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Star trek: Voyager 7.05a - Flesh and blood

Stardate around 54300
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

Answering a distress call, Janeway and her crew are shocked to find a holographic killing ground filled with dead Hirogen hunters. When the killers turn out to be holographic freedom fighters created by Voyager's own technology, the Doctor's (Robert Picardo) loyalty to his organic crewmates is tested to the extreme.

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
  • Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
  • Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
  • Jeff Yagher .... Iden
  • Ryan Bollman .... Donik
  • Michael Wiseman .... Beta-Hirogen
  • Cindy Katz .... Kejal
  • Spencer Garrett .... Weiss
  • Vaughn Armstrong .... Alpha-Hirogen
  • Paul Eckstein .... New Alpha-Hirogen
  • Todd Jeffries .... Hirogen One
  • Don McMillan .... Hirogen Three
  • Chad Halyard .... Hirogen Two
  • David Doty .... Nuu'Bari Miner
  • Damon Kirsche .... Nuu'Bari Hologram One
  • Bryan Fuller .... Storywriter; Screenwriter: Part I
  • Jack Monaco .... Storywriter
  • Raf Green .... Storywriter; Screenwriter: Part II
  • Mike Vejar .... Director Part I
  • Kenneth Biller .... Screenwriter: Part II
  • David Livingston .... Director: Part II

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Ah, sweet consequences. Consequences are, more often than not, missing in a show like Voyager because the ship is constantly entering new terrain, encountering new life forms, discovering strange new worlds, etc. Since the end of season three it is only the Borg who have supplied ongoing consequences (I graciously forget to mention the Kazon from the first two seasons). Flesh and blood, like many other episodes in this ultimate season, tidies up a loose end from earlier on.

In a nutshell, the Hirogen are a species of reptiloids who live for the glory and the honour of the hunt. Like Klingons but without the bad hair. (You have to wonder what Hirogen Hunter High is like: Starfleet Academy on steroids?) Anyhoo, their natural prey being anything that moves, and USS Voyager being nothing if not a motile target, the Hirogen took over the ship and used holotechnology to turn it into a game reserve. Eventually the crew managed to rebel and a negotiated settlement was reached with Captain Janeway exchanging holotech for freedom. In effect, then, Flesh and blood is The killing game III.

It's an adventuresome episode, with lots of killing, maiming, shooting, threatening and words spoken in anger. The Hirogen become a more rounded people with the introduction of Donik, a holotechnology specialist who finds himself relating more to his creations than to his peers, the hunters. It's a story as old as technology: give a being a weapon and he'll kill anyone he can, give a being a tool and he'll bring them back to life. The only problem is, of course, that weapons research and wars create the most useful tools. Peace may be good for the soul but it makes social evolution drag.

Once more, the EMH (have autonomous holo-emitter, will travel) gets thrown into the deep end, reacts with the arrogant surety of superior technology, and finds that he doesn't swim as well as he thought. Just like Data from The next generation, the Doctor was created as the outsider who seeks to become more Human, and his featured episodes tend to concentrate on this matter. Unfortunately for him, his quest comes from a position of inferiority: he started out as a mere tool, trapped in Sickbay, unable to even turn himself off - only through a long process of algorithm addition and learning experiences has he reached the stage where he can finally begin to make the wrong decision. For those of you who are interested in such things, this is the point where the Doctor becomes sentient. Oh, he had a very clever interface that mimicked sentience very well, but you're not there until you have the ability to choose the wrong option. The really wrong option. Only children live in a world where all choices are good. Robert Picardo is a talented actor who is perfect for this role and he eats this episode for breakfast. He blusters, he argues, he's uppity, he's compassionate.

Flesh and blood is a good episode, and what's more, it's a two-parter, on the same tape! You'll enjoy it no matter your Trekkie status, so do.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 10 August 2001

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