Star Trek: Voyager

“Live Fast and Prosper”

2 stars.

Air date: 4/19/2000
Written by Robin Burger
Directed by LeVar Burton

"I make a better you than you." — Impostor Janeway to real Janeway

Review Text

Nutshell: Some flashes of cleverness, but the story can't succeed as a whole.

At a few key points, "Live Fast and Prosper" successfully anticipates our expectations and then hits us with the "Gotcha!" There's a moment here when a woman, who is locked in the Voyager brig, takes Neelix by surprise and then escapes in the Delta Flyer, all too easily. At this point, I was furious. So sick am I of the cliché of the easy theft of a shuttle, which makes the crew look witless and inept. But then came the unexpected twist where not all was what it appeared to be, and ... they got me.

What's interesting is that I'm not sure whether this is effective because it's effective, or if it's effective because I expect that annoying contrivances will happen so frequently on this series. This gotcha scene can be analyzed on a couple levels. On one level, we have what is competent execution of audience deception. On a deeper, more ironic level, we have the writers possibly winking at us, acknowledging that, okay, the writing is sometimes contrived and cliché, we know it, and we're going to cleverly use that knowledge against you. I propose that it must be clever, simply because the mental review already popping into my head during the viewing suddenly found itself in immediate need of a rewrite.

So, then, at the very least, "Live Fast and Prosper" has a couple clever twists working in its favor. The question still remains: Is it any good?

I can't recommend it, because this is an episode that sounds like a fun idea but doesn't end up being as much fun as such a premise ("interstellar con artists impersonate Voyager crew members") seems capable of. Sure, this is a fluff episode, but it's got some annoying rough edges that should've been smoothed out, and too much wandering and not enough comic momentum. If you want comedy, go watch the far-more-fun "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy." If you want clever cons with substance behind them, go back to last season's believably grounded "Counterpoint."

The premise is simple: A small crew of con artists is posing as members of the Voyager crew and scheming gullible aliens into forking over valuables. How did they get in a position to pose as Voyager crew members? Well, it goes back to a recent away mission, when Paris and Neelix were on the Delta Flyer and came across the holy grounds of some clerics. These two "clerics" were really con artists, who came up with a story to sucker Tom and Neelix into helping them. They were aboard the Delta Flyer for a short time, during which they craftily downloaded the Voyager database in order to later assume their phony identities.

There are some decent ideas here, like the notion of Tom and Neelix feeling that they've "lost their edge" upon learning that they'd been had. Although many characters on this series are nearing the realm of lost causes, this story at least makes an effort, remembering that both Tom and Neelix were cynical types who'd come across their share of shady characters. The question they now ask is whether they're getting soft.

As I go off into a tangent that is certain to inspire annoyed "let it go" letters by those who are more optimistic about Voyager as a series than I am, I'll answer the question: Of course they're getting soft. How could you not when you're aboard the starship Voyager, which is a pristine palace that never shows a scar no matter how many battles it's been through? With an endless supply of food and energy and weapons despite the fact it's alone in the unknown? A ship that represents the Federation on its best day, even though it should be more like the Federation on a bad day, or even a crew like the Equinox?

More to the point, the question seems to be whether cynics are even possible in the Federation. When Paris boarded Voyager in the first episode, he was a cynic and an outcast. Time has molded him into a more respectable officer that embodies the good, virtuous Starfleet, as well as Janeway's idea of an inflexible Starfleet moral sensibility. The same goes for Neelix. Of course they're soft. They're Starfleet. Starfleet relies on trust and openness as an ideology.

Of course, that doesn't make you stupid or even gullible. Tom and Neelix were tricked—plain and simple—by people who apparently dedicate their lives to tricking other people. Hindsight is 20/20, and the con, involving a story with orphans, was effective probably because it was an appeal to their empathy. We're only human, and most of us have a soft side. My soft side resists (but relents to) the urge to call Tom and Harry chumps—not because one of them was tricked and the other is a goof, but because their idea of fun is picking on Tuvok by reprogramming his holodeck program. (I dare them to go pick on Torres or Seven of Nine—I bet they don't have the cajones.)

The main annoyance here is the show's reliability on stupid alien characters and moments of clunky plotting. An important plot allegation this episode makes is that the con artists are destroying Voyager's reputation by posing as them. But once Janeway & Co. are onto this scheme, this should no longer be the case, simply because Voyager is now aware of the phonies and able to get word out that these impostors exist.

But no. Instead, every alien the real Voyager crew encounters is a Hard-Headed Alien who refuses to believe that the impostors exist, and demands that Voyager return what has been conned from them. Watching these dialog scenes is not interesting; it's merely frustrating. I personally wanted to tell the first Hard-Headed Alien victim to wake up, smell the damn coffee, and get out of Janeway's face. (Hint: That's not the reaction the scene was looking for.)

A later scene has Voyager catching the impostors red-handed in one of their schemes while another alien ship has them locked in a tractor beam. The second Hard-Headed Alien victim won't hear anything Janeway says, and interrupts her constantly as she tries to explain the situation. Meanwhile the success/failure of tractor beams and weapons is used as a handy plot device that permits the impostors' ship to escape in a way that manages to make everyone involved look incompetent. (Hint: It's more interesting to see smart characters doing clever things, rather than having a mess that careens out of control because everyone is a bumbling fool using technology that fails arbitrarily.) If any of these aliens had an IQ higher than 75, and lower levels of testosterone, half the story's problems would be nearly instantly solved.

