The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager


by David E. Sluss

5 February 2001

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: A potentially interesting show, but the writers display all the subtlety of a two-by-four to the head, and can't resist a space attack and phaser fight with Surly Forehead Aliens.


LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Janeway: "We have a Prime Directive to follow." Yeah? Since when?

SUBTLETY OF THE WEEK: Oh, sorry, there wasn't any. Subtlety went AWOL this week, as this topical, "ripped from the headlines" episode presented the capital punishment issue with a strictly simple-minded and by-the-numbers approach, with much of the dialog sounding as if it had been lifted verbatim from Time magazine. Particularly bad was the early exchange between James Carville (The Doctor) and Mary Matalin (Seven of Nine), in which just about every line could be anticipated in advance. Then of course, we have the typical deck-stacking, in which the warden and his men can't just be reasonable people doing a tough job in difficult circumstances, but instead are brutal thugs.

STARFLEET INSECURITY OF THE WEEK: Tuvok and his security personnel didn't exactly cover themselves in glory this week. We have the usual Keystone Kops stuff, such as security personnel standing stationary so they can be shot and Tuvok walking nonchalantly around the corridors while the escaped prisoners are running around the ship. Given the layout of the cells in the cargo bay, the escaped prisoners should have been like fish in a barrel. All the security guys had to do is stand at the door and fire phasers on wide sweep at anything that moved out of the cells. Tuvok's men weren't entirely at fault, though. Three shots from a pissant alien vessel bring down the forcefields, which apparently have no back-up power supply; maybe good old-fashioned iron bars would be better? On the bright side, Harry managed to keep unauthorized folks out of the shuttlebay for the first time in his career. Where's that promotion?

ILLOGIC OF THE WEEK: A number of alternatives that might have saved Voyager some trouble were never explored. For instance, while the prison ship didn't look to be in very good shape, we never saw it destroyed, and it's possible that it could have been repaired. Another possibility, given how dangerous the prisoners were and Security's less than luminous record, was putting all the prisoners in stasis for the duration. Voyager's people either have bunches of them in stock, or the ability to create them fairly easily, according to the episode "One."

UNPUNISHED OFFENSE OF THE WEEK: Since it's doubtful anyone in charge would have approved it, Neelix's transmission to the brother of that one con (F. J. Rio, incidently, who played Muniz in a couple of episodes of DS9) had to be unauthorized; so why hasn't Neelix been dumped out an airlock? Not that you need a reason...

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: The "Seven as hostage" bit in sickbay was pretty bogus, only there as a dramatic moment in the teaser to keep us from switching over to The West Wing. First of all, the two prisoners beamed to sickbay both had lifesigns that were extremely weak; yet the Con with a Heart of Gold seemed to be in pretty good shape, able to move quickly enough to grab a weapon as well as a reflex-enhanced ex-Borg. Then we have Seven held at knifepoint. Good heavens! Any reason why they couldn't be beamed out of sickbay with the knife filtered out? Any reason Tuvok couldn't just "shoot first and ask questions later," i.e. stun the perp, and if he happened to stun Seven too, so what?

WIMPS OF THE WEEK: Why does Janeway put up with these little pissant ships damaging Voyager? She and the crew literally do nothing until after the power goes out on four decks! Is there some Starfleet regulation that says that you can't shoot back until shields fall below 60%? And if so, why is that the one regulation Janeway sees fit to obey?

Previous: "Lineage"
Next: "Prophecy"
NEXT WEEK: Klingon Klaptrap comes to the Delta Quadrant. Bring your pain sticks...



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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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