Renaissance Man

By AntonyF
Posted at May 20, 2001 - 9:08 PM GMT

'Renaissance Man'- copyright Paramount Pictures Rating:8.5/10
Episode: #270
Written By: Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman (Story)
Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman (Teleplay)
Directed By: Mike Vejar


Being in such a good mood now that UPN have saved Roswell, I could have probably watched "Fury" and given it a positive review. Well, let's not go too far. But the good mood wasn't a necessity, this episode help up well.

First off, let's get to important matters: Ayala spoke. After seven years as an extra, and just one word in all that time, he finally got a full few sentence. It mirrors DS9's penultimate episode, where Broik and the Dabo girl also got their first lines. It was nice to see this familiar face at least get a bit more than a nodding part, even if it is in the penultimate episode. We also saw Alexander Enberg again, and I had to shout "Run Vorik, run for your life." But he survived, luckily. Nepotism isn't a factor here though; being Jeri Taylor's sun hasn't really got him many guest spots in the show, when he could have been used more.

B'Elanna is really easy to please, I also notice through this episode. "You replicated potato salad," she says delightedly. My, my, what a guy that Tom Paris is. "Computer, potato salad." Saying that to the replicator certainly is very time-consuming for him, how does he do it?

Moving on to the main story, I did know that Janeway was the Doctor beforehand. I think I caught a spoiler at TrekToday, so wasn't surprised by that factor. But it was wonderful seeing Janeway act all mad on the bridge. Let me clarify: madder on the bridge. I thought for a minute we'd jumped into Enterprise, crossing Archer with Quantum Leap's Beckett. Her speaking to someone that only she can see, and everyone looking bemused, lead me to believe she was speaking to Al. But this is a reversal; it was the hologram that was here with us. I did laugh out loud at 'Janeway' erratically speaking to herself.

The pace of the episode was fast—there was a real energy to it—and it was certainly well directed by Mike Vejar. But good directing is what he's all about! But I felt the pace really worked in this episode. In fact, the other episodes are easier to review. When they're plodding, the story is laid out in my mind to review. With this I'm already forgetting the order of events in this episode.

But suffice it to say, it was mostly about the Doctor's travels around the ship, impersonating many people along the way. It was hilarious as he moved from person to person, putting right what once went wrong. Damn, Quantum Leap again…. It was hilarious as he moved from person to person, and got in deeper with each person. He would have soon run out of stasis chambers if he carried on dispatching the crewmembers.

I had to smile that they get the Doc kissing a guy again. Firstly the alien in 'Body and Soul,' now Tom Paris. But he acts like he positively hates it. He's a guy in appearance, yeah. But he's just an EMH (or ECH when the situation arises). Makes you wonder why he was programmed to be heterosexual if he's just meant to be on for a few hours here and there. I think the squirm factor would have been more appropriate if he had Chakotay kissing him. A few people I know seem to have been adversely affected by just watching him kissing Seven of Nine.

Talking of 'Body and Soul,' there are obvious similarities with that episode, and it's easy to think the writers were drawing on that, as it was quite successful. But it's not actually really the same, just similar. Both were the Doctor in disguise, but that was Seven very much being the doctor. With these characters, they played more as they meant to be. Maybe the Doc has got better at imitating people. It was nice to see the characters act that little bit stranger mind you.

I was surprised who the aliens were, when that was revealed. I was expecting them to be as they were shown on the viewscreen. So it was nice to see some established aliens again. However, with a few years taken off their journey in 'Q2,' it does make you wonder how they were out there. Just like Talaxians being out there, Hirogen and their technology etc., tt's bad—Painfully bad—continuity.

We of course know the Doctor wouldn't get one over Tuvok when he was going to incapacitate him, and sure enough he didn't. The effects where he jumps through the sickbay were very good. He's then on a mission to eject the warp core. It was the same external shot as used in 'Day of Honor,' and I felt for a few seconds they should have done a new shot. But then again, there's not much you can do with a shot of a warp core being ejected, so I forgive them on that one. It was also then great to see the Matrix-esque stunts when B'Elanna runs around the corridor.

Getting away with the warp core, led to those sneaky aliens taking him and the warp core in the end. I did find the good alien/bad alien scenario not only predictable, but too reminiscent of 'Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy.' Needless to say all is sorted when the good alien helps them out, and the Doctor and Janeway escape with the warp core.

We then have the final scenes of the episode. The first is where The Doctor thinks he's going to die and starts admitting things to the crew. He kept a log of things the Captain did wrong. Sneaky guy! What he didn't explain was that he gave up after 300 gigaquads of data. Harry Kim can't play the saxamaphone… well there's a surprise. He told Neelix (nice to hear about our old Talaxian friend) about Tuvok's medical 'problem'. Oh, and he loves Seven of Nine. Wow, that last one is of higher importance than the rest I believe. I'm glad he finally said it, with no make believe in the holodeck or whatever. Why not have some sort of closure on it? Why is it treated like a joke? It's bad enough the writers are only brave enough to get him to say it in the penultimate episode, and then they can't even follow up on it. I suppose they'll be sure to follow up on Tuvok's 'eruption' next week though. They need to learn to prioritise and learn what's important.

The end scene with Janeway letting the Doctor off the hook is pretty much what we've come to expect, after his lack of punishment in 'Flesh and Blood.' At least this time his intentions were a bit purer though, and I'll forgive Janeway this time. And, in a nice end moment, they go to socialize together. Nice to see the characters being moved forward… but shame it's all too late.

So overall, I really enjoyed this episode. It had an energy to it. It was at times very funny, and was as joy to watch. It felt fresh, which isn't something Voyager does these days. There were some dashings of character development too, although avoidance still of the Seven/Doctor romance is annoying. Altogether, an enjoyable and fun episode.


This is the latest in a series of special guest reviews AntonyF is writing of Voyager's 'Final Chapter'. Check back here soon for his review of 'Endgame,' the Voyager series finale.

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AntonyF is a freelance writer and interviewer, who will be known to some for running Star Trek Central until recently. He recently set up a new website, B5LR.com, dedicated to Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers.