Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 5/16/2001
Teleplay by Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman
Story by Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman
Directed by Mike Vejar
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Ensign, at your recital last month, I told Lt. Torres that your saxophone playing reminded me of a wounded targ. I should've put it more delicately! I'm sorry!" — Doctor deathbed confession
In brief: A reasonably entertaining romp, but it bears almost no scrutiny.
So, here we have Voyager's penultimate episode, and what is it? A routine kidnapping plot. Why this and why now?
On the other hand, why not this? Voyager has proven long before this week's "Renaissance Man" that the show is rarely about its characters or bigger picture but instead about its stories. And aside from last week's "Homestead" where we actually had some sort of closure for a character, the entire wrap-up for everyone and everything is going to apparently take place in the final two hours of the series.
On some level, sad as it is to say, this episode is a microcosm of much of Voyager's legacy to the Trek franchise: It's a reasonably entertaining action plot that has no lasting significance whatsoever. The Doctor is a great character who seemed to get the perfect final focus episode with "Author, Author," which followed his theme — that of wanting to be more than his programming — to a logical conclusion. But for the purposes of character theme, "Renaissance Man" is at best simply redundant, a routine action storyline that exploits his technical abilities and not so much his personality.
At one point, disguised as Torres, he runs sideways up a wall and flips right over Tuvok, grabbing the phaser out of his hand. I've never seen Doc pull a Matrix-like move like that before, but then why did I need to?
The framework for the story is a contrivance and a cliché: In the midst of an away mission, Janeway is held captive by two thieves from the "Hierarchy race" (see "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy"), who say they will kill her if Doc doesn't return to Voyager and find a way to steal its warp core and bring it to them. Doc must then impersonate other members of the crew, starting with Janeway (adjusting his holographic appearance at will) and working on down from there.
It's probably a good thing this is the end of the series, because that's a pretty damned flimsy premise. It's the sort of thing that deserves to be banished to the land of sitcom fodder. Only a nitpicking jerk would bother to question whether the Hierarchy aliens should be here, at the very least 5,000 light-years away from where we last encountered them. Yadda, yadda, yadda; blah, blah, blah.
It's worth noting that even the goofiest and shallowest of premises can be made palatable with decent execution, and we get that here, which makes "Renaissance Man" a fairly enjoyable hour of silly plotted mayhem instead of brain-dead drudgery. Call it enjoyable, silly, brain-dead mayhem.
This is an episode sold on amusing little moments, not iron-clad logic or solid storytelling. For amusing moments we have ourselves a scene where "Janeway" is on the bridge and begins talking to invisible voices in her head, which prompts MST3Kings of, "Well, Janeway has finally completely lost it." There's something hilarious about it, while at the same time weird and offbeat because we don't initially know what's going on (the plot begins as a series of subtle mysteries that are gradually revealed to us).
The gimmick is that the Hierarchy guys are constantly monitoring Doc's actions, so he has to do the entire operation in secret, undermining his crew's own attempts to catch on to him. This must've been justified by all sorts of end-vs.-means discussions in story staff meetings, since the whole exercise is absurd and exists simply so that Doc can run around impersonating people.
Honestly, is this plot even worth discussing at any further length? I doubt it. There's nothing significant about it, no issues to ponder. It's a romp, plain and simple. On that level it can be fun, like when Tuvok finally catches on to Doc's game and tries to subdue him: There's a point where Tuvok chases Doc into the holodeck and finds a room filled with holographic Doc clones, which is an amusing visual that fits the action relatively well. Clever, and appropriately goofy.
I also liked the way the unconscious bodies started to stack up, making Doc's task harder. He has Chakotay and Harry stashed in the morgue while also running around impersonating Janeway and Torres. At one point he has to pretend to be Tom's wife, which is your Classic Awkward Situation™, although one wonders if all plot devices are recyclable; Doc earlier this year had to pretend to be Seven in "Body and Soul."
