Star Trek: Voyager

"Lifesigns"

***1/2

Air date: 2/26/1996
Written by Kenneth Biller
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"We might as well put this ship on autopilot for all the freedom you give me to do my job." — Paris to Chakotay

Nutshell: A winner. A very pleasant, quiet sleeper episode with a true sense of charm.

When a dying Vidiian medic is beamed aboard Voyager, the Doctor saves her life by transferring her brain patterns into the computer and creating a holographic body for her to temporarily use, until a way can be found to repair her brain and transfer the patterns back. There is only a matter of days to do this, however, as the patterns will degrade if not restored to the biological brain.

The Vidiian's name is Dinara Pel (Susan Diol), and she wakes up as a hologram to find herself in a strong, healthy body for the first time since acquiring the deadly Vidiian disease known as the phage, which has slowly destroyed and weakened her body since she was a child. Before long, Dinara and the Doctor realize their relationship is more than that of a doctor and a patient. They are both medics with a lot in common, and they are falling in love with one another—a unique position that neither one is accustomed to.

With "Lifesigns," Voyager shows just that: some evident signs of life and brightness. After a frustrating first half, it seems the second half of Voyager's season is beginning to look up—featuring a more promising trend of solid stories (aside from the preposterous "Threshold"). Hopefully the trend will continue.

"Lifesigns" has one "sci-fi" idea—that of a person's consciousness being transferred completely into a holographic simulation—but is otherwise a completely simple and straightforward character show. It's basically about the Doctor's discovery of his feelings for Dinara, which he first thinks is a malfunction of his program, but finally accepts it as an "adaptation" to human situations after some discussion with the always-well-intentioned Kes.

Trek romances are notorious for self-destructing (DS9's "Second Sight" and "Meridian" come to mind), but it seems this season is an upturn for romance stories; like DS9's "Rejoined" earlier this season, "Lifesigns" gets mostly everything just right.

One reason this all works is because of the performances. Romances ride on whether or not the characters involved have a believable chemistry, and I'm pleased to report that chemistry is something present in nearly every scene. Robert Picardo and Susan Diol are in sync just about every step of the way with some noteworthy acting.

Another reason this works is because the writing doesn't sell the situation short. The reason the aforementioned "Second Sight" and "Meridian" failed is because the romance was always at the mercy of contrived technobabble events. "Lifesigns" has none of that nonsense; this is a story based on human decisions (or, I guess, hologram decisions), not forced melodrama.

But what ultimately captured me here was the episode's undeniable sense of charm. It's, well, cute at times. Watching the usually-sharp-edged Doctor turn into a romantic softie is lightly comical and endearing. Picardo has some subtle, innocent expressions that forced a silly grin onto my face. Every scene comes together under Cliff Bole's calm direction—from Doc's and Paris' discussion of relationships, to the "parking" scene in the '57 Chevy—and what could've been schmaltzy is simply pleasant instead.

The episode's underlying message also works extremely well. At one point near the end, Dinara tells Doc she would rather live out the few limited days as a beautiful hologram than return to her life in her ugly, sickened body. This goes a long way toward making the Vidiians characters we can sympathize with again (after the downright cruelty they displayed in "Faces"), and shows how low the Vidiians' self-morale has fallen. What I especially like is the reassuring finale, where the Doctor proves his love is more than skin deep; the fact that he's not bound by the superficialities of Dinara's appearance is genuinely moving and optimistic.

"Lifesigns" also has a B-story and C-story, which take a somewhat different format from the usual subplot advancements. One involves Paris' continued insubordinate and unprofessional behavior. In retrospect, the unfocused subplots involving Paris in "Meld" and particularly "Dreadnought" seem to make more sense now, or at the very least have a reason for existing. Paris keeps showing up late for his shifts, and when Chakotay tries to ask him what's wrong, Paris bluntly retorts, "My problem is you." The subplot ends completely unresolved, in which Paris shoves Chakotay to the ground in front of the entire bridge crew, consequently landing him in the brig.

Meanwhile, Jonas keeps feeding Seska information, and this time he even gets to talk to her. Seska tells him to sabotage Voyager's warp coils (what that will do to the ship I'm not sure, but it can't be good) so the Kazon can launch a surprise attack on the Voyager.

