Star Trek: Voyager

"Alter Ego"

3 stars

Air date: 1/15/1997
Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Robert Picardo

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Hi, my name's Harry read-me-like-a-book Kim."

Nutshell: Nothing earth-shaking, but a pleasant outing, and with a good ending.

There's nothing particularly special about "Alter Ego." It's a routine episode with a routine plot. Just about everything done here has been done before on The Next Generation in a similar fashion. Still, "Alter Ego" manages to work for me anyway, because it's quiet about what it does, makes good use of the characters, has a high amiable factor, and, best of all, ends on a good note that is 100% Star Trek in its character outlook.

"Lightweight" would be a good word for this installment, but that should be taken as a compliment—if it had tried to punch more buttons of intensity it probably wouldn't have been successful, because the routine nature of its storyline suits it much better to characterization than to plot. Coming from scripter Joe Menosky—often renowned for his weird concepts on this series as well as TNG and DS9—"Alter Ego" is a surprisingly restrained outing.

As the episode opens, we learn that Harry is having a problem controlling one of his emotions. Specifically, he has fallen in love at first sight with a holodeck character named Marayna (Geordi LaForge syndrome perhaps?), and now he needs Tuvok to help him overcome his distraction—the Vulcan way. (Speaking of Vulcan ways, or, perhaps more specifically, Tuvokian ways: An example of Vulcan pride appears in an absolutely hilarious line from Tuvok, which harbors a touch—make that a ton—of superior attitude. When Kim calls Tuvok's game of caltoe the "Vulcan chess," Tuvok dryly replies, "Caltoe is to chess as chess is to tic-tac-toe." Ouch. I was laughing hard on that one.)

For Harry's benefit, Tuvok prescribes an immediate termination of all holodeck activity involving Marayna, heavy concentration via isolation, and plenty of serious meditation. Harry goes along with it as long as possible (fifteen minutes). By coincidence, that same evening there is a shipwide gathering on the Neelix resort holodeck program that everyone is planning to attend. (My question: who's left running the ship?) When Harry doesn't show up, Paris goes looking for him and tells him that there are easier ways of forgetting about holodeck women than sitting in the dark in Vulcan meditation.

Sound lightweight? Almost trivial? Perhaps, but it proves surprisingly entertaining. What makes these scenes interesting is in the way they're performed. Every episode of Voyager features some sort of problem that the crew has to figure out or overcome, and in the process of working these problems the personalities can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Well, the beauty of "Alter Ego" is the way it allows the characters to work their own personal problems rather than simply the mechanics of alien threats or spatial anomalies. I'm not saying that Voyager should do "Alter Ego" every week, but every once in a while is certainly nice. I enjoyed watching Harry and Tom break out of their bridge personalities in favor of something more fun.

That, of course, isn't to say there's no plot here, because there is—although it's a mostly a story combined from parts of old TNG stories. Specifically, Marayna (played with amiable although not quite compelling charisma by Sandra Nelson) becomes intrigued and interested in Tuvok after she meets him at the party. It takes very little time before it's obvious that there's more here than meets the eye. She wants Tuvok's affections, but Tuvok is unwilling and unable to give her the emotional ties she wants.

A series of plot twists ensues, in which Marayna is revealed to be sentient and cleverly escapes the holodeck by making use of Doc's portable emitter and surprising Tuvok by waiting for him in his quarters. Tuvok is not receptive. Disappointed and angry, Marayna threatens Voyager by seizing control of the ship's computer and disabling the engines, which could spell trouble as Voyager is in the middle of investigating a nebula.

Haven't we seen this story before? Of course: way back in TNG's "Elementary, Dear Data" and its follow-up, "Ship in a Bottle." Plotwise, this story can't hold a candle to those classics, especially the latter, and it seems pretty blatant the way Joe Menosky recycles the initial idea for the concept. That's not a terrible thing—"Alter Ego" does take the fresh perspective of focusing on the human angles rather than the "nature of existence" arguments revisited. And at the same time it's also gracious enough to acknowledge its predecessor in a briefing scene when Chakotay casually mentions that a similar occurrence happened under Picard on the Enterprise-D. And last, and most importantly, the ending takes a twist that makes the episode much more emotionally engaging, effective, and somewhat more original. (More on this later.)