The two Hierarchy guys (Andy Milder and Wayne Thomas Yorke), one nice and one mean, are low-rent pseudo-villains that don't honestly seem capable of carrying out their threat of killing Janeway if Doc fails his mission. These guys are devices of the plot and nothing more, but then the whole episode is a massive plot device — including the use of the warp core as this week's McGuffin, which is hauled around from A to B in order to move the people from A to B. Meanwhile, Doc's abilities here open a can of worms that, fortunately, might not get very long to squirm seeing as the series is basically over. (In particular, I'd like to know how he is able to activate his emergency command subroutines and take control of the ship's command codes solely on his own volition, without any sort of authorized transfer from the captain or first officer. Perhaps because neither is present?)
My griping makes it sound like I didn't enjoy "Renaissance Man," which isn't entirely true. Like many Voyager outings, it proves that a fast-paced episode where the plot moves effortlessly along can hold interest when lesser execution might've led to an unpleasant slog. By the time the show got to Doc's deathbed confessional, I was chuckling too much to feel annoyed. Little of the plot is believable in retrospect, but it has the will to carry us along for the ride with some snappy dialog, a few technical twists that are mildly clever, and actors who are convincing in the middle of a world of absurdity.
Come to think of it, this episode may be even more of a microcosm of this series than I thought. Maybe it's appropriate as the penultimate outing of Voyager after all. But, then again, it must mean something when the most appropriate story for Voyager is one that doesn't begin to unlock the true potential at hand.
Next week: Time travel, Klingons, and Borg. It's all here for Voyager's series finale.
Previous episode: Homestead
Next episode: Endgame
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91 comments on this post
Wed, Oct 3, 2007, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
*I believe this is Vorik's only appearance in the seventh season.
*It seems Ayala has received a promotion; he's sporting a red uniform and is seen at the helm in this episode.
Mon, Oct 22, 2007, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 22, 2007, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
It's interesting, intriguing, different, full of suspense. The use of technology is really clever. There are some funny sequences, such as Paris getting all lovey-dovey with "Torres" (The Doc). There's no "bonding" or personal drama, thank god. I wish all Voyager episodes were like this one.
I totally disagree with the low rating by Jammer. This show in my view deserves at least 3.5 stars though I'd go so far as to give it fully 4.
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
I'm sorry, lasting ramifications for whom exactly? The characters in the Trek Universe, who are fictional creations...Voyager was the only member of the franchise with a premise established in the Pilot which was resolved in the series finale. About the fifth season of TNG, one realises that there's no cap to it--there's no where for them to go...so the writers just exhausted themselves until they began setting up the other two series, Voyager and DS9. Now DS9 created a destination for its series with the war but that wasn't until about season 5 either.
I'm not crazy about this episode, it's pretty mindless on its own, but there's no reason it "should" have been anything else given its placement in the series. As I've said before, I would have loved Voyager to be given long arcs and multi-parters like DS9 had, but it was not meant to be. At any rate, without that crutch of storytelling architecture, Voyager as a series makes a lot of sense and progresses continually towards a goal which was evident from the very first episode.
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
Still, I couldn't get into this episode at all. What are the Sontarans doing all the way out here? What is this all about? I guess no matter how suited it is to the series, I couldn't really get past the fact that this is the penultimate episode and they do something totally random. Then all of a sudden, next episode it's all over... no lead-up other than Neelix leaving.
At least the Doc got his feelings about Seven out in the open I guess.
Oh yeah, and nice to see that other Vulcan make an appearance again.
Still... can't really rate this ep much myself. 2 maybe. On to the finale!
Sun, Jul 10, 2011, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 14, 2011, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 14, 2012, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
"*I believe this is Vorik's only appearance in the seventh season.
*It seems Ayala has received a promotion; he's sporting a red uniform and is seen at the helm in this episode."
Yes, it was nice to see Vorik one last time, just as it was nice to see Naomi Wildman again last episode. His presence here really wasn't required, so it's kind of one last time in the limelight, I guess.
And as far as Ayala is concerned, oh my gosh, he actually spoke! If this wasn't the only time, it certainly was one of very few over the course of seven years. (One might almost think he was mute.)
As far as the story's concerned, eh, it held my interest but certainly wasn't notable. I think after this incident, Janeway should have removed the Doc's emergency command protocol. At the very least, he should have gotten more than his "hand slapped," so to speak.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 10:46am (UTC -5)
In "Basics", Ayala said "yeah" when asked if he could run good. I think that was the first and last time before now...
