Star Trek: Voyager

“Scientific Method”

1.5 stars.

Air date: 10/29/1997
Teleplay by Lisa Klink
Story by Sherry Klein & Harry Doc Kloor
Directed by David Livingston

"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

Review Text

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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Comment Section

127 comments on this post

    I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I've always liked "Scientific Method" and I'd give it solid 2.5-star rating.

    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. :-)

    Agreed with Immanuel - this should be much higher than 1.5 stars, more like 2.5-3. Your comments about this being a "DNA episode" are fairly unfounded. It was certainly used, but is mainly just a plot-enabling device, and far from being the heart of the episode.

    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.

    I didn't like the first half of this episode, but the crew's reactions to the aliens in the second half, and especially the part where they almost destroy the ship, completely redeems the episode.

    This was a fine episode, except for the Animal Rights Propaganda part of the plot. This is made clear by Captain Janeway's reference to the crew being "lab rats."

    I agree with everyone here. This episode deserves something like 2 1/2 to 3 stars. The DNA stuff was only mildly distracting this time. There were so many aspects of the show that were done *right*. For example, Seven walking through the corridors finding the aliens conduct experiments on the unaware crew ... after all these years, I still get the shivers thinking of that scene.

    I'm a big fan of the variable permutations and possible uses of cloaking technology, and this episode appears to present a unique variation, so i liked it. I give it 3 stars. I loved the way the Doctor and Seven exposed the aliens and the way Janeway suddenly decided to eliminate them.

    I have to echo the other posters' opinions – I too thought it was a very good episode, worthy of three stars. I didn't have a problem with the DNA thing, as it really wasn't important at all. In the Trek universe you expect to see people being taken over or transformed into something else, and back again, so no biggie.

    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.

    I think Janeway's solution makes up for the other shortcomings in the episode. It always reminds me of Picard's solution in Where Silence Has Lease where he also decides the only way to defeat an evil enemy who has complete control over your ship is to risk sacrificing your entire crew. An elegant and moral solution to what appears to be a hopeless impossible situation.

    I enjoyed it, a lot of fun. I liked the binary pulsar. The real plot flaw was that the aliens would surely have sabotaged the Doctor very early on in the proceedings, way before the events depicted.

    Jeri Ryan was awesome, as ever.

    Why is an allegory on animal research "lame"? My one problem with this episode is that the allegory isn't given the attention it deserved. Animal testing is a very serious debate that has been going on since the 19th century. I particularly like mark Twain's quote "I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further." Of course, no TV episode could ever top H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" but it would have been nice too see episodes like this one and "Nothing Human" have more resonant dialogue.

    This was a good episode jammer. Perhaps you should watch it again

    Yeah, I'm with the majority of those who have commented before me. This was a great episode. There have been a lot of stories of UFO aliens doing secret experiments on human beings in the 20th century and I thought this episode was a great take off on that. Sorry, Jammer. You're right on so often, but when everybody else seems to disagree with you (as here), I'd say that makes you wrong.

    Can't be with you on this one Jammer. This was one of the season's best. Easily 3.5 or 4 stars here.

    I can't believe so many people liked this episode! Jammer, I completely agree with everything you said in this review. This episode was totally sophomoric and lame. I stopped paying attention after Chakotay started whining about his hair loss in sick bay.

    I agree with many of the other posters - the premise may be stupid, but it's entertaining in a crazy nonsensical way. The character moments are amusing and well conceived.

    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!

    Pretty much TNG's "Schisms" again.

    This one is about as good as that one, I'd give each probably 2.5 stars.

    A great and fun episode, with some nice lines, especially the "reckless" dialog between Janeway and Tuvok, just after the Voyager escaped the binary system.And yes, I cheered when I saw the alien ship exploded.

    Jeri Ryan was a great add to the show, her character is way better than Kes.

    I so much love Voyager! :)))

    I'm tired of these "high concept," boring, boring, BORING technobabble plots. I'm also sick to death of Bad-Guys-Of-The-Week aliens who have no motivation other than "because we can."