How these two subplots will be resolved, or whether they're connected (I can't see how they wouldn't be), only time will tell. While the incomplete plotting surrounding both Jonas and Paris was annoying me a few episodes ago, it now shows the obvious intention of having a notable payoff sometime soon. As a result, the method of not resolving specifics set up by an episode is something which proves intriguing this time around, rather than frustrating. (Could it be Voyager finally decided overarching stories are interesting?) It's strange to think that as this episode ends, Paris is still locked up in the brig. Hopefully the resolution will be worthwhile.

I'm thoroughly pleased with "Lifesigns." It seems to indicate that the series is finding direction.

Previous episode: Death Wish
Next episode: Investiagtions

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30 comments on this review

Mike
Mon, Sep 29, 2008, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Maybe this is a small point, but it is annoying to me nonetheless. If I'm not mistaken, the Maquis formed to protest the Federation/Cardassian alliance. The Maquis was largely made up of people who were forced to abandon their homes due to the Cardassians. Therefore, while they distrust the Federation, their main enemies are the Cardassians; this is particularly true because of how many Maquis are Bajorans.

And yet, when Seska proves to be a Cardassian spy, Jonas is willing to overlook that and betray Voyager. Not only that, but Jonas is aware that the Kazon are (unfortunately cliche) 'bad guys' - exactly the type of people the Maquis should be against. He gives us no reason for this other than a vague distrust of Janeway and the Federation - but why does he trust Seska more?

I feel like the whole Kazon/Seska/Jonas plot - the main continuing plotline of the entire first two years of Voyager - was a mistake. Or at least poorly done. The Kazon were weak and unconvincing Klingon clones. Seska continued to manipulate Voyager long after they should have changed every code and protocol on the ship. And Jonas gets no characterization or motivation to show why he would betray Voyager.
EP
Wed, Feb 18, 2009, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
Well, I'd have to beg to differ. I really dislike episodes that make the Doctor human in every way, with emotion, with ego, with the capacity to love and hate, except when it's convenient to make him a hologram, and have him accomplishing all sorts of technobabbly quests because he's a photonic projection.

I could buy Data in TNG partaking in similar "human" behavior, because he was programmed by the cybernetics equivalent of Einstein, and he was purposely designed as a learning machine.

The EMH, on the other hand, was designed to be an emergency supplement, functioning for brief periods of time. There's no suspension of disbelief. If he can go on dates, understand humor, be annoyed by human idiosyncracies, that would mean that the EMH's designers accidentally created sentience. To me, that's just lazy writing, and a gaffe on par with making Cyrus Redblock briefly self-aware in "The Big Goodbye."
ippolite
Sat, Aug 21, 2010, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
She had the hots for the Doctor so she decides to start calling him after her uncle?

One of the more freaky-deaky moments in Trek.
Fabian
Tue, Jan 25, 2011, 4:13am (UTC -5)
Dinara named the Doctor after her uncle because her uncle made her laugh and gave her joy...unlike the life she has been living where other Viidian children avoid her like the plaque since she suffers from the sickness of the Phage. I thought this was an very emotionally heartfelt and excellent show of season 2 of Voyager when many other episodes here were just sub-par. The Doctor fell in love with Dinara because they were partly both doctors and liked each others company. The ending--where the Doctor dances with the real, terribly scarred flesh and blood Dinara--was excellent and not the holographically perfect version of her really suited the theme of this show. That Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder.
Destructor
Wed, Mar 23, 2011, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode when I first saw it, and I loved it even more on second watching. While it does fly in the face of the much-later episode 'Latent Image', where the Doctor 'gets a soul' (this episode certainly implies he already has one), its so funny, charming, romantic and well-intentioned I can't help but love it. I'd give it 4 stars and easily one of the best of the season- and perhaps one of my top ten faves of the show overall.
Matthias
Sat, Aug 20, 2011, 8:52am (UTC -5)
I agree with EP that the doctor has been way too sentient from the start, meaning a lot of the Data-ish 'what makes a man' stuff fell flat because there simply wasn't enough ambiguity there.

That said I'm more annoyed by the episodes where they try to play that angle than the ones where he exhibits blatantly self-aware behavior so this one was fine by me.

