The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Latent Image

The Doctor has combined his love of holo-photography with Voyager’s annual physicals, using his camera to take deep scans of the crew. But his examination of Harry Kim reveals something mysterious – it looks like the Doctor performed surgery on Harry about eighteen months, and yet he has no recollection of doing so. But when the Doctor tries to investigate this oddity, he starts to experience further memory losses and mysterious deletions.

After the excellence of Counterpoint, it’s nice to see Voyager following up with another episode I really like. Although Latent Image raises some questions as to the crew’s skill to at all cover up information, I still enjoy how the twists and turns of the mystery part of the episode unfold, leading into the Doctor’s mental breakdown. Robert Picardo does an excellent job in the mess hall scene with Neelix; at the start, the Doctor just seems like his normal, talkative self, but as the scene progresses we come to realise that there is something very wrong. Of course, we know that everything will be fine by next week, but we can still enjoy the ride, culminating with the hope that, given the chance, the Doctor will be able to overcome this.

Character points

This episode is another example in the recurring theme of “Janeway vs Seven”. Unlike everyone else on the crew, Seven was not aboard when the original incident occurred, and isn’t part of the memory deletion cover up. This lets her not only be the Doctor’s ally in uncovering what really happened, but also Janeway’s conscience.

Janeway, for her part, has justified her actions – the Doctor is an AI, and like any piece of computer equipment, sometimes errors have to be patched. Whilst I appreciate that Janeway needs to have some reasoning behind what she did, I still felt like her attitude was both a little harsh and left-field – does she really care so little for the Doctor as an individual? If so, why has she let him grow and develop over these past years, even when that became problematic? Maybe it’s not so much that she really believes in what she said, but that she was using it to convince herself that she did the right thing. Deep down, she knows that the Doctor is more than a replicator, that he is a sentient life form, but admitting that means she did a terrible thing in erasing his memories.

Other Points

  • If Jetal’s death occurred eighteen months ago, then Kes should still have been on board – why wasn’t she in sickbay instead of Tom Paris? And who exactly were that medical team who carried Jetal and Harry into sickbay? I mean, I realise the producers didn’t really want to get Jennifer Lien back for a brief flashback scene, but obviously this kind of thing is going to bother pedantic Star Trek fans such as myself.
  • Jetal is emphasised as this lovely, wonderful person who made everyone’s lives a little brighter, even though of course she’s never been seen or mentioned before. Maybe the producers wiped our memories of her as well.
  • At Jetal’s surprise party, it looks as Neelix baked her one of his classic Jibalian fudge cakes as a birthday gift.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 13

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 9

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

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 3

Summary – Latent Image: New drinking game – down a shot every time Seven says “When you separated me from the Collective…” to Janeway.

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