    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.

    Star Trek is at its best when it is asking tough ethical questions, so I have to strongly disagree with the writer of the above blog that the comparison with the ethics of animal experimentation is "lame." It is anything but. Experimentation on humans is equally morally wrong as experimentation on non-humans, and this episode -- like TOS's pilot and the TNG episode with Riker's re-attached arm -- is very profound as a statement on a form of evil that human beings still engage in, but should not. As Janeway says in this episode, humanity evolved enough to see that it is wrong to exploit other beings. This is also why Riker, in TNG, at one point tells an alien race that humans no longer eat animals. The moral lesson of this episode is very important and not to be taken lightly. I think episodes like this one are among the best that ST has to offer. The idea that humanity could and will evolve morally, as well as technologically, is very much a part of the attraction of the show.

    I have to disagree with you Jammer - as most posters here I liked this episode.

    Another disagreement here- I liked this episode as well. Kinda wondering why most hostile alien episodes on this site get bad reviews?

    This episode was classic pulp sci-fi and highly enjoyable. I would have given it a higher rating. It reminded me of "They Live" (the 1988 film with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper). It was by no means original or thought-provoking--but so what?

    Jammer, I believe this is a great show - 2.5/3 on your rating scale. What makes this great, is not really what the aliens are doing but rather the crew's reaction to it. I liked a lot of the characterization and dialog, and Tuvok's and Janeway's dialog right after the aliens left was just priceless. While Chakotay aging and the restore exactly as he was, was a stretch, there's plenty of precedent for it in TNG.

    I must agree with many of the above comments who say this was a good episode. It was a pulpy story delivered with a healthy doze of fun and coolness. Deep? No. Something we'd want to see every week? No. But fun every once in a way? Yes, in my opinion! Oh and the Torress/Tom scenes were sparkling with great chemistry and an interesting devolopment.

    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!

    HAHA! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who shouted "F*CK YOU!" when that ship exploded. That scientist lady was a jerk. There has been no more satisfying enemy death in trek.

    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.

    I really didn't like this ep and agree with most of Jammer's statements. The whole who's the bigger old fart contest between Chakotay & Neelix was annoying and not funny. The aliens "because we can!" reasoning was BS, why kill everyone if they won't acquiece? That's because they weren't conducting any valid experiments they were torturing the crew! And Janeway as a scientist should have called them out on it, it was obvious. How could the data be valid if they are of a different humanoid species and their sample size is so damn small. They show a different experiment/apparatus on each crew member, how did they plan on filtering out possible variables, etc. You can't compare anything if it's just a one off. The Janeway/Tuvok interaction in the beginning was great (shall I flog them as well?). But the Captain flying the ship at the pulsars - pfffft. Why not just set the auto-destruct sequence? It's a lot easier to undo when you get them the hell off your ship and less risky too. And I agree with someone earlier that the Doc would have been deactivated earlier on by the aliens so it was pure plot device to have him be OK. It did facilitate his interaction with Seven and the whole tuning her borg devices which was interesting. I need to dig up the TNG episode referenced but I suspect that when I do I'll hate this ep even more. At least Kate Mulgrew, Robert Picardo & Jeri Ryan put in great performances. Robbie Duncan McNeil & Roxann Dawson did a good job but the sophomoric stuff was a little annoying and I think nibbles away at my respect for these characters. Nice to know it was mainly out of character stuff for a reason.

    I agree with Jammer that the end conflict seemed awefully forced. What's the motivation for killing everyone if they won't submit to these experiments? Perhaps it would have been more plausible if that alien woman had looked a little less human. She just looked too "reasonable". She even says to Janeway something like: you're a scientist just like us, so you should understand. WTF?

    Seven's involvement was the best part. Oh, and that massage from the doctor. Janeway was hilarious.

    I'd give this 3 and a half stars. Voyager's 4th season may be the most consistent season of Trek ever.

    Entertaining, engaging, at times funny as hell. A high-concept episode of Voyager that actually works. The aliens were too stubborn for my taste but at least they had motive for what they do (as very clearly stated in the dialogue). Perhaps their stubbornness came from some sort of inherent belief that they are above it all, so to speak.

