The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Warhead"

by David E. Sluss

23 May 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Picardo's the man, as he single-handedly saves this episode from being a total disaster, mired as it was in questionable plot devices and ridiculous technobabble.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.0 (C-)

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: The teaser scene with Paris planning an anniversary dinner for B'Elanna, for two different reasons. First, because "One Season = One Year" has generally been the timeframe used by New Trek; as such, Paris and Torres would have started dating a lot more than a year ago, and certainly less than two years, sometime shortly after "Day of Slumber" from early last season. Second, with all the talk of UPN cutting an extra minute from Voyager lately, just imagine a scene that was less worthwhile and relevant than this one and which wound up on the cutting room floor. Speaking of filler...

FILLER OF THE WEEK: The whole sequence with Neelix's trader buddy, Sanford, didn't seem to serve any purpose, other than to prove that Da Bomb was ruthless, something viewers might not have understood if they only saw Da Bomb hijacking The Doctor's program and Voyager itself, and imprisoning two crew members. The sequence also makes Voyager look pretty rickety, as Sanford's salvage vessel manages to take out Voyager's shields and weapons with a single shot! And why, with Da Bomb monitoring the ship's progress, didn't he/it scream about Voyager dropping out of warp, and sitting still while Janeway was negotiating with Sanford?

POOR DECISION-MAKING OF THE WEEK: Harry should be assigned to cleaning the warp nacelles -- from the outside, and while they are operating -- for the boneheaded decision to beam the alien device aboard the ship before researching it. And Janeway's decision-making also has to been called into question for allowing Harry to make that call, particularly since his judgement has recently been called into question (c.f. "The Disease," if you dare). They beam the gizmo to engineering, and Harry and B'Elanna scan it with tricorders, which they could have done with the bomb safely on the planet's surface. Meanwhile, Seven's research reveals fragments of another device, which proves that it is a bomb. Shouldn't that have been done prior to transport? Speaking of which, the transporter is able to detect and deactivate weapons (c.f. Next Generation's "The Most Toys," for instance); surely it can detect an antimatter bomb being beamed aboard. And still more transporter problems...

CRASH AND BURN OF THE WEEK: Paris suggests deactivating Da Bomb's forcefields and beaming it into space. Seven and Chakotay shoot him down, saying the transporter can't send it far enough away to protect Voyager when it explodes. I've got two words: "Wide Dispersal"...

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: The Doctor recommends downloading Da Bomb's A.I. into a holo-matrix. Excuse me? The only holo-matrix capable of containing a sentient program, other than The Doctor himself, was the EMH Diagnostic program which was grafted onto The Doctor's program in "The Swarm." So are we talking about a matrix that seems sentient but isn't, like the Crell Moset hologram in "Nothing Human," or a truly sentient matrix, which opens all manner of cans of worms, such as why multiple Doctors can't be activated during emergencies? We know the crew will eventually be able to back up The Doctor, if the timeline in last year's "Living Witless" is to be believed, but if that capability exists "now," it's never been mentioned.

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: I'm afraid I don't see any point to having artificial intelligence in a bomb. It seems like entirely too much trouble and too fraught with potential problems, like, in this case, the bombs "not believing" their recall orders. Good old fashioned dumb bombs would seem to work just fine.

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Strange that the "enemy race" didn't react at all to the presence of this fleet of bombs within their defense perimeter. This is a blessing in disguise though, because it meant we avoided another "Voyager attacked by surly forehead aliens" scene, since one was more than enough.
 

Previous: "Relativity"
Next: "Equinox"
NEXT WEEK: Voyager's crew learns what might have been if they had a Captain other than Janeway. Answer: faster progress, fewer boarding parties, and better food.

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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