Star Trek: Voyager

"In the Flesh"

***

Air date: 11/4/1998
Written by Nick Sagan
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The last 8472 I met tried to dissolve me from the inside out." — Harry in "understandable skepticism mode"

Nutshell: Derivative of classic Trek in many ways, but it still manages to work reasonably well.

Fifteen years ago, I might have called "In the Flesh" an allegory on current times. Aired in 1998, however, this episode feels more like a thinly guised contemporary history lesson—a throwback to a recent era more suited for allegory by the TOS style of storytelling.

With its obvious parallels to the Cold War, "In the Flesh" is a TOS episode if I've ever seen one. Given the sociopolitical atmosphere of today, the episode's intentions feel strangely dated. And given how much TOS I've been watching lately, I've taken on a new appreciation for Trek stories that tackle real issues in the context of sci-fi premises—provided they're done well. A subtext usually can't work unless what's on the surface also fares well.

That probably goes double for "In the Flesh," which is all the more dependent upon what the surface story is about, simply because the subtext lacks the immediate relevance it seems to need. It's one thing to talk about the Cold War during the Cold War. It's another thing to talk about it some 10 or so years after it has ended—and even longer since it was at the height of its urgency. It's not commentary anymore; it's retrospect.

Never mind. "In the Flesh" is a workable, though not stellar, Voyager outing that provides a meditation on the theme of mistrust, where neither side can bring itself to trust the other. In this case, it's humanity (or at least the Voyager crew) versus Species 8472, whom the Voyager crew finds manning a Delta Quadrant outpost whose inhabitants have taken human form and have artificially duplicated Starfleet Headquarters down to its last detail to use as some sort of elaborate training facility. They've even duplicated the legendary Boothby (Ray Walston), Starfleet Academy's head groundskeeper (TNG fans take note).

The episode does a fair job of evoking a sense of mystery; at first I thought Chakotay was on the holodeck or something. As the story continued and it became obvious this was more than the average Trekkian illusion, I was intrigued. When Chakotay and Tuvok are forced to bring one of the alien impostors (Zach Galligan) back to Voyager, the unveiling of that mystery is handled reasonably. Some brief touches of understandable paranoia, like Janeway testing Chakotay to be sure he's the genuine article, help move things along. Doc's method of revealing the man behind the mask, however, feels a little too much like DNA magic.

But never mind again. "In the Flesh" is plot-driven for much of the way, as Chakotay poses as one of the impostors so he can "keep a date" with Commander Relanna Archer (Kate Vernon), a faux human who might offer some insight into the alien plan. Archer is no fool, however—she's on to Chakotay, even though he plays a smart game.

It's nice to see Chakotay in action again, and it's particularly nice to see him in a plot that doesn't turn out to be "Unforgettable, Part II," despite the trailer's attempts to make this show look like an episode where "Chakotay unwittingly falls for 8472 in disguise." Rather, the story displays Chakotay being subtle, smart, and sensible in his choice of words and methods of investigation—which is a refreshing change of pace for a character who, in my opinion, too often doesn't get nearly enough to do.

I honestly don't have much more to say about the plot, because I don't feel the need or desire to recap everything blow by blow. Suffice it to say that the investigation and the conflict that arises when Chakotay is exposed and captured makes for a good view. It's not spectacular or earth-shaking, but it's quietly involving on a plot level.

The episode's latter passages are about the aforementioned theme of mistrust between human and 8472. Janeway wants her first officer returned to her, but the 8472s want to interrogate him. They're convinced Starfleet is planning some sort of strike, so they themselves are planning for the worst. The irony, of course, is that neither side wants war, but neither side can immediately bring itself to invest in trust, either.

Eventually, Janeway hammers out a meeting with the 8472 leaders, where an open dialog can be started. This meeting is dramatically successful, if for no other reason, because of Ray Walston's line delivery and his character's mince-few-words approach to verbal negotiation. I can't remember a character I've seen where Walston didn't play this type of personality, and that's probably because he's good at it. (One might as well use what one's got.) While this is an example of the actor being the center of attention more than the character, I do think Walston manages to capture the fear manifested as anger and distrust that an 8472 might understandably have.

