Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 10/29/1997
Teleplay by Lisa Klink
Story by Sherry Klein & Harry Doc Kloor
Directed by David Livingston
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"You are security chief. Don't 13 department heads report to you every day?
"Well, then straighten them out."
"Shall I flog them as well?"
— An on-edge Janeway and a sarcastic Tuvok
Nutshell: Sporadically amusing and sometimes even entertaining in a sophomoric kind of way, but mostly just bad.
Well, here's hoping that "Scientific Method" fulfills our Fun With DNA™ requirement for season four, just as "Threshold" did for second season and "Favorite Son" did for third season. It's somewhat worrying that Voyager would supply its inept DNA episode this early in the season, for there's a long way to go. There had better not be another one.
Why do the writers do this? The DNA mutation premise makes for incredibly contrived and weak drama (or is that "drama"?)—and has become one of the most dreaded of Voyager clichés. I'll admit this installment is probably one of the more tolerable examples of playing with DNA (especially when "Threshold" and "Favorite Son" are the other noteworthy alternatives), but probably only because it abandons the DNA mumbo-jumbo to turn to another—if only slightly better—story premise. The sickbay scenes with Doc explaining his "startling" findings are thoroughly worthless and extremely tired—I found myself saying "No, no, please no" to my TV set through most of these scenes (especially the opening of act two when we find out Chakotay has suddenly aged to an old man, at which point I wanted to throw objects at the screen). Who in the world finds this sort of stuff genuinely interesting? Remotely believable? At all insightful or relevant to the characters in any way? Not me, times three.
How goes the game known as the "plot" this time around? Well, it's funny, because the plot runs around like a decapitated chicken nearly as bad as "Coda" did last season. It jumps around, disjointed, shifting narrative focus all too frequently, as if it were written piece by piece by a committee and thrown together with total disregard to any kind of aesthetic story structuring. It's strange, because this quality of jerry-rigged plotting typifies many of the really bad Voyager offerings. In such cases the story can never decide which characters are important and which aren't; rather, it just tosses everybody into the mix and gives them a few key actions and then shoves them aside when they no longer serve a convenient purpose. These aren't people—they're plot pawns.
The episode's first act is its best, centering around the relationship between Paris and Torres. The story depicts them as rather juvenile. They can't keep their hands off one another. They make out in public locations, trying and failing to remain hidden and discreet. (Tuvok catches them in the act of a PDA, which is good for some laughs.) There's a two-minute scene in a turbolift where Tom and B'Elanna discuss entering the briefing room separately, as to avoid suspicion. Too bad their behavior has been so adolescent that everybody already knows about them anyway. The scene where Janeway busts them for their behavior was both appropriate and fun ... the only problem is that the whole premise is so sophomoric. (And, at that rate, I probably mean high-school level.) I'll admit that it's reasonably amusing, as are other parts of the show (which I'll get to in a moment)—but it's also lowbrow and dumb. And if you think about it, you begin to wonder if the characters would really do what the story has them do.
But never mind; that's only act one. (Indeed, the most watchable scenes are the ones featuring Tom and B'Elanna that bookend the episode, probably because (a) the scenes actually exist in normal reality, and (b) they maintain a believable chemistry with a sarcastic edge that has typified the two characters' friendship in the past.) Act two is when the show really begins to take its unfortunate form, beginning with the DNA stuff (which is truly awful) before turning on a dime in act three and getting a little, though not a whole lot, better. It turns out the mutations are being caused by a race of aliens who are walking around the ship conducting bizarre medical experiments, using some sort of phase-cloak technology to hide themselves. I won't go into the way Doc discovers this crucial information—it's far too elaborate and mired in technobabble to waste words in describing.
Suffice it to say that Doc has to hide out in the holodeck to avoid deactivation by the alien intruders. He then contacts Seven by tuning into an audio implant in her brain, then recruits her in an effort to quietly and carefully investigate the alien threat. The aliens could be anywhere, so Seven has to begin the secret assignment alone.
There are a couple neat ideas in here, like Doc's "retuning" of Seven's optical implants so that she—and she alone—can see the cloaked aliens. At this point the story shows signs of becoming interesting, as it reveals the aliens are everywhere, following the crew around and studying them like lab rats. I also somewhat enjoyed the effects of the alien experiments on Janeway: They give her headaches and increase her stress level, wondering where her breaking point is. This causes Janeway to be short-tempered and on-edge throughout the episode. Kate Mulgrew's performance is engaging and believable. But it's also ultimately futile, because then I have to ask myself why such characterizations can't be caused by a real-life situation instead of a goofy, contrived premise.
And so on. The interest of Seven's quiet search isn't allowed to build for more than a few minutes before the alien plot is uncovered and the narrative careens off in a new direction. That direction is an attempted and failed diplomacy when Janeway tries to reason with one of the uncovered alien intruders. It turns out these pesky people are studying Janeway's crew in the interests of important medical research, never mind that the lab rats are mutilated or killed in the process. And, of course, because these are Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week™—Voyager cliché #2 for you—everything Janeway says falls on deaf ears. Ultimately, we get Janeway's, "Sorry. These lab rats are fighting back," a line that seems wanting to scream "TAGLINE! TAGLINE!" so bad it's merely hokey. The alien responds that if they don't get cooperation, "The entire experiment and its subjects will be terminated."
Terminated? But of course, they say. Screw it, I say. "By the numbers," can you say? "FORCED CONFLICT," per se?
By miracle, this scene avoids turning into a lame 20th-century allegory on the morality of using research animals, something that it very seriously looked like it was going to become. At least the creators dodged that bullet.
After the negotiation attempt, Janeway watches one of her crew members die because of side effects of alien research, which fuels the fire inside her ("This ends right now!"), driving her over the edge into a manic take-no-prisoners, I-have-had-enough attitude. The captain locks in a course straight toward a pair of binary stars, refusing to budge until the aliens leave, period. The aliens, not willing to call Janeway's bluff, take the hint and leave. This finale is more energetic and madcap in nature than the show probably deserves. And I must admit that I actually enjoyed Janeway's role as the badass of the week. Mulgrew proves engaging, even if completely insane. But, again, the ending proves entertaining in only the most sophomoric of ways. I cheered the destruction the bad guys' ship because I didn't like their smugness and wanted to see them get their just desserts. Beyond that I probably couldn't care less about any payoff in the plot.
At the very least, "Scientific Method" seems to have learned from "Favorite Son" not to take itself too seriously. While I wouldn't call this a comedy, I would say that at least some of it is tongue-in-cheek (like the scene, for example, where mutant-Chakotay and mutant-Neelix sit in sickbay trying to one-up the other in the tale of who is worse off). That makes it at least bearable, rather than almost completely unwatchable, like "Favorite Son" turned out to be. I hate the fact that the plot is so hopelessly transparent and stupid that it knows nothing that happens within itself really means anything ... but at least it's honest enough to admit as much.
Next week: Part one of the anticipated "Year of Hell."
Previous episode: The Raven
Next episode: Year of Hell, Part I
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112 comments on this post
Sat, Sep 15, 2007, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
I honestly don't mind the DNA Hijinks here. Now, if the *whole episode* focused on this aspect of the plot, with everyone getting a different makeup job, I wouldn't be defending it.
And I agree that the genetic experiments on the crew were way over the top...a little subtlety would've been an improvement.
But the visuals of these "cloaked" aliens studying the crew were fantastic. It's a really cool and original concept. And I have to say that I adore both Badass Janeway and Death-Cheatin' Janeway, and this episode features both of them. :-)
Sun, Jan 6, 2008, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
If I had any criticism, it would be the strong similarity to the TNG episode "Where Silence Has Lease" (which you gave 3 stars by the way) - another where aliens treat the crew like lab rats. Particularly the part where the powerless captain sees the death of the nameless bridge officer, flips out and takes an extreme course of action to stop it.
Anyway, 9 years later and the essential story still works, probably as well as "Silence", but with a new twist. Seeing (through Seven's eyes) interphasic aliens roaming the ship, watching the crew haplessly go about their routines as bizarre experiments are run on them, and Seven's required dispassionate reaction to it all - very smart, and creepy. And of course, "Captain Insaneway" comes out in full force here (with an actual REASON for her insanity this time!) and it works brilliantly.
A lot of the banter/dialogue is actually well written (unusual for Voyager) - the pairings of Tuvok/Janeway, Seven/Doctor, Chakotay/Neelix and Paris/Torres, all mostly successful and at times brilliant. The juxtaposition of horror and comedy is also unusual and well done. I can't help but chuckle at the dialogue for the Chakotay/Neelix sickbay scene, even though I usually don't like their characters, and Tuvok's comments were some of the best. "(Reckless was) a poor choice of words. Clearly it was an understatement!"
And the ending, the climactic "screw YOU!" to the villains of the hour is a vicarious experience for most, I would imagine. Who hasn't felt powerless like that at one time or another? "I don't think you realize - you are NOT in CONTROL HERE ANY LONGER!"
Very fun, lots of replay value. One of the better episodes.
Fri, Feb 1, 2008, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 7, 2008, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 26, 2008, 5:35am (UTC -5)
Sat, May 24, 2008, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 21, 2009, 11:50am (UTC -5)
The central notion was pretty cool – that the crew were being experimented on without their knowledge and seeing them walk around with all manner of contraptions strapped to their person without them being aware was very cool.