Fortunately, it's about this time the episode begins to show some cleverness. The tractor beam fiasco results in the capture of con artist Dala (Kaitlin Hopkins), who has been posing as Janeway. She's thrown into the brig, which leads to a pretty good Janeway vs. "Janeway" scene, which ends with a rather nice con on behalf of the real Janeway and Tuvok. (Tuvok's improvisations are particularly fun.)

It's at this point we get the Neelix scene with Dala that ends with an escape in the Delta Flyer and the twist I mentioned earlier. I won't go into the details, and for once I'm not even going to explain the way the plot pulls together in the end. Suffice it to know there is some more plotting cleverness, and that explaining it won't make this a more useful review.

There are also some subtle comic touches here that I can appreciate. One of them is the uniforms the con artists wear. They're not exactly the best-tailored Starfleet uniforms one has ever seen. And the con artists' combadges are oversized. The comic idea here is that these phonies have tailored the look of the uniforms as best they could with their stolen information. It's funny in that it reminds us of the die-hard Trek fan who tailored his/her own uniform to wear at a convention: You know what it's supposed to be, but you also know that it didn't come from the professionals at the Paramount costuming department.

Of course, humor like that is more fun to consider after the fact. While the story is unfolding it's simply not much of a factor. And other scenes that should be fun seem flat, like the scene where Tom and Neelix attempt to pull a fast one on Doc with the old "under which cup is the walnut" routine, which is done once early in the show and then again at the end, both times with thin and predictable results.

The show is sort of a muddle in tone. It wants us to take long dialog scenes seriously (like the scene of Neelix in the brig) before revealing that it's all probably just a con, on us as well as the other characters. In a way, I find that effective. There's almost a sense that we should just wink our way through the whole darned absurd Star Trek universe. But we never come to understand Dala as a character. She seems to be considering reform, then turns on Neelix in a way that makes her a con-to-the-end when it's really she who is being unwittingly conned. And then the story removes her from the plot using Doc in a way that is a nifty trick. But along the way Dala becomes a bland pawn to the plotting when she could've been an actual character.

The episode also tends to jump around from character to character with no big payoffs. The Janeway vs. "Janeway" idea seemed to be going somewhere, but then the whole thread is abandoned prematurely and we return to Paris and Neelix.

I also didn't understand the nature of the phony Tuvok (Greg Daniel). Just who is this guy when he isn't playing the role of Tuvok? There seems to be a buried joke in here saying that he has disappeared completely into his role-playing and refuses to come out no matter who is or is not watching. Even when he's just with his fellow con crew, he keeps acting sort of like Tuvok while the others drop the guise. What is this supposed to mean? It's a joke with a confused punch line.

All things considered, this is a middling fluff piece. I liked the skillful way the twists in the last act were presented, but apart from the clever twists we don't have a compelling core. And it's too evident that Robin Burger's script is smarter than any of the characters who populate it; the plot takes clever directions while the villains aren't nearly so clever as they probably should be. "Live Fast and Prosper" lives pretty fast. But it doesn't live with any depth or much credibility. And in the end it can't prosper.

Next week: Torres and Kim die, if you believe the trailers. The suspense is killing me.

Previous episode: Good Shepherd
Next episode: Muse

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Comment Section

79 comments on this post

    Urgh, I'm getting *so* sick of these flops aboard Voyager. So she smacks Neelix, grabs his little weapon, shoots the security and manages to get to the shuttle bay without being stopped by anything? I guess in this case it was "supposed" to happen but this happens way too often.

    "Security breach!" "They've bypassed security and encrypted it!" along with the good old dampening field or "interference" that render the transporters useless.

    When the ships opened fire on Voyager and they were ready to beam em aboard, I was expecting it.. followed by Seven saying: "Transporters are damaged!".. I nearly bashed my head against the desk, but surprisingly they actually beamed one aboard.

    Expanding on IS's comments, I sure hope they altered the phaser she stole from Neelix so it couldn't be set higher that stun...they had no way of knowing she wouldn't increase the setting to kill or even to vaporize. They had downloaded Voyager's entire database after all.

    "I wish I could claim credit, but I am innocent." Ensign Kim with a surprising amount of character insight.

    I consider the Tuvok-actors 'punchline' to be a little less muddled than your review suggests- I got the feeling that this is yet another play on the Hollywood 'method actor' who gets so into his role that he starts to lose his grip on reality- just an amusing archetype for the humor value. The punchlines is that, for all of his efforts and his commitment, he can never be close to the Tuvok that the real Tuvok is, as evidenced by a single, decisive confrontation.

    My take on it, anyway. I enjoyed that character, though agree with the flaws (hard-headed non listeners and an idiot plot especially) in the rest of the episode.

    Isn't the fake Tuvok played by the same guy who played Tuvix (Tuvok & Nelix mash-up), in one of the earlier episodes?

    "There are some decent ideas here, like the notion of Tom and Neelix feeling that they've "lost their edge" upon learning that they'd been had. [...] The question they now ask is whether they're getting soft."