Bringing a more understandable agenda—one based on fear—to 8472 in this episode seems to me like a sensible notion. The overlarge and less-than-interesting threat of "purging our galaxy" is something that can't continue to work outside the confines of "Scorpion," so moving on to make 8472 a group with whom negotiation is possible was the only alternative if they were to be used again. I'm glad to see "In the Flesh" accomplishes this. On the other hand, one of 8472's appeals was the fact they were so non-human, so different in physical concept, so alien. Now we have 8472s taking human form, chatting with Janeway in such humanistic terms—which is so humanly typical of Star Trek that I almost want to condemn the banality while I praise the idealism.

The mild allegory on the nuclear weapon scare is a little too obvious at times, including one scene where Janeway says: "Somebody has to take their finger off the trigger. It might as well be me." At least she said "trigger" instead of "button."

On the given terms, however, I'd like to point out that Sagan's script missed an opportunity by not addressing the simple issue of what the 8472s call themselves. "Species 8472" is a Borg name, and I tend to think removing that designation might have been a proactive dramatic device toward conveying the peace and understanding that "In the Flesh" so doggedly wants to promote.

Overall, I'm giving "In the Flesh" a guarded recommendation. The show is entertaining by its own merits, and the messages are of classic Star Trek idealism. When you scrutinize, you will see that it's more a rehash of themes that have been visited many times over than it is a fresh take on such material. But ... I suppose there are worse things in the world.

Next week: The Delta Flyer crashes. I guess it had to happen eventually. I just didn't figure it would be so soon...

Previous episode: Extreme Risk
Next episode: Once Upon a Time

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51 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru
Thu, Jan 17, 2008, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Well, I really liked this episode. Three stars are ok, although I wouldn't have minded a three and a half either! ;-)
navamske
Fri, Sep 12, 2008, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
"'In the Flesh' is plot-driven for much of the way, as Chakotay poses as one of the impostors so he can "keep a date" with Commander Relanna Archer (Kate Vernon), a faux human who might offer some insight into the alien plan."

The character's name is Valerie Archer.
BlinD
Sat, Oct 3, 2009, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
sorry but voyager managed, in this episode, to take possibly the best alien species created and turned them into tree hugging peace loving douches. from laying waste to borg planets to this. i HATED this episode when i first watched it and still hate it now. a 'date' with species 8472...what utter nonsense
John Pate
Fri, Feb 19, 2010, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Voyager does classic Trek and it worked well. I like this a lot.

And in 2010 there's talk of a new Cold War. Everything old is new again.
navamske
Thu, Jul 22, 2010, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
I agree with BlinD. Species 90210 may have been cool at one point, but they really jumped the shark in this episode.
Cloudane
Fri, Nov 26, 2010, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
A fairly interesting episode and it does make me appreciate Voyager as a TOS of the 90s.

I think even Janeway cracked a smile in this episode (for the most part up to now this season she just seems to have looked fed up and curtly barked a few orders)
Iceblink
Mon, Jul 25, 2011, 4:10am (UTC -5)
I find it impossible to buy the basic premise here - that Species 8472 has gone to all the effort of recreating Starfleet command in such impeccable detail and disguising themselves and behaving EXACTLY as humans. I didn't believe a word of it. It stretches credibility to breaking point and beyond.

Even if we accept that 8472 can make themselves look like humans, I found it impossible to believe they could so easily behave so human (the fact Chakotay even romances one of them was quite cringeworthy). I just didn't buy it! The episode was interesting and intriguing, but I couldn't get over my fundamental lack of belief in the plot.

