Star Trek: Voyager: Body and Soul   Rewatch 
June 11, 2018 8:27 AM - Season 7, Episode 7 - Subscribe

When the Delta Flyer II is attacked, The Doctor must hide his program in Seven's Borg implants. Meanwhile, Tuvok undergoes the pon farr. Can the away team escape the Vortex of Unsatisfied Crushes?

Memory Alpha is having a Freaky Friday:

- Robert Picardo performed many of Jeri Ryan's scenes as the "possessed" Seven of Nine on videotape so that Ryan could study his elocution and movements and more accurately mimic him. (Information provided by Mike Sussman)

- Ranek's line: "I've never met a woman like you before," and The Doctor/Seven's reply, "That's because there are no women like me" was an homage to a similar exchange in the 1982 Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie, which also involved crossdressing. (Information provided by Mike Sussman)

"I assimilated species from one side of the galaxy to the other. I'll say this for the Borg: they certainly do travel!"

- Seven of Nine/The Doctor

"Ranek summoned me to the Bridge under the pretext of a little "star gazing". What he really wanted was to use my face as a tongue depressor."

- The Doctor (inside the body of Seven of Nine)

"The reports of my decompilation have been greatly exaggerated."

- The Doctor (inside Seven of Nine), paraphrasing Mark Twain

"Mmm! I had no idea that eating was such a sensual experience. The tastes, the textures, feeling it slide down Seven's esophagus, it's, it's exquisite!"
"They're prison rations. My uniform probably tastes better!"

- The Doctor (inside Seven of Nine) and Harry Kim

"I'm afraid the role of 'spy' wasn't written into my program. I was forced to improvise."
"You 'improvised' your way through an entire cheesecake as well as three servings of Ktarian chocolate puffs! Now I have to suffer the consequences."

- The Doctor and Seven of Nine

"And the massage you got from Lieutenant Jaryn?"
"Entirely therapeutic!"
"You became sexually aroused in my body!"

- Seven of Nine and The Doctor, after what happened in the Lokirrim Sickbay with Jaryn

Poster's Log:

Well, I'm pretty happy that the episode didn't have the big problem that I thought it might, which was that of the Doctor being downloaded into the body of the woman that he's previously had a big crush on and, well, ah, ahem. You know. (I hadn't remembered anything particularly risqué or objectionable previously, but then there are quite a few details and things that I pick up on the rewatch that I don't remember from the first viewing.) There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it (and maybe I did miss it the first time) moment when the Doctor in Seven--I'll just call him/her D7--starts to run their hands over their body, then catches themselves just north of the breasts, which is a nice bit acknowledging that the Doctor does respect some limits and boundaries. Of course, then they do a big run on the replicator, and Seven rightly admonishes him for that. She's also angry that he gets them sexually aroused later, which she probably knows is an involuntary reaction on his part, but is still very uncomfortable with it. The Doctor, on his part, thinks that Seven isn't enjoying the pleasures of the flesh enough, which may be true--the epilogue suggests that she's given it some thought and is willing to try some things--but, boy, is that not any sort of justification for his disrespect of her boundaries and feelings. That edges a little closer to my initial apprehensions about rewatching, and is just a reminder that there are some not-great aspects to the Doctor's personality still.

Some other things about the episode that deserve some consideration: all relationships/crushes are heterosexual only, which was a pity given that D7 fell for Jaryn; it would have made the situation a bit less bush-league-Shakespeare-comedy if it had been the case that the attraction was as much Seven's as the Doctor's. Something that also struck me is the way that Jaryn described Emmik, her family's photonic "servant", as being devoted to her and her brother and how he was like a member of the family and holograms were given some of the privileges of "real" people... the holorevolution just keeps looking better and better. (It'll be interesting to see how the rewatch of "Flesh and Blood" comes across.) Finally, I thought that the handling of Tuvok's pon farr was done pretty well; it seemed like the writers wanted it to be a funny B-plot, but it was handled respectfully, albeit with the occasional gag (as with Janeway's line about Tuvok having caught the "Bolian flu" some seven years previously).

Anyway, Jeri Ryan is the real MVP here; even with Picardo's video cheat-sheet, she not only does a stellar job but seems to be enjoying herself quite a lot.

Poster's Log, supplemental: I feel like I've posted this before, if not in these rewatch threads then somewhere else on the blue, but anyway: Robert Picardo was a member of Joe Dante's actor ensemble and appeared in many of his films, and in Innerspace he's a cowboy-obsessed arms dealer who gets impersonated by Martin Short's character (it's a long story involving a microscopic Dennis Quaid) and, in one scene, Picardo plays Short's character pretending to be Picardo's character.
posted by Halloween Jack (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Particle of the Week: Skipped in favor of the Freaky Friday effect.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Neither the body-swap nor the holographic uprising ideas make their way into the main body of the MMO.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -17.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* It's Those People!

