Star Trek: Voyager


2.5 stars.

Air date: 10/20/1999
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller & Michael Taylor
Story by Juliann deLayne
Directed by David Livingston

"Stay out of this, B'Elanna!"
"Or what? You'll sick Alice on me again?"

— Paris and Torres, a lovers' spat for the books

Review Text

Nutshell: Not bad—just really, really average.

I don't have much interesting to say about our friend "Alice." It's the sort of middling plot-based story that just doesn't demand a great deal of discussion. There aren't many themes that are sufficiently interesting to dissect; there are no real insights or implications to ponder; there are no real surprises; and unlike the previous four episodes, I didn't get the sense that the characters were the important aspect of the story, because it's the plot that's piloting this ship.

"Alice" is, however, a competent, watchable hour-long exercise with a few interesting moments as well as some questionable ones. This sort of story might best fall into the genre of "sci-fi procedural." It's not quite engaging enough to be labeled a mystery. Not boring enough to be labeled a failure. "Alice" so much tempts me to offer up a non-reaction reaction.

More than anything else, "Alice" seems to demonstrate that Paris is not all that complicated a character like Torres, the Doctor, or Seven. If we take "Alice" as any indication, Paris is a "pilot." Who else is he? Who knows? This plot seems to see him as one of those guys who equates what he does with who he is. Okay, fine. But in an episode that's about mental manipulation and, apparently, personal inner desires, you'd think maybe there'd be more to find out about this guy.

The story uses elements of Paris that are in line with what we know of him, but the story doesn't go anywhere new with them. In accordance with episodes like "Extreme Risk," "Vis A Vis," or even (dare I mention it) "Threshold," this episode sees Paris as the Expert Pilot, a guy whose dream in life is to attain some sort of pilot's pinnacle of the aesthetically perfect flight.

This time Paris finds himself falling in love with a run-down old shuttle that a merchant is willing to unload for a reasonable price. Paris is certain: Inside this little relic is the potential of an ultra-maneuverable dream machine. In keeping with ancient naval tradition (and in pushing the foreboding factor), everyone calls this ship "she." Paris eventually names her "Alice." Alice is equipped with an advanced neural interface that connects directly into the brain, allowing the most efficient of all piloting methods: you think what you want and it happens.

Well, the alarms should be going off by now; any Star Trek premise where a piece of technology is being hooked directly into a character's brain is all but guaranteed to turn into a bizarre, hallucinatory mind-takeover plot. "Alice" is no exception. It's an average take on the material. This isn't new stuff, but it's competently put together. Competent, not inspired.

Alice is a weird beast. The camera bears down on the shuttle ominously, and soon we realize that it's somehow alive ... sort of. The idea reminds us of Christine. Is Alice evil? What is Alice doing to Paris?

The second question is perhaps the more easily answered. Paris develops an obsession to make repairs and bring Alice's systems on-line as quickly as possible. Every moment of his free time is spent on the restoration project. And soon we see that he begins hallucinating; Alice becomes personified in the form of a mysterious woman (Claire Rankin) who talks to him constantly, reminding him that the most important thing in his life now is preparing for their first flight. Before too long, Paris is disobeying orders and stealing components to get Alice up and running.

Most of "Alice" is clear-cut plotting setup, but there are some attempted character themes that find their way into the story. Of course, one is the Paris/Torres interaction, which follows more or less expected, but not wrong-headed, lines. Torres objects to being ignored; Paris, under the spell of the addictive Alice, thinks she's overreacting and brushes her aside, without even realizing it.

As Paris' behavior continues to venture into the obsessive, Torres is finally forced to confront him about it. At this point we get a horror-movie-inspired sequence in which Torres becomes locked inside the shuttle and the computer vents the atmosphere, nearly killing her. This reality check prompts Paris to try to give up his obsession, but Alice won't let him—threatening to, well, blow up his head if he doesn't do what she wants.

So now it's time for the questions: What is this shuttle? Is it sentient? The episode seemingly writes it off as a "complex computer program," but there are sketchy head-scratchers, like why anyone would build a shuttle that actively tries to recruit its own pilot (and is looking for the perfect "compatible" pilot, for that matter), and harms anyone who refuses. The episode also isn't sure whether Alice is truly in control or simply causing Paris to act out his ultimate piloting fantasy. There's a reference made to the myth of Icarus (one of Paris' favorite legends, it seems), followed by the Trekkian Icarus equivalent of Paris and Alice setting course for a dangerous spatial phenomenon. Why? Is this Paris' vie for flight perfection? Alice calls this phenomenon "home," but what does that mean? The story doesn't tell us.

