A Sentient Missle and a holographic conundrum plague the ship in the episode that originally aired on May 19, 1999. This is Warhead.
Captain’s Log Stardate undetermined. Warhead.
The Doctor’s Program is taken over by a sentient missile which is determined to complete it’s mission or die trying.
Voyager detects a distress call from an M class planet but finds no life signs. Finally contacting the person in distress, they beam down only to discover the call is coming from a metal object stuck in the ground. The Doctor contacts it and discovers that there is something alive in the device which might be an artificial intelligence.
The Doctor convinces Janeway to beam the sentient cylinder aboard Voyager and begins to get to know it. They soon discover that it was traveling with someone but it can not remember who. Seven soon learns that a similar device was responsible for the deaths of everyone on the planet and this device is actually a bomb. They soon must decide how to salvage the intelligence and destroy the bomb but the Doctor is soon taken over by the warhead who resumes it’s mission to destroy a nearby military base. Threatening Janeway with the destruction of Voyager, the Captain agrees to work with it until they can stop it.
After encountering other issues, Voyager soon runs into a fleet of sentient missiles much like the one they have on the ship who are headed to their final target. Before it is returned to it’s kind, the warhead learns that it’s mission has been over for at least three years and that it has to destroy it’s own people. It is returned and self destructs taking out the fleet of missiles and saving whoever the target was on the other end.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
So…this is basically Dreadnought Part Deux. Remember Dreadnought? The one with the missile that Torres launched and she has to convince it to change course? Yeah. This is one where The Doctor and Harry have to deal with a missile who can think for itself as well. So. Nothing really new here.
That being said, once again Robert Picardo does a tremendous job in this one continuing to she that he is a singular talent who really shines on this series. His one sided conversations with the missile are nothing short of fantastic and he is, as usual, a pure joy to watch in action.
The moral of this episode is pretty basic, how do you handle an artificial intelligence which is meant for destruction but can think for itself? Does it have the same rights as anyone else or should it be destroyed? While the answer seems simple, in reality there are layers of what should and shouldn’t be done and that is where this episode works. This is further complicated when the Doctor is taken over by the warhead’s sentiance giving it a true voice and allowing it to take over the ship. In the end, and after a few hamfisted mentions of the Prime Directive, it finally comes down to convincing the missile that it’s mission is no longer valid allowing for it to make up it’s own mind rather than follow it’s original instructions, which is all carried out by Harry Kim himself.
That is where this episode kinda falls apart. Don’t get me wrong, not because Harry isn’t incredible at his job, but because his excellent work in command of this situation is never really recognized. He not only leads a successful away mission, saves the ship and an entire species, he does so without even so much of a commendation. The guy deserves to be promoted but never seems to be able to get a leg up.
Overall, solid episode but one that really should have had a much better lasting resolution.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, -14 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- We learn that Paris and B’Elanna have been dating for a year.
- Apparently Neelix can do convincing theatrical makeup because…of course he can.
- Harry takes command of the nightshift on the bridge despite the fact he will never get promoted…
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Equinox
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Late To The Game 12/28/2020
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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