Ranek played a Jem'Hadar on DS9 during a really funny outing. I didn't recognize him though, so props for the change in performance.

Jaryn played the nurse during DS9's Roswell episode, and I did recognize her.

* Pretty heteronormative.

Some other things about the episode that deserve some consideration: all relationships/crushes are heterosexual only

Yeah, this bugged me too - same sex attractions weren't considered wrong, so much as literally impossible to consider, and that was frustrating.

* Holodeck therapy didn't work in Blood Fever, but that's okay.

When Vorik was going through pon farr the Doctor attempted to treat him with a similar method, but the treatment failed. This doesn't seem like a continuity error though - Vorik was already fixated on B'Ellana, and is less experienced than Tuvok generally. (Tuvok was career Starfleet for longer than most of the crew have been alive, and has presumably had to deal with this more times than just the one Janeway referenced.) As a result, this plot difference didn't bug me, I just noticed is all.

* My opinion of the Doctor has suffered upon rewatch.

During the original airing, I would've cited the Doctor and Seven as my favorite characters by the end of the show's run. Both of them had good performers, (and this has held up upon rewatch - Picardo and Jeri Ryan are both extremely skilled), but the Doctor really bugs me now that I'm older. My new, rewatch-informed list would be more B'Ellana, Seven and Tuvok even though I still think Picardo's fantastic in everything he's in.

I was glad Seven called him out for his inappropriate behavior though, and I was glad their reconciliation at the end of the episode involved her describing stuff to him instead of a project to let him eat himself or share her body again.

* Photonic insurgents are hella silly.

Androids running amok are fine. I love me some Westworld, and more than that? Robots have independent physical existence. Holograms are dependent on (typically fixed) emitter arrays, external computers and so on. They're ephemeral.

IMO, this episode should've been about AI running amok rather than holograms in particular because it's just so implausible. That said, I also appreciated the unconscious privilege displayed by Jaryn - that was good writing, and credit where it's due.

Overall, this demonstrated S7's ongoing improvement in quality over prior seasons. If Voyager had always been like this, I'd probably remember it a lot more fondly.
posted by mordax at 9:21 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Oh, jeeze, tired and meant to mention: Ryan's impression of the Doctor is excellent, and it doesn't surprise me to hear that she was working off of tapes of him. That was some great work all around.
posted by mordax at 9:34 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


That said, I also appreciated the unconscious privilege displayed by Jaryn - that was good writing, and credit where it's due.

Agreed. Bernd at Ex Astris Scientia also similarly remarked that the one-shot aliens here were believable. Surprisingly so, really, given that the aliens themselves are a clearly secondary element of this story.

(Bernd also remarks that the utter lack of surveillance devices in the cell is not at all believable, which, yeah. Hard to suspend our disbelief on that one.

My opinion of the Doctor has suffered upon rewatch.

Occasionally, I find that I can rationalize some of his ickier behaviors by keeping in mind that he's basically a new form of life—a holographic person in an environment of meat persons—and that he'd therefore make some boneheaded Data-like mistakes. OTOH, I don't find I can do this often, because The Doctor is paradoxically often written as being particularly insightful about psychology and motivation and stuff.

Just as often, The Doctor's iffy moments were clearly ham-handed (on the part of the writers) attempts at comedy, and my tendency with such "dorky gag" moments, when they are unmistakeably "dorky gag" moments, is to try not to let them significantly contribute to my internal concept of the character as a whole.

In this case? I guess I read his "abusing her body" stuff as being…not excusable, but explainable in that his first experience with having a body is so intoxicating (figuratively and otherwise) that he forgets himself. Nevertheless, if I were Jeri Ryan, I would have started to find this kind of stuff quite tiresome, quite a while ago.

(Don't recall if I mentioned it in a VOY thread or in the Black Mirror "Callister" thread, but when I watched "Callister," I started to wonder if it was inspired by the real-life experience of Marina Sirtis, Terry Farrell, and Jeri Ryan et al. as Trek actors.)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 11:44 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Oh, should've been clearer:

Just as often, The Doctor's iffy moments were clearly ham-handed (on the part of the writers) attempts at comedy, and my tendency with such "dorky gag" moments, when they are unmistakeably "dorky gag" moments, is to try not to let them significantly contribute to my internal concept of the character as a whole.

It's less about inappropriate actions in this episode, particularly because they do make sense here. It's more the... preening egomaniac thing just isn't as funny anymore. Watching Jeri Ryan do the same routine, down to the body language, just brought home how *annoying* the schtick is to me now.

