The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Vis a Vis

Tom Paris isn’t enjoying life. He’s feeling trapped by his responsibilities, and nostalgic for the freedom he once possessed. So when an alien named Steth needs help repairing his ship, Tom jumps at the chance to help out. But Steth has an ulterior motive – he plans to steal Tom’s body, and his life.

Body swap episodes are a sci-fi staple, and Star Trek hasn’t been shy about doing them before – let’s not forget Turnabout Intruder. This episode fully embraces the trope, and throws in some extra Tom Paris time as well.

Whenever Tom gets character development, it’s always the same thing – he’s feeling trapped and uneasy, and wants to bugger off somewhere to enjoy his former freedom. Whilst it’s an understandable point of view, it’s not one that’s explored particularly well. From being ostensibly fine in many previous episodes, Tom is suddenly dissatisfied with his life and underperforming at work, seemingly apropos of nothing. I guess we can’t expect too much from an episodic television series like Voyager, but even so, it doesn’t feel a bit out of nowhere.

Of course, the point of this episode is that Tom has to face losing everything in order to realise how much he truly values what he has. Along the way, we have to put up with plenty of technobabble, encompassing the likes of coaxial warp drives, rearranging the geometry of subatomic particles, and the usual genetics and DNA bollocks that makes no sense on close inspection. Just as well The Doctor finds a way to turn everyone back in the last two minutes, as noted in Janeway’s log.

Points of Note

  • Why is Voyager security so poor that Steth can easily log into the computers? Will I ever stop asking this question?
  • Since I first watched this episode, Greasmonkey has come to primarily remind me of the Firefox extension, rather than the slang term for a mechanic.
  • Why is Tom’s wrench replicated rather than holographic? Maybe he specified it to be so because he wanted something physical as a memento of his new favourite holodeck program. After all, the weapons in The Killing Game were all supposed to be holographic – even though it seemed at one point as if Janeway was holding one outside the boundaries of the holographic projectors (I might be wrong about that, though).
  • How does ‘DNA exchange’ even work? Surely it would take time for the new DNA to incorporate itself into the body, even if it was somehow able to magically replace the DNA that was already present. Why am I even trying to analyse this?

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 11

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 7

Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 2

Summary – Vis a Vis: In which Paris gets DNA raped.

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