    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.

    3 stars.

    Wow. Reading this review in 2014 and shocked. Scientific Method is my favourite Voyager episode of the entire series. Script plot acting special effects - all top notch. So glad I stayed away from organised Star Trek fandom back in the day. I just paid my $19.95 each month and opined on the episodes myself. A much better way!

    Hey GG. We're not exactly organized, round here. Jammer's just this guy, see, who reviewed Trek episodes, and these other folks drift by, and sometimes have ideas too. Who were you paying $19.95 to?

    Love this episode. Deserves a 3 or even 4 stars rating. The "msytery" aspect is really good, and goes on for an appropriate length of time, until we get the "reveal" - both visually striking and clever. I'm happy it wasn't another of those "space anomaly does something weird to the crew". And it justifies why all of their symptoms were different...

    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.

    The first time I saw this episode, I loved its humor, mystery, and suspense. With additional viewing, I learned to appreciate how it dealt with the issue of unethical medical experimentation.

    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:

    Wow, Jammer, when you get something stuck in your head, there is just no convincing you otherwise. You hate DNA episodes, we get it, just like you hated Troi episodes back in the TNG days... But this was a 3 star episode in my opinion. The DNA experiments were just a minor plot device, as this episode was all about the crew's reaction to the unknown, in this case a threat that wasn't even visible. And I loved Seven's involvement here, as it was a great growing moment for her character... Stop being so biased in your reviews.

    I always love being told to stop doing something based on a writing from 18 years ago. Sure, I understand the notion, but either way I'm powerless to take it under advisement and instead just feel old. :)

    I'm curious Jammer,

    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? 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.


    If I went back to review something I haven't seen in 20 years, it is very possible my reaction might be different. I am NOT saying that it necessarily would be the case (and this episode doesn't strike me as one with a significance that seems likely to be one I've changed on), but it's possible. Any given review must be considered a snapshot of the time and circumstances under which it was written.

    One of my favorite Voyager episodes.

    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... :-)

    Well, this was fun. I mean, Star Trek has insulted me multiple times with its holier-than-thou storytelling, but I think this is the smallest group I've been in that's been insulted. For those that agree with this episode, here's a face (er, random pseudonym on the internet) for you to despise: I've been involved in a few animal trials. Also, both my wife and my sister work with lab animals regularly. So hurray, we're the devil!

    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.

    @Skeptical - I assume the line you refer to is "What you're doing isn't self-defence. It's the exploitation of another species for your own benefit. My people decided a long time ago that that was unacceptable, even in the name of scientific progress."

    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.

    It wasn't just that line. The arguments the alien was using were those that people might use to argue for animal research. I mean, I guess nobody has any argument these days for performing experiments on unsuspecting people, but then that's the point. If the writers really weren't intending to make an argument against animal research, then the logical thing to do is to not try to argue the point at all (much like Schisms). Have the researchers be completely indifferent rather than try to justify their actions, and keep the episode as a fun (or attempt to be fun) episode rather than a preachy one.

    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.

    "Experimentation on humans is equally morally wrong as experimentation on non-humans"

    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!

    Just watched this one again yesterday and I have to echo the majority of the comments on this thread. It's a solid three star outing. I thought the scenes where 7 of 9 is walking through the ship seeing the aliens and their bizarre contraptions (like something out of a 19th century insane asylum!) was pure gold. Just loved Jeri Ryan in this episode. And the appearance of Captain Insaneway is always a welcome treat, particularly given the fact that in this case, it made perfect sense that Janeway went over the edge: that was the point of the experiment! I too cheered when the smug aliens got theirs and their little craft exploded.

    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.

    One question about this episode and the "phased cloak" technology the aliens were using. Some of those devices they were installing on the crew looked pretty heavy and unwieldy. Phased or not, wouldn't the crew feel the weight of the devices on their bodies? If not, what is holding them up??

