Star Trek: Voyager

"Concerning Flight"

2 stars

Air date: 11/26/1997
Teleplay by Joe Menosky
Story by Jimmy Diggs and Joe Menosky
Directed by Jesus Salvador Trevino

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Scandinavia." — Tuvok on his origin, proving he's bad at small talk and lying

Nutshell: An amiable but overwrought and unsatisfying hour of character interplay.

"Concerning Flight" is inoffensive, but it's also uncompelling. It's rather absurd, and the absurdity is exploited for surprisingly little purpose. What we have here is the so-called "high concept"; where else but on Star Trek could you have a story that can be summarized "Leonardo da Vinci finds himself on an alien world where he must help the captain of the USS Voyager retrieve the ship's main computer processor, which has been stolen by alien thieves"?

Sound laughable? Well, it's definitely not easy to take seriously, and by the end it's downright ludicrous. But, surprisingly enough, this premise does not reduce da Vinci to the status of a run-and-jump action hero (much to the contrary of the trailers). What it does do is supply a basic plot that is used as an excuse to give Captain Janeway and the holographic simulation of Leonardo da Vinci (John Rhys-Davies) a lot of time to talk to one another while embarking on their mission.

The plot: Alien pirates with "translocator" technology fly by Voyager and beam key devices off the ship (says Tom Paris, AKA Lt. One-Liner, "I feel like we've been mugged."), including the main computer and Doc's portable holo-emitter. Ten days later, after tracking the aliens to their homeworld, Janeway goes undercover to get the crucial technology back. As it turns out, da Vinci has somehow been downloaded into Doc's portable emitter and is living in a workshop owned by the leader of the space pirates, a guy named Tau (John Vargas). The fact that Tau has a name is hardly relevant; his primary purpose is to get hit on the head from behind—knocked unconscious by a sneaky Janeway or da Vinci. Anyway, a series of events causes Janeway and da Vinci to team up together to find the Voyager computer (which is stored away in a warehouse setting similar to where many B action movies are filmed). Da Vinci is an unwitting pawn in a plot larger than he can imagine. He still thinks he's in the 16th century and believes he has arrived in the New World, mistaking the alien planet and all its technological wonders as, well, "America."

The rest of the episode is pretty much about the Janeway/da Vinci relationship, so to speak, but I had a lot of trouble accepting it on the story's terms. For one, the whole idea of such a casually sentient hologram bothers me a little bit. The Doctor is a different story because he has been learning and coexisting with a human crew for years. But now, it appears any hologram can simply be downloaded into the portable emitter and carried around on away missions at will, whether it's Leonardo da Vinci, James T. Kirk, or William Shakespeare (maybe William could recruit some aliens to do a theater production of The Merchant of Venice before sneaking up and hitting the bad guy in the back of the head).

But fine; let's say I do accept this on the story's terms. There's still no reason that Janeway, at several points in the story once she knows where she is going—whether she's sneaking around the warehouse or climbing up a hill—couldn't simply turn off the program and put the emitter in her pocket to save time and get on with her mission.

I know, I'm nitpicking and poking fun, but there's no reason not to, because the scenes between Janeway and da Vinci just aren't worth the time spent on them. There's a lot of dialog between Janeway and da Vinci, but what in the world is it supposed to mean? This is an episode of overwrought and excessive exposition, with long stretches of "interesting" dialog and events that don't ring true. There's a point where Janeway and da Vinci stop to have a drawn-out conversation that's practically about the nature of existence, never mind that the two are supposedly fleeing from their alien pursuers. I might be willing to forgive the plot silliness if this dialog were truly effective, but it isn't. None of this benefits Janeway's character in any discernable way. I suppose it benefits da Vinci's character in a way, but who cares? This series is not about Leonardo da Vinci. In words Seven of Nine might use, "It is irrelevant."

John Rhys-Davies and Kate Mulgrew, for all their charms, cannot save this episode from its own sense of overly cute self-importance and excessive "cleverness." When the point came that Janeway and da Vinci were to escape their pursuers in da Vinci's flying device, it felt utterly, 100 percent contrived and gratuitous, as if to say "What Leonardo da Vinci 'epic' would be complete without a 'historic' flight in his craft?" I don't believe I've seen a sillier, more canned attempt at cuteness on such a "grand" scale than this illogical escape sequence provides. (How convenient that da Vinci happened to have earlier placed this contraption in the same vicinity where Janeway transports them to!)

