The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Heroes and Demons

When a malfunction leaves Harry Kim lost somewhere on the holodeck, Tuvok and Chakotay are sent in to rescue him. But when they also disappear, it becomes clear that only person is suitable to perform the rescue – The Doctor. And so it is that the Emergency Medical Hologram goes on his first away mission, as a Viking warrior in a holonovel based on Beowulf.

Long-time readers of this blog will already be well aware of how little I enjoy holodeck episodes, and Heroes and Demons is no exception. It was inevitable, I suppose, that Voyager would have its first holodeck malfunction sooner rather than later, and whilst this episode is tolerable, it wasn’t one I was looking forward to, or particularly enjoyed. The plot, which combines holodeck antics with energy lifeforms unwittingly captured by the crew, could easily have been taken from the TNG bargain bin. On the plus side, it does let the Doctor leave the holodeck for the first time, and even in these early days, he’s showing promise as a sardonic and down-to-earth character. He even gets the bare bones of a romance, although I don’t much care for it.

Points of note

  • The Doctor tries out the name Schweitzer on the holodeck, but after he comes to associate it with Freya dying to protect it, he decides not to adopt it for every day use.
  • One from earlier in the season – Paris was assigned as a field medic because he took two semesters of biochemistry. Yes, Kes has got him off the hook now, but what about all those crewmembers walking around in blue uniforms? Surely they have more scientific experience than Paris, and would be equally ‘qualified’ to train in basic medicine?
  • The Doctor boasts of curing an outbreak of Parinisti measles aboard ship, which must have happened between episodes.
  • When the Doctor’s arm is ‘eaten’, does that mean that the computer program itself is also affected? Otherwise surely the projectors would reload his physical appearance from file, and all would be well. Or do the projectors only reload the Doctor ‘from file’ as it were when force-refreshed? As long as the Doctor is just running in RAM, corruption can occur.
  • Characters getting converted from matter to energy on the holodeck was always my theory for why the holodeck could never just be shut down in TNG. Here, B’Elanna says it’s an unusual thing that isn’t supposed to happen, so why wasn’t the holodeck just forcibly shut down in at least some of the previous incidents? Then again, why is a recreational tool so dangerous in the first place? It’s like the extreme sport of the future!
  • Who programmed the Doctor to be able to kiss? Was it an Easter egg put in by Lewis Zimmerman?

Summary – Heroes and Demons: In which the Doctor gets a taste for life outside sickbay.

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