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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 2 E 13 "Prototype"

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Last time we had robots of this quality, the only Doctor was William Hartnell.

B'Elanna Torres helps bring a sentient android back to life, but then is forced to help bring a prototype android to life while others of its kind are fighting an ongoing war with another group of androids.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Tom Paris can only save B'Elanna by entering a gap in the forcefield blasted by the Cravic warship while it is still firing, meaning Tom is putting his shuttle in the line of fire.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Because the Builders tried to deactivate them after the war, the robots destroyed them as an 'enemy', then went right back to attacking each other.
  • Affably Evil: The Automated Units are always polite.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Janeway refuses permission to help the androids build more of themselves, as it would violate the Prime Directive and have unknown consequences for the region. For once, the Prime Directive is shown to be right.
  • Always Save the Girl: Tom is recklessly eager to charge in and save B'Elanna. There's no Rescue Romance, though the two do eventually start a relationship two seasons later.
  • Asteroid Miners: Given a nod when Unit 3947 says he was doing this when damaged.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: In the battle with the Pralor ship, Tom tries Evasive Pattern Omega Six, then Theta One. Neither does much good.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Because B'Elanna saved Unit 3947, he feels indebted to her and bonds with her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: B'Elanna is rescued and the robots are left to fight their war without the ability to reproduce. However, even though she knows she did the right thing, B'Elanna can't help but be upset at having to destroy a unique and innocent life form she'd helped to create.
  • Broken Record: "Prototype Unit 0001 is ready to accept programming". Justified, as it's a newly-built android and literally doesn't know anything else.
  • Captain's Log: B'Elanna does a supplementary entry in her Chief Engineer's Log.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tuvok warns that activating an unknown android is a bad idea. Janeway warns B'Elanna that there could be unforeseen consequences in letting them reproduce.
  • Chrome Champion: The Pralor androids. The Cravic androids are gold.
  • Computer Voice: The Automated Units always speak in a polite human-sounding tone.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Janeway says that helping the robots to reproduce themselves would be like altering their genetic code, a reference to Starfleet's ban on genetic engineering as a result of the Eugenics Wars.
    • B'Elanna mentions Data from The Next Generation as an android that she knows of in Starfleet.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After B'Elanna is kidnapped, Voyager tries to free her by force, only to be easily defeated by the Pralor vessel. If B'Elanna hadn't agreed to help them, Voyager would have been destroyed.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The P.O.V. Cam opening. Apparently the android and others like it are only capable of seeing things in monochrome.
  • Do Androids Dream?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When B'Elanna and 3947 successfully create Prototype 0001, B'Elanna says, "You're a father!"
  • Facial Dialogue: Janeway pulls a You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! expression when their Hyperspeed Escape is foiled by the warp engines going offline right at that moment.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The ease with which the Pralor vessel defeats Voyager implies that it is a warship. Likewise the androids all working via different power systems turns out to be a built-in flaw to prevent them copying themselves.
    • Chakotay suggests as a diversion an Old Maquis Trick™ where they project a holographic image of another spacecraft. They end up using this trick in "Basics, Part One".
  • Genre Blindness: Pity Tom Paris hadn't introduced B'Elanna to monster movies yet. She would have known that your creations often suffer from a singular lack of gratitude.
  • Gloved Fist of Doom: Unit 3947 clenches a fist when talking of how they will defeat the Cravic units. As the emotionless android lacks the Large Ham associated with such evil ranting, it looks a bit narm.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The robots were programmed to fight to complete victory, so when their creators tried to end the war peacefully, they killed them, and went right on fighting each other for years.
  • Hand Blast: 3947 can shoot lightning bolts from its hand, as an unfortunate Red Shirt discovers.
  • Hyperspeed Escape / Run or Die: As Voyager doesn't have the firepower to defeat the Pralor ship, the androids know that they have until the crew repairs her warp drive before Janeway will attempt a rescue.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: At the end of the episode, Janeway empathises with B'Elanna having to destroy her own creation. B'Elanna can only say stoically, "It was necessary."
  • I Gave My Word
    Unit 6263: We will remain on full tactical alert. The humanoid may purposefully attempt to delay completion of the prototype, hoping she will be rescued.
    Torres: I don't know if a promise means anything to you people, but it does to us. I gave you my word that I'd do my best, and I will.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder
    The Doctor: I shouldn't have to remind you I'm a doctor, not—
    B'Elanna: —not an engineer.
  • Klatchian Coffee: Neelix's "Landras blend".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Unit 3947 doesn't remember how he was damaged.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Voyager leaves the two android ships fighting with each other when they rescue B'Elanna.
