The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"The Omega Directive"

by David E. Sluss

20 April 1998

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Clearly, the technobabble has gotten out of hand when it appears in the very titles of the episodes. Sheesh. Still, we did get some decent character work, especially for Seven of Nine. Some key plot holes damage the show greatly, however.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.5 (D)

EUNUCH OF THE WEEK: Harry Kim, first demoted by Seven, then scolded for whining about it by Chakotay. Double Snip! Number Two indeed.

MISMATCHED TECH OF THE WEEK: There's something strange about the alien race which was fiddling with the Magnesia particle. They have a high-tech research lab on their moon, featuring gizmos that look every bit as advanced as any Federation lab, they've created 200 million(!) Magnesia particles (when even the Borg could only make one), they have impulse engines as good as Voyager's (an rather effective weapons, to boot), they don't seem particularly disturbed or surprised by the presence of aliens, and yet they are pre-warp? That just doesn't fly. It seems to have been tacked on just so we could have the "dilemma" of violating the Prime Directive. "Captain, may I remind you that we are about to violate the Prime Directive by opening this door?" *gasp!* And by the way, Tuvok, the PD had already been violated at that point when the alien scientist was beamed aboard your warp-capable starship.

FUTILITY OF THE WEEK: Well, 200M Magnesia particles were destroyed, but as near as I can tell, Voyager did nothing to prevent the aliens from cooking up more. That hardly seems satisfactory, given the priority Starfleet gave to the Magnesia Directive. Given the number of particles that scientist was able to make, and given that Janeway said a few hundred of them could wreck subspace throughout a quadrant, a month from now they could find that warp travel has been iced throughout the entire galaxy; of course, in that event, Janeway would never make it to her court-martial. Janeway is supposed to use "any means necessary" to stop Magnesia research; not to put too fine a point on it, but frankly, I think that includes killing the lead alien scientist and anyone else who knows anything about the research, in order to try to prevent that society from doing it again (or at least shooting down the supposedly inferior alien vessels that are trying to hinder the mission). Obviously that wasn't going to happen, but something should have been done to try prevent the aliens from re-creating the particles. Then they could remodulate the deflector dish to emit an inverse proto-tachyon beam throughout the star system; this would have the effect of preventing the sub-super-molecular bonding required to create Magnesia. It would make it impossible to make the particle anywhere in the star system. What's that? Why... yes, I am writing a spec script for Voyager; why do you ask?

NAME-DROPPING OF THE WEEK: The mention of Carol Marcus and the Genesis device is clearly a cynical attempt to convince viewers that the current powers that be care about Trek's history. On a side note, though, the reference suggests that there was more research into and use of Genesis than we have previously known. And as long as you are dropping names, here's one: Pulaski. You know, the one who could selectively erase memories of things like alien abduction or knowledge of technobabble particles. Would it have worked? Maybe not -- the record is mixed. But it would have been something to try.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: This episode takes place 36 years before the previous one if the Stardate on Seven's log entry is to be believed (15***.*)
  

Previous Review: "Concerning Flight"
Next Review: "Living Witness"
NEXT WEEK: "Unforgettable" (not reviewed)

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This review is copyright 1998 David E. Sluss
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