The Great Star Trek Rewatch: Spirit Folk

Something has gone awry in Fair Haven. The holodeck program has been running for so long that the characters have evolved – to the point where they’ve started to realise that the Voyager crew don’t quite fit in. And when the denizens of Fair Haven decide that Tom, Harry and the rest must actually be supernatural beings, things take a dangerous turn.

If you didn’t get your fill of twee Irish villages in Fair Haven, then good news – a mere handful of episodes later, and we’re back. If, on the other hand, you stoically endured Fair Haven merely because you had to, then I’m sorry to report that, having barely had time to recover, there’s another round of ‘fiddle dee dee’ to be served up.

If anything, Spirit Folk is the worse of the two Fair Haven episodes. It takes the pre-established setting, and adds in the tired old holodeck malfunction trope which we’ve seen so many times before. To be honest, by now you’d think Starfleet had all sorts of training and contingency plans for when holodeck characters gain sentience and self-awareness, but no. The holodeck is a health and safety nightmare, and rarely more so than in this episode.

Points of Note

  • In my Fair Haven review, I thought that Janeway was redesigning Michael in Holodeck 2. In this episode, it seems like holo-design takes place in ‘the lab’. Except in Worst Case Scenario, where they did their work in the holodeck itself.
  • Speaking of Fair Haven, how were the bridge crew able to divert power from the holodeck when holodeck power is incompatible with the rest of ship’s systems? No, I;m not letting this one go.
  • Torres says that she can’t beam Tom, Harry and The Doctor out because there are ‘too many stray photons’. There are photons everywhere all the time – how does the transporter ever work?
  • The conclusion at the end of the episode seems to be to shut Fair Haven down for its own good – if the characters really have become sentient and self-aware, shouldn’t they be allowed to grow and develop? If not, then why not just pull the plug and erase them as soon as needed? Is it really just because Janeway might want some holographic cock at some point in the future?
  • Given that Paris has been spending the time since Fair Haven repairing the program, how has it even had time to go so badly wrong? These episodes are about six weeks apart in airing and show time.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 17

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 10

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

Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 5

Summary – Spirit Folk: And Fair Haven was never seen again. Hooray!

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