Saturday, August 20, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"Scientific Method"

I have noticed a pattern with VOY. More often than not, the longer the teaser, the worse the episode. Perhaps it has something to do with requiring a long time for story set up. Whatever it is, “Scientific method’ is a prominent example. The teaser lasts a shade under five minutes and mostly involves Tom and Torres going at it like two teenagers in the back of a primer colored Pacer. If that does not fill you in on the juvenile idiocy to come, realize this is another Fun with DNA story written by the notorious Lisa Klink.

The premise is that Voyager has been invaded by alien scientists who are secretly performing experiments on the crew. They remain invisible as they perform genetic mutations in the name of medical research. I will allow there is some atmosphere upon the aliens’ discovery via Seven’s Borg optic whatsis. The aliens are walking around, placing medical devices on members of the crew while they remain oblivious. No one overtly alludes to the sense that you are being followed with no one really there or the sensation of someone walking on your grave, but that is what I took from it. It is about the only thing I took from it.

The plot bounces around terribly in tone and form. When the mutations begin, the crewmembers earliest affected compare affliction like a bunch of old men comparing ailments. It is mildly amusing, though I think the situation would generate a more terrified reaction. Apparently, Klink agrees, because she switches part of the way through to a far darker reaction to the mutations once seven exposes the aliens’ existence.

I was afraid the debate between a captured alien and Janeway over the use of unwilling test subjects for medical research might degenerate into an argument over the use of animals as test subjects. Klink is not only a bad writer, but an over the top bleeding heart when it comes to social commentary. Nevertheless, we avoid the allusion. Thank heavens for small miracles.

If there is anything particularly amusing about ’Scientific Method,” it is that the aliens’ undoing is the experiment they are performing on Janeway. They--get this--increasing her aggressive tendencies. This is a woman who will murder a member of her own crew when the Doctor refuses to perform a medical procedure based on ethics. What were these dopes thinking? Have they not watched this show before? When one of her crewmembers finally dies from a mutation, she goes crazy. Well, crazier than usual. Anyway, she begins flying the ship towards a binary star, ready to kill everyone on board to stop the experiments. The aliens do not call her bluff. They leave, but their ship is destroyed as they and Voyager pass through the star. Why they died, but the Voyager crew survived can be chalked up to klink’s incompetence as a writer.

Unless you are really big into watching janeway’s loonier moments, skip “Scientific Method.” the science is bad, the reactions to the mutations goes from one silly extreme to the other, logical flow of how to deal with the situation is nonexistent, and Janeway’s solution to kill everyone is not all that heroic. At least she personally racks up a body count of sixty some aliens. Skip this one.

Rating; * (out of 5)

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