There seems to be a sort of "Halloween tale" motif here—where the story is full of mysteries and weird unknowns that are supposed to pique the imagination—but it's only sort of half-effective, and sort of unfulfilling.

For that matter, I find it a little tough to swallow that Paris' brain was "altered" in a way that makes him seemingly communicate with the shuttle computer. The story calls it a "hallucination," yet one gets the impression it goes a little further than that considering the shuttle tries to suffocate Torres on its own accord. (How would killing Torres help Alice's cause, anyway? That to me seems like a guarantee for an instant investigation that would keep Alice from getting what it wants—its tandem flight with Paris.)

I have mixed feelings about the performances. I liked some of the quiet scenes between Paris and the Alice-image. McNeill does a good job with the thousand-yard stare into space as he recites his Quiet Meaningful Dialog about the ultimate flying experience. (The sentiment itself isn't as captivating as it wants to be, but the delivery is pretty good.) On the other hand, the key Paris/Torres scene after the attempted-suffocation episode was hammered too hard with histrionics. (The histrionics are understandable, but the scene feels off-kilter.)

In the end, the story executes well enough to hold its own and temporarily (key word: temporarily) suspend our disbelief. But analysis reveals too many unanswered questions, too much nonsense, and not enough worthwhile character insights. The Paris/Torres relationship in particular seems to end up as potential gone unrealized; their interaction could've been really good, but is instead only adequate. I also must voice the lack of satisfaction in learning that most of Paris' early decisions weren't even really motivated by actual characterization but rather the forced circumstances ("It's like I was sleepwalking").

As I write this, there's a Conan O'Brien rerun on TV. To borrow a phrase I just overheard, I'll say that "Alice" is okay television—but it's certainly not "compellivision."

Next week: A rerun of the Epic Voyager Telefilm™, "Dark Frontier."

Previous episode: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy
Next episode: Riddles

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Comment Section

67 comments on this post

    The very first time I saw this episode, once Paris and Alice reached that nebula (or whatever it was) and he asked Alice what it was I just knew she was going to answer "Home."

    I have no idea what it means either. I'm assuming Fuller and Taylor thought it sounded cool, but it doesn't make any sense.

    It's a pretty good episode. Nothing about it makes any sense whatsoever but it's fast-moving, snappy and fun.

    Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim couldn't get a lock, again; and that AFTER he had been unable to seal the shuttle bay doors. The rogue vessel is outwitted by "distracting" it, which is funny because even 20th century computers can multitask; though maybe that ship was built by Apple (q.v. iPhone without the multitasking ability). Paris commits multiple breaches of StarFleet and criminal law but retains his rank and position, rather than have his ass thrown in jail.

    Ah, good old Star Trek!

    Chakotay: "We already have a full complement of shuttles."

    Undeniable proof if ever there was any that this ship is somehow able to replicate shuttles (must be those gel packs)

    "This reality check prompts Paris to try to give up his obsession, but Alice won't let him -- threatening to, well, blow up his head if he doesn't do what she wants." That would be, from her point of view, kinda self-defeating, wouldn't it?

    It really defies credulity that Abbondanza (the Silik guy) would mention the Haakonians and Neelix, who was right there in the room, wouldn't go, "Wait, WTF?"

    Running commentary time!

    1) Loved the opening chit chat with Tuvok

    2) Voyager has a full complement of shuttles? COUGH COUGH COUGH hahahahahaha

    3) He's living next door to Alice? Who the f--- is Alice?

    4) What's with the awful 70s / Kerr Avon outfit...

    5) I'm glad they didn't smash that bottle on her hull. That would've been rude.

    6) I'm sure I've seen a slut-ship before. Ah yes... Andromeda

    7) How does a guy and a ship... Uh... Actually after a picture of a guy with a Land Rover I saw once, never mind.

    8) Paris does not suit a beard. Definitely not a Riker.

    9) Oh I see, DS9 is over, let's get some Ferengi refences into Voyager :)

    10) Darth Rommy: "Think of what you want me to do and I'll do it" - umm, self destruct, Tom?

    11) You can distract a computer? Can't be a very good multi-tasking OS.. Alice must run on Windows...

    12) Kaboom. Are we done with daydreams now?

    Fun episode actually... At this point Trek had boldly gone everywhere and often run out of ideas, so something this unique is welcome. I had no real problem with it, and it was fun doing commentary.