I'm sorry—I don't mean to sound cynical, but this whole episode left me pretty cold, and came off as little more than a pointless (albeit amiably portrayed) exercise staged for the mere sake of doing it. Character- and dialog-wise the show goes into pretentious excess; plot-wise, the story is sometimes entertaining, but provides a poor means for framing the dialog and characterizations, which just don't belong within the confines of the premise.

I guess the writers felt da Vinci was a character the audience wanted to see, so they consequently structured a story around him. I have nothing against the da Vinci character, and I certainly don't have anything against Davies (on the contrary, I have a lot of respect for his screen presence), but he should stay in the holodeck and not be dropped into this goofy comic-book mayhem. There's a time and place for everything, but Leonardo da Vinci does not belong in the middle of a plot to help the Voyager heroine retrieve her 24th-century starship computer core.

Next week: From the looks of the preview, it's a rerun of "The Gift." No, wait; it's a rerun of "The Raven." No, wait; a rerun of "Revulsion." Oops, no; an immediate repeat of "Concerning Flight." Wait—the press release says "Displaced." Ah, the hell with it—I give up. It's not new, and that's all I need to know.

Previous episode: Random Thoughts
Next episode: Mortal Coil

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63 comments on this post

Fri, Jan 4, 2008, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
Why the heck didn't they just beam the stuff back up?
A Cynic
Mon, Mar 17, 2008, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Interference from a scattering field, or something. Perhaps a flock of starlings. Don't ask why when watching Voyager - they can come up with convenient technobabble to cover EVERYTHING.
Dirk Hartmann
Mon, Apr 28, 2008, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
... that's too true. The two "convenient" lines used most often are:

"There's too much interference, I can't get a lock on him."


"They bypassed security protocols."
Dirk Hartmann
Mon, Apr 28, 2008, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
Unfortunately, that's too true. The two lines most often used for convenience are:

"There's too much interference, I can't get a lock on him."


"They bypassed security protocols."
Fri, Aug 1, 2008, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
It was a bit stupid of them to shoot at and destroy one of the ships beaming away their technology. What if it was the ship with the computer core on board?
Tue, Aug 26, 2008, 4:37am (UTC -6)
Maybe I am not that smart - but how the hell can Voayger track the bad guys when their computer core is stolen? Doesn't everything on the ship depend on the computer? Hold on, let me take the hard drive out of my laptop here and see what
Fri, Oct 2, 2009, 10:20am (UTC -6)
Nick, that's the best comment I've seen on this site or any other in a long time. As they say, LOL LOL LOL etc.
Mon, Feb 8, 2010, 10:43am (UTC -6)
@Nick: LOL

I'm just glad the da Vinci program was running. Can you imagine if someone had been running a porno?!?
Tue, Aug 24, 2010, 8:49am (UTC -6)
I think the writers didn't know what to do with this episode. At one stage Da Vinci is shot and was surprised that he wasn't hurt. I thought he would then realise he's a hologram and have a breakdown which might have been interesting. But no, he kept bumbling along to the finale. I like Rhys Davies but this is not why I watch Voyager.
Tue, Apr 26, 2011, 8:54am (UTC -6)

"Sure, I'll give da Vinci the resources he needs to build a flying contraption on the top of a hill, he's a hologram, he'll never try to escape with it!"

"Oops! They've escaped in the flying contraption! They're now 10 feet away, it's no use trying to shoot at them!"
Wed, Jan 25, 2012, 12:44am (UTC -6)
It started bothering me when Janeway didn't just beam the unconscious "prince" once he was knocked away and used him to negotiate getting all his stuff back. Then Chakotay won't fire on the 13 ships shooting at them... Normally I have a very good imagination and a great way to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy a lot of things so long as I'm entertained. I had a hard time with this episode for a reason.
Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
Awful episode. So full of contrivances. So they could beam the computer on board from their orbit, but even with it installed they had to go to a lower orbit to beam Janeway on board after the site to site transport? And it takes 5 minutes for voyager to get to a lower orbit?

Voyager transporters fail so much because they have to, to allow so many stupid plots to continue.
Jo Jo Meastro
Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
For me, this was the worst episode so far in this season. Too boring, made too little sense, brought nothing to the table and was silly without being fun. There were perhaps some isolated moments that were entertaining, but overall it missed the mark and not very worthwhile. 1.5/4 from me.
Lt. Yarko
Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 6:51pm (UTC -6)
I'm sad that Mr. Rhys-Davies was not used in a more interesting episode. This one was senseless.
Fri, Nov 8, 2013, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Was I the only one who enjoyed this silly, fun-loving kid's show of an episode? Anyone?
Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 10:47am (UTC -6)

Awful episode. Implausible plot, childish story, cartoonish execution.

