The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Alice"

by David E. Sluss

24 October 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Voyager does Christine, and Stephen King must feel like he's been run over again.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 4.5 (F)

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: "There's an unauthorized shuttle launch!" "Close the door!" "Too late!" In the history of Voyager (and Star Trek in general), has an unauthorized shuttle launch ever been stopped in the shuttle bay?

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: A couple more mentions of the hated deuterium appear in this episode. By now, Braga and company must have heard of the problem with Voyager's treatment of the real-world substance; it's as if they are deliberately ignoring it and/or giving the middle finger to those who like a little science in their science fiction. In any case, it seems to be turning into an idiotic running gag, like Deep Space Nine's Alamo and waste extraction comments.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Chakotay says "We already have a full complement of shuttles." Not for long, I'll wager. Given the number of shuttles Voyager loses, the commander should have been a little more supportive.

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: Rarely do Voyager's energy conservation measures come up, and it's a tough break for Paris that Voyager happened to be running low just as he needed to replicate some parts. Of course if the situation were that dire on Voyager, he shouldn't have been permitted to replicate champagne either...

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Gee, Voyager never would have found Alice or Paris after the great escape if Paris (and Alice) hadn't been dumb enough to plot his course on the 150-inch screen in astrometrics where anyone walking in the room could see it. At least lock the door, numb-nuts.

BONUS CONTRIVANCES OF THE WEEK: Alice tells Paris as they near the particle fountain that "No one has gotten me this close before." Why not? It's not as though it was very far from the junkyard (or at least it didn't seem to take much time to get there). Either Alice's past pilots were total incompetents, or Paris was the only one stupid enough or weak-willed enough to allow himself to be killed in the fountain. And speaking of spatial anomalies, it's interesting that even though Alice went directly to the fountain, while Voyager went back to the junkyard, negotiated with the alien of the week, fiddled with the astrometrics television, and only then proceeded to the fountain, Voyager still got there only ten minutes after Alice. How conveeeeeenient.

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: No explanation for Alice's desire to "go home" via this week's spatial anomaly is offered. Was "she" just funny in the head? Was she suicidal? Was the "particle fountain" supposed to be a doorway to the dimension that was her home? What?

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Strange that no one on the ship had any concerns about the neural interface until it was too late. The ship connects directly to the pilot's brain, and yet Janeway doesn't insist that the technology be investigated before allowing Paris to tinker with it. When Paris tells the first officer about the interface, Chakotay the chump sits there like some Alzheimer's case while the information soars right over his head and into the spirit realm. And the captain seems out of the loop entirely when B'Elanna reports to her, not knowing what the name "Alice" refers to and seeming to be barely aware of the shuttle and its interface. It seems irresponsible and incredibly out of character for a captain usually portrayed as a meddler and a micromanager to be this unaware of the goings-on on her ship.

BETTER LIVING THROUGH (NO) CHEMISTRY OF THE WEEK: Am I the only one who thinks this Paris/Torres thing doesn't work at all? Neither Dawson nor McNeill is the strongest performer in the world, of course, but the real problem is that they seem to dislike each other, or at least they did in the closing sickbay scene this week. "Torres" rolls her eyes and looks disgusted when she hugs "Paris," and the closing kiss looked like it came from some 1950's TV show, with the censor standing by.

TECHNOMIRACLE OF THE WEEK: Janeway calls the Doctor and asks, "Have you learned anything about the neural link?" The Doctor says he hasn't. Five minutes later, despite admittedly knowing nothing, he uses the link to send an image of B'Elanna into Paris' mind. Huh? Was the Doctor pulling a "Scotty" and lowballing, so that he would look like a miracle-worker? Or was this just a big load from the writers? Vote early, vote often...
  

Previous: "Tinker Tenor
Doctor Spy"
Next: "Riddles"
NEXT WEEK: Tuvok learns the hard way what happens when you watch too much mediocre sci-fi.

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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