Author, Author (*****)
I'm surprised too, I remembered disliking this episode.
The episode starts out by taking a comical look at a Living Witness
style Voyager, and I must admit that I found this to be quite enjoyable. Janew-... sorry, Jenkins shooting a patient in cold blood, En Kimble the hypochondriac and Lt Marseilles the porn-star, good fun is had by all.
And the best part is that I actually found myself relating and understanding both sides of the argument, Shmully was clearly being stubbourn but that's just his way, and he was bringing up some valid points. The idea that he views his mobile emmiter as a giant burden he must carry with him everywhere is interesting, and it is something I had not considered before. Tom's method of getting his point across is not only a perfect way to deflate Shmully's ego, it is also very much in character for Tom.
Then comes the second half of the episode which works as Voyager's version of Measure of a Man
but with a copyright twist, and Shmully sees himself as fighting for his people rather than just for himself. While the courtroom scenes were a little rushed, it is probably best that it is kept that way so as not to hold back the energy this episode has, and there is no need to go into detail proving that Shmully is a person because the audience is already well aware that he is. The ending also works very well, Shmully doesn't make legal history by having all holograms defined as people, or even himself, but he does win a small victory and opens the doors for those future debates. This is how civil rights are won in the real world, you keep making small victories until equality becomes the norm.
I was also pleased with the scenes of the Voyager crew having conversations with family members back on Earth, they proved quite effective. I know that Voyager isn't going to have a proper finale with these important character reunions, but at least I get to see what they might have been like here. Even Harry Kim gets a good scene.
So, does the episode deserve five stars? Maybe not, but I've not seen a more suitable candidate since Living Witness
; I came away from this episode having enjoyed it and with surprisingly few qualms. I could deduct a point for being derivative of Measure of a Man
, but instead I'll give it a pass. Consider it my parting gift to Voyager.