Let's begin with the characterizations. In "Alter Ego" the important thing to keep in mind is how the issue of romance is based on a mental connection rather than just a physical one. After DS9's amusing but superficial "Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places" and its horrendously awful follow-up "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." it seemed that the only romances present in the Star Trek universe were comprised of hollow collections of clichés and sophomoric jokes. But "Alter Ego" has a mind and heart, and shows that Trek can do romance stories with deeper meaning. Marayna's attraction to Tuvok is based on how mentally interesting she finds him. She enjoys talking with him because he can think, and because he has such wonderfully logical insights about the world. And as a loner herself, she finds his attempts to isolate himself to be of common interest.

To say Tuvok is completely unreceptive would be wrong. True, he doesn't see romance on the emotional level that Marayna does, or as a human like Harry would, but he can and does appreciate the fascinating time spent with an intelligent companion that proves surprisingly intriguing to him. Tim Russ, as usual, is the perfect Vulcan personality, but I think he deserves some extra recognition here, because many of the sequences in "Alter Ego" are more complex than they initially appear, because Tuvok is not as simple as he seems. His fascination with Marayna's presence of mind is beyond the usual Tuvokian qualities the series typically utilizes. But, at the same time, it's perfectly logical and in character and never once overstated in performance, because Russ hits the notes perfectly.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Harry's situation. Once Harry finds out Tuvok has been spending time with Marayna, he's angry and jealous—which is somewhat understandable given the story's setup. The episode overplays this aspect, however, and Harry comes off looking overly emotional and wrong-headed in an arising conflict that's just too forced to be believable. (Tuvok on the other hand, remains perfectly in character, trying to calm Harry with a tone of voice that almost reaches into desperation, but just far enough and without overstepping the bounds. Kudos.) The plot doesn't need this element to work. The distracted Harry who wanted to get over Marayna fit the show well (especially given that it provides the priceless line, "Hi, my name's Harry read-me-like-a-book Kim"). But presenting this jealously angle only pulls the show that much closer to cliché territory. The scenes between Tuvok and Marayna are the true selling point; Harry's problem ultimately becomes a distraction. Fortunately there isn't too much screen time devoted to it.

Turning to the ending, some of the gags used to get there are less than stellar, but the show's quick pacing allows us to forgive some of the hokiness. I could've done without the silly "action" fight on the holodeck once the crew realizes that Marayna's holodeck image is simply being used like a puppet from an alien in a nearby space station (a twist that makes the recycled premise feel a little less recycled). The subsequent Voyager-in-jeopardy idea is nothing at all new (although the special effects are decent). But when the show ends, ask yourself, would Marayna really be so ruthless as to strangle B'Elanna and destroy Voyager if Tuvok denies her?

No she wouldn't, and no she doesn't, because the ending paints Marayna, this isolated alien, as simply a lonely person who got caught up in something so diverting as the Voyager holodeck after her curiosity led her to hack into the Voyager computer. The best part about the ending is its sense of quiet, rational behavior. (That's why, in retrospect, Marayna's needless, violent posturing doesn't really fit the character—unless she's pulling the bluff of all bluffs, which doesn't really fit the character either.) Marayna is not some evil entity out to capture a starship. She's just a regular, lonely person with a situation that can be understood—that of someone who has fallen in love with another who cannot, because of his own complex situation, return her feelings. The final dialog between Tuvok and Marayna is simple, sensible, humanistic, and involving. Works for me.

