539. Concerning Flight
FORMULA: Future's End + A Matter of Time - all the time
WHY WE LIKE IT: John Rhys-Davies.
WHY WE DON'T: Where's the tension?
REVIEW: Concerning Flight attempts to give a bigger role to John Rhys-Davies, unfortunately cast as a non-sentient hologram, and manages it by having the mobile emitter and the program simultaneously stolen by thieves unknown. His Leonardo spends the rest of the episode viewing an alien colony through his Renaissance lens - he's in America, a land of wonders and strange peoples. There are, of course, the requisite shenanigans with his inventions, and the glider in particular, but more interesting is his meditation on the limits of any given point of view. He pretty much steals any scene he's in. I guess his new point of view "breaks" his program, because he's never seen again.
Where the episode fails is in its presentation of its main dilemma. Having its computer core stolen should have a lot more consequences than this. We hear about it limping at low speeds, but everyone's tapping on consoles, taking turbolifts, using the astrometrics lab, etc. as if nothing really happened. Heck, the Doctor's turned on enough to having cabin fever in the absence of his emitter. The Voyager novel Violations had the same premise and handled it better, frankly, and that's really sad.
The ship affords little tension, but the away mission does a bit better. However, it all comes crashing to a halt with a climax in which the villains stand under a tree while Janeway and Leonardo make their very slow escape. I will say this, however: There's some great location work in this episode from rolling hills to industrial parks. Matte paintings provide support, but the production values are higher than normal thanks to those locations.
One last note on Leonardo in Star Trek: Janeway mentions Flint from Requiem for Methuselah here (looks like Kirk didn't honor his promise to the immortal who claimed to have been Leonardo, among others). It's actually a small dig at the believability of Flint's claim, but to me, it's paying lip service yet again to one of the preceding stories. There seems to be a call-back to TOS or TNG every episode around this time, and it's really annoying. I find overdoing continuity as annoying as ignoring it completely (which Voyager often vacillates between).
LESSON: Seven is not the right person to go to for gossip.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: The danger is undersold in favor of screen time for a guest star with great presence.