Star Trek: Voyager

Season 1 Episode 5


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Feb 06, 1995 on UPN
out of 10
User Rating
209 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Stardate: 48532.4
During an away mission in search of dilithium crystals, Neelix's lungs are removed by a disease-ridden race of aliens known as the Vidiians. As The Doctor attempts to treat him, the crew of Voyager must find a way to track down these Vidiians.

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  • A good old medical drama

    Boy, when you're creating a Star Trek episode, it takes guts to remakes "Spock's Brain", but that's basically what this one is, with Neelix's lungs serving as the McGuffin. This time, the writers get it largely right, turning it into a medical drama that gives Robert Picardo an opportunity to show off his stuff. Stepping into his first "Doctor" episode, Picardo has plenty of sardonic wit, but he hasn't developed too much more for the character, leaving plenty of improvement for future episodes. Fortunately, starting simple before growing throughout the series works for a hologram who was just "born", giving him an interesting arc. In the meantime, Picardo needs help carrying "Phage", and he gets it. Ethan Phillips (Neelix) and Jennifer Lien (Kes) step into the roles of a paraplegic and his loved one respectively and turn this into arguably their best episode together. Lien has already established Kes as assertive but polite by this point, and it works especially well within the context of this plot. Phillips meanwhile, gets plenty of opportunities to develop the Talaxian, with Neelix experiencing a broad range of activities, from setting up makeshift kitchen to exploring a planet to waking up on a medical table unable to move. He uses the spectrum to add depth to his character, allowing us to draw closer to him.

    In the B story, Janeway hunts down Neelix's lungs, thankfully not running into any miniskirted girls in the process. It's pretty standard fare for the most part, but it does lead to an unexpected conclusion and gives us the first real display of how protective the captain is of her crew.

    The organ harvesting Vidiians return for several more episodes, beginning with "Faces" later in the first season, but "Phage" provides a strong and memorable foundation.

  • bedside manners and nasty aliens

    in this episode we meet the grotesque looking Vidilians, the nasty race of aliens that kill others for their organs

    all you need to know is that this episode is entertaining enough, thanks to Neelix and his interactions with the Holographic Doctor who has a hilarious cranky bedside manner

    it's alright, not exhilarating or classic but not an epic waste of time as we humans in our current century have moral dilemmas to conquer when it comes to organ donation, stem cell research, etc etcmoreless
  • Phage

    Phage was a superb episode of Star Trek Voyager and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it has a classic feel to it and I'm sure will be a much remembered episode full of character development. It was fun to see Nelix's new kitchen in the Captain's private dining chambers. I also thought it was cool how Captain Janeway let Nelix go on the mission. After what happens the crew pursue an alien ship and finally meet the ones who took some thing vital from Nelix. It was definitely not what I as a viewer thought would happen, and it was great to see the reaction of the Captain as she learned a horrible truth about the aliens. This was a thought provoking episode and I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek Voyager!!!!!!!moreless
  • Entertaining and somewhat suspenseful episode. Full of good humor and Starfleet protocols.

    Most of the episodes where the doctor has a big part are the more enjoyable ones. He has such a great expressions, distaste for his predicament and general lack of skills for interaction. And at the opposite we have Kes who seems to see beauty in every corner and is well liked by all. When together in the medical bay the sparks just fly.

    We are introduced to a strange and ugly race plagued by the page. This race, though very unpleasant to watch or even listen to, is a bit of a master stroke from the creators. Mostly because at every turn they make us question so many things. Do they have rights to harvest organs from other races in order to preserve their own race? Can Kathryn kill them to retrieve organs they have stolen?

    I've always considered Star Trek fantastic due to the fact that such questions are explored. Next Generation did a lot of this, while Deep Space Nine forgot such philosophy or at least swapped it out for ongoing storyline. But this episode of Voyager seems to remember the roots of how new emotions, new questions and challenging dilemmas should be what the creators of Star Trek have always explored. Who doesn't remember Kirk kissing green alien woman,... and all the questions that could be pondered just by that simple scene. It was provocative and it was good television.

    While loving their commitment to old Star Trek, I dearly hate the caves. The beaming down into a cave, that always is conveniently just the right height for humans, which always has many corridors to get lost in and always has enemies hiding out around the corner, just gets old. It is cheap and easy, both on the budget and on the mind of the story writers. They should challenge themselves more!

    This was a good episode though. The story went on without hiccups and one couldn't help but be excited about what would come next. After the initial cave thing hit had unexpected turns, with some clever twists at the end.moreless
  • Another great early Voyager episode. Very thought provoking as well…

    Another great early Voyager episode. Very thought provoking as well…

    On an away mission, someone steals Neelix's lungs. Back aboard Voyager, the Doctor fashions a pair of halographic lungs for him but if they can't get the real ones back, he'll spend his life immobilized.

    Janeway and the crew give chase to the organ stealing aliens and the stakes continue to rise as the hunt and evasion is on. Eventually they capture them. These are Vidiians who will figure occasionally as Voyager moves through the Delta Quadrant. They are a race plagued by a disease called the Phage which destroys their body organs. To survive, they harvest body parts of others. In this introduction, they are somewhat sympathetic and Janeway does sympathize with them but simply can't accept the way they steal body parts in order to live. And, since one of them already has Neelix's lungs, she can't bring herself to kill him in order to get them back. This is a true moral dilemma and has been around since the days of "Coma." The story resolves itself pretty easily since the Vidiians know how to transplant a lung from Kes to Neelix and thus solve his immediate problem. I guess no one thought that Kes only lives 9 years and so this might not be a long term solution for Neelix.

