82 – Message in a Bottle

Grade: B

Message In A Bottle (1998) on IMDb


Seven of Nine detects a Federation ship at the very end of a huge communications array. The array spans 60,000 LY and extends well into the Alpha Quadrant. They try several times to send a message to the Federation ship, but the signal degrades too quickly. So they decide to send the Doctor instead.

When the Doctor arrives on the USS Promethus, he finds out that the ship has been taken over by Romulans, who would like the prototypical starship for themselves. He ends up teaming up with the EMH on this ship to help prevent it from falling into the enemy’s hands. Along the way, there are a lot of funny moments.


When I first heard that Andy Dick would be starring in this episode, I was afraid it might become a big fiasco. But in reality, this actually was a pretty funny episode. The EMH holograms have a pretty good chemistry together, and the storyline is fun to watch.

In all honesty, by the time this episode ended, I was hoping for a little more. I think it would have been great if this had been just the first of a two-part episode, but I don’t think Brannon Braga liked two-part shows. At least it didn’t seem that way.

I was really hoping to see how Starfleet reacted to the Voyager EMH. Did they believe him right from the start? Did they think it was some kind of trick? How did they verify that he really was Voyager’s EMH? What news did they share with him? Did they give him any computer upgrades to send back to Voyager? How did the family members of Voyager’s crew react when they finally had evidence that the ship has survived? There really is a lot they could have done with a second half of this episode, but I guess we’re stuck with the Doctor’s brief summary.

One thing bothers me, though – especially in light of a later episode called “Nothing Human.” In this episode, Tom and Harry try to re-create another EMH for Voyager, and they can’t get anything right, despite all their efforts. However in Nothing Human, they create a new doctor in about 10 minutes while B’Elanna is dying on an operating table. The inconsistency of these stories is very annoying. It makes it hard for a viewer to keep up.

So overall, it’s a fun episode, but it could have been a little better. This may end up in the top 100 of Star Trek episodes of all time, but I haven’t added all the DS9 episodes yet.

Of Note

I liked it that they mentioned the war with the Dominion and that Doc doesn’t know anything about it.