Star Trek: Voyager

"Renaissance Man"

2.5 stars

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 cliche: 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

◄ Season Index

74 comments on this review

Immanuel
Wed, Oct 3, 2007, 8:01pm (UTC -6)
I really like "Renaissance Man" and it easily gets a 3-star rating from me. The Hierarchy are an interesting species and I welcome their reappearance. Sure, we've seen plenty of kidnapping plots in the Star Trek franchise, but there's something refreshing about the execution here. The pacing is great, the visual effects are very cool and the ending is smile-inducing.

Noteworthy:

*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.
Gretchen
Mon, Oct 22, 2007, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Not that I thought differently beforehand, but the fact that Voyager's penultimate episode is a standard, stand alone adventure, whereas both TNG's Preemptive Strike and DS9's Dogs of War were first-rate dramas with affecting ramifications.
Gretchen
Mon, Oct 22, 2007, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Not that I thought differently beforehand, but the fact that Voyager's penultimate episode is a standard, stand alone adventure is par for the course for this show, whereas both TNG's Preemptive Strike and DS9's Dogs of War were first-rate dramas with affecting ramifications.
Michael
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
I LOVED this episode and it's probably my favorite. In fact, I decided to watch Voyager again just because I suddenly remembered this particular show.

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.
Elliott
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
@ Gretchen

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.
Cloudane
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
I'd have liked to have seen a more gradual end to Voyager myself, rather than having run-of-the-mill stuff right up to the penultimate episode.. but whatever. Indeed, it's befitting the series - it's not like there are a myriad of complex DS9-style ongoing stories to tie up :)

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!
LWG
Sun, Jul 10, 2011, 6:13pm (UTC -6)
Oh man did I laugh at the Doctor's Matrix wall climb when I saw that. It was ridiculous, and even funnier in slow motion. I suspected it might be mentioned in this review. It was just so weird.
Nathan
Mon, Nov 14, 2011, 8:45am (UTC -6)
We did see the Hierarchy guys in that weird hole in space.
Captain Jim
Thu, Jun 14, 2012, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
Immanuel said,

"*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.
Jay
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 10:46am (UTC -6)
@ Captain Jim,

In "Basics", Ayala said "yeah" when asked if he could run good. I think that was the first and last time before now...
Bravestarr
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
I fucking loved this episode. Granted, the bad guys kind of suck...but the whole Doctor impersonating everyone was pretty cool. The scene where Tuvok uses VulKarate to stop him is awesome, epic wall climb...awesome...Tom/Doctor kiss...awesome in a hilarious way.

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?
navamske
Mon, May 20, 2013, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
@Bravestarr

"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.
Ian
Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
I guess no one noticed the homage to "The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy?"
The line when the captain was told she would be put down on a planet whose inhabitants are "mostly harmless."
skadoo
Mon, Jul 15, 2013, 11:52am (UTC -6)
OK, for a second there when the Dr. said he wanted to spend more time with the Captain I thought he was hitting on her! If it hadn't have been for his "death bed confession" of love for Seven, I would have wondered.

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...
Leah
Tue, Jul 23, 2013, 12:00am (UTC -6)
Not bad, not great. *SIGH*
azcats
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 12:39pm (UTC -6)
interesting that the 2nd to last episode was Michaels favorite. It is not an episode i remembered off the top of my head. but it was very enjoyable. these are the episodes that make me miss voyager. more action in Voyager than the other series i think.

very fun. last 2 scenes were great.

3 stars at least.
Niall
Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
This is a fun comedy episode - romp is the right word - and I have no qualms with it being as the penultimate episode, especially given how well it compares with DS9's Extreme Measures, another attempt at "one last romp" that didn't come off anywhere near as well.
Jo Jo Meastro
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 6:03am (UTC -6)
I really liked it.

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!
Jack
Fri, Nov 1, 2013, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
This is probably one of the most uninteresting episodes. The Dcotor is blatantly disregarding the captain's orders, for no reason other that to further the "plot".
Nissa
Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
This episode is so utterly stupid. One star. The bad guy's actions and motivations were meh, and it was difficult to watch their very stilted acting and writing. Granted, Picardo did a good acting job, and I liked the bit at the beginning where he mentioned he liked not being a human -- he's been a bit of a Data rip-off in the past, and it's nice to see him accept himself.

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.
Nick
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
This is another episode that clearly draws inspiration from the light classic star trek romps such as "Mudd's Women", wherein a rather comical and not overly dangerous villain is eventually outwitted. With all the danger and threats, no one even gets killed!