As with many Voyager episodes, I get the impression that Braga and co like to come up with high-concept hooks for their episodes that sound really cool (aliens recreating Starfleet headquarters in a prelude to invading the alpha quadrant!) and then try to flesh them out from there, even when the logic simply doesn't fit.
Angular
Tue, Oct 11, 2011, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
I don't agree with Icebling, I think that the fact that Species 8472 is so different and that we as viewers know almost nothing about them gives the premise some credibility.

One of the few things we know is that Species 8472 are highly intelligent, so it's not unthinkable that a part of their mind can effectively become human - in other words they are extremely good at role-playing.

The rest of their psyche might be so alien that it doesn't really translate all too well into our universe, which cuts it off from their new "human side". Communication with the Voyager-Crew is only possible in "human" terms.

It is like when one side learned the language of the other perfectly, while the other side remains totally ignorant.
Jay
Sun, Jan 15, 2012, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Hard to believe that if some 8472 had trouble holding their human form while alive, that the one they captured could do it even after it died.
Nic
Wed, Mar 7, 2012, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Ah, how simple life would be if all military conflicts were caused by misunderstandings and paranoia, and all that was needed to resolve it was for both sides to sit down and talk for five minutes.

This is a good episode that could have been a great one if the solution hadn't been as clear-cut at the end, e.g. if some 8472 were still not ready to trust us humans. And I completely agree that we should have found out their real name.
Justin
Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
I have to agree with BlinD and Iceblink. The Cold War allegory was all well and good, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy this episode.

They took the extremely interesting, mysterious, and menacing Species 8472 and effectively neutered them with this story.
Elliott
Mon, Apr 30, 2012, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I think they would have been better to either leave 8472 alone and not have more stories about them, or to be slow and cautious in their deconstruction of them like they were with the Borg. While I agree with the sentiments of this episode, I have to say I don't find them particularly genuine or convincing here. It's more about goofing around with Chakotay and "look, Starfleet HQ" than it is substance. Archer's change of heart in the conference room was cartoonish.

The idea of enriching the species' motivations beyond "you will be purged" to "we are paranoid xenophobes" was a good one, but one episode is not enough to accomplish this, especially when the focus is on other topics so much of the time.

2 stars I think.
Justin
Mon, Apr 30, 2012, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
Though, I have to admit that Pon Farr night at the Vulcan nightclub sounds like fun.
Zane314
Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Yay, Ellen Tigh!!! Great to see Kate Vernon in a pre-BSG role.
W Smith
Thu, Apr 11, 2013, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
As others have said, it was an interesting premise for perhaps another alien species, but made no sense for species 8472. Why couldn't they have been kept truly alien and different than all the other species? And then, if my memory is correct, we never hear from 8472 again in the series. The world the writers are creating has to be logical and consistent even if it is science fiction; otherwise how can they viewer suspend disbelief?
Sintek
Mon, May 20, 2013, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
"It's Ponfarr night at the Vulcan nightclub." is still the best and most perplexing sentence ever uttered.
Domi
Fri, Aug 9, 2013, 2:00am (UTC -5)
In the bar scene where Valerie and Chakotay meet, after one of the extras "reverts", she discusses how hard it is to be human, and "that's why (she) reads their books." But she was reading a Vulcan book, not a human one.

I too was frustrated how Species 8472 was "neutered", as one reviewer above wrote. The episode was well executed and enjoyable despite a major flaw in its concept. If it had been a novel species instead of 8472, it would have been more believable. 2.5 stars
Tomy
Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 11:05am (UTC -5)
I saw this when it aired..I think I was around 15 years old at the time. The whole idea that those massive inter-dimensional aliens could take a magic hypospray and become human struck me as...dumb.

Still does.

Voyager has a knack for neutering effective villains that borders on the disturbing.

Then there's the contrived plot. So Voyager locates this bio-dome just in the nick of time, huh? How lucky for Earth.

