Star Trek: Voyager

Season 2 Episode 3


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Sep 11, 1995 on UPN
out of 10
User Rating
189 votes

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Episode Summary


Stardate: 48892.1
When the Doctor is activated during a Red Alert, he learns that the ship has been abandoned, and that only B'Elanna Torres and an injured Captain Janeway are left on board. Soon afterwards, evidence starts to suggest that he is not, in fact, the EMH on Voyager, but actually its creator, Dr. Zimmerman, stuck in a malfunctioning holodeck on Jupiter Station.


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  • Is the Doctor real?

    Brannon Braga and Jonathan Frakes team up for a mind-bending bottle show similar their TNG hit, "Frame of Mind" (and reminiscent of TOS's "The Mark of Gideon"), this time with Frakes in the director's chair and the Doctor put through the wringer. Like "The 37's", it's another holdover from the first season and proves that good things come to those who wait. Dwight Schultz reprises TNG's Lieutenant Barclay, a holographic character who serves as "Al" to the Doctor's "Sam", with the two revisiting the events of the pilot as Barclay tries to get the Doctor to "leap home" (in a manner of speaking). It's a high concept that simultaneously allows us to return to the show's roots while logically allowing the Doctor to go anywhere on the ship. Adding Dwight Schultz is the cherry on top, as he has mad chemistry with Robert Picardo. Both actors bring something quirky to their characters, and with Braga's writing, they make a great comedy duo.. (I particularly love the inside joke about the Caretaker, with Barclay tossing out a throwaway line that some call the character "Banjo-man", the Caretaker's name in the script).

    From the opening teaser, the episode is really a character-based mystery, with the Doctor trying to figure out what's real and the audience wondering where Braga is going with the whole thing. No viewer buys the premise, of course, but that doesn't really matter; the fun is in the journey. Like "Frame of Mind", the explanations in the end aren't as intriguing as the mystery in the beginning, but they do lay the groundwork for the real Jupiter Station, along with Dr. Zimmerman and Lieutenant Barclay, to appear in the future. Barclay, who is in more VOY episodes than TNG, returns in sixth season's "Pathfinder".

  • Great Episode

    Great for the Doctor. Projections was a good story line. Another one for Voyager.
  • Projections

    Projections was a superb episode of Star Trek: Voyager and I really enjoyed watching this episode which focused on the Doctor who was activated upon an empty Voyager, or so it seemed. The story was very interesting and this episode raised important questions about artificialintelligenceand how blurry the line of sentient life in organic or mechanical form can become. There were some great scenes and superb acting over all. I think it was nice for the Doctor to have a bit of character growth and development. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek: Voyager!!!!!!!moreless
  • Any episode centered around the Doctor is a good one! This one is no exception!

    This episode centers around the doctor as he is activated and realize that he is all alone on the ship. It is like his own personal nightmare as reality and holodeck novels seem to blend, leaving him questioning his own existence and identity. Usually when Star Trek pulls out one of these sort of episode, where the current normality is questioned and the main characters are lead to believe that they are someone else entirely, it is disastrous. You know what the outcome is going to be and you see through ways of proofing or disproving what is going on quickly, unable to understand why the main character is not there yet!

    In this episode it all plays out believably though, as the doctor is confused and bewildered in every possibly direction. And the audience is brought along for the right, to a point making you believe that possible the whole thing was just a Pamela Ewing Dallas-dream!

    The whole thing also helps you understand how the doctor is changing. That he is no longer 'just' a program made to heal you, but that out of all that programming a person is emerging. After this episode you will not think of the Doctor as anything else but a person.

    Enjoyable episode, and the first one in Voyager so far that made me want to skip writing this review and watch the next episode straight away. (I am not allowing myself to watch more than 1 episode at a time - making sure that after each I write a review before the next one).moreless
  • Unique approach to the holo-malfunction.

    This is another episode (and there are many) with a main plot that revolves around the holodeck malfunction. Since this kind of story and plot device has been used so many times in the past, it automatically makes the viewer wary, but in this case that hesitation is undeserved. What prevents this episode from being thrown into the average category is that it approaches this common theme in a unique way; namely the issue of being trapped is presented to a holographic character and not a human one.

