The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy"

by David E. Sluss

17 October 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Decent, as "Star Trek comedies" go, but not funny enough to completely justify the suspension of belief required to buy it.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.5 (C)

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: You have to swallow an awful lot in order to believe this episode, but probably the hardest thing to accept is the alien hump sending a projection of himself into The Doctor's "mind." First of all, if the Hump ship has the technology to do that, with enough precision that The Doctor sees a perfect replica of the hump in his daydream, then the Humps should have better scanning abilities (i.e. the ability to fully scan Voyager undetected, to notice there aren't any Borg transwarp turds laying around the sector, etc.). Second, how could the Hump have carried it out, considering he was being closely supervised by his captain, and that no one could even take a dump on that ship without consulting the Hierarchy?

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: When asked whether he daydreams, Neelix blathers something about the beliefs of the people on Talaxia, his home planet; wasn't it established early on in the series that Neelix's home planet was named Talax (or more precisely, Rynax, a moon of that planet)? Trekkie Rationalizers can write this one off as another of The Doctor's delusions, I suppose.

NEW ASTRONOMY OF THE WEEK: Proving once again that science and Voyager don't mix, this week we find Voyager unexpectedly finding a nebula, one that is 1000 kilometers in diameter. Hello? A nebula smaller than a planet? And then, despite the Captain's apparent surprise at finding the thing, Voyager fails to investigate it. As if I could believe Janeway would ignore a space anomaly; right then, I knew this was a mindf^&* episode...

POOR RESEARCH OF THE WEEK: Janeway looks at the Federation database for precedents on holograms in command and can't find any. It occurs to me that there is a good deal of precedent, legal and otherwise, regarding sentient AI's in command, thanks to Data, and the events of various episodes of The Next Generation (i.e. "The Measure of a Man," "Redemption II"). And it's not like the writers of Voyager to pass up an excuse to name-drop.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: When the aliens are approaching Voyager, their Captain asks, "Why isn't there any hull damage?" after the apparent Borg attack. Ha! Is there ever hull damage?

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: During The Doctor's "warp core breech" fantasy, the computer says, "Warp core breech sooner than you think!" in mockery of the way the computer always knows down to the second exactly when the core will breech, the hull will break, or a person will be fatally irradiated.

DEAD HORSE OF THE WEEK: To me a lot of the gags in this episode fell flat, and some of the better ones were overused in short order. The best example of this would be the EMH-to-ECH transformation, including the production of pips, which was amusing once, but not twice, particularly when the pip footage in the second occurrence was recycled.

GOOD WRITING DECISION OF THE WEEK: For a change, I'll toss in a couple of positive comments. In this case, I'll say that having The Doctor's program repaired offscreen during a commercial, sparing us the excruciating technobabble that might otherwise have resulted, was definitely the right move, and a merciful one at that.

GOOD WRITING DECISION OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: It's hard to believe, but the substance that the Delta Fryer was searching the planet for was something other than deuterium, something non-real, with no real properties that can be contradicted.

SLEEPING DOGS NOT LEFT LYING OF THE WEEK: Making light of Tuvok's Ponn Farr, while being part of the funniest scene in the show, might have been ill-advised, as it reminds everyone that Tuvok really ought to be due for one fairly soon. On the other hand, after the last Ponn Farr episode, the turkey "Blood Fever," I for one am willing to accept it taking place offscreen.

RESET BUTTON OF THE WEEK: In the end, everybody respects The Doctor again, despite seeing his fantasies. But is that really believable? I can buy that Seven would simply be mildly annoyed and bemused about The Doctor's daydreams, but would Torres be so forgiving? Somehow, I doubt it. Conveniently, Janeway didn't happen to see The Doctor feeling her up, massaging her "academy injury," otherwise I suspect she wouldn't be so understanding either.

MALE DEMOGRAPHIC STUNT OF THE WEEK: Take a wild guess. It's interesting that in the "Artist formerly known as The Doctor" scene, all of The Doctor's older drawings conveniently fail to include any of Seven's "naughty bits." They were also amateurish in the extreme; you'd think The Doctor would fantasize about being a good artist...
 

Previous: "Barge of the Dead"
Next: "Alice"
NEXT WEEK: Paris gets caught in a web of cyberporn, literally, if the preview is to be believed (yeah, right!).

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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