Chakotay sure goes down like a sack of potatoes down a flight of stairs if you so much as brush up against him. I guess the guy just has a lot of experience doing the dramatic exploding console/sparks shooting across the screen leap by this point in VOY's run.
Nathan
Sun, Oct 30, 2011, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
My problem is that Doc shouldn't have been programmed with human responses to falling in love (or with falling in love at all). At the very least he'd have to activate a new romance subroutine like Data did.
Skeezyfish
Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 10:02am (UTC -5)
One of the top episodes of Star Trek, vastly underrated. The beautiful characterisation comes straight out of the perfectly constructed premise! Two doctors, alone and less-than half living save themselves in each other! ...and then to title it "lifesigns"... so charmingly understated.

In the first half of the episode I couldn't forgive the doctor for the ethical quagmire he created when he put Dinara in the holographic body. Of course it would be wrenching to be forced back into that diseased shell which has haunted you your whole life. To give someone what they never thought possible, and then to abruptly take it away... very cruel. To then fall in love with them, giving them love, something denied to them their whole life because society sees them as a disease and not as a person... of course Dinara tried to sabotage her own treatment.

The story is a statement of humanity in the face of disability and stigma. Dinara learns that she is alive in-spite of her disease. The doctor learns that he is alive in-spite of his own short comings. In fact, their shortcomings lends a particular poignancy to their existence as people.

I find this episode particularly touching as a gay man. I've always felt that the Phage was an allegory for HIV. In the same way that Dinara was stigmatised for her disease, isolated and alienated from a core aspect of herself--her love and sexuality--society does the same to people infected with HIV. We fail to see them as romantic and sexual people, and only see them as a threat, a disease.

And for a hologram to see her "humanity" where Vidian society could not... well, all the more poignant.

This episode has all the charm of Annie Hall. Top rate programming!




SamRNYC
Sun, Apr 8, 2012, 10:39pm (UTC -5)
Don't get me wrong, I loved the episode, but again I have major tech problems. Maybe I've been reading too much smart SF (Greg Egan, Ted Chiang, Ken McLeod) but it seems that if one's consciousness can be loaded into a holo-program and then downloaded back into body later, then the Vidians either should upload themselves into computers and live in a virtual reality (with nanotech manipulators for connection to the 'real world' or they should upload themselves, create non-phage-infected bodies that are resistant or in some other part of the universe without the Phage, and then download back down. The whole ST universe seems to be too tied to physical bodies with the tech they have. Of course, the upload is only done here to give the Doctor a love interest, and it is done well.

Not sure what to think about the whole Doctor emotions vs. programming issue - hadn't though of it before, but I will now.
Locke
Sat, Sep 1, 2012, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
I liked the scene between Paris and the doc regarding getting over someone, it contained truth.
Lt. GiantTreckNerd
Tue, Sep 11, 2012, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
I feel like I should say something to adress the concerns of one or two of the posters above. They are claiming that since the EMH is designed for medical practice it should not be capable of things like falling in love and displaying humor, etc. However the series makes it very clear that the Doctor's holomatrix wasn't just designed by Lewis Zimmerman, it was based on his personality. Thus, Lewis Zimmerman is a hotheaded, arrogant, and utterly brilliant man with more than a healthy eye for the ladies and a bitingly ironic sense of humor, and so is the Doctor. Zimmerman is capable of affection and romance, therefore the doctor, made in his image, is as well (Just as the Moriarty in Data's Sherlock Holmes program is design by Ge
mike
Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 5:39am (UTC -5)
let's face it. The Doctor is more human than most people. We're asked to suspend an incredible amount of disbelief in Star Trek and a holographic doctor that is in every sense a fellow human is a huge stretch. However sometimes Star Trek makes it worth our while and this is definitely one of those times. I found the notion of the Doc mechanically working his way through dating rituals in a '57 Chevy parked on Mars utterly charming and funny. Jammer is right. Romance rarely works in Star Trek. This time they got it right. And what makes it "right" is the irony that the holographic doctor is more human than the humans.
Lt. Yarko
Wed, Jun 12, 2013, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
I love Robert Picardo. He is such a wonderful actor. I just can't get enough of him.

About the doctor and whether or not he should be able to fall in love: There was a point in the series where it was said that the he is an adaptive learning program. So, it seems to me that he has an even more complex program than data had, since data could really only pick up new memories, and his ability to develop new algorithms was limited. His program couldn't adapt emotions, for example. He needed additional hardware for that. The question I have, however, is WHY an EMH would have an adaptive learning program, that is, adaptive beyond picking up additional medical information and algorithms. Obviously he was just written that way for the show so that we could have episodes like this one. But I doubt that the developers of a real EMH would want his program distracted at times by figuring out things like romantic attraction.