    Like a couple of others have noted, Chakotay's line that "we already have a full complement of shuttles" elicited a reaction somewhere along the lines of: bwa-hahahahaha! That was definitely the most memorable part of this otherwise mediocre episode, which raised a lot more questions than it answered (that's sometimes not a bad thing, if the questions are intelligent and thought-provoking; these unanswered questions on the other hand stem from a rather half-baked plot that doesn't entirely make sense).

    So Kim says to Tuvok here that "we know you were at least 100 when you reentered Starfleet (and Paris mentions that Tuvok's child was born during his 11th pon farr, which is 70 years after his first, which happens at, say, twenty years of age, and that child is now married, so their guesses were in the ball park, and Kim seemed to establish as fact that Tuvok is at the least 100 with that first line. But then later, in Fury, Janeway says in Tuvok's birthday that he is "almost to the triple digits".

    Maybe it's because I was sleep-deprived when I was watching this but I thought the lover's spot, especially with Charming Happy-go-lucky Tom shouting and being so pissed, man-handling B'Ellana (Wow you're crazy to do that!) was so unlike him, just made him look way hot to me.

    Watching Tom and B'Elanna bicker every second they are together makes me believe Seven's assessment that romantic relationships are irrelevant.

    How much longer can we suspend our disbelief in the supposed chemistry between those two--let alone the premise of genuine feeling?

    Granted, they had some delightfully tense scenes in "Blood Fever" and the following episodes, but once their intimacy was no longer forbidden, it seemed to lose all excitement and spark.

    I know, I know, I've seen the future episodes and I know how they end up... But still, I can never buy B'Elanna's commitment to Tom. It seems that she's always running off and being her charmingly self-destructive self at the drop of a hat, with little visible regard to Tom's protestations.

    Anyone agree?

    I like any episode of Star Trek with John Fleck as a guest star. Put some latex on his face or give him pointy ears and you've got yourself a reliable alien of the week.

    I'm a tiny bit surprised that Jammer didn't mention some of the lame one-liners Harry had in this episode, since Jammer seems to enjoy pointing out how much of a chump Harry has become. I normally share this annoyance to the same extent, but Harry is particular pathetic in this episode.

    The other thing I noticed is that the ending of the episode seems rushed, as if the producers had to cut out a bunch of scenes. For example, once Seven finds out about Tom's secret flight plan, the Voyager ends up on location in very next scene, even though it took a good part of the episode for Tom and Alice to get there. The "plot a course for the Alpha Quadrant" ending also seems a bit rushed somehow.

    This episode might have made sense two seasons earlier, but early in Season 5 Tom got to design and build his dream shuttle, so this makes a lot less sense here.

    The story hooked me and I kept waiting for the reveal of the malicious alien... Only to discover it all was a hallucination with no real point except that the ship wants to get to a certain spot for some reason.

    Disappointing. It could've been a much more entertaining show if "Alice" had been real with a motive that made sense. Without that, I'm left scratching my head.

    PS I liked Paris looking a little scruffy.

    I dont know if anyone caught this, or because i JUST saw TNG "Suspicions."

    but i heard "metaphasic shielding" and it made me smile and Beverly Crusher helped Dr. Reyga (Ferengi) establish that a ship could fly into a star with metaphasic shielding.

    anyway, i guess this episode isnt my favorite. we could all see where the story was going. no real mystery or memorable spots.

    I give it a 1.5 stars

    I too think you were overly generous with this episode.

    As with most mind-takeover plots, this one could have no lasting consequences. As soon as the outside influence is neutralized, everything is forgiven. So it all rides on the execution. Unfortunately the execution here was sorely lacking.

    The setup was long and uninteresting and the non-payoff was not nearly worth the time it took to get there. Unanswered questions are fine, but I couldn't come up with any plausible explanation for the 'revelations' of the final act, and I got a sense the writer's couldn't either.

    As for the performances, I though McNeill and Dawson did okay, but Claire Rankin was terrible. Or maybe she was just doing her best with the material.

    Uninspired, uninteresting piece of Trek.

    We have seen this concept a thousand times. We have seen Paris' love for ships, cars and so on, far too often as well. Boring, flat, forgettable episode. Anything more than 1.5 stars is to be gentle.

    "We already have a full complement of shuttles" has got to be the dumbest line in all 7 seasons of Voyager.

    One thing that struck me about this episode was that it wasn't quite as bad as I remembered it. It was mainly the ending that was abrupt and unsatisfying. The motives of the ship's builders, and the ship itself as personified by Alice, never explained.

