Star Trek 612: Body and Soul

612. Body and Soul

FORMULA: The Schizoid Man + Repression + Blood Fever + Counterpoint + Tootsie

WHY WE LIKE IT: "You became sexually aroused in MY body!"

WHY WE DON'T: More Vulcan sex toys. Silly bedroom farce.

REVIEW: Gender switcheroo plots have never been my favorites (Turnabout Intruder? Doctor Who's "New Earth"?) and there's a reason for that. There is something so inherently ridiculous about a man playing a woman (or vice-versa) that these stories consistently devolve into farce. Case in point Body and Soul which has the Doctor possessing Seven's body to hide from a people bent on ridding the galaxy of "photonic insurgents", i.e. holographic rebels. I guess Starfleet's holograms aren't the only ones able to become self-aware.

The episode really hinges on Jeri Ryan's ability to play the Doctor. She apparently reviewed tapes of Robert Picardo actually performing the scenes and imitated his delivery and movements. It's a fine impression, but the Doctor acts so outrageously here that it's still a pretty annoying performance. Yes, Picardo does have that cadence in his voice, but out of Seven's lips, it just sounds silly. No more silly, however, than his sudden hedonism and lack of restraint. Having discovered corporeal pleasures, the Doctor eats whole cheesecakes, gets drunk, falls in love with a girl and gets kissed by a man. (So is this the first and only male-on-male kiss on Star Trek? Is it Voyager's Plato's Stepchildren? Puh-leeze.)

Seven seems to have embraced her sense of humor at least, and seems softer than she's ever been here, despite the ongoing humiliations. As for Harry, we learn he has B.O. Just the kind of character development he needed, eh? The guest species isn't much to write home about. Like Gregory Itzin in Critical Care, Megan Gallagher makes one appearance too many as, once again, the sympathetic girlfriend. There's really no call for the Doctor to fall for her Jaryn either. As for Ranek, he's just a dumb romantic foil for the transgendered Doctor, and he can't be taken seriously.

Tom Paris is actually in a lot more danger in Tuvok's quarters, treating him for pon'farr. Hey, the show ran for 7 years, it had to happen sometime. Tom has some tact, at least, but the show's writers do not. Once again, they trot out the "holographic blow-up doll" idea as a solution (as with Vorik in Blood Fever). I don't want to have to think about Tuvok releasing his tension on the holodeck, but when I do, I can't help but wonder how they simulate the telepathic component that appears to be part of the mating ritual. Ah man, it's just creepy.

LESSON: It's not cheating if she looks just like your wife.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: This ridiculous farce has some (accidentally?) funny lines, but Voyager can't seem to do a sex comedy without delving into bad taste.

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