The main problems I would cite would be the rationale for these experiments in the first place. How would an alien species gain useful medical knowledge to benefit their own species by experimenting on a totally alien species (humans) which would have a totally a different physiology and psychology?
And why would they be so intransigent and threaten to kill everyone unless they cooperated? Why not just leave after being found out? I guess no drama in that...
I always enjoy seeing Tom and B'Elanna together and I loved them here too. The 'sophomoric' aspects of their relationship didn't bother me at all, in fact, it was somewhat of a highlight. What new relationship doesn't at times go through such a stage, regardless of age? It was fun and nicely done. So overall, a fine ep.
Thu, Apr 30, 2009, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 20, 2010, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Jeri Ryan was awesome, as ever.
Fri, Feb 5, 2010, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 22, 2011, 12:22am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 7, 2011, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 19, 2011, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 6, 2011, 1:48am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 4, 2011, 12:38am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 5, 2011, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
Having said that, the scene where the crewmember dies on the bridge had me shaking my head. She's in cardiac arrest and Janeway does a few ineffectual chest compressions (less than 10 or so!) and calls it a day. There's no crash cart on the bridge? And the Doctor doesn't do anything?? I should also mention that "hypertensive shock" is an oxymoron.
Still, fun episode!
Sun, Dec 4, 2011, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
This one is about as good as that one, I'd give each probably 2.5 stars.
Fri, Mar 30, 2012, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Jeri Ryan was a great add to the show, her character is way better than Kes.
I so much love Voyager! :)))
Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 11:43am (UTC -5)
And no, this episode isn't as nearly as good as "Schisms," which was a good psychological thriller that built a fair amount of tension. Also, the aliens in "Schisms" were mysterious and seemed a genuine threat. Their motivation was curiosity about a realm of space they had never encountered before. "Scientific Method" was simply ludicrous. It relied too much on tired Trek cliches, cartoonishly evil bad guys, and PFTTB (Plot Furtherance Through Technobabble).
If it weren't for "Captain Insaneway" it would be almost completely unwatchable.
Sun, Apr 22, 2012, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 20, 2012, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 3, 2012, 4:32am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
On the whole its like TNGs' Conspiracy; its awesome, bad-ass and a joy to watch for a change of pace from the normal Trek. If I had any complaints for Scientific Method it would be that perhaps there was room for even more fun and invention. And the ending (while mostly satisfying) is a little too much like Where Silience Has Lease.
I enjoyed it, 3/4 from me!
Fri, Jun 21, 2013, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 1:35am (UTC -5)
What happened to the alien in the brig? did they beam her into space or just into one of then exploding ships.
The episode is a very lame animal rights episode because no self respecting scientist would damage their own experimental creatures this way, most experiments involve trying to find cures, not tortures. The very few that do involve harsher methods usually efforts are made to minimize pain and more and more we are moving away from it. The fact on not eating animals is rather lame since animals eat other animals. As Spock once said we all live on death, even vegetatrians.
Tue, Oct 8, 2013, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Seven's involvement was the best part. Oh, and that massage from the doctor. Janeway was hilarious.
Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Craftily written dialogue and nice pacing round out this effort. I felt that the involvement of multiple cast members made it seem truer to an ensemble style episode rather than being aimlessly scattered. Certainly there was a bit of cliche ST to it but it was a fresh-enough perspective to make it all worthwhile.
Surprisingly good showing.
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Also, I don't see why the animal rights allegory is a problem, on the contrary. It's a very, very valid point that should have been made even more prominent. Yes someone (millions?) are benefiting from it but those who are suffering don't have a choice in the matter and they're not benefiting.
Sun, Jul 12, 2015, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Regarding medical experimentation: There's a Wikipedia article on the unethical experiments performed by American scientists, done on people either unaware or helpless. The experiments were beyond horrible. Star Trek writers must have known about these through congressional hearings held from the 70's through the 90's. Here's the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 4:02am (UTC -5)
Do any of these favourable comments towards the episode compel you to reconsider your opinion on this episode orwould you have rated it differently watching it now than you did back when it aired?..like say DS9's Sacrifice of Angels, which I read in another comment that you said you now would've rated at 4 stars and not just 3? Or maybe Voyager's Course: Oblivion? Just wondering..would love to hear your response. Thanks again for all your reviews..I re-read them almost as much as I rewatch Voyager episodes and Trek in general..which is often. So thanks for all your work on the site.
Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 21, 2015, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Man, this season just keeps moving along at an incredibly high rate.
4 stars for me.
I'd have to say I disagree with Jammer's review of this one as much if not more than any other review of his I've read.
