First 'Human Error' Reviews

By Amy
March 8, 2001 - 2:52 PM

    The first reviews of last night’s controversial Voyager episode, 'Human Error' are out, and the verdict appears to be that things didn't turn out as bad as many feared – depending on who you talk to. O.Deus of TrekWeb, for example, seemed to quite enjoy it.

    The gap between who we want to be and who we are has always been an effective source of human drama. And Seven is a character inserted on Voyager with a progressive self-improvement arc that at times makes Voyager seem like a self-improvement tape. And indeed a lot of the Seven episodes have fit neatly into that package.

    At the start of the episode Seven demonstrates how close to the Borg and far from humanity she is, events happen during the episode which cause her to grow closer to some aspect of humanity and with Janeway's guidance and pithy speeches, by the time the final 90 seconds come around, Seven is one step closer to being human. The problem with this approach is that of course it's mechanical and crude as if becoming more human is an assembly line process and some machine attaches human qualities one by one as part of a drawn out process. It's also meant that a good deal of the "Seven learns to be human" episodes have been dull, predictable and ultimately uninspired affairs. Even the better episodes like One and One Small Step, which deserve to be called classics by Voyager and perhaps even Star Trek standards, follow this same formula.

    To read O.Deus' review and for more of his comments on what he liked and didn't like in the episode, follow this link to TrekWeb.

  • Michelle Erica Green, on the other hand, was not impressed with the episode, for more or less the same reasons that O.Deus thought it was worthwhile. She actually described the premise as rather idiotic.

    In The Next Generation's "Force Of Nature," the Enterprise crew discovers that warp drive -- the mythical gimmick that makes the television show possible by allowing starships to travel rapidly between distant star systems -- is tearing apart the fabric of space. The story ends with Picard determining that no starship should ever travel faster than Warp 5 and the Federation Council agreeing. The entire premise of Voyager would be impossible if that show's writers had bothered to remember this incredibly stupid TNG episode, so for once we should be grateful for the lack of continuity among series. "Force of Nature" is sabotage of everything Star Trek has done to date, making impossible much of the very action for which fans watch. What's the point of having a science fiction show with self-imposed limits on what can be explored or achieved?

    "Human Error" makes a similarly idiotic move with Seven of Nine. For four years, Voyager's major project -- even more than getting the ship home -- has been the reclamation of Seven's humanity, the discovery and exploration of her emotions and her relationships. Now, we learn, that has all been for naught, because the Borg have built in a fail-safe that will kill her if she tries to explore her feelings in full. (I'm not clear on what effect it might have that Seven uses Icheb's cortical node since her own was damaged and removed in "Imperfection," and of course "Human Error" doesn't address such an important continuity issue, either.)

    To read more of her review, which also includes a summary of the episode, follow this link.

  • Finally, Michael Marek has sent the Great Link his review of the episode. Like O.Deus, he was also positive about 'Human Error', and winds up drawing some parallels between Seven’s situation and a certain Beach Boys song.

    Considered from one perspective, this episode uses a fairly standard A-B story line, with Seven's holographic research being one story, and the external threat to Voyager being the other. The two storylines mesh together so well, however, that it's really a unified single story. It becomes an artfully handled juxtaposition of Seven's two lives - regimented and exacting on the outside, allowing her to save the ship in a daring last second maneuver, but insecure, searching and unwilling to expose herself to emotional risks on the inside. “Human Error“ makes clear that her public persona is a mask that Seven wears to hide her vulnerability. The episode makes her a much more sympathetic character, compared to her standard efficient, uncompromising self.

    Again, for Michael's full thoughts, read his review at The Great Link.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.