    There were too many cliche lines. "Just you, me, and the stars." "What's that?" "Home!" Please.

    I did like the scene in which Seven confronts Paris in Astrometrics and Alice appears and tells him what to do.

    In the beginning of the episode, the way the alien trader recognized Neelix as a fellow trader was a nice touch for continuity's sake (as was Neelix's reminiscing about his ship). In fact the opening scene where we met the alien trader reminded me quite a bit of the way we met Neelix.

    Anyway I don't get the two-and-a-half star rating--it seems Jammer has been grading on a curve lately. With a better ending this episode might deserve two stars, otherwise it gets 1.5 from me.

    Couldn't really get into it.
    For starters, I don't know why Tom was so intrigued with the shuttle when he first saw it. He already has the Delta Flyer, which is pretty much his work in progress, isn't it? Anything he can do to Alice, he can do to the Delta Flyer as well, save for the Neurogenic interlink or whatever it's called.
    I also found the actress who plays Alice a little lackluster. She just doesn't sell the manipulation parts. She comes acorss as flat and unconvincing, particularly towards the end. She detects Voyager messing with her shiels while B'elanna distracts Tom and she just doesn't transmit a sense of urgency or desperation, the way I feel she should. She's pretty to look at, but that's about it.

    It wasn't all bad, though. I liked the opening scene where they try to guess Tuvok's age. I liked the bit where B'elanna gets locked in Alice and almost dies.
    And I liked the joke Seven made where she tells Neelix that all sales are final, including his precious berylium crystal.
    It works as a watchable hour, but just barely. Perhaps if Alice had been more convincing, it would have proven more interesting.

    One of the good things about Voyager turning you off after Season 3 or so during its initial run is that there's always a ton of episodes leftover that you've never seen before to watch when you're bored.

    And so yesterday I picked this one out of a hat and gave it a go. The first thing that really stuck out to me was just how terrible an actress that woman was who played Alice. WOW. Seriously, anybody Avery Brooks bashers out there really need to see this chick's chops for the real definition of terrible acting.

    The episode wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. On the plus side, Chakotay was actual decent in his short scenes. And though clearly the best characters on this mediocre show are The Doctor, Seven, and Janeway, Tom Paris did a good job in this one.

    I kind of wish the episode wasn't so friggin' blunt though. I mean we GET IT, it's about drug addiction already haha.

    Well, that was an incredibly dumb and predictable plot. As others have said, as soon as there was mention of a neural interface onboard that shuttle, I immediately knew how this was going to end. It also didn't help that this is a retread of a lot of the themes of Vis a Vis, which in itself was also a weak episode. Basically, Tom has an obsession with piloting, with flying on his own. This obsession ends up consuming him to the point where he is isolated from his friends and his duties, and nearly ends up ruining (or ending) his life. And at the end of the episode he makes up with B'Elanna, hopefully learning his lesson until the next Paris-centric episode rolls around.

    So I should declare this episode a complete waste of time, but, with that said, there were a few nice scenes . Others have already pointed out the opening with Harry and Tom needling Tuvok about his age. It worked well; these people have all only really been around the same 140 people for the past 6 years. Normally, a ship would have new blood trickling in and old blood trickling out, which would keep some level of formality present. Here, though, you would expect some softening of the crew, at least during times of routine operation. The fact that Tom and Harry feel comfortable enough about this in front of a superior officer, even a Vulcan, and the fact that Tuvok allowed this line of questioning even while dismissing it, means that it is happening. Seeing the crew in casual slices of life moments like this helps to make them look more realistic.

    But more importantly, I think, is the brief scene with B'Elanna and Harry. See, back in Season 3 I thought the writers did a great job of slowly building up the mutual attraction between Paris and Torres, thus making their declaration of love in early Season 4 a satisfying moment. And yet, once that happened, we basically saw all growth in their relationship cease for two seasons. I thought it might at first have been due to Dawson's pregnancy, but then the pointlessness of their relationship continued throughout Season 5. I mentioned in Barge of the Dead that the two of them together actually felt real in that episode, which wasn't there before. And I think the relationship shines through in this episode as well.

    It's just a casual discussion between the two closest people to Tom. And it deconstructs, a bit, what Tom's major fault is. Harry simply mentions that Tom is prone to bursts of interests in other things, but that B'Elanna remains a constant in his life. In one scene, it basically explains away Tom's distance from B'Elanna in the past two seasons while simultaneously reaffirming their relationship. It essentially retcons the past two seasons so that we can in fact see them as a happy couple. Moreover, B'Elanna's tone throughout this conversation isn't one of anger or hatred, but more resigned annoyance. Again, it shows that this is something she's used to and accepts, even if she doesn't like it. Sure, their relationship isn't perfect, but which one is? It makes them being together seem believable.

    Likewise, there were a lot of other scenes sprinkled through this episode that show that Tom still cares about B'Elanna even though he's being mindwarped by the shuttle. He specifically invites her and her alone to the christening of the shuttle. It's the near-death of B'Elanna that makes him nearly break free of Alice's grasp. When he first hears the whispers of Alice in his mind he assumes it's her. And so forth. Unlike Vis a Vis, this episode doesn't ignore her for huge chunks of the story, but rather weaves her into the story. Thus making it less stupid.

    So yeah, still a weak episode, but is saved from complete despair by actually recognizing continuity.

    A haunted car episode? OK...... Didn't get on with this at all. Felt like an early TNG story, and played out in a by turns formulaic and melodramatic manner that just wasn't engaging at all. The plot brought no surprises and the conclusion made little sense. 1.5 stars.

    I wonder if the story was left intentionally vague in certain parts.

    Perhaps what the writers were trying to do is tie several of the following themes into one story:

    Drug addiction / compulsive behavior - psychological research knows that the brain structure does change, therefore leading to certain actions such as the desire to take a drug, or repeatedly perform certain actions. In Paris' case, it was Alice altering his mind to make him feel dependent on her, like a bit of a drug.

    B'Elanna's help and actions towards Paris, and the overall crew's response - they did not punish him or court martial him, or anything like that for disobeying orders. Instead they treated him like a person who was ill mentally and helped me recover, to snap out of the addiction Alice induced.

    Alice may be more than a shuttle, but a sentient organism - she wants to go to that spatial anomaly and calls it "home". Is she sentient? Is she actually some kind of non-carbon-based lifeform that Voyager's sensors missed and she resides in that old ship. And that anomaly really was her home? But due to her uncooperative or secretive nature, and the overall situation, the Voyager crew were never able to conduct First Contact properly with her and she took matters into her own hands... Resulting in her undoing. Perhaps if this was an episode of The Next Generation, would Picard and crew discover her sentient nature, negotiate, and offer to help her fly her own way into her home?

    I usually skip this one.

    Just blah.

    The gal that played Alice wasn't all that great and Tom didn't give that good a performance.

    I also agree the ended was a little "WTF?".

    2 stars.

    I should have added that one point of my awarded 2 was because John Flec is in it.

    Awesome actor and successfully brings to life a wide range of different characters with ease.

    Shouldn't they give Stephen King writing credit on this one since it's just a tired retread of "Christine"? They didn't even bother to change the episode name from the name of the car/ship. So bad on so many levels. I agree that Jammer's rating was overly kind. If give it 1 star.

    Saw this show before only this time the Camaro is sentient. I guess the sentient bomb bomb didn't teach the writers anything (*)

    I like the concept of a 'Christine' type of episode and I get the comments that it wasn't executed as well. But I think it deserves at least half-a-star for something no one has mentioned - the scene where the alien merchant is about to do something that Alice considers a threat - and Alice appears as to the MERCHANT as a female whatever-species-the-merchant-is. She ominously says to the merchant, something like , "I hope you haven't forgotten me already." The merchant clearly already had a relationship with Alice too. It was chilling to discover this ship could infiltrate someone else's head like that. But it also left you with the question: what the heck IS Alice?

    "We already have a full complement of shuttles"

    I suspect this line was supposed to be very tongue-in-cheek as viewers all know how many shuttles have been lost. I thought it was hilarious.

    There were a few good bits in this episode, though, overall I did not like the story. I would've given it 2 stars IF we had actually had some kind of explanation at the end about what the heck Alice was, or the relation with the plasma fountain (or whatever it was). Without that, 1 star.

    There's a team of oompaloompas solely dedicated to building shuttles.

    As for this rubbish: 1 star

    The only Tom Paris story I ever liked was "The First Duty" - oh wait...

    It was an okay episode, fun to watch. Voyager's very own version of the 'ghost in the machine' concept. Did anyone else think that the colour and design of the Alice-ship's nodes in Paris' chest resembled that of Enterprise's 'child' in Emergence?