Besides, I am also one of those who just can't stand anymore "There's too much interference, I can't get a lock on him", not to mention "they bypassed security protocols". At this point, when I listen these lines, my mind already goes off the episode.
Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
I also very much like John Rhys-Davies and really enjoy what he brings to the da Vinci character. Unfortunately, this is not how I wanted to see him utilized. This is the first true clunker of this season (at least the utterly frustrating "The Raven" consisted of 50% awesome) as it serves absolutely no purpose other than seemingly being in love with itself and the aforementioned titular character. A few nice pieces of dialogue and reliable performances can't save this one.

Concerning flight? thanks. I'll take the boat.

1 star.
Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
While Jammer's opinion is completely reasonable, I'm a bit more amused by this episode than him. If nothing else, it makes me smile.

Still, it's pretty improbable that the dude who keeps stealing technology wouldn't eventually shoot himself in the foot by angering so many/certain strong aliens when he takes their stuff. Eventually the passerby would know he was there and take violent action.

Also, and this is a problem I have with more episodes than just this one, how come all these variable technologies are compatible? Voyager is from the Delta Quadrant, and no aliens they meet would be able to automatically understand/use their stuff, much less know what stuff is best to steal.
Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 10:50pm (UTC -6)
Lol, I meant Voyager is from the alpha quadrant.
Mon, Apr 6, 2015, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
These aliens are some of the slowest, dimmest, most clueless criminals since the Kazon. 30 guards in one building and they can't prevent one intruder from beaming out key technology? Those guys need to be fired.
Shooting at an unaware Janeway from behind and STILL missing, despite having all the time in the world to take proper aim and only standing 10 feet behind her? Even a Stormtrooper would be ashamed of such a miss.
And in the end, when Janeway and Da Vinci escape on their flying machine (don't even get me started on that) they literally only shoot once, then apparently stand around doing nothing for a minute, watch the good guys take off, pointlessly run towards them and then look on helplessly and Janeway and Da Vinci glide to safety. Did they just forget they have guns?

On the bright side, I enjoyed the small tidbits between Seven and Harry and Seven and the Doctor. Doc going mental from getting locked up in his cage and Harry trying to teach Seven some manners. That was enjoyable at least. Completely irrelevant, but still fun little breaks in the 'action'.
Mon, Apr 20, 2015, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
Nick - "how the hell can Voayger track the bad guys when their computer core is stolen" - I think they made some reference to backup systems coming online but that it would take a few minutes for everything to kick in. Cold standby so to speak.

Kieran - "at one stage Da Vinci is shot and was surprised that he wasn't hurt. I thought he would then realise he's a hologram and have a breakdown which might have been interesting" - there's a reference to the da vinci character interpreting his surroundings through the limited parameters of the programmed character e.g. he interprets the aliens and strange planet as people in "america". He's a hologram of a renaissance character so he couldn't possibly conclude from being shot and unharmed that he's a hologram - something he's never conceived of. Now if it was explained to him that he was an artificial man etc. etc., he could.

As terrible episodes go at least this one made efforts to explain the terribleness....and yes i'm answering 5 year old questions
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 9:49am (UTC -6)
Well, I guess we've had too many good Voyager episodes :-)

As much as I want to like this one, it's usually a skipper for me.

I truly LOVE John Rhys-Davies' Da Vinci and Janeway's interactions with him; but this episode is just nuts. It's clearly written for him, but I agree with Jammer, he should stay on the holo-deck or at the very most on Voyager.

There is however, a part of me that enjoyed watching Da Vinci seeing his machine work, albeit with some help.

1.5 stars.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Feb 13, 2016, 6:23am (UTC -6)
Not really much to say about this one, other than I thought it was serviceable enough and that it at least had a fairly fresh premise that took a decidedly different approach by having Leonardo be the lead. If you can get over that contrivance then everything else - including handily positioned flying machines - falls into place.