Whether you enjoy this episode or not may very well depend on your mood. If you want something fresh, exciting, and important to the development of the series, you aren't going to find it. But if you sit back, relax, and just watch the characters do their thing, and allow yourself to get caught up in Marayna's plight, you'll probably find it much more enjoyable.

Previous episode: Fair Trade
Next episode: Coda

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34 comments on this review

Jordi Bosveld
Mon, Aug 4, 2008, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
This episode made me laugh on several occasions. The subtle ending scene "may I join you?" "(together) No!" -whereas Tuvok and Kim had said yes/no simultaneously twice earlier in the episode- was the kind of touch I seem to appreciate more than most people. Not stellar, but quite enjoyable.
Fri, Aug 13, 2010, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
For me, this episode's biggest flaw was Tim Russ's uncharacteristic portrayal of Tuvok. He seemed more animated, with much less of a Vulcan flat affect. Normally one would blame this on the direction, but the director was Picardo, who certainly knows the characters well.

"The final dialog between Tuvok and Marayna is simple, sensible, humanistic, and involving. Works for me." Well, that's kinda interesting, given that neither one of them is human.
Jeffrey Bedard
Wed, Dec 14, 2011, 7:23am (UTC -5)
I watched this episode last night. I'd seen a couple times before from my DVD set. But this time I really didn't care for it. Tuvok was not acting like himself. The way he was carrying on when Kim caught him playing caltoe with the hologram was too much like "But baby, we were just playing Vulcan chess!" I guess that is what Menosky was going for, but it Tuvok was a terrible choice to add in to that mix.

As for Harry Kim, again, his characterization in this episode is just terrible. Madly in love with a hologram and then he wants to learn how to purge all emotion?! How is that a reasonable response to his problem? Not to mention he goes through the whole episode acting like he's never been in love before or been attracted to anyone before. Very disappointing.

And I never thought this before, but last night as I'm watching the party sequence my thoughts went to the starship Equinox, also in the Delta Quandrant getting the snot beaten out of ship and crew where as Voyager is having a luau.

And finally, Janeway can say she merely invited Tuvok to the party, but it sure sounded like an order to me.
Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
I liked Russ's performance in this. I saw the intellectual attraction --not the same as physical attraction. And the characterization of Harry also fit, because he just seems darker, more troubled after The Chute.
Lt. Yarko
Mon, Jun 17, 2013, 12:51am (UTC -5)
This is the most I have laughed during a Voyager episode. I love when Harry feels Marayna's tendon, looks at Tuvok, and says "It's like a knot." Too funny.
Thu, Jun 27, 2013, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
If the closed captions on the DVDs (and are to be believed, it's not "caltoe"; it's "Kal-toh."
Sat, Jul 27, 2013, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
I was very pleasantly surprised by the twist at the end. What I assumed would be yet another "holodeck character is now sentient due to the effects of some anomaly and wants to take over the ship; what do we do" plot turned out to be much more interesting. Kudos to the writers; I didn't see it coming and it worked very well.
Tue, Sep 10, 2013, 8:41am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed Tuvok's Vulcan description of the different phases of falling in love... very Vulcan.
Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 2:17am (UTC -5)
Nice to see an episode of catfish back in 1997.
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 8:52am (UTC -5)
This episode seemed clearly inspired by Fatal Attraction. There's a line in here where Marayna yells something very much like "I'm not going to be ignored, Dan!" She's clearly maladjusted. Perhaps it was from spending all that time alone. Perhaps because the interacted via a simulation it didn't seem real, thus her actions didn't seem as wrong. Or perhaps she chose solitude because she already was maladjusted.

