Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Life Line"

***1/2

Air date: 5/10/2000
Teleplay by Robert Doherty & Raf Green and Brannon Braga
Story by John Bruno & Robert Picardo
Directed by Terry Windell

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The Enterprise is in the middle of a mission. We're nearly seven light-years from you."
"An important mission?"
"They're all important, Reg."

— Troi and Barclay

Nutshell: A winner. One of the year's more entertaining shows.

Watching "Life Line," one can see just how effectively Robert Picardo disappears into his character week after week, or in the case of this week, two characters. The plot of "Life Line" permits Doc to meet his creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, face to face. We know the story: The original EMH was modeled in appearance and personality to resemble Zimmerman. So Picardo plays Doc and Zimmerman right alongside himself. What's interesting is that it's not a carbon-copy performance. There are subtle differences that allow Zimmerman to become his own character.

We previously saw a rendition of Dr. Zimmerman's character in the third-season installment "The Swarm," as well as in DS9's fifth-season episode "Doctor Bashir, I Presume." I can't recall in detail Zimmerman's demeanor, whether the same subtle differences as compared to the Voyager EMH were evident in those episodes. (Although, in looking back at my review for "Presume," I see that I did praise Picardo for creating a character who was similar but not identical to the Doctor.) No matter; the differences are evident here, and it's an impressive feat.

The episode is a successful follow-up to "Pathfinder" from five months ago, even though the main story being told here is mostly self-contained and completely different (reminiscent of TNG's "Brothers" in its basic idea). Starfleet has found a way to send a data transmission to Voyager once a month when a certain cosmic alignment makes it possible. Voyager then has a window of opportunity to send information back.

In an interquadrant e-mail, Barclay sends news along to Doc that Zimmerman is dying of an unknown terminal illness. No one in the Alpha Quadrant has been able to treat him successfully, but Doc, adapting methods learned out in the Delta Quadrant wilderness, believes he may have a cure he can administer. He's the only one with the experience, and he wants to treat Zimmerman himself. He asks Janeway to transmit his program to the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway reluctantly grants Doc's request.

So there's your premise, a neat tech idea that makes sense and is believable. The rest of the story takes place almost exclusively in Zimmerman's holography lab at Jupiter Station, where we have ourselves a story that focuses on personalities, dialog, and an interesting relationship between Doc and his programmer—and not exactly having the dynamic Doc had in mind.

Zimmerman is an irascible fellow—even more abrasive than Doc ever was. Of course, knowing that he's dying probably doesn't help form a positive attitude. It's almost painful to watch Doc building himself up to present himself to his creator as a hologram who has grown beyond his original program, simply because Zimmerman is truthfully beyond caring. The moment when Doc materializes in Zimmerman's lab shows Doc nearly in a state of glee. That glee is met with a cold Zimmerman shoulder: "An EMH Mark 1? I was wrong Mr. Barclay; you do have a sense of humor." Ouch.

If you listen closely, you'll notice the subtle way Zimmerman's speech differs from Doc's: Zimmerman has a more relaxed, "human" way of talking, with slightly less articulation on each spoken syllable. Doc tends to articulate each syllable just so and with more song in the inflection, which has become so much part of Picardo's performance that it's almost strange to hear it scaled back through Zimmerman.

A lot of the episode focuses on the Doc/Zimmerman friction. Make no mistake: Zimmerman wants no part of Doc's treatment, and in several scenes Zimmerman flat-out insults Doc and his limitations. For Zimmerman, this is an issue that runs deep. Doc is getting nowhere. Even an attempt to scan his patient while masquerading as a masseuse fails.

Doc also makes some unsettling discoveries: The original EMH has been rendered obsolete by several new versions—Marks II, III, IV (although, is it really likely there'd be a Mark IV already? Mark III, possibly, but Zimmerman seems to have a faster development schedule than Intel). The original line of EMHs, much to Zimmerman's dismay and what helps explain his distress at Doc's appearance, has been relegated by Starfleet to scrubbing conduits in garbage barges after being bounced out of the medical corps because of defects.

Zimmerman's unyielding resistance to Doc's attempts eventually prompts Barclay to call in Counselor Troi for help. Maybe she can get to the bottom of the friction between these two stubborn personalities. Then again, maybe not. Between the two of them, they have enough stubbornness for 10 people.