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
Amanda
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
I enjoy watching this episode. I didn't like its placement so close to the end, it was so anti climatic as Endgame was approaching. Since it's been 13 yrs since it first aired, I've started wondering what ifs

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 :-)
Amanda
Sat, Mar 8, 2014, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
*Picard. Not Picardo. I have Picardo in my auto correct. I better add Picard now :-)
Denes House
Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 6:36pm (UTC -6)
I found it funny that an episode that features the Potato People would also feature a dish of potato salad... with extra paprika!
Steinway
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the consensus, that this was a fun episode but oddly placed in the line-up (or countdown, rather).

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.
Amanda
Thu, Apr 10, 2014, 4:03am (UTC -6)
Steinway> I didn't mention it but yes, I suspected it was the doc when Janeway started stammering on the bridge and using a hypospray on Chakotay. He was easy prey to such a tiny woman :-) I mean really? He couldn't shove her down? :-) If the doc had done a subtle seductive move to get him from behind, yes, but front attack, Chakotay looked very whimpy to me.

JJ
Tue, May 20, 2014, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
I think the only thing that really hurts this episode is that they stuck it between Homestead and the finale. Put it in the middle of the season and run and it would be easily 3 1/2 stars... not as good as tinker tenor but still great.
Tuff*Gong
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 3:45am (UTC -6)
Awful episode.
BK
Tue, Nov 10, 2015, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
With apologies to Wayne Thomas Yorke, his character Zet reminded me of Rush Limbaugh in voice, aggression, and physical attributes. Although Zet is a bit more attractive. I actually like this episode even more after revisiting it over the years.
Canman
Wed, Jan 27, 2016, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
0 star atrocity. Almost as bad as threshold. What a complete garbage of an episode. Again, the treacherous doc goes all traitor while disobeying direct orders. Can they decompile it already?
TLW
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
It was funny. I would have liked to have seen what happened when Tom found out exactly who he kissed.
Chrome
Fri, Mar 4, 2016, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Maybe if I hadn't watched "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" I would've had more fun with this one. But I feel like episode is just a colossal step backward for the Doctor's characterization. The notion that the Doctor would incapacity the whole senior staff in order to pull off a sinister stunt that could seriously jeopardize the crew is completely out of sync with a character who has now actually commanded Voyager.

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.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Mar 25, 2016, 10:12am (UTC -6)
As others have noted, it is probably emblematic of the series as a whole that we get this utterly inconsequential episode as the last regular episode of the run. Yes, it does things well enough and some of the little details are quite nice, but when you build an episode around a line as ridiculous as "The ship can go on without a warp core, it can't go on without a captain" - ah, actually that's probably the other way around Doc - then you're asking for trouble.

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.
Bryan
Sun, Apr 17, 2016, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
Jammer asks: "I've never seen Doc pull a Matrix-like move like that before, but then why did I need to?"

Because it was AWESOME.

That is all.
dipads
Sat, May 14, 2016, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
Neelix leaving the ship was the best move he ever made. He did not have to endure this awful episode.
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.
Skeptical
Wed, May 18, 2016, 9:05pm (UTC -6)
There can be some fun in seeing how a crewmember manages to outwit the rest of the crew. We saw Data successfully do it in Brothers, and Wesley fail in The Game. But you know what? Those were short sequences, not half the plot. And for good reason, because unless you do an exceptional job of plotting it, it can get boring and implausible real quick. Consider when "Chakotay" orders everyone out of engineering, then Torres learns the truth. So the EMH places her behind a forcefield. So she then... just watches. Didn't get on her communicator to ask anyone else from engineering to come back in? Didn't report in to Tuvok? Just sat there?

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.
John C. Worsley
Sat, Jun 25, 2016, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
Agree with the dissenters. Lousy episode; some entertaining elements in a vacuum but the core is infuriatingly stupid. They really couldn't come up with a good excuse for the action? A being this powerful and this easily manipulated should not have security clearance of any kind.
Yanks
Thu, Jul 7, 2016, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Well, this one probably should have been swapped with Homestead. But then we wouldn't have got one of the nicer moments with Seven talking to Neelix via subspace in astrometrics and her thanking him for the picnic suggestion.

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.) "

lol

All good fun. 2.5 stars from me.



mephyve
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 5:52am (UTC -6)
sigh (*)
Mikey
Tue, Nov 22, 2016, 7:36am (UTC -6)
This is the penultimate episode?

