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'Voyager' Finishes Final November Sweeps With Loaded Yet Ultimately Unsatisfying Telefilm "Flesh and Blood"

Posted: 07:28:35 on November 30 2000
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Reviews - Voyager

Reviews Ex Deus
"Flesh and Blood"

Written for TrekWeb by 'O. Deus'

Summary: Borg, Klingons, Romulans, Jem'Haddar, Breen and Starfleet...Oh My.

Voyager's last November Sweeps episode is a two parter that with the combination of Nightingale manages to bring this portion of the season to a more dignified and weighty end. The ep is filled with space battles, every prominent Alpha Quadrant species, and the Hirogen who were themselves the subject of a previous two parter and a moral dillema. What is unusual about Flesh and Blood is that it is ultimately a Doctor character development story, rather than a threat to Voyager story or a Seven of Nine conflict story as most of the recent two parters have been. Since the Doctor is Voyager's strongest character and Robert Picardo Voyager's strongest actor, this is a major step in the right direction.

In the average episode, so many of the little touches, the bits of dialogue and the subplots get cut away to fill UPN's bottomless greed for commercial time, but a standard episode like Flesh and Blood stretched out to the length of a two parter leaves plenty of room for all that stuff which lets F&B feel more like a usual Star Trek episode, instead of the rushed affairs Voyager episodes have become under their reduced screen time. The Hirogen get the chance to have their moments of reaction time to Voyager's actions, which is nice since an enemy which doesn't react to what you're doing especially if you're blowing their ship to bits isn't very interesting. B'Elanna's interactions with the Cardassian holographic engineer are kept in, otherwise her behavior at the end would have been as confusing as the end of Dragon's Teeth. Part of the problem though is that sometimes F&B seems like Dragon's Teeth with Holograms or taking up the plot of the two parter that never got made and Dragon's Teeth indeed would have made a much better two parter than F&B did.

The space battles are interesting and well done. The nebula is once again an annoying trick, especially now as even Trek retreads like Andromeda have borrowed that bag of tricks. But this seems like something we'll be seeing over and over again for the next twenty years so there's little point in complaining. Picardo's acting is top notch and even the usually abysmal Mulgrew shares some suprisingly effective scenes with him. Surprisingly little use is made of the Starfleet holograms. Considering that the Bajoran hologram retained a whole lot of Bajoran elements to his psyche, it might have been very interesting to pit Starfleet holograms operating from a Starfleet point of view against Janeway. Bizarrely enough this never happens and instead we focus on the overused Bajoran "I'm an oppressed but spirtual victim routine" as if that hadn't gotten tried after only one year of DS9, let alone seven.

The Bajoran did have the potential to be a stronger character with his extinguishing the flames for those he killed, but in service of the cliched plot he's suddenly turned into a raving lunatic. This character might have been stronger if played by a stronger actor. Next week's rerun features two DS9 actors, might have been nice if they'd saved one of them to play the Bajoran leader or brought over Mark Alaimo or Andrew Robinson for the job. B'Elanna's Cardassian rant is intriguing because it feels as if something may be being set up here for when Voyager is closer to the Alpha Quadrant.

Quiet, careful direction sets off a story flawed by the same rot that has been eating into Voyager for seven years now and the name of that rot is Kathryn Janeway. Scorpion, Dark Frontier and Equinox were all driven by some bizarre irrational obsession Janeway got into her head and dragged the crew along for wreaking unecessary havoc and causing complications that would never have been spawned by the decision-making of a sane Starfleet Captain. Unfortunately Flesh and Blood is no different. Like its predecessors Scorpion, Frontier and Equinox it manages to salvage a lot of good from the rot producing strong and memorable episodes but the Janeway Factor confines its storylines and plot to fairly predictable parameters and like a wrecked ship trapped and orbiting an insane planet, the laws of physics that govern Voyager demand an ending featuring Janeway wearing a halo and the rest of the story has to be crushed into shape to fit.