    I will support the majority of the comments. This episode didn't deserve such a low rating. I'd give it a 3.

    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.

    "I didn't realise you saw me as reckless, Mr Tuvok!"
    "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.

    Fresh, inventive, definitely creepy and very funny in places. Makes good use of Seven and the increasingly off kilter Janeway is adequately explained by the two aliens poking needles in her head. The Chakotay/Neelix comparing symptoms scene is something of a classic.

    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.

    All these years later, I enjoyed this episode too. Thought it was so creepy to see the aliens walking around torturing the crew (shades of lots of other shows including X-files and Buffy--remember when she does that ritual after Dawn arrives and sees her entire house in a distorted way?--but still so creepy, esp. when Seven first sees them). Of course, I'm viewing this thru the lens of nostalgia. (Tere were a lot of TNG eps that I initially disliked but changed my mind about later mainly, I think, due to the nostalgia of rewatching a show that reminded me of an earlier period of my life).

    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.

    Really disappointed with the review. Maybe Jammer is past his 'pull wings off flies' stage and would take another look.

    I do think the animal testing metaphor is lame here, and here's why. Science Fiction is good at bringing up discussions about current moral and ethical issues. And that's fine. But this episode attempts to say that one way is right, and one way is wrong. If you believe the way the aliens do, you're wrong.

    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.

    I think this episode is clearly the "we are superior to you" so we will do what we please episode.

    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.

    The aliens have problems on their home world such that experimenting on alien species makes sense? While DNA may be ubiquitous through out the heavens, it seems forced at best that the anatomies from a different quadrant are similar enough that such testing would be valid. Test earth animals for the sake of earth humans -- makes some sense. But if we discover microbes on Omicron Persei 8, will they really be like us? Especially when living in sulphur springs?

    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.

    The fun with DNA actually worked here because it was mostly about just having fun, both the writers and actors knew this was preposterous so they just went with it to see how funny they could make the scenes. Neelix and Chuckles trying to see who has the worst systems was probably the highlight of this episode, none of which made any real sense or worked on any level outside of the comedic.

    "I know the most important thing to you is the welfare of your crew."

    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.

    I was just reading up on this episode on memory-alpha the description of the aliens as " brown-robed humanoid alien".. And thought of the "fish monks" in Schisms. I wonder why they *didn't* connect the two? They could have made up some Trek-nonsense about how something about how their being flung into the gamma quadrant caused a "subspace schism" (pun intended) that allowed the fish monks to locate them, and they (the monks) had been "following" them. Whatever "follow" across subspace domains.

    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.

    @skeptical - it's been some time since you posted but I'd still like to point out a flaw in your wolf/deer analogy. Whilst it could effectively be used to justify eating meat, I don't believe it works in defence of animal testing. A wolf kills a deer because its instinct drives it to do so. It recognises a prey animal and eats its to survive. Scientific research involving animals is a choice. Personally I believe that animal research has its place, but I can't deny that it makes me very uncomfortable. And I believe it is over-utilized and under-regulated...

    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.

    Janeway: "Tuvok, I hope you were exaggerating those odds."
    Tuvok: "I was not."

    Like this episode both the laughs and Janeway acting BadA. Tuvok's sarcasm and irony is great as well.

    Also love Seven's greyish uniform with Starfleet Insignia.

    One more voice for the chorus of dissent...this was a 3.0 for me.

    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.

    I liked this one as did the majority of commenters here. However I did not see this as a commentary on animal testing at all. It brought to mind the history of medical experimentation being done on humans against their will, for example those performed by the Nazis as well the infamous Tuskeegee syphillis study.

    Some people really think that humans are somehow not animals... while everything is shared with them. Way of birth, growth, eating, sex, taking care, getting old, die, body parts. What extactly is sentient? Animals are sentient. At least many are. Research shows this too. Lots of animals clearly show emotions like empathy, caring, playing... And theres also a HUGE difference between a predator killing one other animal in the wild for consumetion and the way humans threat and raise their "prey". And its not in humans favor... total disrespect for the animals needs and way of life... darkest cruelest most calculated deadliest predator on earth is?

