Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mostly Unmemorable Star Trek: Voyager, “Concerning Flight” Crashes!

The Good: Performances, General concept
The Bad: No real character development, Largely inconsequential, Focuses far too much on the guest character without building the primary characters
The Basics: “Concerning Flight” is a forgettable episode of Star Trek: Voyager that returns the holographic Leonardo Da Vinci while further gutting the long view of the Star Trek franchise.

Arguably one of the biggest issues I have with Star Trek: Voyager is how it lacks serious, real continuity within the series and within the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek, for all its faults, was imaginative and when the holographic version of Leonardo Da Vinci appeared in “Scorpion” (reviewed here!), diehard fans complained that he looked nothing like Flint from “Requiem For Methuselah” (reviewed here!). It seems reasonable that almost a hundred years after Star Trek, most of the Enterprise’s missions would be declassified. So the identity of Flint should be common knowledge by the time of Star Trek: Voyager.

As it is, the only episode to follow up on the holographic Leonardo Da Vinci, “Concerning Flight,” neglects to show respect for the entire franchise. “Requiem For Methuselah” is relegated to a one-line footnote that more or less dismisses that compelling episode.

Janeway is on the Holodeck with Leonardo Da Vinci, who has attempted a flying machine with disastrous results, yet again, when Voyager is attacked. The attackers are raiders who beam off key pieces of technology and flee when Tuvok manages to destroy one of the three ships. Given that the raiders managed to get the computer core and the Doctor’s portable holo-emitter, Voyager diverts its course to recover whatever they are able.

This leads them to an alien planet which is a hub of interstellar commerce. There, Janeway and Tuvok and Paris and Neelix attempt to recover the stolen technology. There Janeway and Tuvok discover that the holographic Leonardo Da Vinci has been abducted and exists independent of the holodeck using the holo-emitter. Working together, Janeway, Leonardo Da Vinci and (to a lesser extent, Tuvok), hunt the computer core stolen by Tau. When he discovers Janeway’s duplicity, Tau turns on her and she has only Da Vinci to rely upon!

“Concerning Flight” humors the concept far more than it serves the characters. Janeway ridiculously prioritizes playing with her holographic Leonardo Da Vinci as opposed to ensuring her ship’s crew has the best chance of survival. The moment Janeway and Tuvok encounter the holographic Leonardo Da Vinci, she should have deactivated the holo-emitter and beamed it back to Voyager so the Doctor could be mobile; the sheer number of times she has needed the Doctor to be able to leave Sickbay since he received the holo-emitter would make the return of the holo-emitter a priority about as high as the computer core (an argument the Doctor makes).

Instead, Janeway attempts ridiculously to maintain the illusions of Da Vinci’s world for him – referring to Tau as the Prince and Voyager as the “Portuguese ship.” The whole episode humors Da Vinci and while it is wonderful to see John Rhys-Davies in a role like Leonardo Da Vinci, but he is not a character who warrants an entire episode. Yet, “Concerning Flight” is largely just that.

The greatest character moment in “Concerning Flight” actually focuses on the Doctor. Cut off in a way that he has not been since getting his mobile emitter, the Emergency Medical Hologram gets irritable and works to keep abreast of current events on the ship. The scene between him and Seven Of Nine adds a layer of realism that many, similar, episodes fail to include.

The superlative aspect of “Concerning Flight” is the acting. While Star Trek: Voyager might be accused of losing its way when it makes an episode focusing on the holographic Leonardo Da Vinci, the performance by John Rhys-Davies cannot be faulted. Rhys-Davies creates another impressive role as he makes Da Vinci seem well-rounded, intelligent, and socially conscious. However, the fact that he never makes the leap between the limitations of his own time and the 24th Century makes him seem far less aware. Moreover, for a hologram who has been on his own for ten days, it seems unlikely that he was never separated from his mobile emitter.

Kate Mulgrew plays off John Rhys-Davies well.

But the performances are not enough to sell “Concerning Flight.” The episode is dull and a distraction from what momentum the fourth season might have had before it. In every way, the episode is unremarkable, making “Concerning Flight” one of the least memorable, if not one of the worst, episodes of Star Trek: Voyager!

For other works with John Vargas, check out my reviews of:
Primary Colors
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the gamechanging middle season here!


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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