    Uh, does anyone give a damn? I generally don't care for scenes (never mind entire episodes!) of people undertaking introspection of any sort, but in this case doubly so because I find both of these characters annoying for lacking any kind of personality. Neelix is like a bothersome fly you just want to swat away, and Paris is bipolar: Either a petulant kid or a bland automaton in the "Dr. Phil Collective." They're feeling insecure? *rolls eyes* Off-camera counseling is just the ticket... - OFF-CAMERA being the operating word.

    Anyhow, I liked the surprising twists in this show, notwithstanding a few frustrating scenes ("Janeway's" escape and the obstinate aliens, for instance). I'd give the episode at least 2.5 stars.

    Wasn't it obvious that the shuttle/Janeway-fake escape was anticipated and intended? I though so, especially as both Paris and the Doc are on board, plus the final shot of that part on the bridge.

    @Michael: Yeh, a lot of people care about the characters, their problems and the story instead of just watching for the scifi action like you, as you clearly note in every single comment at every single review.


    "Isn't the fake Tuvok played by the same guy who played Tuvix (Tuvok & Nelix mash-up), in one of the earlier episodes?"

    No. But that would have been hilarious.

    Uh, does anyone give a damn?

    Uh, YOU don't. But that doesn't mean that everyone else doesn't. Some people actually like stories with characters in that care about their motivations, and not just big sci-fi bangs.

    Not too impressed with the security guard in the brig...he should have been watching Neelix and faux-Janeway like a hawk, not caught offguard. But since the whole escape was intentional I suppose it doesn't matter.

    Pretty funny seeing the same "I hate anything that focuses on any character" grumbles over and over from Michael. Must have hated the first few seasons of DS9.

    Entertaining episode but it does have the numerous flaws stated. Can't think if much to say about it, i guess because it's fluff. Nothing remotely special but not bad either - 2 stars is about right.

    Funny how the Doc can be altered to look like fake Janeway when in another episode he didn't know how to give himself hair.

    Decent enough episode. Could have been funnier, but for what it was, it worked. The fake Tuvok was quite funny in my mind.

    False limitations created by character design - they do create holes sometimes.

    The same thing happens with Odo and the other changelings in DS9 - can't form a face properly (the excuse for giving them the "changeling look"), but no problem at all turning into some very intricate objects or even other people...

    This episode is pretty ridiculous. It should have acknowledged its ridiculousness and played it as an out-an-out comedy instead of trying to inject it with some seriousness, philosophising and character 'insight'.

    Michael's repeated rants about hating anything to do with character focus are quite funny and of course I usually disagree (characters are the engine of plot), but here I'm in agreement, this wasn't the episode to try to put in some stilted 'character development', I'd much rather they'd made it funnier instead.

    Sure, there are some amusing moments (and the best thing about the episode for me was the Tuvok impersonator who got totally carried away with his role - loved it). As Jammer said, the tone was fact it was all over the place. Its mildly entertaining but weak. If you're going to do comedy, then go for it, don't water it down, otherwise it ends up being neither funny nor dramatic, just a mediocre 'thereness'.

    Less than a minute before the "reveal" that Dala is actually the Doctor, we clearly see her left arm when she's leaning on the rockface, and there is no mobile emitter to be seen. Nice try, Voyager.

    I liked the fake Tuvok for some reason. I find it believable that he fell in love with being Tuvok. He sipped too much from the root beer that is the federation :)

    "Less than a minute before the "reveal" that Dala is actually the Doctor, we clearly see her left arm when she's leaning on the rockface, and there is no mobile emitter to be seen. Nice try, Voyager."

    Right when she turns back into Doc you see her left arm; the obvious implication is that the emitter can hide itself in the hologram being emitted.

    Warts and all, this is a fun episode. I'd give it 2.5 stars on the critical scale and 3.5 stars on the pure dumb fun scale.

    And I lulz @ the Tuvok impostor. He's got great comic timing and his awe at finally getting to meet the real Tuvok has me in stitches every time.

    Impostor Tuvok: Logic dictates that neither one of us is at an advantage.

    Real Tuvok: Your flawed.

    LOLOLOL!!! The Vulcan equivalent of "Hasta la vista, Baby."

    I really wish Star Trek had been able to embrace the power and quality you can achieve with humor. If they had done the occasional "balls out crazy" episode, I think things would have been very different for the franchise. For me, Stargate SG-1 struck a very good balance. And it lasted 10 years!

    A fun episode. I loved the idea of the Voyager crew being impersonated.

    Just thinking about the oversized comm badges and collar pips cracks me up. They are just the perfect size to be both understated and hilarious. Any bigger and they would have been too slapsticky. One of the best visual gags in any Trek comedy episode.

    Regarding the Tuvok impersonator: I LOVED this guy, he was great and very likable! And I thought it was pretty clear what they were going for. He's a fan-boy. Star Trek attracts fan-boys/girls by the droves and I saw this guy as a great little homage to that...he's the nod to the all the Trekkies and cosplayers. He loved the concepts of the Federation and the dignity of the character he was portraying so much that he preferred to live in that romanticized role. And it was pretty obvious why if you want to look past the surface; the other two con artists had no real respect for him and didn't value anything he had to say. Who in that position wouldn't want to assume the identity of someone brilliant and respectable?

    What I really wanted to see was that translate into him being the one influenced to change. Given his level of admiration for the values of the part he was playing, I think it would have been very believable. Alas, his purpose was solely comic relief, for which he was still very effective nonetheless.

