The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Critical Care

An opportunistic conman steals The Doctor and his mobile emitter from Voyager, and sells him to an understaffed hospital ship. On this ship, treatment is prioritised for those deemed most useful to society, even if their conditions are far less serious. Can The Doctor subvert this unfair system?

I wouldn’t say that Critical Care is a great episode. By Voyager season seven standards it isn’t bad, but overall it just doesn’t stand out – even though this is exactly the kind of story that Star Trek excels at. In fact, I can just imagine this as an episode of TOS, with an irascible McCoy subverting the system until Kirk arrived to blow up their computer and force everyone to do things the human way. And of course, commentary on healthcare and its availability is always topical, no matter when and where you are.

Perhaps the problem is that the good plotline has to sit alongside something more tedious – Voyager’s search for the conman Gar. This too could be a TOS storyline, but one about Harry Mudd or Cyrano Jones. I can’t help feeling that I could have engaged with the emotional impact of The Doctor’s storyline more if I wasn’t always being pulled away to see Voyager’s merry chase.

Points of Note

  • Given all the security incidents on Voyager that have caused me to remark on their poor security, why is Janeway only now considering putting some restrictions on visitors?
  • What exactly is the “training routine” that is left behind in place of The Doctor? Is it another of Harry’s attempts to make a new Doctor?

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 17

Destroyed Delta Flyer running total: 1

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 – Critical Care: In which The Doctor finally learns to do harm without needing his ethical subroutines switched off.

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