So, you remember those Hirogens a few seasons back and how Janeway gave them Federation technology essentially violating the prime directive….well…there were ramifications.  Originally broadcast on November 29, 2000 this is Flesh and Blood.

The Episode:

Captain’s Log Stardate 54315.3 Flesh and Blood.

Janeway discovers that the   have used the holographic tech she gave them and it has gone horribly wrong.

The Story:

Voyager answers a distress call only to discover a Hirogen base with some rather odd life signs.  Beaming aboard, they find that it is a Holographic hunting ground using the tech Janeway gifted to these people.  However, they soon find that the Hirogens have upgraded the tech so that it would learn as it was hunted. Soon, the holograms became sentient and started their own revolution.  

Soon the Doctor is ‘rescued’ by the rogue holograms and there he learns of their plight.   Having been hunted for so long, the holograms simply wish for a home of their own away from their pursuers.  The Doctor is soon agrees to help after being subject to memories of being hunted himself while suggesting that Voyager may be able to assist these renegade photonic beings as well.

The Doctor finds that Iden, the lead hologram, has become somewhat of a Zealot, determined to kill any and all organic beings they encounter despite any chance at peace with them.  Iden and the holograms kidnap B’Elanna to assist in repairs of the ships holomatrix.   Soon The Doctor and B’Elanna see Iden’s brutality first hand and realizes that there might not be a way to save these people after all.  Convincing another photonic, Kejal, to rebel against Iden, the three manage to defeat Iden when it all seems too late.  

Returned to Voyager, Janeway and Neelix must broker peace between the two species.  She allows a Hirogen Technician, Donik, to work with hologram Kejal to reprogram the remaining holograms allowing them freedom and to help repair the damage done while getting the Hirogen to acknowledge the sentient holograms freedoms. 

In the end The Doctor admits that he went overboard and unnecessarily put Voyager in danger by his actions.  Expecting to be deactivated, he is surprised when Janeway informs him that she expects him to learn from this event as any of her other crew. 

Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:

When this episode first opens, if you hadn’t seen it before, your first thoughts are…holy crap the Hirogen are hunting Voyager crewmembers again.  I mean, the opening segment is pretty insane with Uniform clad Starfleet officers emerging from a swamp only to wipe out a Hirogen hunting party.  However, the twist is soon apparent when Voyager responds to the distress call only to find a single survivor and the news of a ship full of holograms on the run. It’s not only intense but it is also a sequel to one of the best season four two part episodes of the series entitled Hunters and Prey.  Plus, when it all comes down to it, this is all Voyager’s fault.

There is a single line where Janeway defends herself by stating ‘how many times have we shared replicator technology to help people feed and clothe themselves’.  This itself is a rather hypocritical statement seeing that she literally spend two years denying the Kazon this very thing based on Star Fleet principles, but now she admits that they have basically been seeding Federation tech throughout the galaxy this entire time?  Yes, she acknowledges that they have to help because they did provide the holographic tech to the Hirogen, but then asks if they are responsible if any of those races they provided replicator tech to if those people made weapons? The answer is…yes.  Yes they are.  

You see, the Prime Directive exists for this very reason, to prevent the abuse of ANY technology, knowledge or advancement that Star Fleet has over any other species or race.  Janeway herself has cited this time and again yet seems to have no issues with just handing this tech over to anyone, anyone not Kazon that is. Because of this, Voyager is now responsible for not only the many deaths of the Kazon at the hands of the Holograms but also the new life forms that immerged from this technology in the form of Sentient Holograms.  While there is technically only a single sentient hologram by the end of this episode, the fact that it exists is hardly even addressed, even after encountering a species who literally hunted holographic beings after enslaving them not two episodes prior.  This is even a bigger issue as it not only shows Janeway’s refusal to acknowledge this potential new species, although she ‘allows’ them to leave, but also blatantly suggests that, to her and much of the crew, The Doctor himself is nothing more than ‘a hologram’ even though she admits that she allowed him to expand his programing.

These rather major issues aside, the episode is a really solid one forcing Voyager to finally face one of their own mistakes.  It is rare when a series actually takes the time to show the fallout from what appears to be a simple victimless decision.  It is a shame that Voyager didn’t go past season Seven as I would have loved to see this sort of story happen more often, in fact a follow-up to some of Voyager’s indiscretions while attempting to get home would be welcome.  Perhaps we can see something on Lower Decks or maybe the new Picard series? 

Gleanings and Cool Bits:

  • 4 photon torpedoes fired, -24 remaining.
  • 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -6 remaining
  • *this is a double length episode so it is traditionally considered episodes 9 and 10.  for review purposes, we will consider this episode only as Episode Nine.
  • We never see nor hear from the Hirogen or the Hologram race again…

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: Shattered

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 3/22/2021

Sir, we are being hailed by someone named John Bly. He is asking for ‘The Orb’? Any clue what he might mean?

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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