Star Trek: Voyager – S02E08, Persistence of Vision


Persistence of Vision has some interesting ideas but its plot is not entirely convincing. The USS Voyager is preparing to enter Bothan territory but Janeway is stressed out: she has a thousand things to do and she doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all those who seek her. In particular, she’s working hard to allow the Doctor to materialize outside the infirmary and, above all, she must prepare the first contact with the Bothans who, apparently, are very aggressive. Neelix can help her, but the captain just doesn’t have time! The Doctor realizes this and orders her to take a break to relax. And here we go again with the fantastic holographic program that Janeway likes so much (we saw it in Cathexis and in Learning Curve)!

The hideous holo-program is set in Victorian England and Janeway is a housekeeper who falls in love with her landlord (Michael Cumpsty). It seems that the program perturbs her a lot, though, so why doesn’t she run a nice Risa simulation instead? Risa seems the place to go to relax, we’ve seen it both in The Next Generation (for example, in The Game, Season 5) and in Deep Space Nine (for example in the horrendous Let He Who is Without Sin…, Season 5)? In any case, the captain interrupts the program and begins to hallucinate around the ship. This part of the episode is well made, with the captain who wisely voluntarily undergoes medical tests and then leaves command of the ship to Chakotay.

Then, things quickly fall apart: the USS Voyager is intercepted by three Bothan ships that attack unceremoniously and the Starfleet ship is quickly surrounded and adrift in space. When everyone else on board begin to have hallucinations leaving them catatonic and totally defenseless, only the Doctor and Kes can save the day! Will they succeed? Yes they will, it was a rhetorical question.

It seemed to me that the script contains a million ingredients just for the sake of it and the ending is far from satisfactory (not too different from that of Non Sequitur, for example). The hallucinations of the various characters make it clear that Tom Paris has issues with his father (Warren Munson), a high-ranking Starfleet officer, that Janeway misses her husband Mark (Stan Ivar), that Kim misses his girlfriend Libby (Jennifer Gatti), that Tuvok misses his home planet and his wife T’Pel (Marva Hicks)… but nothing of this is really developed. Even the evil alien (Patrick Kerr) only has vague motivations and it’s not clear whether he acts on his own or as a representative of the Bothans. In short, this episode could have been a good excuse to see what happens when Voyager travels through territories ruled by hostile races, but it’s a bit of a disappointment. It’s an opportunity to give some background to the main characters, but everything is just sketched. Ciao!

PS: The Delta Flyers podcast shoutout: Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang don’t have much to say on this mediocre episode of Star Trek: Voyager, but it’s funny to hear that McNeill is jealous of Chakotay for his hot scene with B’Elanna who a few years later would marry Tom Paris!

Previous episode: Parturition

Next episode: Tatto

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