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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 3 E 4 "The Swarm"

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"Captain, the swarm of ships has powered their engines and turned toward us. They are in pursuit."
The Doctor begins losing his memories. Voyager crosses the territory of a mysterious and hostile species.

This episode has the following examples:

  • 2-D Space: Voyager is confronted with a vast swath of hostile territory that would take too long to go around lengthwise, so they shoot straight through the narrowest point and hope no-one notices. Simply going around it on the z axis at said narrow point is never considered.
  • Agony Beam: The handweapons used by Swarm soldiers have this effect, though they also cause death.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted; the Universal Translator doesn't work with the aliens language.
  • All Up to You: As the Swarm are closing on Voyager, Kes calls the bridge to ask if someone can help with the Doctor, but Captain Janeway needs everyone at their battle stations. So Kes has to convince the Diagnostic Program to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Antagonist Title
  • Attack Backfire: Voyager tries to deter the Swarm with a phaser sweep, only for them to send a pulse back along the beam.
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  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Evasive pattern Gamma Four. Programme Zimmerman Alpha One.
  • Bee People / Absolute Xenophobe: The titular swarm.
  • Call-Back: Some of the memories Kes talks over with the Doctor include him rubbing her feet, falling in love, and when he was first activated.
  • Came Back Wrong: After the repairs, the Doctor appears to have gone through a factory reset. Then he begins humming music, suggesting he'll get better.
  • Captain's Log: Tom Paris opens the episode with his Helmsman's Log while piloting a shuttle.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Paris gets shot down when he invites B'Elanna out for a holo-date.
  • The Cast Show Off: Robert Picardo singing opera.
  • Descriptively-Named Species: The Swarm. They're so xenophobic that no-one knows what they call themselves.
  • The Determinator: Kes and Janeway.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Doctor's memory degrade gives him symptoms similar to Alzheimer's Disease.
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  • Due to the Dead: Janeway promises the dying captain she'll contact his planet and let them know what happened.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "The Swarm" features...a swarm.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional
    EMH: I assure you I have studied the finest recordings of this opera. Caruso and Galli-Curci, Pavarotti and Freni, Sural and T'Pena of Vulcan.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Tom's interest in who B'Elanna is dating, and her reaction to that interest.
    • This won't be the last time Janeway will take Voyager across hostile alien territory rather than go around.
    • The Doctor's search for a suitable singing partner, which will be found in Seven of Nine.
    • The Swarm were the first of a series of highly Xenophobic alien races Voyager encounters. This was meant as a hint that they were approaching Borg Territory.
  • Fusion Dance: Between The Doctor and The Diagnostic Program. All it simply does is stabilize The Doctor's program.
  • Hard Light: The Doctor is shown sterilizing his hands for an operation, which you'd think would be unnecessary for a hologram.
  • Have You Tried Rebooting?: Averted as that would destroy the Doctor's Character Development.
  • Holosexual: The Diagnostic Program is surprised to find that the Doctor has had relations with women. Although in this case 'relations' isn't a sexual reference (at least not yet).
  • Hypocritical Humor
    • The Doctor finds the diva an Insufferable Genius. "I can't believe anyone could act that way."
    • The holodeck diva telling the Doctor that singing with him is like singing with a computer.
    • The Doctor complains of B'Elanna's bedside manner; she calls him out on this.
    • The Diagnostic Program is shocked that the Doctor would waste his time on relationships with women, but can't resist asking his identical twin: "Do they find you attractive?"
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: The Diagnostic Program keeps up the tradition.
    • "I have pointed out over and over; I am a diagnostic tool, not an engineer."
    • "It wasn't programmed to be a tenor, it was programmed to be a physician!"
  • I'm Standing Right Here / "It" Is Dehumanizing: The Diagnostic Program to the Doctor.
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted; Voyager had gone to pick up supplies while sending Tom and B'Elanna to go exploring some strange sensor readings.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Swarm just want to be left alone, yet aliens keep trip-trapping across their territory. Is it any surprise they've got attitude problems?
  • Just a Machine: The Doctor encounters this from another hologram, to his annoyance.
  • Keystone Army: Ensign Kim sends a feedback loop pulse to the Swarm, causing most of the ships attached to Voyager to be destroyed.
  • Loss of Identity: Reinitializing the Doctor is effectively wiping his program to factory settings. Though the ending hints it's not permanent.
  • The Nameless: The aliens. The Doctor's lack of a name also causes him confusion.
  • The Needs of the Many: When the Doctor learns that the best way to stop him from degrading is to reset him and destroy his identity in the process, he agrees to it if it serves the best interests of the crew. Kes, however, encourages him to Take a Third Option.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Reinitializing the Doctor means resetting him to his personality in "Caretaker". No-one's made a backup since then? Also, merging the Diagnostic Program into the Doctor will effectively destroy it. No one even suggests making a copy of it first.
  • Oblivious Mockery / Tomato in the Mirror: "It's like singing with a computer!"
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Doctor finds himself forgetting things, which as a computer program should be impossible.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: The diagnostic program is based off the same man as the Doctor. The three seasons of character development the Doctor has had make their personalities quite different.
  • Plot Hole: When Janeway does some Techno Babble to save Voyager, she orders the shields adjusted to protect them from the blast, but the shields were already down to zero.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Swarm doesn't seem to grasp that their language is difficult to interpret or bother to intercept ships at their "borders" to attempt to explain anything to them peacefully. Sure enough, Voyager wasn't the only ship to misunderstand and enter their territory. However...
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Voyager straight-up invades the territory of a civilization who have made it abundantly clear they want nothing to do with outsiders, in the process killing a number of them for (from the Swarm's point of view) defending themselves. Except for Tuvok, who points out that doing so violates Starfleet protocol (and is visibly uncomfortable when they engage them in battle), nobody has any problem with this. Janeway, previously portrayed as a stickler for the rules, calmly declares that they're not going to be delayed by "a bunch of bullies", as if that somehow justifies their actions.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Tuvok points out that trespassing across a species territory without their permission is against Starfleet regulations. Janeway doesn't care.
  • Ship Tease: Tom tries to coax details of B'Elanna's relationship with Freddy Bristow, who apparently has a crush on her. B'Elanna rejects the idea that she's interested in him, but when Tom suggests a romantic holodeck program with him instead B'Elanna shoots Tom down.
  • Shout-Out: The duet the Doctor and his diva are attempting is "O, soave fanciulla", from La Bohème. When his singing partner proves difficult, the Doctor threatens to use Maria Callas instead.
  • Smooch of Victory: Kes kisses the Doctor on the cheek after convincing Captain Janeway to find alternate solutions to reinitializing him.
  • So Much for Stealth: After sneaking past the Swarm, Voyager encounters a solitary ship still attached to the destroyed spacecraft. It fires a pulse that disrupts their stealth shielding.
  • Species of Hats: The Swarm are a vast xenophobic...swarm.
  • Split-Personality Merge / Mental Fusion: The Doctor is cured by 'grafting' the Diagnostic Program on his own.
  • The Swarm: Voyager is swamped by thousands of small ships.
  • We Warned You: When Voyager is attacked, the only intelligible message from the aliens is that they'd been warned to stay away.