2 stars. Very middle-of-the-road stuff.
N
Mon, Jan 9, 2017, 12:00pm (UTC -6)
Perfectly competent yet remarkably boring and workmanlike. As it's a direct follow-up to the excellent Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, they should have kept the same tone and made it a comedy instead of an action/intrigue episode. Only the final scene is entertaining (if a little overdone), the rest is very routine. Roxann Dawson isn't a showy accent but I thought her performance in this was great - first when the Doctor is impersonating her, secondly her acerbic reaction at the end when fixing the Doctor's program.
Dave
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
A race that advanced on the edge of the Beta Quadrant (basically adjacent to the Klingon Empire) surely would have made themselves known by Picard's time to the Federation, or at least the afforementioned Klingon Empire.
Quincy
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
This episode was lol fun at times, especially the Doctor's deathbed confession. Also, bodies piling up in the morgue was hilarious.

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.
Skintle
Sat, Aug 26, 2017, 1:53am (UTC -6)
The doc and Janeway are kidnapped by aliens and come back and say they have to hand over the warp core and abandon ship or else. And Janeway is acting all out of character, even talking to herself. Chakotay should have immediately assumed command of the ship and tried to lock her up, which is when they would have discovered she was actually the doc, and they would have went searching for the real Janeway and rescued her quite easily. End of what would be about a 10 minute episode.

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!'

1 star
Ben Sisko
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 9:50am (UTC -6)
I disagree with Jammer's assessment of the series as a whole. I found many of Voyager's episodes to be moving and thought provoking. An excellent series overall and a wonderful addition to the Star Trek saga. I'm glad I passed my love of this show along to my children.
Chrome
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 10:02am (UTC -6)
@Ben Sisko

Jammer gives plenty of favorable reviews to Voyager, though. P.S., don't forget to pass on your jambalaya recipe too.
Ben Sisko
Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome, if you have read every review Jammer has done on this show then it's the mistakable conclusion that he is disappointed with this show as a whole. And I just want to voice my opinion that I disagree wth that general sentiment and am very fond of this show as a whole.
Chrome
Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
@Ben Sisko

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.
Ben Sisko
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome, TNG and DS9 were amazing shows, some of the best TV of all time. So, to say Voyager was maybe not quite as good as those shows, still says a lot about how wonderful this show truly was. But, from reading Jammer's reviews as a whole, I never got the impression he appreciated what he was watching most of the time. Again, this really comes through in his last few reviews of the series, where his overall disappointment of the series becomes quite clear to me. I just finished rewatching the entire series again, and I have really come to appreciate how good this show was, and how it's possible we may never get a Star Trek show as good as this again. I definitely get that impression after watching the first couple of episodes of Discovery.
Peter G.
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
@ Ben Sisko,

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.
Ben Sisko
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
@PeterG,

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.
Robert
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
@Ben Sisko - VOY is better when you don't rewatch the whole thing in short order. It has a lot of fantastic hours, but it doesn't hold up as a seven year long saga. That was it's biggest problem.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
@ Ben Sisko,

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.
wolfstar
Tue, Oct 3, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, I just pick and choose episodes when it comes to rewatching Voyager. A third of it (at most 40%) is solid, the rest is disposable. There are plenty of good standalone episodes in seasons 2-5 and season 7 that are worth returning to and that I enjoy. But I'd never watch it all the way through as a seven-year saga the way I would DS9.

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.
Mertov
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
On-the-spot review by Jammer, again.

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.
Eric
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
@Ben Sisko,

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.
The Dreamer
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:42pm (UTC -6)
Interesting dialogue, like I stated in my comment on Homestead, Voyager was hamstrung by the studio. They green lit a show that *demanded* continuity and then insisted on a more or less stand alone format. Trek fatigue was in full effect as well and it showed. Perhaps the show would have been better if it was not designated the flagship show for a network not enjoying the freedom as first run syndication like TNG and ds9.

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.
Franco
Sun, Mar 18, 2018, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
At least the bed death confession gag was funny. Seven's face when Tom asked if Doc had anything else to confess made me LOL.
William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:12am (UTC -6)
I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I agree that it's not great as a penultimate episode and is full of holes -- for example, how long exactly was B'Elanna repairing Janeway's replicator, without noticing that Janeway was not there, for the Doctor to impersonate her for so long? did he break Janeway's replicator? -- and that the villains are obviously stock characters. Nor do I think it's as good as Tinker, Tenor, or even The Game in terms of one-crew-member-against-the-crew, let alone the bravura opening act of Brothers.

