The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Hope and Fear"

by David E. Sluss

21 May 1998

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: Well, if they had to do a Gilligan's Island episode, at least they did it with style. This is an interesting and surprisingly well-done episode that serves as a neat bookend for the season along with "Scorpion, Part II." Unfortunately, too many plotholes and head-scratchers keep this episode from being as good as it could have been.


NEW INTELLECT OF THE WEEK: One thing that made this episode better than many is that it didn't feature an "idiot plot," i.e. a plot that works only if the crew consists of blithering idiots. It was obvious to the viewer that the alien, whom I'll call Leland, was a scum. And for once, Janeway saw that he was a scum and took reasonable precautions. Maybe these people (crew and writing staff) are finally learning from the mistakes of the past. Naaaaah.

NEW LINGUISTICS OF THE WEEK: In the tradition of the Magical Universal Translator, we now have an alien race which can decipher an entire language after hearing just a couple sentences. "That's enough to understand the grammar." Oh, yeah? What about the 500,000 other words in the language's vocabulary that you didn't hear? Like "hogwash," for example.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: That spiffy "transformer" spaceship. It does beg a question (or ten). How would Leland know what a Starfleet bridge, computer console, engine room, etc. should look, so that he could preprogram his ship to look like a Starfleet ship before even seeing Voyager? How would he know that Starfleet's experimental ships bear an NX- registry? Why, when Leland de-morphed the ship, did the engine room, brig, and exterior of the ship still look distinctly Starfleet?

NEW EDUCATION OF THE WEEK: In the space of a couple of days, the Voyager crew goes from not even knowing what a Quantum Shitstream drive is to building one on Voyager that's good enough to catch the Bad Guy. That's pushing it a bit.

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: How would Leland and his people know about the Species 8472 deal when that took place over 10,000 light years away? And how would the Borg have assimilated them and expanded their space all he way out here without Voyager running into them during the intervening year? Don't get me wrong; Janeway being confronted with the results of her decision to aid the Borg against 8472 is a Good Thing, but given the oft-forgotten 10,000-LY jump in "The Gift," I'm not sure it makes sense here. But hey, we got a kewl Borg cameo out of it...

NEW BIOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Seven's newfound ability to walk through forcefields. So now, Seven should be able to escape virtually any confinement, as long as there's a paperclip handy that she can use to tinker with her implants. Somehow, I suspect that, like her ability to raise the dead, this will wind up in the continuity ashcan.

LOST HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT OF THE WEEK: So now Seven is going to try to adapt the Quantum Shitstream drive for Voyager. Apparently everyone has forgotten that she was supposed to be working on transwarp drive for the past year. Want to bet we never hear about this either?

WELFARE RECIPIENT OF THE WEEK: Star Trek's Welfare Program helped out Jack Shearer this week, giving him work as Admiral Hayes, even though the character was apparently killed in the First Contact movie.

CHEAPO PROP OF THE WEEK: Apparently, money was tight at the end of the season. How else do you explain the cheesy-looking rubber jellyfish Paris is swing around in the cargo bay ("Neelix, what is this?"). I half expected to hear canned laughter...

TEARFUL GOODBYE OF THE WEEK: The Cynic bids a mournful farewell to Jeri Taylor. No, not because I'll miss her, but because the prospect of Voyager under the control of Brannon Braga is so repugnant. It's a case of the devil you know being better than ... than the other devil you know.

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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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