I guess species 8472 was just stuntin' with the whole "we will purge your galaxy of life" line.
Tomy
Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Another thought..imagine how great Voyager could have been if the Borg loomed as a constant threat. I mean TNG's Borg, not Voyager's Borg. Aside from a few close calls with cubes, the Borg should not have been in the show at all..they should have only lurked in the background as an ever-present potential catastrophe. Sort of like how the Kazon were in the first season.
T'Paul
Tue, Sep 17, 2013, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Looks like Voyager is damned if it does, damned if it doesn't...

Let's just accept it then as TOS of the nineties.

What was wrong with having a species imitate humans to figure out who we were and understand us? Besides, another shapeshifting alien wouldn't have been incredibly interesting, and it still keeps the Borg on the outside, that is, good humans, good 8472, bad Borg, some credit is deserved for maintaining trek ideals.

Plus it was a good use of Boothby and the other admiral, and an insight into us from the outside.

Evil aliens is only fun for so long, which is precisely why the Borg lost their edge - you just can't do evil forever.
Hook-Up
Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 8:23am (UTC -5)
I am watching the whole series on DVD now and I am almost finished.
I had the same feelings for this episode as "BlinD".
Why do you turn species 8472 - in my eyes the best invention of VOY - into a bunch of TeleTubbies???

It's so bizarre .....
What a waste!
Maybe they were to expensive to visualize ... so they couldn't use them anymore in there "normal" shape - but turning them into this .... a shame!
Eli
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
I thought this episode was very successful! A great demonstration of Star Trek idealism.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 12:34am (UTC -5)
I had no idea Kate Vernon, aka Ellen Tigh from BSG, was Valerie Archer here till I read this review! My, how people change. (Then again I didn't realize Magneto and Gandalf were played by the same person in their respective franchises till about a month ago.)

Great ep, probably in my top 5 VOY eps. I feel that this ep, along with "Distant Origin", "Living Witness" and "Memorial" are the Voyager episodes which best represent Star Trek idealism.

(Irrelevant note: Pon farr night at the Vulcan club sounds fun. ;) )

4 popcorns.
Beleron
Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
I have to side with the nay-sayers here. One of my bigger gripes with the franchise is that the aliens
too consistently tend to be rather human; Species 8472 was, up to this episode, a welcome exception. They didn't necessarily need to remain as antagonists, but they should have remained inscrutable.
HolographicAndrew
Fri, Oct 24, 2014, 11:10am (UTC -5)
Yeah this was good episode, I just wish they had used some other alien rather than 8472. They were a pretty cool enemy to begin with, why mess with that so soon? And they go so far as to actually make them human in this episode.

Other than that pretty good episode, nice performance by Robert Beltran in this one and the previous episode too.
Yanks
Fri, Oct 24, 2014, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
HolographicAndrew, I agree completely.

I refer to this episode as the "neuter Species 8472" episode.
James
Sat, Apr 11, 2015, 11:18am (UTC -5)
As a Voyager fan, this episode absolutely breaks my heart. Aside from the plot itself (which is frankly ludicrous) we are forced to witness an unforgiveable form of creative genocide; an entire species extinguished by a writers brainfart.

It highlights one of the biggest flaws of voyager as a whole: the unerring ability to create an exciting, innovative concept for an alien adversary, and then proceed to absolutely *FUPP* it up, in this case catastrophically. Species 8472 had the potential to be one of THE standout aliens not just in Voyagers run, but in all of Trekdom. They were like nothing we had seen before. Unique, sinister, malevolent, creepy and scarily powerful, they had so much potential for development.

So naturally the next step is.....to utterly castrate them, by turning them into the Delta Quadrants answer to Barney. I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall during that writers meeting: "I have a cool idea. Lets make one of them into a love interest for Chakotay (i mean, what the actual fupp?!?!?) and we can turn another into that lovable old curmudgeon, Bootheby (I have no words). Then we can all make friends, hold hands and sing Kumbaya together. The end."

I genuinely don't know whether to vomit or cry.