  • Literal-Minded: When B'Elanna tells 3947 to cross his fingers, he does so.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Averted; B'Elanna is not allowed to access critical computer systems, and 3947 remains in the room to keep an eye on her.
  • Loafing in Full Costume: Averted with B'Elanna's pajamas.
  • Must Have Caffeine: B'Elanna tries to drink as much coffee as she could, but Neelix ends up cutting her off after two pots.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • B'Elanna realizes that the androids were given incompatible energy codes for a reason, and that by creating an android with an energy code that could be replicated across multiple copies of itself, it would change the war in the favor of the Pralor androids. Then she says the trope name verbatim.
    • And again at the end, when B'Elanna has to destroy the android that she created.
  • Offing the Offspring: Well, prototype, but still. B'Elanna feels it necessary to destroy what she created just a few minutes ago. It certainly doesn't help her case when it repeats its prototype number and requests programming from its creator. B'Elanna even sounds like a woman who was forced to kill her own child.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Stumped by her inability to revive Unit 3947, B'Elanna goes to the Doctor to talk through the problem as if the robot is a patient. This enables her to think of an option that she hadn't considered before.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: A non-lethal example of B'Elanna being carried off by the android via the transporter in this fashion.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Averted; B'Elanna can't just plug an EPS conduit into the damaged robot. Later she discovers that every power module has a different output, though she fails to ask herself why. Turns out the Builders didn't want their creations multiplying out of control (not that it did them much good).
  • P.O.V. Cam: At the beginning of the episode, which then leads to a Reveal Shot of whose eyes we're seeing through.
  • Precursors: The Builders, whom it turns out the robots made extinct.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Averted hard by the automated units, who terminated their creators in order to continue their own existence.
  • Radio Voice: The voices of the Voyager crew during the P.O.V. Cam scene.
  • Robot War: Said almost verbatim by Janeway, when a second group of androids shows up to attack the first.
    Janeway: Have we stumbled into the middle of some kind of... robotic war?
  • "Second Law" My Ass!: When both sides tried to deactivate their robot armies after making peace, they became the robots' enemy and were destroyed accordingly.
  • Scotty Time: A straight example, but more reasonable than most.
    Kim: How does 72 hours sound?
    Janeway: About 24 hours too long.
  • Shock and Awe: The android zaps B'elanna with an electric shock before kidnapping her through the transporter. He also incapacitates or kills the person working the transporter before he leaves the ship with B'Elanna.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Looks like Chakotay hasn't quite gotten over the resentment of Tom Paris that we saw in the pilot episode.
    Paris: I don't need a diversion. Just give me a chance, I'll get her out of there.
    Chakotay: You don't mind if the rest of us give you a little help, do you, Paris? I'd hate to lose another shuttle.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Averted; Unit 3947 grabs B'Elanna by both arms, and presumably has greater strength anyway.
  • Technobabble: Loads, with all the Gadgeteer Genius work going on.
    Torres: I could modify a series of anodyne relays, attach them directly to the robot's power module. They could act as a sort of regulator to make the warp plasma compatible with the robot's energy matrix! (rushes out)
    EMH: That's exactly what I was going to suggest.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Pralor and Cravic androids turned against their creators when both races called for a truce that ended the war between them.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Chakotay suggests using a holographic distraction against the Pralor androids. In this case, they don't get a chance to try this before the Cravic androids arrive.
  • Villainous Demotivator: Designated Command Unit 6263 tells B'Elanna that if she doesn't succeed, she will be killed and Voyager destroyed.
  • We Have Reserves: What the Pralor robots are planning to achieve by 'reproducing', so they can overwhelm the Cravic units by force of numbers.
  • We Need a Diversion for Tom Paris taking in a shuttle to rescue B'Elanna. While the senior officers are still making plans, the Cravic vessel turns up and starts firing on the Pralor, providing the diversion they need.
  • Wham Line: "We terminated the builders." This is when B'Elanna learns that the robots Turned Against Their Masters so they could continue fighting the war that they started.
  • Workaholic: B'Elanna ignores repeated suggestions that she sleep on the problem of how to fix 3947.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • The Doctor is surprised that B'Elanna refers to the android as 'dying'.
    • B'Elanna says that there would be no Prime Directive issue if a species that went sterile asked for their help. However, Janeway points out that they'd just be restoring an ability that they previously had.
    • When 3947 asks if the other robots in the Federation are their servants, B'Elanna hastens to point out that they're not sentient, and Data has full rights.
  • You Are Number 6: Being identical androids, the Pralor and Cravic robots are only known by their function and ID numbers.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Both the Pralor and Cravic androids figured that their builders would pull this on them when the war ended, so they Turned Against Their Masters and continued the war.