The bizarre Janeway obsession that governs Flesh and Blood is Janeway's notion that she is responsible for giving the holodeck technology to the Hirogen, hence she has to hunt down and finish off the holograms. Now in the previous Hirogen episode, The Killing Game, the Hirogen took over Voyager and killed and maimed its crew for sport. As a peacekeeping gesture, Janeway gave them the technology so that they could relieve their hunting instincts without using humans or associated sentient aliens as targets. Logically if Janeway should be feeling guilty for anything, it's that she handed over a piece of Starfleet technology that has the potential to produce sentient beings, including one such individual already existing on her own ship, to predators who would hunt them and torture them for sport. That this technology also included templates of Starfleet officers is truly sickening. Yet historically Janeway rarely feels sorry for the victims in a situation but tends to side with their oppressors and so obviously her concern is that the Hirogen are being killed by the holograms. (One wonders if her response would have been any different, if her non-sentient Irish bartender boyfriend had been in the mix.)

Despite the Hirogen making it clear several times that they don't want her help, Janeway insists on butting in anyway and ending the bloodshed, namely the killing of the Hirogen by their former slaves, thereby trying to save the Hirogen species for themselves. The fact that the Hirogen are big boys with lots of firepower, a big fleet and actually captured Voyager the last time Janeway got on their bad side doesn't seem to cross her mind. Neither does the possibility that since neither side has asked for her help, that she should just stay out of the conflict. To Janeway apparently feeling moral responsibility for something, means she has undisputed authority over it and the right to shove everyone else into line and into agreeing with her solution to the problem. This is a very understandable perspective for a lunatic completely out of touch with reality, but a questionable one for a Starfleet Captain to operate under. Fortunately since her Stepford crew tends to fall in line, except for the Maquis and 7 of 9, this isn't really a problem.

A professional Captain might have checked the Hirogen's story before joining them in the hunt. After all Janeway's failure to check the Borg's story in Scorpion kept the Borg alive causing the genocide of hundreds of Delta Quadrant species. But then again how can you not trust the veracity of good honest people like the Borg Collective or the Hirogen Hunters? A professional Captain might have put some effort into getting in touch with the Holograms before trying to finish them off. After all escaping, stealing a ship and fighting space battles are pretty calculated acts suggesting intelligence and purpose. Furthermore, last season in Fair Haven Janeway risked her crew rather than shut down a holodeck full of non-sentient Irish villagers. A professional Captain would have guessed that confining a few dozen Hirogen warriors in the mess hall with little beyond Neelix in the way of security is an awful idea.

Finally, a professional Captain would have recognized that there was indeed a conflict and tried to resolve it by working with both sides, instead of taking the side of your own enemies and those of the slave owners and trying to enforce your will by force. Janeway's failure to do this forces the Doctor into the role of traitor. But since the Doctor can't be allowed to leave Voyager and Janeway can't admit that she was wrong, this leaves us with the inevitable option that it is the holograms who must be discredited. Along with the borrowed Breen and Jem'Haddar, F&B borrows a page from DS9's disposal of Dukat by turning their leader into a irrational religious fanatic thus forcing the Doctor to turn traitor second time and make a groveling apology to Janeway. Janeway then bizarrely completely dismisses the entire issue as an error in judgement.

Now it's nice that F&B does actually address the issue of the Doctor's betrayal in the episode, unlike DS9's first war arc which ignored Odo's betrayal of DS9. But really, the Doctor's actions caused some serious injuries among the crew and almost blew up the ship killing everyone on board. This isn't just a violation of protocol, it's treason, mutiny and a whole range of other level one charges. Admittedly the Doctor was right in opposing Janeway and Janeway is the real traitor, but in the context of the show it would be hard to imagine the majority of the crew who don't have B'Elanna's Starfleet\Maquis understanding of multiple allegiances ever trusting him again. From their perspective what exactly seperates the EMH from Mike Jonas, after all Jonas was just manipulated and led into error by Seska too. Spock\Data characters have always had a lot of immunity from consenquences often breaking down or being driven by strange possessions, but on Voyager both Seven and the Doc seem to have a certain condescending immunity attached to their actions as if they're too stupid to be responsible for the outcomes of their own choices.

