Overview – The EMH and Lieutenant Torres respond to a distress call from an alien starship’s holographic crewmember. When they arrive at the ship, they soon learn that the hologram they are helping is hiding something dark and sinister. Meanwhile, on Voyager, Harry Kim has been ordered to set up an astrometrics lab with Seven of Nine. Seven notices that Harry is displaying a romantic interest in her, and things get out of hand very quickly.
Score: 7/10 – This episode has two dueling storylines. One, the main story, is a dark thriller that has Torres and the Doctor struggling to survive against a malfunctioning hologram that has psychotic tendencies. The suspense is huge in this episode, and skilled actor Leland Orser, in one of his four Trek roles, delivers the creepy in a big way with the character of Dejaren. The other story balances out the darkness of the first with a more comical romantic failure of Harry Kim that gives us the almost obligatory Seven of Nine angle. This being early in Season 4, Seven has to be a prominent fixture in one way or another. I think that was the eleventh commandment at the time. While the two stories balance each other quite well, the Kim-Seven angle fell a bit flat. There is definitely some chemistry, but the writers almost intentionally caused it to blow up in Harry’s face, and he never seems to even try to recover from it. Plus, I was not sure of when Seven gives the now infamous line of “take off your clothes” if she was joking or being matter-of-fact. If it was meant to be humorous, it did so in an awkward way. This episode also seemed to be used as filler for a lot of stuff that may be significant later, but for this particular episode didn’t seem to be relevant to the episode’s main stories. Examples of this are Tuvok’s promotion and Tom and B’Ellana’s first kiss. Still, it is an enjoyable episode that gives us some good chuckles and a couple jumps.
Relevance - 3 points. One point is scored for Torres and Paris taking their relationship to the next level. Two episodes prior to this (“Day of Honor”), the two had admitted feelings for each other. Well, those feelings were embraced when B’Elanna initially thought to just sweep it under the rug. Another point is scored for Paris bringing up Harry’s past failed love interest, including the hologram he fell for in “Alter Ego”. A final point is scored for the beginning of the astrometrics lab that will become Seven of Nine’s main work area. If that was not enough, Tuvok gets promoted (finally) to Lieutenant Commander.
Continuity - 2 points. The story continuity works for this episode. If you are a stickler for time sequencing, when you consider the events of the previous two episodes (“Day of Honor” and “Nemesis”), it seems that these three episodes all occurred within a week’s worth of time. Universe continuity also checks out here. I am deducting a point for Seven of Nine’s attempt at humor when she propositions Harry Kim. It is almost as if Seven is joking when she tells Harry to take off is clothes. It seemed a bit early for Seven to try to be funny, a sentiment that actress Jeri Ran has stated.
Character Development – 3 points. Obviously, the Doctor gets some attention as he interacts with Dejaren and first help and later stop him. He also learns to loosen up a little as he saw how unstable Dejaren’s obsession with cleanliness became. Torres also gets some attention as she tries to deal with the unstable hologram, and the events of this episode bring her and the Doctor closer together. She also moves her relationship with Tom to the next level, which also adds to his character development. Harry and Seven also progress their characters along, making the evil hologram story almost as footnote to moving along at least five of the core characters. While some of the development may have zero to do with the central story, there are many significant things that happen for many of the characters.
Social Commentary – 2 points. So much happened, but what message does it give us? Perhaps we can learn to always be mindful of our biases. The Doctor wanted to be a part of the away mission to help a fellow holographic lifeform. He wanted to help Dejaren achieve what he achieved. However, we are a bit limited as to how we can help someone who is “broken”. It also gives us some insight into the dangers associated with obsessive behaviors if they are left unchecked. As few things to think on.
Cool Stuff – 2 points. I give a point here for the character of Dejaren. Leland Orser gives a convincing performance as the eerie holographic psychopath, and the character is straight out of a nightmare (in a good way). I also liked how he used his holographic nature when he tried to kill Torres. For a second point, we look to Tuvok. Even though it really added nothing to the story or the episode, I must say that it is about time that our Vulcan security chief receive his promotion. If there was one thing that bugged me about voyager’s command structure, it was the lack of Lt. Commanders.
Rank – Captain (19 points). This is definitely an episode to watch, in spite of a bit of clutter. If the fun, sometimes scary story of a neat-freak psychotic hologram is not enough, consider this. By not watching this episode, you will miss out on Tom and B’Elanna’s first kiss, Tuvok’s promotion, and Harry totally embarrassing himself in front of Seven of Nine.
If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Voyager, click on the link here.
If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.