Star Trek: Voyager: Renaissance Man   Rewatch 
August 2, 2018 4:24 AM - Season 7, Episode 24 - Subscribe

When Janeway is kidnapped, Voyager's holographic Doctor must truly be all that he can be.

This may be my last chance to say this!: I love you, Memory Alpha!

- Ethan Phillips (Neelix) does not appear in this episode. He left Voyager in "Homestead", the previous episode. However, he is mentioned in dialogue by The Doctor and remains in the opening credits.

- This episode is similar to episodes VOY: "The Raven", and TNG: "Brothers", in that it features one of the regular characters apparently turning on the others and running rampant on a quest whose purpose only becomes understandable in the end.

- Andy Milder (Nar) previously played the Bolian Boq'ta in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Empok Nor".

- Despite appearing in 124 of the show's 168 episodes, regular extra Tarik Ergan was never specifically credited for playing Ayala, and was only credited as "Security Guard" in "Fury" and "Tactical N.D." in "Renaissance Man" – even though he worked at the conn in the latter episode. He only spoke in the episodes "Basics, Part II", "The Gift", "Fury", and "Renaissance Man".

- Shortly after they had completed writing this episode, Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong were called into Brannon Braga's office and were invited to join the writing staff of the forthcoming series Enterprise. They were also given the top-secret script for the series premiere, "Broken Bow" and were told to go on vacation and return with story ideas for the series.

"You know, this might be our last chance to be alone... for the next eighteen years."

- Tom Paris, trying to get Torres to go with him on a romantic getaway before their daughter is born

"Voyager can survive without its warp core... but not without its captain."
"Now, it doesn't have either!"

- The Doctor and Kathryn Janeway

"Ensign, at your recital last month, I told Lieutenant Torres that your saxophone playing reminded me of a wounded targ. I should have put it more delicately. I'm sorry!"

- The Doctor, to Harry Kim

"I know you could never have the same feelings for me but I want you to know the truth. I love you, Seven!"

- The Doctor, to Seven of Nine, as he believes he is going to decompile

Poster's Log:
There's some good hologram-badassery fun here, but this entire story hangs on the Doctor doing something I have to assume he's explicitly programmed not to do: defy the Captain's orders. I guess we could infer that his ever-burgeoning individuality/personhood has led him, in this case, to creatively interpret his "medical exception" to obeying every order Janeway gives, insofar as she's liable to die if he doesn't comply with the Hierarchy dudes. But it might have been good for the script to actually hint at that. And it's a kind of major gap in his coding if he's going to continue to serve in Starfleet. You don't want a department head who'll cave in to kidnappers' demands, particularly when the consequences of meeting their demands threaten the ship's mission and the safety of the rest of the crew.

The "dying" confessions scene would be downright cruel to the character if the series weren't about to end. As it is, it's still weird. It feels like they're trying for one of those winky grinny TOS-style final scenes, but of course it's not the final scene—the standard-issue Serious Janeway Reconciliation is; they want to have their cake and eat it too. Moreover, the last few EMH-focused episodes treated him so much like a serious, complex character that it's hard to square with this scene knocking him down in such a cringey, The Office-like fashion. Maybe the Doc's big send-off episode should've been "Author, Author."

TV Tropes rather pedantically suggests that, if Voyager has a limitless supply of shuttlecraft, that means a limitless supply of warp core parts, so the loss of its main warp core may not be as crippling as it would be for a ship with a limited supply of shuttlecraft.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Next time, Halloween Jack brings us the long-awaited/-anticipated/-dreaded series finale! Bring popcorn, and go to the bathroom beforehand, because I predict a lengthy post and lengthier comments.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (12 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I liked it OK (except for the bolted-on deathbed confession scene; I agree that it's unnecessarily humiliating, and given the number of times when the Doctor has been in danger of decompilation, I would have imagined him making a video last will and testament--a last-reel review of that could have been funny without being mortifying), but probably about 90% of that was due to the episode being a VOY redress of DS9's "The Assignment" in which the Doctor uses holotrickery instead of technical expertise. There were a bunch of neat Doctor-specific riffs on the theme, though; because of the shapeshifting, a few of the main cast got their turn playing the EMH, and even though the people who the Doctor was storing in the morgue weren't dead, there was still a sort of grim frisson to seeing the Doctor's growing combadge collection. It was a little disappointing that the Doctor wasn't more active in defeating his would-be puppetmaster (the Off-Blue Danube was a nice touch, though), but it was also satisfying that the Potato People minion (yay, one more appearance of VOY's goofiest aliens, with the possible exception of the Tak Tak!) clobbered his boss for being a dick.

