Friday, 2 May 2014

Review: Voyager 2.19: Lifesigns

The Doctor studies Denara's sick body.
Star Trek Voyager - Season Two, Episode Nineteen - Lifesigns
Written 12/8/13

Romance is a difficult genre to get right. The way that people are paired up in fiction is a tricky process and it's not easy to characterise one-episode guest stars to the point where them having a relationship with your already-developed main character feels realistic. This is the first real case of a one-off romance in Voyager, with our guest character being the dying Vidiian woman Danara Pel. The question is, does the episode manage to pull of a fair romance without it feeling forced?
     Voyager comes across a shuttle, empty but for a dying Vidiian woman. The Doctor does his best, putting her body into a coma and then placing her mind in a hologram of her own healthy body so he can communicate with her. The result is a hologram of Vidiian scientist Denara Pel, who becomes attatched to an oblivious Doctor within record time. The Doctor himself, while completely clueless on how to express it, falls in love with her, and rom-com misunderstandings follow. Eventually they are happy together, but Denara doesn't want to go back into her original body and so tries to halt The Doctor's treatment. The Doctor convinces her that it's better to live a longer life, because he'll love her no matter what she looks like, and that even though she'll have to return to her home planet, they still have two weeks left together.
     You know my attitude towards romances. They're not very interesting to talk about, really. I did think the romance in this episode was done well - Denara being attracted to the Doctor's wealth of medical knowledge and skill as well as the compassion which led him to give her a healthy appearance once again, while The Doctor being attracted to someone with the same physical limitations as him who shared and appreciated his profession. I think there was also an element of god-to-honest awe there for both of them - for Denara, it's the thought of someone looking past her usual appearance and then giving her the normality that she always craved, while for him it's his first crush ever and it wasn't even in his programming to be able to feel that way.
Two holograms in love. Aww.
From jeffords
     There was a secondary story that followed a number of recurring plot points from the past few weeks. Tom Paris' repeated tardyness at the Bridge (last seen in Dreadnought) led to him having an angry altercation with Chakotay that resulted in him being stripped of his duties as pilot for the time being. Jonas also got another scene talking to the Kazon (which have been identical these past two weeks) in which Seska revealed her end-of-season gameplan to take over Voyager and use its infirmary to have her baby. Compared to the first season, this feels a lot mroe devoted to its multi-episodic storylines and does, if I'm honest, make the season feel a lot more whole. (Even if at least one Jonas conversation is stripped from canon thanks to being part of Threshold.)
     Lifesigns was an entertaining 45 minutes with very little new to say apart from the fact that The Doctor can very easily go from being Forest Gump to being Casanova in terms of romantic prowess - thanks, of course, to the fact that he can just download more shit to be getting on with. It was an okay relationship and here or there it had some vaguely positive things to say about relationships and getting over people, but there was no drama, no tragedy. The Doctor may have learnt to understand what it feels like to be happy, but frankly, happiness is easy. Not to be too depressing, but what we needed was some Loss. And Loss was sadly quite absent.


NEXT WEEK: Jonas gets found out and shit hits the fan in Investigations.

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