A holodeck simulation can give you anything you want exactly the way you want it. Getting used to that could hamper people's relationships with real people. With a holodeck character, everything goes as you want it, but a relationship with a real person takes some work and compromise. Your holodeck lover won't mind if you're out every night at the bar with your friends, the holodeck lover is available for what you want 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on your schedule. It would be surprising if more people didn't fall for holodeck characters. Perhaps by the 24th century, they have become more sophisticated about relationships.
Thu, Jun 26, 2014, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
For me this is a medium calibre episode; 2.5 stars. I liked the intellectual aspect of the Marayna-Tuvok relationship. I thought Harry's jealousy was a not very plausible over reaction. The ending didn't do much for me.
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Surprisingly pleasant outing with an ending that was pure Star Trek at its heart. The fact that it's a spiritual successor of sorts to the two mentioned TNG episodes (albeit with a twist) was a nice touch. The scene with Kim's jealous outburst bordered on juvenile and out of place as well as the scene with the aliens momentary overt-aggressiveness didn't hold much water. Otherwise it was lighthearted, affecting, and, when all was said and done, rather touching.

The close up shots of Voyager inside the inverse nebula was absolutely gorgeous, too. Kudos to the SFX department.

3 stars.
John C. Worsley
Sun, Jun 21, 2015, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
"Well, that's kinda interesting, given that neither one of them is human."

Captain James T. Kirk: "Spock, you want to know something? Everybody's human."
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 8:47am (UTC -5)
This one ended up being better than I predicted when I heard Harry claim he fell in love with a hologram and his reaction was to "purge all emotion" .. (slaps forehead)

I thought Tim Russ was outstanding.

I thought Kes looked unhealthy and uncomfortable in her bathing suit.

I thought B'Elanna looked more than healthy in hers :-)

I liked the Moriarty discussion and I liked it even more that this episode ended up not being a copy of TNG's 'Ship in a Bottle'.

The ending was awesome.

Solid Trek here.

3 stars.
Sat, Dec 26, 2015, 7:14am (UTC -5)
No mention of Libby then? The fiance that Harry apparently loves so much back on Earth. Although I suppose him prefering to get stranded on the other side of the galaxy with an ex-con rather than spend the rest of his life with her would kinda put a downer on the relationship. If she is still waiting for him when they get back (and we don't hear about her again either way) I'd love to see him explain that the fell in love with a hologram. And a Borg. And the wrong twin. And an alien girl that makes your skin glow... He must love Libby so much...
Diamond Dave
Thu, Jan 28, 2016, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Possibly the very model of the middle of the road episode. It does nothing badly, does nothing spectacularly well, contains a bit of an unexpected twist, a bunch of good character moments, continues to put female crew members in swimsuits and has someone being strangled with a lei. "Vulcans do not hydrosail" indeed. 2.5 stars.
Sat, Jun 4, 2016, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Having just watched this again, why didn't Kim just order up another Marayna? A twin sister. He's used to twins...
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 5:40am (UTC -5)
Hey look. A seemingly innocuous space phenomenon. Let's get up close because nothing ever happens to us when we get close to seemingly innocuous space phenomena.
I thought it was a holodeck episode. Turns out it's just a repressed alien. (**)
Mon, Jan 30, 2017, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
I'm not seeing what others seem to enjoy about this episode. It just comes off as more character assasination of Kim. And the rest is just rediculous.
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 1:08am (UTC -5)
@Akkadian Not much there to assasinate, really.