Ironically though, it was Seven who had the best scenes. 2.5 stars.
Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Has anyone checked on Nick???
Sat, Jul 23, 2016, 2:13am (UTC -6)
This one is a guilty pleasure for me. For some reason I take great delight in seeing Da Vinci trying to comprehend all of this 24th century technology.
Sat, Aug 27, 2016, 4:37pm (UTC -6)
watchable (*)
Kristi R
Sun, Oct 30, 2016, 9:04pm (UTC -6)
I Hated this episode. I kept fast-forwarding through the endless blah blah between Janeway and daVinci, but it still didn't help. Hated the premise, hated the dialog, hated the Dumb Criminal of the Week....I wouldn't give it more than a half star personally.
Paul Allen
Thu, Feb 2, 2017, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
Absolutely loved this episode, utterly charming. :)

John Rhys-Davies is majestic!
Reuben K.
Tue, Jun 6, 2017, 2:06am (UTC -6)
Too much tech to think simply. When Janeway and da Vinci were on their way to the storehouse, they could only detect the mobile emitter, and weren't sure if Janeway was there. They were literally walking to the storehouse over the Southern California Desert landscape. Are there no telescopes on Voyager? They can detect specific details of the borders of space-faring races (Year of hell) from parsecs away (or really far away), but can't magnify a view of the surface of the planet they're orbiting?! How hard is it to look out the !@#$% window?
Also, it's obvious why the bad guys only shot once when Janeway and da Vinci glided away. They were utterly shocked at how ridiculous the situation was. How would you react if the people you were chasing suddenly decided to skate away using Hot Wheels tied to their shoes?
Fri, Jul 21, 2017, 11:52pm (UTC -6)
Are holodeck characters as sentient as the Dr so easy to produce?
Doesn't this create some severe ethical issues in how the holodeck is used?
What does it say about the nature of life and sentience?

Or, alternatively, if the Da Vinci character (as sophisticated as he appears) is not sentient then doesn't it cast doubt on the validity of the Dr's supposed claim to sentience?

I'm confused!
Sun, Sep 3, 2017, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Paul Allen, and others who praised the episode. It was delightful and refreshing.

Of course, there are some hiccups in the plot: how does the mobile emitter end up on da Vinci? Why does da Vinci appear to have weeks or months worth of memories of his time with the new "prince,"? By this year, the Federation has no anti-theft technology?

Nonetheless, the magic of the episode lies in the mix of the wonderment of da Vinci at 24th century technology, his clever attempts to render it intelligible, and the hilarity of Janeway carting da Vinci around as she does some high tech sleuthing. Minor dialogue is often winning,; for example, interactions between Seven and the Doctor, Harry and Tuvok in separate instances are nicely understated. The highlight of the episode is seeing Janeway and da Vinci gliding through the air and vanishing via transporter. The scene recalls ET, but with a touch of silliness. Overall, an endearing and entrancing episode.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 7:33pm (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!

I liked the scenes with Seven and Doctor.

I found it interesting that Da Vinci's programming required him to get winded when running up hills (and needing help from Katarina).

Did Voyager lower their shields to beam them up, while being fired upon by 15 or so ships? Honestly, I always thought that while the shield emitters work together, it would be possible to shut one set off so they could beam through. This time, it'd be one of the lower emitters, because they were not being fired upon from the bottom. And I think this is not totally unreasonable, as they often have "aft shields are down/gone", so they turn the ship around. Turn off a set, beam, done. Voilà!

Enjoy the Day Everyone... RT
William B
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Janeway: "This is Leonardo da Vinci we're talking about. Simulation or not, he's one of the greatest creative minds in Earth's history." Oh, great. I'll remember that next time. "This is Napoleon Bonaparte we're talking about. Wikipedia article or not, he's one of the greatest military minds in Earth's history. I'm sure I'll be able to conquer the world with it in no time!" In all seriousness, this episode was dreadful and the worst of the season so far, despite John Rhys-Davies' (and Melgrew's and Russ') amiable performance. The mugging, which affects some but not all systems at random for what the plot needs, is there only to set up the Janeway/Leonardo stuff, but that is all painful to watch, which seems to be intended as a tribute but ends up making Leonardo da Vinci look like an idiot throughout. Oh, so he believes this is all America, does he? So he gets shot straight through but doesn't have to find out why and accepts it, huh? So much material comes down to Janeway trying to convince Leonardo to stop asking questions and to accept his limitations, and I'm not sure why we need to see the Leonardo hologram learning that he's out of his depth. The big emotional flight at the end is maybe meant to be some sort of cheer moment, but I'm not sure that "Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine succeeds, based on Janeway's advice to him and based on 24th century alien ultralight materials" is all that meaningful, especially when the cheer moment seems to be around proving that Leonardo da Vinci *was* smart, after all. Thanks, but I think we knew that. For comparison, Doctor Who's episode featuring Vincent Van Gogh (spoiler) managed to have an uplifting (if bittersweet) ending of having Van Gogh realize that he would eventually be appreciated, and it's given weight because of the tragedy of his life, and it's particularly about appreciation that actually happens, because of work he actually did, rather than an elaborate "well, I bet if he were alive in the future and had a cool best friend and had access to future tech he'd be able to accomplish his goals!" wish-fulfillment stories. Janeway should have just turned the damn mobile emitter off, of course. It's too bad John Rhys-Davies didn't get a better vehicle, I guess (and when I say "vehicle" I don't mean that glider). 1 star.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
Why would the mobile emitter have a starfleet signature?

