First Post-Airing 'Flesh and Blood' ReviewsBy Amy
December 1, 2000 - 8:47 AM
- The first post-airing 'Flesh and Blood' reviews are out, with the general consensus seeming to be that it was a pretty decent episode – if it did possess a number of problems. First off the mark, and his usual cheerful self, is O.Deus of TrekWeb whose biggest gripe with the episode seems to be Janeway's somewhat bizarre behavior.
Although hologram rights are the underlying issue here, Janeway refuses to address it denying the holograms, equal sentient status without actually opening up the issue to debate. If holograms can't by nature be sentient beings then why does the Doctor have any rights and autonomy on Voyager at all? And if Holograms are indeed family pets then just what was Janeway sleeping with in Spirt Folk exactly? And if the Doctor really is an equal member of the crew and the bartender a valid companion, then on what basis does Janeway deny the Hirogen holograms themselves based on the Doctor, equal rights?To read the full review, click here.
But then again Janeway's morality is no more rational than any of her decisions. She will time and time again ignore logic and reason in favor of emotional appeals. She time and time again claims that Voyager is a family, but Voyager is not a family it's a Starfleet vessel filled with crew which is ordered to abide by Starfleet regulations. It is not her own private domain. Situations such as this should be governed by Starfleet regulations or by reasoned decisions based on Starfleet principles. Instead Janeway's moral reasoning seems to consist of high pitched self-serving rhetoric coming out of the childish notion that if she can just find the right slogan and say it just the right way, that magically this will make her decisions right. While this works for a certain portion of the audience in a TV drama, Star Trek has the fandom it does not because its Captains were men who repeated the right slogans but because they were people you could respect. Captains like Kirk and Spock who genuinely searched for the right thing to do, questioned their own actions and listened to their first officers.
- Secondly, there is of course Michelle Erica Green of Mania, who thought it was a very well done episode, but felt that Iden turning out to be unredeemable was a something of a cop-out.
Janeway refuses to respect Iden's choice not to accept her plan to shut them all down, a decision she promptly validates by threatening him and dismissing the Doctor. Yet by the end of the episode, she has come to accept her own responsibility for the Doctor's subsequent choice to leave the ship. It doesn't occur to her to try to reprogram the Doctor as she did in "Latent Image." They have come full circle from the first season episode in which Torres suggested that the Doctor modify his subroutines and he exclaimed, "A hologram that programs itself! What would I do with such power? Create a family? Raise an army!" The moral dilemma about responsibility is as much Janeway's as the Doctor's.To read Michelle's full review, again click here to visit Mania, part of Fandom.com.
It's too bad Iden ends up unredeemable, which seems like a copout. In Fatal Attraction, we're supposed to forgive the husband's subversion and betrayal because he was taken in by a murderous mistress who represents the real threat to his family; in "Flesh and Blood," we're supposed to forgive the Doctor because he was taken in by a murderous master who represents the real threat to his crew. Whatever Iden's faults as an individual, even if his revolution stems from a vision of personal glory, the issues he raises remain. Is it right for species across the galaxy to create holographic slave labor? Which is worse, allowing holograms to feel pain and know their limitations, or to create mindless drones that can't ever evolve into sentient beings? Is it any more fair to create a sentient EMH for every ship in Starfleet than it would be to breed babies specifically to become scientific geniuses? These sorts of questions lurk in the background, buried under the shoot-em-up production values of Voyager.
Finally, there's another surprisingly positive review of the telemovie up at IGN Sci-Fi. Reviewer Jason Bates gave it 4 out of 5 and thought it "was good, maybe not riveting, but certainly interesting."
What I really liked in this episode were all the different shades of gray. Cut and dried moral choices rarely present themselves in real life, particularly amongst competing social groups with conflicting agendas. Reality is infinitely more complex. So all the sort of back and forth, no obvious hero-thing that this episode went through was what carried the show. That, and the fact that they actually pit Janeway against the Doctor: one standard definition of drama is characters in conflict, yet it's surprisingly rare amongst our crew. Still, even here it was too understated -- will the Doctor ever be in a situation where he so obviously thinks he's right and the captain's wrong again? A golden opportunity for a shouting match or something with more punch was lost forever.Jason's full review can be found here at IGN Sci-fi.
More importantly, I was dissatisfied with the climax, it was too pat and easy, with Idunn the madman conveniently dying and the Hirogen 'Beta' suddenly becoming agreeable and deciding to let the holos live and let live, and this after a bunch of their shipmates were beamed down to a toxic planet and then executed at point blank range!Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.