...not that that means anything... :-)
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
And yes, the episode did explicitly make that comparison when Janeway was chatting with the alien in the brig. Of course, the analogy is absolutely ludicrous, completely failing to see the difference between sapience and animals. You see, "rights" don't exist in a vacuum. I mean, I have a right to life, but I could still die 10 minutes from now. There's no aura or shield or plot armor to protect me. The right to life can be taken away by any tyrannical member of society. The only way that right can survive is if society collectively agrees to enforce that right. In other words, rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Same with liberty. You can see this with kids. We know children have limited intellectual capabilities, and so we don't assume they have full responsibility for their actions. Hence, judicial restraint is placed on juveniles, as they are not punished as severely for crimes as adults are. But just as they have limited responsibility, they also have limited rights; their liberty is limited and they are controlled, to some extent, by parents.
You can see where I'm going with this, right? If all animals have equal rights as humans, what about the wolf and the deer? The right to life requires all participants to share the responsibility for this right. Which means the wolf must respect the right of the deer. Which, naturally, it won't. Which means it sacrifices its own right to live. Which is absurd, since it is merely following its own instincts. To protect the rights of the deer, we destroy the rights of the wolf. Or, more accurately, we come to the realization that, because the wolf and the deer have no responsibilities for their own actions, they must also not have the equivalent rights that we have.
That's not to say animals have no rights, of course, but the argument that Voyager puts forward, that there is no difference between humans and animals, is clearly wrong.
Meanwhile, this episode has quite possibly the silliest science since trying to punch a hole through the event horizon: little bar codes on atoms! But then again, why should we be surprised? The writers clearly have no idea how real science works. Given that the person in charge of a psychological test would demand the test (the one on Janeway) continue after it had been contaminated in such a drastic measure, well, in the words of the dean from Ghostbusters, you are a poor scientist, random hard-headed alien of the week.
OK, ranting aside, it was a fun episode as long as the brain gets turned off. Sure, the message is bad, the science is hokey, and it's a ripoff of three different TNG episodes, but other than that, well, it had pretty good acting. I liked everyone's responses, particularly Janeway, Seven, and the Doctor. Basically, their responses (Janeway being way overstressed, Seven having to be a secret spy (particularly paying no attention while experiments were performed on her, as well as her attempts to keep Tuvok from stopping her), and the Doctor sneaking around the holodeck) were engaging enough to make this at least a halfway decent episode. Unfortunately, that's all it gets. I'm basically with Jammer on this one - fun at times, but ultimately hollow.
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
I can see where you'd think that points a finger at you, but I'm not entirely sure I agree. She doesn't specifically say sentient species, but I hope she would draw a line between what you've done and this.
The problem with animal research is that the concept is vague and the idea makes us squeamish and people have used it poorly in the past. I have a friend who requires an enzyme replacement made from animals and in my head that's different than testing cosmetics on animals.... but do we want that stuff tested on people first?
In the end I prefer my meat to come from the super market and my drugs to be safe and not to think too much about how these things happened. So thank you and yours for your service to mankind.
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 9:22pm (UTC -5)
It doesn't really bother me or anything; I tend to ignore Trek when it's being its usual holier-than-thou self. I just thought it was amusing that it hit closer to home. Not sure if there is a smaller group of people I belong to that they could attack.
Fri, Dec 4, 2015, 12:52am (UTC -5)
Paul York - How the hell did you come to the above conclusion? It is rather absurd.
I get very uncomfortable with people who think I am no better than an animal, or people who say that humans do not deserve any more rights than non-sentient creatures. To me, that betrays a shocking hatred of humanity.
To say that we shouldn't value our own species more is to be right up there with eco-terrorists and psychotic pagan Earth worshippers who wish to reduce humanity by 80 percent or even abolish the entire human race for the sake of saving the lives of viruses!
Your so called "progressive" morality comes from ancient pagan Earth worship and it always involved ritual human sacrifice in order to "make room for nature."
Fuck that! I would gladly brutally torture and kill every single animal on the planet in order to save even one homeless man with HIV! Human life comes first, as it should.
Skeptical - thank you for conducting experiments on animals. I'm sure your research has saved, or has the potential to save, human lives. Keep up the good work, sir!
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Original? Maybe not. Others have made note of the many inspirations (Where Silence has Lease, Schisms, They Live!). But it's all in the execution, and this episode delivered the goods.
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 5:59am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
I don't think the episode is related to experimentation on animals (boo-hoo how else would we have shampoo and soap?) but more about the dangers of experimenting with human DNA which is currently being done by rogue scientists around the world.
Thu, Feb 4, 2016, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
"A poor choice of words. It was clearly.. an understatement."