Whoever was responsible for writing and approving this abomination should be taken outside and beaten to death with their own storyboards.
dlpb
Tue, Apr 14, 2015, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Whoever wrote this episode was either on drugs or just not very bright. The very idea that Voyager would encounter these aliens from another plane of existence here of all places, and that they would have made an almost perfect reenactment of Starfleet Academy... and... look I'll just stop there. Preposterous doesn't even come CLOSE to covering it. It's REALLY BAD. REALLY SILLY. And it just doesn't work. It's one of the most illogical and ridiculous episodes I have ever seen.
Shannon
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
I'd give this episode 3.5 stars, and only because I too didn't care for the magic DNA transformation that revealed 8472. But overall this was a great episode in the theme of classic TOS. And it's once again irritating to see all the commenters who fancy themselves sci-fi writers. @dlpb, please demonstrate to all of us the scripts you've written that have made it on the air. Just one, please. Doesn't even have to be sci-fi, just a TV show script you've written that was successful.
DLPB
Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
I am not being paid thousands, Shannon. If it were my job to script-write, I would do a much better job than this. However, I have relocalized Final Fantasy VII, which has been downloaded by thousands of people (well over 10,000):

www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-05-29-why-would-someone-spend-five-years-re translating-all-of-final-fantasy-7

I would like to note it did not take 5 years :P It was more like 6 months with huge gaps in between. FF7 has over 150,000 words.
Robert
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:12am (UTC -5)
私は感動しています。
Robert
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:20am (UTC -5)
I will say in DLPB's defense that while that is an impressive effort, the vast majority of reviewers for TV, movies, books, etc. are not writers... and we as a society are ok with that.

If the only people that liked your episode are other screen writers you are going off the air. I thought the episode had charm and some good acting... but let's be honest here and also say it also had a major retcon, some serious fun with DNA and required suspension of disbelief in the premise.

I didn't hate it, but the haters have a point. Seriously.
DLPB
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 10:00am (UTC -5)
All fiction requires suspension of disbelief to some degree or other. A good fiction won't challenge it much, if at all. This episode was so preposterous to me that I was being reminded at every turn that fallible writers were at the helm. That's not a good thing for any fiction. Species 8472 was supposed to be a race unlike any we had every seen before. But then they get them creating a Starfleet Academy in the middle of nowhere and morph into humans. It takes an INCREDIBLE leap of faith to take that seriously.

I think it's a missed opportunity because 8472 (despite the shoe-horned excuse to be as bad-ass as the Borg) had potential to have a good arc.
Cloudane
Mon, Oct 19, 2015, 6:22am (UTC -5)
Oh so that's you... small world. Well, excellent work DLPB! I saw that article (being a huge FF7 fan myself) and although I think the awful original translation is part of the game's charm, it's great to have this version too. Sometimes we just didn't have the foggiest idea what they were saying!
Jason R.
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
This is one of those appalling episodes that really stands out in my mind. Technically speaking it's passable - there are far worse episodes from a dramatic and narrative standpoint. The issue is how they cannibalize one of the only original aliens in the series. The premise is ludicrous - a species with the power to blow up planets, that in power terms, could squash the Federation like an insect has gone to the trouble of constructing an elaborate recreation of Starfleet academy? To do what? Infilitrate starfleet? Ummm... why? I get the cold war reference, but such a plot would have been more appropriate for the Romulans. In tone deaf blindness to all context, story and logic, this one ranks up there with that admiral's comment in Insurrection that the Borg and Dominion attacked the Federation because there was "blood in the water". Ugggh.

It's almost like the writers didn't even watch Scorpion, or have any concept of who Species 8472 were.

On a more positive note, this episode did confirm something I had been saying since Janeway first made her bargain with the Borg in Scorpion - Janeway is basically a war criminal. She not only violated the Prime Directive, she aided and abetted the Borg in defeating one more race. Wow, it turns out you really CAN negotiate with species 8472. It turns out taking sides in an interstellar war based on a 3 second telepathic transmission from a single alien isn't the wisest course. So yeah, Janeway is a monster.
grumpy_otter
Wed, Dec 16, 2015, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
I liked this. To me, it wasn't about 8472 for all the reasons detailed above, but it was just a fun premise that I enjoyed watching, not least because of the marvelous Kate Vernon.