On one level, that makes the whole thing a great success: she was dead on. On the other, it reminded me of how my feelings about the whole thing have shifted since I was a kid.

Occasionally, I find that I can rationalize some of his ickier behaviors by keeping in mind that he's basically a new form of life—a holographic person in an environment of meat persons—and that he'd therefore make some boneheaded Data-like mistakes. OTOH, I don't find I can do this often, because The Doctor is paradoxically often written as being particularly insightful about psychology and motivation and stuff.

He's specifically templated off of Dr. Zimmerman, is the thing. Like, I think we're meant to understand that's his emotional framework. For instance, when he was wondering how he could push the Hippocratic Oath in Critical Care, I imagine that has to do with how Zimmerman would choose to interpret it.

More broadly, when the Doc's an ass, it's a reflection of people that really exist and mostly thrive in Starfleet, and it reminds me that utopia is maybe a smidge overrated. (See also how many admirals are evil in their organization.)

Nevertheless, if I were Jeri Ryan, I would have started to find this kind of stuff quite tiresome, quite a while ago.

Yeah, it's more where I'm at as an audience member. Jack comparing to 'bush-league Shakespeare' feels accurate.
posted by mordax at 12:50 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Also, meant to add:

(Don't recall if I mentioned it in a VOY thread or in the Black Mirror "Callister" thread, but when I watched "Callister," I started to wonder if it was inspired by the real-life experience of Marina Sirtis, Terry Farrell, and Jeri Ryan et al. as Trek actors.)

I don't remember you mentioning that, but it makes an unfortunate amount of sense regardless.

Further and unrelated thought:

It was interesting to see Tom and Tuvok talk about how people feel the holodeck counts with regard to relationships and cheating. I wish the conversation could've had more depth, but it was probably about right for those two.
posted by mordax at 12:57 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


It's more the... preening egomaniac thing just isn't as funny anymore. Watching Jeri Ryan do the same routine, down to the body language, just brought home how *annoying* the schtick is to me now.

Heh, yeah, it is most definitely a schtick. And possibly a kind of dated one, objectively. Luckily Picardo remains charming while doing it, most of the time!

He's specifically templated off of Dr. Zimmerman, is the thing. Like, I think we're meant to understand that's his emotional framework. For instance, when he was wondering how he could push the Hippocratic Oath in Critical Care, I imagine that has to do with how Zimmerman would choose to interpret it. More broadly, when the Doc's an ass, it's a reflection of people that really exist and mostly thrive in Starfleet, and it reminds me that utopia is maybe a smidge overrated.

That's definitely an ingredient. And we do have canonical evidence that a long-term hologram like The Doctor is, to a significant degree, an amalgam of real-person personality traits (see "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"). I suppose the question about The Doctor's ultimate personhood goes down this path too, and we may get deeper into that in the near future, but (not to oversimplify this into "nature-versus-nurture") experiences have such a colossal role in shaping us, and undoubtedly in shaping a Trek A.I., that…well, that one wishes the writers of this show had been as consistent with their characterization as TNG or DS9 were.

It was interesting to see Tom and Tuvok talk about how people feel the holodeck counts with regard to relationships and cheating. I wish the conversation could've had more depth, but it was probably about right for those two.

Yeah, that was a really well-executed B-story, I thought. Once you find out what the B-story's gonna be, you kind of cringe a little, but this script and their acting made it not just non-offputting, but actually enjoyable.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:21 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


And we do have canonical evidence that a long-term hologram like The Doctor is, to a significant degree, an amalgam of real-person personality traits (see "Doctor Bashir, I Presume").

Yeah. In retrospect, I suspect this also why Zimmerman went into isolation after his prototypes were consigned to mining. (It also makes that look even more petty, if such a thing is even possible.)

Yeah, that was a really well-executed B-story, I thought. Once you find out what the B-story's gonna be, you kind of cringe a little, but this script and their acting made it not just non-offputting, but actually enjoyable.

Yeah, I thought that was handled really well too. Unexpectedly so.

