The opening with the Doctor singing was hysterical! Was that actually Picardo, or a voice over? The Doctor begins showing signs of degradation in his programing. The easiest solution would be to reinitialize his entire network, but this would erase the two years of experiences that he’s accumulated as the EMH on Voyager. Kes begs him and Janeway to look for an alternative solution. Kes pleads with the Doctor that he will not remember their friendship if they don’t look for a different solution and Janeway agrees that they should at least attempt one.
Meanwhile, Janeway and the crew are looking for a way to cut through a region of alien space. Going around it would take up to 15 months at maximum warp, so Janeway decides to forego Federation law and trespass anyways, despite Tuvok’s protests and eye raises. The alien space is guarded by a sensor grid, but it also bottlenecks at a point, making the crossing only about 4 days at maximum velocity. Harry finds a way to enter the alien space without setting off the boundary grids. (I think he might be growing on me…maybe). Once on the other side they discover a swarm of thousands of tiny ships adrift in space, but don’t alert them to their presence.
The Doctor makes a horrible patient. B’ellana tests his circuitry and motor abilities, at one point making him go blind. He screams and waves his hand furiously in front of his face. Eventually, she decides to use the holographic diagnostic tool, which has a virtual Dr. Zimmerman. (I love seeing an actor play multiple roles like this. Picardo must have had a ball with this episode, and he did a tremendous job)! He berates B’ellana’s attempts at saving the doctor, saying that the system wasn’t designed for continual use. At most, the system was designed for 1,500 hours (2 months).The Doctor has stage 4 memory fragmentatio, which was caused by his continual learning. He wasn’t designed to store the capacity that his 2 year existence has given him.
The crew discovered a damaged ship drifting through space. They beam the one survivor over and he tells them that his craft were attacked by the swarm of ships. He dies, but as Voyager is getting ready to continue on their way, a swarm ship that has been hiding on the base of the alien vessel appears. It shoots them with a proton burst, which acts like a signal flare to the alien ships. The swarm becomes active and begins a pursuit.
As the Doctor gets worse, Kes begs virtual Dr. Zimmerman to find another solution. She suggests that they attempt a graft of his own matrix to the Doctor’s matrix, allowing his matrix to reestablish itself off of it. Dr. Zimmerman agrees, but informs her that it will destroy himself in the process. They attempt it, and both holographs disappear, but eventually The Doctor reappears and seems to have forgotten who Kes is. However, he does begin to hum; hopefully his memories will return. I really hope that in the next episode everything is not fine and dandy with him, I would like to see him regain his memories, and hopefully he will finally give himself a stupid name!
The swarm attacks, and when Voyager fires on it, they reflect the phaser directly rebounds back on Voyager. The shields drop, and the minions begin to board the ship. Voyager disrupts the lattice matrix that links the ships together, and they retreat. Overall, I enjoyed this episode. Both lines of the story were good! I just don’t understand how Janeway can overlook some things that will save them time (like cutting through a hostile aliens space who do not want them there), but she will not save time by cutting a deal with Q’s jailers; a deal that would automatically bring them home…I wish they would develop that moral line better with Janeway. You never know from episode to episode what she will morally overlook for the betterment of the crew…
Favorite part: When the Doctor temporarily went blind!
Least favorite part: That the Doctor’s memories were not returned in this episode. One of my least favorite things about this series is that often things are not explained or reexamined in future episodes; everything is simply fine. I would really like to see the Doctor fully get his memory back, and if he does I hope they show it!