    We as the viewers of course have no doubt that the Doctor's service and remebrance of events on Voyager are infact reality and that the proposed theory of the Doctor being a real person stuck in a malfunctioning holo-simulation to be necessairly false; a whole season and the beginning of a new one dedicated to a malfunction based theme...extremely unlikely. It is interesting though when you take yourself outside of this knowledge and consider the situation of a self-aware AI doubting it's own programming and in essence doubting it's own state of existence. The issue of AI considering it's state of existence has been tackled before on the Star Trek shows (notable instance being the holo-AI in STTNG's "Elementary Dear Data") but in the past instances it has always been AI that was programmed to "think" it was real becoming aware of it's real non-existence; more consisely becoming aware that it's percieved reality was just that, false and that it's true essence is false existence or imaginary existence through virtual reality. With the Doctor in "Projections" we get an AI that is programmed to be self-aware of it's virtual existence through holo-technology, that through malfunction begins to ponder whether it's true existence is in fact existence through corporeal matter in the real physical universe. A truly unique approach to AI, holo-technology and the issue of malfunction. When you become aware of this new presentation to an AI issue staple, the entire episode takes on a more captivating air; the doubts and thought processes, and decisions the Doctor must make all become more engrossing and the viewer is legitamely left wondering how it will all resolve itself.

    Overall, another higlight of the young second season and one defintely worth watching. Picardo, who already has demonstrated himself as a strong actor in the series, gives a strong showing in the first real episode based around his character.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Goof: The Doctor asks the Computer when Dr Zimmerman first began serving aboard Voyager, and is told that it was Stardate 48308.2, which the Doctor later identifies as being just after Voyager was snatched by the Caretaker. However, in "Caretaker", the first episode of the series, the Stardate is given as 48315.6, which is later than the Doctor's supposed genesis.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Barclay: (to The Doctor) You're starting to think you're part of the program and that... that's not good.

    • The Doctor: Did I program Mister Paris to be so annoying?
      Barclay: Actually, I programmed him. I modeled him after my cousin Frank.
      The Doctor: Computer, delete Paris.

    • (Back at Voyager's first day in the Delta Quadrant)
      Janeway: Who are you? Are you two responsible for bringing us here?
      The Doctor: Actually, no. The array you discovered is controlled by an entity you will come to know as the Caretaker... or Banjo-Man.

    • Barclay: (to The Doctor) Louis, how would you rather think of yourself? As a real person with a real life, with a family that loves you? Or as some hologram that exists in a sickbay on a starship lost in deep space?
      Chakotay: This isn't about what you want. This is about what you are. Just because you're made of projected light and energy, doesn't mean you're any less real than someone made of flesh and blood. It doesn't matter what you're made of. What matters is who you are! You're our friend, and we want you back.

    • The Doctor: You're injured.
      Neelix: Ahhh! What's wrong? Is it serious?
      The Doctor: Don't panic, Mr Neelix, it looks superficial.
      Neelix: Am I going to die?
      The Doctor: Not unless you're allergic to tomatoes.

    • The Doctor: (About the bridge) Well... it's bigger than I thought.

    • The Doctor: Computer, delete Janeway.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode was one of a few that Paramount Pictures studio executives reviewed when evaluating Jonathan Frakes' ability to handle directing the film Star Trek: First Contact. Having become friends with the director while working on this episode, Robert Picardo was able to arrange a cameo appearance in that film.

    • After coming up with the story, Brannon Braga struck upon the idea of involving a character from Star Trek: The Next Generation in the episode. Originally, however, this character was to have been Geordi La Forge. Braga recollected, "We came up with the idea of putting Geordi La Forge in there, but then I thought it would be much more fun to have Barclay and The Doctor."

    • Like "The 37's", this episode was written and produced for the first season, (following "Learning Curve" and preceding "Elogium"), but was held back for airing during the series' second season.