But I want to comment to point out one possible cool thing--when we first see Boothby at the very beginning of the episode, the flower he plucks is a completely bizarre sort of alien flower. Was that a little clue from the set designer or propmaster?
John
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 4:02am (UTC -5)
Plothole: When the 8472s would have carried out their mission and reached Earth, they would have been spotted instantly by the fact that their uniforms are out of date. Starfleet cadets now wear the gray uniform with the colored top, whereas regular officers wear the black uniform with the grey top!

If 8472 indeed went to Earth as they claimed and gathered information from Starfleet Command (while believing that information about them would be classified) they would have seen the new grey uniforms.

Are they colorblind as a species? With such attention to detail and precision, you'd think jokes like "Pon Farr night at the Vulcan nightclub" would be the extent of their inaccuracies.
John
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 4:14am (UTC -5)
Shannon - Fri, Aug 14, 2015 - 12:52pm (USA Central)
"And it's once again irritating to see all the commenters who fancy themselves sci-fi writers. @dlpb, please demonstrate to all of us the scripts you've written that have made it on the air. Just one, please. Doesn't even have to be sci-fi, just a TV show script you've written that was successful."

Shannon - Wow! So unless something is stamped with the word "official" it doesn't exist? You really do live in a very consciousness reducing world of nothing but official image and absolutely no unofficial substance! As I said to you earlier, it's pretty robotic of you.

What matters in life is your substance, not your official paperwork. You don't need external validation or permission to exist. You're probably one of those people who believes your children are "illegitimate" unless mommy and daddy first got some bullshit bureaucratic paperwork from the State (marriage certificate).

As Robert pointed out, it's the customers (us) who decide what is or what is not successful or acceptable. We ultimately decide a show's ratings, not the professional writers. They are doing it for us, not themselves. We are their critics and their bosses.

I find your comments elitist, autistic, and dehumanizing. Seriously Shannon, give yourself permission to exist without a government stamp on your forehead that reads "approved."
icarus32soar
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 10:02am (UTC -5)
James, I recommend "vomit" over "cry". I do when they "kiss" cos all I see is a purple leg in disguise.BlinD, I totally agree, I hate this episode for so many reasons, I refuse to start enumerating them. Suffice it to say even the great Ray Walston has some appalling lines, and Valerie Archer is the second most hateful "woman" in ST after Icheb's mother.
icarus32soar
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Grumpy-otter, the flower Boothby plucks at the start of the epid a very real Earth thing, a Banksia...native to the southern hemisphere, Australia Africa etc.I'm an Australian and I scored a chuckle when I saw it. Just like so many of Neelix's alien fruit and veg are common produce in fresh produce markets.
icarus32soar
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Sorry the flower is a Protea...similar to Banksia.
nottatrekkie
Wed, Feb 24, 2016, 11:29am (UTC -5)
I am with the haters. First, Janeway did not ally with the Borg briefly in order to get through Borg space. The decision was based on Species 8472's being a very clear threat. Its HATRED of all life in our Universe was based on our form of life being so fundamentally different from that in Fluidic space. The previous installments make one thing clear: 8472 had a deep innate hatred of anything "not themselves" and their desire was to purge any unpure existence. They were utterly malevolent. Janeway agreed to assist in driving them out of our space and back into theirs because they were a direct threat to everyone.
Scorpion did not depict the Borg as cuddly during that brief alliance. It portrayed them as a threat carefully balanced on the edge of betrayal. This episode, however, depicted 8472 as the misunderstood teenager that just wanted some Wuv. It was absurd and undermined all writing before it. It made Janeway's decision to assist the Borg against a common foe utterly unnecessary and ludicrous. It was made in complete denial of all that was established about species 8472.
Someone above said that Janeway was a 'War Criminal.' She wasn't until "In the flesh" made her into one.
...And Shannon is an idiot.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 6:37am (UTC -5)
As noted above, mechanically this is a decent enough episode. Interesting premise, bit of cold war paranoia, some very Trek touchy feely stuff about diplomacy triumphing overall, and some decent performances.