    I didn't mind the episode but it left so much unanswered and was so implausible. So I agree mostly with the review.

    Jammer must have been in a bad mood when he watched this one. This episode was hilarious and Janeway turned in a particularly solid performance. Sure, you could nitpick this one to death, but at the end of the day it was very entertaining. Solid 3 stars.

    2.5 stars. A perfect example of a show that didn't aim high but for what it did aim for it got the job done in being an entertaining if unambitious outing Once again in an episode the Paris and Torres stuff detracted from the episode

    Definitely a solid 3.

    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.

    Consensus is that Jammer underrates this one. I guess I sort of agree, but only sort of. I like this better than (from later in the season) Concerning Flight and even Waking Moments. It has zip and energy and I think it's fun to see cranky Janeway, horny Tom & B'Elanna, and spy Seven. I actually dug the scene of Chakotay and Neelix comparing their respective ailments, too, although I find this exchange funny for the wrong reasons:

    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.

    I watched this episode last night and really enjoyed the premise. I even enjoyed the fact that the Aliens depicted here are the same as that old avengers villain called 'Space Phantom" that exists in a different time dimension and visits ours by hijacking other people's bodies (In later stories they also depict him as a member of a scientific community). One of my favorite old comics overall.

    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).

    3.5/4 stars.

    3.5/4 for me as well.

    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.

    Pretty good story, creepiness and I thought also conflicts. The researcher was believable enough and good to make a direct comparison with how the Starfleet crew are explorers and generally utilitarian and how Janeway still insists they're very different.

    I usually like Torres and Paris as a couple but they got a bit too cutesy in this one.

    For many reasons, I thought that this was a very good episode. Years ago, I would have listed my favorite ST Captains as William Shatner, Patrick Stewart "and the rest" (as was sung in the Gilligan's Island theme song). I started to re-watch Voyager about a year ago when a local cable channel started showing the series in mini marathons. I enjoy the series more now than when it first aired. Janeway, in this episode and in other episodes like in the "Tuvix" episode has made me rethink my order of favorite captains. She makes decisions and if sometimes prisoners can't be taken, then they can't be taken.
    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.

    There was some stupid stuff in this one, but I liked it.

    2 1/2 stars.

    Going through your reviews Jammer, usually I agree with you. Pretty much all of your TOS, TNG, and DS9 reviews match my feelings on the episodes, save for a few (like Balance Of Terror).

    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.

    This felt like it could have been a TOS episode. Janeway felt very Kirk in this one.

    I swear there's an episode similar to this one in Next Generation... I feel positive that I remember a scene in which aliens are messing with Picard's brain, but he's able to control himself after recognizing there's no rational/visible reason for his emotions..... it's driving me crazy enough to make me believe that aliens are fiddling with my grey bits! Any way I'm right? Thanks in advance.

    Buzz there is a scene in Sarek where Picard snaps at Riker due to being under Sarek's telepathic influence. But if there is a similar TNG episode it would probably be Where Silence Has Lease. Nigilum tells Picard he is going to kill 1/2 the crew to better understans the nature of death (after killing a crewman) and Picard sets the autodestruct. Pretty similar to what happens in this episode with Janeway.

    I realize that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. So, I will express my opinion. One, I don't agree with your review. And two, it's one of my favorite "STAR TREK VOYAGER" episodes ever. Enough said.

    As with much of Voyager, not everything here works, but I had a lot of fun rewatching this last night. Also, there's a great bit of business with Tuvok and Janeway during the pulsar sequence:

    "I hope you were exaggerating!" - Janeway
    "I was NOT!" - Tuvok

    Well delivered. Fun ep.

    Not a good episode but not as bad as Jammer's review/rating for me. While it's again the screwing with DNA cliche on VOY, I liked the idea of the crew being put through some deadly experiments and them having to put an end to it. Kind of reminds me a tad of "The Empath" although that was a far superior offering and this episode had nothing touching or meaningful about it.

    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...