Saw a clip of this on Youtube. As terrible an episode as it may have been (I can't remember) this was one of Janeway's finer moments of 'kicking butt'. You have to hand it that.
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
That said, it doesn't really break out of second gear and the conclusion seems somewhat forced - nothing like surviving 20-1 odds. 2.5 stars.
Mon, May 30, 2016, 3:57am (UTC -5)
Of course you can nitpick, e.g. why would such an advanced species have such medieval looking devices? (Well, I know why: because you need the audience to see what's happening.) I thought the fact that the aliens were so human looking and so calm and seeming reasonably extra chilling, and had no problem in imagining a technologically superior race that would behave so cruelly.
Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
And it's correct, up to a point. Alien species should not experiment on humans without their consent.
But does that mean experimenting on animals without their consent is just plain "wrong?" And if you believe otherwise are you like these horrible aliens? Not necessarily.
It's one thing to bring up these points for discussion or debate. It's another thing to be unilaterally for or against something that is obviously a modern-day issue or dilemma. Because then it just falls into the category of "Pro------------" or "Anti-----------------" propaganda.
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Whether it's a human DNA or animal rights episode is up to the viewer I guess.
I personally likened the aliens to us as us is to animals. The difference here of course is we are sentient.
Thu, Aug 18, 2016, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
This goes back to the universal translator issue ... Which also alters lip movement to sync with English words. These writers couldn't write themselves out of a wet paper bag.
Sun, Sep 18, 2016, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 19, 2016, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Bwhahahaha. This is the second funniest line in the series. The least important thing to Janeway is the welfare of her crew. That's why they are still stranded in the Delta Quadrant and have lost many crew along the way.
This episode just falls flat. The aliens have no moral ground allowing them to perform experiments on the sentient voyager crew. There is no reason why these aliens couldn't experiment on their own people, on themselves, on holodeck characters, on animals. The experiments are the most poorly conducted experiments because there are no control groups, the sizes are too small, the aliens don't record the experiment as it progresses.
Basically the only reason these aliens could possibly actually have for performing these experiments is because they like to torture and kill other species. There is also no reason why Seven couldn't have just assimilated the aliens, or decloaked the aliens or killed the aliens. Every part of this episode was laughably ridiculous.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
It had taken them five years to figure out some subspace-nonsense to allow them to exist *anywhere* in our universe - not just in places they'd where managed to rip apart subspace like with the cargo bay 4. And they were invisible because.. Well, because *that's how alternate subspace domains work*! (“What are you, stupid!?")
Then, if they wanted to follow this possible arc further, they could basically turn the fish monks into an earlier version of Species 8472 (or have them *ally* themselves with 8472 - “Oh God, you mean it’s *worse*? Not *them* again!”). Maybe have them show up in the Delta Quadrant, and then follow Sisko back to DS9 and cause trouble there.
Then have one of the monks develop a conscience, fall in love with Chakotay or something, and have a trans-universe romance. Maybe have the alien be some kind of a human/fish-monk hybrid - with accelerated growth to take care of the age problems. This makes it more easier to be played by a human actress, and could take care of the “lobster hands problem”. (It also makes her an outcast among her own [half] species)
Perhaps work that into some techno-babble about her having a “cross-domain subspace phased atomic structure”, given her some greater ability to exist in our universe. Maybe the others have a time-limit or something.
You also have the possibility of a meerkat fight between Seven and whoever the alien is. Taking "star-crossed lovers" to new heights. Or whatever direction an alternate subspace domain is.
Fri, Nov 4, 2016, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Regarding this episode... Not bad. 2.5 stars.
I didn't like the ending. According to Tuvok they had a 1 in 20 chance of surviving their trip through the binary pulsars (or whatever). If I was a member of the voyager crew I think I'd be pretty pissed off at janeway for that. Yeah someone just died from the experiments but the writers really didn't demonstrate that janeway's back was so far up against the wall that she had to do something so drastic. I just can't believe that janeway would do that without looking for other options.
Oh, and the doctor found a cure for aging! Somehow old chakotay is young again.
Mon, Jan 2, 2017, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Tuvok: "I was not."
Wed, Jan 25, 2017, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Also love Seven's greyish uniform with Starfleet Insignia.
Sun, Mar 12, 2017, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Governmental regulations around animal testing have been tightening. Primate research has become rare, and research proposals that include primates are subjected to intense, formal scrutiny and oversight, with strict laws forbidding it all together under most circumstances. Varying degrees of due care and consideration are applied to most species of research animals. Pain and suffering must be kept to a minimum, and animals must be kept in healthy, and depending on the species and the institution, even stimulating environments, at least to a reasonable standard.