Also, I have always hated the Degrading Memory Patterns (TM) thing. It's just another ticking clock plot device and a way to keep characters from having the option of choosing to become immortal through the use of computer processors, holographic bodies, and lots and lots of digital memory. Obviously, if a personality can be stored in a computer, it is still just a collection of 1s and 0s that last as long as the hardware storing them lasts. Hardware degrades, not data and programs. Being a computer programmer makes it difficult to watch trek sometimes. :)
Caine
Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Like so many others I really like both The Doctor and the actor portraying him (Picardo).

An episode like this really makes it evident that The Doctor on Voyager played the same role on his show that Data did on Next Gen: the non-human looking in on the complicated behaviour of humanoids from the outside - making it possible to really ask (and maybe answer)questions about what it means to be human ... you know, some of the big questions. That, to me, is at the heart of good sci-fi. When it works, anyway - and both The Doctor and Data really work for me!

On the question on The Doctor and emotions:
I haven't watched further than this episode of Voyager yet, but so far I'm thinking that The Doctor is IMITATING human behaviour and emotions without ACTUALLY feeling them. Since he has no real physiological fraim of refference, he actually believes himself to BE feeling emotions - just like we see any holodeck character in any Trek show believing (within the confines of the holodeck program) that they are, in fact, alive, breathing and experiencing emotions.

Well, if The Doctor BELIEVES he is experiencing emotions, what distinguishes HIS experience from the humanoid experience of emotions? To me, THAT is the real question. Though The Doctor does not experience emotions as we understand them - he just believes he does - who's to say his perception of having feelings is any more or less valid than our way of experiencing the sensation?

I hope there'll be an episode exploring along these lines at some point.
inline79
Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 2:19am (UTC -5)
There is precedent for sentient holograms in Moriarty. In fact Jeri Taylor's notes for Voyager called the Doctor a Moriarty-style hologram. So I think it's okay for him to be very human. It's also ironic that the short-lived Ocampa is giving relationship advice to an immortal hologram.

Great episode and also a spot-on review.

Oh and I have to point out that Red Dwarf stole the sentient hologram from TNG before Voyager did. Fortunately Trek never stole the sentient cat.
Patrick D
Wed, Nov 13, 2013, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
@inline79

Red Dwarf premiered before "Elementary, Dear Data".
inline79
Sun, Nov 17, 2013, 12:08am (UTC -5)
@Patrick D
Thank you! I stand corrected (by about 10 months) - well spotted. Blame the then 10yrs old me at the time!
Vylora
Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Voyager's adaptive and ever-growing EMH is falling for a dying Vidiian woman (temporarily as a hologram) in the latter stages of the Phage. Knowing the track record of ST romantic bottle episodes are spotty at best, this seems like a setup for failure. Fortunately it is anything but.

This is the way to do a quiet sleeper love story on Star Trek without being a purely fluff piece. Some very touching and poignant characterizations, genuinely human lighthearted moments without being cloying, and a nice take on the subject involving the unfortunate treatment of people with illness.

The subplots involving Paris and Judas, er, Jonas are interesting enough and neither add nor detract from the overall quality.

Up to this point, we have four quality showings of Voyager out of the last six. This proves my theory that the writers had the ability to, not only match the potential that was always there, but to be fairly consistent as well.

3.5 stars.
Skeptical
Sat, Dec 27, 2014, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Guess I'm in the minority here. I've been ok with the Doctor's progression over the course of the show so far. The fact that he really doesn't seem to want to adapt and grow more human is a fresh change of pace from the story of Data. And it seems like when he's just another character in the show, he is very believable in that role. The minor growth and adaptation of his character over time is well paced and well written. But then you have a show like this that just seems to mess it all up.

I mean, so far the Doctor has been shown to have two semi-personal relationships with crewmembers. He has a negative relationship with Tom Paris, his former part time medic who essentially failed in that task, and a positive relationship with his current nurse/medic Kes. However, neither of these relationships extends much past the professional, although glimpses of it are seen with Kes. And now he wants to date someone?