    I was intrigued by how B'lanna's call for help whilst she was being suffocated in Alice-ship was directed to Chakotay. There's always been some sort of subtle hint that the two of them share a bond that they do with no one else on the ship, and the fact that he's the only person she calls to for help by name whilst she's effectively nearly being murdered - is indicative of that special relationship. Funny to think that Chakotay's the first person she would think of in great trouble, not Tom, or even Harry.

    Didn't really like this episode.

    Alice should've been better cast. With a better actress playing her this episode could've been lots of fun. It needed someone who could be enticing, sexy, and delightfully devious, like the actresses that played Ardra or Vash on TNG. Instead they just chose an actress that looked like a yandere single white female that was seriously off her rocker.

    Tom Paris has always been a crappy character. Never liked any episode which focused on him. Never saw how people criticized Kim so much and let Tom just skate by.

    I did wish there was some information as to why the ship wanted to go into the particle fountain, besides a single word. Instead, it's destroyed and forgotten. Just as well.

    One more thing, while the shuttle crash is a very annoying trope, I never did understand this nonsense people keep talking about their shuttles.

    They built the Delta Flyer from purely replicated parts in one week. Have you seen how big that damn thing is compared to a standard shuttle? Several passengers get their own station. There's even a den ith a tactical station for Tuvok to escape from Neelix. Not to mention, it was built Starfleet tough to submerge in the atmosphere of a gas giant. A regular no brand name shuttle composed totally of replicated parts should take no more than two to three days to put together.

    As long as they're not running low on deuterium, dilithium, and anti-matter, it would be odd if they didn't have a full compliment of shuttles. If you have a problem with them still having yet more shuttles to crash, you need to take it up with the existence of replicators, because that's the particular plot device you actually have the problem with.

    The Delta Flyer is also where Janeway gets all her magical unlimited torpedoes from.

    Shhhhhh! It's a secret!

    Wow. A lot of hate for this episode. I've always enjoyed it. It reminded me of "Christine" - the Stephen King movie - when I first saw it years ago. I love that movie and liked this episode. Plus, I like Tom Paris so any episode that focuses on him was a good one for me.

    @Stefan - it is definitely reminiscent of "Christine," esp. that scene w/B'Elanna choking in the shuttle. I love that movie, which is probably why this episode is one of my favorite Voyager episodes.

    I don't understand the hate for it. I enjoyed this one. Plus, Tom Paris was my favorite Voyager character, so I enjoyed any episode that focused on him. Yes, Threshold is one my favorite episodes too. LOL!

    I noticed how Seven is written and acted as bit more sociable and easy going. You really get the sense she has grown over the years.

    If an episode bores you this much, maybe spare us the boring review. You can only type "meh" in so many different ways. Or come up with interesting things to say about the mediocre episode. Not to criticize anything grander, but this review seems as forced as the episode.

    I can’t believe you all missed it – this is a very pleasant re-run of a very ancient myth; namely, that of the Sirens, the seductive creatures that lured mariners to their doom (and to whom only Odysseus was able to remain immune). This is why it features the name-checking of another Greek myth, namely that of Icarus and Daedalus. As such, mixed with the ‘haunted ship that turns into a bunny-boiler’ theme, I felt it worked really well. Tom’s slide into obsession was well done (stubble notwithstanding).

    I really like Tom Paris as a character – the wise-cracking, hot-shot pilot is admittedly a bit of a trope, but it’s one that’s been seriously lacking perhaps in previous series of Star Trek and I feel McNiell carries it off really well, even to the point of sending it up as Captain Proton. It’s nice to see him using his range and stepping out of the Paris comfort zone.

    A solid three stars from me as in imaginative retelling of an old story, maybe with an extra half a star. Though the ‘full complement of shuttles’ line MUST have been an in-joke. Made me laugh out loud, anyway.

    Chakotay: "We already have a full complement of shuttles."

    I guess that's proof that they're either repairing their shuttles or constantly building new ones using an industrial sized replicator. Otherwise it's the dumbest line in the series.

    Hey! Anyone pick up on that “full complement of shuttles” line? haha

    While I’m at it, pointing out things never before observed in human history, anyone else think this was a lot like that book/movie, “Christine”?

    Gees, people, I appreciate the fervor in which you wish to bedazzle us with your witty insights, but maybe try reading the already existent comments first?? haha

    It was ok until about 3/4 of the way through.

    I can see why Alice wants a good pilot but:

    1. What is Alice's motivation for suicide? It's never explained
    2. Why does she need a pilot to kill herself? Surely once she's on course she wouldn't care whether Tom was beamed out or not
    3. She mentioned needing a 'good pilot', the trader guy was 'too slow' to be of use to her. Nothing she did once she had a pilot explained why piloting skill mattered in the slightest. If all you're going to do is fly into an anomaly and die and idiot pilot could do that.

    It all made no sense and it annoyed me that none of the characters even questioned the motivations of Alice flying into the anomaly.

    So late to the party but thank-you Netfilix. Was this meant to be a Borg origin story of sorts?

    The suit, the tubes the interface. The multi-phasic shielding, the talk about machine/human interdependence?????

    An ancient shuttle representing the earliest version of Borg Tech??????

    If so - a huge missed story telling opportunity IMHO.

    This might be my least favorite episode of Voyager. There are some which might be technically worse, like Threshold, but they at least produce some laughter. I struggle to even finish this one. The entire Tom Paris plot line is ridiculous, and the writers show no regard for the character they've worked so hard to develop.

    "They're just not like us."

    "...maybe you're right."

    Give me a freaking break.

    Trigollius - fun idea about the origin of the Borg. Maybe Alice and the Borg area related in the same way Tosk and Jem Hadar are related in DS9.

    I agree with everyone that says that the episode never explained what Alice's motivations were. How is the "plasma fountain" home?

    The girl who played Alice in my opinion was very good. Cute, and scary-which is what the producers were going for.

    I was very quickly reminded of "Christine" here -- loved that movie but this episode is really just a tease of that and goes in a different direction and fizzles out. The story is mediocre and many scenes seem typical. Definitely no envelopes are pushed here.

    Interesting to see John Fleck, a reliable Trek guest actor, in a mostly easy-going jovial role here -- he pulled it off but is really a minor character. The woman playing "Alice" played the neurotic, compulsive character well.

    The ending is super-weak and typical of VOY for the solution to be so convenient with everything working out perfectly so that there can be a nice little coda between Tom and B'Elanna.

    Many things that don't add up, of course -- like this special, possessed shuttle, like the neurogenic interface. But some handwaving can be done. The story isn't terrible but just isn't challenging enough, nor compelling enough. I guess Alice is some kind of entity in the shuttle that wants to escape into the anomaly come hell or high water -- so the actual shuttle is expendable but a suitable pilot is needed. Enter Tom Paris. But at least it plays on his character who likes fixing cars etc. and wants to further boost his reputation as a pilot.

    Also liked the interactions between B'Elanna and Tom -- I think these 2 have a good chemistry as actors and characters. The part where they yell at each other after she nearly suffocates had the right amount of edge to it as Tom is completely obsessed. It's good that VOY has been able to build their relationship over a few seasons now and it can provide a wealth of material to build on.

    A low 2 stars for "Alice" -- thought it might be something of a tribute to "Christine" maybe like TNG's "Starship Mine" seemed to be to "Die Hard". The first half of the episode was slow and had a very cheery feel to it which abruptly changed in the 2nd half. No lasting consequences of course which goes back to my point of playing it safe thanks to a very convenient ending. Another test for Tom and B'Elanna's relationship ultimately, which is fine but this episode just seemed like a weak effort at something that has been done far better.

    Yet another time there’s an unauthorized shuttle launch that they can’t stop or are too late to prevent.

    That should be #2 on their list of things that need fixing or additional precautions/procedures for (after the holodeck and its myriad of problems)

    If the ship was sentient AND was acting with purpose...wouldn’t Janeway explore the mystery of WHY it wanted to reach that destination? THAT would’ve been the more compelling mystery.

    I can only say that if I were in Tom Paris' place and the female pilot manifested itself as Grace Park I would have done anything, went anywhere, she asked!

    Miss Battlestar Galactica........All those Number eights!

    Yep, nope.

    Obvious Christine nod, appropriate for Tom the Car Guy...but left under-developed. The menace never felt visceral. Ehh.

    Moderately interesting concept in the neural interface of man and machine, but it’s been done better, and this brought nothing new. Ehh.

    The tease that the “particle fountain” (quasar?) was “home” to the AI piqued my maybe a sister race to the wormhole aliens was doing business in the DQ, and one of the energy beings had somehow run out of motive capacity far from his vortex and so had infiltrated/taken over/possessed an innocent little space runabout (I imagined it sounding like George Jetson’s coupe), but needed to socially engineer a meatbag pilot into pairing up to get it home. But the story did nothing with that notion, so I was left to imagine it on my own.

    Ehh again.