    How harsh is this review?! I thought this was a really fun episode with a genuinely cool opening cliffhanger, a good script, and well-executed acting. The reveal where Seven walks around seeing people with instruments on their bodies out-of-phase was so unexpected and great to watch. As for the captures scientist coming across as cold - of course she was cold and calculating! She's calmly performing deadly scientific experiments on the crew like they're guinea pigs, that's what her personality should be like!

    Come on Jammer. This deserves at least 3 stars. Maybe even 3.5.

    This Torres/Paris story is annoying and being forced down the viewer's throats. I doubt the entire ship would be obsessed with them.

    This explains those ships stuck to the outside of the ship's hull that could be seen in "The Gift" when Tuvok is lighting a candle and the camera is pulling away from his window. I wondered why we were getting a view of the outside of the ship and I was wondering what those blue and black things attached to it were.

    I liked it.

    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.

    "I cheered the destruction [of] the bad guys' ship because I didn't like their smugness and wanted to see them get their just desserts."

    Actually, it's "just deserts," as in what one deserves.

    ""I cheered the destruction [of] the bad guys' ship because I didn't like their smugness and wanted to see them get their just desserts."

    Actually, it's "just deserts," as in what one deserves."

    Actually it's "just desserts", as in, the bad guy eats it.

    Jammer, this is weird-I actually liked the parts you hated and vice versa. I thought Paris and Torres behaviour bogged down an otherwise excellent episode!

    Ridiculously low core by Jammy. He starts about ten different sentences with "I must admit I enjoyed..." and the review is mostly positive, but gives it 1.5 because someone said "DNA" at one point.

    An excellent episode, full of action, suspense, comedy- and entertainment, which is what it's all about after all. Yes, you can pick holes in the plot, as you can with just about every Trek episode ever screened.

    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.

    Loved both Jammer's review AND this episode - and, no, that's not contradictory. The reviews make me question my take on any episode and I love thinking about the episodes from different perspectives.

    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.

    This is just a fun episode. I love Tom and B'Elanna's juvenile behavior. I love Chakotay and Neelix one-upping each other on how bad they have it. I love Janeway's crankiness and reckless course of action at the end of the episode, along with Tuvok's dry commentary. And Seven's investigation where she can see the aliens everywhere is nicely done. I honestly don't care about the plausibility (or lack of) of the science, I just enjoy watching the crew react to the situation and take on some pretty loathsome aliens.

    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.

    @Jez What is it with you Conservatives whining and complaining? Lighten up kid!

    Jammer I love your reviews but your obvious hatred of voyager has clearly clouded your judgement here.

    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.

    "Actually I was going to suggest a change of outfit"
    ROTFLMAO!! The episode was worth it just for that one joke. :-p

    This is one of those episodes that has a wham line for which I would give it 3 stars just for that line alone.

    “If your people attempt to incapacitate me, I will kill you.”

    Some great work with the guest actresses as well.

    This episode is kind of a camp classic, nearly as compellingly exciting as Season 2's Deadlock, but as hilariously OTT and _extra_ as that one was serious and believable.

    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.

    I agree somewhat with Jammer on this. Although a bit hokey I did like Tom and Belana’s high school type romance where they are making out and trying to hide it but obviously failed. I enjoyed the part about the discovery of the aliens and Seven only being able to see them. I enjoy the nice seen between Tuvok and Janeway. I enjoyed a pissed-off Janeway too.

    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.

    They really want to turn Janeway into a badass don't they?

    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.

    >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.

    This has always been one of my favorite episodes, and one which I've thought Jammer underrates.

    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").

    This was a good one. Jammer is usually on the money, but this one was better than he reviewed it.

    this comment section is a reminder that jammer somehow has better taste than the majority of the fanbase apparently

    “DNA!!! Noooo!” *goes insane*

    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.

    @Andrew, Don't you think that's way too is a matter of opinion to some degree.. Did you not like this episode st all? If you don't I respect your opinion of course but each his own.

    @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.