From a technical standpoint, "Life Line" is flawlessly executed. Director Terry Windell and the Voyager visual effects team have assembled scores of shots that are so completely convincing that you won't even be thinking about the techniques that allow Picardo to interact with himself on the screen; you will simply believe that there are in fact two Picardos. Of course, Picardo deserves credit for acting these scenes out against what are really voice recordings, stand-ins, or, for all I know, empty air. This must've been a lot of work to pull off, and it shows—but most importantly, it's not evident while you're watching. Like the most "responsible" special effects, the technique is a function of the story and no more. If Picardo had an identical twin playing opposite himself, I get the feeling the scenes would've ended up looking just like they do here. Great work.

As a character study with depth, "Life Line" is not the equal of "Barge of the Dead" or "Pathfinder," but it's high on the Voyager list. It's often quite funny, it's well acted, has sharp dialog and some moments of poignancy. The stubbornness is only part of Zimmerman's problem; the biggest problem is in revisiting the pain of the EMH-1's failure. When defect reports of the original EMH began rolling in, so did nicknames like "Emergency Medical Hothead" and "Extremely Marginal House call." Zimmerman was humiliated and has carried the pain with him for years.

Troi's detour into the plot is perhaps a bit contrived, although the story makes reasonable use of her. Barclay's presence makes more sense given past history; he's the actual link between Doc and Zimmerman, since he was established in "Projections" as having once been Zimmerman's assistant in developing the EMH. In a sudden twist of fate, Doc's program malfunctions and is threatened with destruction unless Zimmerman intervenes, forcing the two into the same room until Zimmerman finally confronts his own agonizing issues. (The fact that Barclay and Troi manufactured the crisis works better than if the plot had arbitrarily done so.)

I also appreciated the little touches here, like the way Zimmerman is surrounded by his intriguing holographic creations, like pet Leonard, a holographic iguana that occasionally talks like a parrot (which is a hoot). And there's Roy, the holographic insect that buzzes around, much to Doc's annoyance until he finally squashes it.

But most interesting is Haley (Tamera Craig Thomas), who is revealed in an unexpected but understated scene to also be a hologram. Her role is crucial because she predates even the EMH; she's Zimmerman's personal assistant and a friend he has grown very attached to. She helps him realize that he cannot turn his back on the EHM.

There's also a brief scene back aboard Voyager that gives me hope about some of the larger issues that deserve to play into the seventh season. Within Starfleet's transmission is an interesting question Admiral Hayes (Jack Shearer) asks Janeway: He wants to know the "status of the Maquis"—a single line that plants a seed which could become an interesting issue for the Voyager family in the upcoming year (whether or not it does is another matter). How will we deal with these things as re-entering the Alpha Quadrant becomes closer to a reality?

The bottom line: "Life Line" is a very likable show with people we can care about. Picardo and the others are constantly watchable; the plot is simple and benefits from good dialog; we feel at home in Zimmerman's lab, which is a triumph of set design; the comic timing is on; and the problem at hand is an empathetic dilemma of one man's troubled feelings. It's hard to believe an episode like this and an episode as incompetent as "Fury" can pass the same studio export test. Here I cared. There I didn't. And that's the secret.

Next week: Ghosts in the machine.

Previous episode: Fury
Next episode: The Haunting of Deck Twelve

Season Index

30 comments on this review

Immanuel - Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - 3:43pm (USA Central)
Robert Picardo is such an amazing actor. Whenever I watch "Life Line", it's easy for me to forget that he really *is* playing both of these characters. And as you mentioned, the visual effects are excellent and have held up well over the years. Plus it's always great to have Troi and Barclay in the mix.

I would love to give this episode a perfect 4-star rating, but I can't say that I enjoy it *quite* as much as other Voyager masterpieces like "Caretaker", "Before and After", "Year of Hell", "Timeless", "Someone to Watch Over Me", "Muse" or "Body and Soul", so I agree with your 3.5-star rating.
gion - Sat, May 16, 2009 - 12:45pm (USA Central)
This is another of those shows that leaves me bewildered why the Doctor's program files can't be copied. The whole risk of transferring the data across the galaxy should be a non-issue.
Ken Egervari - Mon, Dec 14, 2009 - 11:47pm (USA Central)
Okay... I haven't read the review, AND I am only 9 minutes into the episode. Even still... I cannot believe Janeway is agreeing to send the doctor. ARE YOU FREAKING MAD! Why can't the characters do anything that make sense on this show? WHY?!

