Star Trek: Voyager

Season 1 Episode 12

Heroes And Demons

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Apr 24, 1995 on UPN
out of 10
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Episode Summary


Stardate: 48693.2
Harry Kim disappears from the holodeck during his holo-novel, Beowulf. According to the characters, he died at the hands of a mystical beast known as Grendel. When Chakotay and Tuvok also disappear, the Doctor is transferred to the holodeck to investigate.

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  • A popular episode

    VOY does its first malfunctioning holodeck story with a Beowulf fantasy that winds its way into a breakthrough episode for the Doctor... who doesn't even appear until about one quarter into the episode!

    Written by TNG vet Naren Shankar (who conceived the story over a dinner with Brannon Braga), "Heroes" has many humorous touches, and gives Robert Picardo a chance to show off his comedic talents. (It's sort of VOY's equivalent of TNG's "Qpid" but less of an ensemble The use of the Doctor in the holodeck works particularly well, because we not only get to see him outside of sickbay for the first time, we get to see him step out of his programmed occupation. (Both of these serve as the template for his future development). And as a holographic character himself, it makes his interactions with the characters in the "holonovel" especially interesting, because these, after all, are his own people. They are just as real to him as Janeway is to Chakotay.

    With these elements and the unique medieval look and style that the Beowulf brings to Star Trek, the result is one of the most popular VOY episodes from the first season, and one that earned an Emmy nomination for its Cinematography. (Incredibly, everything was shot on indoors on stages, including a forest which could easily pass for the real thing). Even composer Dennis McCarthy cuts loose, conjuring up a memorable score that's more melodic than the norm, earning an Emmy nomination as well.

    For the Doctor and Star Trek it's quite a trip.

  • Heroes And Demons

    Heroes And Demons was a great episode of Star Trek Voyager and I really enjoyed watching this episode because the holographic Doctor experiences a lot of character growth and earns his place among the crew. It was cool for him to choose a name and I like how he dealt with the holodeck characters. This was a great story giving insight into Ensign Harry Kim who likes to play Beowulf in his down time. I thought the story was great and the new life form discovered was also very cool. Captain Janeway is impressed with the Doctor's work and gives him praise. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek Voyager to see what happens next!!!!!moreless
  • The doctor is let out of the sickbay for a wonderful episode.

    After loosing three crew members in the holodeck the doctor is sent in for rescue. It is often the strangest characters that I enjoy the most. Data in Next Generation, Odo in DS9 and the Doctor in Voyager. Here we start to see just how brilliant actor Robert Picardo is, as he manages to show us many other sides to the doctor than the regular irritable one.

    And on top of one of my favorite characters being the center of the story, we also have most of it happen on the holodeck, another favorites of mine when it comes to Star Trek episodes.

    The romance was genuine and somewhat beautiful, seeing one "computer program" fall in love with another "computer program". And we can just see how the doctor is growing, how he will never be the same.

    The set was a bit of a dissapointment, with the stereo typical vikings and somewhat underdeveloped holodeck story arch. (being Scandinavian I am always a bit touchy when it comes to Vikings...). This can however be forgiven when it comes to the holodeck stories. After all, they are created more often then not by the crew themselves. Therefore, badly written stories, stereotypes and strange twists can all just be the results of 'bad' holo writers.

    We are now on episode 12 of the first series and on our second strange lifeforms. What is becoming apparent with the writers of Voyager so far, is that they are not going the untraveled road. Keeping in the safe zone, they use the caves, anomalies, crime solving riddles and life forms to the fullest. Lets hope that their courage will increase as we get further. Lets hope that we will see something daring and new!moreless
  • The “Voyager” on its way home finds a protostar. Janeway has the crew take samples for possible use in the power converter. Torres transports the material into a two transporter containment fields, but one of the transporter fields fails.moreless

    The “Voyager” on its way home finds a protostar. Janeway has the crew take samples for possible use in the power converter. Torres transports the material into a two transporter containment fields, but one of the transporter fields fails. She does get the containment field to finally work. Meanwhile Harry Kim has not reported for duty. Kim is nowhere to be found on the ship. His last whereabouts was the holodeck. So Tuvok and Chakotay go in the holodeck to find Kim and they disappear. The Doctor goes on the holodeck mission taking on a new name.moreless
  • On his first "away" mission, the Doctor must go to the holodeck to save Harry, Chakotay and Tuvok from a photonic alien.

