24 – Persistence of Vision

Grade: C-

Persistence Of Vision (1995) on IMDb


The ship is heading into Botha space, and Neelix wants to meet with Janeway to brief her about them. She cuts him off because she wants a status update on moving the Doctor to other parts of the ship. She is obviously agitated and needs to relax, so the Doctor orders her to the Holodeck to waste time in her Gothic holonovel.


Looking back on it now, this was one episode that audiences seemed to like. I don’t remember if I liked it or not when I saw it back in 1995. But I didn’t like it much when I saw it today. For one thing, I’m not at all a fan of Janeway’s Gothic holonovel. I’m pretty certain it’s based on Jane Eyre, but the names of the characters are different. All I know is that the Janeway version is boring and useless, and I don’t think it does much for her character.

One thing bothered me right off the bat in this episode. Janeway seems to be acting short with people just because it’s in the script that way. She’s obviously a micromanager, and I think we’ve seen plenty of evidence of that during this series so far. But for her to not discuss this new species with Neelix until the very last second just so she can get a status update on moving the Doctor to other parts of the ship just seems out of character, even for a control freak like Janeway. But even when she knows the ship is rapidly approaching Botha space, she still decides to put it off so she can pretend to be a governess to a couple of spoiled kids. It’s just weird.

(Speaking of the aliens, maybe it was just me, but I thought they said “Botha space” at the beginning of the episode, but after a few minutes, it became “Bothan space”.)

Actually, when it becomes obvious that she’s in no shape to command the ship, she tells Chakotay everything that’s going on, including trying to allow the Doctor to visit more of the ship than just Sickbay and the Holodeck. Then she follows that up with “it’s probably not a priority, now”. Oh really, you don’t think so? You’re under attack by this strange alien – of course it’s not a priority to make sure the Doctor can leave Sickbay.

Here’s something that just hit me. They’re trying to see if they can get the Doctor to show up in other parts of the ship. But the Doctor really is a computer program. Who says there can only be one Doctor on the ship? Assuming his program is installed on Voyager’s computer network, shouldn’t the program be accessible anywhere that there is a computer terminal? So theoretically, couldn’t they have a Doctor in every room? OK, sorry, I digress again.

Anyway, everyone eventually starts seeing hallucinations of people from their past and they can no longer focus on what’s really going on. Only the Doctor is immune to this alien’s attack. Kes starts to have some hallucinations, but eventually she’s strong enough to overcome them and they think they’ve captured the alien. So I’m wondering what the big payoff is going to be, and it turns out to be a big fat nothing. The alien disappears, and so do the ships. Obviously, the alien was a hallucination and he “wasn’t really here”, but apparently neither were the ships. The damage to Voyager and the shields seemed real enough, but was that all an illusion too? And can we safely assume that Voyager can cross Bothan space now without any more problems?

I think it’s safe to assume that creating hallucinations is how they protect their territory. But the episode has no resolution whatsoever. Once the alien left, I felt I had wasted my time. There are too many unanswered questions for me to rate this episode very high. Do yourself a favor and skip this one entirely.

Of Note

This is the last time we see Janeway waste time on the Holodeck with this ridiculous Gothic novel. Thank goodness.

In the Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma mentions the Bothans, but obviously this is a completely different alien.