    And the rote, pot-boiling, by-the-numbers script proceeded via an endless string of the hoariest cliches. Sometimes Voyager attains such sublime heights...and then there are pedestrian messes like this, putting the dopiest lines in the mouths of actors we know are capable of so much better. It must have made them wonder sometimes why they even came to work.

    Overall, a simply inane episode.


    By “script” in my penultimate paragraph above, I more specifically meant “dialogue.”

    (Sure wish these posts could be edited. By habit I’m a relentless self-editor.)

    Well it had potential. Atleast this time the space ghost didn’t impregnate Tom the way they did Deanna Troi. This episode would have been so much better if the scrapped the ghost, made Tom obsessed with the shuttle in a normal way while negeldcting b’lanna and his duties, and the B plot could have been the crew getting Abbadon to fix and replace his junk parts in exchange for that diamond thing he accidentally gave them. We would have got realistic psychology and interpersonal drama instead of ‘space ghost possession’

    I thought the casting of the Alice avatar weakened the impact of the episode. Alice should have been a really charismatic and manipulative seductress, but the portrayal from Claire Rankin just gave me clingy, overbearing Donna Reed.

    The best scene of the episode for me was at 13:20 when Tom blows off some scheduled Holodeck time with Harry. Something about the way Garrett Wang spins around and marches away is hilarious.

    Tom Paris: "Oh look, a puppy! Can we keep him, daddy? Can we, oh can we? I'll look after him, clean up after him, take him for a walk. I promise, daddy, I promise!"

    Commander Acoushla Moya Chakotay: "Oh, okay. But don't make me regret it."


    At least it gave us respite from the idiotic Captain Proton nonsense.

    P.S. @Jammer: It's "sic," not "sick" :)

    Usually I think y'all come down on shows too hard, but yeah, this one really is a two point fiver.

    But I will give three point five to the actual ship design after Tom cleaned it up. That was pretty cool looking. I like ships, so a bump just for that.

    Yes about time we get a break from the Captain Proton Nonsense, of all things they could do on a holodeck they pick that old style bogus! But a sexually-sadistic female shuttlecraft trying to burst Tom's brain unless he lets it wire him up like a borg so they could fly into a particle fountain for no apparent reason disclosed in the episode? Looks like they are trying to compete with "Threshold" lol

    You guys are too harsh on this ep. All the shuttle wants is to get away so it's not inexplicably crashed like so many others that came before.

    I like episodes about Tom Paris, but they don’t let him do that much. And I’m still waiting for him to say “I love you “ to B’ Elanna.

    Intriguing that some people suggested Alice might be related to the origin of the Borg, but that would mean she was more than 100,000 years old!

    I think this is an entertaining episode, but its not one of the greats.

    Can anyone really blame this shuttle for wanting to escape from voyager? I imagine that in sentient shuttle circles voyager has a reputation as a death trap.

    All kidding aside, this episode needed to explain itself a bit better. I’m ok with ambiguity, but this episode didn’t even half heartedly theorize, just some vagueness about the shuttle being haunted. Um, wha?

    The shuttle design needed to be better to make tom’s initial fawning make sense. Honestly it was kind of ugly. And pastel green? Really? That got Tom all fanboyed out? Ok bro, you do you I guess.

    Also Tom and Torres have a weird relationship. At one point she mentions to him that she’s heard he’s been sleeping in his new shuttle. Who would she be hearing that from and wouldn’t she, of all people, know where Tom has been sleeping? I mean, they’ve been in a relationship for two years, wouldn’t they be practically sharing a bed by now? How often do they see each other? It’s a little off.

    Overall an ok, diverting episode tho.

    Rewatching this episode 20+ years later, I'm surprised how callous and dismissive Janeway acts when B'Elanna comes to tell her Tom attacked her.

    Aaaaannd: Yet another version of “male Trek character gets fawned over by a female who fulfills his fantasies.” The slight trope inversion (oh no, she’s evil!) is obvious.

    Maybe I would have found the plot more fresh if I hadn’t read Stephen King’s identical “Christine” way back in 1983. But I don’t think so. “The machine has a mind of its own”, like “the seductive woman is evil” like “love triangle with catfight between the Bad Girl and the hero’s steadfast True Love” all seem very tired.

    Also, the theme is identical to Vis a Vis (Tom is seduced by machinery while jilted Belanna wrings her hands) .

    Not awful, just pedestrian and derivative.

    @ldh2023 I would like to think that they weren't involved in relations until marriage, but I don't think it is what the writers had in mind.

    Another good episode, but as I said before, the motivations of alice are unclear

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