Star Trek 539: Concerning Flight

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.

5 comments:

De said...

I think the lip service to past episodes was a way to pacify the rabid fans that were complaining about the show. I guess they were hoping fans would forgive weak episodes if a bone was tossed their way.

Siskoid said...

Totally. The kind of thing one should find insulting.

mwb said...

Another reminder why the holodeck so should have been ignored by most ST writers.

There should have been a firewall placed around holodeck stories that only is you really did something interesting could you tackle it.

But no, there seemed to be some bizarre quota of such stories.

Anonymous said...

The callbacks are also, I think, part of an attempt to set up a future episode in this season. (The Omega Directive is something that would fit right in to TOS without a problem, but it's so alien to modern trek that they need to at least try to ease the viewers in to it. I don't think it works, but I appreciate the effort.)

I'm probably a big part of the audience that continuity-porn is appealing to, but they never got it right in Voyager, or really anywhere apart from a few stunt-cast episodes until season 4 of Enterprise...

Siskoid said...

Agreed. Enterprise's last season did continuity porn right. Voyager, not so much. And they should never have tried. With a starting point far away from any other series' stomping grounds, there's no link to acknowledge!

 

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