Personally, I would prefer if they didn't add the twist with the alien and just ahd the episode be a characer drama with Tuvok and Kim. No need to add baddie of the week and "female stalkers are jsut misunderstood" trope.
Wed, Jun 7, 2017, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Good episode - of course plenty borrowed from other Trek episodes but it has its originality with the ending and how the phenomenon of sentience in the holodeck comes about - thought that was creative enough. This is what sci-fi is all about.
This episode actually reminded me of one of my favorite TOS episodes "Metamorphosis". The ending is well done in both episodes. Both are exemplary of Star Trek in many ways (unlike say TNG's "Conspiracy"). Both are well-done Trek romance stories - intelligent and not cheap/physical nonsense.
My criticism would be of Wang's portrayal of Harry Kim - very wooden. But I thought Russ's performance of Tuvok had a great deal of integrity to being a Vulcan. He continues to impress as a Vulcan - much more so than say Blalock as T'Pol from ENT.
This is a good character episode and it tied the nebula phenomenon with the lonely alien story reasonably well.
Agree with Jammer that there's nothing earth-shaking here but it's a solid story with a nice ending and. Rates 3 stars for me.
William B
Thu, Sep 28, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
While not starting with the most thrilling set-up, this episode almost worked for me. Unlike many above, I don't think Harry's over-the-top reaction of wanting to purge all emotion because he had a crush is wholly ridiculous in context. And nor do I think his reaction to Tuvok playing kal-toh with Marayna is that extreme, either, because it seems at least partly clear that he was right about Tuvok -- just that Tuvok was unwilling to admit that he was intrigued by the holodeck character enough to feel mildly ashamed and to want to hide it. The key is that they do think she's a holodeck character, and that makes the difference. Admittedly this episode drafts a little off 11001001, but I think it's important that people have certain expectations for holodeck programs, and are a little floored and taken aback when the holograms seem real enough to fall for. (See how Minuet deeply surprises both Riker and Picard.) With Geordi/Leah, we saw something a bit different, in that Leah was a constructed image where Geordi easily transferred his infatuation from the program to the actual person. What Harry goes through here is a shock that he *should not have fallen in love with a hologram, because she's not a person*, and while we don't see the specifics of what Harry and Marayna's interactions were like, I think it's implied that Harry is partly questioning his sanity. Surely a hastily-programmed extra in a resort couldn't be the charming, intelligent woman he sees when he looks at her, and so his emotions must be completely out of whack. I think that's also why Marayna is able to get past Tuvok's defenses early on. If some crew member started psychoanalyzing Tuvok, I think he'd be prepared for it; Marayna manages to find a way to pierce his mental protective shell, so to speak, by showing dazzling insight that she shouldn't have. And yet she doesn't do anything that is impossible for a computer to do -- just unexpected -- and he finds himself intrigued, particularly by the "riding the waves of emotion, believing oneself in control but it being illusion" bit. There's a tension here between what is, I think, a real attraction -- not just to Marayna but to the very idea of actually confronting the limitations of his emotional control -- and the conscious knowledge that she is only a hologram, and thus nothing he experiences can be real. And so through Tuvok's insistence that he's totally under control to Harry and the way he violates the rules he sets up for Harry himself, we get the impression that Tuvok is both less fully controlled and also more driven by fears (fear of exposure?) than he seems. He's also lonelier, and he deals with that loneliness by isolating himself and attributing it to Vulcan discipline. The episode even uses Vorik, who not only seems very willing to participate in the program, but also seems to be ramping up to hit on B'Elanna more explicitly, to show that what Tuvok suggests is purely a matter of Vulcan philosophy is maybe more complicated and more about Tuvok himself. Harry's role in the episode is mostly to set Tuvok up, admittedly, but I think the way in which Tuvok treats Harry's problems (and his suspicion that he's losing his mind at how real he finds Marayna) tells us about how Tuvok chooses to believe in his own superiority as a way of avoiding genuinely dealing with his loneliness and alone-ness. I also think that Tuvok's going to meet Marayna again, to play kal-toh, *is* a sign that he's started to let his feelings for her develop, but that he can rationalize it as being purely above-board and not at all a betrayal of his wife, himself, or of Harry. And of course Tuvok is correct that he did nothing wrong, but it's sort of a sign of his logic failing him that he would be willing to go and play the "is to chess what chess is to tic-tac-toe" game with what is *supposed* to be a holodeck program, who should have already raised alarms by being more observant than one would expect. (Who programmed her?)