You were right about S7 being a real jump forward for the show. It reminds me of Enterprise - the only episodes I remember clearly at all, (much less fondly), are from their final season too.
posted by mordax at 1:47 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Were they being ballsier because it was the home stretch? It makes me wonder at what point everybody knew this season would be their last. I wasn't able to find any indication about that, or actually even why the show ended when it did, on Memory Alpha (though an external source suggested declining ratings).
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:32 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


AFAIK, the show stopped at seven seasons because 1) that's what TNG and DS9 did, and 2) they were still looking for some iteration of the franchise that would bring in TNG-class ratings. Braga was burnt out on VOY and was already starting to work on Enterprise, and Kenneth Biller got to put a bit more continuity in the show as he took over.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:45 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Holograms in Star Trek make less and less sense the more you think about them. You're right about AI in robots because they're an embodied consciousness, like we are. The Doctor being inside of Seven, really highlights questions about how he experiences the world normallly. Where are The Doctor's, for lack of better terminology, "sense organs"? In six bay, you can assume the sensors embedded in the room perform the task of sensing the world, but when he's wearing the portable holo-emitter, how is he seeing and hearing, and most importantly for a surgeon, feeling things? Should everyone be looking at his upper arm rather than his face? You have to assume that he wouldn't be limited to sensing things in the limited electromagnetic spectrum of human perception, but I don't think it ever comes up that he might be able to see in the dark, or spot a gamma ray burst off the port bow. Anyway, I love the Doctor as a character, and hate Voyager's (and later Enterprise's) writing of sex and sexuality feels like its out of a teenage boy's notebook.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:10 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Braga was burnt out on VOY and was already starting to work on Enterprise, and Kenneth Biller got to put a bit more continuity in the show as he took over.

... now that you point it out, that makes sense. I don't know a ton about Kenneth Biller, but I remember how he bothered to, for instance, actually do some research when developing the Kazon. (I still feel like the results were pretty shallow, but I respect him trying.)

Holograms in Star Trek make less and less sense the more you think about them.

They really, really do, don't they?

Personally, I'd expect holographic perception to be similar to what Geordi 'sees' because I'd expect the involved technology to be similar.
posted by mordax at 10:01 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Based on what we know about holodecks (from the tech manuals and Memory Alpha) and the mobile emitter, I'd expect the Doctor to have sight, hearing, and touch, but (going by this episode) not taste and touch. The holodecks work by creating holograms and force fields at a high enough resolution to fool at least human-level perception (and Vulcan-level perception, going by this episode) into thinking that the objects are real; they can also create sound (maybe by turning the holo-objects into miniature speakers), scent, and taste (by replicating the appropriate molecules and foodstuffs). They can also pick up sensory information by reversing these functions; a holodeck would need to be able to track users in order to change the environment appropriately to their actions, so it could use cameras for that, and use kinetic feedback to do the same via "hearing" and "touch". A full holodeck could also get "taste" and "smell" by either decompiling molecules via its replicator function or using tricorder-type sensors to analyze the molecules, but there's no indication that the mobile emitter has this capability, and the Doctor usually uses a real tricorder when necessary. (Interestingly, Janeway confiscated a 29th-century tricorder from Henry Starling in "Future's End", but we never found out what happened to it.) We know that the mobile emitter can be reconfigured to see other wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, as in "Displaced", so that's VISOR capability, but no other special senses are evident, and no type of replicator function either. (As to whether the doctor "sees" from the perspective of the emitter, well, it doesn't seem that way, but who knows?)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:02 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


As to whether the doctor "sees" from the perspective of the emitter, well, it doesn't seem that way, but who knows?

Well, if holoemitters on the walls of a holodeck can transmit sounds from the perspective of a holographic projection rather than from the holoemitter itself (which it must), it passes my Treknobabble sniff-test that the process could go the other way too.

Interestingly, Janeway confiscated a 29th-century tricorder from Henry Starling in "Future's End", but we never found out what happened to it.

She secretly hid it among her personal gear so that she could reverse-engineer it for some Temporal-Prime-Directive-violating shenanigans in the distant future just in case the trip back to the Alpha Quadrant didn't go well and she decided she wanted a do-over? Or am I reaching?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:46 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


"Endgame"--more like "Janeway's Long Game", amirite?
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:54 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Correction to my block-o-text above, first sentence: "but (going by this episode) not taste and smell."
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:25 AM on June 13


"Endgame"--more like "Janeway's Long Game", amirite?

Stardate 51008, Captain Janeway allows Kes to leave Voyager. Neelix told me that Kes had suspicions about the Caretaker. Was the captain trying to silence her? Stardate 51462, the Doctor's programme is transmitted to a Starfleet vessel on the outskirts of the Alpha Quadrant. An attempt by the Captain to contact Earth or a secret communique informing Starfleet of her progress? Stardate 50984, Janeway forges an alliance with the Borg. Stardate 51762, a cease-fire with the Hirogen. Stardate 52861, a non-aggression pact with the Terkellians. She called each incident diplomacy. I believe she was trying to establish a tactical infrastructure in the Delta Quadrant. Over the past five years, Captain Janeway has altered course two hundred sixty three times in the name of exploration. In reality, she was mapping the region and collecting strategic data...
posted by Servo5678 at 11:33 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


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