The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Lineage"

by David E. Sluss

25 January 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Ridiculous, contrived, cliched drivel.

 

Just kidding; it was actually a damned good episode.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 9.0 (A-)

PITFALLS AVOIDED OF THE WEEK: There were so many ways this episode could have gone down the crapper, and while Voyager generally finds those pitfalls as unerringly as all those anomalies find them, this time things were different. They could have gone with the usual surly-aliens-of-the-week plot as filler, but they didn't. They could gotten too sap-o-rama or silly with the shell-shocked expectant parents and the meddling friends, but that was largely kept in check. They could have pulled the reset button trick, and have pregnancy turn out to be fake or end tragically via technobabble. They could have copped out and put Paris and Torres in a position in which the big decision was arbitrarily taken away from them, but instead we're tormented with just that possibility when the Doctor "changes his mind" about the procedure, only to have it turn out this reversal was caused by character rather than contrivance. A solid outing, and we don't say that often around here.

SUBTLE CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: Icheb, a boy genius specializing in genetics, still can't read a medical tricorder properly (see also "Nightingale").

ACHILLES HEEL OF THE WEEK: While the regulars (even Curly!) delivered solid performances, the same can't be said for the guest stars in the flashback sequence. This has always been a problem area for Voyager, and this is definitely a case in which casting from the basement hurt a good episode.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Tuvok's claim that his parenting skills have been dormant for "many years" might be time-warped, or a bit exaggerated. A few weeks ago, in "Repression," Tuvok received a letter from his son, who seemed to be "college age" and was talking about "switching majors"; this would suggest that the kid was probably still young enough to require parenting when Tuvok was first tossed into the Delta Quadrant.

WEIRD SCIENCE OF THE WEEK: The issue of genetic modification is a timely one, and the issue itself is well-portrayed in this episode. However, the scene in the holodeck in which Torres fools around with her daughter's DNA and extrapolates the results is a little bit suspect. Without any apparent biological expertise, Torres managed to accomplish what she wanted in just two tries, and with no radically deformed interim holograms. You also have to wonder about the validity of genetic modification accomplished by simply removing the offending genes; don't they need to be replaced with other genes? Oh, and about that hologram, I wonder why, in the final scene, Torres had to ask the Doctor to see the baby again, when she can apparently summon the image herself whenever she wants to.

TAKE YOUR TIME OF THE WEEK: I always love how Tuvok and the Starfleet Security guys take their sweet time. You never see them running or even walking quickly to a call, and this time is no different, as they take a leisurely stroll to Sickbay. Oddly, Paris doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry either, considering the circumstances. And, while it's likely it wouldn't have worked, at no point does he even try to beam directly to sickbay.

MEASUREMENT ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Here's one for the true nitpickers. In one of the flashbacks, Uncle Carl is telling a fish story in the background, talking about a fish that "flew five feet in the air." Feet? What kind of hick planet is he from? Have we ever heard a human in New Trek use anything but metric (or iso-whatevers)?
   

Previous: "Shattered"
Next: "Repentance"
NEXT WEEK: Looks like it's back to business as usual for Voyager as the ship is taken over by surly Aliens of the Week.

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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