How would the pirate dude know there was a hologram running in the computer? How would he know what the mobile emitter even was? Even if he did know those things, why would he put the hologram into the emitter? How would he know how to use any of this stuff in the first place? And why would he then keep this strange man around? He doesn't know who Leonardo DaVinci is. How is Leo talking to everyone without a translator? How did Leo convince this guy that he was a genius, set up a lab, invent and build a new flying machine, visit a bunch of 'fortresses', make intricate maps of the entire area, and all the other crap he did, all in less than 10 days?

And they say that his maps are even better than what they can do with the topographical computer on Voyager. Riiiight.

Why does Janeway drag him around all over the place?! Shut him off and put him in your pocket for god's sake.

And yeah, why can't they transport until they get to 500km above the surface? Why not? No reason at all. And why does it take literally 5 min to go from 1000km to 500km? It would take Voyager about 1/50th of a second to go that far even at 1/2 impulse. No reason at all.

This episode sucks balls big time.

1/2 star.
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 3:25am (UTC -6)
"Absolutely loved this episode, utterly charming. :)

John Rhys-Davies is majestic!"

Sun, Apr 1, 2018, 3:58am (UTC -6)
Agreeing on the acting skills of John Rhys-Davies and also accepting that some contradictions in the behaviour in characters must be allowed, this was to much. I quite seldom complain about the irrationality in the behaviours. I try to look behind and appreciate the sense rather than the details. But somehow the concept must fit together and be reasonably consistent.

Here it failed, became silly and stupid. To me it seemed like a holo deck story within a holo deck story.

The idea displaying the contrast between Da Vincis mind and world against a world 900 years later is really good, but this was a spoiled opportunity.
Mon, May 7, 2018, 7:48am (UTC -6)

Look, everything in this episode is a plot contrivance designed for only one purpose, to get us to the scene where daVinci gets to experience his dream of flight. Nothing else before that is relevant or dramatic or makes a lick of sense. For example, the ineffectual baddie who stole the all important critical essential computer core is rendered unconscious. So? Beam him up to the ship and make him BARGAIN for his freedom!

And we discover that the all important critical essential computer core is housed in this guarded warehouse. So? Beam down a full security contingent armed with phaser rifles and enough firepower to conquer Paris (okay, bad example) and seize it. But no, let's not do that. Let's send ONE person and a 15th century hologram to try to get it back.

Fast Forward rating: Keep your finger on the FF button until you get to the scene where daVinci flies. Play that scene and then press End and go onto the next episode. You won't be missing anything.
Wed, May 30, 2018, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
Just an excuse to get Janeway and Da Vinci in a "real" adventure together. I think this is one of those supposedly feel-good VOY episodes but I found it silly and overly contrived. I think there was really 1 good bit of dialog between Janeway and Da Vinci when the captain tries to explain to Leonardo that there are realities beyond his comprehension as if he were a sparrow. The whole thing of Da Vinci asking questions etc. got annoying -- like why he didn't want to leave the new world, why he survived being phasered etc.

Also, the plot is super simplistic. Alien pirates steal technology, Voyager finds them and retrieves them while Janeway and Da Vinci work on the ground. No real twists or unexpected turns. The character bits don't make up for the ultra basic plot. But I did like Tuvok's line to Da Vinci when he says he's from Scandinavia! (Like Data saying he's from South America in "The Big Goodbye").

It's definitely over the top cheesy in the end when Da Vinci and Janeway manage to fly (it never worked before but now it works with the weight of Da Vinci and Janeway somehow).

1.5 stars for "Concerning Flight" -- kind of a light-hearted adventure where nothing is to be taken seriously, no lasting effects. (Might as well not have been made). Not sure what the point is of giving Da Vinci some added inspiration given that he's a holodeck character. Weakest episode of a decent VOY Season 4 thus far.
Thu, Jun 14, 2018, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
Yes, a light-hearted bit of fluff, SouthofNorth has it just right about its whole purpose. And even if they weren't going to bargain with the baddie, the least they could do was beam him into a brig so he couldn't alert his defenses, since he knew what Janeway was after.

