Star Trek: Voyager

Season 3 Episode 22

Real Life

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Apr 23, 1997 on UPN

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

Write A Review
out of 10
169 votes
  • Finally, a somewhat plausible character development for the Doctor…

    Finally, a somewhat plausible character development for the Doctor…

    Just three episodes removed from the disastrous "Darkling" where the Doctor altered his subroutines to try and improve his personality, he's at it again.

    He's created a family which is "The Brady Bunch" minus four since he only has as two kids. Torres finds the family unbelievably sugary and alters the program to randomize the characters to make them behave more realistically. The Doctor ends up with a busy wife who can't manage her own affairs much less the homestead. His daughter is now a real risk taker. His son wants to be a Klingon warrior.

    Needless to say, the Doctor is frustrated but overall, it works. He does gain an appreciation of compromise within the unexpected. He learns to try and deal with this.

    There are a couple of downsides to the episode. The holodeck family takes a downturn towards melodrama when the risk-taking daughter is injured and is going to die. Melodrama is the introduction of an outlandish event mainly to gage character reaction. It rarely results in character growth or appreciation even though it might inspire tears and etc. It's generally a cheesy way to short circuit real character development. Since this happens with the daughter dying, it's not nearly as good as if the Doctor had to resolve family problems without the "tragedy" having occurred.

    The second drawback to this episode involves the subplot of Voyager exploring a space/subspace event producing eddies and possible plasma they would harvest. This is totally unrelated to the Doctor's story beyond Tom Paris being a risk taker, same as the Doctor's daughter.

    Nevertheless, the overall impact of the Doctor having a family and learning to cope with human inconsistencies is very solid and helps develop his character dramatically.