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Star Trek Voy - Season 5 - Episode 04

Star Trek Voy - 5x04 - In the Flesh

Originally Aired: 1998-11-4

Voyager makes a disturbing discovery. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.28

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 49 6 4 3 18 16 7 25 13 12 9

- Species 8472 got a few things wrong in their Starfleet Headquarters recreation. The uniforms were outdated, and there were multiple Ferengi in Starfleet. (Nog from DS9 is the only Ferengi in Starfleet...)
- Janeway orders Voyager to charge weapons twice.

- The fake Starfleet headquarters was created using a combination of holographic generators and the previously mentioned "particle synthesis" from Voy: Hope and Fear.

Remarkable Scenes
- Boothby appearance.
- The discovery that species 8472 is behind the training facility.
- The doctor: "Talk about a wolf in sheep's clothing."
- The doctor: "Throughout human history, weapons of mass destruction were designed in the hopes that they would never be used." Seven: "And yet in Earth's third world war, nuclear weapons accounted for 600 million casualties."
- Paris: "It's a date! These things can't be rushed. They've probably just finished dinner, a couple of drinks, and now they are moving past the polite stage." Kim: "The polite stage? The last 8472 I met tried to dissolve me from the inside out!"
- The "class reunion."
- Boothby: "Sit down, Admiral." Bullock: "Sir?" Boothby: "I said sit down, or I'll knock you right on your human butt!"

My Review
Another episode tying up another loose end. We never quite knew how species 8472 was going to react to losing the war with the Borg due to the Federation's help, and now we know. It seems they've built training facilities in which they are training operatives to infiltrate Earth. This was a nice opportunity to show us Starfleet Command for the first time since DS9 and TNG, as well as to bring back the beloved Boothby. He's only been in a few episodes so far, but each time used well. I liked the statement regarding Boothby having given valuable advice to all the captains in Starfleet, including Picard, which is a nice reference to TNG. That said, this episode is a bit annoying. While it is true to the spirit of Star Trek, it reeks of the writers saying, "well, let's wrap up this 8472 thing." But they didn't in fact wrap it up. The ending is *almost* a cliffhanger as there is still room for further conflict. I hate it when writers use this kind of cop out. This plot thread is wrapped up, but not! Additionally, 8472 seemed vastly out of character in this episode. This can be attributed to their "think human, be human" attitude, but again, it reeks of a cop out. Overall, disappointing.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Bron on 2013-11-19 at 4:56am:
    Not sure if it's a "problem" that there's multiple Ferengi in Starfleet, since they're still learning about the Alpha Quadrant-they can get some of the details wrong and be consistent.

    I agree with your assessment, though I think your grade is a little too generous. This is a 2 or a 3. 8472 had a lot more story potential than this, but isn't that always the case when it comes to Voyager? Setting up plots and adventures with poential and failing to realize them, that's the legacy of Voyager.

    I guess the idea was to do an 8472 episode without having to do SFX shots every time they were on screen, thus saving money. But then they have to recreate the whole Starfleet Academy set, you still end up doing an effects shot at some they, and in the end, they've written them completely out of character and inconsistent. I don't mind "wrapping up" the plot thread, and I don't mind that they came to a peaceful resolution, but the road toward it did not flow logically. For one, at some point, Species 8472 is going to say, "Hey, stop calling us by that Borg designation, we're called Twileans" or something to that extent.

    The whole subplot where they recreated Starfleet academy...that's a cool image and makes for a nice teaser, but it feels out of place in this plot. Earth shouldn't factor into this at all. There's many reasons that it's kind of silly, but from a dramatic standpoint, it makes more sense if it's only Voyager they're specifically antagonistic toward. Voyager is much more alone, vulnerable, and easily threatened by them, and it's the only ship they've interacted with. Bringing earth into it adds an element that hasn't been previously justified by the story in any way. But once earth came into it and the writers established that 8472 was AWARE of earth, they were forced into a pat TV ending where everyone shakes hands at the end, or else we would be left wondering if they were busy invading earth while we were stuck watching Janeway. If the dispute remained solely between Voyager and 8472, the threat is not only more personal, they'd have at least had the option to end on an ambiguous note. They agree on some things, maintain some disagreements, but go their separate ways for now with this potential looming threat remaining.
  • From pbench on 2015-09-11 at 8:45am:
    previous poster is right. lots of potential but the same old voyager mediocrity. doesn't stop me from being addicted, but boy am i an ungrateful addict.

    i digress. ultimately i was shocked that they took 8472 so out of character. and then blatantly lifted from the ds9 dominion plotline??? am i wrong that these were on at the same time?? come on, two species with the exact same plan? but yeah--my take was that 8472 were higher-order beings, to the point where verbal communication itself was almost beneath them. even as they are 'practicing' to be human they just come off as very...well, human, and not at all like this grand powerful species. what are they doing hanging out in this dimension anyway?

    so yeah the episode was contrived. for some reason at the opener i hoped it was about chakotay's past and how he became maquis.
  • From Mike on 2017-07-28 at 1:26am:
    Pon Farr night at the Vulcan Club? This has to be the result of Species 8472 misapplying some of what they learned about Vulcan culture. Otherwise, if such a place existed, no one in Starfleet HQ would get any work done, ever.

    This episode is kind of eerie, in a way. They are having these conversations with people who look and act like Starfleet officers, but are members of the ominous Species 8472. Since the only communication with that species was telepathically through Seven, it was a bit off-putting to hear their normal, "human" conversation. I think I liked them better when they were shrieking praying mantis apex predators in bio-ships. But, the episode, on its own, is a pretty good one.
  • From Mitchell O on 2023-09-14 at 1:40pm:
    I feel like there is an additional problem that could be added to that section.

    During negotiations with species 8472, message in contact with Earth over four years, which isn’t true.

    They first made contact when the doctor travelled to the USS Prometheus, and the second when Starfleet replied later in the season.

    I would be very surprised if the doctor didn’t make Starfleet aware of a 8472 during his visit to the Alpha Quadrant considering the threat they pose.

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