    Moving on, I enjoyed the episode overall, despite a few nagging problems. And I want to add that I don't dislike Neelix. I like him far better after his dissociation with Kes. He can be a bit of a pest at times but his heart is usually in the right place and I actually liked his appeal to Dala in the brig. I kinda wish greater effort had been put into rounding out his character more, but that can sadly be said of many of the cast regulars. Ah, well.

    What part of Voyager's database let the fake Janeway know that the real Janeway likes to put her hands on her hips?

    I really like this episode. I do agree i think it is based on the "fans." the Tuvok character was strange, but once you realize he was "living" the character, for fun or for real, it goes pretty well.

    @Jay..i think if they saw the mobile emitter, they might TOO, know it was not her. i am sure it was just not in an obvious place.

    i love how everyone is picking on voyager writers about the incompetence of the crew EVEN when they are letting the person escape. and of course the phasers were only allowed to stun. geez...

    i was fully entertained. so i give it a 3.5

    i thought the fake tuvok just liked to stay in character to increase/practise his impersonation skill, and the other con-artists ,(who were comfortable with their impersonation skill level and didn't need more practise) understood this and so they didn't take issue with him impersonating, even when it was just the three of them together.

    I agree with Jammer's assessment. I wanted to enjoy it, but I kept being interrupted by awkward moments.

    I imagined this interaction:

    Chuckles: OK. We need to allow her to leave but let her believe that she got away by getting the better of us. Let's plan that out.

    Realway: Oh, that's easy. Just have the crew go on business as usual.

    Chuckles: Oh yeah.

    And, poor Neelix. He really had to take one for the team. Good thing she didn't break his neck or choke him to death or something.

    This episode was not my favorite. I had higher hopes considering that Levar Burton directed. He didn't have that much to work with, I guess. Still, there was some direction, at the finale that was clunky.

    I was confused by the Fake Tuvok character until I read some of the other comments here. It makes more sense with the additional insight but I don't think that this character's motivation was so very obvious upon first viewing.

    More contempt from from the writers:

    *Voyager comes across their quarry in a tractor beam, at the mercy of one of their victims*

    *Janeway hails them but doesn't explain the situation to the larger ship, instead saying some empty lines until the other captain cuts her off. Convenient for the Story.*

    *The other captain's ship - which needed Voyager's technology to fight its enemies - takes Voyager's shields to 62% in seconds.*

    *Janeway responds by...taking out his tractor beams, thus letting the quarry escape? Convenient for the story.*

    *Other ship shoots one more time and takes Voyager's shields to 41% and blows up the consoles in Voyager's bridge and takes out their tractor beam, conveniently for the story*

    *Other ship's fifth shot takes out Voyager's transporters, conveniently for the story*

    * "Get us out of here Mr. Paris" means Voyager can escape a battle by going to warp, despite not escaping about 55 other battles that they could/should have escaped in previous episodes. If the other ship simply didn't choose to follow then why not? They were wiping the floor with Voyager and Voyager just helped con artists escape. Convenient for the story*

    The other ship's technology appears to be superior to Voyager in combat so what, in the schematics the con artists showed them, impressed them enough to trade resources for photon torpedoes?

    Right now I'm paused at a scene where Neelix walked into the prisoner's cell while wearing a phaser dangling off his hip enticingly. I'm 99.9% sure that she is going to take it and stun him and the security officer outside the cell and escape. If she wasn't going to do this then the writer wouldn't have written in that Neelix would go into her cell with a phaser, because WHY THE FUCK DOES HE HAVE A PHASER IN HER CELL?

    This is bad TV at its lowest. The contempt for audience intelligence that Robin Burger displays here is surprising, even in a series as poorly written as Voyager generally is. I think that being surprised at how bad something is (when you really wish it was good or even decent) hurts worse when you've already realigned your expectations to 'low'.


    My bad. She stunned the security officer first, and Neelix second.

    What I remember most about my original viewing of this episode was that my Dad (who passed away this year) called the “twist” at the end of the fourth act, and I was angry at him for spoiling it. On second viewing, it seems painfully obvious—why would anyone walk into a brig cell with a phaser and leave the force field off? Another confusing aspect is why they needed Dala to escape in the first place if the Doctor was going to assume her role. Paris and the Doc could have just taken off by themselves and the rest of the episode would have played out the same way.

    Still, I found the episode enjoyable. The premise may not have been milked for all the comic potential it was worth (it’s no “Tinker, Tenor”) but it had its fair share of laughs. As others have noted, I really liked how Mobar stayed in character (as Tuvok) all the time, even when no one outside of his group was around, and his “reverence” at coming face to face with the real Tuvok. You get the sense that he does this work not for financial gain but simply for the fun of it.

    Cheesy fanboy or girl episode. The way this ep is written you would think a fan wrote it. I agree that if you turn off your brain and watch it as a spoof then just maybe its works.
    Galaxy Quest was done better. Not that I don't appreciate it, TNG had Fistful of Datas, DS9 had Trials and Tribbles, but this was horribly predictable. This is the kind of episode that comes off like a blooper reel or the kind of parody you would see at a convention. Entertaining, yes but this is like watvhing Wormhole Extreme from Stargate SGt-1.

    Nice but flawed. Flawed, but nice.

    The best part is the planned security breach. I don't know if that was the intention, but it certainly felt like an auto-ironic internal joke, considering how many annoying times this show has relied on infuriatingly stupid security breaches or non-security at all.


    "They're hailing. It's...Captain Janeway."
    "Our Janeway...or theirs?"


    Agree with Jammer and Chris P. about this episode's flaws. I also found the ending rushed and confusing.

    Ugh, Voyager really liked plots that revolved around unrealistically stupid and unreasonable people.

    wtf is this... i have found a website where someone is reviewing old star trek episodes. i like this episode just for the fake tuvok

    @erm :

    You do realise these reviews were written about fifteen years ago, right?

    Saw for the first time (thank you NetFlix)yesterday since it aired originally 15 years ago. I remember the episode but forgot some of the bit and pieces of the story. When the Faux Captain Janeway shoots Neelix while in the Brig, my first thought was "Why would Neelix carry a Phaser with him in the Brig." Just for that fact that someone might jump you and take it. Secondly, what a big risk on the part of the security guard and Neelix to be shot by a phaser. Sure it was set on stun, but would happen if fake Janeway decided to set it on kill?

    Hm, is impostor Janeway's escape preplanned by Voyager or did she really pull it off on her own?

    On the one hand, if it was planned by Voyager, it was a messy plan. It would have us believe that they sent in Neelix armed with a phaser and a story of redemption to see how fake Janeway would react to it. Why give Neelix a real phaser then? Give him a fake one. If she tries to go for it, it'll be useless to her and the guard can take her out safely before she's anywhere close to escaping. She shot two people with that phaser. She could have figured out how to set it to kill and then what? RIP Neelix and nameless security guard?
    On the other hand, they did plant Tom and the Doctor in the Delta Flyer. So, either Voyager's officers have mad improvisational skills and they anticipated her moves as she was escaping and devised a shockingly detailed plan on the fly or they got lucky everything went as it did.

    I'd like to believe they allowed fake Janeway to escape, so she would lead them to the loot and her compatriots, but there are too many things that don't add up. She escaped on her own and only clumsy writing had everything go right in the end.
    Rating seems about right to me.

    Personal favorite scenes of mine include: Tuvok outsmarting fake Tuvok (more improvisation) and Doctor outsmarting Neelix and Tom with their little game of find the nut and them getting him back at the very end.

    "She shot two people with that phaser. She could have figured out how to set it to kill and then what? RIP Neelix and nameless security guard?"

    I felt it was obvious they let her escape. And this isn't really a plot-hole. I doubt it's THAT hard to rig a phaser so that it can't be set above a certain level. Sure, it's possible that she'd have tried to set it to kill, realized it wasn't working, became suspicious and not returned to her buddies... but they'd still be able to track and find her, so they'd not actually be worse off than they already were.

    I HOPE they didn't give her a phaser that could be set to kill. They can't possibly be that stupid. Even on Voyager... right?

    "Just who is this guy when he isn't playing the role of Tuvok? "

    The phony Tuvok might be a tongue-in-cheek joke at the expense of those actors in Hollywood who take themselves so seriously once they have left the studio they keep acting even after the cameras are not rolling. And boy does Hollywood have a lot of them!

    A con will have to do some bad acting at some point to do the job but some bad actors are just phonies all the time.

    It's an entetaining episode. I'd give it a 3.5.

    @tlb "What part of Voyager's database let the fake Janeway know that the real Janeway likes to put her hands on her hips?"

    A database can contain more than just words. Today any database can have binary data for any type of data including videos.

    I can imagine in the future logs include 24/7 video of anything that happens in the ship.

    Interesting the number of people baffled at the security breach and phaser when she escaped from the brig.

    Neelix purposely walked into there carrying a phaser. He was nice and gave her a chance to repent, however , the plan was to ALLOW her to escape so they could follow her to her secret stash. We can assume they programmed the phaser on a minimum setting just to be safe, however, she is not a murderer and it was unlikely she was going to jack up the setting and start murdering people.

    They were playing a con on her. Allow her to escape, and viola... find the hidden cargo. The naive part was her not realizing that it was way too easy to escape!

    The Tuvok guy was funny. He revered Tuvok so much that he tried to be him, even when they were not conning anyone ...."Captain on the bridge" or "I am chief of security" I thought that was pretty funny.

    A fun episode; won't win any awards, just have a laugh or two and move onto the next episode.

    why can't we see more neelix like this?! It totally makes sense he knows how to manipulate and take advantage of situations, it would be so cool if they used his skills more in VOY storylines. Makes him seem more like a proper addition and less like that annoying friend's dog that keeps shoving his head into your face.

    An interesting note Jammer:

    "(I dare them to go pick on Torres or Seven of Nine—I bet they don't have the cajones.)"

    Imagine Tom changing the replicator to provide Jalepeno pancakes when Torres asks for Banana pancakes.

    Imagine Kim using a marker to put a Happy Face on Seven's forehead while she's regenearting. When she finishes regenerating she goes to a staff meeting. Everyone's face around the conference table would be priceless.

    I thought this was a lot of fun - lightweight, absolutely - but fun nonetheless. Certainly I'd not worry too much about the plot holes here, particularly as I don't think it was ever intended to be too serious.

    Highlights were fake Janeway and especially fake Tuvok, who nailed the impression and then went on to make it look like he was really living the part. Definitely a subtle reference there, I think. And interesting that Seven barely made an appearance too. 3 stars.

