The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Course: Oblivion"

by David E. Sluss

5 March 1999

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: Say, that wasn't too bad; but why can't anything interesting happen to the real Voyager crew? Why do duplicates, alternate universe characters, and divergent timeline denizens get all the good material?


POOR CONCEPT OF THE WEEK: Who do you suppose said: "Let's make a sequel to 'Demon?'" Considering that that episode was the worst of last season, and one of the worst of Voyager's run so far, it doesn't strike me as a good candidate for sequelization; the amazing thing is that it actually worked, up to a point.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: No, not the enhanced warp drive, but, rather the Enhanced Reset Button. The writers have managed to perfect the device, used most notably in "Deadlock," in which an alternate crew is created, hideous, irreversible things happen to them, and then they are erased, leaving our regular crew going about on their merry way.

IMPROVEMENT OF THE WEEK: Hey, it's a shame that duplicate crew dissolved. They seemed to be a lot smarter than the real crew, managing to build a Super-Duper Warp Drive, realizing that they ought to be pairing off and having kids, and so forth.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: As super and duper as the Super-Duper Warp Drive was, I'm not sure that the times add up. Let's see: they got within two years of Earth, turned around, got to within 5 weeks of the DumbOne planet, where they encounter the real Voyager. So that means the faux Voyager would have needed roughly one month to travel the same distance the real Voyager traversed in nine months. But wait, the real Voyager cheated, thanks to the transwarp and shitstream drive stuff, so ... oh, hell ... forget it.

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: They say everyone has a "small world" story to tell. But really, with tens of thousands of light years involved, the notion that the faux Voyager would dissolve within "earshot" of the real Voyager strains credibility to say the least. This was apparently done to make the fate of the faux crew seem even more tragic. So was that an appropriate ending? I'm kind of torn on that. On the one hand, I think the tragic, "tough" ending in which the faux crew dissolves into obscurity is a nice change of pace (though not too tough for the Voyager writers, considering this was all done to an alternate crew). On the other hand, the real crew not learning about the alternate crew means this episode is completely irrelevant, even more than "Bride of Chaotica!" or other less-than-relevant shows. Considering that the encounter would likely have been forgotten anyway, I'm inclined to say the ending was appropriate.

BAD DIALOGUE OF THE WEEK: No contest. The duplicate Tuvok and Chakotay discussing their past missions. "Yes, the Demon planet! That was one of our more interesting missions!" To say that dialogue was comic-booky is an insult to comic book writers, but I kept expecting to see an asterisked caption: "* In Star Trek: Voyager #424!"

Previous: "The Disease"
Next: "The Fight"
NEXT WEEK: We learn why Chakotay always "acts" punchdrunk.



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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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