The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Riddles"

by David E. Sluss

7 November 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: There's a good episode screaming to get out, but in space, no one can hear you scream.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.0 (D-)

QUOTABLE OF THE WEEK: "Surely you could find something more productive to occupy your time." Many viewers undoubtedly told themselves the same thing...

CHEAPO PROP OF THE WEEK: Which Voyager staffer do you suppose donated that old View-Master that was used to reveal the aliens?

CARDBOARD CUTOUT OF THE WEEK: The character of Inspector Nimrod, or whatever his name was, was so thin that at certain angles you'd need one of those View-Master gizmos to see him. The X-Files parody aspects of his characterization are clumsy, the acting by guest-"star" Mark Moses is atrocious, and the character's actions are arbitrary and inconsistent. Take, for instance, how obsessed Nimrod is over finding proof of the existence of the invisible aliens. In the end, thanks to his newly-enhanced View-Master and Tuvok's frosting skills, he finds them. Yet he seems practically eager to give up his technology, and the proof he so desperately sought, in order to help Janeway get the information she wanted from the aliens. While it's a nice change of pace for the Forehead Alien of the week to be something other than a villain or an obstructionist, it's got to be done better than this.

MEDICAL QUACKERY OF THE WEEK: Star Trek medicine, like all of its science, is largely a crock of course (and, Trekkie Rationalizers, spare me the old saw about how the Air Force looked into creating biobeds, and other crap of that sort, will you?), but this week presents us with more proof of that fact than usual. For purposes of seeing the almighty reset button get hit again, we are asked to buy the idea that "We can cure brain damage if we know what weapon was used to inflict it." So, someone could put six bullets through Kim's head, further damaging his brain, and as soon as The Doctor knew what the bullets were made of, Kim would be as good as new, right? There's no logic or reason to that at all, even in the 24th Century, where we've been told at various times when the plot dictated it that "We still don't know how the brain works"; indeed, in this very episode, The Doctor characterizes the Vulcan brain as an enigma. Still, I wonder what Braga was hit with, and whether he can be "fixed"...

OLD ACQUAINTANCE FORGOTTEN OF THE WEEK: In some ways, this episode can be viewed as a thematic sequel to "Tuvix," except of course for the fact that continuity-free Voyager can't be troubled to make references to past events, even when they're appropriate. Let's face it, Tuvok and Neelix shared body and mind for a couple of months in "Tuvix," and all indications were that they remembered the experience after being forcibly separated. Wouldn't that give Neelix some insights during his attempts to rehabilitate Tuvok, or at least some things to say that were less banal and insipid?

COURT-MARTIAL OFFENSE OF THE WEEK: Say, how about Janeway offering tactical information about nearby races to the invisible aliens in exchange for information necessary to save her crew member? It's a bit muddled as to whether she actually gave them that information or whether Nimrod's View-Master was enough to buy them off, but it's rather shocking that she would offer such a thing. For all intents and purposes, she was willing to sell out a number of races to a potentially dangerous species to help one of her own. Even among all the other controversial, improper, and illegal actions Janeway has carried out over the years, this one stands out, I think.

UNINTENDED LAUGH OF THE WEEK: There was plenty to ridicule here, but Tuvok's method of communicating the cloaking frequency was just the icing on the cake...
 

Previous: "Alice"
Next: "Dragon's Teeth"
NEXT WEEK: Look at all the kEwL explosions and F/X! Must be November.

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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