When Voyager encounters an exact duplicate of Starfleet Academy in the Delta Quadrant, Chakotay and Tuvok are sent to investigate. Further investigation reveals that the fake Academy is being run by Species 8472 in human form – but what for? Could they possibly be planning for an assault on Earth?
After establishing Species 8472 as an enigmatic and powerful alien race intent on destroying all other lifeforms, In the Flesh takes a completely different tack. Having suffered badly at the hands of the Borg/Voyager alliance, Species 8472 are planning some kind of action against Earth, starting with creation of Soviet-style training where they live as humans.
Taken on its own, the premise of the episode isn’t bad – I like Chakotay’s interactions with “Valerie Archer”, and I’ve always enjoyed Starfleet Academy as a setting (provided we don’t see too many cadets). What I’m not keen on is how easily Species 8472 are de-fanged. This is the race introduced as being more dangerous than the Borg, who are utterly hostile and xenophobic. But in this episode, they turn out to be just scared of humanity, and willing to sit down and be friends. I guess I should be supporting such a peaceful resolution, but given all our prior encounters with Species 8472, it does come a bit out of left field.
Points of Note
- Given that Chakotay attended Starfleet Academy, why did he not seem to know the famous Boothby? I thought everyone knew Boothby.
- Chakotay also claims that he resigned his commission to join the Maquis in 2368 (TNG seaspn 5); however, the Maquis didn’t come into existence until 2370.
- I assume Species 8472 lose their telepathy whilst in human form, otherwise they would immediately be suspicious of Chakotay.
- When this episode first aired, much was made of the fact that The Doctor puts the crew complement at 128, thus accounting for the people who have died since the end of Caretaker (when the crew complement was in the 140s). However, in later episodes, the 140 total is used once again.
- Species 8472’s knowledge of Starfleet includes the old-style uniforms no longer used in the Alpha Quadrant, implying that they got their intelligence from Voyager.
- Valerie Archer says that she has been assigned to a Klingon vessel – is this even something that regularly happens to Starfleet officers? Maybe the Klingon exchange program is still going.
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 – In the Flesh: In which Chakotay snogs a member of Species 8472.