    By my count, this is the third time Neelix has unwittingly contaminated the ship's systems following ill-conceived trades. Maybe that's why it was his turn to 'take one for the time' and get phasered.

    That fake Tuvok was probably my favorite character in this episode. I sort of wish they had let him join the crew even if we wouldn't see him again.

    This had some comedic value, but other than that it's a skipper for me.

    1.5 stars... I really don't even want to talk about this one :-)

    Am I the only one who gets endlessly frustrated with how ship combat always unfolds in Star Trek? Every time they try to do anything, the ship gets hit, and the exact thing they were trying to do goes offline. Sometimes several times in a row. Trying to use the tractor beam? Blam, tractor beam offline. Trying to transport someone? Blam, transporters offline. Replace with weapons, communications, warp drive, ad nauseum, and that's Star Trek in a nutshell.

    I didn't mind this one. 2.5 stars

    I'll admit I almost rage quit this episode at the "jailbreak" scene. I'm glad they showed us the swifty they'd pulled quickly or I wouldn't have gotten any further.

    Ive always wondered about the security of the brig. Can't they have a feeding hole in the forcefield? Or why not just a good old-fashioned door?

    I am not sure why there is so much outrage over the jailbreak. They set her up to break out and that is why it was so damn easy.

    First time I saw this episode and Neelix has a phaser when he walks in, it was prettty clear what the plan was. Nobody ever walks in to a holding cell like that.

    The best part was Mr Method Actor immersing himself in Tuvok 24/7. The next Daniel Day Lewis I think.

    I loved this episode. Why? Because Seven of Nine had only line. I can't stress enough how much I hate her.


    If you don't like hot women, fine
    However, she is a very good actress and had a wide range of things to do during her run.

    She was too much a focus of the show to the detriment of other characters, that is for sure. However, with UPN needing ratings, they needed her in as many shots ans possible. Reality of the situation.

    This was a really fun episode. Exceptionally dumb (not that that really matters), but just... fun. I echo the sentiments of everyone's love for the Tuvok impersonator as well. 3 star episode for me.

    2 stars is about right. Even within the context of this deliberately goofy episode, a lot of it isn't well executed or doesn't convince - especially the terrible performance of the poorly Janeway-impersonator, the overflagellated joke about the Tuvok impersonator getting a little bit too into his character, and the fact that most of the episode's characters (the aliens, Paris and Neelix, the con artists themselves) have to be rendered dumb for the plot to work. The reverse con at the end improves things to a fair degree and the best scenes are the Paris/Neelix/Doc scenes in the mess hall, the only scenes in the episode that are genuinely entertaining on their own terms and true to character.

    3 stars quite entertaining episode and I usually am not a fan of fluff type episodes but this just really worked. Probably helped that the episode had some action and fun double crossing

    I've gone off commenting on Voyagers for a while, I know. This is the last episode my wife and I watched a while back. I've actually been really looking forward to Muse but really not looking forward to Fury, so I may have been dragging my feet on continuing a little, though also we've just been watching other things. Anyway -- this episode is maybe a good place to talk about why I haven't been writing that much. The episode is pretty much fluff; I found the Tuvok-imitator kind of amusing, actually, but otherwise, there's not that much here. It's nice I guess that Neelix letting himself get trounced was part of the plan, but, you know, couldn't she have maybe killed him? (Maybe Janeway et al were willing to take that chance, ha.) The resolution revolves around the idea of the Doctor modifying his appearance, which has never been established before, and so feels like a cheat, albeit not a completely inconceivable one (he is a hologram after all). The two larger significant beats that have impact on the rest of the series are:

    1) The issue of Voyager's reputation. This one was something that was occasionally dealt with in the past, but inconsistently, and I think the problem here is that it relies on the idea that Voyager's reputation is so pristine that others can exploit it, rather than the idea that Voyager had a more mixed record, which is how previous episodes have dealt with it (like some eps in season two, and also Hope and Fear). It just feels kind of false and self-important.

    2) Paris and Neelix: have they lost their edge? This is mild but okay, at a sort of late-series acknowledgment that in the process of becoming more adapted to life on a Federation starship, they have gained a lot but also lost some of what was central to their identity. That there's a downside to becoming comfortable among selfless people rather than among brigands is an interesting idea. As with (1), there's something here that leans on Voyager-as-paradise a little too heavily; it really is weird, when you think about it, that things on Voyager are so cushy that Paris and Neelix could be taken in by some low-level con artists so readily, when, *even if Voyager internally was run with zero friction*, which I guess we have to accept, surely there is still a constant string of encounters with dangerous aliens that would continue to hone their senses? But I guess it is consistent with the show generally; Neelix's ambassador role seems to mostly involve positive diplomatic relations (when there's a conflict, he's shifted out and the photon torpedoes come out instead), and Paris tends to mostly stay on the ship or go on flyboy missions, and so their social world really has changed to be this kind of casual communal positive atmosphere so that they are unused to being with sharks again. Anyway, I thought that this element of the story was a bit shallow but basically worthwhile.

    So, probably 2 stars for the package.

    "when there's a conflict, he's shifted out and the photon torpedoes come out instead"


    Are you guys getting a message on Netflix that all the Star Trek shows are expiring March 7?

    "craftily downloaded the Voyager database"

    This is done so easily 🙄, yet has such immense implications. Sometimes it seems the writers just aren't very clever. This information is worth far more than any con.