No, wait... the LEAST they could do was take Janeway's communicator back from him, so she could be in contact with her ship instead of (as far as she knew) having her and Leonardo single-handedly rescuing the computer core on their own. (Lucky she hit upon the same method for making it more visible for beam-out). But no, she doesn't bother, doesn't tell anyone where she's going, doesn't have a com badge for the better transporter lock. It really annoys me when characters have to be stupid for the plot.

Though in response to Xylar 3 years ago: the guard wasn't aiming at Janeway, but at Leonardo (and hit him). Promotion for that one guy!
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
Loved it, one I would watch again, if only to listen to Janeway say what my Italian mama used to say when she finally had all us kids ready to go: Andiamo!

Just really fun and an original way to get a Holodeck character out into the world. Some funny lines and really great scene with Leonardo and Katherine flying.

Lovely. A four star for me.
Sean Hagins
Thu, Nov 8, 2018, 9:54pm (UTC -6)

I agree! Actually, I was surprised they hit one of the ships. Those little ships were flying rings around Voyager, and without computer targeting, I thought it would be hopeless (Like when in the Wrath of Khan, they tried targeting without sensors in the nebula)

@ Mal

You, and the rest of the people who make such "jokes" must lead very crude lives.

@ Caine

Yes, I did too! I guess I'm just not an old fuddy-duddy like some! No, but seriously, why do some of you watch Star Trek if you hate it so much?

@ Scubabadger

Exactly! That's why he did ask if he was a spirit, or if it was sorcery. If he said, "Am I a hologram?", it would REALLY be unbelievable
Sat, Jun 8, 2019, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Brilliant. 5/5! The interactions between Janeway and Da Vinci are writing gold. A brilliant homage to pursuing your dreams, however impossible. One of voyagers best!
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
Good trolling, Robbie.
Sleeper Agent
Sat, Aug 17, 2019, 7:01pm (UTC -6)
Silly, but all things considered not too bad. Two things stood out enough to make it a bearable one:

i. Tuvok claiming to be from Scandinavia.

ii. Janeways parable of a small bird and its relation to human intellect.

2 Stars.
Tue, Aug 20, 2019, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. I understand there were some plot holes along the way but honestly, it's a good Star Trek episode to escape into. If you have to, pretend it's a holonovel gone rogue. Turn the safety off. Occasionally we all have to escape.
Sun, Nov 10, 2019, 3:57am (UTC -6)
Surprised no-one mentioned the casual way Chakotay let the guy leave with Starfleet technology. In the past Janeway was willing to self destruct the ship to stop Starfleet tech getting into alien hands, now they couldn't care less. This kind of casual disregard for continuity is what turned me off Voyager.
Other Chris
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
More like "Concerning Filler," amirite?
Mon, May 11, 2020, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
I appreciate the fact that Star Trek sometimes goes for whimsical concepts like "Captain Janeway goes on an adventure with a hologram of Leonardo da Vinci". Every episode can't be dead serious drama, and I enjoy both John Rhys-Davies' performance (and that amazing voice) and the conceit that Da Vinci believes that he's in America. A lesser actor might get lost in the shuffle, but Rhys-Davies has the presence to make the episode work, in my opinion. Even so, Jammer is right, Janeway ought to just turn off the holographic emitter, put it in her pocket, and things would go a lot faster because she wouldn't have to debate the nature of existence with a simulation!
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 1:47am (UTC -6)
Rewatching this after a good decade, which itself was a rewatch more than a decade after the show aired. 20+ years later, I still loathe this episode as much as I did back then, having just turned 18.

This episode could easily have been less than half as long without losing anything at all. The Da Vinci guy--who, judging by his diction and enunciation, is a theater actor--was boring, improbable, implausible, extraneous in the extreme. "He" added nothing to the plot; if anything, he slowed down the action to a frustrating halt at critical moments. Thank gods for the fast-forward button.

What is really interesting though is that the commenters above show a split. Some hated the episode, some found it barely watchable, but some were rapt about it. That's quite a success and a hallmark of good writers: stimulate a discussion and promote controversy. Something tells me that was a chance byproduct though rather than done by design.
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
Pretty boring, but some very good looking FX work.
Bob (a different one)
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
"Hey, who should we cast as this old Italian guy?"

"How about the fat British guy from Sliders?"


Christ, was this show sponsored by the Italian Tourism Bureau or something? They can't get enough of this "Master Da Vinci" set, can they? A complete waste of a great guest star in another mindless Voyager holodeck episode.
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
Nothing like Covid to get a guy to watch old science fiction shows. I can see by the review and the comments that this episode is somewhat unpopular. The story seems uninspired, and I was 100% fine with the Da Vinci hologram when it was on the holodeck where it belonged, but giving him his own planet-side adventure just seemed weak to me. "It's America!". Ha. Right. In the 1500s [Da Vinci died in 1519] it took 6 weeks to cross the atlantic [if the ship made it at all]. Here we have arguable a genius inventor believing he was "knocked out, and spirited away on a ship to america". Really buddy? You think you slept through a 6 week journey?