Where does that come from? The Doctor has no hormones, no reason to be physically attracted to anyone (at least they agreed that physical appearance was unimportant for him. And yet, Doc started showing physical signs of distraction: shaking hands, lapses in concentration, etc. It was specifically interfering with his job as a doctor, so how does that come about? Surely a program who's primary function is to be a Doctor would not allow its learning adaptation ability to mess up the primary purpose, right? Meanwhile, everyone is convinced that he has romantic feelings, but why would he? Why would someone's first non-professional relationship be a romantic one rather than platonic?

Even Data's two romantic relationships (Tasha and Jenna) were both initiated by the other party; Data simply never thought about romance. Do we really want to claim that the Doctor's programming (which was designed for a relatively simple task relative to Data) is really that much more advanced that he would start to become capable of getting his artificial hormones raging?

Would the story have been in any way, shape, or form been less realistic if the Doctor, who has close to zero experience, ended up feeling platonic feelings for his patient instead? No hormones needed, so it would make far more sense for him to feel that way towards her. And it would still be bold new ground for the Doctor to realize he cares about someone beyond simply his role in sickbay. Oh sure, we wouldn't get that cutesy little scene on Mars, but since I didn't buy the general premise of the episode I didn't enjoy that part.

The only way this would have worked for me is if the Doctor felt something for his patient, didn't know what it was, and completely misinterpreted it as a romantic feeling given his complete inexperience with any type. Of course, there was no indication that anyone would think of that, despite it being more realistic than a hologram feeling romantic.

It just seems to me that some writers really don't get the Doctor's character. They want to do the "machine learning what it means to be human" story that TNG used so well, forgetting that there were plenty of good stories to tell without this crutch. It doesn't fit the Doctor's storyline, and frankly it wasn't that interesting to watch anyways.
Yanks
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 10:26am (UTC -5)
I had the pleasure of watching this one again last night.

Wonderful Star Trek episode.

Picardo is just awesome in this role.

Interesting how a 2 year old Kes is giving all the "romantic/relationship" advice to the EMH and even Danara.

I would also like to commend Susan Diol in her role as Dr. Danara Pel. Wonderful, tender, heartwarming performance. She brought a tear to my eye a couple times.

Every time the Vidians are focused on, it just makes me think. What would I do in their shoes? This episode illustrated wonderfully what they all probably go through when they are diagnosed the disease. Danara was only 7 when she was infected. Esssh, can you imagine? Did her parents push her away? Her perspective is further enhanced by the fact she is a doctor of course. Not only can't she cure herself, but she seemingly only can provide comfort to those that are sick like her. This isn't Mayberry folks.

The scene was also interesting with B'Elanna. A different perspective presented to Torres than she had so vividly experienced. Danara also brings up a interesting point about politicians and scientists... for hundreds of years they have failed, I wonder what the campaign speeches were? How much pressure to find a cure? ... becoming "numb" to the folks that provide the necessary organs for them to survive? All very realistic and plausible IMO.

The Doctors programming is "adaptive" so I don't have a problem with his development. He's been running for what, about 1.5 years straight?

Couple of Doc's line just had me laughing out loud.

"I'm romantically attracted to you and wanted to know if you felt the same way. (stunned silence) Is something wrong?" (loved Kes' facial expressions here :-) )

"Mister Paris, I assume you've had a great deal of experience being rejected by women."

...and of course, as only Doc can do, he injects his normal gloating quips during a very touching conversation with Danara.

"EMH: ...A computerized physician doing a job, doing it exceptionally well, of course, ...

:-) :-) :-)

Can you imagine anyone but Picardo playing this part?

I guess I'm just blabbing here...

The best trek episode are the ones that relate to humanity and make you think. This one does both in spades.

Easy 4 star episode for me.
Robert
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed your review. For what it's worth I'd give this one a HIGH 4 stars. Possibly the best one to date.
Yanks
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Thanks Robert.
Eli
Mon, Sep 21, 2015, 12:15am (UTC -5)
"Lifesigns" is a wonderful love story. It's one of my favorite Star Trek episodes.
John
Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Crying? Seriously? The Doctor programmed the woman's holographic body to shed tears? That's.......interesting.
45 RPM
Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 10:44am (UTC -5)
A story with a simmering subplot, tho at the time we had no clue where it was going. Next episode deals with that.

