Two More 'Critical Care' Reviews

By Amy
November 7, 2000 - 6:07 AM

  • Jim Wright of Delta Blues has uploaded his typically in-depth review of 'Critical Care', last week's Voyager episode, complete with full synopsis.

    If this were The Next Generation, we'd see the Enterprise show up and within 48 minutes concoct a brilliant solution for stripping away the toxic clouds of poison that choke the atmosphere, perhaps phaser down to a nice rich layer of renewable resources near the planet's core, or otherwise transform a planet of billions from a deathtrap to a paradise.

    But this is Voyager. They tend to go in, get their people, and get out. Changing the world--any world--is not their forte, unless they are dragged into the struggle (see Unimatrix Zero or Scorpion). The Doctor is not kidnapped to save a world; he's stolen and sold as casually as any other medical instrument. He becomes the software equivalent to the other doctors on staff--bound utterly by a strict code that determines what they can and cannot do.

    The irony is that the Doctor, the only one on staff who IS programmable and thus in one sense the least able to manage his own destiny, is actually the most able to adapt to the limitations of the system, and teach the other doctors how to do the same.

    For Jim's full review of the episode, which he loved, click here.

  • Secondly, over at the Cinescape Insider, Michael Marek also enjoyed the episode, finding it to be "a thought-provoking look at a society in which health care is denied to people who are perceived to be of low worth to society".

    There are several high points to this episode. The Doctor's ethical dilemma, of course, makes for strong drama. Janeway's search for her missing crewmember leads her to a series of humorous encounters, nicely lightening the mood from the heavy primary story. The final scene between the rescued Doctor and Seven of Nine, in which the Doctor hopes that his endangerment of Chellick was the result of a malfunction in his ethical subroutines, is also effective. Seven's conclusion, that the Doctor's ethical programming is working properly, certainly gives the viewer pause. It is somehow satisfying, as well, that while the patients in the Doctor's care are cured, the overall healthcare allocation system is not thrown down at the end of the episode. Rather, it is nudged into a slightly more humane path, which is sometimes all that can be done with monolithic bureaucracies.

    Voyager's new head honcho Kenneth Biller, along with Robert Doherty, wrote the original story for this episode. James Kahn wrote the final script. All three deserve credit for a provocative story. "Critical Care" doesn't have anything to do with Voyager's efforts to get home, so it may not be long remembered. It does mark an important bit of growth for the Doctor, however, and is a compelling story.

    Again for the full review, please click here.

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