The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager


by David E. Sluss

10 May 1998

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: Well, the good news is that the advertisement I read for this episode was, as usual, misleading. The bad news is that "DumbOne" is every bit as, well, dumb as that ad ("aliens who eat DNA!") suggested.


NOXIOUS GAS OF THE WEEK: Deuterium, which is an isotope of the most common element in the universe, hydrogen, but which the crew of Voyager can't seem to find. And forget about "Bussard collectors": Deuterium occurs in water; Voyager can replicate water (remember, the Kazon were so impressed). You do the math. The Voyager writers are so good at coming up with fake names for technobabble substances; why misuse the name of a real substance and make themselves look like even bigger idiots?

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Those kewl spaces suits are really versatile. They kept Harry and Tom alive for hours after their oxygen ran out (so why the computer's urgency and flatline sound effect?). They can be used as Christmas trees, with all their blinking lights. They are even form-fitting, so that one's (or rather Seven's) attributes can be shown off.

NEW BIOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Say, that Silver Blood is pretty clever. It's non-sentient, but can copy DNA. Fine, I guess I can accept that, given Star Trek's Screwy World of DNA. But it can also replicate memories (which in the Screwy World of DNA are stored in the DNA). And, despite being non-sentient, having just encountered humans, and having the memories of only non-biologist Kim and incompetent medic Paris to work with, they know how to modify human lungs so they can breathe the planet's air. And as an Added Bonus, they can recreate Starfleet Issue uniforms and working communicators. To quote Dr. Malcolm, from the film Jurassic Park, "That's one big pile of shit."

NEW BIOLOGY OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: Everyone is so astonished by the change in Paris' and Kim's lungs, that they forget that the skin and just about everything else about Paris and Kim would have to be changed if they can survive a temperature of 500K.

WELFARE RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK: Star Trek's welfare program continues to help out unemployed actors, in this case Alexander Enberg, who appears as Vorrick for no particular reason, especially since Roxann Dawson appears to no longer be pregnant. I hope he sent Aunt Jeri (Taylor) a Mother's Day card.

WHAT'S HOLDING IT UP? OF THE WEEK: No, not Seven's bustline, but rather Voyager, perched upon those tiny and malpositioned chicken legs. And by the way, for those predicting a "Titanic" episode of Voyager, I think we just got it, with the ship sinking into the silver blood.

PRIME DIRECTIVE VIOLATION OF THE WEEK: This episode features the most blatant disregard of the Prime Directive in Star Trek history. They aren't supposed to tamper with the development of pre-warp cultures. Here, Our Heroes radically alter a pre-sentient culture, given them humanoid form and memories of all of Starfleet's wondrous technology. How many court-martials can you hold against one Captain?

GROUPTHINK OF THE WEEK: Apparently, given the size of the crowd at the end of the episode, everyone in Voyager's crew agreed to leave clones behind. Wasn't anyone in the crew disturbed about the idea of leaving duplicates of themselves, including their memories, on this backwater planetoid? That's a far cry from the reaction of Riker and Pulaski to being cloned in TNG's "Up the Long Ladder." They killed their clones, and in that case those clones were only biological doubles. I think that the decision in "DumbOne" was awfully cavalier and off-hand, and warranted more (hell, some) discussion.

Previous: "Living Witness"
Next: "One"
NEXT WEEK: "Macrocosm II" starring Seven of Nine...



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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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