Star Trek 614: Flesh and Blood

614. Flesh and Blood

FORMULA: Body and Soul + The Killing Game + Elementary, Dear Data + Covenant + Revulsion

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ooh, Hirogen.

WHY WE DON'T: Fast and loose plotting.

REVIEW: Body and Soul is the bedroom farce with people fighting a hologram insurrection. Flesh and Blood is the one with Hirogen fighting a hologram insurrection. You're forgiven for confusing the titles. The Hirogen ARE indeed back, despite Voyager having shaved more than a decade off its journey since they last met, and they've put the holodeck technology Janeway's given them to proper use and created the galaxy's largest holodeck ever. Cue the double-sized special.

Three years ago, Janeway broke the Prime Directive and now the chickens have come home to roost. Starfleet holograms are notorious for becoming sentient if you ask the computer to make them unbeatable, and that's just what happened. Holograms, tired of being hunted, escape and set off to liberate all the holograms in the sector, and settling on a planet equipped with holo-emitters (Edennnnnn, yeah brother...). As you might expect, the issue of holographic rights rears its ugly head, and the Doctor chooses sides.

Ugly, because holograms are just computer programs, yet they keep thinking of themselves as "photonics" as if they were light-based life, rather than software-based. The only reason there's even a rash of sentient holograms is because the Doctor's on the show, as if TNG had gone around meeting android races for 7 years. At least we do see non-sentient holos get liberated. But by that time, the "Children of Light"'s leader, Iden, has started to lose it already. The character starts as a sympathetic, reasonable, spiritual charismatic, able to sway the Doctor and then B'Elanna to his righteous cause. He eventually shows his true colors though, changing his programmed Bajoran faith into a new religion in which he is the messiah.

I like that Iden was inspired by the photonic revolution mentioned in Body and Soul, however, the episode has trouble with Star Trek history earlier than 2 episodes ago. The Hirogen shouldn't have a Jem'Hadar hologram if they poached Voyager's database from three years ago. In any case, once Iden goes nuts, the plot problems start mounting. You start wondering where holographic weapons get their energy. Or why the Doctor would be willing and capable of killing Iden (his subroutines only consider "organics" life?). Or even why Janeway refuses to punish the Doctor for his betrayal. She may be responsible for the whole situation and for allowing him to develop sentience, but it doesn't mean he wasn't in charge of his decisions. She'd have liked to find his program tampered with to explain it, but couldn't. Why not? They transplanted memories into him, I'd call that tampering!

And the ending is unclear as well. The Hirogen are somehow convinced that telling a lie about this particular hunt is just as honorable as actually completing that hunt, which doesn't sound like them at all. I might've bought it if the holograms then disappeared (settled on the planet, for example, as their ship was destroyed), but no, Kejar and Donik get the keep the ship! All the holograms are stored in its computer, but they'll let them out, right? Or is Donik going to perform some sort of lobotomy on them? We're not made to understand either party's motivation for this compromise, and you'd think a double-sized episode could have found time for it.

LESSON: There is no Eden. A lesson that must be learned by every generation.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Lots of action and a chance to reuse all the old costumes and make-ups from the Alpha Quadrant, but so what? As usual, they're just throwing cool stuff at the screen to distract us from the plot holes.


De said...

The Hirogen shouldn't have a Jem'Hadar hologram

Voyager left in the middle of DS9's third year, right? Wouldn't they have some info on the Jem'Hadar based on Sisko's reports?

mwb said...

"photonic life"

Red Dwarf did it better!

Siskoid said...

De: I guess. After all, Voyager's database has genealogical data going back to the 20th century and Ferengi records.

Everything's in there.

De said...

The wealth of information always did kind of bug me. With TOS/TNG/DS9, I assume computers can just access some kind of Federation-wide network. It's been established that Voyager is out of practical subspace range so you're right that they shouldn't have instant recall of the plethora of trivia shown on the series.

Siskoid said...

I mean, they even have 1950s tv shows, ads and sports games in their original format.

Is information just as dense on the other Federation worlds?

De said...

I think it would have to be given that enlightened governments don't just pop up overnight. I'm sure there are exceptions but planets like Vulcan have a ton of information based on what we've learned during the 5 TV series.

When Voyager began receiving e-mail from the Alpha Quadrant, I could sort of buy that information could be exchanged (like TV shows and such).

LiamKav said...

Not uniform designs though. They must never be transmitted, because something something something.

Voyager left in the middle of DS9's third year, right? Wouldn't they have some info on the Jem'Hadar based on Sisko's reports?

You'd think, except (and my memory might be shaky here) when the Dominion were first mentioned during the initial Hirogen arc, everyone mentioned that they had no idea who they were.


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