Date: November 4, 2020
Season 3, Episode 22
Musical Accompaniment: Inspirational movie soundtracks
Interstellar News: Another busy work day, another stressful night of not knowing. At least I did four loads of laundry today.
TL;DR: Voyager is supposed to meet up with the Vostigye at their space station, but it’s been destroyed. They follow the wake of the explosion and encounter a subspace disruption like they’ve never seen, so they investigate… forgetting the poor Vostigye in the process. When another eddy forms, they send in a probe, and later Paris takes a shuttle but he gets sucked into the space between space and subspace (and writing that sentence made my head hurt). Paris eventually makes it back.
Meanwhile, the EMH creates a holo-family, complete with a wife, son, and daughter, so that he can learn about the family dynamic and better relate to his patients. He invites Torres and Kes over, but it’s too Leave it to Beaver and Torres suggests tweaking the program to make it more realistic. The EMH (aka “Kenneth”) arrives home to his wife rushing off to work, his daughter having an absolute meltdown, and his son hanging out with two Klingon boys who are totally programmed to be bad news. “Kenneth” tries to bring order to the family, but he totally forgets to consult his wife and there’s a big family blow up. He then decides to try and fix things by going home early but has a run in with his son, who says he’s going to move out. The daughter’s in an accident and it looks like she’s going to die, so the EMH ends the program. Paris talks him into going back and getting closure, the family has a lovely moment together, and then the daughter dies and I’m super fucking mad at this episode.
Kes: That could mean a few surprises. Are you sure you’ve ready for this?
EMH: My database contains everything there is to know about pediatric care and childhood development. I can’t imagine a parenting problem I couldn’t handle.Oh, how wrong the EMH is about life and parenting.
“You never think of the consequences of your actions, the effect they might have on others.”: There are certain parts of this episode that are interesting and great, but getting to those parts is like trying to get to the meat on a flat chicken wing. I thought the SCIENCE thing was cool, but they totally forgot about the aliens they were supposed to meet up with and that totally wasn’t resolved. Also, why would someone build a space station in an unstable region of space? Now the EMH plot was much more compelling and if you abstract out a bunch, it makes for a good story. EMH creates family as perfect as a computer would, humanoids make it more realistic, hilarity ensues, tragedy strikes, and the EMH gets to learn about love and loss and how to deal with the unexpected. The execution, however, was fucking awful. I’m not saying this because the daughter dies, I mean that was wonderfully done because it was something the EMH could choose not to face and it gives Paris the opportunity to explain that the EMH will not get what he was looking for if he just runs away.
The EMH clearly did not learn from the events of “Darkling“, as you really have to take the good with the bad. There’s also not one way to have an “authentic family” because family isn’t just one definition. There might be one or more parents, zero to many children, a family pet, extended family, multi-generations, and the list goes on. Growing up I had a mom, dad, a cat, and two dogs. Eventually my parents got divorced, the animals passed away, my dad got remarried, and my mom passed away. Your family may look similar or completely different. Hell my family now looks so different. I have my husband, our five animals, his family, my family, two dear friends who I consider family, one of their mothers have adopted me, my work mom, and so many friends that have become my family. Anyway, I’m super mad that the daughter dies but I’m also super proud of the EMH for progressing through the program as written. He could have changed it but he decided to deal with the changes as they came. I’m also appalled by the awful husbanding as he modeled himself after a 1950’s “man of the house”, when this was a real opportunity for him to be a good partner…. sigh. No rating for this episode, I’M TOO TORN!