    Fake Tuvok was by far and away the best thing about this. Great fun, with him completely submerging into the character.

    It's not good when you can't take the villains seriously and the episode is not even meant as a comedy. How do these 3 thieves even go around shafting all these cardboard stupid aliens anyway? Just seemed so implausible to me -- kind of like the Pakleds. They download all of Voyager's databases in a few seconds by some kind of scanning tool? Shouldn't these 3 have gotten their asses kicked multiple times by the heavies in the DQ?

    Anyhow, the little bit of trickery at the end couldn't save this episode from overall sucking. At least the ending fooled me and got me thinking a bit. But this kind of thing was done much better in "Counterpoint" - an episode with class and one that used a new character far more effectively.

    Another gripe I had with this episode is the actress impersonating Janeway -- she played that annoying Vorta in "The Ship" and was totally inappropriate in that role. Here she is in a role that she's better suited for but hardly credible as an intergalactic con artist.

    There were some moments of levity and Neelix naivete/soft moralizing but this episode is too lightweight/fluffy. What was interesting is Voyager concerned about its reputation -- this can have some serious consequences being all alone in the DQ and trying to forge alliances etc.

    1.5 stars for "Live Fast and Prosper" -- VOY does a lot of these lightweight, poorly thought out episodes. Nothing of consequence for the characters or the series.

    "Everybody stop eating."

    Why the fuck do Janeway and Torres walk to the mess hall instead of immediately alerting everyone over the intercom that replicated food may be harmful?

    I concur with most of the rest of these comments.

    It could have been more fun, but the episode didn't seem to be intended to be comedic, and boy we weren't disappointed. It was pretty dry, and also had me frustrated in how gullible and naive Starfleet is and can be. (DS9 and Enterprise helped to redeem this somewhat. I, of course, exclude TOS and the POS DIS.)

    Tuvok's counterpart was great. It's a shame it was Janeway's one who got most attention. Fake Janeway didn't need to be on the shuttle.

    Also, a group of a species who apparently deals with inter-species trades does not know how to demand payment first before lowering shields around their goods. (Even though it's plot dependent on whether or not you can transport through shields.)

    Voyager gets crushed by attacks far too often... it should have been destroyed over and over by now. Even the lousy Kazon could take them on with a few of there backwater ships. This episode's battles were no exception. I agree that this species should have shrugged its collective shoulders after being pitched Voyager by its defenses and armaments.

    Why is it always the plasma network that ruins everything? Your sonic shower doesn't turn itself off when malfunctioning (and it malfunctions because: brownout?) or when instructed to be disabled, computer functions are disrupted by plasma something, and everything explodes because plasma. The replicators suddenly can't use the correct computer instructions to replicate correctly, nor can they abort after receiving a bad hash/parity bits.

    Use some freaking electricity and cables, for once. Ditch the plasma, it's always causing problems. Even for high power devices, they can run heavy cabling around, and have transformers or whatever they need to do. Even have local plasma stored only next to the high power devices, and keep it in a safe container, so it won't destroy the whole network.

    Exploding computer terminals are one of the worst tropes that Star Trek uses. Just awful. Who the fuck would work for Starfleet if everything they use can explode on a hair trigger?

    This time, there is a 'contaminant' in the replicator system. Contaminated what? Energy? It's a mini transporter, basically. Changing energy into matter. There's nothing to contaminate that would affect macro or micro nutrients. Even if the 'integrated circuitry' were 'contaminated', the systems should be able to detect corrupted data packets and request new ones, and abort if they are unable to confirm the parity bits for the packets.

    Packets and IPs were a thing when TNG and VOY were written. It's a shame that the writers dumbed actual science/IT down so much. The producers didn't give their audience much credit, considering that the audience was generally more inclined towards substance over style (except what little I have seen of DIS). Not that they had to go into onerous detail, because that would be boring, but then they would be forced to put more thought into their stories and characters, and not be able to blame random malfunctioning parts over and over.

    It's interesting how Voyager's computer can be scanned for data, and *read*. No encryption, then? You can scan the quantum states of the data with no reference point? You can correctly interpret the data without knowing how the computer works to begin with?

    Usually one can overlook these irregularities, inconsistencies, and contrived plot points. This episode rubs most people the wrong way because of how egregious and unexplained it all is, and then makes every other contrivance even more apparent than usual, because the story relies too heavily on them.

    Character development sucks for Voyager. TNG wasn't a whole lot better, but it seemed to make more of an effort. Voyager couldn't decide on whether it was action heavy, or cerebellum heavy... and ended up not doing either particularly brilliantly. It's always been more of a light meal. There's some substance, but it doesn't quite fill you up as much as you'd like, but it tasted fine and didn't cost too much.

    In summary, a somewhat entertaining (but not intentionally) episode, let down by its technobabble, and some other flaws in unbelievable behaviour and character development.

    2 out of 5. (Maybe 1.5-2 out of 4.)

    Just kinda silly.

    I suppose "How to live" is the theme here - Can you "live fast AND prosper?" Should you?

    When is trickery and lying wrong (like stealing the ore)? When is it simply annoying (like lying about making changes to Tuvok's holodeck program, or palming a Terra nut)? When, if ever, is it the right thing to do (like when you trick someone into leading you to stolen goods, so you can recover and return them)?

    Don't they all speak to TRUST? And how important is trust? Etc.

    Almost every scene was about honesty our lack thereof, and trust, our lack thereof.

    It certainly stayed on theme, but the story itself just wasn't that compelling. I did like the Doc switcheroo.

    Comment on the comments:

    --Voyager purposely let Dalla escape. Definitely, it was deliberate, with Doc and Tom hiding and ready to go.

    --Fake Tuvok was fun. Loved the comments on the nature of the fake "costumes." Like fake Tuvok, they weren't quite right.

    --The fake-outs (Dalla and Co playing their con games, Neelix playing his shell game, Tuvok improvising about the horrible prison, Neelix setting up Dalla to escape, Doc pretending to be Dalla, and more) extended to the audience. It's no coincidence WE got faked out too.

    --How fun is it, to be tricked? When is it fun, when is it mean, when is it criminal, and when does it cross the line?

    I don't know what's wrong with you people! I loved this episode back in the day, and still do! It's fun watching con artists con people (ever see "The Sting"?) and it's fun watching them be caught and given their just deserts. The guy pretending to be Tuvok was hilarious! It's all in good fun people-lighten up!

    This honestly felt like a season 2 Voyager episode - pretty good premise with some good scenes and aspects, but overall just doesn't come together in a compelling way. Weird pacing, scene progression feels off, and in the end nothing of consequence happens. Almost felt a little bit like that horrible Ferengi episode Voyager did, although not quite as terrible.

    Although I will agree with a lot of people and say that Faux-Tuvok was pretty hilarious and endearing. Loved seeing him meet his idol and not quite measure up.

    I'm with Chris P (although years belatedly lol) in that Voyager got their butt kicked in an episode that built it's plot with the premise that Voyager had the superior ship.

    Then again, I would say that no other version of Star Trek....had their ship's butt handed to them more often than Voyager did.

    Really refreshing with an almost complete abscence of Seven.

    Otherwise it was a funny plot with some really good scenes, I especially liked the one with Neelix, Paris and the Doc in the mess hall. Janeway meeting her imposter was also good as well as the cave monks scheme.

    The overall execution could have been better, it feels a bit unpolished; but other than that there's not much to complain about. It had a classic Trek feel to it, something I always appreciate.

    2,5 strong Stars.

    A new low for Voyager. I have to guess this script was part of a package deal of cheap TNG rejects. Really seemed like a first draft. This is just the kind of low bar garbage that drove me away from TV early on - the story requires brain damage to even stomach.
    I'm really shocked at how uneven the quality is in season six. So many of the best, and then garbage like this.

    Little tough on this episode eh? It's a 3/4 for me for sure. The change of focus onto this "imposter janeway" captures a performance i really enjoy. For a "guest actor of the week," episode, this is as good as Voyager gets for me.

    Contrived annoyances make the 2/4 generous IMO but understandable for reasons given in Jammer's review. There were so many contrivances in this episode. More than usual for Voyager. I think there were like 4 I can remember off the top of my head that would've stopped the narrative from progressing at all.

    When a story has 4 contrived scenes that would've collapsed the entire narrative without them, it's plumb BAD writing. But the episode is salvaged from being a completely annoying waste by some happy surprises that cut through the truly annoying contrivances.

    This was one of my favorite Voyager episodes...I always need to add that I love all the classic trek series, but voyager was my least favorite. There are countless boring or implausible or plain stupid episodes, but there are a few that are great and a few that are hilarious. I find this episode hilarious. Humans aren't common sight In delta quadrant, nor are vulcans. It's hilarious and makes sense that the ridiculously obvious disguises are only obvious to us and that aliens really can't tell the difference because they just don't know any better. Also it seems obvious that voyagers tech is VASTLY more advanced than almost all the others in the delta quadrant so they don't stand out as obvious frauds.

    I don't like the way they started writing Harry and Tom as juvenile prats. It makes them really annoying.

    I loved the casting of actors that barely looked like their Voyager counterparts; it made the humor and if they had gone too far toward perfection it would have spoiled the episode. The way they did it reminded me of when Mr. Black "strapped a clown suit on some wino" to impersonate Krusty the Clown in The Simpsons classic "Kamp Krusty." Also loved how the Tuvok impersonator got way too into his character. I could see a Cult of Tuvok developing for lost souls looking for answers just because he is so good at being aloof and mysterious.

    For some reason I had thought we were beyond the unreasonable meatheaded aliens who slam the phone down on the receiver at the slightest provocation, but alas, this episode treats us to not one but TWO rock stupid DQ species. More thoughts:

    - This episode really should have committed to a comedic identity, unfortunately the overall tone was uneven. The fake tuvok in particular had a ton of unrealized comedic potential, it’s too bad.

    - The idea that voyager has a reputation worth saving is a bit laughable. Just a few episodes ago team voyager woke up long forgotten space nazis and let them loose on the universe, and that’s just one of a vast number conflicts and screw ups voyager has been at the center of. I have a feeling the residents of the DQ would find selling faulty merchandise to be the least of voyager’s offenses.

    - I’m not sure why unreasonable alien species #2 in this episode wanted voyager’s weapons tech so badly, it seemed obvious they had comparable technology given that they kicked voyager’s scrawny butt all over the place in a matter of seconds. It was bad enough when the Kazon were slapping voyager around all the time, but this plot device of a couple of shots from some random alien ship taking out all of voyager’s critical systems gets lazier and lazier as the series moves along.

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