The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Fair Haven"

by David E. Sluss

15 January 2000

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: An exercise in masturbation, in more ways than one.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 3.0 (F-)

DECEPTION OF THE WEEK: By now we've all gotten used to the ridiculous promos that UPN creates for Voyager, which often have a tenuous connection at best to the content of the episodes they promote. The promo for this show is no different, except to the extent that, as bad as the "Bermuda triangle in space" premise is, the actual content of the show is so much worse. The show staggers between themes, from trying to be dead-serious about Janeway's "moral dilemma" (more below), to the obligatory "sci-fi threat," to idiotic slapstick, such as the town lout, inevitably named Seamus, ogling Seven or the amateurish "space-sickness" scene with Tuvok. None of these concepts are worthwhile to begin with, and the fact that they seem to be assembled at random makes the sum even less than its parts.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Chakotay: "I wasn't thinking anything." That's probably the most believable part of the show...

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK RUNNERUP: Janeway on the Fair Haven simulation: "Everything is authentic." Right, as if that town bore any resemblance at all to a real nineteenth century Irish village. In fact, it's so fake that one might almost suspect that the writers were deliberately making some kind of statement about the warped notion of history that our heroes possess, if one didn't know for a fact that the writers don't deserve anywhere near that much credit. About the only good thing to say is that the stereotyping didn't get too out of hand, not as bad as, say, Next Generation's "Up the Long Ladder."

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: I was going to try to figure out speeds, distances, sizes, etc. to decide whether or not Voyager should have been able to outrun, fly around, or otherwise evade the neutron wave (or whatever the hell it was), but there's little point in that. In truth perhaps the biggest contrivance is the notion that, with the ship surrounded by anomalous energy, particles, and other hoohah, Starfleet personnel would go anywhere near a holodeck, which tend to react rather badly to such things. Still, amazingly, the holodeck actually functioned normally. Of course for Voyager's holodecks, "normal" apparently means that files can't be backed up, no "ScanDisk" feature to repair files when the system has been improperly shut down is supported, and a proper shutdown can no longer be done by simply shouting "Computer, end program" into a comm-link.

CROSS-PROMOTION OF THE WEEK: I assume the melee in the holodeck was dropped into this episode as part of some ploy on UPN's part to attract the "WWF Smackdown!" demographic. That may explain why the brawl, in which several crew members are injured, doesn't make any sense at all. Harry and Tom aren't exactly the sharpest pencils around but they should be familiar with the phrase "Computer, freeze program." Even The Doctor, who of all people should know better, just stands around yelling at the combatants to stop.

DUMBEST HARRY KIM MOMENT OF THE WEEK: In honor of what may become a regular feature here at CCI, I'll let you decide:

  1. With the ship and crew facing imminent destruction, Kim questions Janeway's orders because of the risk to the Fair Haven simulation.
  2. Kim inexplicably comes to a simulation of Nineteenth Century Ireland dressed like a 1950's era carnival barker.

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT OF THE WEEK: Because the episode skirts the issue, we can't be 100% sure that Janeway had sexual relations with that hologram, but just for the sake of argument, let's say she did, and follow this line of logic:

  1. A holodeck is really just a single room.
  2. Two people in different parts of a simulation only seem to be in different places because of holographic projections.
  3. Two people "across town" from one another in the Fair Haven simulation are actually within feet of one another.
  4. Janeway institutes an "open-door" policy on the holodeck, which results in lots of crew members visiting the Fair Haven simulation.
  5. Janeway has sex in the Fair Haven simulation.

Get the picture? I certainly hope not...

MORAL DILEMMA OF THE WEEK: The whole "problem" of loving a hologram is a crock, and the writers making this out to be a huge quandary on Janeway's part is laughable, as they get to grease the fantasies of the hardcore (no pun intended) Janeway fans, while simultaneously acting as though a great issue is being addressed. But it's so banal that, without seeing this episode, I would simply assume that given Janeway's situation, the 24th century's laissez-faire attitude towards sexuality, and the technology available, she would be unabashedly be "using the holodeck" when she needed it. This episode makes her out to be more hung up on sex than the Victorians, and smirking cretins like Chakotay make one wonder whether the 24th century is as advanced as it looks.
   

Previous: "Pathfinder"
Next: "Blink of an Eye"
NEXT WEEK: Voyager encounters a world where time moves more quickly; Voyager viewers find time moving more slowly...

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