This is progress. The general understanding of animal consciousness has grown to the point that there is a recognition of commonality. A growing body of research strongly endorses the position that many, many species experience a startlingly broad and deep emotional range...empathy, emotional pain, loss, grief, humor, a sense of fairness, and of course, fear. Animal testing is still necessary - anyone who suggests computer simulations could provide a comprehensive substitute is decades too optimistic - but it isn't what it used to be. The days of treating other animals (humans are animals, obviously, despite some of the bizarre statements above) as disposable property (or worse) are largely over.
Sun, Mar 26, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Tue, May 2, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 27, 2017, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
The narrative did sort of "jump around", but it seemed to (mostly) genuinely flow like something really occurring.
A good example, when Seven started the engineering modifications, Tuvok detected it and went to stop her, armed. Unsurprisingly, he didn't buy into Seven's "trust me" and so Seven grabbed the phaser which we already knew could be used to reveal the aliens. Way better than the instant technobabble solutions the show comes up with far too often.
Seven touring the ship to find the aliens was very creepy.
And the Doctor's/Torres's discovery of the tiny microchip on the DNA was done well. Then when they started getting close, she was knocked out and the Doctor almost deleted.
Definitely could nit pick all over the place, but still a great episode.
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 10:37am (UTC -5)
NEELIX: If anything, I look like a Mylean. They occupy a region of space near Talax.
EMH: Interesting. Do Talaxians and Myleans share a common ancestry?
NEELIX: Not that I know of.
EMH: Do the two races ever intermarry?
NEELIX: Yes. As a matter of fact, my great grandfather was Mylean.
Neelix, please, be smarter.
The plot doesn't really add up to that much, though, and indeed the whole thing feels disjointed. The idea that the Doctor makes sure Seven doesn't tell anyone about his findings -- that Janeway et al. are being experimented on -- is strange, given that I don't quite know why the aliens wouldn't discover that Seven is on a secret mission, and Seven exposes one of the aliens anyway, albeit in desperation. The extreme-risk-low-odds ending is also both dumb and implausible and also weirdly goes against the "metaphor" (quotes because it's pretty thin) of animal experimentation; so I guess a rat can get out of being experimented on by running into a burning building, huh? Anyway, it might have made the "message" aspect of the show stronger to at least imply what it was these tests were being used for, beyond some sort of generic endurance hazing ritual; and yeah, the aliens' half-hearted defense of their actions seems to make it an "issue" episode without bothering to examine whether the analogy actually fits (e.g. the Voyager crew is sentient, etc.). Oh well. Anyway, I actually still probably give it the same rating as Jammer, because it is a mess and its virtues don't really balance it out, but I don't quite have the same negative opinion based on the review. (I think I'm maybe just a little more willing to give low ratings generally.) 1.5 stars, sure.
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 2:41am (UTC -5)
One of the funniest moments was also B'Elanna seeing ponder whether her love affair with Tom was real or a product of alien manipulation. Made me want to go back to previous episodes and check them out (I know this notion has no weight still it sounded really interesting).
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
I actually added this episode to the list of episodes I'm watching with my wife and daughters belatedly, well after I made the original list (based on ratings here, a list a friend suggested, and some "top ten" type lists) because somehow or other, I cottoned on to the fact that the comments section was in extreme disagreement with Jammer and I wanted to see which side I'd land on.
Obviously, I'm roundly with the commenters. Almost seems like when he wrote this review, Jammer was being experimented on with the same needles they put in Janeway!
I do think with 1 in 20 odds, it would have been a safer bet to let the aliens finish their experiments and accept their data. But of course that's never going to fly in a mainstream TV show--too weak. So I would have preferred they had a 50/50 chance of survival from the binary pulsar gambit, which would have made her actions a little more defensible.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 11:16am (UTC -5)
I usually like Torres and Paris as a couple but they got a bit too cutesy in this one.
Sat, Nov 18, 2017, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
It's refreshing to see a ST Captain who is decisive and makes enemy aliens run away from us for once.
On a more serious note and this site shouldn't be that serious, it should be fun.
However, as far as the "it's fun to torture & kill animals just because" crowd who have commented above. I know there are some people that want no animals to be killed, ever. I'm not a vegetarian so I don't want to sound hypocritical.
However, it's the 21st century and we put men on the Moon, almost 50 years ago!!!
So, is it too much to ask that we start heading into a direction that we drastically lower the number of animals we do lab testing on? Humans are very innovative. If animal testing was suddenly more restrictive, in many cases, we would create a way to get the results we needed without testing animals.
Is it too much to ask that we find a less painful way to kill animals that are sent to slaughterhouses?
Is it too much to ask that those that hunt, use a method that kills an animal quickly? That when you are on a tree stand waiting all day for a deer that never appears, that you don't take out your frustrations on a squirrel or a sparrow or a chipmunk??
