The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Drive"

by David E. Sluss

21 October 2000

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: A pretty harmless puff piece, with little going for it or against it. In other words, a Voyager triumph.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.5 (C)

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: It's pretty obvious that this episode was intended to air before "Imperfection"; the stardates and other clues (such as, supposedly, a wedding band on Paris last week, though I didn't see it) bear this out. While this messes up the "introduction" of the new Delta Flyer pretty seriously, the good news, I guess, is that being able to notice episodes airing out of order proves that Voyager has a minimal level of continuity after all...

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: It seemed that an awful lot of time passed between the moment Curly shut off the Flyer's engines to engage in mushy stuff and the moment they were passed by the Militaristic Alien Racer; it never seemed as if the Flyer was that far ahead.

HISTORICAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Don't these writers have any reference materials other than Mad Magazine? For the record, Curly was not expelled from the academy; he was already a Starfleet Officer when he was dishonorably discharged and imprisoned.

PREDICTABILITY OF THE WEEK: The fact that Irena (played by Star Trek Welfare recipient Cyia Batten, one of the seven or eight actresses who portrayed Tora Ziyal on DS9) was going to be the villain was made pretty obvious by the sickening Harry Hard-on material we were treated to. First, as Curly noted, in a display of minor continuity, if Larry tries hitting on a woman, it's bound to be bad news. Also, the Militaristic Alien Racer was too obvious a red herring. On the other hand, Irena's sabotage of her co-pilot's console was inspired; obviously, in the circuit-breaker-deprived universe in which Star Trek takes place, no one would consider that to be unusual or suspicious...

GIFT HORSE OF THE WEEK: How trusting of Larry and Curly to install alien technology on the Delta Flyer without inspecting it; you'd think that leaking so-a-so particles would be pretty easy to detect. And while I'm on the subject, the timing of Irena's plan seems a little suspicious. Her sabotage consisted of allowing particles to accumulate in the Flyer's engines until they caused the core to blow up. But there was no timing mechanism, and in any case no way for her to know how long the Flyer would take to reach the finish line, particularly since there was an extended "caution period." So, based on what we were told about this nefarious plan, the idea that the Flyer would have blown up on cue upon reaching the finish line is pure hokum.

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: I'll skip the exploding consoles, and jump to the warp-core ejection system failure. This vital ship's system may very well be the only piece of Starfleet technology less reliable than the holodeck. Has there ever been an instance in Star Trek history in which it worked properly? I love it: "I can't get the ejection subroutines up." Subroutines?! A good old-fashioned button or lever would do just fine, particularly given the Flyer's old-fashioned instrumentation.

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: The Paris-Torres marriage, and indeed their entire relationship, is simply unconvincing, and has been since "Day of Honor." Consistent characterization, never Voyager's strong point, goes entirely out the window every time this relationship is mentioned, and this episode is no exception. Torres had it right the first time; she and Paris don't belong together. At least we were (mercifully) spared the actual wedding, though its absence smelled of Five Minutes to the End Syndrome. While it seemed like this important event was almost whitewashed, the alternative would almost certainly have been worse. I have no doubt that a Voyager "wedding episode" would have been unspeakably bad. The defaced "just married" Delta Flyer did the job of introducing the happy couple just fine.
  

Previous: "Imperfection"
Next: "Repression"
NEXT WEEK: The annual "Remember the Maquis!" Voyager episode.

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This review is copyright 2000 David E. Sluss
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