The Doctor has written a holonovel that hits a little too close to home for the Voyager crew. All the names are changed, but it basically depicts the crew as being jerks and oppressive to the Doctor. A publisher back in the Alpha Quadrant is all about distributing the holonovel but balks at the idea that the Doctor wants to make some alterations (after the crew convinces him his work could paint them in a negative light). Ironically, the publisher uses the fact that the Doctor is a hologram to refuse the changes, initiating a subspace hearing over holographic rights with the Voyager crew arguing for the Doctor. The magistrate eventually rules in the Doctor’s favor — but balks at making a bigger-picture ruling about holographic rights. The episode ends by showing dozens of EMHs like the Doctor doing menial mining work back in the Alpha Quadrant.
Why it’s important
To Voyager’s credit, this episode furthers the holographic rights storyline last seen in “Flesh and Blood”. As Voyager ended as a series not long after this episode, we don’t get to see what happened with that thread — but props to the creators for exploring it. The door was first opened in “Life Line”, when Zimmerman (the EMH creator) said the failed EMH-1s were sent to do grunt work after Starfleet deemed them unsuitable.
What doesn’t hold up
I’m not sure I buy that the Doctor would be SO tone deaf that he wouldn’t think the crew would be offended by his initial depiction — even if names and appearances were very lightly changed. Otherwise, this is a pretty solid episode.
This is a highlight of Voyager’s last couple seasons — perhaps not surprisingly as it focuses on the Doctor, the show’s best character. There are some genuinely great moments, like when Paris effectively guilts the Doctor into seeing the error of his ways (Paris and the Doctor were consistently one of the show’s better pairings). And, really, it was nice to see the crew rally around the Doctor, despite his actions.
Coming next week …
That’s all she wrote for Voyager.