Minor quibble time, Eve of "Endgame" division: let's remember (as the show surely didn't) that Voyager has a spare warp core.

Also, too: yep. The next and last entry is gonna be a doozy; I've already started working on it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:50 AM on August 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Particle of the Week: Photons take it again.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Holographic foes are reasonably tough in the MMO (and one of my characters uses them exclusively on ground missions now), but lack the Doctor's gravity defying stunts and shape shifting. Presumably, it's against their EULA or something.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -29.
* Crew: 135.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: I guess the series count will end at 16, but see below again.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 3 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

* Yet Another Credulity Straining Delta Quadrant Contact.

I'll admit it, I don't remember just when Voyager's last giant leap forward was, but they first encountered the Hierarchy near the beginning of S6. It feels a little weird to run into them so much since then.

I don't really want to raise a fuss over that because the potato people were one of their funnier additions to Trek canon, managing to be goofball while remaining a lethal threat, but I still would've liked some mention of it here.

* This was mostly fine.

I'm with the going consensus:
- Seems like the Doctor shouldn't be able to defy Janeway like this, would've liked one minute of exposition explaining his rationale.
- The bulk of the story is a pretty good black comedy. The morgue really was a nice touch, as Jack points out.
- The deathbed confession is too cringey.

I feel like I should be saying more, but I'm kinda saving my energy for Monday. (I plan to get started on Endgame stuff tonight myself, 'cause man.)
posted by mordax at 9:42 AM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can tell the series is ending and they’re spending all the money in the budget because of the awesome effects of the Doctor leap-phasing through a window and doing a Matrix jump off a corridor. Money well spent!
posted by Servo5678 at 11:32 AM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

The SFX were indeed totally sweet, yeah. (It's a testament to the show that it still looks pretty good twenty years later, for that matter.)
posted by mordax at 12:59 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think Voyager's last "shortcut" was a graviton catapult that shaved three years off the trip. 600 light years? Sometime near the start of season 6. I think Voyager first encountered the Overlookers before that, and then here in Season 7, including the episode when they were trapped in The Void.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:41 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

The MOST recent one was probably at the end of "Q2". Also "a few years."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:28 AM on August 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ugh, the ending of this episode really irritated me. In Thirty Days Tom Paris is busted down to ensign and put in solitary confinement in the brig for a month, for trying to help some aliens save their environment. Here the doctor steals the bloody warp core and his only punishment is six days of 'time served' in his usual environment and then gets a playdate with the Captain.
posted by myotahapea at 5:30 AM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Janeway was written with a huge blind spot for letting her feelings get in the way of her captaining. (This'll be an issue in our big finish too.) Paris didn't get busted for breaking protocol in Thirty Days, he got busted for pissing her off.
posted by mordax at 4:50 PM on August 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I feel like Tom kissing the Doctor isn't getting enough attention.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:15 PM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

If there's one thing we learned from Darkling, it's that the ship has no HR department to complain to.
posted by mordax at 7:22 PM on August 3, 2018

BIGGEST NEWS OF THE GODDAMN DECADE in case anybody missed it.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:57 AM on August 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think it would have been funny if they added a scene where Tom says something like, "Now I wish I hadn't downloaded all those John Woo films from the 20th Century into the Doctor's database!" to explain his sudden bad-assery.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:14 PM on December 3, 2021

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