Episode Guide/Review by Charlynn Schmiedt
Season 1, Episode 11
Stardate 48693.2 (2371)
Episode 11 of 168 Released in Star Trek: Voyager
Episode 11 of 168 Produced in Star Trek: Voyager
Production Number: 112
Original airdate: April 24, 1995
Directed by Les Landau
Written by Naren Shankar
Ensign Kim disappears while playing a holodeck program based on Homer’s epic Beowulf. When Tuvok and Chakotay also disappear while looking for Harry, it’s up to the Doctor to save them.
When Tuvok and Chakotay discuss demons in literature, it is mentioned that demons explore the darkest parts of our nature. They represent the latter half of the “good vs. evil” equation of any great story. Heroes set a moral example by overcoming adversity with their courage, intelligence, strength, and tenacity. Demons, on the other hand, represent what is negative: crime, cruelty, evil-doing, and a general lack of morality.
This is Robert Picardo’s first chance to shine in an episode that focuses on his character. He takes advantage of it.
I love the scene between the Doctor and Kes. We learn that she’s continuing her studies at a rapid pace, and Kes does a lovely job of putting the mission into perspective for the Doctor, reminding him that he wants to be treated as any other officer aboard. Also, she brings up his name, or lack thereof.
Woman warrior Freya is a character created for the holodeck program and not a part of the original Beowulf, but she shines as an integral part of the story. Guest star Marjorie Monaghan superbly brings her character to life.
Take note of Harry’s costume. It’s a beautiful piece of work! It’s a shame we don’t see it fully and for a longer amount of time. In general, the costumes in this episode are superb.
Oh, great. Another holodeck malfunction episode… sort of. That’s what we’re led to believe until the conclusion of the story, anyway, and that doesn’t excite me in the least.
This episode is also high on the technobabble factor. Ick.
Hello, new Janeway hair style!
Even the holodeck (seemingly) wants to kill Harry.
When this episode first aired, I was reading Beowulf in my 9th grade English class. It was a painful experience, and therefore a Voyager episode dealing with Beowulf incited groans, both audible and inside my head. Even now, it has the same effect.
Schweitzer sounds like the name of a German beer, doesn’t it? Advertisements could even yell the name, just as the characters did on the holodeck: “Schweitzer! Schweitzer! Schweitzer!”
I can’t help but laugh when the Doctor tells his story about curing a case of alien measles before it became an epidemic. The reaction from the King and his men is priceless!
It disappoints me that Doc didn’t keep the name Schweitzer just because it has painful memories attached.
“This ancient Earth culture seems fascinated with monsters.”
“Every culture has its demons. They embody the darkest emotions of its people. Giving them physical form in heroic literature is a way of exploring those feelings. The Vok’sha of Rakella Prime believe that hate is a beast which lives inside the stomach. Their greatest mythical hero is a man who ate stones for twenty-three days to kill the beast, and became a saint.”
“Such fables are necessary only in cultures which unduly emphasize emotional behavior. I would point out there are no demons in Vulcan literature.”
“That might account for its popularity.”
—Tuvok and Chakotay
“Are you a master of herb-lore?”
“Well, in a way, I suppose I am.”
“You are truly a man of many talents, Lord Schweitzer. Your people must value you greatly.”
“You would think so.”
—Freya and the Doctor, as the Doctor acts as Schweitzer
“Do you know what it is to be alone among many and unable to speak your fears?”
“I think I do.”
“How do you survive?”
“I’m still learning how.”
—Freya and the Doctor
“Fire is not the only heat, Lord Schweitzer. You know where I sleep.” —Freya
“Would you mind telling me where I was?” —Harry
The Doctor’s search for a name. It doesn’t end here.
I start off with an unenthusiastic attitude toward this episode because it gives off the impression of a holodeck malfunction story, and not only is that a horrible Trek cliché, but it’s disappointing to think the writers couldn’t think of anything better so early in the series. Later on, it becomes much more interesting as it turns into a sci-fi story of dealing with alien life. That part, while not overly exciting, is at least solid. However, if I’m thinking of episodes I like to watch, this one doesn’t ever come to mind. Even though this is the first episode where the Doctor truly shines, we have so many others throughout the series that do that, and do it better than this episode. If I want a story that focuses on science fiction elements, I can go elsewhere for that, too. If I want a fun romp on the holodeck, again, I think of other episodes before this one. All in all, this episode is forgettable.
(4 out of 10)
Marjorie Monaghan as Freya
Christopher Neame as Unferth
Michael Keenan as Hrothgar