Star Trek: Voyager (1995): S02E08 – Persistence of Vision


Introduction

“Persistence of Vision” is the 24th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the eighth episode in the second season.

This science fiction television episode, part of the Star Trek franchise, is several hundred years in the future in Earth’s galaxy.

In this episode, the ship’s captain is revealed to be quite stressed and takes some to time to relax in the holodeck. But her experience, in a way typical of this franchise, explores illusion and reality aboard a spaceship encountering unknown aliens.

Outline

As Voyager readies for a potentially dangerous encounter with the Botha, the Doctor orders an exhausted Captain Janeway to take some “R&R” in the holodeck. Janeway tries to get into her favourite holonovel, a story in the fashion of Jane Eyre, but before long, she is called back to the Bridge for first contact with the Botha. The Botha representative gives the crew a chilly reception, but sets up a rendezvous to determine whether or not they will allow Voyager to pass through their space. Aboard Voyager, Captain Janeway starts seeing characters and objects from her holonovel. Later, Janeway thinks she sees Beatrice, the little girl from her holonovel, in one of the ship’s corridors. Unable to attribute Beatrice’s appearance to experiments the crew is performing on Voyager’s imaging systems, Janeway wonders if she’s seeing things.

Janeway goes to see Neelix to review her routine and see if anything she saw was real. She reviews the lunch menu, and ends with cucumber-sandwiches with fine china tea-cups. Neelix points out that there wasn’t any cucumber-sandwich as she recalled or fine china tea-cups. Janeway goes to sick-bay and The Doctor can not find a single thing wrong with her brain. After Kes is asked to get a medical tool for the Doctor, Janeway sees Beatrice and then Kes sees Beatrice, too (But Beatrice is transparent to her). The Doctor orders Janeway to her quarters for rest until he can determine the source of this event. Later, after Janeway hears the voice of her fiancé, Mark from Earth, she’s attacked with a knife by Mrs. Templeton, another holonovel character, cutting her hand in the palm. Again, Kes confirms the event, only for it to be a hallucination while Janeway is still in sick-bay from the previous scene.

Janeway puts Chakotay in charge of meeting with the Botha while she undergoes medical testing. Once again, the alien representative is hostile and this time, his ship engages the crew in a battle, damaging Voyager. Leaving Sickbay, Janeway races to the Bridge, where the Bothan is on the viewscreen. Soon afterwards, the crew begins entering a catatonic state one-by-one, with only Kes and the Doctor remaining unaffected. She is stunned to see it is Mark, at least, that is how it looks to her. However, on the same viewscreen, Tom Paris sees his disparaging father, Admiral Paris (not the same actor who plays Admiral Paris in later episodes); Harry Kim sees his girlfriend Libby; and Tuvok sees his wife T’Pel. Each having separate visions based on each of their perspective characters.

B’Elanna Torres contacts Janeway from Engineering and reports that the crew seems to have fallen under some kind of psychoactive trance, the result of a bio-electric field emanating from the Botha ship. Chakotay arrives to aid Torres, but communications seem down. Nonetheless, even as she begins working on a way to block the field, she falls prey to its spell: Chakotay and her in a romantic embrace. On the Bridge, Paris finally succumbs to the trance and Janeway heads to deck 11, seeing Chakotay entranced in the turbo-lift. As Janeway’s illusion of Mark kisses her, she becomes a victim as well, and can no longer move freely.

Kes and the Doctor are all that remain of the crew. Kes, whose telepathic abilities allow her to resist the field, and the Doctor are left to block the mysterious force that is disabling the ship, and help the others to stop the psionic-field causing this. Kes realises that she is slowly being affected by this illusion when Paris tries to keep her from Engineering. Kes calls the Doctor and informs him of the situation. Neelix arrives, but Kes sees he is also an hallucination when he tries to stop her. She resists and manages to complete Torres’ work, which restores the crew to normal.

A telepathic Botha confesses to having caused the disturbance, simply because he could. But he disappears before they can confront him further. As they continue on their way, the crew reflects uneasily about what is lurking in the subconscious corridors of their minds.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): James L. Conway.
  • Writer(s): Jeri Taylor.
  • Release Date: 30 October 1995.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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