And then the episode goes Fatal Attraction. It's not convincing here because we only got one real moment between Tuvok and Marayna -- the big conversation the luau night -- along with the brief introduction scene and then a small moment the next day when Harry walks in on them kal-tohing. It's a bit of a nightmare for Tuvok -- he lets his guard down just a touch, and then the woman comes at him and insists they have a real connection, and there's just enough truth in it to make it difficult. But she goes too far, too fast, and she just clearly makes herself seem delusional. If the episode had built it more slowly, and had allowed Tuvok a slightly greater indiscretion, something she could point to with more confidence.... Really the whole ship-in-jeopardy plot could have been excised and the episode would have been superior; I'd prefer it even if Marayna, say, stalled the ship to keep Tuvok nearby for longer.

But yes, the final moments between Tuvok and Marayna were lovely. I like the way Tuvok leaves implicit that her actions seemed delusional and dangerous, and then reasons from that not that there's something fundamentally wrong with Marayna as a person but that she has had her perspective warped and broken by loneliness. And her response to Tuvok was also lovely. Tuvok reaching out to Harry at the end is a moment I'm very fond of, too. The way kal-toh works in this episode is interesting; Tuvok plays it alone because he believes that no one else is his peer (he doesn't even bother tying to ask Vorik), but he does end up jumping at the chance to play it with a holoprogram, as long as he can be assured she isn't real, and thus cannot be any threat to his carefully cultivated sense of solitude, which he uses to protect himself from feeling the full weight of the absence of his family. There is an element of attraction to Marayna which is, we can be sure, not present with Harry, but the fact that he wanted that connection is something he could only find out by finding he wanted it with someone he believed he would be able to delete from his life at a moment's notice. The show didn't often do right by Harry, but I appreciate that Tuvok recognized that his almost mechanistic response to Harry's problem (and his dismissiveness at the idea that Harry could have fallen for a holoprogram), as well as his smug dismissal of Harry being anything like his friend.

2.5 stars -- interesting except for the Fatal Attraction middle bit. A good episode for Tuvok.
Thu, Nov 2, 2017, 4:04am (UTC -5)
I also found it a bit strange that neither Kim nor Tuvok noticed that Marayna wasn't a normal holodeck character after just a few minutes. I certainly did.

Why do the aliens need to have someone sitting in the middle of this nebula all by themselves to preserve it? That was wierd. And why would a nebula controlling machine be able to tap into an alien computer and completely take over the holodeck and all of Voyager's systems?

Also I'm getting sick of the inertial dampers failing, since that is supposedly what keeps them from dying every time they move the ship basically, but apparently they don't need them at all, because nothing every happens when they fail anyway.

I didn't like Kim's part in the whole thing, I think that was completely unnecessary. It could just as easily have been only about Tuvok, which would have made it a better episode, I think.

2 1/2 stars.
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 2:53am (UTC -5)
2 stars. An episode featuring the dumb holoresort, a lovesick Harry Kim and Tuvok falling for a ” hologram”. That’s a recipe for a boring hour
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
If Neelix is Voyager's Jar-Jar Binks, then Harry is Voyager's Wesley Crusher. The 3/4ths of this episode was darn-near unwatchable. Do the writers understand nothing about these characters? We've already seen that Kim has a hot girlfriend back on Earth that he's living with, so why is he acting like a 14-year boy who just fell in love for the first time? It was all sophomoric and completely insulting.

The last five minutes of the episode were very nice and almost redeemed the nonsense the preceded it.

Rating: 2 stars
Fast Forward Rating: Fast foward through the first 40 minutes and then enjoy the last five.
Sun, Jul 22, 2018, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
I was just watching this episode and it got tot he scene where Kim and Tuvok were in the turbolift. Tuvok was saying that there were 2 outcomes for the feelings Kim had. Either the feelings balanced out and forged a longterm relationship, or things end badly. He advised retreating.