And yet - I also have considerable sympathy with those who disliked the idea of Species 8472 being neutered in this way. The whole point of them was to make them utterly alien and malevolent - by humanising them and making one the cuddly old Boothby you've drawn the teeth of what I think was a classic villain. This might have worked better with another species. 2.5 stars.
grumpy_otter
Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Thanks, icarus32soar, that is very cool about the flower! But I think my point might still be valid since Starfleet is based in San Francisco and somehow an Australian flower is there. 8472 wasn't terribly careful in their horticultural replication and simply used a bunch of earth species without caring where they were from. (Or not realizing)
Makeit So
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 10:45am (UTC -5)
How does it make sense to give away the only weapon you have against a species who wants to destroy you, in the (unlikely) hope they will listen to Boothby and make peace with you?
AmagnonX
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Species 666 morphs into species 90210? WTF!?

This episode makes me want to vomit - imagine if Chakotay had been morphed into an 8472 - would they have still tried the kissing scene? What a joke - the inability of writers to see things from the alien perspective is so ingrained - they may as well just make every alien species humans with pointy ears, or a flat nose .. or .. oh ok .. they did that already.

The probability that any alien species will have empathy (and therefore a conscience) is extremely low. Most aliens will be psychopaths - as soon as Janeway teleports them aboard - gives up the nanobots - bends over and spreads her ass cheeeks - take your pick - the aliens should have rammed it home. Its about time Janeway was seriously punished for her combination of fatal flaws - projecting human ethos onto aliens, self destructive naivete, and narcissism.

There are nearly 150 crew who can be dismembered, permanently disabled, or brutally killed in front of her - its time the bodies started piling up as a consequence of her stupid decisions. She is never punished for her stupidity - therefore we can just expect more and more.

In a previous episode we are treated to this classic Janeway suicidal decision. "We could abort the super-powered Borg baby who has the ability to self teleport - ah no .. lets see how it turns out." The result is a heart-warming affirmation that actual realistic consequences will never be applied.

How dearly I would have loved 8472 to simply transform as soon as they got her alone in the briefing room - tear off Chakotay's head and hand it to her .. "Here you go dear .. add this one to the collection."
Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 10:37am (UTC -5)
This is one of those "the episode is pretty cool, but" episodes.

For the love of pete.... they neutered the most fearsome awesome alien species since the Borg.

Damn it. They could have just left them on the shelf for a new trek series in the future to bump into.

Kate Vernon is one sexy lady....

I believe this was Ray Walston's last appearance on Star Trek.

I'll go 2.5 stars.

belowzero
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 8:54am (UTC -5)
I tend to agree with T'Paul...
belowzero
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 9:10am (UTC -5)
oh, and I think its so fake when janeway starts moaning when she gets the rose ... ooooh ooooh
Joey Lock
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
It was a good episode, great to see some more indepth looks at Starfleet Academy as you barely ever see much of it except the main ground, but the ending is a bit far fetched. Chakotay and the woman share one kiss and recite some quotes and suddenly they're 100% trusting of each other so Boothby just accepts that as "Oh they must be good guys then" and it's all resolved, what would make more sense is if they used the nanoprobes to close the entrance and exit to fluidic space, therefore virtually ending any conflict or war between them permanently rather than relying on verbal agreement.
Dougie
Wed, Aug 24, 2016, 1:17am (UTC -5)
Ray Walsron was my favorite Martian but never jelled in any way as a Trek character. His acting is terrible. He has ruined every episode he's in.

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