Aside from that, my biggest issue with this episode, is the inherent lack of concern that the crew feels about leaving behind most of the star fleet technology. In earlier seasons, when the crew was interacting with the Kazon, they wouldn't let a single scrap of their technology be left behind or used. Even as they have traded with other races of aliens since then, they trade things that are not starfleet technology but rather are consumable resources like...minerals, or plasma, etc. I believed in the fundamental understanding that they refused to leave starfleet alpha quadrent tech behind as they traveled. So I feel somewhat betrayed by the writers who so flippantly left it behind in this episode. Chakotay even let the guy they beamed aboard with the stolen tech TAKE IT BACK WITH HIM! Like really Chakotay? I have seen you make bone-headed decisions, but this one takes the cake. Perhaps they should have left you back on that planet to "fight the nemesis" after all. You couldn't compensate him for his loss in some other way than letting him walk out the door with starfleet tech?

Finally, while I understand that Voyager couldn't engage the planet or ships in combat freely while they were missing their computer processor, but once they had it back and were fully operational, I really wanted to see them take back ALL of their stolen technology, and punish the Prince of thieves by disabling or taking away the transporter technology he is using to Space pirate innocent passerby. [We learned during the episode that Tau stole that technology too, and is using it to make himself wealthy]. I really missed that karma and justice of this episode...just leaving half the stolen goods behind and sailing off seemed very unsatisfying to me. Missed opportunity here.
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 7:23pm (UTC -6)
Also, my least favorite lines at this point:

"Evasive Maneuvers" *Insert Greek Letter here* Omega, Alpha, Beta, Delta pattern etc. They always say they are evading, but it never actually seems to work at all. -.-

100% of the time, immediately after saying they are taking evasive maneuvers the enemy weapons fire strikes them anyway, resulting in the camera shaking impact. Flashes of light from the various consoles, immediately ruined Janeway Hair, and on occasion a random dead side character with no name.

"Command Override Janeway Pi one one zero" Really Biotch? You haven't changed your damned password in 3 years?! The password dozens of people and even some aliens have -heard you use-? No wonder the security protocols are always being locked/overridden. -.-
Wed, Apr 14, 2021, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
Had to Google this episode to see if anyone else was as annoyed as I by this ridiculous episode.

Janeway, turn off the emitter and finish this nonsense!
Tue, Jul 20, 2021, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
"Fire at will."

"I have the will, but not the means, Captain."


It's a fun episode - but it's not doing anything clever. The biggest issue I have with making holograms indistinguishable to sentient beings and, further, explaining that they can "expand their program" is that you are effectively saying that all holograms would be protected and have rights under the Federation - as they are life forms. They would all pass a sentience test. They're possibly even a race (Voyager stupidly actually made this the case via "Photonics"). It seemed to be as early as The Next Generation that the lines were being blurred WAY too much in this regard. Moriarty was meant to be a total one off - but now it's like a few chosen commands to the computer - some tinkering to the "matrix" - and you have a new self-aware lifeform being born. Kind of takes away from Data being unique too, doesn't it? Dr Soong should just have visited a holodeck instead of all that programming slave labour shit.

If you want an army of Borg hunters - just replicate 1000000 military holograms and replicate 10000 ships. It destroys internal logic and realism long term. But, then, di I ever expect the majority of Trek writers to think this deeply? Of course not.
Fri, Aug 13, 2021, 3:40am (UTC -6)
"There's a lot of dialog between Janeway and da Vinci, but what in the world is it supposed to mean? This is an episode of overwrought and excessive exposition, with long stretches of "interesting" dialog and events that don't ring true. " -- Jammer

I suppose if one were Seven-of-Nine, one would find the whole of it irrelevant. It is sad when the following lines fail to move us:

da Vinci (to Janeway): " When are we not in prison? When are our lives free from the influence of those who have more power than us?"


da Vinci (responding to Janeway's analogy of a bird's perception of the world, i.e., 'say that you were just a sparrow'):

"Still... the limits of my mind would prevent me from understanding."