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
One thing I would like to point out though...the Doctor seems superior to a regular crew in everyway...so why not have a whole ship made up of Doctors?
Mon, May 20, 2013, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
"One thing I would like to point out though...the Doctor seems superior to a regular crew in everyway...so why not have a whole ship made up of Doctors?"
I'm not sure if you're talking about a ship full of EMHs or a ship full of capable EMH-like holograms who serve nonmedical functions. In the latter case, the crew (of holograms) would never be able to leave the ship, except maybe in a shuttle; whether this limitation would be a significant impediment to a Starfleet ship's being actually useful, I can't say. In the former case, it might be useful to have a ship crewed entirely by Doctor holograms, functioning as a sort of roaming medical facility for the use of any ship that passes by and has the need.
Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 10:30pm (UTC -5)
The line when the captain was told she would be put down on a planet whose inhabitants are "mostly harmless."
Mon, Jul 15, 2013, 11:52am (UTC -5)
This is where I wish they would have expanded a bit on the Captain's weekly dinners. They showed her and Chakotay having candlelight dinners every so often in a cheap bid to keep the J/C fans happy. But I always thought that the Captain might have had weekly dinners with Tuvok as well since they were friends and she turned to him for counsel. Well, at least she said she did-- they didnt' exactly write it in all that often...
Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 12:00am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
very fun. last 2 scenes were great.
3 stars at least.
Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Although I do question why they went to the trouble of bringing back them Hierarchy aliens instead of just using someone from this season who wasn't left too far behind. Even inventing a new race would probably have went down better. I guess the Hierachy guys are taken out whenever they need comedy villains for a harmless romp.
And while I don't mind the fact that this was a fun, standalone, penultimate adventure; I would have liked if they at least had one scene were the crew pondered Neelixes' absence from their lives or a last minute Star Fleet transmission to act as a lead-in for the finale.
Other than these complaints I generally enjoyed it very much.
I especially liked the skillfully played mystery, did anybody else noticed the subtle clue dropped by Janeway/Doctor when he said the made-up aliens had a hierarchy? Its a fun little detail. I loved the Doctors' crazy action scheme, it was cool as well as funny and inventive.
All in all, 3 stars which came very close to 3.5!
Fri, Nov 1, 2013, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
However, he just makes so many stupid choices. He has a line that goes something like (I don't remember the precise wording) "The ship can go on without a warp core, they can't go on without a captain". This is a very stupid reason to take a warp core to some generic baddies. Janeway herself would have sacrificed herself for the ship. Voyager is in a bad enough position as it is, and Doc's faulty reasoning ruins a lot of the fun of this episode.
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
The 'insider' bonus bits for Voyager fans are touching. We get character snippets scattered throughout when the doc takes on different identities, we get insightful Janeway dialogue with the Doc (More socializing! Coffee in Brazil!), lastly we get the fantastic and hilarious non-deathbed confessions from the Doc. Yes, he does love Seven! ::sigh::: There is hope... ;)
As with many of the Seventh Season outings, this episode is tightly plotted, has a self-awareness about it, and doesn't quit until the credits roll. What more can a Voyager fan ask for? A more fitting (second) last episode couldn't be asked for.
a solid 4.5/5
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
remembered how annoyed we were at the lack of consequence for Janeway when she made bad calls? It's human to make them but it's obnoxious when she is elevated to impeachable status every other cliff hanger. Anyway, I had a thought, would you all s*** your pants if we saw continuity from Janeway's "pretend" assimilation? I would have not seen it coming if the writers had Janeway or the doctor recall Janeway having Borg shielding intact from her unimatrix days. Have her walk through their shields like water and say those immortal words to those unsuspecting potato men. Now that is an ep :-)
Still bothers me seven and the queen were written to have 99% cybernetic bodies and Picardo, but most of all the command trio, do not. Had they not shown Seven to be metal with human flesh, I might have bought the senior officer restoration. I think Janeway should have walked through the alien shields :-)
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
However, one thing really tickled me that hasn't been mentioned—there were clues early on that it was the Doctor, before the "reveal". The first was that the Doctor (as Janeway) went after Chakotay with a *hypospray*...and the second was that he (as Janeway) hid Chakotay in the *morgue*. Both those details were unusual, and after realizing it was really the Doctor, I appreciated those details.