As for the main story I didn't realize just how awesome an actress Susan Diol is. The chemistry between she and the Doctor was natural, unrushed and flowed perfectly. And the good doc still had time for quips (both intended and unintended).

I had seen her before, but prior to this ep I didn't make the connection. Admittedly I wouldn't until I googled her.

Not sure if anyone would know this but she was in two particular episodes of Quantum Leap. She was Rear Admiral "Al" Calavicci's first wife, Beth. There was in fact an episode that dealt (indirectly) with that. I remembered it because I thought she was adorable then, too. (well, that and after he returned from Vietnam he would be plagued by failed marriages and alimony, bit of a running gag on the series. But it was clear Beth remained the only one he loved unconditionally). And the final leap for Dr Beckett was in fact, to her to give her some good news. Nice touch to give at least Al a happy ending if not Sam.

And she was in one TNG episode briefly. Anyone care to take a guess which one? I'll let you good folks know later if you don't already know...

Which brings us to this awesome ep. Whod've thunk that she would be as charming as she was? I might have to watch other films/shows she's done. She has screen presence no doubt. It's subtle but its there. She seemed to establish a rapport with practically everyone. Too bad she didn't become a regular on the show. It would have been a perfect addition to what Jennifer Lien was as Kes. This is what I miss about the earlier seasons.
They flowed more organically and not so by the numbers as the last few seasons would become far too often.

Maybe this was another changing of the guard. Later seasons felt as if the writers' attention spans began to narrow in pursuit of multitasking and cramming too much into an ep. And here we are, some 20 years later. Multitasking has become par for the course in life. Doesn't seem like life is getting any better for most of us. Is it any surprise the earlier seasons stand the test of time better than the later seasons? (Ok, S4's Witness is classic trek in any ST mythos, let alone any season. I liked it more than even S5's Timeless.)

Sometimes it's just better to let things flow naturally instead of rushing it. I know we all have a limited amount of time on this earth but cutting corners just to get a product out doesn't make for a quality product.

This ep was near perfect because it didn't rush itself. Indeed it paced itself quite well. Yet at the same time those 45 minutes went by wayyyyyy too fast for me! That's how immersed I was in this ep.

It kind of felt as it could have been some kind of romantic comedy with just the right touch of drama. Which is a testament to the acting chops of both Picardo and the lovely Ms. Diol.

It also showed that the Vidiians were capable of humanity and great acts of kindness. And yet their condition had forced them to take draconian measures just to survive. We've seen them at their best-and worst. Deadlock clearly juxtaposes what we see here.

I almost forgot about S5's Think Tank, which I have not watched yet. I think it was mentioned a cure was found for the phage in that ep. Nice, but we already knew Klingon DNA was resistant to the phage. It would have been better to actually show an ep showing the steps it took to create a cure rather than just write it off. It would have been even more awesome to have seen it involve B'elanna one more time too.

Another reason I can't understand why she hated her Klingon side so much. It clearly gave her advantages a normal human would not have. Like oh, say, immunity to a disease that has killed millions of a race for how long? 2 centuries? Can't remember the exact timeframe. I just hate the way they make her sidestep that fact in that scene with Dinara. She is literally a cure for the phage but they never pursued her again? Talk about missed opportunity. In S6's Fury all they needed was to kidnap B'elanna and BAM! instant cure. And at this point in time they must have known about her Klingon DNA being the cure since it was discovered back in S1. Shame on you writers...

I know Klingons don't honor being a lab rat per se but a savior is a savior. How in the world did they develop any kind of technology given their mindsets, let alone space travel? Voyager's writers treated them like intellectually challenged primitives who barely discovered fire. Which is practically a slap in the face to the pains TNG took to show them to be more than that. Much more.

In the midst of all this Dinara remained strong and resolute without losing any of her easy charm. She even seemed to allay B'elanna's fears and suspicions with her calm but reassuring demeanor. It never once felt forced.

The writers should have had her be the one to create the cure for the phage rather than the lip service we got in Think Tank. By then the show was too rough around the edges. Her appearance would have been much appreciated.

The rating jammer gave it speaks for itself. Why, we even got to see Seska ever so briefly. Icing on the cake! It ended just as it was beginning. A heartfelt episode with a developing sinister subplot.
Diamond Dave
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Ah, doomed love. Two superb performances from the leads, some nicely understated writing, room for it all to breathe. Boom! Not that difficult to do a Trek romance episode, is it? With the Paris and Jonas arc plots bubbling along underneath, this all adds up to a winning hour.