The real divide in F&B doesn't come about because of the Doctor's actions. He's merely the pawn of a predictable plot caught between two different sides. The Hirogen who want to enjoy the fun of torturing and killing their holographic slaves; the slaves who want freedom and a good dose of payback. Neither side much wants peace at this point and Voyager has no real role in this conflict beyond the fact that both sides hate Voyager. Janeway coming in on the side of the slavemasters forces the Doctor to do what he feels is the right thing. The problem is that the slaves themselves are far from the Starfleet saints the EMH wants them to be. F&B castigates them for this but it seems that they're behaving very realisticially. They're rebels fighting a war behind the lines against those they consider their oppressors, they're not nice guys but neither are the Hirogen.

Starfleet morality is a very noble thing, but if you're powerless, on the run and hunted by ruthless predators the only thing Starfleet morality will get you is a quick death. Like all codes of government Starfleet and Federation morality is meant to restrain the great powers of government and the military that the Federation posseses. They're not necessarily meant to be foisted on everyone at gunpoint and certainly forcing the holograms to abide by Federation morality, while making no such demands on the Hirogen is absolute lunacy. It's like asking one side in a war to disarm, while letting the other side keep on doing what they've been doing before.

Janeway claims a moral responsibility for giving the Hirogen the dangerous technology they used to get themselves killed. Except of course as the saner members of the crew point out, it's not the technology that's evil but its application. If Janeway had given the Hirogen toaster ovens, they no doubt would have managed to kill each other using them too. Worse Janeway is taking responsibility for the choices of sentient adult beings as technologically advanced as her who are in fact older than humanity itself, she takes this to a head by then taking responsibility for the Doctor's choice. In Good Shepherd, Janeway recites a parable that casts her in the role of Jesus. Now she seems to be taking the godhood thing seriously and treating everyone else as outgrowths of her own will. Worst of all despite all her moral posturing, Janeway shows no concern about leaving the same technology that produced a few hundred sentient beings to be tortured and mutilated, back in the hands of the Hirogen.

Although hologram rights are the underlying issue here, Janeway refuses to address it denying the holograms, equal sentient status without actually opening up the issue to debate. If holograms can't by nature be sentient beings then why does the Doctor have any rights and autonomy on Voyager at all? And if Holograms are indeed family pets then just what was Janeway sleeping with in Spirt Folk exactly? And if the Doctor really is an equal member of the crew and the bartender a valid companion, then on what basis does Janeway deny the Hirogen holograms themselves based on the Doctor, equal rights?

But then again Janeway's morality is no more rational than any of her decisions. She will time and time again ignore logic and reason in favor of emotional appeals. She time and time again claims that Voyager is a family, but Voyager is not a family it's a Starfleet vessel filled with crew which is ordered to abide by Starfleet regulations. It is not her own private domain. Situations such as this should be governed by Starfleet regulations or by reasoned decisions based on Starfleet principles. Instead Janeway's moral reasoning seems to consist of high pitched self-serving rhetoric coming out of the childish notion that if she can just find the right slogan and say it just the right way, that magically this will make her decisions right. While this works for a certain portion of the audience in a TV drama, Star Trek has the fandom it does not because its Captains were men who repeated the right slogans but because they were people you could respect. Captains like Kirk and Spock who genuinely searched for the right thing to do, questioned their own actions and listened to their first officers.

These are all ideas foreign to Janeway who wants nothing more than to be a martyr. To sit back in her chair and sigh about how hard her job is, how much she carries on her shoulders all the while climbing further up on her own self-made pedestal positioned well above her crew. To her, commanding a Starship is a form of omnipotence which allows her to excercise absolute judgement and her pips like a pope's hat renders her judgement infallible. And this is why she needs her crew's mistakes, so that she can absolve them of their sins against her and confirm her superiority. She's not part of a team or in charge so much as the head of a matriarchal family. As the Doctor learned when he programmed his own holographic family, having a real family is hard. But Janeway's fake family are professionals paid and trained to obey her orders and if there's any trouble well she can always blow up Voyager... again.

Next week: Reruns...well aren't all Voyager episodes reruns anyway?

TREKWEB TALKBACK

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Flesh and Blood
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 17:35:39 on December 17
URL: http:// | User Info
First visit to your website and I am a bit surprised at the Trek-negativity.

What might have been constructive criticism quickly gave way to bitter-bitchiness. So bitter it makes the entire review nearly unreadable except as a curiosity piece - where you're curious just how irrational the review would get.