Thu, Apr 10, 2014, 4:03am (UTC -5)
Tue, May 20, 2014, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 3:45am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 10, 2015, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 27, 2016, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 4, 2016, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
I didn't notice half the problems Jammer did such as the crazy amount of distance the Hierarchy should be from Voyager, but I can't deny those issues are there. What I think it really a big problem here is that the villains are so laughably incompetent, you have to wonder why the Doctor and Janeway couldn't have outsmarted them much earlier and without jeopardizing Voyager.
I did like the chase scene with Tuvok and the Doctor, and I like the idea that Voyager could pin that hologram down pretty well if they wanted to. It's too bad the Doctor was never in any big enough danger that you actually sympathized with him.
1.5 stars, better to skip this and let your headcannon go on without it.
Fri, Mar 25, 2016, 10:12am (UTC -5)
I also can't help thinking that the uber-Doc busting out his Matrix moves and activating his own ECH routines does suggest that actually a ship full of Doctors might not be an idea for Starfleet. 2 stars.
Sun, Apr 17, 2016, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
Because it was AWESOME.
That is all.
Sat, May 14, 2016, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
BTW, did anyone notice how un-interested and un-involved Mulgrew portrayal of Janeway these last few episodes? She really was looking forward to get out of ST VOY.
Wed, May 18, 2016, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
And how is the Doctor able to lock out everyone else's command codes all the time? For that matter, how does he do all these site-to-site transports? Wouldn't the transporter chief or whoever notice that they are just transporting a hologram? Isn't it rather convenient that no one else cared where Chakotay or Janeway was while they were both missing and he was trying to impersonate both of them? Obviously, that was the big hook of this episode; the EMH against the crew. But the longer it went on, the sillier it became. I just don't think they managed to sustain the concept as well as they had hoped to.
Meanwhile, with all due respect to the EMH, just what the heck was he thinking? "The ship can survive without a warp core; it can't survive without its captain." That may sound special in a touchy-feely sort of way, but it's actually the other way around. Without the warp core, you're dead in the water. No more voyaging for Voyager. No getting home, perhaps not even getting to a planet. Everyone slowly dying on the ship while they try to desperately inch towards the nearest star system. So not only did he ignore the Captain's orders, not only did he ignore the oldest rule in the book (don't negotiate with hostage takers), but he also ignored common sense. If we were supposed to sympathize with the EMH in this episode, they failed miserably. All those emergency command protocols he has and he failed to realize what he was doing was stupid?
It's not that I disliked the episode, but it wasn't really that good. I like the Hierarchy aliens, so it was fun to see them again. Some of the EMH's tricks worked well, such as the holodeck army. Likewise, Tuvok was fairly competent as well. But when the premise is bad, the EMH's decision making is questionable, and the pace somewhat slow, it kinda makes you wish for more from a penultimate episode.
Sat, Jun 25, 2016, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 7, 2016, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
I REALLY didn't want to see the cone-head/humpty-dumpty aliens again.... once was MORE than enough for these guys.
But I must say, it was pretty enjoyable to watch and Doc's confession at the end was LOL funny and .... not sure what the word is, can you bust a gut and feel sorry for the guy at the same time? :-) .... what would that be called? :-) I did here.
Another LOL moment? ....
"EMH-TORRES: Computer, access medical file Torres Three and update her holographic template.
(The baby bump appears.) "
All good fun. 2.5 stars from me.
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 22, 2016, 7:36am (UTC -5)
2 stars. Very middle-of-the-road stuff.
Mon, Jan 9, 2017, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
It's main weakness were those pathetic aliens. God I really hoped " The Void" would be the last time I'd see them. It's absolutely asinine that the Doctor defeated Tuvok so easily, but couldn't do exactly the same to those Hierarchy yahoos. As he showed with Chakotay, his strength is nothing more than the workings of his force-field. He can literally be as strong as he wants to be and easily overpowers Chakotay, yet somehow he's struggling to wrestle with the bootleg aliens of the season.
This would've been the perfect episode to bring back the Think Tank. They could've corrupted the Doctor's program and had him strand Voyager, instead of some lame ass hostage coercion. Jesus Christ on a crucifix. I'll always remember Voyager as the show of missed opportunities.
