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Star Trek Voy - Season 3 - Episode 04

Star Trek Voy - 3x04 - The Swarm

Originally Aired: 1996-9-25

Voyager battles a swarm of alien ships. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.61

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 17 1 0 2 4 2 7 24 15 7 4



Remarkable Scenes
- Tom hitting on Torres in the teaser.
- The doctor's duet with the diva. I loved her cross-lingual dialog and her constant insulting of the doctor. :)
- The doctor gradually losing his memory.
- A holographic Dr. Louis Zimmerman.
- Torres, in response to an arrogant Dr. Louis Zimmerman: "I can see where you get your charming personality." The doctor: "Not to mention my hairline."
- Janeway: "Mr. Tuvok, keep an eye on those ships. If they so much as twitch, I want to know it."
- Zimmerman: "You've filled your memory with nonsense!" EMH: "It was only during my off hours." Zimmerman: "You're supposed to be off during your off hours!"
- Zimmerman: "It wasn't programmed to be a tenor, it was programmed to be a physician!" Count 16 for "I'm a doctor, not a (blah)" style lines, which McCoy was famous for.
- The doctor, obviously degraded quite a bit now, regarding his new patient: "He's a sick man. This is where sick people come." The alien dies. Kes: "His injuries were too severe." The doctor: "He's a very sick man."
- Kes: "Doctor, you mustn't touch those. Here, this one's all right to hold." The doctor: "Shall I use it on the sick man?" (The "sick man" is dead.) Kes: "Yes, that's a good idea..."
- The doctor trying to leave sickbay.
- Kes trying to keep the doctor remembering things.
- Zimmerman: "I am a diagnostic tool, not an engineer!" Count 17 for "I'm a doctor, not a (blah)" style lines, which McCoy was famous for.
- The doctor gradually regaining his memory.

My Review
This episode is less about the swarm and more about the doctor, and rightfully so. Watching Torres deal with a holographic Zimmerman trying to fix the EMH was great fun and good humor, whilst maintaining a nice level of seriousness. While the episode remains exceptional throughout, the swarm plot ends rather weakly; Janeway figures out a way to destroy one ship in the swarm and the whole swarm collapses? That's a little unrealistic. But the doctor's experiences offset the weak ending and make this episode nicely watchable.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Docfan on 2011-09-07 at 3:32am:
    I can't get enough Doctor stuff, and this episode does a mighty fine job (the actual swarm stuff is pretty much secondary to me... I'll admit I can't give this episode an objective review b/c I'm just too fond of the doc).

    Absolutely love the role reversal where the Doctor becomes the anxious patient, and Torres becomes the insensitive "doctor-engineer."

    Seeing the Zimmerman program in action is interesting stuff as well - a holographic program of the original creator of the holographic program. Kind of neat and a bit amusing. "Relationships with the crew?! Relationships with...women? Do they find you attractive?"

    The Doc getting an acute version of Alzheimer's is also interesting... simultaneously entertaining and sad. "He's a sick man. This is where sick people come." Great to watch Kes' concern for and attachment to the Doc.

    I also love the ending. A bit of an ambiguity about whether or not he's just lost the bulk of his memories. Roll credits. Run doc's operatic singing alpha one.

  • From Docfan on 2011-09-09 at 12:05am:
    I forgot to mention something else:

    In a really neat twist, this episode puts in question the value and even the virtue, the moral status of what has so far gone absolutely unquestioned: the doctor's growth as a kind of proto-person, or "honorary human."

    Many of us cheered for the Doc when he stepped outside of the confines of his programming and began to think of himself as a sentient entity, as a lifeform. This was a very compelling development to observe, both for the audience and for the Voyager crew, who were mostly supportive (for instance, Paris and Kes coached him in the matters of love in "Voyager: Life signs.")

    All of this is turned on its head in a single moment, when the diagnostic program proclaims its diagnosis: "on too long and doing too much." Evidently, the Doctor was meant to be off during his off hours, and sticking to medicine during his on hours. The result of his becoming a "person," so to speak, is that he can no longer be an emergency medical hologram, which is downright irresponsible, and endangers the entire crew.

    This is a really great twist to the doctor's existential dilemmas, and puts his entire history on Voyager (thus far) in a different perspective.

    One thing I just thought of: at one point Kes argued that his personal activities and explorations made him a better doctor. That is probably true. What's more, his functions on the ship have occasionally gone beyond medical, i.e. the counter-insurgent/military psychologist role he played in "Voyager: Basics." If he didn't have all that previous life experience, it's questionable whether he would've been motivated, willing, or able to help save the ship, either through his own acts or by guiding and encouraging Suder.

    So, it's interesting to see all of this put in a zero sum, either/or perspective for a moment, but it is equally relieving to see this problem go away, at least temporarily, as the Doc receives a successful "neural net graft" from his lookalike diagnostic program.

    Here is one "reset switch" I'm more than happy to see.
  • From TheAnt on 2013-10-31 at 2:49pm:
    Trilobytes and fragmented terabytes

    I give this one a '6' since it leaves a number of loose ends and half made starts in various directions that are left high and dry on the beach.
    One example is why the warp drive were on the blink. And how the heck did they fail to note the attached trilobite ship when they were close enough to transport one of the crew out and to sickbay?
    Else from that I like Kes rescuing the Doc, and have his matrix - or "fragmented hard drive disk" - de-fragmented and restored.

    but the two sets of storylines do not mix well.
    In fact it is hard to say which one is the subplot in this episode.

    However it is not just one of the trilobite ships that gets blown up, but all that have attached themselves to Voyagers hull.
    So when Kethinov say 'one' I guess it might be a case of seeing the episode quite some time before writing the review. Or that he suffers the same condition as the Doc! =)

    As I understood it, Cpt Janeway's description of the aliens were correct. The swarm were bullies, and not used to meeting the kind of organised resistance which the crew of Voyager met them with. (And it might have been most of their boarding crew that got shot and transported out.)
    So with the risk of growing Tuvok ears I'd say that with that perspective the withdrawal of the swarm of trilobite ships were logical.
  • From Rick on 2017-04-28 at 11:36am:
    So much for holographic rights. To save their friend the crew murders another hologram that has the same matrix and capabilities as the doctor. Kes is quite the hypocrite.
  • From Mike on 2017-07-25 at 9:01pm:
    I heard Robert Picardo in an interview or convention panel or something, talking about the dying alien on the bed in sickbay in this episode. The alien's white facepaint combined with the green bags under his eyes and his red hair gave him a Bozo-the-Clown-like appearance. The shots of him and the Doctor were composed in such a way that the audience wouldn't look at the alien too long and think, "that's Bozo the Clown!" in the midst of this dramatic moment.

    The episode overall was a pretty good one. The Swarm were an interesting concept for an alien species, something that ST:VOY generally did a good job with whatever people think of the series. They were defeated a little too easily considering they were introduced as this very ominous species.

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