Belanna wants to enduce death for spirtual reasons? SURE! Why not? We don't need out chief engineer if you die!

The doctor wants to save his creator? Sure! We don't need a Chief Medical Officer the next 30,000 light years! Nosiree!

What a joke. What a freaking joke. The show may turn out to be good, but I have lost respect for the premises of these shows. The writers CANNOT create a sound premise for a show to save their life. It either has plot holes, continuity problems or has characters not acting logically and out of character for it to work. Ugh... why do I even bother watching?
Jeff - Thu, Feb 4, 2010 - 5:58pm (USA Central)
Ken, I couldn't agree with you more. While Picardo's dual performance is fun to watch, the fact that the whole crew supposedly agrees to forgo sending/receiving messages from loved ones so the EMH can take an "ego trip" of sorts strikes me as very unrealistic. Just look at how much Harry was whining in "Author, Author" that he wouldn't be able to have comm time in time to wish his mother happy birthday? You're telling 150 or so others would just happily say "Sure, Doc. Go ahead." I think not.

And just the general risk to losing the EMH isn't worth it in the end. Very bad command decision by Janeway to allow it. The EMH should have transmitted a message stating what the cure was and left it at that.

While I've enjoyed Picardo as the EMH, I've never believed the Doctor was anything more than a piece of technology. Letting him (yes, I call him "him") run pell mell when he's the sole medical officer on this ship just doesn't make any sense.

The premise doesn't justify the episode. This would've made more sense (had the series done this) to have the EMH meet up with Zimmerman once Voyager had returned and then show us the bittersweet reunion.
Michael - Wed, Jul 14, 2010 - 6:44am (USA Central)
This was an O.K. episode. Too much talking at times but, as others already said, Picardo carries it thru.

Of course, Ken, Jeff and others already pointed out that the premise of the show is absurd on many levels, but it's an entertaining 40-odd minutes. 2.5-2 stars.
Jay - Fri, Jan 28, 2011 - 12:17pm (USA Central)
Originally, Neelix was supposed to be the breakout character on this series. Instead, it turned out to be the only character even more excruciating than he is.
Jared - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 4:34pm (USA Central)
The Enterprise is only 7 years from Jupiter Station...that puts them in Sector 001. Not exactly deep space.
Jared - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 4:36pm (USA Central)
And frankly, if after the horror of the Dominion War, Starfleet is still hot and bothered by the likes of the Maquis (who aside from some Voyager crew are long dead), that's pretty sad.
Jared - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 4:39pm (USA Central)
Also hilarious is that an empath needed to ask which of a flesh and blood person and a hologram is Dr. Zimmerman...
Jared - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
The Doctor was on Vulcan on Stardate 53292 (which is only months earlier), but dialogue earlier in the episode said he hadn't left Jupiter Station in over four years. Canon violation within a single script...
Cloudane - Sat, Apr 2, 2011 - 12:18pm (USA Central)
Ooh good point on detecting which guy is which. Presumably she was playing dumb to be polite, they probably do a lot of that as empaths (aside from the tactless and annoying Lwaxana).

To be fair the Captain did argue VERY strongly against sending him so I consider it suitably addressed (it was that or he goes without permission which would raise worse questions about security, or the episode doesn't happen at all). He just happened to raise a fair point about prioritising saving someone's life, and when you think about what Zimmerman does, arguably many other lives too.

Excellent episode, loved every minute. It's good to see the other side again along with Broccoli and Troi, it seems to be returning to continuity again (it has to really, they're 1 season away from home) and we get 2 lots of Picardo. AND some decent commentary on the "realness" of holograms with a sustained uptime. What's not to love.

It's not gobsmacking whilst still being one of the best, so 3.5 seems spot on. Agreeing with many of these ratings as of late.
Iceblink - Sat, Sep 10, 2011 - 4:34am (USA Central)
I greatly enjoyed this episode too, it's always lovely to see Barclay and Troi (TNG was the series I grew up with, that and DS9), but the real star of the show is Robert Picardo however, who proves time and time again that he was the show's greatest asset. Charmingly done, funny and even a little touching. We have a winner.
Cappo - Fri, Mar 16, 2012 - 11:27pm (USA Central)
Holy crap! I didn't even *think* about it until I read this review, but I never even gave the 2 Picardo characters being onscreen together a second thought. And normally effects like that catch my attention immediately. But in this case, I never gave it a thought. I really did just accept that there were two of him and it wasn't until I read this review that I realized I'd done that! A testament to both the tech team and the actor.