This episode shows how dangerous the Doctor can be given the right motivation. It's criminal someone in Starfleet didn't figure out how to replicate the mobile emitter so all EMH Mark 1s could be deployed in the Dominion War. The mobile holo-emitter came online in 1996, seaon 3 maybe. I believe the Dominion War culminates during Season 5 of Voyager. Holograms are the perfect foil to the Changelings' shape shifting abilities. There was no way in hell Starfleet wouldn't have deployed them in that situation, especially with Section 31 creeping around. Although they couldn't fool the Founders without the ability to commune, holograms could've infiltrated the Vorta, the Jem'Hadar, and Cardassians quite easily.
Sat, Aug 26, 2017, 1:53am (UTC -5)
Instead we get a convoluted steaming pile of nonsense.
And the potato people say near the end that they can use the doc to get information worth 100 warp cores by using him to infiltrate a surveillance complex, so why bother with this complicated and risky plan to steal voyager's single warp core? As soon as they had the doc, why not just leave? Or send him over to disable Voyager and come back, if they were worried about them following them?
I don't think the writer's on this show ever put more than the most minimal thought into what they were writing. 'Let's get the doc to impersonate the crew!' 'For what reason?' 'Who cares?!' 'But what if it doesn't make any sense?' 'Who cares?! He'll be impersonating the crew!' 'Genius!' 'And make him do some Matrix stuff too!' 'That would be awesome!'
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Jammer gives plenty of favorable reviews to Voyager, though. P.S., don't forget to pass on your jambalaya recipe too.
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
I don't think Jammer liked Voyager as much as say, DS9 or even TNG, but I don't think he's the biggest Voyager critic of Voyager either. In fact, some of his favorable reviews of Voyager episodes gave me the courage to actually go back and rewatch some of these even though I myself am not much of a fan. Found that Voyagers has a few gems, too.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
You're entitled to your opinion but I think it's presumptuous to suggest that Jammer is 'wrong' in his assessment of Voyager. I was a huge Trek fan growing up, I was eating out of their hand, and I found it difficult to even watch Voyager week by week when it first aired. Sometimes I was so disappointed that I skipped watching it for a while, and would invariably be punished when I came back to try again. Some people act like being disappointed with a show means there's some kind of vendetta or they're 'out to bash' the show. Maybe they're just reacting to what they see? I had zero incentive to dislike Voyager when it first aired and it managed to piss my off anyhow.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Maybe you should re-watch the show again in its entirety before agreeing with Jammer now in 2017. I found a great appreciation for this show now in retrospect and maybe you will too.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
I gave it a rewatch last year. Didn't change what I had taken away from it previously. I noted the stronger and weaker parts, and my current thoughts on it are based on very recent memory.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Used to like this episode but it really just feels like an inferior version of Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy. Treads territory the show had already done more than enough before.
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Lt. Ayala did say a sentence in an episode (can't remember which) the preceding year, as a security officer, "Stop where you are!", before getting zapped :)) He must have gotten promoted finally.
The bouncing-off-the-wall move by Torres-Doctor was badly synchronized as you can notice, if you look closely, Tuvok kneeling down and looking at the ceiling before Torres-Doctor actually passes above him.
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
I just got done watching all seasons of Voyager and it is easily the weakest of the shows with the exception of Enterprise. Character development was poor, most of the shows had no long-term impact on the story arc and the seasons felt less inspired as time went on. Even the chemistry on the set seemed to go backward by the end. And instead of building to some type of climax, we get a two-hour finale that appears to come out of nowhere.
Sorry, Ben, but I agree that Voyager was a disappointment.
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
As it is almost every series I like has been screwed by the network so I enjoy what I see the best I can. (The Pretender, Firefly, Farscape, Dark Matter to name a few) And also no longer fall in love with a show.
It’s good to see the former cast mates enjoy their moments at the cons and convention. I respect what those artists have to go through but would not want that burden.