I liked the hopeful note the score ends on too in the final scene, and love the camera work there. 3.5 stars.
JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
One of the things I appreciated the most about this episode is the lack of technobabble transferring dinaras consciousness to the computer. It just happened. Which was great - how it happened or its implications elsewhere wasn't important to the actual story, and the writers really nailed that.

So many times plot points are mired down in technobabble and incomplete explanations, which invite all sorts of distracting overanalysis. Here, we were spared distraction and allowed to focus on the story at hand and the meanings behind it.

So many episodes in so many Trek series could benefit from this modest level of storytelling sanity.
George Monet
Fri, Aug 19, 2016, 1:06am (UTC -5)
This episode completely ruins the Vidiian story. According to prior episodes, all Vidiians were facing this sickness so the race as a whole was facing extinction unless they continued to harvest organs. But if we take the information in this episode as true, then the Vidiians are for the most part completely free of the Phage and only a small number of Vidiians are actually affected by the Phage. This removes all moral justification for the Vidiians allowing them to take organs in order to keep their species from dying off as most of the Vidiians are fairly healthy and the race as a whole is not facing extinction.

The only real problem the Vidiians have apparently is a refusal to quarantine and kill the few Vidiians who actually get the Phage according to this episode. It makes absolutely no sense for the entirety of Vidiian culture for the last several hundred years to base itself around the effects of a disease that only affects a few Vidiians. This would be like us basing our entire culture around AIDS even though it only affects a small percent of the population and we could rid ourselves of it if we were truly concerned simply by quarantining and killing those with the disease.

Saying that there are healthy Vidiians who look down on the diseased Vidiians and treat them as second class citizens tells us that the diseased Vidiians make up a minority of the total population, especially the way that she described how she was ostracized by all her peers and did not have any friends. One would think that if the disease was so common then she would have been able to make friends easily with other diseased Vidiians who were also being shunned for the same reason. The fact that she describes a lonely life suggests that there were not other Vidiians in her neighborhood who were diseased like her. Thus the we can assume that the disease is no more of a threat to the Vidiian people than any other disease is to us. Some may be injured but the majority of people are not under threat. That explains why the Vidiians only ostracize the diseased instead of quarantining and killing them.

If we want to look at the larger implications, then we really have to ask why the Vidiians don't clue healthy tissue from those Vidiians who aren't diseased. At least we now know how the species continues to reproduce, most Vidiians don't have the disease so go through their entire lives completely unaffected by it. This disease is not a huge issue and Vidiian society would not be structured around the disease. Thus those Vidiians who do harvest organs only harvest organs from unwilling subjects because they like to kill people and not because they have to. Maybe the should talk to Souter, they'd probably get along famously and maybe he could talk them out of killing more people.
Yanks
Fri, Aug 19, 2016, 7:51am (UTC -5)
George Monet,

I don't agree at all.

"Saying that there are healthy Vidiians who look down on the diseased Vidiians and treat them as second class citizens tells us that the diseased Vidiians make up a minority of the total population"

Just not true. That action in no way reflects numbers here. For all we know, and it makes more sense, the few adults that don't get sick are the ones that remain in power.

"suggests that there were not other Vidiians in her neighborhood who were diseased like her. Thus the we can assume that the disease is no more of a threat to the Vidiian people than any other disease is to us. Some may be injured but the majority of people are not under threat. That explains why the Vidiians only ostracize the diseased instead of quarantining and killing them."

You are defining what it means to "assume".

"The only real problem the Vidiians have apparently is a refusal to quarantine and kill the few Vidiians who actually get the Phage"

lol ... good thing we didn't do that to the HIV folks, or any other number of diseases/genetic disorders...

The only "Revelation" in this episode is that we now know the entire Vidiian population isn't infected. Vidiian's are far superior to us in medical science so it's safe to deduce that they have "taken samples from those not infected". Eeeesh, that would be the first thing WE would do.

We do know that this disease has affected them for a long time. Leaving those that aren't infected in power seems very plausible.
mephyve
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 8:44am (UTC -5)
Nice episode overall. Never did like Chekotay. I think he purposely escalated a tense situation. How long was Paris in the brig I wonder. All he did was push a guy off him who shouldn't have touched him in the first place.

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