Date: September 17, 2020
Season 2, Episode 3
Musical Accompaniment: Instrumental rock and heavy metal
Interstellar News: Apparently Voyager is taking a page out of TNG and the season finale will be a season-spanning two-parter, so one episode today allows me to continue on the path of two a night.
TL;DR: The EMH is auto-initiated because of a ship wide red alert but no one is on board. He plays back the bridge’s log and sees Janeway ordered everyone to abandon the ship so he goes to deactivate himself but Torres arrives explaining a Kazon ship attacked. She’s also been working on holo-projectors to allow the EMH to move about the ship and transfers him to bridge where he revives Janeway. She then ships him off to the mess hall to help Neelix fight off a Kazon, but then he’s bleeding and returns to sickbay. He’s experiencing lifesigns and his program is not on file, the CMO is listed as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. Janeway asks the computer to shut down all holographic systems and everyone disappears except for the EMH.
Suddenly Barclay appears and says Zimmerman is real and has been running a simulation that got out of control. Barclay says if Zimmerman doesn’t end the simulation, he’ll die, so he has to blow up the ship. The EMH tries to figure out if he’s for real and eventually comes to believe him when Chakotay shows up and explains the EMH was in the holodeck enjoying some time off when a radiation surge caused issues and they’re almost done, he just needs to hold on. Eventually the EMH is restored to sickbay .
EMH: Did I program Mr. Paris to be so annoying?
Barclay: Actually, I programmed him. I modeled him after my cousin Frank.
EMH: Hmm. Computer, delete Paris.Very satisfying indeed.
“I’m not programmed to bleed.”: This episode is a hell of a roller coaster and I am here for it. We start off with a mystery and a very snarky EMH who is totally sad no one said goodbye. This is followed by scared out of his uniform EMH when Torres breaks into sickbay but mixed with his snarkiness when he’s been kept out of the loop. At first I thought the Doctor was going to be bouncing around from disaster to disaster, just like the camera did in “Disaster“. I love that the EMH totally turned into Rapunzel in the mess hall and Neelix isn’t the one hurt, it’s just tomato paste after all. His confusion over his own life signs, the way he tries to figure out what the hell is going on, and the way all of the other crew is exactly as they should be make it an even bigger impact when they all disappear and are shown to be holograms… but not the EMH.
I was totally not prepared for a Barclay episode, and it’s wonderful that they found a way to include him as a reoccurring character. I can totally believe he has a cousin Frank that acts just like Paris… don’t we all? I also enjoyed that the EMH was super skeptical of Barclay for quite some time. He wants to cross all his “t’s” and dot all his “i’s” before exploding Voyager, and it’s exactly what any other senior officer would have done. All of the things that Barclay did, though, were very convincing. Slapping the doctor, reasoning things out with him, bringing him back to the events of “Caretaker“, and even pulling in Kes as his “wife” were all brilliant strokes of the program. The whole time I was guessing as to what could have happened and I truly thought things were over when he woke up in sickbay with Kim and Tuvok standing over him, but nooooooo there was one more twist to be had. Thankfully it was the last one and I’m sure the Doctor won’t be taking any more vacations on the holodeck for a while. I would have loved if the holo-novel he was in was about a disaster or something, but otherwise this was a very fun and twisty-turny episode and I loved it. 8 large bottles of Manhattan Special, but only the “good” kind thank you very much.