her own circuitry. The EMH takes control of 7's body and hilarity ensues. It's not particularly implausible that the Doctor would behave so badly and clumsily in a crisis, considering that Tinker Tailor showed that he's not quite ready for prime time. But it does get old fast. Ryan doing a bad imitation of Picardo and acting drunk can be amusing but it just seems as if Body spends two thirds of its time on what is at best a five minute joke.

By contrast Seven's scenes with the tactical officer in sickbay are out of tune with the style of the rest of the episode and really don't matter since the episode isn't ready to treat the entire situation seriously to begin with. Worse, we barely just recovered from the Doctor using his medical skills to try and heal a screwed up civilization a few episodes ago in Critical Care, and we had the Doctor as earnest comic relief in Inside Man. Voyager does have other characters besides Seven and the Doctor after all, it might be nice if they had something to do as well. It would be nice if Kim had something to do in this episode except spout technobabble and fake a seizure (doesn't one naturally lead to the other anyway?)

And fans have been anticipating Tuvok's Pon Farr for seven years now. Even those people who weren't on board with some of the weirder solutions for Tuvok's dilemma wanted more than using it as an aborted B story in which Tuvok mediates, medicates, groans, uses the holodeck and is back to work before anyone notices that he was even gone. Indeed from the character growth perspective, if you compare the utility of having Tuvok suffer through Pon Farr or Seven realize she needs to experience more sensations, it's hard to see the Pon Farr story as being more disposable.

A well written Tuvok Pon Farr story could have finally done for Tuvok what Wire did for Garak on DS9. The few scenes with Paris did show potential for some good Kirk\Spock interplay. Even a badly written one could have had a lot more comedic and dramatic possibilities than a 5 minute skit about the Doc inside 7's body. During the height of Braga's supervision the 6th season managed to do some of Voyager's strongest stories, but now with Braga working on Series V, Voyager is back to ripping off Disney movies. Even Jeri Taylor's stepson\Vorik got himself an entire episode (ironically enough directed by Andrew Robison) to deal with his Pon Farr; but Tuvok who according to Body and Soul would experience a much stronger version of Pon Farr resolves his problems with a holodeck program, even though Blood Fever itself showed that this wouldn't work.

Finally, we have the bizarre and ridiculous line of "It isn't cheating if the hologram looks like your wife." Admittedly Voyager has some awful history in the ethical dilemmas department and tends to think moral dilemmas can be solved by having Janeway hit the right pitch of outrage with her rhetoric, but this is just bad. It's halfway plausible for Paris to propose such a thing, even though he's moved well beyond that kind of thing. It's completely ridiculous for Tuvok in a halfway sane state of mind to agree. What indeed does the appearance of the hologram have to do with anything? If there's anything that should have been hammered home after 4 Star Trek series each of which featured the required dozen "alien possession" shows, is that identity and not appearance is what matters.

The rebellion of photonic servants is certainly an interesting possible plot and the tactical officer's recitation of how she doesn't understand why her holodoc rebelled and its similarity to both the justifications for slavery and how Janeway and the Voyager crew condescendingly describe the Doctor as "part of the family" could have had some potentially very disturbing implications for Voyager. Instead the Doctor shrugs her off with a few banalities and focuses on his central goal of flirting with her instead. The Doctor may be a bit overstimulated and clumsy but he's not completely thoughtless or stupid either. This piece of dialog seems like it belonged in a different episode, an episode that actually had something to say.

Instead, Voyager bases an episode around ripping off a cliche so cliched no one even bothers ripping it off anymore, tips a hat to TOS's worst episode Turnabout and leaves two potentially interesting stories lying in the dust. And God knows if there's anything Voyager needs this season it's an interesting story.

TREKWEB TALKBACK

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Rest in Peace . . .
By Locutus () at 00:30:33 on November 23
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I fail to see what positive contribution this show has made to the Star Trek franchise.

If you can give me some ideas, I would welcome them?

I would argue that Voyager has contributed nothing (and I mean NOTHING) positive to the franchise. In my opinion this show should have been cancelled before they ever flaunted Seven's breasts across the screen!

Star Trek: DS9 brought a darker but more gritty vision of Star Trek that was both unique and intriguing. It often dealt with the under-belly of the Federation and had flashes of tremendous inspiration.

Vayager has proven to be pathetic. I have followed every season, but this season has been the hardest. I feel as if I am witnessing some sort of a perverted mutilation every time I watch one of their episodes. Case and point ----> "Body and Soul".

This episode convinced exactly what I have been suspecting for two years, that Jeri Ryan cannot act. Her portrayal ofthe Doctor was pitiful. I fealt embarassed for her as an actress.