Is it too much to ask that you go online and find out how best to kill and boil a lobster quickly so it doesn't suffer long rather than to put it into a pot of cold water and torture it slowly?
Why can't we reach a point that when necessary, we cause animals less pain and not more??
Is it really too much to ask??
As far as the comment from that "great humanitarian", John, who commented above on this page on 12-4-2015 at 12:52 AM. He eloquently said the following:
"F--- that! I would gladly brutally torture and kill every single animal on the planet in order to save even one homeless man with HIV! Human life comes first, as it should".
What's there to say?? Except, what if one day, I were to hear on the news that John fell into a Polar Bear exhibit after calling the bear "stupid" and was mauled beyond repair.
Would I shed a tear?
Maybe but it would be for the bear who unfortunately, might now need to be euthanized.
Anyway, Captain Janeway is so much better than I remembered her.
Thanks for this website.
Sat, Nov 25, 2017, 10:59am (UTC -5)
2 1/2 stars.
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Going through Voyager for the first time though, I'm shocked that my opinions don't usually line up with yours. I seem to really like a lot of episodes that you downright hate. I'm not sure why though. I think Voyager is pretty great so far though.
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 9:53am (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
Sun, May 13, 2018, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
"I hope you were exaggerating!" - Janeway
"I was NOT!" - Tuvok
Well delivered. Fun ep.
Wed, May 23, 2018, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
The Torres/Paris "high school romance" thing was totally unprofessional -- can't these 2 senior officers be more discrete about it? Or was this supposed to be comedic? Never a fan of crew members being unprofessional, although I liked their natural discussion about how to hide their relationship. I liked how Janeway ripped into them and even if she was having needles stuck into her head in another dimension, I think this was simply her personality amped up by the frustration of the headaches. Good acting for Mulgrew overall in this episode -- especially seeing the weight of being captain taking a toll on her (albeit in a contrived way).
So Janeway and co. don't enjoy being lab rates -- no idea what the medical research is supposed to lead to. That might have helped the episode, like it did in "The Empath". It might have even helped if there was more of a point being made about exploitation of another species. Instead Janeway and the alien just have a pissing match. But I liked Janeway's suicide tactic to get rid of the aliens (who should not have been so close to humanoid, for me -- would have been better if they were like the ones in "Schisms"). Zipping through the binary pulsars...did anybody know ahead of time that Voyager could get away with it? Seems arbitrary to me but it can be acceptable by Trek sci-fi standards.
2 stars for "Scientific Method" -- a bit too much on the goofy side given the potential for a weighty episode of being subjects of medical experiments. Really liked Janeway in this one -- good acting from Mulgrew. There have also been and will be better episodes for the Paris/Torres romance.
Really loved the scene with Chakotay and Neelix describing the aging symptoms. Not sure why Chakotay developed some facial ridges...
Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
Love this episode.
4 Stars for me
Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Come on Jammer. This deserves at least 3 stars. Maybe even 3.5.
Sat, Jul 21, 2018, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 21, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Funny scene with Chakotay and Neelix, and other spots of humor. I liked the way Seven observed the aliens and how she finally exposed them to Tuvok.
And badass Janeway is badass. Mulgrew is terrific.
I liked the Doc and Seven interaction, and the glimpse of Doc's limited drawing skills.
Didn't overdo the preachy aspect, which I appreciated. One thing I appreciate about Janeway, is that we're not as likely to get the bombastic speeches we sometimes got from Kirk or Picard.
Overall an exploration of how the external can affect the internal, how we are driven, and how we struggle to control our own actions. Like the ship at the end, and the Captain throughout, it's all about withstanding the pressure.
Tom and B'Ellana discuss this explicitly at the end - how much of their sophomoric behavior was really their own? They'll never know, but they know their love is real, or real enough, anyhow.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Actually, it's "just deserts," as in what one deserves.
Wed, Oct 17, 2018, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Actually, it's "just deserts," as in what one deserves."
Actually it's "just desserts", as in, the bad guy eats it.
Wed, Nov 7, 2018, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 1:12am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 17, 2019, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 17, 2019, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 23, 2019, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 13, 2019, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
Though I often agree with Jammer, on this occasion - and like many posters on this thread- I feel he has been much too harsh.
Seven's walk through the decks, trying not to let the aliens realise she can actually see them, was wonderfully played, with a good score to accompany it. The climax, with Janeway losing it and pushing to the brink, was also excellently done.
Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
I'd give it a 3/4 but mostly for parts other commentators haven't mentioned yet - I find I relish the "quiet moments" between some of the key characters that often occur outside the DRAMA OF THE DAY. One of my favourite moments of the series was in this episodes when Tuvok sits beside Janeway (who was just about at the end of her rope and was thinking of a reprieve in Sienna) and he says "And I will join you for a glass of wine." My heart melts each time I watch it. That one sentence shows such empathy and caring - and from a Vulcan no less.