A brief review of the review shows that the person writing it hates Voyager, almost all the actors, the writing, and the network that broadcasts it!

A good review is objective where it should be, subjective where it must. The review of the two hour Flesh and Blood was neither and, as such, wasn't worth reading. Was the episode perfect? No. Has ANY trek episode been perfect? No, but the reviewer acts like it should be - at least in their eyes.

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Missing Posts
By Steve Krutzler (s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 09:08:20 on December 10
URL: http://trekweb.com/brittandsteve | User Info
I have no idea why almost all the comments are mysteriously missing, and I just became aware of it because I hadn't been checking in on this discussion for days. I have notified Jason Boxman, the engineer of the entire system, and I'm sure he'll find something soon.

Sorry for the problem.

---

-Steve Krutzler
==V/-/== Rocks.

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My thoughts.
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 19:03:37 on December 09
URL: http:// | User Info
Yet again I am not disapointed to come here and find a negative reveiw. Its not that I have anything wrong with a constructive negative reaview. My favorite site is Star Trek Hypertext. I do however have a problem with this one.
Where oh where to start? So much wrong, and admitinly a few things right. It seems to me a major reason for the negativity was O Deus's apparent hatrad for Janeway. How unrational were her actions? In Scorpion she had to make a deal to go home(not all that unreasnble), In Equinox everything she stands for was under fire from someone who is supposed to stand for the same things.
And in this episode she wanted to correct a simple error in judgement. Later on she had to rescue the Doctor. Her desision to turn off (not destroy the Holagrams) had to do with the fact that three Horagan ships were about to arive and blow Voyager up. It had nothing to do with her siding with anyone, let alone the Hirogen. It was her only real option. How is any of this even irational?
The Captins mistrust of the Holograms was based on good technical evidince. They were designed to be intellegent, cunning, and viloent. Of course it was her business. It was her technology, her Doctor, her Enginer. Those all seem like valid reasons to keep after the Holograms. They were her responsibility.
You don't after all set a group of beings,who are bent on slautring any one with any type of holograms, loes on the Galexy.
As far as the Nebula, who cares? Nebulas exisist, why not use it. Complaining about the Nebula is like complaining about phasers or photon torpedos. If it gives you a tactical advantage your not thinking about whether or not you have used it to often.
I did agree with one thing, that being that Barojin should not have gone evil. The episode was good on its own merits without making most of the Holograms nuts. On the plus side this twist had emotional reprucutions on the Doctor wich in my mind at least redeamed this small fault. He made an error in judgement. When he went back to Voyager he had to do so knowing that he had actully been wrong to put so much faith in the holograms. That had Voyager simply deactivated them then put them in its computer they could have been bruought to some planet and things would have turned outmuch better. The holograms would have no way of leaving. Voyager could have lied to the Hirogen saying the Holograms had been destroyed.
Because of the Doctors actions this did not pan out. The Captins decision to not repremand the Doctor actuly made since,in that she realized that just as much as the Doctor was wrong, so was she. The Holograms were Seintient thus with the right to not consent to being basicly put to sleep indefinitly. How could she take his holo emitor and not seem like some kind of hypocrite?

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Deleted threads
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 17:56:09 on December 07
URL: http:// | User Info
Is it me or there was an interresting thread yesterday, which didn't agree with O.Deus at all... and I can't seem to find it today...

Interresting...

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I nominate Steve Kruzler as chief Star Trek Writer
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 13:15:48 on December 03
URL: http:// | User Info
Whether you agree with him or not, Steve's insightful comments on Voyager have shown me that he would be very effective, either as a chief Star Trek writer, or as an editor that focuses on quality assurance for every script that is produced!

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Like Bob Dole, O. Deus Just Can't Win
By Morbius () at 23:11:38 on December 02
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If O.Deus is critical of Voyager then posters say that the review is too critical. If O.Deus has a favorable review then the review is too lenient. (?!)

Some points about the recent episode. I agree that the ending was quite disappointing. To turn Iden into a religious fanatic (ala Dukat minus the red eyes) was an all to easy way to finish the episode. The writers should have stayed with the original portrayal which would have meant a longer episode. Another reason for disappointment at the ending. I thought that the performance of Iden was very good. The charismatic leader stole every scene he was in even against a Voyager crew with few surprises left.

I found the episode kept my interest until the Iden personality change over. I thought the final scene with Janeway and the Doctor was quite effective though. Janeway showed restraint while filling the room with tension toward the doctor. Needless to say I like Janeway at times though I can't remember when I've liked her character for an entire episode. It isn't the actress but the character that's so unsettling.

Picardo was solid as the central character with help from BeLanna to a smaller degree. The two of them are becoming the strongest characters on the ship.

I've had my fill of 7 (The Anti-Kes) episodes.

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Lets meet at the center!
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 19:05:45 on December 01
URL: http:// | User Info
"A new race in the Star Trek Database" ha? Rumors. "Meeting on the Verge or center of the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Game quadrant"


Is this true?

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AI
By Gary () at 13:29:44 on December 01
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You know, maybe we should start taking hologrophic rights and artificial intelligence a bit more seriously as of right now. I am ashamed of the atrocities that I committed to my opponents in multi-player GoldenEye for Nintendo 64. Perhaps I should think twice before I plant a mine in a hallway or launch a grenade from across a room. From now on, I will turn on the game and not touch the controller. The computer characters can roam around free, under their own jurisdiction, and under no circumstances shall I turn the game off, for that would take away the life that Rare studios worked so hard to give these characters. Fuck the Organics!

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Ah! That's what was bugging me!
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 11:03:56 on December 01
URL: http:// | User Info
Kudos to O Deus, Steve Kurtzler, and others for their insightful comments on Flesh and Blood. While the episode was relatively well put together for Voyager, something kept nagging me. After reading the board, what exactly became clear -- it's all about the reset button, baby!

In essence, Voyager never takes risks with its characters and hold the characters to the consequences of their choices in a way that real and meaningful to the audience.

If this had been an episode of the Sopranos, you know a whole lot of people would have been killed, maimed or sent to jail as the case may be. Tony Soprano didn't take Big Pussy Pompensaro's betrayal as glibly as Janeway did the Doctor's. Tony's very real, very pained reaction to his friend's actions convincingly demonstrated his love for him clashing with the need to maintain absolute fidelity and authority within the organization. The whole season of that show superbly dealt with both characters dealing with that act of betrayal.

Janeway just dresses down the Doctor.

Say what?!!? Sorry, if I were her, the emitter would be locked down unless necessary and all access privileges restricted, and perhaps some reprogramming to boot. As a captain attempting to maintain some semblence of authority on a ship, what message is she sending? It's okay to commit treason if you truly believe? Tell that one to the judge!

Not that I want Voyager to be the Sopranos, but the characters aren't written convincingly enough to stand up to any kind of real scrutiny. Yes, the writing this season is better, but why stop with better? Continuity is shredded all to hell, as usual. And while the larger character arcs are somewhat consistent, they are not effectively integrated with the plots of individual episodes. Ultimately, the craziness the characters appear to exhibit really isn't about the inherent qualities of the characters themselves but reflect the writers' inability to create real flesh and blood characters (pun intended).

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Flesh and Blood comment
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 20:01:47 on November 30
URL: http:// | User Info
I was disappointed by this episode and I simply could not get through this rather long winded review because the episode simply didn't warrant it. I find the concept of androids and holograms as sentient beings with a conscience, totally laughable, which is probably why I hate the doctor's character and Picardo so much, he's simply a non-entity to me and I come away bored to death with no emotional attachment what-so-ever. Why Voyager writers and fans continue to press for stories in this direction is sad. Next thing you know Star Trek writers will be assigning androids and holograms with having spirits too. But, the biggest problem with the episode is once again we find Voyager running into aliens they should have travelled passed years before. Are they going in circles or what?! This is getting to make me angry! What kind of drugs can the writers be on that they are so lazy or don't care enough to simply throw out stories that don't make sense. As soon as some suggested this story someone should have stepped forward to say "Voyager was at this point in space a few years ago and could not possibly run into the Hirogen Janeway gave this technology to, next story idea, please". I never thought I would say this about any Star Trek show, but its time to call it quites and just do movies!