About copies... quite frankly, I think the only reason that 'rule' exists is because you could have infinite doctors... who cares if he gets killed, reboot him. That would be weird. It would also be hard to write for a TV show, just send the Doctor first anywhere there might be trouble. It's ok, we'll make more! It would have turned the show into Holographic Captain Scarlet.

It doesn't make sense, but from a TV standpoint I guess they had to. Except in that one episode that pulled the backup copy out of it's aft so he could testify in the future.

Anyway, I liked it. Picardo was good, and that other guy who played Zimmerman was good... oh wait.

Barclay can sometimes be almost painful to watch, (as he attempts to finally spit out a sentence) but since he was among friends or at least acquaintances, he wasn't having a panic attack the entire time, unlike his previous appearance. I liked him better as Murdock, to be honest, but in this episode it all worked. I loved seeing him trying to not laugh when the angry Doc was yelling about what Zimmerman did to the tricorder. lol
Cail Corishev - Sat, Sep 29, 2012 - 8:28am (USA Central)
Excellent acting makes it a worthwhile episode, but the premise violates everything the show has told us for 6 years about the doctor's program. Typical Voyager disrespect for its own consistency.

On one hand, they stress that there's room for only a very small amount of data. Janeway even stresses that everyone better keep their notes short, so they can include something from everyone. So we're talking kilobytes, maybe megabytes, certainly not gigabytes.

On the other hand, we've been told that the doctor's program is so unbelievably large and complex that the ship can't possibly make a copy of it. Words like zettabyte have been thrown around. How's that fit in a floppy disk's worth of data?

Just to make it obvious: the entire crew could have dictated their notes to the doctor, and he'd have no trouble remembering them and taking them with him as a tiny fraction of his memory. But this never occurs to anyone.

The worst thing about Voyager's inconsistencies is that they're so often unnecessary. Why have the "very short message" premise at all? The suddenness of the discovery was enough to keep their messages short anyway, if they didn't like the idea of allowing too much information to be shared. The doctor could have gone, along with the messages they could throw together quickly, and it makes sense. And I just thought that up while I was typing. Why couldn't the writers?
Jack - Fri, Jan 25, 2013 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
From the establishing shot that opens the episode, Jupiter Station looks like it's insanely close to Jupiter...
Leah - Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - 8:37pm (USA Central)
Loved it! Beautifully done.
Nancy - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 2:19pm (USA Central)
An entertaining and enjoyable episode. I agree that there are several plot holes, though. One that bothered me and hasn't yet been addressed is the fate of the other EMH Mark 1s... scrubbing plasma conduits on waste vessels. That's completely ridiculous. If you need a hologram to do that kind of duty, you can whip up a basic one designed for simplistic menial labor rather than re-programming an extremely sophisticated medical matrix. If you wanted an ice scraper, would you go dig out your old iPod, or would you actually use something designed to scrape ice?

Indeed, considering how holograms can only function in areas where there is holo-projection equipment, why even use any hologram to do such tasks?

It was a ridiculous contrivance in order to get laughs and maximize Zimmerman's humiliation but it didn't make sense, even though I was granting the typical suspension of disbelief I allot to the use of holograms on ST. They don't need to play by the rules of modern technology, but they at least should play by rules they themselves established.

Picardo's delightful performances and the great character moments allowed me to enjoy the episode anyway, but every time that was brought up, I was jerked out of the moment.
azcats - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 1:03pm (USA Central)
I am amazed! such a great episode and it only has 17 comments? and 5 of them are from Jared?

i loved this episode. one of my favorites. I loved the last line between Z and the doc about dropping a line next time.

i dont know why so many people harp on "plot holes." geez, we know in real life that the captain could not send her doc 30,000 light years in fears of losing him. but it is a SHOW. they had an idea and they have to find someway to explain how to get the doc to the jupitor station.

in truth, if you are going to blow away the plot holes, at least come up with ANOTHER scenario to do the same episode.

i am saddened that most of the comments on this show are about plot holes and not how much fun this episode was.

the holograms, the witty banter between the doc and z. z trying to fix the doc. reason why z hates the doc. just brilliant story telling. entertaining and funny.