The one negative for me were the Paris/B'Ellanna scenes. I just don't find them believable. Never liked those two as a couple. B'Ellanna had more chemistry with Harry Kim than with Paris.
Like many others I cheered when the bad scientist ship exploded. I was just unreasonably angry that BOTH ships didn't explode. I have now convinced myself that the second ship was also destroyed. Off screen.
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Tuvok's "I'll share a glass of wine" moment with Janeway shows a level of empathy and caring that we don't often see from the character. It really does show what good friends they are, in a very quiet, understated way.
Mon, May 25, 2020, 12:46pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 11:47am (UTC -5)
If this had been a star trek next generation episode you would have rated the episode much higher, at least 3 stars and that's what this episode is.
Bad form old man bad form.
Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 11:32am (UTC -5)
ROTFLMAO!! The episode was worth it just for that one joke. :-p
Wed, Nov 4, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
“If your people attempt to incapacitate me, I will kill you.”
Some great work with the guest actresses as well.
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
And Tuvok's line that he would have a glass of wine with Janeway was deeply touching. What a great handle the writers had on these characters, despite how wacky the whole episode unfolding around them is.
Thu, Feb 11, 2021, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
After the scene with the Janeway and the lead alien in the brig, the episode started to fall apart. I agree with Jammer about the aliens being good up that point of being “hard headed aliens“ of the week which makes them uninteresting. The conversation between Janeway and that alien about experiments on humans and animals was an interesting argument, but long story short the alien wasn’t trying to hear that and basically stated either you allow us to experiment on you or you and your crew will be killed. That scene to me was a big waste of time. The final act with voyager traveling through the binary star to rid themselves of the aliens was okay, but typical action stuff nothing new.
I give this episode at least 2.5 out of 4 stars.
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
How fucking dumb was this ending? What if the alien's ships could survive longer than the Voyager? What if they weren't physically attached to the ship? What if the aliens were only mental projections like the alien in "Persistence of Vision"?
This episode feels like a mix of Where Silence Has Lease and Schisms. It isn't as good as either of those (average) episodes though. Fun With DNA turns into comic relief, which moves to a 30 PSA about animal testing, followed by obligatory Seven scenes, and it all gets topped off with an exciting scene of Janeway having a mental breakdown and nearly getting her crew killed.
The best part of the plot involves 30+ year old actors making out in public like a couple of horny teenagers.
Mon, May 24, 2021, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
>By miracle, this scene avoids turning into a lame 20th-century allegory on the morality of using research animals, something that it very seriously looked like it was going to become. At least the creators dodged that bullet.
To echo what's already been said, I was left with the feeling that the writers were drawing parallels with animal testing in the 20th century - and it doesn't detract from the episode in any way, in fact it adds value to it.
I think they visited a similar issue in season 5's "Nothing Human". I tend to prefer Star Trek episodes with moral or philosophical value and I'm not sure what Jammer has against such episodes.
Overall score: 7/10.
Sat, Oct 9, 2021, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Yes, the episode borrows heavily from John Carpenter's "They Live", but there's some originality in its imagery. There's something shocking about the grotesque devices which the aliens affix to the Voyager crew - images more disturbing than even John Carpenter managed to conjure up - and the episode features some very good Tom/Torres scenes.
The episode's "aliens of the week" are also aesthetically stronger than is typical of Trek. We get pleasantly elegant, androgynous, elfish-looking aliens, a very strong look. Indeed, at this point in its run, "Voyager" has produced a series of good "alien of the week" designs, from the intricate alien headpieces in "Day of Honor" , to the revamped Borg in "Scorpion", to the gold-skinned hologram in "Revulsion", to the dinosaurs in "Distant Origin", to the elegant sash-dresses in "Lifesigns". The show's production design seems to have stepped up its game.
I agree with those who complain about this episode's ending - it's a bit too blunt, too perfunctory - but otherwise I'd say this is a strong mid-tier episode, with at least one great sequence (Seven donning her John Carpenter "glasses").
Sun, Oct 24, 2021, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 23, 2022, 12:00am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 25, 2023, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 17, 2023, 2:34am (UTC -5)
Seriously, I kind of liked this episode. Regardless of the DNA nonsense there is some commentary about the very real issue of experimenting on animals. Not much, but still.
Wed, Mar 22, 2023, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
@Jammer, Do you think you would re rate this like you said you would relate DS9's Sacrifice of Angels at 4 stars not 3..I would LOVE to hear from you JAMMER on this issue! Thanks for your reviews.
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