Star Trek: Voyager
"Someone to Watch Over Me"
Air date: 4/28/1999
Teleplay by Michael Taylor
Story by Brannon Braga
Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"How the hell do you know when we're having intimate relations?"
"There is no one on deck 9, section 12, that doesn't know when you're having intimate relations."
— B'Elanna and Seven
Nutshell: A delightfully pleasant, hilarious, and sincere hour.
Some of the best comedies are the ones that dare to be true to human nature rather than simply going for the isolated gag. Elaborate gags are fine, and comedy can certainly work when arranged through ridiculous, manufactured situations (just look at much of Seinfeld's run, for a good example), but there's something to be said for the simple comedy that runs with a basic situation and doesn't go for the contrived, overblown payoff.
"Someone to Watch Over Me" is a human comedy with a ring of truth. The concept behind the story is relatively simple: Seven of Nine takes dating lessons. The result is an hour that takes many of the expected comic paths in ways that are impressively sincere, and also finds a bittersweet undercurrent that leaves one charmed. It's a straightforward story well conceived by Brannon Braga and well told by Michael Taylor, in probably the latter's best work of the season.
There are probably about a million ways this story could've gone wrong and ended up looking just plain silly. Somehow, the story manages to steer clear of almost every trace of stupidity. Sure, sometimes the humor is obvious, but we sense that, given these characters' personas, it's precisely what would happen under the circumstances.
The one who gives Seven dating lessons is, of course, the Doctor. The funny thing about Doc is that he is in a situation similar to Seven's—somewhat outside the understanding of human existence. But the difference is that he has a certain perceptiveness of human behavior that Seven seems to lack (and he therefore considers himself something of an expert). He also has a desire to fit in as a human, whereas Seven seems somewhat more content being "unique."
So who else would be fit to give Seven lessons on dating, that strange human custom that Jerry Seinfeld likens to a job interview?
Seven will probably always be Seven, but she does try to be more human. (At the hour's beginning, she's watching Tom and B'Elanna eating dinner, and, much to B'Elanna's dismay, reveals that she has been observing and logging the couple's intimate activities for days.)
The Doctor's tutelage comes in the form of chapter-by-chapter lessons, with the chapters having titles like "Beguiling Banter," "Dress for Success," and "Shall We Dance?"
Watching Seven engage in dating behavior is hilarious, because the most important aspect of her social development—how to talk in human terms rather than Borg ones—is still somewhat lagging. Seven always speaks in terse, matter-of-fact phrases that often feature computer-like words like "terminated." She also has a tendency to make verbal mandates rather than requests. For her, verbal communication conveys fact, not emotion. She aims for efficiency, not courtesy. So when you plug that pattern of speech into a dating situation, you get almost instant comedy.
Doc's plan takes Seven through a series of social interaction exercises, including one particularly cute scene where Doc and Seven sing a duet of "You Are My Sunshine." (Here, having Jeri Ryan sing works as a legitimate aspect of the story, rather than seeming gratuitous the way it was in last season's "Killing Game.") Eventually, Seven is ready to make a selection for her first date, which she does by narrowing to two candidates a list of crew members based on compatible interests and duty efficiency. ("You are not one of the candidates, Ensign," she informs a hopeful Harry. Heh.)
For her first date, Seven recruits, er, requests the presence of one Lt. Chapman (Brian McNamara) for dinner in the holodeck, whom she asks out in a way that's as terse and matter-of-fact as one would probably expect a Borg might ask someone out.
The date itself is charmingly funny. One would expect it to be a disaster. It pretty much is. But what I like most about the date scene—and the episode in general—is the way the characters try so hard to make everything work. The scene could've played the wrong notes and embarrassed both characters beyond our ability to feel good about what unfolded, but it doesn't. Instead, both characters genuinely try to make the best of a very awkward set of situations. This scene deserves credit because it allows Chapman not only to be incredibly nervous, but also very understanding. Poor Seven just doesn't comprehend these human customs, but she tries the best she can to play along. And Chapman tries to salvage the evening several times by maintaining patience and composure, and suggesting that perhaps they try a different activity. When the lobster dinner falls through, he recommends dancing ... which lands him in sickbay with a torn ligament when Seven attempts a more complex dancing maneuver.
All of the mini-disasters and the awkwardness in the dialog prove very amusing, but the lighthearted sincerity of good-natured effort is what really makes the scene work. Even though the date, as expected, sinks about as fast as the Titanic, both characters somehow survive with their dignity intact. Doc's presence as the piano player/chaperone provides a nice touch for some subtle laughs on the side.
Robert Duncan McNeill, who directed, shows a skill for comic timing with a light touch. A lot of the humor in this episode could've suffered if it had been blunt and in-your-face in execution, but instead it's somewhat understated, which I think is a very wise choice. The episode seems more human and less manufactured as a result.
Also, it's nice to see Tom's Marseilles restaurant brought back from holodeck oblivion. I've always thought it had the most class of the Voyager holodeck hangouts, though I must share Tom's disappointment at the deletion of the pool table.
