"Vis a Vis"

Season Four, Episode 20
Written by Robert J Dougherty
Directed by Jesus Salvador Trevino
Main Cast:
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran as Chakotay
Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips as Neelix
Robert Picardo as The Doctor
Tim Russ as Tuvok
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
Garrett Wang as Harry Kim

Guest Cast:
Dan Butler as Steth


Paris is replaced by a body-swapping alien.


Here's a recipe they forgot to include in the Trek Cookbook. It's the recipe for Vis a Vis...

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes and hope that everyone is still watching by the time it's ready to come out the oven. The end result? Something very dull indeed. It's not that this is a horribly bad episode, it's just that it's simply not very interesting. The alien possession plot is as old as time itself and is helped little by the frankly ridiculous theory that this alien "exchanges DNA", thus swapping bodies. Oh, puh-lease! The plot is not only cliched, obvious and lacklustre, but it's extremely boring and I repeatedly found my concentration drifting.

Vis a Vis highlights the problem with the character of Paris. I like Paris and I like Robert Duncan McNeill, who is an amiable presence on the show. But the thing is, he's a one-note character with very little dimension or depth. There's very little to Paris besides being the wise-cracking, happy-go-lucky pilot and I don't think the role is meaty enough to hold the spotlight. Similarly the Paris/B'Elanna relationship is cute but has little depth or resonance and thus doesn't do all that much for me. I blame the writers, who seem unable to dig below the surface of these characters to provide the necessary dimension. It's not just Paris I feel this way about, it's actually several of the principal characters. Ah well.

It took the plot an almightly long time to get going and even once it did, things played out very routinely. Robert Duncan McNeill was generally fine, although I wasn't quite convinced by his turn as Steth -- his performance didn't quite seem to correlate with Dan Butler's. On the other hand, Butler (who plays Bulldog in Frasier) was terrific as Paris and had obviously been carefully studying McNeill's work. Two other notes -- first of all, they're not doing a very good job hiding Roxann Dawson's pregnancy, are they? This isn't the first time I've noticed her rounded belly, either. And didn't Ensign Kaplan die in last season's Unity? I'm sure she did. Voyager has never been renowned for it's continuity but resurrecting dead crewmembers is just the pits. Overall, a dull, dull, dull episode. Don't make this recipe at home, kids.

Rating: 4

What did you think of this review? Why not share your thoughts by MAILING ME? All feedback is gratefully appreciated (and, yes, I can take criticism but keep it friendly, OK! :-))

Disclaimer For the record, I acknowledge that Paramount Pictures/Viacom owns all rights to "Star Trek" and this site is here not to infringe on this copyright, but to support and promote interest in the show/s. Yadda yadda yadda.
All reviews on this site are copyright and are not to be re-produced or re-used without prior consent of the author.

Back to Voyager IndexBack to Home / TNG Reviews / DS9 Reviews