The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Once Upon a Time"

by David E. Sluss

12 November 1998

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: Harmless fluff, surprisingly unannoying. A strange choice for sweeps, though.


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK: A child actor who doesn't drive The Cynic berserk, and on Star Trek, on which there has rarely been a competent child actor, much less a good one. Favorite scene: Seven walks away from Naomi's table, and she just stares, agape ("Where'd she get those?"). I vote for axing Garrett Wang and putting Naomi Wildman at Ops. Who's with me?

MERCHANDISING OF THE WEEK: Cynics Corner bookies are standing by to take your bets on whether stuffed Flotters, Trevises and all their little pals will be on store shelves in time for Christmas.

CREEPINESS OF THE WEEK: Kids shows are kind of creepy these days as it is, but am I the only one disturbed by the final scene, in which Flotter welcomes Samantha ("Samantha, is that you? You're all grown up!")? It suggests that everyone's copy of the Flotter programs knows every kid who ever played with them. Granted that it could be adaptive non-person-specific dialogue, but my first thought was that Big Brother is alive and well in the 24th Century, and he's manipulating all of the Federation's little consumers.

COSTUMING ERROR OF THE WEEK: At no point in the episode does Naomi seem to be wearing a combadge, and yet she "takes it off" and plants it on Flotter so that she can hide in the holodeck. While I'm at it, with all of Star Trek's magical sensors and magical DNA tricks, why is it necessary for one to be wearing a combadge at all in order to be found? "Computer where is the three-year-old half-human, half-Whatever?"

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: The shuttle crash, of course. Hey, it has to be said...

PLOT HOLE OF THE WEEK: Just after the Delta Fryer crashes, Tuvok says they can't leave the shuttle because it's buried, and the cavern is filled with fluorine gas. That's overkill to begin with, but the real problem is that the search teams, shown in adjacent caverns later in the show, weren't wearing gasmasks, and didn't seem to be asphyxiating. It doesn't make sense for one cavern to be filled with a toxic gas and not the next one. And even if you accept that, wouldn' the gas start filling up the rescue team's cavern after the drilling? What's puzzling is that the fluorine business isn't necessary; it's enough to say that the shuttle is surrounded with rock so that the crew can't get out. Why even mention the fluorine?

Previous: "In the Flesh"
Next: "Timeless"
NEXT WEEK: A Major Star Trek Event with a minor Star Trek guest-star. Now that's a sweeps episode!



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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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