The Good: Great acting by Jeri Ryan! Good character development
The Bad: Predictable plot, Romantic subplot between the Doctor and Jaryn seems forced.
The Basics: “Body And Soul” has the Doctor inhabiting Seven Of Nine’s body to save his life.
Sometimes, when Star Trek: Voyager reused its own premises, it did so in unfortunately obvious ways. Many episodes of the series could be viewed as a mash-up or recasting of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. In the case of “Body And Soul,” Star Trek: Voyager essentially takes two of its own episodes and combines them with minor reworking. “Body And Soul” is “Counterpoint” (reviewed here!) where the prejudice against telepaths is replaced with a prejudice against holograms and “Warhead” (reviewed here!) where instead of the Doctor being possessed by an alien program, the Doctor takes control of Seven Of Nine’s body. The “Warhead” connection is evident in the acting challenge posed to Jeri Ryan and she is, quite simply, magnificent in “Body And Soul!”
The Delta Flyer, with the Doctor, Seven Of Nine, and Harry Kim is coasting through space when it is attacked by an alien race. The aliens are prejudice against holographic life forms and when they sense the Doctor aboard, they seize the Delta Flyer. To save the Doctor, Seven Of Nine uploads the Doctor into her cortical node where he takes possession of her body. Protecting the Doctor, Seven Of Nine has a meal with the captain, Ranek, where he gets her drunk. This gets the Doctor’s mobile emitter back and Seven Of Nine, Kim, and the Doctor return to their cell where Seven Of Nine expresses distress over how the Doctor treated her body. To keep the Doctor safe, Seven Of Nine (possessed by the Doctor) begins working in the aliens’ sickbay with the tactical officer, Jaryn, and he learns about the photonic insurgency.
On Voyager, Tuvok begins undergoing pon farr while the ship searches for the missing officers. Paris tries to treat Tuvok and they are distressed when the medicine the Doctor had planned does not work. So, Paris creates a hologram of T’Pel for Tuvok! Trying to plan their escape, the Doctor finds himself growing more attracted to Jaryn, despite her prejudice against photonic life forms.
“Body And Soul” is an acting tour de force for Jeri Ryan. The challenge of the episode is not to lighten Seven Of Nine up, it is to have Ryan portray Robert Picardo playing the Doctor and she pulls it off. Ryan’s body language and speech patterns are flawless recreations of Robert Picardo’s well-established works on the series. She manages to recreate Bob Picardo’s character without ever seeming like she is presenting a parody of him.
Perhaps as important, the episode does not neglect the character front. Much like “Facets” (reviewed here!) on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when Odo experiences the benefits of humanoid senses for the first time, the Doctor goes predictably over-the-top when exposed to food and drink. The cheesecake consumption scene is hilarious and fits the Doctor’s character exceptionally well.
In fact, the most significant issue with “Body And Soul” is that it does not take the time to reflect adequately on the experiences. The Doctor is accused by Seven Of Nine of abusing her body and the episode does not have the time or space to reflect on the depth of the experience for each of the two principle characters. Still, it is one of the better episodes of the seventh season, even if it is somewhat predictable.
[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Seventh Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the final season here!
For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!
© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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