*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.
William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -6)
Doctor episode rankings (by quality and Doctor-ness):

Latent Image
Living Witness
Author, Author
Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Flesh and Blood
Projections
Someone to Watch Over Me
Retrospect
Lifesigns
Message in a Bottle
Life Line
Critical Care
The Swarm
Real Life
One (basically a two-hander with Seven for a while)
Virtuoso
Renaissance Man
Body and Soul
Revulsion
Heroes and Demons
Nothing Human
Darkling

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).
William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -6)
Since I'm in a ranking mood, my overall take on how the characters were handled (both writing and acting) -- not counting Janeway, who is a separate, difficult case -- from best to worst:

The Doctor
Seven
Torres
Tuvok
Paris
Chakotay
Neelix
Kes
Kim
William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:28am (UTC -6)
Oh right -- it also occurred to me when watching this that the Doctor defying the captain's direct order in order to protect her is the same thing that Riker had done and that made Picard interested in him as a first officer, as discussed in Encounter at Farpoint. I'm sure it's not an intentional echo, but I think it's kind of neat to have some callbacks to the beginning of the TNG TV era as it's about to close. (DS9 was much more explicit in having direct call backs to TOS' Where No Man Has Gone Before in its finale.)
faille
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
The worst thing Janeway ever did for the Doctor was never punish him. He’s done some horrible, treasonous things in the name of ego and incompetency, and she just laughs and pats him on the back after. He never had to learn that the reason he couldn’t do certain things wasn’t because he was a hologram, but rather that not all people get to be all things all the time. He never got to learn about consequences for his actions, or feel any punishment other than what he inflicted on himself. Maddening. But good to hear he kept the same diary about her terriblecommand decisions as the rest of us
faille
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 12:08am (UTC -6)
Round Two of commentary. The stakes were too high for this to be a comedy and too low to be taken seriously. The Doctor should have been able to use his Emergency Command knowledge to know that Janeway was serious about not giving them the warp core, and been able to come up with a creative way to communicate that wasn’t a stupid song at the end. It was fun to see him switching bodies and I loved the room of doctors on the holodeck, but his actions were too extreme for the situation. Shoving people into the morgue? Why didn’t he just incapacitate the entire crew with a modification to environmental controls then tell them an alien invaded the ship? His talk about being happy to be a hologram had no real bearing on the episode, aside maybe as misderection to make us think he was taking over the crew willingly. Non of his usual blundering was there. It was kind of ruthlessly efficient, and now that I think about it, kind of scary. The doctor is a kind of super AI and episodes like this show why we maybe shouldn’t create sentient life in this manner.

This episode was better when O’Brien was being forced to sabotage the ship when the Pagh Wraiths took over Keiko’s body.
teokk
Wed, May 9, 2018, 4:41am (UTC -6)
Thought this was crap and basically character assassination of the Doctor. It made him way too incompetent and the confessions at the end were needlessly humiliating. The dichotomy between him being incredibly capable and resourceful while not being able to outmaneuver two dimwitted aliens was extremely jarring. I'm also fairly tired of his program being arbitrarily small and large and being able or unable to accommodate new data.

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.
Rahul
Mon, May 14, 2018, 11:18pm (UTC -6)
Jammer says: "Call it enjoyable, silly, brain-dead mayhem." I largely agree although I'd add "barely" before "enjoyable". Was really disappointed to see the potato people again behind this scheme -- the episode just degenerated from there as we can't take these clowns seriously as villains and it was only a matter of time before the junior guy takes matter into his own hands. This is a recurring cliche when 2 villains are involved -- the serious guy and the goofy other guy.

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.
SouthofNorth
Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
Not consequential or qwirky enough to like or hate. Just a meh episode to be quickly forgotten. 2 stars.
SouthofNorth
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 9:05am (UTC -6)
And another episode where a character evades voyager's laughable security protocols.

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.
Dick
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 10:48pm (UTC -6)
This was the last episode of Voyager that I had never watched, and it was a disappointment. The first two acts are great as the mystery of Janeway's odd behavior and the Doctor's clandestine mission are slowly revealed. I was hoping that the Doctor was running a long con on the alien kidnappers and was going to cleverly outwit them in the end a la "The Sting".

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.
Springy
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 12:15am (UTC -6)
The overall plot is kinda silly, but it was fun watching the Doc inhabiting all the different bodies and doing his holographic tricks.

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.
Yanks
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 10:34am (UTC -6)
Springy,

"THIS"?
Springy
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
Yanks,

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.

Yanks
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
Springy,

No problems... I make more typos than most :-)
Chrome
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 1:01pm (UTC -6)
@Springy

You’ve watched ENT but not DS9? You need to fix that, ASAP.

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