Star Trek 622: Human Error

622. Human Error

FORMULA: Someone to Watch Over Me + Hollow Pursuits + In Theory

WHY WE LIKE IT: The red dress. Starfleet diapers.

WHY WE DON'T: Seven's arc. The forgettable subplot. Well, that pretty much takes care of everything.

REVIEW: Ok, I was holding my tongue about this issue until we hit the absolute top of the dung heap, and here we are. I have to rant about Voyager's teasers. In my opinion, teasers have to draw you in by making viewers ask "what happens next?". If you do so, they'll stay through the opening theme. Voyagers' rather tries to make you ask "what's going on here?" as if trading on viewer confusion is really a goof way to deter channel-switching. So Voyager does a lot of teasers where none of the cast appear, a lot of very brief scenes (before anything can be explained) and a heck of a lot of "huh!" moments that are supposed to be shocking. That's the idea in Human Error, in which the teaser simply shows us Seven playing the piano, then cuts to theme. The point is to shock us with the fact that Seven doesn't have her implants in that scene, but it took me multiple viewings to realize that because we've seen Seven with her hair down before, and she's beautiful enough you hardly ever notice the implants anyway. Just badly staged. Result: 30 seconds of piano and no reason to stick around.

But stick around I did (obviously), and while I make it sound in the summary as if the show is total dreck, it isn't really. Seven's experiences in Unimatrix Zero have made her want to explore her humanity more, and she's designed some life-like holodeck simulations to help her. These include going to baby showers, decorating her quarters and dating Chakotay. Look closely, because the series finale will tell us these guys were in for a real love affair, but this is the most you'll ever see of that relationship, and it's only a fantasy. Still, nice subtle jealousy and hurt from the Doctor.

Now, the problem I have with this exploration is that Seven is too good at faking humanity for her NOT to be more genial around the actual crew. Inside the simulations, the piano's metronome makes a fine symbol for Seven's inhumanity, but also ignores the fact that Seven probably has an inner metronome. Another odd thing is what Seven decides to find relevant in this episode, such as closure. Once she decides to stop using her simulations, why does she feel the need to break up with holo-Chakotay? And while she makes progress, we'll find out at the end that her activities are causing malfunctions in her cortical node and that she can never have powerful emotions again without risking her life. Except we've seen Seven overwhelmed by emotion before without incident. What they mean is, she can never LOVE again (some finale writer missed that). I really question the value of pressing the reset button where we're less than 10 episodes away from the end.

There's also one of those overtly technical subplots about Voyager entering a missile testing ground. It's only real purpose is to make Seven poke her head out of the holodeck once in a while, and maybe as eye candy. Oh and I guess there's a clever use of the transporters to disarm a missile. As for Chakotay's sudden interest in Seven at the end of this episode, it's only professional from both the dialogue and acting, so you shouldn't see it as a sign of anything. If it IS a sign, then it's a pretty fortuitous one (been peeking at holodeck logs, Chuckles?).

LESSON: Nothing can ever change on Voyager. Nothing.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: Seven and the Doctor as watchable as ever, but they're ill-served by an episode that refuses to have any consequences. Never mind the boring B-plot.



Blog Archive


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 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