Sun, Mar 18, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:12am (UTC -5)
*However*, I think it's a bit better than the thread generally gives it credit for. The episode opens with the Doctor fully embracing his non-human-ness and technological mastery, but also emphasizes that what he really wants is for he and Janeway to be better friends. Then as the episode goes on, we see his technical wizardly and mastery as he impersonates a number of the crew and keeps the crew on their toes, and it's all to the end of saving Janeway. Then he has that infamous "the crew can survive without its warp core...but not without its captain!" line, which -- if we take it literally -- means that the Doctor, despite his embracing his technological nature, at the same time still holds life as primary over tech, thus fulfilling his original nature as "do no harm" doctor even above all the other things he adds. Renaissance Man or no, he's still a doctor, and will do anything to save his patient. However, while that line is justly derided if taken literally -- no, the ship can't "survive without a warp core," they'll be stranded, etc. -- what the Doctor actually does is find a way to save both. Janeway suggests that the Doctor has command subroutines that will mean he's concocting some sort of plan to fool the ex-Hierarchies, and at the moment she's mostly BS-ing, but actually she's right, in that the Doctor is working on a way to alert Voyager to his real location in a way that relies on the crew's detailed knowledge of the Doctor's personality (he wouldn't get Blue Danube so wrong). His risky, maybe hubristic plan is to bring the warp core so that Janeway doesn't get killed and then bring a Voyager shuttle so that the warp core and Janeway (and himself) get recovered, validating both the human and the technical as essential parts of the ship -- and thus validating, indirectly, himself as both versatile technology and life form. His betrayal of the crew to carry out this mad-dash plan is on a shipwide scale and involves various technical tricks, but then at his "deathbed" gives way to various personal confessions, and those are the ones he's actually embarrassed about, again emphasizing the primacy of his personhood over his technological wizardry. And the very end is Janeway offering to go spend time with him as a person. I'm put in mind of the end of All Good Things with the poker game. So the episode actually seems to me to be thematically sound about balancing technological and personal, within the Doctor and within Voyager, and doing so within the context of a fun (if kind of stupid) romp, and it seems to me to be continuing the Doctor's character arc. I mean, yes, I'd probably prefer Author Author as a final statement on the character too, but this isn't bad and actually does seem to me to have some things to say.
I mean, it still is pretty dumb in plot stuff, but with some fun elements -- I like how Tuvok doesn't let the Doctor hypospray him, and the bit with the dozens of Doctors in the holodeck -- so I won't exactly fully recommend it, but I think it earns a sold-to-high 2.5 stars.
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Flesh and Blood
Someone to Watch Over Me
Message in a Bottle
One (basically a two-hander with Seven for a while)
Body and Soul
Heroes and Demons
So overall a pretty good set of episodes, with only a few losers -- and even them not terrible -- and several real winners among the series' best. Definitely the best character arc of the series, even if it comes from humble beginnings (e.g. Heroes and Demons ain't much to speak of, IMO).
And thus ends my "character ep rankings". I'm not doing one for Janeway -- too many to sift through (since the default episode is "about Janeway" insofar as being about the captain). For other characters see: Fury (Kes), Drive (Paris), Repression (Tuvok), Nightingale (Kim), Prophesy (Torres), Natural Law (Seven, Chakotay), Homestead (Neelix).
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:28am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 12:08am (UTC -5)
This episode was better when O’Brien was being forced to sabotage the ship when the Pagh Wraiths took over Keiko’s body.
Wed, May 9, 2018, 4:41am (UTC -5)
The episode would've been really fun and interesting if the Doctor had just been allowed to kick ass. I was expecting some sort of twist at the end where he saves to day and outsmarts the aliens. We did get the Blue Danube trick but it was still basically Tuvok and Paris saving his ass along with the conveniently good alien.
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Really basic plot here but what was kind of cool (and could have been even more so) is Doc getting into awkward situations as holo-images of the various crew. The only time this worked was when he was Torres and Paris kissed him -- good awkward situation. But the problem with the episode is it didn't want to be a comedy but I think it should have tried to be one.
As VOY comes to a close, this is one of those episodes probably just thrown together with little thought -- just to make up the numbers. Doc's a great character and I liked his confessions at the end, but I did think the series started to go a bit overboard with his personal interests (opera etc.).
Barely 2.5 stars for "Renaissance Man" -- kind of fun given the web Doc weaves himself into but nothing of consequence and not as clever as I think it could have been. The villains here are a letdown -- better suited to a pure comedy episode. Also not sure what they're doing so far away from where Voyager met them last. Thought the penultimate VOY episode would have more bearing on the finale.
Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 9:05am (UTC -5)
In a way, I'm glad there wasn't an eighth season, so I could be spared the episode where Naomi Wildeman takes over the ship, leaving Tuvok stunned and confused.
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Instead, we get the Doctor foolishly trusting the aliens, crippling Voyager, and disobeying a direct order from Janeway. In the final act, it's Tuvok and Tom to the rescue as the Doctor suddenly becomes inert, and the "confession" scene at the end is just plain silly. Two stars.
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Not sure what the big idea is, with this fairly odd and mostly inconsequential episode, right before our big finale.
I was sure Doc would do something to help the crew find the warp core and the Captain, though the musical solution was just "eh." After all the theatrics, I was expecting something more.
I can't believe I've only got one more ep!! I am really going to miss Voyager. I'd consider a rewatch, this time going through and reading and commenting on each ep, but I've never seen anything but a few first season eps of DS9 . . . I've seen ENT, TNG, THIS and VOY. I really should do DS9.
Buona sera, Trekini.
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
A typo. I use a Swype keyboard on my Android. If I don't watch closely it does some screwy stuff. It was supposed to be TOS.
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
No problems... I make more typos than most :-)
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
You’ve watched ENT but not DS9? You need to fix that, ASAP.
Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 1:27am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 12:06am (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -5)
"Renaissance Man" was an episode I used to not like, but after re-watching it yesterday, I have come to appreciate it more. For sure, there were some things that could have been done better. But I don't think this was merely a "filler" show before the last episode. I think its basic premise was perfectly timed.
Why? Think about it like this. If we had seen this plot line (Voyager potentially losing its warp core and the crew settling on a planet) earlier during the show's run, it would have been obvious that something would change and everyone would continue on their journey home. But by placing this plot line here, in the penultimate episode, I feel like the goal was to make viewers wonder if this really might be how the series ends--without the crew getting home, but instead giving up their warp core and settling on a planet.
Regardless of how you feel about the specifics of this episode, it seems like a great idea to me to have the crew face the potential of losing their means of travel in the penultimate episode.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
If you don't like this I don't get how you could get this far to begin with; you'll have to be a masochist.
This is good ol' VOY shining.
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
And- personal beef - why does the VOY crew never act like they have seen the potato people race before? With races like the Borg, Devore, Malon, etc., the crew actually remembers who they are (and even references them from time to time). Never any continuity references with the PPs.
Fri, May 1, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 31, 2020, 12:11am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
I was never a fan of the shit head aliens, though.
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
Still, it does feature the very tired Voyager trope of setting the stakes very high while the crew only seems mildly concerned because they know they’ll get the techno thing back. Losing the warp core would almost seem like a severe crippling problem, but nah, we’ll just go get it in shuttle.
That said, it does work pretty well here, they just went to that trough so so many times.
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 2:52am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 14, 2021, 7:22am (UTC -5)
That aside, it's a fun, low key comedy episode that should be enjoyed without being taken all that seriously, though losing the warp core would be a crippling blow to Voyager. I'm not sure we needed one more episode with the Doctor as the focal character, but at least the main cast all get something to do. I enjoyed it.
Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 12:23am (UTC -5)
To some extent, I have come to expect over-the-top
craziness from the Doctor and can be entertained when he defies all odds to do exactly the opposite of what I want him to do. It causes me think of Slim Pickens making sure that the bomb drops toward the end of Dr. Strangelove. The main take away is that there's often a preternatural excess of dedication or persistence when people are doing the wrong thing.
An over-the-top approach to character development has also been applied to Lieutenant Barclay from time to time in an effort to emphasize his passionare embrace of novel ideas. With Barclay though, I tend to think that this approach shifts his character into becoming a raging extrovert, which Barclay just isn't, and should never be.
Tue, Jan 10, 2023, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
I also have a hard time buying that the doctor, with his ECH database, would knowingly sacrifice the ship's warp core in exchange for its Captain, when that is not something that any command officer would do. The safety of the ship is paramount.
And yes... the Hierarchy race being so spread out over the Delta Quadrant is also hard to buy into.
This episode was a lousy pre-finale ending of the series.
Wed, Feb 22, 2023, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
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