Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Voyager, Season 7: Body and Soul, Season 7
Airdate: November 15, 2000
152 of 168 produced
151 of 168 aired


While out on an away mission, Seven, the Doctor, and Harry are abducted by a race that is fighting a war against holographic beings.

Please don't tell us what you would do with a day in Seven of Nine's body.


In some ways, this episode is a bit of a grab bag. We have the A story, which is the Doctor inhabiting Seven's body, with hilarious hijinks ensuing. The B story is related only by the thinnest of tangents - Tom's proposed Pon Farr hologram being disrupted by the same anti-photonic sentiment present in the A story's antagonists. The antagonists themselves aren't developed particularly well. The Lokirrim have a beef with holograms, who have rebelled against their society and are causing problems. Great. Interesting idea. But where does it go? Not.... really anywhere? And is it connected to the later story featuring photonic insurgents, Flesh and Blood? Nah. And the Lokirrim don't really learn anything or change in any particular way. We get some scenes with Lokirrim conversing with Doctor/Seven, in which he raises issues from the perspective of photonic beings, but I don't really see them changing or growing, either. It just ends up kind of being a love triangle between Doctor/Seven, the alien captain, and the alien medic.

Kevin: I agree. If I had to guess, I think this episode was reverse engineered from the idea of the Doctor inhabiting Seven. None of the rest of the story feels really fleshed out. Maybe if they had dispensed with some of the love triangle stuff, we could have met another hologram whose imprisoned by them or still working or them or something to just sketch out the conflict and give it some bite.

Matthew: The A story has plenty of good comedic material. Does it meaningfully deepen the Doctor and Seven's relationship? Not really. I can imagine a story in which he discovered what her experience was really like and changed how he treats her. Or even a story in which he discovers what being flesh and blood is like, which changes him generally. Those really weren't explored here. But the bit in which Doctor/Seven tries cheesecake? I'm down for that. And I like their friction with each other, as the Dcotor tries to pump them for information, while Seven chafes at indulgence.

Kevin: I kept thinking back to Rascals while watching this episode. That is another episode with a RIDICULOUS plot set up, but that one was more effective for me because once it got its stupid set up out of the way, it used the opportunity to do some fun character work. Picard wonders about the road not taken. The O'Briens contemplate being emotionally in the same place they were earlier that day but not being realistically able to continue as the same married couple. Guinan helps Ro find a way to allow herself joy without feeling like she's betraying the trauma she endured. As silly as it may sound, that's actually some great character work, and like you say, had we learned something new about the Doctor or Seven or their relationship or something really changed, this would be worth the outing. The cheesecake bit was funny, but in the end, it leaves the episode in the same place as the cheesecake - a lovely confection but not a satisfying meal on its own.

Matthew: Overall, the B story is a big nothing, and it takes time away from development of the A story. It's not that there aren't interesting angles, but they're not given enough time, and I don't think Voyager is ready to truly explore the idea of sex on the holodeck within the sanctity of a marriage.

Kevin: Aside from a general distaste for the juvenile humor, I think my nagging question about pon farr, going all the way back to Amok Time have the Vulcans not accounted for this? Early space travel could easily take decades and I can't imagine there's a way to make sure everyone on a ship is one the same cycle, so realistically, this is a question Vulcans should have answered long ago. And we had Blood Fever, which already covered this, so not only was it filler, it was bland, repetitive filler.


Matthew: Well. What can be said about Jeri Ryan here? What an absolute tour de force. She nails the Picardo impression, but not in a way that is played solely for laughs. It becomes possible to watch the scenes and really instinctively feel that it is the Doctor reacting to the events on screen. That's amazing. She is very funny, and her physical acting is also great. Drunk acting, eating, dancing, a real master class. Picardo is no slouch either, but then, he's just acting like himself. I thought their scene at the end was sweetly rendered, also.

Kevin: The scene at the end almost pays off the whole episode on charm alone. And I agree on Ryan. Had there been any lingering doubt about her acting capability from any errant naysayers, this episode surely has to put them to rest. It's like she hadn't spent the last three years acting and only studied Picardo to impersonate him. I think she could get a line of credit in his name. It was that good and that specific. It's also clear she's having a ball, and that is always fun to watch.

Matthew: It is insane to me that Megan Gallagher never got a full-time Trek role. She is so memorable and grounded in every role she plays, and she really imbues her characters with an inner life that makes sense. The rest of the cast is fine. Tim Russ and RDM get some OK moments in their non-subplot, like when Tom chooses not to make light of Tuvok's situation.

Kevin: Definitely agreed. Gallagher is great. This is the least of her three roles, but that's on the writing, not the acting. She has a warm, grounded quality that makes me always want to know more about her, even when she was the the villain in DS9's Invasive Procedures. She is easily one of the best guest actors in terms of 'inhabiting' the universe, as we have come to describe it.

Production Values

The graphic design on the alien ship was bizarre. I looked like Windows Bob! or Windows ME or something. Very strange icons and color scheme. I guess it went with the strange reflective blue uniforms? The ship itself was a solid generic Trek design.

Kevin: For me, it was the uniforms that added to my sense of this episode being half-assed. At the tie, I even asked myself if it was a sign of senioritis with the end of the show looming. Any aesthetic choices aside, they just didn't fit. I don't need Theiss miniskirts or anything, but Megan Gallagher's uniform was almost punitively unflattering.


Matthew: The question here is how much to upgrade what is otherwise a mediocre episode for such a bravura performance. I don't think I can go beyond a 3 here, but it must be said that Jeri Ryan is responsible for an entire third of that total.

Kevin: I agree that Ryan elevates this episode an entire point. To draw the comparison to Rascals again, that episode would have gotten a four from me on the strength of the humor and character stories but got docked a point for a paint beginning and ending. This episode would get a 2 from me on the episode generally, and is forcibly pulled into a three by Jeri Ryan's literally flawless performance. That makes for a total of six.

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