The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Live Fast and Prosper"

by David E. Sluss

24 April 2000

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: Standard fare. Not outrageously bad, but nothing to write home about either.


LAUGH "LINE" OF THE WEEK: Janeway examines her face in the mirror, and it breaks. I know she's not my type, but she ain't that bad...

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: Voyager's writers finally seem to have remembered all of the distance Voyager has covered in the past couple of years, as faux Janeway reports that they are only 30,000 light years from home. But then, maybe the real crew hasn't realized it yet. On the other hand, it does seem that since Voyager has covered more than half the distance back to Earth from the Array, they ought to be out of the Delta Quadrant and into some other quarter of the galaxy by now.

NEW (OLD) TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: I guess this week was "beam through the shields" week, celebrated periodically in the 24th Century. With Voyager's shields raised, and with the angry "Federation member" still attacking, Seven manages to beam Dala on board. Oddly, later in the show, the transporter is incapable of beaming the Doctor out of the scamsters' cave because of the presence of some lousy ore. Go figure.

NEW (OLD) TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Voyager's strange vulnerability to "contaminants" that can spread all over the ship if one screws in the wrong light bulb hasn't been seen in a while (can you say, "Get that cheese to sickbay?" I knew you could!). However, I will back-handedly complement the writing staff for not attempting to identify the contaminant, thus sparing us all the usual asinine Voyager science and technobabble. On the other hand, no one seems to remember to actually clean up this mysterious contaminant, and yet the ship functions perfectly after the faulty unit is removed. A reset button in the first act? That's got to be some kind of record...

DECEPTION OF THE WEEK: I have to say that the fake Janeway's escape had me fooled. Sure, I was groaning at the notion of Neelix walking into her cell with a phaser, the security officer leaving the force field off, and "Janeway's" easy theft of the Delta Flyer, but thanks to any number of past incidents of this nature, it honestly never occurred to me that those events were out of line with standard security procedures on Voyager, which are indisputably awful. So all of the incompetence Voyager's crew has displayed in the past actually made it possible to swallow this charade. Great job!

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Having said that, I do think that some aspects of Voyager's trickery here are tough to buy. The biggest problem is the Doctor impersonating Dala impersonating Janeway. First, while the Doctor's appearance has been altered before, like in "Blink of an Eye," this complete makeover opens up a whole new can of worms. It should now be possible for the Doctor to infiltrate any group of Delta Quadrant riff-raff with ease, and we'll all wonder why he didn't when such an opportunity arises. As big a problem in this episode is the fact that "his" portrayal of Dala was a bit too accurate to be believed, particularly when we know that the Doctor is a terrible actor, as seen in "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy," and that he apparently never even saw or spoke to the woman. Oh, and if the Doctor can hide the mobile emitter when playing someone else, why doesn't he do so all the time, so that his program can't be shut down or stolen by any jerk who can see the thing and take it off his sleeve?

INCONSISTENCIES OF THE WEEK: It's strange that the imposters could mimic the look and feel of Voyager's transporters, computer terminals, etc., but were stuck with ill-fitting uniforms that looked like they were purchased at a Trek convention. It's odd that while the fake Delta Flyer had half-assed technology which was derided by the local DQ trash, they had a little gizmo that could download the entire Federation database in two minutes (although, sadly, it's all too believable that the database was that easy to penetrate). It's inconceivable that someone who is as clever as Dala supposedly was wouldn't realize that selling the contents of said database to the local yokels would be a hell of a lot more profitable and less risky than trying to scam them. And while Janeway's commitment to not letting Federation tech slip out has been a bit haphazard of late, it's still unforgivable that Janeway had no concern about the contents of the database itself being in the wrong hands, but only about Starfleet's reputation being sullied.

Previous: "Good Shepherd"
Next: "Muse"
NEXT WEEK: Another shuttle accident takes the life of the Franchise.



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