The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Friendship One"

by David E. Sluss

19 May 2001

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Move along, nothing to see here.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.5 (D)

CARDBOARD OF THE WEEK: The characterization of the Aliens of the Week was unusually thin, even for Voyager. We had the Bitter and Irrational Leader, the Confused Follower, the Cute Child, and the Reasonable Prospective leader, none of whom seemed like much more than walking plot devices. Between that, and the fact that this episode's plot (interfering with the natural technological development of a planet is a Bad Thing) is mostly ground that the original series covered pretty thoroughly, this show is never more than standard fare. About the only thing that is creditable is the idea of Voyager having a real mission for the first time since being stranded; this is a reasonable development and provides for <gasp> continuity with recent episodes.

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: What the hell is Janeway doing in Starfleet? If she really believes that exploration isn't worth the life of a single person, shouldn't she be doing something else? Her comment at the end of this episode may well be the most bizarre line in Voyager's storied history, even if you include technobabble...

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: The "Distant Origin" mention was nothing more than a classic Voyager Name-Drop Masquerading as Continuity, but Neelix's mention of the metrion cascade from "Jetrel" was substantive and appropriate. That is, it was quite a shock...

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: The Delta Quadrant, or at least the tiny sliver Voyager is traveling through, is again shown to be littered with artifacts from Earth.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: The Friendship One probe had the old Starfleet symbol, or more precisely, the symbol that usually seemed to be the emblem of Kirk's Enterprise on the original series, even though it was launched well before Starfleet existed. Is this the kind of continuity we can expect from the new prequel series? Speaking of which...

NAME-DROPPING OF THE WEEK: Another Kirk mention, hot on the heels of "Q2." It's going to take a little more than that to convince me that these people know or care about Star Trek history.

PLOTTING ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: The Good Guy scientist wakes up in Voyager's sickbay, and knows that it is "Voyager's people" who sent the Friendship One probe. But wait: he wasn't in the cave when Paris spilled the beans to the bad guy. And it's not like Voyager's centuries-newer technology would look very much like the probe's. So how did he know?

WELFARE REFORM OF THE WEEK: Looks like Josh Clark has collected his last paycheck from Star Trek's Welfare Program, at least in the Joe Carey role. And did he have "Dead Meat" stamped on his forehead, or what?

WIMP OF THE WEEK: Larry Kim, knocked over by a flimsy screen door on the Delta Flyer.

MEDICAL MIRACLE OF THE WEEK: We haven't seen the truly miraculous, Pandora's box type properties of Borg nanoprobes in a while; the fact that they can, for instance, resurrect the dead (according to "Mortal Coil") has been largely swept under the rug. But here, we have nanoprobes that can not only cure radiation poisoning, but also apparently reverse centuries of genetic mutations. The Good Guy wound up looking surprisingly good, probably so that even the most simple-minded viewer could distinguish the Good Guy from the Bad Guy during the aliens' leadership struggle. But even with Star Trek's Wacky DNA, is it plausible that Borg nanoprobes could repair mutations, even with no "normal" model DNA for the species to use as a basis? Oh, and by the way...

QUESTIONABLE SOLUTION OF THE WEEK: Here's a little something to think about. We have a species that is technologically imitative and apparently somewhat less than competent at it. Do you think shooting one of their people full of Borg technology is a good thing?
  

Previous: "Author, Author"
Next: "Natural Law"
NEXT WEEK: Will Seven and Moe do the pole dance when stranded by a Shuttle Crash? Only Nielsen knows for sure.

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This review is copyright 2001 David E. Sluss
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