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Parallel With Classic?
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 18:06:34 on November 30
URL: http:// | User Info
Was it just me, or did everyone notice the extreme parallel with the classic novel "Animal Farm", by George Orwell?

For those of you who haven't read this, let me give a brief summary. Animals, who are not treated very well, revolt against there masters, the humans. They drive them out, and commendeer the farm. They protect their land, even killing to keep it. Throughout the novel, the animals become more and more like humans. In the end, one of the animals remarks how they cannot tell some of the animals from humans; the animals had become what they hated...human.

Isn't this exactly what "Flesh and Blood" was? Sure, it was an adrenaline romp through holographic mayhem, but it was predictable to those who have read "Animal Farm." Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Napoleon, the cheif animal, consider himself a God, liberating his fellow animals?

The cheif parallel I saw was in the end, where the holograms/animals became what they sought to defeat; the hunters/animals.

Or I could be stretching a string that isn't there. Anyways, I enjoyed the episode, but just was disappointed that the writers had to follow something written before.

~Radiopy@geocities.com

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Double Standard and No Credit
By Imbarkus (imbarkus@mindspring.com) at 16:36:55 on November 30
URL: http://imbarkus.home.mindspring.com/library/trek.html | User Info
Although I think there is some credence to the notion that the insanity of Iden destroyed the potential for a "Measure of a Man" type examination of holographic rights, I think many of you are missing the point of the shift in that episode.

To me the real wonderful scene that gave it all to me was when Iden blew up the two people to save three strange holograms, only to discover their matrixes were about as complex as that of your average ATM. A supercomputer may get it into his head that he wants to free machines from humanity, but what use is freedom to a toaster-oven.

Janeway was squarely on the side of reigning in the holograms BEFORE she learned about their modifications. That means, to her they were just garden-variety holograms that Voyager crewmembers create and destroy every day--no sentience, not programmed to bleed or feel pain, no higher cognitive functions. All the trappings of Bajoran religion with none of the actual FAITH. All the Starfleet phasers but no starfleet conscience.

She had no reason to believe they were at all like the doctor. No reason to believe they were sentient, no reason to believe they would even remember from one hunt to the next. No reason to believe the Hirogen would do anything but hook it up and hunt some holograms.

How many holographic Romulans do you suppose get blown away in training rooms in Starfleet Academy?

Was Iden sentient? Were any of them, when the first thing they wanted to do when they found their "homeworld" was recreate the hunt from the station? Do the crew consider the Doc sentient? Why? Because Kes said so? It took until "Latent Image" last year for Janeway to even take some steps in that direction. Her every response was consistant to character, AND wrong. The situation escalated because Janeway came down hard on one side of the argument. It's been a mistake Kirk ("A Private Little War," and the one with the Organians)has made, Picard has made ("First Contact," Anyone?), and Sisko has made (many times).

And its been one people have been whining to get from Janeway for years. And admittedly, while Jeri Taylor held the reins there was an undeniable insistance that the Captain be viewed as unquestionably right. So episode solutions were far-fetched and technobabbly so that no one had to make the hard choices.

But now, that there are consequences to these decisions and Janeway is reacting with personal involvement, culpability, fallability, and an actual human amount of self-doubt--everyone still complains (gasp.).

The saddest thing, to my mind, about Voyager and the online fans is that, if you look at it, the show has made virtually every change that the fans have requested--focus on character choices, explore continuity and use it right, pay off on character relationships, show long-term wear on the ship, show negative consequences of the crew's acts in the Delta Quadrant, have Janeway admit to making mistakes, have a natural and crucial conflict between characters arise naturally--and still not received the credit its due.

The show pays off on everything the "fans" say they want, and these internet humbugs with apparantly nothing to do with their time but find clever new ways to word contentiousness and derision, complain (inaccurately) that the previous series' did it better.

Then, to top it off, someone posts that the episode would have been better if it had ended just like a previous TNG episode--exact same gimmick. HA! As if, even if it were logical, doing so would have earned anything but accusations of plagiarism.