    Two character developments occur in this story. First, Neelix warns Kes that Tom Paris can't be trusted and he doesn't like him. His jealousy will continue for several future episodes. Second, Kes will become an assistant to the doctor; a function she'll continue going forward. Overall, enjoyable with rising stakes and the introduction of some pretty disgusting villains.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • Goof: Because the aliens of this episode were originally collectively named Vaphorans, Dereth clearly mouths the word "Vaphoran" in Voyager's transporter room; evidently, "Vidiian" was subsequently looped over it. Broadcast closed captions of this episode also use "Vaphoran". The change from that collective term to "Vidiians" was made when it was realized that no two performers could pronounce "Vaphoran" in the same exact way as each other.

    • Nitpicks: Talaxian physiology must be very different than human- when The Doctor shuts down his original emergency treatment to give Neelix his holographic lungs, his cellular toxicity rises dramatically in mere seconds. In humans, lungs take in and process oxygen, and pass them along to the red blood cells for respiration. Toxic waste from the body's cells are filtered through other organs in humans, such as the liver and kidneys, and not the lungs. Also, he was stable for as long as the treatment was in effect, but the cellular toxicity increased to over 80% without delay once shut down. This would seem to indicate that a Talaxian would be unable to safely hold his breath for any length of time or risk the build up of life threatening toxic wastes.

    • First Appearance: Vidiians

    • Trivia: The Doctor states that Voyager weighs 700,000 tons.

    • Nitpick: When Voyager fires the phaser beam in the cavern, as Tuvok says, it reflects unpredictably. Yet none of those beams hit Voyager, instead they hit the much smaller Vidiian ship. This is highly unlikely.

    • Nitpick: Considering what is later learned about the Vidiians, it seems odd that they would stop at stealing Neelix's lungs, as opposed to taking all of his organs. Unless, of course, they are familiar with Talaxian physiology and know that only the lungs are of use to them.

    • Nitpick: B'Elanna appears at a bridge station at the left side of the bridge (right of the screen). However, for the majority of the series, the bridge engineering station is situated on the bridge's right.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Paris: (when the Doctor theorizes that he can give Neelix a set of holographic lungs) But a hologram is just a projection of light held in a magnetic containment field. There's no real matter involved! (The Doctor slaps Paris, proving "matter" doesn't always matter)

    • Janeway: (to Vidiians) I can't begin to understand what your people have gone through. They may have found a way to ignore the moral implications of what you're doing but I have no such luxury. I don't have the freedom to kill you to save another. My culture finds that to be a reprehensible and entirely unacceptable act. If we were closer to home I would lock you up and turn you over to my authorities for trial, but I don't even have that ability here, and I am not prepared to carry you forever in our brig. So I see no other alternative, but to let you go. Take a message to your people: if I ever encounter your kind again I will do whatever is necessary to protect my people from this...harvesting of yours. Any aggressive actions against this ship or its crew will be met by the deadliest force. Is that clear?

    • Neelix: Doctor? Doctor, I require your assistance.
      Doctor: What is it, Mr. Neelix?
      Neelix: Please, it's urgent.
      Doctor: Yes?
      Neelix: I have an itch.
      Doctor: An itch?
      Neelix: Just above my left eyebrow.
      (The Doctor sighs)
      Neelix: A little higher. Ahh! Thank you.
      Doctor: (flatly) You're quite welcome.

    • (to Kes about Paris)
      Neelix: He's just one big hormone walking around the ship.

    • Neelix: I feel like I'm all alone.
      The Doctor: You are all alone. I'm a holographic projection. A projection with a lot of work to do, I might add.

    • Janeway: How do you know what I'm about to do?
      Tuvok: I could describe to you in detail the psychological observations I have made about you over the past four years, which lead me to conclude that you are about to take the ship inside the asteroid, but suffice it to say, I know you quite well.
      Janeway: One of these days, I'm going to surprise you, Tuvok. But not today.

    • The Doctor: (talking about Paris) The man drives a 700,000 ton starship, so somebody thinks he'd make a good medic.

    • Motura: This is set to scan only.
      Tuvok: Proceed... carefully.

    • Dereth: According to my readings... you are not here.
      The Doctor: Believe me... I wish I wasn't.

    • Neelix: (to The Doctor) Well, if I'm going to be in here a while, now's as good a time as any to tell you... your ceiling is hideous.
      The Doctor: I didn't design the room, I just work here.
      Neelix: Something with a bit of color would help, maybe a nice tapestry or a painting. Could you dim the lights a little?
      The Doctor: I'm a doctor, Mr. Neelix, not a decorator.

    • The Doctor: First they tell me there are no doctors, so I have to be on call 24 hours a day. Then they tell me there are no nurses, so I have no one to assist me.
      Kes: I thought Tom Paris was assigned to you.
      The Doctor: Like I said, no one to assist me.

    • The Doctor: (while bending over Neelix) Don't worry, I'm not going to kiss you. I'm only adjusting your restraint.
      Neelix: I'll try to contain my disappointment.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Originally, it was to be Tom Paris' heart that was taken by the Vidiians, but they later changed it to Neelix's lungs. According to Brannon Braga, "The lungs seemed a little less cornball than the heart, so that's what happened."

    • The aliens were originally known as "the Phages". Their collective name was later changed to "Vaphorans", which they were called even in the shooting script; the change to "Vidiians" was not made until after the episode was written.

    • This episode had the working title "Heart & Soul".