My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E11 “Concerning Flight”
They really like starting things off in the holodeck. Still, John Rhys-Davies as Leonardo Da Vinci is excellent and his being mocked because his flying machine didn’t work is amusing. Janeway’s pep talk about perseverance is less so.
The main plot appears to be about aliens shoplifting Voyager’s tech. They track it down and discover Leonardo has escaped the holodeck. His interactions with the 24th century are charming. After navigating the black market for a while, James T. Kirk gets name-dropped. Nice!
I enjoyed watching Leonardo’s philosophical conversations with Janeway but now I’m wondering how exactly it works that this holodeck character is out and acting fully sapient when that took the Doctor years. It’s one of those things it’s best not to question too deeply. And yet if we can casually whip up self-aware beings for holodeck games, isn’t that slavery? With Minuet it required an upgrade. When it happened with Moriarty it was portrayed as a fluke. If it happens as a matter of course there are ethical questions to ponder and address. Is that coming in Picard Season Three?
Leonardo’s clever thought to enter the warehouse isn’t really so clever. But as he starts to process new knowledge he’s buzzing with curiosity and bursting with questions. He basically gets “because I said so” from Janeway. This would be the perfect place to invoke Clarke’s Third Law. A missed opportunity.
Leonardo is undeniably self-aware and continues the rapid-fire questioning. He gets “your mind is too small” from Janeway. That doesn’t fit what we see. They flee and use Leonardo’s too-conveniently-located hang glider to escape. The moment they take flight is surprisingly moving, and the wrap-up is a nice character moment for the holographic artist. It’s a delightful episode if you can ignore the dumb premise and it begs for a sequel. What could Leonardo accomplish if he could run wild in the 24th century? How about the ethical questions? I bet Trek will mash the reset button way too hard.
Images used under the fair use doctrine.