Janeway: "And as a man, can you accept that there may be certain realities beyond the limits of your comprehension?"

da Vinci: "If I did not accept that, then I would be a fool."


da Vinci ( after pointing out his first memory to Janeway, that being, as it was actually, a raptor) :

"All my life I have wanted to fly--
Perhaps my failure to do so has caused my heart to remain in flight-- leaping from one thing to another--
never satisfied-- never complete."

Janeway: "And now that you've actually flown?

da Vinci: "Now who knows what I cannot accomplish?"

All good dialogue....and these lines do ring true. Glad that I watched, got past the obvious plot set-ups, and took in the strengths. Not at all irrelevant to my mind. 3 stars.
Tue, Oct 19, 2021, 2:30pm (UTC -6)
Jammer says "there's a lot in this episode that doesn't ring true", and that line encapsulates my feelings about this episode perfectly.

There's something artistically dishonest about this episode. The impression I get is that the producers started off with the idea of a "hologram stepping off the holodeck". Then they arbitrarily made this hologram Leonardo da Vinci. Then they reverse-engineered a theme to justify the episode ("It's about freedom!"). Then they shoe-horned references to da Vinci and flight ("See, he's free!"), then they wedged in a "glider scene" at the end to tie it all together.

Interspersed with all this are little scenes which strain to connect to one another. I don't buy anything about them (despite the script's insistence that they're "about the forces perpetually conspiring to limit da Vinci"). The whole thing feels not like the work of a writer with something to say, but of a committee struggling to utilize a great character (the da Vinci hologram), and a great actor (who plays da Vinci), and a great historical figure (da Vinci).

Compare to TNG's Sherlock Holmes adventures, which are amongst the best that show ever did.

I would say this episode does one thing well, though. In an effort to track down stolen property, Janeway travels to a planet which buzzes with activity. We learn that aliens from all over the quadrant congregate on this planet - in orbit and on land - a facet which is quite rare for Trek, which typically portrays planets as racially and culturally homogeneous places.
William B
Tue, Oct 19, 2021, 3:00pm (UTC -6)
After Trent's comment I reread what I wrote and for a second thought when I mentioned "the mugging" I was talking about Rhys-Davis' acting rather than the robbery haha. (I'm a fan of Rhys-Davis but I do think he liked hamming it up in this role.)
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 19, 2021, 6:38pm (UTC -6)
"After Trent's comment I reread what I wrote and for a second thought when I mentioned "the mugging" I was talking about Rhys-Davis' acting rather than the robbery haha. (I'm a fan of Rhys-Davis but I do think he liked hamming it up in this role.)"

There's good clowning, and bad clowning. Rhys-Davis did some good mugging in Indiana Jones, where the clowning and the gravitas of the actual story fed each other rather than being a distraction. In this episode he pays to me more like Sideshow Bob than like a great historical figure. Contrast with the performance of Moriarty in TNG and it's a complete joke. Rhys-Davis is a super-energetic performer, but that can go a bad way. I mostly think a bad script and bad director will get an actor like this to embarrass himself rather than come off as charming. I didn't like his use in Scorpion either. Something about the pretention of "Katharina" irritates me. It sorts of reeks of grasping at something you fear you don't already have in the script. On a literal level him calling her that is roughly equivalent (and equally as goofy) as if she had called him Leonard, or worse, Leo. Leo from Vince.
Wed, Nov 24, 2021, 10:33pm (UTC -6)
@Reuben K.

"When Janeway and da Vinci were on their way to the storehouse, they could only detect the mobile emitter, and weren’t sure if Janeway was there. They were literally walking to the storehouse over the Southern California Desert landscape. Are there no telescopes on Voyager? They can detect specific details of the borders of space-faring races (Year of hell) from parsecs away (or really far away), but can’t magnify a view of the surface of the planet they’re orbiting?! How hard is it to look out the !@#$% window?"

They could have scanned for human life signs. It seems pretty likely that Janeway was the only human on that planet.


"Like really Chakotay? I have seen you make bone-headed decisions, but this one takes the cake."

Maybe he makes those decisions because we are far from the bones of our grandfathers.
Chattering Chaingang
Wed, Feb 9, 2022, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
This felt like Voyager's stab at an after school special.
Sat, Dec 17, 2022, 2:05am (UTC -6)
I agree with the above, this was far from the best episode, but, it did have some great lines, such as da Vinci's muttering that it was ''as hot as Vulcan...'', and, when Tuvok responds, he replies off-handedly ''An island off the coast of Sicily...'' XD XD XD
Wed, Aug 2, 2023, 5:31am (UTC -6)
I thought they weren’t meant to leave their technology in the hands of other races. Transporter module and phasers left behind in that warehouse.

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