Star Trek Reviews

Return to season list

Star Trek Voy - Season 4 - Episode 23

Star Trek Voy - 4x23 - Living Witness

Originally Aired: 1998-4-29

Synopsis:
An alien species duplicates the crew. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 7.08

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 20 3 12 1 3 1 4 6 16 39 52

Problems
- At one point, Fake doctor has a comm badge in the simulation. In the next scene it is missing.

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Fake Janeway: "When diplomacy fails there's only one option, violence. Force must be applied without apology. It's the Starfleet way."
- The Fake Voyager simulation and all its hilarious differences and details.
- The doctor: "Granted, this looks like the briefing room, but these aren't the people I knew, no one behaved like this, well, aside from Mr. Paris."
- The doctor, prepared to die and stop attempting to clear Voyager's name to stop the race riots.
- The final scene, reviewing yet another simulation.

My Review
When I first saw this episode, I was convinced we were looking at the mirror universe Voyager. Fortunately, I was wrong. This episode is entirely original. The time in this episode is mostly consumed by the simulations. The fake crew was hilarious. Janeway, evil, impatient, and warlike. The crew with their black gloves. Chakotay, with his tattoo covering half of his face. Neelix, the operations officer. Tuvok, Paris, and Kim, sadistic and evil, just like Janeway. The doctor an android. Seven of Nine a full Borg with a Borg assault team. Torres, a lowly transporter chief, plus a Kazon security officer. Aside from the simulation humor, the episode presents a story that is almost epic. The setting is in the year 3000 and beyond! This conjures up all kinds of curiosities about the Federation. Does the Federation even exist in the year 3000? If so, how far has it expanded? A possible technical problem: at the rate of technological progression displayed between the 1900s and the 2300s, wouldn't the Federation extend well into the Delta quadrant by now? Wouldn't the Kyrians et al have heard of the Federation by now? I can see this becoming a problem as newer, further into the future Star Trek shows develop. That said, it's a minor deficiency. I'm personally in awe of the idea that a copy of the doctor has set out on a journey to return to the Federation in the year ~3000. Opens up all kinds of possibilities.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-11-05 at 12:18am:
    Absolutely my favorite episode of Voyager so far. i too was convinced that it was a stupid mirror universe episode, but it turned out to be much more. Not only was it original and hilarious at times, but it also made huge statements about society and revisionist history, even dangerously skirting the whole issue of Holocaust denial. Overall, it was a true 'Star Trekkish' episode, and those are the best kind! Bravo to the writing team for this one. The only voyager episode so far that even comes close is distant origin.
  • From David Chambers on 2010-09-09 at 5:22pm:
    I was amused to notice that the actor who played the scientist Quaren (Henry Woronicz) also played the Voth scientist Gegen in 'Distant Origin'. He seems to have cornered the market for playing unconventional scientists!
  • From Tallifer on 2011-04-17 at 2:33am:
    Holy cow!

    This one rates 11 out of 10.

    The revisionist re-creation of Voyager and her crew is exciting and darkly humourous. "Shut up, Hedgehog!" one shouts at Neelix during a meeting. Janeway ordering the use of biogenic weapons on a massive scale; Chakotay and Harry as psychotic interrogators.

    The subsequent historical investigation and discussion was interesting and intelligent. One is reminded of the constant re-examination of the American civil war as well as the soul-searching by Germans about the two world wars.
  • From packman_jon on 2012-07-09 at 11:23pm:
    Brilliant episode. Tallifer touched on it a little, but I'll add more. This episode makes a nice portrayal on how people have twisted history to be used as propaganda for their own uses - not to mention how people can't accept reality.

    On an unrelated note, dang! Janeway looks great with more black colors! ;)
  • From Lee on 2012-07-29 at 8:44am:
    I actually loved the ending scene with the doctor going on another journey to the alpha quadrant. I always thought a whole series of the doctor travelling through the delta quadrant in his little ship would have been awesome!
  • From Rick on 2013-01-05 at 1:52pm:
    Huge missed opportunity in this episode. When that female arbiter retorted, "It's always about race!" I was immediately disappointed that they didnt get jesse jackson or rev. sharpton to play the role. Wouldve been perfect.
  • From Dstyle on 2015-06-16 at 10:54am:
    In the doctor's version of the simulation the Kyrian rebels invade engineering, and after a brief confrontation Tuvok reports to Janeway that the raiding party has taken Seven of Nine and "one of the injured crew members" hostage. Seriously? I know this "injured crew member" is not one of the seven or eight characters we're supposed to care about on this show, but for the purposes of the story couldn't you at least give him a name? How about "Ensign Jones." There, see? That was easy. Or are we worried the audience might think, "Ensign Jones? Do we know him? Who is that?" If that's the problem, use a minor named character like Vorik or something. There are only 150 people on board Voyager anyway (well, 147 now, since three are dead)(oh just kidding, no one cares about them!) and I'm pretty sure after four year everyone knows each others' names.

    I know the red shirts are a tried and true Trek tradition, but on Voyager I find the nameless extras to be frustrating. This isn't TNG's Enterprise, where crew members can come and go at each space station stop. I mean, I get it, I do: I understand that we, the idiot box viewing public, can't realistically be bothered to care about more than the core cast, but at least pretend the in-universe officers care about the entire crew!

    It's a minor complaint, to be sure, and it doesn't seriously hinder my enjoyment of the show, but I do find it irritating each time it happens.

Prove to me that you are a real person and not a spam robot by typing in the text of this image:

Return to season list