Performances are key to success in a story like this. McNamara is effective as the likable but ill-fated first-date victim. But, naturally, this is Jeri Ryan's vehicle to carry. I realized here more than ever before that Ryan gets great acting mileage out of her eyes. Because Seven is generally very subtle when it comes to emotion and facial expressions, it's eye language that most often shows how she's feeling, whether it's the terror of arriving at that first date or the bemused wonder of letting her hair down for the sake of appearance.
Of course, we can't forget about Robert Picardo, who brings the usual mix of sincerity, sensitivity, and manic over-eagerness to the character. Just as Seven is Seven, Doc is Doc: a well-intentioned guy who begins realize he's getting more than he bargained for in giving Seven these lessons on romance. He silently begins to fall for the pupil, which makes for the story's bittersweet coda, where Doc realizes that Seven probably doesn't share the feelings—but can't be sure because he can't muster the will to ask.
It's clear Seven and Doc share a respect and friendship that is unique, but the question, I think, is whether Seven has the capacity at this point to even feel something for Doc—or for anyone. Through all the dating practice and social lessons, does Seven see this as anything more than an elaborate human exercise? I'm guessing she doesn't really have the need or desire for romance, and it's apparent her ideal "compatible mate" does not exist, simply because the parameters she sets for compatibility are too narrow.
There's also a B-plot here that is good for some laughs, as Neelix finds himself in over his head in showing around an alien guest of honor, Tomin (Scott Thompson), who overindulges in spicy foods and synthehol, going against the traditions of his people. Neelix can't control Tomin's indulgences, and Tomin eventually gets so drunk he can't stand, leading Neelix to fear that his babysitting of the guest will end in an unpleasant embarrassment. (Neelix: "The captain will be back tomorrow. What do I do?!" Chakotay: "Pray.")
However, I really could've done without Tomin interrupting the hour's peace and good will with that obnoxiously drunken outburst. (The whole show benefits from being tranquil, so why ruin a good thing?) Most of the material is fine as lightweight subplots go, but I wish it had backed off at the end, because in an hour almost completely free of conventional cynicism, Tomin's angry drunkenness begins to show the hints of a mean spirit that should've been barred from the set.
Anyway, even Tomin's outburst can't bring down a scene where Seven accompanies Doc to a party, and where she makes a toast to "the things that make us unique." Seven can fit in when she tries, but it requires her to relax and feel comfortable, and it's interesting that Doc is one of the few people who can help her feel that way.
Doc and Seven's rapport is an interesting phenomenon. At one point Seven calls dating inefficient, saying the communication she shares with the Doctor is more useful, since they say what they mean. But that's sort of the point: Dating isn't supposed to exemplify efficiency; it's customary, ritual human behavior. For Seven to understand it would require her to better understand humanity. That's the quest. She has come quite a way since "The Gift," but there's still a long way to go. In the meantime, I suppose she can take satisfaction in being unique.
Next week: Y2K makes Voyager blow up. (Okay, maybe not.)
Previous episode: Juggernaut
Next episode: 11:59
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101 comments on this post
Sun, Jan 20, 2008, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 11, 2008, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 2, 2008, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
And once again, the perfection of a Doctor-Seven romance is so obvious here--I still can't figure out why the writers decided to make him "Joe."
Sat, Sep 13, 2008, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 19, 2009, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 3, 2009, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
At least Data had Picard, and Spock had Kirk.
Thu, Mar 12, 2009, 9:45am (UTC -5)
Mon, May 11, 2009, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
That could have been a situation for Seven to react more naturally, bring her date to the sickbay or talk about how she and he felt about the evening.
Seven felt he was quickening the sequence, because he did not like it. It would have been a compliment for her, if Chapman resisted the Doc (just a bit) more. She wouldn't have felt it as a failed date.
Fri, Aug 14, 2009, 12:22am (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 22, 2009, 5:42am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 20, 2009, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 27, 2009, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Seven and the Doctor are the Voyager characters I found most engaging and this episode shows them off terrifically.
For me Voyager sorely lacks the interpersonal chemistries of which DS9 has several (eg Sisko and Jake, O'Brien and Bashir, O'Brien and Bashir and Worf, everyone and Worf, Weyoun and Damarr, also the delightfully cartoonlike baddies Ducat and Kai Wynn etc etc).
Thu, Mar 18, 2010, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 25, 2010, 5:38am (UTC -5)
His rather animated interpretation of the process of ‘egg fertilisation’ is exceptionally funny.
And the end is so very poignant as Dr. Feel-Good is such a likable character (in a irascible way).
Fri, Jun 4, 2010, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
Voyager's biggest character-related disappointment, was not following through with this episode and pairing up the Doctor and Seven. The whole Chakotay/Seven thing at the end never made any sense at all!
Sun, Jul 4, 2010, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
I don't understand what's so good about this episode. Yes, it's reall funny at times; yes, we get a lot of shots of Seven and her, um, talents... But, HELLO!, is this Star Trek or Friends?!?
I want to see laser battles, spatial phenomena, the workings of advanced sci-fi technology, exploration, and interaction with new and vastly different species. I am decidedly NOT interested in people's FEELINGS, their troubled childhood relationships, their meditations, cogitations and ruminations, their introspective explorations, their personalities and characters, OR in scenes of 20th-century-Earth bars, autos and wars... Perhaps my own expectations are the problem here.
2 stars, and that only because of the humor. This show had no sense or purpose.
Fri, Dec 24, 2010, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
But I've never had much of a fondness for love stories (especially Trek ones, although this is one of the better ones) or "cringe based" comedy so it didn't do much for me really.
I loved the "how do you bend a hologram's ear" joke though :)
Mon, Feb 7, 2011, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
Oh please. By now I've read at least half a dozen comments in which you endlessy complain whenever Voyager episodes turned attentionen to moral subtext, insightful characterisation and/or introspective relationship aspects - which unfortunately wasn't that often anyway, at least not in a sophisticated, engaging and therefore successful manner.
It may come as a surprise to you but Star Trek at its heart has always been about character interactions, about human (even with sometimes not so human beings) drama and ethical issues set against a sci-fi backdrop. How boring and shallow a show/franchise it were if devoid of such themes? Themes we actually can relate to? If it wouldn't tackle topics we as indivuduals or as a whole society have to face constantly (or from time to time at any rate)? That, on some level, actually matter?
Oh, and dealing with such things has nothing to do with going all 'Friends' (or 'Oprah' as you put it in another comment). I mean, how old are you? Space battles and explosions, unintelligible techno-babble. Gosh ...
On a second thought let me ask you one question. What would "interaction with vastly different species" be about? How to increase the Warp drive efficiency? How to better compensate fluctuation in the shield emitter. Which race forms a temporarily allience with whom to battle which opposing alien force?
I wouldn't have minded if you stated your opinion once or twice but since nearly every commentary of yours expressed that sentiment I quite strongly felt compelled to speak my mind.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 2:30am (UTC -5)
Why, thank you for expressing your opinion. I have been doing likewise, and there is nothing wrong with that. I find it impossible to understand those who want a 24th-century sci-fi show to focus on the characters, yea, protagonists. The science fiction genre is distinctly different from the human drama genre, and the difference is not JUST that the former is usually set in the future.
Ethical dilemmas I do not mind one bit; as a lawyer (since you ask: 30 years old), I find them engaging and thought-provoking. The characters, however, I view as tools used to depict life in the 24th century. Or put it this way:
How to deal with a hologram in terms of equality and civil liberties/human rights: GOOD.
One's fraught relationship with one's father: BAD.
Agree or disagree with it.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 3:59am (UTC -5)
It shouldn't _just_ be soulless sci-fi and space battles as then there's nothing to relate to and the characters are... well, "just tools". I prefer them to have personality and meaning to put the exploration side into context. As a random example take Chakotay (I know the character / spirituality doesn't appeal to everyone but take it in the context of quality, not personal taste).
Differently cultured character providing a spiritual perspective to the worlds, cultures and events they come across: GOOD.
Stock First Officer With Novelty Tattoo: BAD. (or at least, dull).
He's been both, and unfortunately mostly the latter from ~S4.
At the other end of the scale it shouldn't be a soap opera either. Goodness knows it had its moments when Neelix and Kes were together. I don't really want or need to know who's sleeping with who unless it's relevant to long term development, nor do I enjoy viewing jealous characters. Plus, whilst it doesn't HAVE to be a subject exclusive to the 24th century (some of Trek's best episodes could've worked in any setting) it does help to remember that setting now and again :)
Where was this episode.. not too bad I thought, as it showed a very 24th-century character (Borg) and her perspective on all the silly human rituals that we have to go through when selecting a mate etc. I find that perfectly relevant and a fine combination of future setting and characterisation. It just seemed a bit silly. Star Trek Humour (TM) has never appealed to me that much - YMMV.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 11:55am (UTC -5)
But then the success has always lain in the qualitative depiction of human drama. If you think about it, even the most famous, celebrated works in our culture (take Sakespeare's oeuvre for instance) can be reduced to that basics if it weren't for the sophisticated manner in which it's presented. In the end it's not so much about the topic - there are actually only a couple of different themes (love, hate, friendship, trust among them) that get varied over and over again, put in the different context etc. - but the execution. And the setting doesn't should limit what themes and issues can be tackled by the authors.
That said I agree that a series (or film) set in the future should address specific (theoretical) problems of that time - but in a way I, as the viewer, can relate to. Interstellar combat, exploration of the unknown (of the final frontier, har har.) is fine by me, as long the characters, the stories are engaging. After all not the space battles and enduring hostilities between the different races made DS9 (and perhaps to a lesser degree TNG) so great but the interactions of the characters (and of course the intelligent subtext often present in many episodes).
Regarding your question, Micheal, I utterly agree with the first sentences. I don't agree with the second, at leat when such a relationship is handle subtle and has real significance (which, alas, in Voyager it hadn't).
I'd like to add that I hope I haven't insulted you with my last post. After rereading it today it seems more aggressiv than I originally intended it to be. As I said, it wasn't your opinion but the over and over repeated sentiment that prompted me to write a reply. But then I probably shouldn't have read so many reviews in such s short period if time I guess. *g*
BTW: For English is not my native tongue, could someone please explain the use of [TM] (Trademark?)in the text/comments to me. I have a rough idea what it could mean but I'm not completely sure.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
I guess Push the Reset Button [TM] is another of these Voyager typical trademarks.
Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 18, 2011, 3:48am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 7, 2011, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 8, 2011, 2:30am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 8, 2011, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
Janeway and Chakotay certainly discussed his case at their habitual dinners in the captain's quarter:
C: By the way Kathryn, shouldn't we assign more demanding chores to Chapman? Transfer him to the bridge or perhaps the engine room. He's a Lt. after all and his file is flawless.
J: I know. I know. He is damn fine Star Fleet officer. He's just so ... so boring. Even Tuvok seems social and fun when compared to him. Honestly I rather fight the the Borg in a shuttle without shields and a broken warp drive than sharing the room with Mr. ... Mr. ...
J: ... than with Mr. Chapman longer than two minutes if you understand what I mean. I don't know, Chakotay. Best we keep things as they are right now. We can discuss this in a year again. What do you think?
C: It's your decision. You're the captain.
Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 2, 2012, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 19, 2012, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 27, 2012, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 28, 2012, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Are you kidding? Her Borg outfit has heels too. :D
Great episode; probably the best (or at least one of the 2 or 3 best) this season.
Fri, May 11, 2012, 1:25am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 10, 2012, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
The best episodes are the ones about people and character. The actors, and the director, handled this with just the right touches.
Definitely one of the best Voyager episodes of any season.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
I love how this episode took my heart and made it into mush. (poor Doctor) and I agree with Jamahl, that lots of episodes dealing with romance of anykind seem to put too much gags, and make the meaning of love seem cheesey. But this one to me was sincere and hard felt. Well done to everyone who made this episode, and thank you Jamahl for this awesome reveiw. My favorite Voyager episode other then "Remember".
Thu, Apr 4, 2013, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
Other than that, great episode! The closing scene is one of the most touching in the entire series.
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 20, 2013, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
The review and the comments cover everything so I'll just briefly summarise it as: beautiful, charming, hilarious,outstanding, moving and remarkably well done by everyone involved. That song "Someone To Watch Over Me" is one of my favourites.
I'm so glad DS9 and Voyager moved away from classical music a little and embraced what I dub as the brilliant Oldies music such as in this episode.
You can't beat the Oldies and you certainly can't beat this charming heartfelt eposide! 4 out of 4 easily.
Fri, Jun 21, 2013, 4:05am (UTC -5)
It's a great episode. Sevens lines are fantastic.
Doctor: "We'll start with hobbies. What do you do with your spare time?"
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
I know Jeri Ryan was added for her looks, but dang i love her expressions she makes. just those subtle eye movements. she plays the part so well.
I like the mysteries and dont enjoy the character shows as much. however, what makes this work is it involves two characters we KNOW! none of this alien of the week romance. we all have personal bonds with these characters and we care about them. that is what makes the last 2 scenes so well done.
I love the look that Picardo makes as he pauses during "sunshine." i think it is before he REALIZES his feelings, but it does give you the sense of his enjoyment of the moment and of Seven.
i wonder why they never explored this more...
Sat, Aug 10, 2013, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Truth be told, I get nervous when Star Trek does love stories, but this episode of Voyager excelled at it. I see from the comments this relationship is not pursued. A pity - although I can see why falling in love with a hologram would be problematic.
What a wonderful episode!
@MsAMK - I noticed the similarity to Pygmalion, but I think it resembles more the original Pygmalion myth found in Ovid's Metamorphoses than the George Bernard Shaw play.
Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
Easy 4 stars.
Seven and The Doctor are perfect here.
A little dismayed at how Seven flew off the handle when she found out about the bet. One would think she might have listend to The Doctor explain it.
But that's minimal stuff.
Seven's date is hilarious!
When the Doctor and Seven sing I teared up. Jeri and Robert are both talented singers.
These two play off each other perfectly!
And Seven's unintential crushing blow at the end was so.... Seven.
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 6:25pm (UTC -5)
What's surprising is how well DS9 and Voyager do romance, and how inept TNG was at that sorta stuff. TOS, meanwhile, was all casual sex!
I think most would agree that the Doctor's puppy love was handled poorly in subsequent seasons. Memory Alpha says the writers didn't want to commit, perhaps fearing similarities to Oda/Kira.
Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Fun, funny, touching, poignant. Fantastic dialogues, smart without forcing, acute and accurate. Jammer is right and the B plot was distracting and unnecessary, but overall it was pure magic how this episode guards, behind the fun and entertainment, a very deep exposure of the complexities and perils of being a (or in this case trying to become a full) human being. Both for the Doc and for Seven.
If this one does not deserve 4 stars, a full 10 out of 10, I do not know which one does.
Sun, Jun 1, 2014, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
The gradual humanisation of Ryan should provide many more amusing moments.
Wed, Jun 25, 2014, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
But I have to say the Seven aspect of it kind of annoys me. She's not only added purely for her looks, but now we have to have entire storyline where she learns how to date. It was way better when they did it with Data in "In Theory" where it wasn't as creepy as everyone on the ship wanting to bang a socially challenged super model.
Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
"Those doors are so LOUD."
Sun, Mar 15, 2015, 9:42am (UTC -5)
Wed, May 13, 2015, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Personally, I don't care too much for these kinds of episodes. That's not to say they're bad. They're just not my cup of tea. I could have easily done without this episode, but I suppose there is some merit to it.
Call me shallow, but I like my Star Trek a little more... exotic. They can have human elements, to be sure, but I want my Trek episodes to include strange aliens or unique space/time phenomena and, if at all possible, an action scene or two. But I suppose it can't be just that all the time. Sometimes, you just have to make room for more character development and the action/sci-fi elements have to take a backseat for that episode.
Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 6, 2016, 3:54am (UTC -5)
It blatantly showed off my worst pet peeve about Star Trek - 24th century characters who should be acting like my descendants acting like my grandparents instead! I mean, who dates anymore? Dating is what the nursing home community does. No one in my generation has ever been on a formal "date." It's just no longer done. We don't dress up! We don't "date." We casually hang out. We hook up. And we fuck!
These writers are so fucking old it's embarrassing. This is supposed to be the 24th century for fuck sake! I cringed when I saw Seven and Lieutenant Who Cares all formally dressed up (job interview style) for what my grandmother would call a "date." Then they danced. He extended his elbow and she grabbed it so he could chivalrously escort the lady to......oh god, I can't even think about it, it's so cringe worthy and old fashioned!
Memo to writers - THIS ISN'T THE 1950s ANYMORE! NO ONE DATES LIKE THAT. NO ONE ESCORTS A LADY TO HER CHAIR! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE 24TH CENTURY AND YOU'RE WRITING THIS THING LIKE IT'S THE 19TH!
My children will one day be asking the older generation "what's a date?" Even we are more sexually enlightened than this 1950s crap in the 21st century! And yet these writers telling stories from the 24th century are targeting the nursing home crowd. What's next? Hold the lady's chair why she sits? And the flowers.........sigh.....ridiculous.
These writers are embarrassingly out of touch with the culture. I wonder what Seven or the Doctor would think of Tinder.
P.S. What the fuck is wrong with Paris? You don't admit that you made a bet with the Doctor in front of Seven! Are you an idiot?
P.P.S. Those of you saying that Seven should fuck the trick of light - are you crazy? She's supposed to be moving closer to humanity, not screwing a computer subroutine!
P.P,P.S. That Ambassador turning his back on his religion in order to get drunk and have sex was awesome!
Wed, Jan 6, 2016, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Get off my lawn!!! People have always hooked up and whatnot. You guys didn't invent it. Remember reading about the 60s in school? Where do you think STDs came from? Humanities long standing history of awesomely perfect monogamy?
People in the future (and the present) will still date. Not everybody swipes left to bone. :P Although it might be cool to see what a Tinder inspired thing looks like in the 25th century.
My general point though is that everybody is different. I'm not that old (early 30s) and people my age hooked up plenty in college. I married my high school girlfriend. And we went on dates.
The 24th century will have a range of experiences like the 21st century. Some people will date (like this) and some people will just screw (like "The Disease"). Star Trek has plenty of casual sex, that's clearly going to be part of the future!
"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... right swipeable."
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
I had never understood just how young you are. No one escorts a lady to her chair? A gentleman escorts a lady to her chair, John. This is not a question of sexual enlightenment: it’s simply a question of good manners.
There are rules in society, which you perhaps are too young to have faced yet: rules of social conduct. They apply in a vast, and very varied number of occasions, covering the whole spectrum of human interaction. We are talking about the social graces: sophistication, refinement, elegance, and manners. And those who do not know a minimum of such things are all the poorer for it.
There is a reason for such rules to exist. It is not only that they make life a lot easier in a number of social occasions, when everyone knows how to behave. It is that they make life more elegant. Social etiquette is like a dance. You don’t just randomly move your body: you lead your lady. And the better your lady knows to be led, and the better you yourself know how to lead her, the more you both enjoy the interaction.
This is what the social graces are: more than a carefully staged play, they are an elaborate dance for the benefit of all involved, save those that can’t dance: those sordid fellows who can only stand and watch, and pretend not to care. But my guess is that they do care: for the best dancers usually run off with the prettiest girls when the music has stopped.
So you see, this has really nothing to do with lack of sexual enlightenment at all, as you suggest. Quite the contrary: it is in fact a foreplay. It is, as Seven aptly describes it, a mating ritual. It is an erotic game. It is what gives magic and wonder to the utterly mechanical, animal act you describe. Do you just press 6 for sex?
Seriously, John: is that how immature and superficial sex is for you? Is a woman just a pound of flesh? Are you really that young? Little wonder you talk so much about the act, and in such a disrespectful manner.
Thu, Feb 4, 2016, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
My favorite part was the teaser, where Seven was stalking Tom and B'ellana for science, and B'ellana rightfully got upset. That combines things that we know about Seven; that she's scientifically-minded and socially awkward. Like Data.
