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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 2 E 19 Lifesigns

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"Romance is not a malfunction."
Voyager rescues a Vidiian woman on the verge of death, so to prolong her life the Doctor downloads her into a holographic body. She turns out to be a doctor called Denara Pel, and the Doctor finds himself struggling with an attraction to his patient.
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Meanwhile, Tom Paris takes another level in jerkass, with consequences...


This episode provides examples of:

  • Almost Kiss: Averted; the Doctor and Denara share a kiss on their 'date' in the holodeck in the car.
  • Anachronism Stew: Tom Paris lends the Doctor his holodeck program involving a '57 Chevy overlooking a city on Mars. That's right, it's a Make-Out Point IN SPACE!
  • Badass Boast: The Doctor can't help showing off to a fellow doctor.
    Denara: Your technique is very impressive.
    EMH: It's all part of my programming. For example, this exact procedure was developed by Doctor Leonard McCoy in the year 2253. I'm equipped with the collective medical knowledge of more than 3000 cultures. Additionally, as you see here, my imaging system allows me to perform, and in many cases improve upon, the most delicate tactile manoeuvres required by a dizzying array of surgical procedures.
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  • Birds of a Feather: Denara and the Doctor are both in the medical profession, and socially isolated.
  • Call-Back:
    • To the events of "Faces", when the Doctor has to convince a furious B'Elanna to donate some of her brain tissue.
    • The Doctor uses a technique developed by Dr McCoy from Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Captain's Log: The Doctor starts his personal log.
  • The Comically Serious
    EMH: I was activated on Stardate 48308. Since that time I've performed three hundred and forty seven medical exams, healed eleven compound fractures, performed three appendectomies, and in my greatest feat of medical prowess, I once cured Mister Neelix of an acute case of the hiccups.
    Denara: You're very funny.
    EMH: I am? Well, several clinical studies have shown humour to be very therapeutic. Consider it part of your treatment.
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  • Cringe Comedy: Acting on Kes' advice, The Doctor straight up asking Denara, in the middle of a surgical procedure, mind you, if she shares his romantic feelings. Kes nearly shits a brick.
  • Dance of Romance: Despite the Doctor protesting that he's not programmed for romance, the episode ends with him dancing with Phage-infected Denara.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Although their relationship appears to be mostly platonic, in "Message in a Bottle" the Doctor boasts of having sex, but doesn't say with who. This episode and "Real Life" (when the Doctor creates a holographic family) are the only candidates. Certainly Denara Pel would be well motivated; she's had the Phage since she was a child, so this may be her first and only chance to have sex before she dies.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Denara basically attempts to euthanize herself by sabotaging the Doctor's treatment so that she won't have to 'go back' to her real body.
  • Dr. Jerk: It's unconscious on the part of the Doctor, but his bedside manner still needs some work.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jonas may have no problems with feeding information to the Kazon, but he's not so thrilled about sabotaging Voyager.
  • Face Palm: Kes basically does this when the Doctor bluntly admits his feelings to Denara.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: The Doctor and Denara fall for each other while the Doctor is trying to treat her disease.
  • Foreshadowing
    • For the next episode "Investigations", as Jonas finally makes contact with Seska, who wants him to sabotage the ship. Tom Paris decks Chakotay, leading to his decision to leave Voyager voluntarily rather than face court martial.
    • Tom Paris jokes that he was delivering Ensign Wildman's baby, which will happen for real in "Deadlock".
  • Holding Hands: More significant for Denara than the Doctor, as physical contact with a Phage victim is frowned on in Vidiian society.
  • I Can't Dance: But at the end of the episode, they do (the Doctor states that he added the necessary subroutines to his program).
  • Married to the Job: When Denara asks the Doctor about his life, all he has to boast about is a list of surgical procedures he has performed — there is nothing personal about his program and nothing that he does for pleasure. This changes a good deal in the future.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Inverted.
  • Mythology Gag: The Doctor cites Leonard McCoy as one of his many medical reference sources. Presumably that's where he picked up his habit of saying "I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder".
  • The Nameless: Denara feels she has to call the Doctor something, so she names him after her Cool Uncle Schmulus.
  • No Social Skills: Kes advises the Doctor to tell Denara of his feelings. So he casually drops the bombshell in the middle of an operation.
  • Not a Date: Are you sure, Doctor?
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Averted for once. Denara specifies that she's a hematologist.
  • Out Of The Shadows Reveal: Denara walking into Sandrines after she's been put back in her diseased body. The Doctor isn't fazed in the least.
  • Series Continuity Error: Denara says the Phage has been infecting her people for hundreds of years, whereas in "The Phage" it was stated to be a couple of millennia.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kes is having a grand old time watching the Doctor experience first love, and Tom Paris offers his own support.
  • Showing Off the New Body: A non-sexual version.
  • Team Mom: Averted; knowing Captain Janeway has made a pet project of Tom Paris' rehabilitation, Chakotay speaks to Janeway first before disciplining him, and is surprised when she refuses to get involved.
  • Tears of Joy: Denara's first reaction to her whole, unblemished reflection is to sob; she never expected to see a reflection of a healthy face again.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The Doctor goes to Tom Paris for advice after Denara apparently rejects him.
    EMH: Mr, Paris, I assume you have a great deal of experience being rejected by women.
  • Two-Faced: So Denara Pel can be a Cute Monster Girl as well as The Grotesque.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Kes finds the Doctor running a diagnostic on his systems, trying to find out what's wrong with him.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The show depicts a healthy Vidiian for the first time, albeit through a holographic recreation.
  • Worldbuilding: A more sympathetic look at the Vidiians.

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