So keep your false memories of perfect starfleet captains who were never haughty and self-important, and yet still wrong. I sure hope you're all enjoying those golden mental movies you must all be watching of TNG and TOS. Because I got every ep on tape and, when I watch the real thing for the fiftieth time and not the nostalgia soaked remembrances, it's pretty clear that what Voyager is suffering from is fandom that's damn tired of Star Trek but in deep, deep denial to admit it.

You could put 3rd season TNG on the air today, same scripts with all the effects updated, and it would be lambasted as stupid and hokey.

Especially by O. Deus, whom, apparantly, was born on the wrong side of the bed, and will be suffering from a lack of reviewer's generosity and a chip on the suspension-of-disbelief shoulder for the rest of eternity.

Here's a fun exercise. Go back through all the reviews here and make a tally under one of two columns for each: "Positive Review" and "Negative Review." Guess what you'll find. Heck I bet even the positive ones have enough negative things to say to make you think twice.

Me I liked this episode. I like to see Janeway in the corner, finally eating some crow, refusing to punish the doctor because she brought it all about herself. I like to see it because Janeway, like my female boss, is very loathe to admit when she's wrong.

If only Sisko could have done the same thing about the Dominion War. After all, they simply politely asked that we not cross into their space through that wormhole... ...what exactly did we find in Quadrant Gamma that was worth all those deaths?

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Janeway
By Brikar () at 15:03:55 on November 30
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Does anyone else have an issue with the line Janeway gives Tuvok and Chakotay about how many times they've given away replicator technology? I seem to remember her have a HUGE problem a long time ago when she found out that the Kazon had gotten Federation replicators and it nearly destroyed them. Since then, I can't remember a single time Janeway has willingly given away technology except for the holographic equipment she gave the Hirogen.

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familiar character
By Gary () at 13:38:20 on November 30
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One more thing, just an observation, did anyone see the vulcan hologram. He was the one who had a rock thrown at him by a hirogen near the end. I think it was the guy who played Simon Tarses on the TNG episode "The Drumhead". Ironically, he played a 3/4 human - 1/4 romulan in that episode. Can anyone confirm/deny?

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holograms?
By Gary () at 12:04:44 on November 30
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Before I begin, I want to give my hats off to Steve Krutzler and his ability to articulate into words those nagging feelings that people (at least I do) tend to hold after watching an episode of Voyager. You keep us coming back to this site time and again, even when it seems like there is no hope for this series. This goes to show that even if the content being viewed is subpar, the dialogue regarding it does not have to be. OK, now on to my complaint. I know it's somewhat of an insignificant continuity thing, but it still irks me. Remember in season two of TNG when 'the hologram' Professor Moriarty showed (either the Capt. or Polaski) his drawing of the Enterprise on a piece of paper and he inquisitively asked, "Can you tell me what this is?" Do you remember the chills and suspense that that one inquisitive question created?; upon both the characters and the audience? Could it be that this hologram developed some sort of sentient intelligence beyond his programming? It was a fascinating notion, and what TNG did best was to ponder on it slightly and then leave it alone - much like they did with they Borg. But like always, Voyagers writers rather than just taste a cookie, have to open the whole damn bag of cookie dough and smear it all over there faces- and what happens? we lose our appetites. I mean why couldn't Voyager and the Hirogen deactivate the holograms and download their programs into some sort of macroprogram that emulates reality, so that the holograms would BELIEVE they were fighting in a real-life war, but in reality they were quibling inside a mini-holographic program for the rest of their lives- This is something that was eventually done to Professor Moriarty and his lover in the second TNG episode dealing with this subject. That way, both parties would have what they wanted. Voyager would supress the hologram threat, and the holograms would be free, as far as they could tell. I mean their holograms for Christ's Sake! The hologram leader wasn't crazy. The algorithmic program that controlled him created a series of sequences that people interpreted as insane. He's not real! Who cares! Oh well, I think I'm just venting. But just because the Hirogen said, "create an adversary worthy enough to defeat us" to their holographic program, are we to believe that holographic technology could progress centuries ahead of its time. And if so, why hasn't this occurred before? Geordi made a similar mistake when he told the holodeck to create an adversary worthy of defeating Data. Hasn't anyone else tried doing that as well? And at the end of the episode, when Janeway let that little hirogen shit have the technology? What the hell was that? Oh yeah, we can trust this kid. Pisser move. Shitheads. Alright I'm done. Next time, when I want to be intrigued by holograms, I'll just go back to good ol' Professor Moriarty. By the way, Steve, what the hell is Van Halen up to? Is Dave recording with them or what? Sammy's new album is pretty damn good, don't you think?