4 stars!
Nancy - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 1:10am (USA Central)
@azcats - The reason people (myself included) bring up plot holes is because, as I implied earlier, it makes it harder to get caught up in the fantasy when plot weaknesses are blatant and egregious. It makes the show less enjoyable. Writers typically understand that and do their best to avoid such holes, so when they don't, it's disappointing.

However, I agree that it's a shame a good episode as so many negative comments and that I contributed to that. Sometimes it's easier to get caught up in the negativity even when you enjoy the episode, so I'll throw in a few more positives.

I loved seeing Troi again even if it was a bit contrived, and I thought the show did a terrific job of quickly and effectively painting a portrait of Zimmerman that made you feel like you understood his motivations. He's so freaking obnoxious and unsympathetic at the beginning (just because you're dying doesn't mean you get to treat everyone else like crap), but by the end, you understand where his pain is coming from.

I also liked how they explained why only the first EMHs looked like Zimmerman, something that I hadn't given much thought to before although I remember on DS9 that they were going to model one after Bashir before finding out about his enhancements, and wound up going with Andy Dick (and what a huge step down that was, amirite ladies?)

I don't typically "rate" shows but I'll go ahead and say 3 and a quarter stars (wow, just had a Star Search flashback).
SpiceRak2 - Mon, Sep 9, 2013 - 9:18pm (USA Central)
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I am a huge fan of Robert Picardo's acting. He draws you in and keeps you there. I was saddened to see the episode come to an end.

I am a huge fan of Dwight Schultz, too. Barclay is one of the genius characters of Star Trek. Think about it: every other character, regardless of their role in the varying plots, good or bad, is overwhelmingly confident; confident in problem solving, tech analysis, scheming, morality, protocol, politics, war-mongering, you name it. Everyone KNOWS what they are doing at all times. Yes, there may be conflicted characters based on the storyline at the time but confidence is never in question. Then, along comes Reggie...he's the opposite of anything Starfleet as far as confidence. Yes, he's brilliant, but he is the one character that doesn't believe that his genius is enough to inspire confidence. In this way, he is so much more relatable to all of us.
Niall - Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 11:49am (USA Central)
The notion that outmoded holograms would be used to do manual work, as presented in this episode, is completely ridiculous, for the same reason that the machines supposedly using humans as "batteries" in The Matrix is ridiculous. It costs far more energy to run a hologram or keep a person alive than that hologram or person can possibly generate in return.
Chris - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 11:30am (USA Central)
It is odd, as Jared noted, that Troi can't tell the real Zimmerman from the Doctor, especially since in dialogue not five minutes later, not sensing emotion is the reason she gives for being able to tell that Haley isn't a person.

Now we could assume that the enhancements over the years have made the Doctor have genuine emotions (though unlike Data, he seemed to have them from Day 1), but Haley seemed every bit as capable of matching him emotion for emotion, so who knows what is going on here.
Joseph S. - Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - 11:32pm (USA Central)
On that note, may I give a special word of praise to the actress who played "Haley", Tamera Craig Thomas.

Note the apparent contrast between her face and her voice when she confronts Zimmerman on his view of holograms. Her face remains, with a few slight exceptions, somewhat emotionless, expressionless. Her gaze as she recites the date when Zimmerman canceled his lecture on Vulcan is as if she were simply reading a log entry.

But her voice has such a deep, wounded cry to it, as if she were about to burst into tears at any moment. And even here, what does she do? She doesn't raise her voice, but continues speaking meekly, humbly, and then physically approaches her creator—as if, even though he's "offended" her, she still wants to be close to him because she cares for him so much, with an innocent and childlike love, and even knows the kind of man he truly is, or can be.

It's not every day that a guest star can believably pull off such a wide range of emotion. Well done!
Cloudane - Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
Regarding plot holes, in sci-fi and fantasy most can be explained away one way or another either in the story or in your head. But sometimes with the really deep plot holes, it can come across as laziness.

