Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vis a Vis

*** (3 stars out of 5)
The EMH finds it as difficult as pulling teeth to get Tom Paris to focus on sickbay work when there's a holodeck Camaro in need of surgery. (Seriously, what's wrong with Voyager? NONE of those people I'm always seeing in the halls with the blue shoulder pads have more medical experience than TOM PARIS? I guess nobody is willing to declare their minor in medicine while getting their subspace physics degree: because it would mean spending more time with the EMH.)

Tom saves a guy in a space hot rod with a coaxial space-fold drive which goes into a skid. In space. Turns out it's Bulldog from Station KACL. Oh, I finally got that: it's Cackle. Nice one, 'Frasier'.

Anyway, Steth from Benthos is a thrill-a-minute test pilot dodging the Entaban po-po. For no Earthly reason I can imagine, Tom wants to run off with this dude instead of playing with B'Elanna's plasma manifolds.

OF COURSE, Steth is not all he seems. He's one of those anime characters with fluctuating gender, but hardly as benign as Ranma Saotome or Birdy Cephon. Reading up on Tom, he swaps lives with the dissatisfied helmsman, launching the unconscious grease monkey off in his discarded Benthan body.

While Steth with Tom's face gets down to some kissage with Torres, Steth-Tom meets up with a pissed-off Benthan cop who's been similarly body-jacked.

Bored, irresponsible and drunk, the identity thief threatens Torres and Seven before strangling the Captain. Tom and the cop chase "Janeway" down and, at last, the Doctor forces everyone to play nice and go back to their original sets of genitals.

"Vis a Vis", like many 'Voyager' episodes, was better when it was the 'Red Dwarf' episode, in this case, "Body Swap". Still, I have to hand it to Dan Butler and Robert Duncan McNeill, who play each other's characters quite well.

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