Sunday, September 9, 2012

Learning Curve

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Crewman Dalby from New Jerksey is something of a jerk. So he and some of his fellow Maquis who can't hack it on Voyager are assigned to remedial Starfleet training.

And not a moment too soon. Young Gerron the Bajoran is almost surly. Bolian Chell is blue, literally.  Henly wears HEADBANDS, for God's sake!

Only Mr. Tuvok's years of Academy Instructor Training have any chance of shaming and exhausting the individuality out of them before they accidentally have a feeling.

Also, Neelix's bacteriological warfare experiment succeeds in infecting the Voyager's bio-neural gel pack circuitry, nearly crippling the ship for capture by his Haakonian overlords! No. Wait. He just left some cheese cooking by the air vent. Same thing.

Janeway and Torres cure the ship's sniffles with a burst of hot plasma 'fever'. Coincidentally, 2371 was the year Hot Plasma Fever got to #1 on the Federation Pop Charts with "Cardassian Rapists Smashed Her Skull" by Kenneth Dalby.

Also, backpacks are heavy and you should only run if there are Circassian bears after you.

"Learning Curve" has a fun guest cast, not least of which is Derek McGrath as Chell. There is a certain, oh, shall we say, hypocritical quality to Tuvok being a stickler for the rules when he was flagrantly breaking them so recently in 'Prime Factors', but it's still a fine tale about flexibility and adaptation. There probably should have been MORE colourful secondary characters in the series overall, so I appreciate this 'Lower Decks'-style story and its snapshot of who is behind all those grey bulkheads, degaussing all the stuff that needs degaussing.

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