I think if you're going to be lazy and not care about plot inconsistencies, at least be honest about it and turn it into a humorous thing (see Doctor Who for many examples of "wibbly wobbly hand waving stuff")
Caine - Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - 7:07pm (USA Central)
@Joseph S.: Your powers of perception are impressive, Jedi Master! I hadn't noticed it, but upon reading your review of Thomas' performance I have to agree with you: her performance is stellar - understated but skillfully excecuted in such a way, that it carries a "ninja impact".

Reagrding th episode as a whole: I'm afraid I'm surprisinlgy unimpressed. "Surprisingly" because the script (apart from the huge plotholes) is actually really good, especially the dialog - ad because the acting is generally pretty good.

However ...

Normally I adore Picardo in the role of Doc. BUt in this epsidoe, as Doc vs. Zimmerman, I didn't buy it. It seemed overacted and annoying to me. I don't know, maybe it's because of the bad timing in the dialog between Zimmerman and Doc, quite clerly caused by the technical challnegs caused by having the same actor talking to himself - because, contrary to Jammer, I'm not at ALL convinced by the scenes where Picardo plays up against Picardo. The timing is, quite simply, off. It bugged to the point where it, more or less, ruined the entire episode for me, however great I otyherwise find Picardo, the script, the dialog, Schultz as Barclay and Sirtis as Troi (yowza, Marina Sirtis looked FIT, better than EVER!)

To me, this epsiode seems like a great idea, excellent actors and a really good script (save the plot holes) ruined by the techs working on the Zimmerman/Doc scenes (and possibly the director and the editor).

A casualty of the general mess that is "Star Trek: Voyager".
Nissa - Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - 9:03pm (USA Central)
...Um, am I the only one who really hates Doc? He's my Neelix, and I really hate watching his selfish antics. Everything he does is "me, me, me!" and this episode is no exception. He doesn't even go so far as to say "all my fellow crewmates gave up communications with their families just so I could come and help you." Instead, it's just Doc being self-centered, with his self-centered creator. Oh joy.

Also, Deanna is more useless than usual. In TNG, the plot usually took her more seriously, and at least pretended that her banal advice had merit. this time she just sort of freaked out and gave up after maybe ten minutes of actually trying. Weird.
Nathan - Tue, Apr 1, 2014 - 5:07pm (USA Central)
Although I enjoyed this episode for the acting and characters, I tend to agree that the premise and the reuse of the Mark1 as menial labor makes me cringe. What is this- Red Dwarf? I don't mind humor, but this whole style of cheekiness is a little extreme. The actors definitely make it work despite the holes.
I have said this is from my previous reviews, but it begs the question if there was ever a writer's Bible to keep things consistent.
Cloudane - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 - 10:05am (USA Central)
Hehe, Red Dwarf :) Quite true..

I think the problem is, it was just that - it was a sitcom style "and those guys are scrubbing plasma conduits, hahaha!" (or mining or whatever it was they ended up doing) but it's totally out of context in Trek, which wasn't a comedy but rather supposed to have a bit more realism / believability.

I guess that's why Trek's other attempts at comedy (episodes involving heavy use of Ferengi, Mrs Troi etc) tend to fall flat as well. They're just so out of place that they feel 'off'
Ric - Tue, May 27, 2014 - 3:11am (USA Central)
I am usually very fast in criticizing Voyager due to relying on episodes' plots that are infuriatingly bad.

However, in this one I have mixed feelings. Of course I though "how the hack can the captain let him go again in this suicide-like mission". I myself complained about that in the first episode they sent him. But thinking about it, it is funny that the same people that like the character development of The Doc, who debate his humanity and etc, often complain about the captain allowing him to do what he wants.

Sure, the captain has made a ton of misled command decisions over the seasons. But I don't think that respecting the freedom of will of someone who has gained the status of conscious being is one these mistakes. Out of character and out of Trek morality it would be to deny him such freedom and such rights. What we would be criticizing as well if that was what happened.

So, the "premise" of this episode does not have the huge issue that many have being appointing. Maybe only a bit more drama should have been put on the issue. Overall, this episode was in fact quite strong, moving, fun and, why not, brought still more human development to Doc's character.
Sean - Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - 1:12am (USA Central)
My big issue here is that Troi, after trying to work with Zimmerman and the Doctor about halfway through the episode shouts out that they're both jerks. That doesn't really seem like something an experienced counselor would do, much less Troi. I'm no counselor, of course, so it could all be some elaborate scheme.

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