    After "losing" three crewmembers, Captain Janeway (not wanting to lose any more people) sends the Doctor to the holodeck to try to find them. It doesn't take long for the Doctor to figure out that one of the aliens takes the place of Grendel, the monster of a poem called "Beowulf" in a holonovel that Harry was running. He also finds the alien has been converting the crewmates into energy. Also in this episode the Doctor temporarily chooses the name Schweitzer, though he later decides not to keep it.

    This is a great episode that begins the development of the Doctor's character.moreless
Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

The Doctor

Kate Mulgrew

Kate Mulgrew

Captain Kathryn Janeway

Robert Beltran

Robert Beltran

Commander Chakotay

Roxann Dawson

Roxann Dawson

Lt. B'Elanna Torres

Jennifer Lien

Jennifer Lien


Tim Russ

Tim Russ

Lt. Commander Tuvok

Marjorie Monaghan

Marjorie Monaghan


Guest Star

Christopher Neame

Christopher Neame


Guest Star

Michael Keenan

Michael Keenan

King Hrothgar

Guest Star

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Computer Voice

Recurring Role

Tarik Ergin

Tarik Ergin

Lt. Ayala

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • This episode marks the first time The Doctor leaves the Sickbay.

    • Nitpick: The Doctor identifies the fungus Freya is collecting as Amanita muscaria; though it lacks the characteristics of A. muscaria. A. muscaria is easily recognizable by a bright red cap and white "warts". It is accurately described as being toxic, and it has been suggested that the Nordic Vikings used it to produce their berserker rages.

    • Nitpick: The events in Beowulf occur in the early sixth century (there are a number of actual events mentioned in the narrative that allow this dating). The Viking Age dates from the raid on Lindisfarne, which took place in 793. At that time, the word viking was not yet in use. The Scandinavians were known as Northmen. This makes it anachronistic for Chakotay and Tuvok to discuss "Vikings and monsters" when they enter the holodeck to look for Harry.

    • Nitpick: The Doctor couldn't have known who Freya was before her name is mentioned because she didn't appear in the original Beowulf poem. He would've needed to study Harry's program to know that.

    • Nitpick: The weapons used here are clearly not Norse - they are 6' Middle Age/English longswords, rather then short stabbing swords that would be used in the period shown here.

    • Nitpick: The holonovel setting is established as occurring in winter, and Hrothgar and Freya say it's winter. But the forest is green (apparently late spring or summer) and no one acts in the least bit cold.

    • Nitpick: Chakotay and Tuvok express puzzlement at the fact that photonic energy is present in the holodeck; however, photonic energy being light energy, it would obviously always be present on the holodeck.

    • Nitpick: Tuvok tells Chakotay that, as the holodeck is malfunctioning, the safety protocols might not be functioning; however, without verifying this, Tuvok tells Janeway that the holodeck safety protocols are offline.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • The Doctor: (to Unferth, after he had killed Freya) The only reason you won't die is that I took an oath to do no harm.

    • The Doctor: (to Kes) I can describe every detail of every piece of equipment in this Sickbay, from biobed to neurostimulator... but I've never even seen a sky... or a forest, let alone Vikings or monsters. I can't afford to fail, but I don't know what to expect in that holodeck.

    • Unferth: Yes. Tell us a tale of your prowess in battle.
      The Doctor: Well, there was the time I managed to stop the spread of Paranisti measles before it became epidemic. For a while, things were touch-and-go. Six people came down with it. Fortunately, I was able to isolate the endoplasmic virus and replicate it in order to form an antibody. Even then, it wasn't altogether clear I could create an effective vaccine, but I worked at it for seventy four hours straight and managed to create an inoculation that successfully protected the crew.

    • Hrothgar: Repelled by light and laughter, the beast waits until we slumber. Then bereft of remorse, Grendel comes in murderous rage to my hall to take my people, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. If you are wise, you will forego your vengeance and return home. Death lives here now.

    • Tuvok: Such fables are necessary only in cultures which unduly emphasise emotional behaviour. I would point out there are no demons in Vulcan literature.
      Chakotay: That might account for its popularity.

    • Freya: He was like no other. Hair straight and raven-black, eyes bright with fierce fire. The burning gaze of a hero.
      Tuvok: Grand eloquence notwithstanding, that would qualify as a description of Mr. Kim.

    • Freya: You are truly a man of many talents, Lord Schweitzer. Your people must value you greatly.
      The Doctor: You would think so.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Schweitzer:
      The Doctor chooses his first name in the series, "Schweitzer", presumably in honor of the famous Franco-German physician and philosopher Albert Schweitzer. After taking his degree in Medicine, Dr Schweitzer traveled to Africa and served in that capacity at the Paris Missionary Society's mission.