    Let's say that I agrea with Jammer regarding DNA Jinx and probably the Neelix and Chakoty scene in the sickbay. Personally I also found the murder of the Crewwoman unneccesary.

    The rest was quite good or even very good. There where some fun scenes, the cooperation between the Doctor and Seven was fine. She seeing the aliens in the "phased ligt" was great. Her reaction when shr was to tell Janeway regarding the intrusion. The showdown in engeneering, Janeway's chicken run.

    It was exciting, thrilling, funny and slightly silly.

    This episode reminds me of the actions taken by Dr. Fauci and the CDC during the pandemic. Controlling others without regard for their feelings or desires in a cold and psuedo-scientific way. Using science as a cover for control and careless manipulation. I think it is a warning of what might happen in the future without proper guidance.

    I always enjoyed this episode and would give it a higher rating than Jammer did, mostly because it explores some unique angles. I'm not as annoyed by the DNA trope either. I think using the concept of genetic tags with transmission signals is rather clever, as well as how the aliens relied on the nearby binary pulsars to make the Voyager crew think it was somehow stellar radiation affecting DNA. I also liked the freak show of all the instruments sticking out of people's heads. Another enjoyable aspect was the Doctor and Seven's dialogue, they always seem to work well together.

    The things that bothered me about the episode were different than Jammer's critiques:

    1) 7 of 9 is the vehicle for discovery, again. She conveniently possesses the only piece of hardware that can see the aliens, even after the Voyager crew try to recalibrate their internal sensors to reveal them. How can her eye piece be so much more capable than the ship's entire sensor array?

    2) It's a dubious that a warp-capable civilization with phased-cloaking technology would need to medically experiment on aliens in this fashion, not to mention on aliens who have different physiology than them. Surely they could come up with another testing model than hostile invasion of passers-by?

    3) The medical experiments don't make much sense, even from a 20th century perspective. For example, why do they care what Janeway's behavioural responses are to increased dopamine and aggression? Don't we already know what happens when you deprive somebody of dopamine? Why would they need to increase a crewman's adrenal activity so high that their blood pressure skyrockets to an abnormal level and they die? It looks more like an execution than an experiment.

    4) How does the episode go from "the gravity between the pulsars is so strong that they are pulling in anything close to them so we better stay at a safe distance" to Voyager literally flying between them and then coasting out to safety using pure momentum while its propulsion system is offline? All without being obliterated, and after Tuvok says shields are down and the structural integrity field is collapsing. Yeah OK.

    5) The aliens were terribly one-sided in their attitude, despite being clearly advanced. But that's VOY aliens for you, always one-dimensional.

    This has always been one of my favourite episodes and I ech a poster above who said season 4 is probably the most consistent. I think season 4 & 5 were the two best seasons of voyager.

    This episode in particular keep interest high. The good being that the writers only let you know what's actually happening about 25 minutes into the show. It's a fantastic piece, well acted and the allegory to animal rights and testing are great. Especially at a time where this was most likely still happening.

    Very fun episode, great mystery built up with a gradual increase of "hey something weird is going on" vibe to an interesting revelation, followed by a reasonable level of technobabble and action, mixed with some humor. 4 stars, but there were a couple of things I didn't get.

    1st, with all the power the aliens had to remain "out of phase" whatever that means, disable the doctor, manipulate their DNA, kill the crew instantly..etc, why wouldn't they be able to over-ride Janeways's lockout of the navigation panel? Like why didn't they disable her command codes or something?

    2nd, as people have mentioned, how would the data on them be useful to their species? How would it make sense to kill everyone which would destroy any possibility of getting more data. She sounded very irrational and barbaric for an advanced scientific species. The morality was a little too obviously outrageous. They could have made their plight similar to the vidians, with less extreme experiments of doing random things to each crew member. How does that make sense for any specific things they could be researching?

    3rd, if the doctor was disabled then how did he get to the holodeck to communicate with 7? How did the aliens not detect this. I also feel like 7 had much easier ways to alert the crew, such as sending a message onto Tuvoks panel instead, or a computer com message, if the aliens didn't even notice 7 was following them around, why would they notice a far more subtle approach?

    Finally, it was so satisfying seeing their ship destroyed. My only disappointment is that only one was and not both. But that's another thing I don't get. They are so advanced yet get ripped apart by the gravity when Voyager was doing fine? Nonetheless they got what they deserved and especially knowing the data they got was likely also destroyed is even more satisfying. Apparently they had 0 sense of ethics and weren't even conducting research in any conceivable useful way, just stimulating random DNA segments for no reason.

    Oh and a couple other things, didn't they already have a way to combat "interphasic aliens" in TNG the ones with data dreaming and Sigmund Freud? Interphasic pulse or something?

    And just a little nitty picky Science thing, if they were flying between two pulsars, wouldn't the gravitational steering forces be pulling in opposite directions, ripping it apart, not "crushing" it. Even with one gravitational body it would be stretching not crushing.

    Great episode though.

    Well, I've just watched this one again. It's one of the few episodes I remember very vividly. I LOVE the plot of the invisible aliens experimenting on the crew. I think the Dr and 7 made a good team, and I like the way it was resolved (kind of in line with Kirk-although I don't think Janeway was bluffing).

    What I didn't like is Paris and Torres! It is sad to see shows I like go down the road of immorality. I would like to say that the aliens did something to them to make them act that way, but a lot of people don't hold good moral values and television reflects this. A person's first kiss should be at marriage, and all of the sneaking around they did was pretty shameless. And as usual, there are no consequences for such behaviour on these kind of television shows!

    Well, I guess it's time for this clip with a few lines from the so called good book

    You Sean are not the arbiter of good morals, you are just repeating what a bunch slave owning/beating, wife burning, daughter selling upper class men wrote down a few thousand years ago.

    Sean, please stop promoting kissing amongst married couples. Lips are made for eating, drinking and sensing temperature changes, and marriage itself is a sin which distracts from our private relationship with God, and often flies against our sacred duty to celibacy.

    @KazonCrayon 1 Cor 7:36-38 says "36 But if anyone thinks he is behaving improperly by remaining unmarried, and if he is past the bloom of youth, then this is what should take place: Let him do what he wants; he does not sin. Let them marry. 37 But if anyone stands settled in his heart and has no necessity, but has authority over his own will and has made the decision in his own heart to remain unmarried, he will do well. 38 So also, whoever marries does well, but whoever does not marry will do better.

    So, you are correct that being single to serve Jehovah God is a better lot, but marriage isn't a sin either. It is illicit sexual immorality that is sinful.

    I encourage you to have a look at this article:

    "It is illicit sexual immorality that is sinful."

    Circular argument much?

    I don't care what your bronze-age holy book deems to be moral or immoral, nor do a lot of other people. Some have their own conflicting holy books, and some use secular means to determine morality. Simply declaring an act to be immoral without better reasoning than "because this book says so" is unproductive.

    Sean, you are promoting anti-chastity propaganda. All marriage and all lip-on-lip sexual contact is a sin, as Brahmacharya teaches us. Christianity itself is a perversion that came thousands of years later, and stole the concept of the Trinity from the Trimurti, and was used by the sinner Paul to promote immoral and indecent use of the lips. This has led to our permissive, immoral, sinful society today, and the improper use of lips, which should not be used in a sexual context unless in rare situation (eg- when unintentionally arousing someone while providing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation).

    @Sean and @KazonCrayon, please take it somewhere else. It is irrelevant to this forum. And to both of you: YOUR religion and beliefs prohibit YOU. They do not prohibit ME or anyone else.

    @wanderer2575 I'm sorry-I was simply commenting on the episode, not on what you people decide to do. I can't endorse an episode where the people in it are partaking in conduct I hate (I mean the "heroes" of the episode-obviously the bad guys will do hated conduct, but it is understood that that is what makes them "bad guys")

    This may be one of Jammers worst reviews. Episode was solidly entertaining with a mix of thrills, drama and comic relief.

    Maybe Jammer had on his cranky shoes while viewing and needs to give the episode another look.

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