Part I of II: The Summary

I can not bring myself to rehash this crap. If anyone out there (if anyone out there who actually reads this) would like a summary, email Delta and she will email me and I will force myself.

Part II of II: The Review

What the hell was that? As if the singing on Voyager is not enough, we have a whole episode devoted to it? At least Seven didn't join in the melodic torture I was forced to endure. Where is the adventure? The drama? The space travel? Hell, where is the Star Trek? One thing I've always loved about TOS, TNG, and DS9 is that you can't just pick up the plot and bring the story to 21st Century Earth (Hey, first time I've written "21st Century". How cool!). The future is too intertwined into the plot. Now I don't really mean the technology, although that does help. Man's moral evolution is just one of the things (non-reliance on currency, global peace, no hunger, lack of greed) that we see which makes the story impossible to take out of the future time. One of the things that we, as fans, love about the enduring future represented in Star Trek is our evolution as a species. With Voyager, what is intrinsic to Trek is lost. What made Star Trek so special was the type of future that we would all love for our planet and our galaxy. The majority of the episodes of TOS, TNG, and DS9 grappled with ideas bigger than ourselves and what to do for the common good. That is what made it unique and wonderful. What made Virtuoso special? Pretty much nothing. The plot of Virtuoso could have actually been on Friends, 90210, or any other run-of-the-mill television show out there. Roddenberry's vision is truly gone. And it looks like it's lost forever.

The part I hated the most was the discussion of fandom. Boobie thinks that the communication system is being sabotaged by the Qomarians. Kathryn comes to astrometrics and discovers that it's just fan mail for the doctor. For the rest of the scene, the two discuss fan(antic)s. Seven thinks that the "glorification of a single individual is irrational" and doesn't understand why these "fans" want to learn more about a celebrity's personal life. Kathryn explains that the celebrity (in this case, the Doctor) is able to do something that most other people can't do and this makes people admire him or her. Okay, Berman and the rest of TPTB, we get it. You hate us. We understand that. We have for some time. I was struck by the similarity of the Doctor giving out holoimages of himself singing and the setup of a Star Trek convention. It was exactly the same, with the celebrity seated at a table and a line formed waiting for autographs (or holoimages). Very interesting parallel. Especially considering the manner in which Voyager treats its own fans. The bit with the fan, Tincoo, and her "crush" on the doctor was a nice touch. She liked him until she could get something better. Remember, Berman, do not bite the hand that feeds you.

Another thing that struck me about this episode is something that is a superficial commonality (but quite telling) to many of the episodes of Voyager. Once again, the alien makeup is very similar to every other alien that has been on Voyager for some time now. I am sure there are other defining features than the bridge of the nose. Can we NOT do something else. Also, Garak's Galactic Tailoring and Fashions was at it again. Same lines to the alien costumes. If the creativity is that tapped and TPTB are that tired, maybe it's time to just cancel the show. Walk away. Obviously, the only people that care about this anymore are the fans. Or fanatics, as TPTB think of us. The crew is looking a bit worn too. I am convinced that Kathryn is wearing a cheap wig. Her hair has that sheen that doll hair has. VERY cheap wig. And more than one person has mentioned how haggard Tom Paris is looking. Perhaps he should catch a nap?

The whole premise for this episode was perplexing. I fail to understand Voyager's stance on holograms. If they are beings (or individuals), then to delete a character is murder. (The phrase "Delete the wife" causes quite a few questions, but I will save that for the next time Michael is on.) I guess we can't even call them characters any more. I understand that they want the Doctor to feel like part of the crew, but how can he? He's air and light. A computer program. He reacts as the computer calculates he should. He is NOT a person. He is not even really sentient, is he? I've had this issue from the start, and the New Haven episode just increased my confusion. I understand that certainly, we would not want to harm anything that had self awareness, but if I click on "help" in Microsoft Word (which I am using now), and then click on "about", I am told that it is Word 97, SR-2. Does that make it sentient? Well, when I asked what this was, it knows who it is and was able to answering. Isn't that tantamount to sentience?? It didn't tell me it was WordPerfect. It even has a distinct serial number. I realize I'm having "a moment" here, but all of this with the holograms really puzzles me. I remember Riker and some of the TNG crew speaking of a holodeck program and how the computer "reacts" to the situation based on calculations. So, isn't that what happens here? The doctor is just reacting in the way the computer computes the situation. I really dislike where Voyager is going with the holocharacters. Will they be invited to have quarters on board Voyager. I know that in a future episode - SPOILER ALERT - Janeway gives Michael (bartender from New Haven) a tour of the ship. Obviously, she has to borrow the Doc's holoemitter. What kind of precedence is this setting??? - END SPOILER ALERT. If Harry decides that he can't get any sex from any more of the Voyager women, can he make a hologram and consider it a girlfriend? I recall that he tried to make one into a companion (and she preferred Tuvy) and that Tuvok and the rest of the crew reminded him that it was ONLY a hologram.

What is the point of these holocharacters? We have real characters like Torres, Tuvok, and Neelix that we never get to see. There is no need to create new characters. I understand the excitement that the Doctor must have "felt" that someone was finding him valuable on a skill of his that wasn't even part of his original design. He had discovered something that he was good at and was being valued for it. I think we all search for that, but this would have been better played out had it been one of the flesh and blood crew. Data was a valuable member of the Enterprise crew and very popular among fans, but TPTB have to learn that they can't duplicate that feeling without decent plots and writing. The doctor is a computer program! I can't help but wonder if all of this "humanization" is laying groundwork for Kathryn's love affair with a hologram of her own.

One part I did enjoy, and I'm sure you are going to fall over dead, was the fan letter that Seven wrote to the Doctor, showing him that he did have real value among the people that knew him for who he was. All of him. Not just for his singing abilities. Another thing we all want. To have a friend who prizes us no matter what mistakes we make is very rare and very important. This, of course, came out of no where as Seven has never really showed much feeling toward the Doctor one way or another. If she had written this letter to the Captain, I could understand it a little better. This letter would have been even more touching and more "real" had it come from Tom Paris, who has worked with the doctor for three years. (Has Kes really been gone for three years?)

Some general comments:

1. The EMH's lip syncing was REALLY off in this one. Wow!
2. Why does the music always end with Earth's 20th Century? Can't the writers make something up???
3. Why would the EMH clutch his throat and cough when practicing his singing? What would hurt??? HE'S A COMPUTER PROGRAM.
4. Why did he have stage fright? Wouldn't his singing be perfect?
5. How does Seven have the authority to call a red alert?
6. Voyager is the only life the Doc has ever known? Uhh…what about last week's episode?

The Rating: Overall, yeck! No J/C, stupid everything else. Nice Seven moment at the end (I hate myself). I give this one a 2 of 9.