Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Star Trek 600: Live Fast and Prosper

600. Live Fast and Prosper

FORMULA: Learning Curve + Mudd's Women + Hope and Fear

WHY WE LIKE IT: Faux Tuvok. The dangers of psoriasis.

WHY WE DON'T: Deus ex Doctor.

REVIEW: Con men help Voyager's legend spread, but by staining the ship's reputation in the sector with bad deals, theft and bogus Federation memberships in Janeway's name. As the last item on the list would seem to infer, it's mostly played for laughs, including a thin subplot on the ship about "gremlins" in the systems that make the sonic showers break bathroom mirrors. Some of it is amusing (Tuvok badly improvising a prison with three kinds of psoriasis), some of it isn't (Tom and Neelix running a shell game to prove they haven't lost their roguish edge).

Of the three con men, one is undefined (faux Chakotay, ironically), one is amusing (faux Tuvok taking his role too seriously) and one is a proper villain (faux Janeway, in a Vash sort of way). Their makeshift pins make them look like fans at a convention, but theirs is still an ingenious plan. If Voyager's going to leave a trail of broken hearts anyway...

Of course, like an con story, the con can be turned back against the con man. I didn't believe faux Janeway's escape for a second, and fully expected Voyager to track her back to her team. What I didn't count on was the Doctor impersonating her. While I can believe his matrix can be tweaked to look like someone else, the emitter's disappearance is less convincing. If he could hide it inside his holographic skin, he would do so. It keeps being hit and grabbed, after all! But the episode plays fast and loose with the details, like having the newly minted Federation member lose a battle because of substandard torpedoes, but then turning out to be more than a match for Voyager. Or Voyager being pummeled by the "antiquated" faux Delta Flyer. The villains weren't so tough or smart that the crew couldn't trounce them without a deus ex machina, you know.

LESSON: Never underestimate skin conditions' intimidation factor.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Amusing fluff, but that's all it is. Once again.

3 comments:

Jeff R. said...

It occurs to me that this episode can be viewed at least partially as a meditation on cosplay, which puts it in a bit of a 'fandom trilogy' with Virtuoso and tomorrow's "Muse"...

Siskoid said...

As far as trilogies go, it ain't exactly Lord of the Rings.

Jack Norris said...

One of the few Voyager episodes I have fond feelings toward (and that's saying something), just for Tuvok's last line to his impostor.