Star Trek 552: Demon

552. Demon

FORMULA: Parturition + Aquiel + Deadlock

WHY WE LIKE IT: Gray mode.

WHY WE DON'T: Spawn of Voyager.

REVIEW: Before we get to the Demon Planet, a couple of notes... First, this is the first time the ship goes on gray mode, which seems strange to me. If Voyager is really a week away from coasting on fumes, it shows grossly negligent planning on their parts. The ship probably should have been on gray mode all trip long! And then there's Harry Kim who's decided to become more assertive through dialogue instead of action. I don't begrudge him the growth (and he's shown promise in the past), but why the need to treat it like a public amendment to the series bible? Because that's what it sounds like. "From now on, my character is THIS way..." instead of showing it gradually through a season. Lame.

As for the Demon (really just Planet Hell again, but with burnt orange lighting), it presents an interesting environmental challenge, though they play fast and loose with it. Sometimes the atmosphere is highly corrosive, sometimes Seven and Tuvok can walk miles and miles without a problem. And it's never properly explained how Harry and Tom survive half a day with their suits full of holes. But of course, the real antagonist is the silver blood, a mimetic creature that copies Harry and Tom and thus learns sentience.

It's an interesting idea, to be sure, though it's another example of magic on the show. But accepting the goo for what it is - including its ability to mimic memories and personality - we have an intriguing existential question. Is the imitation of sentience, of personality, of memory, actually equivalent to it? And what would a non-sentient creature do with sentience if it suddenly had access to it. We take it for granted, but it's a seductive idea for that which does not. Except the episode quickly ends after Janeway negotiates to give the silver blood the crew's DNA to copy. I think it's rather disturbing that most (if not all) of the crew chose to duplicate themselves on this alien planet. It's really creepy. Like, what's my duplicate doing RIGHT NOW? Never mind the fact that it's another major Prime Directive blunder.

Strangely, what's perhaps the best bit of the episode has nothing to do with the plot. What I first dismissed as a standard comedy subplot consisting of Neelix squating in sickbay during gray mode turned out to have a genuine character moment in it. The Doctor does his damnedest to make the play unlivable so that his unwanted tenants leave, but Neelix's graciousness makes shame flush his face for a moment. We don't linger on it or belabour it with a dialogue scene to spell it all out. Do I liked those 3-4 seconds fine.

LESSON: Harry and Tom just don't have enough sentience for anyone's appetite.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: Only climbs to Medium if you want to have a context for Course: Oblivion, but otherwise, another Voyager episode that looks good and isn't unwatchable, but treats its ideas stupidly.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (72) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (21) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (50) Aquaman (70) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (29) Avengers (57) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (675) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (131) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (59) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (2) Buffy (6) Canada (68) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (54) Cat (156) CCGs (38) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3922) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (66) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1670) Doom Patrol (21) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (55) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (80) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (751) Geeks Anonymous (45) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (58) Godzilla (52) Golden Age (420) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (85) Hawkman (38) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (238) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (32) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (49) Jack Kirby (85) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (93) JSA (24) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (97) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (128) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (4) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (8) Memes (38) Memorable Moments (34) Metal Men (4) Metamorpho (64) Micronauts (1) Millennium (71) Mini-Comics (2) Monday Morning Macking (6) Movies (455) Mr. Terrific (3) Music (72) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (40) oHOTmu OR NOT? (73) Old52 (11) One Panel (279) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (75) Podcast (469) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (537) Sandman (19) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (69) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (365) Siskoid as Editor (33) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (11) Star Trek (1696) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (36) Supergirl (89) Superman (1058) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (23) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (81) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (61) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (64) Turnarounds (7) TV (192) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (192) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (245) X-Men (100) Zero Hour Strikes (22) Zine (5)