It seems perfectly fitting that Kate Mulgrew wants her character killed. Who would want to ever be associated with such a piece of shit like Star Trek: Voyager again. I think they should allow Capt. Janeway to die. It would serve as a ritualistic death to this whole horrid affair that is Star Trek Voyager.

---

Locutus

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In a word.......
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 10:27:52 on November 20
URL: http:// | User Info
Sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked, sucked!

I am Star Trek fan, always have been a Star Trek fan, and Voyager is no Star Trek.

Let the flaming from you insipid Voyager fans begin......

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The episode was terrible
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 02:49:51 on November 20
URL: http:// | User Info
No Belanna. Where was she?
Chakotay with no lines of dialogue. He just has to sit on the bridge for a few seconds and pretend to be interested in what's going on. And people wonder why Beltran is pissed off?
Tuvok's Pon Far treated as an afterthought.
All the comedy relief crap that was going on with the goofy commander falling in lust with Seven/Doctor, Doctor falling for the alien female, Seven and Doctor falling for each other - way too silly, way too stupid, a waste of my time
Janeway threatens to blow up an alien ship? Since when has she resorted to these kinds of tactics?

Radioactive Garbage Scow

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All right except one thing...
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 03:48:45 on November 18
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The main review is right on about many things from the predictability of many parts of this episode to the reduction of Tuvok's Pon Farr to being an unglorified B-plot. But the one thing he is in the wrong about as far as I'm concerned is Jeri Ryan's performance. It is anything but a bad Picardo imitation. It was a superb match of mannerisms, expressions, body movements and voice inflections. Jeri Ryan proved herself once again to be an outstanding actress.

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Best season
By () at 08:56:56 on November 17
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Am I the only person who feels that Voyager has gotten 10x better this season? I loved this episode, and have liked every episode so far this season (though I do think they've been ending them rather abruptly). Am I alone in this?

-SteveR

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Nice Ep
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 02:46:58 on November 17
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I liked the ep. It was quite entertaining but I felt they could have done a bit more with it, such as perhaps revealing a something new about 7 of 9 through the doctors experience of being in her body or having the doc learn something deeper about sensations besides just enjoying them. Also the resentment that heats up between them just kind of goes away. I would have liked to see it explored or resolved. Maybe that's asking too much of an episode that is clearly supposed to be a light comedy. I also agree with some that the Pon Farr thing was given not given enough time or attention. They needed to give Tuvok (and the viewers) more than they did.
On the plus side I especially enjoyed the performances of Garret Wang and Jeri Ryan. Kim had more substance to me in this ep. He was also the perfect straight man. I would have liked to have seen more of him this go round and I'm not usually a Kim fan. Jeri Ryan did a nice job imitating the Doc. It was a surprisingly effective illusion. The only time it broke down for me a little was in portraying the doctors attraction to the female captor. I felt Jeri conveyed the information but not the feeling. Because of that some of those scenes were flat for me.
About some of the comments here that finally Ryan is acting, I'm surprised. I got convinced by her considerable talent quite early on by two things. One was seeing how absolutely different the actress is from the character and the other was her great performance in Infinite Regress. I think sometimes folks can confuse the limited range of the character for a limited range in the actor.

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Piece of the Action
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 16:53:27 on November 16
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"A Piece of the Action" is my favorite Trek Comedy episode. If this didn't have the Pon Farr stuff, this would have been second. Instead, it's third. I think the review was way off - Ryan (who I thought had no acting skill) totally changed my mind. She did an excellent job of mimicing Picardo's mannerisms. I think that too many fans want either a "shoot-'em-up" or a "deep philosophical" episode (Voyager has done both ineptly). While Voyager is my least favorite Trek, this was a great Actor's episode. NOw if only they'd give some good scenes to people other than Ryan and Picardo...

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Pon Farr for the inexperienced and other musings
By mrtbird () at 16:00:54 on November 16
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As was made clear in the original episode Amok Time, Pon Farr is something that can be delayed through several cycles. That Tuvok would have last been under the influence of Pon Farr while with the Maquis is probably irrelevant, other than the fact that he needed it more now than before. However, remember this is the same production crew who has laughed at continuity before, so I'm sure they just used Pon Farr as a plot idea without any thought as to the logic of using it.

As usual, the episode was a creaking wreck, much like this season of Voyager, where the actors are basically marking time until the show ends, and they can pursue dinner theater in the Greater Los Angeles area. (Except for Ms. Ryan who will pursue soft-porn roles with abandon I'm sure)

I'm sorry if such thoughts aren't accepted here, but this episode captures so much that is wrong with Voyager. It works off of the Star Trek universe, yet is unable to pay it any heed to the back story that most of the fans know. Additionally instead of grasping big ideas and concepts, this show when it attempts to go above the shoot-em-ups, or light comedys, reaches for so little. In the 60's it was about war and peace, and striving to be better than ourselves. In the TNG, we at least had life altering episodes (the Inner Light, Best of Both Worlds, Family). In DS9 we had story arcs, and characters that constantly grew and became more. But in Voyager, the characters are basically the same as always. This episode is only a microcosm of this, but it's there.

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I like it...
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 13:02:18 on November 16
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I've watched Voyager since it launched and have really enjoyed the show since. Granted it has its moments now and again where it could have used some help. I am even one of the few people it seems that happens to like 7 of 9. Dont get me wrong, I was saddened to see Kes leave, I would have much prefered to see Neelix written off since he is the most useless and annoying character ever created (yes worse than Wesley Crusher.) Also, I'm sure this will draw some fire, but I think this show has the best FX I have seen compared to the other Star Treks, The battle scenes in DS9 were cool, but FX in TNG were always the same old stock shots, with a few exceptions. Yes I know that it has something to do with CGI making huge advancements since 1987, but wouldn't it have been great to see the Enterprise D actually fire a phaser shot in more than 3 episodes, or better yet sustain visable hull damage like a blowing off a chunk of the saucer or something???

However getting back to Voyager, this episode was not bad at all. I just have one question, was it me, or was Janeway a bit trigger happy in this episode???

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Everybody Knows
By Imbarkus (imbarkus@mindspring.com) at 11:54:16 on November 16
URL: http://imbarkus.home.mindspring.com/library/trek.html | User Info
'Spock's Brain' was TOS' worst episode, followed closely by 'Turnabout Intruder,' trailed a bit more distantly by 'The Way to Eden.'

This episode was nowhere near as bad as O. Deus claims (gasp.) but relegating Tuvok's Pon Farr to a B-Plot did indeed piss me off. I preferred the opera version in 'Tinker, Tailor.' Actually, since there are so many hologram-revolt episodes coming up anyway, I wonder why they didn't create an arc much like the Hirogen one. Beef up the alien race so our crew can't ush them around as they did in this episode, and have them present a real threat. Keep this episode separate, fill out the A-plot by giving Kim something to do. Then a separate episode could have dealt with Tuvok's actions when, in the middle of his 'treatment,' the anti-hologram aliens use their anti-hologram beam--setting loose a furious elder Vulcan in the throes of late-stage Pon Farr on the ship...

With only 42 minutes to work with, I really am surprised that Tuvok's Pon Farr got relegated to maybe 15 minutes tops. There is, however, something fitting about it that for most of the crew, he managed to play it off like any old flu. I remember the distinct air of embarassment Russ played in 'Blood Fued' when Vorik's condition became known. And it makes sense, given his enthusiasm in that episode, that the Doc would further develop his treatment.

Besides, Tuvok had his 'Wire' with 'Meld,' and a damn fine episode it was, too.

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Negative Reviews
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 11:21:56 on November 16
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Why are these reviews always so negative? I live in the UK, and haven't seen any of these episodes yet, but it makes me very depressed when the reviews just go on about how terrible everything about the ep was. Surely you could find a few good things to say.

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Chalk this up to 2 good VGR episodes this year....
By steveleenow (steveleenow@yahoo.com) at 10:44:09 on November 16
URL: http://www.steveleenow.com/ | User Info
This was an interesting episode and well executed! I've been disappointed in Voyager this season, the only other episode I really enjoyed was the one where 7 was dying. The rest have been very disapointing (and I've loved this show since day one, but have found it to be lost these last few seasons).

It's interesting that the only other VGR episode that stands out for me this season is another 7 of episode - but with a twist - Jeri Ryan did a great job of impersonating Picardo - they must have had a great time filming this episode!

It was also nice to see Megan Gallager (sp?) again, I loved her in Nowhere Man and in Millenium, but she always seems to be under utilized in the things she gets to do...

I loved the opening scene with the Doctor and the wonders of a new civilization in the DNA he held in his hand... it was a good episode, it treated everything well, it wasn't overdone.

And I don't think the Tuvok B-story-line was done badly... we've seen a Vorak go super nutsoid a few seasons back when he went into pon-far... Tuvok is older and more experienced and the Doc did have a better treatment for him. And Janeway experienced his last pon far... but the timing? it's VGR's seventh season now - or 6 and a half... that would put his last pon far during the time he was with the maquis as an undercover agent.

A moot point, maybe she knew cause he sent secret reports and in them he said he had the flu. Not big enough to destroy the plausability and, more importantly, the enjoyability of this episode.

WELL DONE =)

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My goodness...
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 10:12:58 on November 16
URL: http:// | User Info
It finally happened...

JERI RYAN CAN ACT!!!!!!

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For once decent acting
By High_Jumbllama () at 08:02:31 on November 16
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I can't beleive they actually gave her something to have fun with and not have it be pathetic in idea. Her imitation of the doctor was hillarious and very well done.

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