The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Pathfinder"

by David E. Sluss

4 December 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Implausible and self-indulgent as this episode is, it does have its moments and a worthwhile payoff.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 8.0 (B-)

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: Of course, the biggest contrivance of this episode is that Voyager was contacted at all, considering that the ship is thousands of light years away from where Starfleet could reasonably project them to be, thanks to various jumps the ship has made since "Message in a Bottle." By my recollection (and you geeks with tapes can correct me at your leisure), Voyager jumped several hundred light-years in "Hope and Fear" using the Quantum Shitstream, several hundred light-years in "Night" using a wormhole, 10,000 light-years in "Dark Frontier" using transwarp, 10,000 light-years in "Timeless" using Quantum Shitstream, and something like 5,000 light-years just last week in "The Voyager Conspiracy." Adding in three years of "normal" travel, and assuming the ship isn't flying around in circles like they were in the storied "Kazon years," Voyager has traveled something like 30,000 light-years since their last contact with Starfleet. There's no way that Starfleet's three "likely sectors" (which are relatively small; last week's five-year jump covered thirty sectors, according to Janeway's log) could have been predicted with any of that in mind, and the micro-wormhole would have been way, way off the mark. As has often been the case in recent years, Voyager's writers have completely forgotten or ignored Voyager's progress.

OLD ACQUAINTENCE FORGOTTEN OF THE WEEK: The Doctor had to "look up" Barclay's service record? The Doctor should know full well who he is, since Barclay was one of the designers of the EMH program, and since the Doctor summoned a hologram of Barclay way back in "Projections."

NAME-DROPPING OF THE WEEK: Did any Next Generation characters not get a plug (even Spot, for God's sake)? And kudos to Voyager's promo crew for the hatchet job they did, taking Troi's line "I'm going to ask Captain Picard for a leave of absence," and folding, spindling and mutilating it into "I'm going to ask Captain Picard for help" in last week's promo for this show.

POOR ACRONYM OF THE WEEK: How the hell does Mutara Interdimensional Deep Space Transponder Array become MIDAS? When you make up words, as Voyager's Technobabblers are wont to do, you ought to be able to make the letters fit a little bit better. That's a Criminal Result Of Creativity Killed, if you ask me...

BUZZWORD OF THE WEEK: Continuity, or at least name-dropping and creative costuming and hairstyling masquerading as continuity, but, like Seven's spandex, it doesn't quite hold up. I suppose it's nice to see the old "Maquis costumes" again, particularly Dawson's leather outfit, but if the Doctor told Starfleet enough about Voyager's situation that they know, for instance, that Janeway gave Tom "Jailbird" Paris a lieutenant's commission, which we can infer since Barclay's hologram of Tom had two pips on his collar, Starfleet (and Barclay) would probably know that the Maquis folks had been made a "Starfleet crew" with uniforms and everything. Admittedly, this is relatively minor, but since the Voyager staff thought they were being clever with the costuming of the holo-crew, someone has to stick pins in them, and why not The Cynic?

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: The holodeck, of course, though I must admit it was actually used rather intelligently this time. And it even functioned completely correctly, for one of the few times in Star Trek history. I was amused to see "holodeck safeties" actually work, when "Torres" tried to phaser the security goons.

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: Non-existent computer security. Wave an electric toothbrush in front of a computer, and it will restore your deleted account and password? I must remember that...

CHEAPO PROP OF THE WEEK: The photo of Tom that Admiral Paris had on his desk, a grainy thing showing a younger Tom Paris staring vacantly at something not in the direction of the camera, didn't seem to be the sort of photograph a father would keep around. Frankly, it looks like a crude, doctored vidcap from Next Generation's "The First Duty," which guest-starred a younger Robert Duncan McNeill, before RDM unfortunately came down with Shatneritis of the hairline and waistline...
  

Previous: "The Voyager Conspiracy"
Next: "Fair Haven"
NEXT WEEK: Janeway has sex; get your vidcap equipment ready...

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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