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Star trek: Voyager 6.07a - Virtuoso

Stardate 53556.4
Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

While the crew of the USS Voyager helps a Komari ship make repairs, the Komari on board thumb their noses at the crew's inferiority. They live in a closed system and are not well versed in social interaction. Nor are they familiar with singing, which the Doctor (Robert Picardo) does as he tends to their medical needs. The visitors are quickly enthralled with the Doctor's voice and invite the Voyager crew to visit their nearby planetary alliance. As a goodwill gesture, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) arranges a musical concert starring the Doctor, of whom the Komari cannot seem to get enough.

Persons of interest

  • Kate Mulgrew .... Captain Kathryn Janeway
  • Robert Beltran .... Commander Chakotay
  • Roxann Dawson .... Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
  • Robert Duncan McNeill .... Lieutenant Tom Paris
  • Robert Picardo .... the Emergency Medical Hologram
  • Ethan Phillips .... Neelix
  • Tim Russ .... Lieutenant Tuvok
  • Jeri Ryan .... Seven of nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix 01
  • Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
  • Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
  • Kamala Dawson .... Tincoo
  • Ray Xifo .... Abarca
  • Paul Williams .... Koru
  • Marie Caldare .... Azen
  • Nina Magnesson .... Vinka
  • Raf Green .... Screenwriter
  • Kenneth Biller .... Screenwriter
  • Les Landau .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Welcome to the Hotel Voyager... you can check out any time you want, but, you can never leave.

People keep threatening to jump ship - Harry Kim in Favourite son, Tom Paris in Vis à vis, Seven of Nine in almost all of Season Four - but no-one (other than Kes) ever makes it out the airlock. In this episode the EMH has become so self-absorbed that his own emotional welfare is more important than the physical well-being of the entire crew; the crew's health is part of his primary programming but his add-ons have disrupted it. That's pretty scary stuff. If I was Captain I'd be doing the old format-and-clean-install quick smart.

The problem is this: no-one is going to leave the ship mid-season. The only two main cast departures happened at the end of Season Three (Kes) and Season Six (Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine). The producers have to pay the actor for the rest of the season whether they're on screen or not and they aren't going to find the money for a new character in their contemporaneous budget. It's the same reason you don't panic when they pretend someone is going to be killed. Red-shirts weren't invented for nothing.

Anyhow, it was Robert's turn to be the focus of an episode and they've done way too many "EMH modifies program and goes nuts" stories already, so they picked one of his talents (all Trek actors are required to be multi-talented, just like their characters) and went with that instead. Unfortunately, they've already done a zillion "EMH sings opera" episodes, too, so Virtuoso is a bit repetitive (pun intended). If you're an Opera Queen it's a great episode to get your Trek dose and your opera dose all in one hit. If not, well... someone blow up a planet already.

You do get to see Harry (and the Kimtones) teasing the old aural receptors but for some inexplicable reason the Komar only like the EMH's singing. It's a very peculiar piece of plot that doesn't sit right. The relatively chaotic nature of jazz (as opposed to the more formal and ordered operatic form) should appeal to the quantum theorists among the Komar if no-one else. All music is based on mathematical rules, even when the only relationship is to break those rules.

It was good to see an autocratic species, though. In the Delta Quadrant there have been cultures with much lower tech than the Federation circa 48315 (eg the Kazon), or much higher (eg the Sikarians), or they just plain don't wanna share (eg the Voth), but the Komar are just plain snobs. It's how Voyager must've seemed to all those backwoods folk out on the fringe of the Delta Quadrant. The condescension is laid on pretty thick but snobs tend to do that, just so everyone knows that they have something to be snobbish about.

This is not the worst episode of Voyager, but it's certainly not the best. Maybe it's a middle of the season thing and everyone's tired and the writers have used up all their best ideas an so forth, but it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, which Virtuoso don't.

While I have your attention, I'll register a major complaint. In Survival instinct, Marika Wilkara aka Three of nine, auxiliary processor of Unimatrix 01, decided to spend her last weeks aboard Voyager as she was a Starfleet engineer before her assimilation. In all the time since that episode (Stardate 53049) no mention of her has been made. It has been over 500 stardate units since then: that's six months for someone with a life expectancy of one! Someone in the continuity department needs to get their act together.

Security censorship classification

PG (Medium level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 10 August 2000

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