The Doctor has had a lover, a family, and has his freedom, so what else is there?  How about daydreams?   Originally airing on October 13, 1999 this is Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy.

The Episode:

Captain’s Log Stardate Undetermined:  Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

The Doctor installs a new ‘daydream’ program and, when aliens use his program to spy on Voyager, they get more than they bargain for.

The Story:

After singing for the crew, The Doctor has to save everyone from a Pon Farr mad Tuvok using the power of song, only for everything to be revealed as being part of The Doctor’s new Daydream Program.  Getting pulled out of his mental entertainment by B’Elanna, he finds himself back in sickbay, returned to the humdrum life of an EMH.

Learning that he is no longer on the Away Mission, The Doctor is dissapointed and refuses to allow Torres to take images during the mission.  She leaves and he returns to his daydreaming.  

Janeway is surprised when she receives an official request from The Doctor to have his program expanded so that he can fill in for anyone on the ship.  Feeling that he is not getting the respect he deserves, he has asked for advancement forcing Janeway to have to take this seriously.  

As Janeway considered her options, it is revealed that a nearby alien ship is pacing Voyager and plans to attack them once they get the information they need. They soon decide to tap into Voyager and watch from a safe vantage point.

Back on the ship, the Doctor finds himself in a staff meeting but things begin to get interesting for him when all of the women begin sending him messages and eying him seductively.  As things escalate he finds himself having to essentially fight off the women of the ship as they all vye for his attention. His daydream is interrupted by Janeway who wishes to speak to him about his recent request.

The two begin to discuss the matter and, although Janeway is skeptical about the Doctor’s proposals, she does find it fascinating.  The idea of his program becoming an Emergency Command Hologram in the event the crew is incapacitated is an intriguing one.  She promises that, once they return home, she will recommend that Starfleet look into this possibility but, much to the Doctors disappointment, Janeway feels that they simply do not have the means to implement this plan aboard Voyager. 

Aboard the alien ship, the aliens find a way to spy on Voyager, through the EMH program, however, they don’t realize that they are actually watching the Doctor’s Daydreams. After viewing a particularly adventurous daydream involving the Borg and the Doctor saving the crew, the Aliens determine that Voyager is quite the formidable ship and should be approached with caution.  Things turn bad, however, when the Doctor realizes that his daydreams have started manifesting themselves when he doesn’t want them to.

Taking his issue to Kim, Torres and Seven, he informs them of his issues and they begin to try to help.  However things turn bad when the warp core goes critical and The Doctor has to find a way to eject the warp core.  As it turns out, this is also just a daydream and the Doctor has subsided into a catatonic state unable to separate dreams from reality.  Torres downloads the daydreams into one of the ships holodecks and they head there to see if they can get answers.  There they find the Doctor painting a nude Seven of Nine much to her chagrin.  They watch as the scenes change from the Doctor breaking up with Torres to the Doctor saving the ship.

Aboard the alien ship, one of the aliens realize their mistake and that they have been watching a fictional account of Voyager.  He has already recommended an attack and they do not know what they are heading in for.  He gets nowhere trying to convince his superiors of his mistake and decides that he needs to contact The Doctor directly.

After Torres finds a way to repair the Doctor, Janeway discusses his recent tinkering with his own program.  While she appreciates his aptitude she asks that he needs to work with engineering so that he does not destroy himself, depriving the crew of a valuable crew member.  She informs him that she has reconsidered his request to expand his program and agrees that she will allow the Doctor to live up to his full potential by working on a command program for him.  Returning to sickbay, he finds himself relapsing into a daydream but is soon confronted by Phlox, the alien who has been spying on them.  Phlox assures The Doctor that he is real and informs him of what is going on.  It seems that the aliens tampering with the Doctor’s program caused the issues but Phlox needs to warn Voyager of the incoming attack.

The Doctor rushes to the Bridge to warn Janeway of the attack, and, even though they do not believe him at first, he is soon able to reveal the cloaked alien ship nearby.  Planning to run, Janeway is stopped when the Doctor informs her that these aliens will stop at nothing to take down Voyager.  His only solution is for them to find him in the command chair so he can bluff their way out of a battle with The Hierarchy.  Janeway reluctantly agrees and Kim alters The Doctor to look like the ECH command program. 

The Alien ships arrive and The Doctor goes into the performance of his lifetime somehow managing to convince them to leave after referencing how he was able to destroy a Borg Sphere in a single shot.  The Hierarchy ships back off and leave, unwilling to face such a formidable foe.

The Doctor returns to sickbay having saved the ship and soon finds himself requested to report to the mess hall.  There he finds his crewmates dressed in their Dress Uniforms, as Janeway awards the Doctor the Starfleet Medal of Commendation for his ‘imaginative defense of the ship and crew’. He is humbled by their admonition and receives a kiss from Seven, who assures him that she has no plans to ever pose nude for him in the future.

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

Ok, I simply love any episode that gives Robert Picardo a chance to shine and boy does this one every do just that.  Picardo is an incredible talent and someone who owns his role even when he is not the focus of the story so getting an episode dedicated to his character is always a delight.  To me, this is one of his finest performances as, through the Doctor’s daydreams, he is able to explore a multitude of facets that The Doctor would not normally get to explore. 

What I love even more about this episode is that it is one that is all about perspective.  While it is not unheard-of for the Doctor to tinker with his program, little do the crew know that it is through this tinkering that he has managed to deceive spies who wish to harm the ship and crew.  This allows for some classic humor through misunderstanding giving us one of the most lighthearted and enjoyable episodes this season, if not this series.  Interestingly, although the episode’s title is in reference to the classic Tinker Tenor, Soldier Spy, the episode’s story has more akin to the famed 1947 Danny Kaye film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which was based on a book byt the same name.  In Walter Mitty, Danny Kaye plays a man who falls into daydreams to escape the abuse of his home-life, work-life, and well, just about all of his life.  Of course that story takes a heroic turn as well as Mitty finds himself in a real-life adventure not unlike the one’s in his head.  I highly recommend this classic as it is a terrific flick and Danny Kaye is tremendous on the screen.

Bottom line, I do love a humorous and lighthearted episode that still finds a way to inject some serious plot and character growth in it. Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy is the perfect example of a well balanced story that never goes overboard in any direction.  If you want the perfect Doctor story, look no further.

One last thing, One of my favorite scenes in this episode happens early on with the Doctor signing an aria to save the crew from a lusty Tuvok.   I have to say, the lyrics he sings are spectacular and I have to share them here.


Tuvok, I understand. You are a Vulcan man.

You have just gone without, For seven years, about.

Paris please find a way, To load a hypospray.

I will give you the sign, Just aim for his behind.

Hormones are raging. Synapses blazing.

It’s all so very, Illogical.

I mean, seriously, you can’t get much better than that.

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

  • 0 photon torpedoes fired, -14 remaining.
  • 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
  • This episode marks the first appearance of The Overlookers.  They will be back…

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: Alice

For more reviews: check out the weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!

Late To The Game  1/8/2021

Paint me like one of your French Drones.

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.

Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

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