The episode goes downhill throwing out a bunch of dating cliches, and the Doctor's behavior is dancing the line between sweet and creepy.
I would've preferred this episode if it ended with Seven being able to date, or realizing why she wanted to date in first place (Is she lonely? Does she want a child? Does she need to have a "release"?). But things like that somehow never made it into the episode.
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
What is love? (Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more) It's a combination of both an emotional and a physical bond. People can have deep emotional bonds with others without the physical side. It can even be so close that the two people are constantly together such that it could get in the way of a romantic relationship with someone else. So yes, it's possible for two people to be very close without the physical attraction. So I can see Doc developing an emotional bond with Seven. But why physical? Why does he have simulated hormones? How was that part of his original programming? How did he get that far?
That Data would try to have a romantic relationship in In Theory makes sense. Data was explicitly programmed to be sentient, was explicitly programmed to mimic humanity. And we know that his primary goal in life is to become as close to human as possible. So even though he didn't have the physical attraction to Jenna, he was willing to try to fake it. But the EMH? He wasn't programmed to be human, he was programmed to be a surgeon and to learn. Somewhere along the way, he gained enough learning to start wanting to improve himself, ok, I can buy that. He got a few friends (well, just Kes, really), developed a few interests of his own, started to live a new life. But he never explicitly tried to become human; in fact he always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about being a hologram. And unlike Data, he never created a program to be in love. It just happened to him. He didn't try to fall in love, didn't decide to create virtual hormones. So where did those virtual hormones come from?
I have no idea. And neither, I think, do the writers. Not only that, but at this point in time, I don't see the Doctor wanting to be in a permanent, deep relationship with anyone even on a mental level. He still likes being himself, and while he craves casual contact with others, he never seemed lonely or desiring more companionship. He likes attention, mostly. But that was to satisfy his ego, not because he wanted to deeply connect with anyone. Could Seven be different, being an outsider like himself? Being a bit more artificial, like himself? Perhaps. And I could see him trying to program in a romantic side of himself in order to get closer to someone that he has a mental relationship with, since, y'know, he has no ability for physical desire to appear naturally. But that clearly isn't what happened. He clearly "fell in love" just like a human.
If you're going to make a character that is not human, why are you basically turning him human? What's the fun of having a human doctor that can be turned off, rather than a truly artificial intelligence? Dumb, dumb move. I would much rather if it was Seven who realized that the EMH was her optimal choice, then realized that such a choice was not practical. We could still have had a poignant ending, but one that fits the characters better.
Sigh, whatever. As for the episode itself, it had its moments, but in the end it was still pretty simplistic and safe. I groaned when it became clear they were doing the Pygmalion Plot, especially when they added the bet with Paris. Fortunately the resolution of that (y'know, the cliched bit where the girl finds out, gets super mad, and the guy has to make a dramatic appeal to her to fix the problem) was far more subdued than normal, but still... Also, the date was too cliched. Lobster? Getting injured by dancing? Too simplistic. Same with the B Plot. I mean, I'm glad the creepy minister at the end wasn't as strict as we had been told, but that could have been more subtle.
So yeah, I can see why people go gaga over this, but it definitely isn't my cup of tea.
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 8:59am (UTC -5)
The B-story though gets just considerably more broad than is perhaps merited, and is much less well pitched - it comes over more like a frat comedy than something more sophisticated, and matches poorly with the main story. 3 stars overall.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
The B plot was entertaining 4 stars.
Fri, May 27, 2016, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Manners. They do exist and women do appreciate them.
Try them someday, you may be surprised.
Tue, May 31, 2016, 10:38am (UTC -5)
You seem like a well-meaning, albeit embarrassingly inexperienced, young kid, so I advise you to read carefully what Andy's Friend wrote about your comments. You clearly have a lot of maturing to do, but some intelligent words -- from someone who's experienced the real world in a way that you're too young to have done -- may be of help.
Fri, Aug 5, 2016, 11:10am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 7, 2016, 4:51am (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 12, 2016, 8:54am (UTC -5)
"you are not one of the candidates ensign."
This was an excellent episode: 4 stars.
I'm disappointed the Doc didn't get to test out his Holo-wang.
@John - I'm curious. Are you the same guy who comments regularly (the lawyer)? If so I'm a bit surprised at your attitudes here. I normally find myself agreeing with you.
For the record, I'm 44yo (not old enough to be your grandfather) and I definitely dated. That was in the 90's. It may surprise you to know that there were no social networking sites back then. In fact I can remember before there was even an internet. Now I really feel old :(
Tue, Jan 3, 2017, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
How the hell would the doctor know how species 8472 mate?
And for that matter - why do they still call them species 8472 - they must have another name for themselves besides a borg designation...
ok, I guess that's more than one question...
Tue, Jan 31, 2017, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
One thing that annoyed me a bit.. is the two men Seven tried to date (the hologram dude and Chapman) were quivering fools. Hey, I know some guys are like that... but why not give us a guy who doesn't get scared like a 15 year old virgin when an attractive woman talks to him.
Seven and the Doc.... that would have been better to develop than the random hookup on season 7 with Chuckles.
I did like the B story of the religiously oppressed guy getting his first taste of booze, luscious food, and hot women. That was good fun .
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 12:40am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 20, 2017, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
This is an example of an episode about life on Voyager, nothing really else going on other than character development. It is meant to be a comedy and it works out really well -- as some of the best Trek comedies from other series have. Really impressed with the writing and directing here.
The B-plot with Neelix and the ambassador wasn't bad and I'm glad it didn't blow up in anybody's face -- that would have upset the vibe of the episode and taken away from what the focus should be (7/Doc).
Many memorable scenes - I cracked up when 7/Doc sang "You Are My Sunshine" and 7's date was pretty funny. I give credit to Ryan for how accurately she portrays the Borg.
3 stars for "Someone to Watch Over Me" -- good title (for a change it's not a 1 word episode title). An episode I'd like to watch again for sure -- lighthearted but sincere and amusing.
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 3:44am (UTC -5)
The story centering around Seven wanting to explore the possibility of a romantic relationship was a good one. I can understand someone like Seven thinking all her life that romance was something she didn’t want but then one day realizing something was missing
I could also understand Seven hesitant for other people to know this since it exposes a part of someone and could feel like being vulnerable
I could also understand her logical scientific approach to romance by observing and gathering data to help her quantify variables in what does and doesn’t make a successful relationship. But unfortunately romance and dating don’t work as orderly or as easy as that
So most of the Seven stuff works but pretty much everything else is a wash. Paris continued to be a callous asshole—an unfortunate trend started in season four—to the point he is totally unlikable. Insulting Seven, denigrating her and her efforts to grow. What a jerk!
I could see where the writers were going with the idea of seeing what is right in front of you. However o didn’t care for the idea of a Seven/Doc romance. Fell flat. As a result the payoff to the main Seven story didn’t impress
Neelix continues to be a worthless character. Voyager as a series was prone to doing light or comedy episodes far too often. Worse yet the ambassador/Neelix plot was slight even in an already light episode. It was total filler. It also reminded me of aspects of TNG’s “Liaisons” which is definitely not a good thing. And the” nanoprobe cures a hangover” bit was unnecessary and served no real point other than some half hearted “jeopardy”. Meh
Overall a pretty average affair
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 26, 2018, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 7, 2018, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Paris wasn't an idiot; he was losing that bet and by making Seven get upset and leave he turned the tides and ended up winning!
Sun, Jun 3, 2018, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
That 'You Are My Sunshine' duet alone made this ep worth it!
Voyager as a whole never really lived up to its potential, but it occasionally produced little jewels like this.
Sun, Jul 1, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
I always liked the Data character (a lot) and Spiner did a great job with him but it never felt quite organic. It always felt a bit like Spiner instead of Data. Ryan completely disappears into the Seven role here. It's just so natural.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 10:32am (UTC -5)
I liked the way it skirted being creepy with Doc's interest in Seven. The writing and acting made it work so it was poignant and . . . well, just human, not lascivious or cringy, which it so easily could have become.
Well done overall, as we watch our characters deal with how to interact with a world full of temptations and sensations.
I liked Janeway in her formal Captain attire. All the little touches were great. Voyager has such good characters.
Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
--Yes! Chapman was perfect, and the Sunshine duet was absolutely wonderful.
--Oh, no no! to an actual Seven and Doc hookup. No mutual chemistry, and I think, to Seven, he (as a teacher/mentor and sometime confidant) is a bit of a father-figure. Just no.
--Definitely, the ep shows the need for balance - too repressed, too uninhibited, both can take you down the wrong path. Good thing there's someone to watch over our overwhelmed "guest of honor." The name of the ep is "Someone to Watch Over Me" and we have "You are My Sunshine" both songs about how much we need each other. Figuring out how to engage can be tricky, but worth it.
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 6:13am (UTC -5)
I realize I'm years late to the convo, but I can see how 21st century viewers (like John up there) see this as really dated. But that's viewing it through the lens of NOW, outside the context of when it was written and aired, twenty years ago.
And there always seems to be the issue of writers telling stories based of their personal experiences, leading to anachronisms. A view of the 24th century, written by someone who came of age in the 1970's.
Add all those gaps up, and yeah, some dissonance is gonna happen. The 2010's were not the 90's were not the 60's, and none are gonna have the same outlook on 2374 or whatever.
Consider: the gap between Voyager airing and present day is now as large as the gap between TOS and TNG. Some cracks are bound to start showing in the social and cultural norms of the era.
In 1999, this ep comes across as a bittersweet tale of unrequited affection, a nice My Fair Lady homage.
In 2019, (to me) it starts to look and feel a bit like a hokey 80's sitcom plot. Or Daphne and Niles Crane IN SPACE.
Wed, Aug 7, 2019, 9:13am (UTC -5)
One of the most beautiful women in the world and one of the most beloved people in Star Trek stole the show singing for about one minute!
They were simply put....Outstanding!
Jeri Ryan lifts everyone near her....can make a mediocre song sound like Beethoven, she make's everything lovely!
Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 5:55am (UTC -5)
Bordering on the best hour of trek, ever.
Sun, Nov 17, 2019, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
I did both at once and didn’t know why.
This was simply sublime. Achingly, supernaturally well done, with a pitch-perfect, sensitive, perceptive script that seemed to come right of the characters’ souls and superb production. Consummate work from Ryan, Picardo - shoot, virtually everyone involved - brought it to life (though maybe Tom and B’Elanna just filled their stock roles).
The wry humor, the song ... good lord, the song! A sentient hologram and a Borg refugee sing a crusty old bit of cornball Americana cheese to a heartless MIDI bandbox accompaniment - on a starship no less - and I’m watching alone in my living room, laughing and clapping and tearing up. What the hell is WRONG with me?
Jonathon Baron nailed the emotional core in his 2015 post, above: “The mixture of Doc's earnest pedestrian self-help book style instruction and Seven's essential autism creates a moving interplay of two flawed, wounded people. What makes it work is that only one of them is truly aware of this.“
And, I would add, that he’s perceptive and sensitive enough to let it go gracefully to further the well-being of another.
What an amazing piece of work. I’m watching all of Trek through, following the Chronology Project, and binged through the last ten DS9 eps yesterday, finishing late last night. Of course I was dazzled and wrung out, and felt like I was saying goodbye to some of the best friends I ever had. Loved it.
But after all that sturm und drang, this episode comes as a refreshing relief, light with alluring shadows, a kind of valentine message, all heart.
The B plot is, for me, equally wonderful and truly told. Neelix was perfect. I’ve been in a similar situation, and the dynamics were all well captured. The ambassador reminded me very much, physically, of the guy involved - a great bonus for me.
The one discordant note in the episode was the ambassador’s borderline entitled angry comment when Seven rebuffed him. I was glad he passed out and the interaction didn’t become the diplomatic disaster I think most viewers expected from the setup. I’m glad we didn’t go there.
Making up for that sore thumb, it was a great touch that he didn’t remember it later, and that Seven bore him no grudge the next day, even offering her nano-probes to sober him up. Such a Seven thing to do, perfectly fitting her character.
A last benediction was the colony’s leader’s dispensation to the ambassador, giving him after-the-fact permission to have sampled some of the by-paths of the narrow way. That’s also true to life, and in keeping with the quiet, accepting grace of a superlative episode.
Gives me hope for our species.
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:39am (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
"I laughed, I cried.
I did both at once and didn’t know why.
This was simply sublime. Achingly, supernaturally well done, with a pitch-perfect, sensitive, perceptive script that seemed to come right of the characters’ souls and superb production. Consummate work from Ryan, Picardo - shoot, virtually everyone involved - brought it to life (though maybe Tom and B’Elanna just filled their stock roles).
The wry humor, the song ... good lord, the song! A sentient hologram and a Borg refugee sing a crusty old bit of cornball Americana cheese to a heartless MIDI bandbox accompaniment - on a starship no less - and I’m watching alone in my living room, laughing and clapping and tearing up. What the hell is WRONG with me?"
Absolutely nothing. I did the same, and I'm sure there are many more that didn't want to reveal their sappiness in public. I've seen this episode countless times and each time it inspires some sort of emotion. ... more when I've had a few cocktails... :-)
Love your written expression here. Very interesting and enjoyable reading through your posts.
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 16, 2020, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
I guess they needed her to fail so that the doctor thing could happen, but it felt so forced.
Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Assimilate me!! Hahaha
Wed, Feb 10, 2021, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
They should have replaced Neelix with Buddy Cole.
Tue, Mar 2, 2021, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 2, 2021, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
The kinkiest thing that a Borg could be into: Amish Romance novels.
Resistance to erotic butter churning scenes is futile.
Wed, Apr 28, 2021, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 24, 2021, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Unremarkable episode, despite some good comedic moments, "Seven of mine", it only deserves a 3/10.
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Jammer that the mostly easy to predict gags are surprisingly effective because they are quite earnest and are believable for Seven.
The alien subplot somehow manages to be better than the previous times this trope was used in Trek. Not exactly sure why, maybe a combination of the actor's work, the gags not being ridiculous (like eating 500 sundaes) and there being just the right amount of the subplot sprinkled in.
Thu, Dec 15, 2022, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
If I were on a first date with Seven, I would just be real with her. This is your first date ever, right? How do you feel about the idea of dating? What made you choose me? I understand that this must be challenging for you, is there some way that I can help you to feel more comfortable? Try not to worry about being perfect, I am very forgiving and want us to have a good time! You know... an actual adult interaction based in compassion. It seems like a great deal of Seven's rigidity is actually due to performance anxiety, since she wants to be perfect, yet doesn't know what the heck she's doing.
The Doctor turned this into SUCH a hyper-traditional dating situation that you'd swear it was the 1950's instead of the 24th century. I just don't get it. The show runners got it totally wrong.
The rest of the episode I quite enjoyed, especially Seven signing (what a voice!) and the exploration of the Doctor's feelings for her. I also enjoyed the whole ambassador situation, even though it was very reminiscent of TNG's "Liaisons". It provided relief from the tension of Seven's dating life by giving us an alien character who was the opposite of tense -- he was a total lush succumbing to excess.
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