"Worst Case Scenario"

Season Three, Episode 25
Written by Kenneth Biller
Directed by Alex Singer
Main Cast:
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran as Chakotay
Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
Jennifer Lien as Kes
Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips as Neelix
Robert Picardo as The Doctor
Tim Russ as Tuvok
Garrett Wang as Harry Kim

Guest Cast:
Martha Hackett as Seska 


Suspicion and animosity run rampant when members of the crew discover a secret holodeck depicting Seska and the Maquis leading an insurrection and seizing control of Voyager. Soon everyone wants a part in the program.


I'm running behind with my reviews, so this one will be short but (reasonably) sweet. I rather liked Worst Case Scenario, but as seems par for the course on Voyager, there are some quite substantial problems with the plot.

Basically the whole thing is a gimmick to bring back arch-villain Seska (evidently the writers regret killing her off, but thank goodness we're finally rid of the Kazon). I never found Seska to be one of my favourite Trek villains, partly because she had no real motives and partly because Martha Hackett played her like a cartoon character. But I have no real problem with her resurrection here, although I wasn't particularly moved one way or the other. Seska's involvement in the plot is fairly superficial and perhaps even unnecessary, but I'm easy on this one.

The whole premise crumbles bears some scrutinty, I'm afraid. It's nice to see some acknowledgement of the old Starfleet/Maquis conflict that was regrettably laid to rest some three episodes into the series, but why in the Prophet's name would Tuvok go to all the trouble of creating a holodeck program to deal with possible Maquis dissenscion? If he had his suspiscions they surely he ought to have been doing what a security officer ought to do and trying to sort out the trouble -- and yet he goes off and writes a holodeck program (which surely must take some doing)? How odd. Even odder is Seska's involvement. She discovers his unfinished program and decides to put an end to it which makes it impossible for whoever uses the program to survive. Why?! What conceivable purpose would she possibly do that for? And is everyone on board the ship a master at writing holo-novels? Is Seska a computer genius? How did she manage to make the thing so infallable? And why was it so easy for Janeway to re-write the program at the mere flick of a console?

The more I think about it the more my head starts to hurt, and the more I realise that the entire episode is built on an exceptionally shaky premise and in all logic ought not have taken place at all. But mercifully it's an enjoyable romp, with enough dramatic flair and sprinkling of wit to partially overcome it's inate silliness. Paris is a likeable screen presence and his banter with Tuvok was fun. Oh, and note his reaction to the name of the holo-novel ("Insurrection Alpha") -- I was thinking of Star Trek: Insurrection! "First thing we gotta do is change that title!" ;-).

Whether or not good execution overcomes a bad plot is a matter open for debate, but whilst not exactly a masterpiece, Worst Case Scenario is definitely better than the sum of its plot.

Rating: 7

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