Once that scene concluded all I could think was "Just delete the girl from the holo-program... problem solved"

The sheer irrelevance of the Kim story, combined with the fact that it already done better on TNG, made this episode really frustrating.
Sean Hagins
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
The only thing I remembered about this episode from when I watched it all those years ago was a Hawaiian girl strangling B'lanna without ever losing her friendly smile! It was so creepy it stuck with me! Star Trek was always good for giving me those horror movie chills (Star Trek is about the scariest thing I watch)
Wed, Oct 23, 2019, 9:20am (UTC -5)
Looking back on the episode, I can't help but notice how similar the actual Maryana looks to the Hirogen. Her species was never identified in the episode, but the resemblance is striking (plus we never saw a female Hirogen). Given the fact they're a nomadic species used to living in isolation, it would be a neat little retcon... even though it makes little sense for them to maintain the nebula. Why would a hunter race care about what comes down to a tourist attraction?
Fri, Apr 17, 2020, 10:18am (UTC -5)
This was a Tuvoc-centric episode and it highlighted a weakness in how Tim portrayed a vulcan. Tim's interpretation of a vulcan is an emotionless robots who delivers flat deliveries. Often he stares blankly at the person he talks to while not moving his body, not changing his vocal inflections or varying his rate of speech with natural gaps.

This is VERY different from Spock. The secret to why Spock (and Data) worked was NOT because they had no emotions, but because they had little to no egos. Emotions did overlap some...but the ego was the key to why these characters work or don't. Tim never figured this out. He was constantly "protecting himself" and his ego with his deliveries which was in stark contrast to Spock/Data who content to be oblivious to attacks on their identity. Characters without egos are a rare delight in science fiction and they make a scene uplifting. We needed more of them in Voyager. The best we would get would be 7 of 9 who would appear later in the show.
Sarjenka's Brother
Sat, May 2, 2020, 12:46am (UTC -5)
Mildly surprised and mildly delighted that I liked this as much as I did. Mind you, I went in with low expectations.

I'm amazed at the number of Voyager episodes I never saw or just plain forgot.

The guest actress was Phyllis No. 2 on the Young & the Restless. I liked her. Best scene: the Hawaiians attacking the crew.
Steve McCullagh
Sat, May 2, 2020, 3:21am (UTC -5)
Harry Kim may be the most beige character in the history of Star Trek, and this episode was just plain dull.
Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 9:47am (UTC -5)
A solid, enjoyable * * * episode.

I'm not sure how I've missed this episode all these years? But like @Sarjenka's Brother, I have absolutely no memory of every watching it.

Which made watching "Alter Ego" this evening - for the very first time, a real treat!

Like @Lt. Yarko, this is easily the most I have ever laughed with a Voyager episode. On the level of sheer fun, I'd put this one up there with "Future's End Part I".

One new thing that re-watching Voyager after all these years has given me, is an appreciation for just how well the show sets up the Paris/B'Elanna coupling over the years. There are small flirtations a few times here and there. Then, I think it was at the start of Season 3, with "The Swarm" when we get some real honest-to-goodness (and fun) flirting. So to see the Lower Decks vulcan (Vorik) cock-block Paris at the luau was absolutely hilarious.

Watching this episode for the first time now - after movies like Joaquin Phoenix's Her ( have been made, also makes Harry's reaction to crushing on a holodeck character more understandable. Harry had studied the TNG Moriarity situation at the Academy. Maybe, @William B, Harry also knew about the Minuet gambit the Binars pulled on Riker? Maybe Harry's reaction to falling for a holographic woman was actually prudent?

Finally, let me echo what @Jordi Bosveld said at the top. When both Tuvok and Harry say "no" to that lovely hololady who wants to join them at the end of the show, I for one burst out laughing :-)
SS Elim
Fri, Jul 31, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
If nothing else, this episode has the comedy gold of a jilted Harry Kim catching his holo-crush in the act* with Tuvok.

*of playing a board game
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
I liked how Harry wears his heart on his sleeve in this episode, and how everybody is so mundane about his holo-crush. I can imagine how in a future with this sort of entertainment system, it happens a LOT. And the way Kim shares this "embarrassing" emotions so openly with his crew mates, really goes a long way as a message advocating for positive masculinity.

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