The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Workforce, Part II"

by David E. Sluss

4 March 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Surprisingly decent as "part twos" go, but a too-clean ending and some awful acting take their toll.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 7.5 (C)

MALPRACTICE OF THE WEEK: Can casting directors be sued? If not, this episode is Exhibit A for tort reform. That guy from Happy Days was pretty bad, but the actor portraying the young apprentice physician, who Figures It All Out, was terrible, and the Figuring It All Out scene between the two doctors may be the worst-acted (and worst-written) scene this season. "You've secretly replaced their brains with Folger's Crystals and put them to work in the power plant!" Unbearable. Worse, the young doctor Figures It Out, but nothing happens as a result, while the viewers already knew everything. So what purpose did that scene serve?

NEW TACTICS OF THE WEEK: That trick with the photon torpedo seemed pretty effective. So why is it so obscure that no one uses it, and only a computer program can track the tactic down in the Starfleet manual?

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: I thought is was rather strange that the power plant was darkened and completely empty when Janeway and Jaffin went there to contact Voyager. Is there no third shift? The plant was obviously still operating (since the whole city -- planet? -- went dark immediately after Janeway's trick); so why are thousands of warm bodies needed to turn dials and monitor readouts at the plant during the day, but not at night?

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Janeway goes to her quarters to move the last of her things. Any particular reason that she chose to stumble around in the dark apartment instead of turning the lights on right away, other than to dramatically reveal Chakotay's presence?

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: How is it that the cops happened to show up at Janeway's apartment to apprehend Chakotay? It seemed that they didn't have anything connecting him to Janeway until after they recovered the dermal regenerator during the arrest. Are we to assume that Janeway or Jaffin finked Chakotay out, or that it was just a coincidence?

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: At the plant, Seven required an access code (one that she apparently "borrowed" from the shift supervisor, or at least that's strongly implied) to get to Tuvok's personnel file and find out which personnel files he had accessed. Well, OK, how did he access personnel files? Having been brainwashed into an unstable condition, he would seem to have little if any "hacking" skills, and his position in the plant wouldn't seem to offer him much in the way of access.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Brainwashed Janeway manages to repeat the Doctor's subspace hoohah communications procedure verbatim. Apparently she was born to (techno)babble...

NEW COMPUTER SCIENCE OF THE WEEK: When the Doctor, acting as the ECH, suggests that he wants to remain in a command position, Harry's response is that the Doctor will be happy being the Doctor once he goes back into EMH mode. Harry's either ignorant or the Doctor's program is operating differently than what we've seen before. Or both. While it actually makes perfect sense for the Doctor's program to "forget" its command functionality once it is retasked to being a doctor again, this is at odds with just about everything we've ever seen of the program, which doesn't seem to forget its other "extracurricular" abilities (unless a plot dictates it). And besides, the ECH acted as a doctor, and seemed happy to do so, in this very episode, treating Torres. In other words, it doesn't make sense for the Doctor to just forget how much he loves command, but we know he will, because of the...

RESET BUTTON OF THE WEEK: Of course we all knew everything would be All Better at the end, and Janeway wouldn't get to keep her concubine. But is there really any good reason for her to leave Jaffin behind? He could have come along, not as a member of the crew, but as a civilian (or maybe a rent-a-cop -- he seemed to be a better shot than Voyager's Keystone Kops security men); remember, spouses and family members of officers are found on many Starfleet vessels. That way, Janeway's "anti-fraternization" policy wouldn't be violated. Besides, given the number of times Janeway has used sophistry (or nothing at all) to rationalize the bending and breaking of rules and regulations, she could reason her way out of this one if she really wanted to...
  

Previous: "Workforce"
Next: "Human Error"
NEXT WEEK: Another one-fisted Voyager action epic...

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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