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Jem Hed'dar?
By Anonymous Coward (anon@ym.ous) at 10:37:26 on November 30
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Was is just me.... or did I see a Jem Hed'dar hologram character on the Hologram Ship? How would they ever have had an image of them to use?

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Bad Captain
By () at 09:16:43 on November 30
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Though I found Janeway's lack of empathy for the holograms surprising, I did think it went right into the character already established for her. At least the writers are being consistent about something, right?

Personally, I thought the episode was great until the lead hologram went insane. I was looking at that character and saying that he should have been Voyager's Captain, rather than Janeway. And, given the choice, that's probably how I would have ended the episode - kill Janeway, and make him Voyager's new Captain. Then again, I've said that every time a new character comes on the show. And every time Tuvok, Tom, Harry, or B'Elanna provide a better performance than Janeway. But, of course, they couldn't kill off the Captain, so we have to keep watching the crazy Captain, and hoping that the episodes keep coming out as good as they have been this season anyway.

-SteveR

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My chief gripe with this show isn't so much Janeway's
By Steve Krutzler (s_krutzler@trekweb.com) at 08:37:19 on November 30
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insanity, since it was actually quite subdued here, but the fact that this show was supposed to be a resolution to holographic issues raised by Life Line and the Doctor's character itself. Throughout the entire episode Janeway treats The Doc like an object, deactivating him when he's a bother. And never once did The Doc or Chakotay, both of whom got dangerously close to doing so, call Janeway on it. The show degenerated into nothing more than Killing Game/Hope and Fear redux, with the focus (what little there was) on the Janeway-prime-directive-gave-technology ethical dillemma. Janeway's consequences on others has been previously explored. When the Doctor shouted in Jane's face about holographic rights after she callously used the term like many people do today about gay rights and many did 50 years ago about women's rights, I thought we were heading somewhere. But alas, the episode just dismissed the issue almost entirely and playing out in a predictable Sweeps-romp fashion. After the Doc's betrayal of Voyager, the episode took a decidedly straight-forward route erring on the side of "let's give em more action/adventure" than anything else. The meglomaniac Iden merely gives Janeway more ammunition to justify her oppression of holographic beings. The episode missed a wonderful opportunity to parallel the Federation to the Hirogen... both use holograms for service and don't afford them "basic rights." Deus hits it on the head when he says that Jane's Irish boyfriend should've been used here to help Janeway realize this reality. The Hirogen's presence was completely worthless except for a catalyst for conflict, whereas they should've been used as the mirror against which Voyager is held up to, because in the end the truth is that no matter how crazy Iden was, he was right when he said that Janeway et al are just as bad as the Hirogen when it comes to holographic rights. After the startling revelation in Life Line that holograms with a man's face can be used as waste cleaners over the man's own objections, and an entire character whose existence on the show seems to FORCE a resolution of this issue, it is absolutely unacceptable that there is no progess in the end. In the end, as Deus points out, Janeway makes it out like it's all her fault for giving away technology, but that isn't the point. The point is that she and her crew and her CULTURE don't recognize the sentience of holographic beings. If the episode had been done the right way, as I've layed out above (excuse my Janeway complex in this regard), then in the end when The Doc says Jane can't put him in the brig... Janeway would realize... YES, that is what I have to do... THAT is the first step. I'm not going to deactivate you whenever you are in the way, even though it's only "temporary." I can't deactivate Chakotay, even though sometimes I'd like to. I will send you to the brig, after which you will proceed to your QUARTERS. Having Janeway make a move like that in the end would've shown some serious progress, but here, the episode completely ignores the issue in favor of a boring and predictable action romp (no different from any other action episode, and I'd hardly call the action sequences here any more spectacular than those in Scorpion, Equinox, or Dragon's Teeth).

The episode was wasted, as usual.

---

-Steve Krutzler
==V/-/== Rocks.

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