Star Trek 548: Vis à Vis

548. Vis à Vis

FORMULA: Turnabout Intruder + Revulsion

WHY WE LIKE IT: It's not easy to fake Starfleet.

WHY WE DON'T: What happens to B'Elanna.

REVIEW: Tom's mid-life crisis pretty much comes out of nowhere, without any kind of build-up, and this time, he's not faking it. The psychological reason, as presented, is that his life is so settled (job and girlfriend and respect) that he feels trapped. Sounds more like the Tom Paris from the series bible than the character he's since become. Perhaps the question I should be asking is why Tom's suddenly a subspace mechanics expert and helping Steth repair his ship's engine instead of either Seven, Harry or B'Elanna. I guess the chief engineer is too pregnant to get any scenes where she's not hidden behind a countertop. It's that interchangeability that makes me think the characters are essentially serving a plot, fitting their square pegs into its round holes as best they can, instead of the reverse. Tom needs to be rebellious, he needs to be a super-mechanic, and so he is.

Steth's magical body switching - because it is magic, I don't know why a psionic solution wasn't used - leads to perhaps the best and the worst of all "pretender" moments. In the past, pretenders have been able to function relatively easily within the Starfleet structure, often with explanation, sometimes not (think MacDuff in Conundrum). As he experiences a day in the life of Tom Paris, he sees that it isn't all fun and games (indeed, didn't Tom's malaise register at all?). So for once, we're shown a pretender who has difficulty fitting in. And realistically, that's what would happen. Where it goes astray, in my opinion, is that it's heavily inferred that he slept with B'Elanna during that time, essentially violating that character. Distasteful as it is, what's even worse is that this is never addressed. B'Elanna seems fine. Tom seems fine. More magic.

As for the rest of the plot, it goes pretty much exactly where you think it's going, and there's little surprise when Steth turns out to have taken Janeway's form. The Benthan ship design is really, really interesting, but sadly has to be a one-off. Though a coaxial warp drive system gets installed into a shuttle, it's a surprise that Janeway doesn't immediately ask if Steth can share it. Nor is it ever mentioned again. So much for adapting new technologies to get home. In the end, of course, Tom learns a valuable lesson about how good he has it on Voyager, but I thought he knew this already. Our lesson?

LESSON: You can spot a friend in crisis by the fact he stops combing his hair.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: Oh, it's watchable, but I'm low-balling it because of the creepy implications and disregard for real characterization.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine