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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 5 E 24 Warhead

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"Oh, look, an unidentified weapon! Let's bring it aboard! What's the worst that can happen?"

We're going to find a way to outsmart a smart bomb.
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The Doctor has a weapon beamed on board Voyager and its programming takes over his holomatrix in order to force the ship to reach its designated target.


This episode provides examples of

  • Aesop Amnesia: Apparently, no one on the crew remembers what happened the last time they brought an unidentified AI aboard the ship.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In his first attempt to talk down the warhead, Harry gives examples of all the things the Doctor does without having been programmed, such as making friends, singing, etcetera. The warhead deflates this by asking "despite all his accomplishments, did he ever stop being a doctor?"
  • Artistic License – Ships: Space doesn't have a night. While it's possible that a 'night' shift would be used for a mostly human crew who evolved on a planet with day and night, such a shift would be fully manned because there would be no reason why you'd be any less likely to have a crisis, unless Voyager came to a dead stop during the shift.
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  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Voyager encounters a group of sentient missiles who are initially mistaken as probes. One is taken aboard and reveals they are programmed to attack an inhabited planet. The crew attempts to dissuade them from their mission, appealing to their ability to think independently and realize that the war had ended. They only convince one warhead, which chooses to perform a Heroic Sacrifice by changing the definition of 'enemy'; instead of the planet, it now targets its fellow warheads. The friendly warhead lamented the fact that its first and only act of free will was deciding to kill itself.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: The Doctor's English and the warhead's beeping, a la C-3PO and R2-D2.
  • Bookends: The episode begins and ends with Harry Kim in command.
  • Bridge Bunnies: The beautiful blonde Ensign Jenkins. At the end of the episode she thanks Harry for saving their lives. Clueless to this opportunity for a Rescue Romance, Harry gallantly downplays his role.
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  • The Determinator: The warhead is programmed to achieve its mission at any cost.
  • Distress Call: The warhead crashes into a planet short of its target, and calls for help, setting off the plot.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Averted when Seven's nanoprobes don't work.
  • Does This Make Me Look Fat?: When the Doctor is informing the warhead that it's actually a machine.
    Doctor: Well...you're metallic, over a meter in length...cylindrical.
    Warhead: BOOP BOOP BOOP?
    Doctor: Oh, you're quite sleek, actually.
  • EMP: Fails to work on the warhead.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Series 5 Long-Range Tactical Armor Unit is so intelligent it's not only programmed, it's also fed with propaganda on its ruthless and hostile "enemy". Fortunately Harry is therefore able to reason with it.
    Harry: Ever since you took the Doctor's form you've been learning what it's like to be one of us. Now, try to imagine what it's like to be one of your victims! (points at Seven of Nine, unconscious on the biobed) Your first victim. You've seen her suffering. Increase that by a factor of one million—ten million!—and that's how much suffering you'll cause if you don't end this.
  • Ensign Newbie: Kim's command skills get a workout. When more than one person questions his "inexperience," he has to remind them that he's been on Voyager for five years now. (Not to mention that he's The Chew Toy.)
  • Expy:
    • The merchant alien is mostly a non-human expy of Harry Mudd from Star Trek: The Original Series, with matching mannerisms and vocal patterns, until he tries to mug Voyager and gets curbstomped by the weapon's AI.
    • The warhead and its mission of destruction also has some similarities with Nomad from the Original Series episode "The Changeling."
  • Fan of the Past: Tom has already used up his replicator advance making pork rinds for a B-Movie marathon.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Doctor is quick to dismiss any pragmatic concerns about storing an unknown alien device that later turns out to be a A.I. controlled weapon as this, treating it being equal to a living person.
  • Funny Background Event: The Facial Dialogue of the security ensign carrying the rear end of the warhead as the Doctor talks to it.
  • Get Out!: When Harry tries to talk down the warhead.
    Warhead: I have a duty to protect my people. I will not betray them. Now GET OUT before I'm forced to harm you!
  • Grand Theft Me: The warhead A.I., after it took over the Doctor's holomatrix and became a Talking Weapon.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The warhead A.I.
  • Heroic BSoD: Harry goes into one because he allowed the warhead to be brought aboard. B'Elanna snaps him out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The warhead detonates and destroys all its fellow warheads to keep them from reaching their target.
    "I am simply completing my mission. Only the target has changed."
  • Hostage Situation: The warhead threatens to detonate if Voyager doesn't transport it to the target. Eventually Janeway tells it that it might as well go ahead, because her ship blowing up in uninhabited space is preferable to delivering a nuclear bomb to a planet of millions.
  • I Am What I Am: Harry and Janeway try to assure the AI that they were only trying to remove its explosive component, but it can't see any difference between the two. "I am what I am!"
  • I Can't Feel My Legs: The Doctor is surprised that the crashed machine is communicating that it can't see, or feel its arms or legs.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: When the warhead arms itself it starts to beep at a high pitch and flash red instead of blue. Unfortunately it wasn't so obvious on the planet — Janeway and Seven only discover it's a weapon after locating a large crater in the planet's surface from the warhead's partner.
  • Identity Amnesia: The warhead has forgotten that it's even a machine. Unfortunately when its systems are rebooted, it remembers its mission, but not the order cancelling it.
  • Interstellar Weapon: The warp-capable warheads.
  • Irrevocable Order: Once one of the warheads gets close enough to its target, it cannot be diverted.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • After getting locked in Sickbay with the warhead-possessed Doc, Harry bewails the fact that beaming it aboard was his decision. B'Elanna snaps him out of it.
    • The Doctor similarly tries to take the fault on himself after being restored because of how hard he advocated for helping the warhead. Harry dispels his guilt by saying that he used the Doctor as an example to convince the bomb to question its own programming.
  • Kirk Summation: Harry gives one to the warhead to make it rethink its plans for destruction.
  • Large Ham: The warhead AI seriously out-hams the Doctor, especially when it starts Suddenly SHOUTING!.
  • Loafing in Full Costume: Averted; Chakotay is shown pulling on his uniform jacket as he does the Walk and Talk with Ensign Kim.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Harry asks for a big mug before an eight hour shift.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Subverted. Both the Doctor and Kim are responsible for bringing the warhead onto Voyager, causing it to re-activate; but by talking it down, Kim ends up preventing a much greater massacre by the fleet of similar weapons.
  • No Time to Explain: Said word-for-word by Harry just before beaming the weapon off Voyager.
  • Not Bad: The Doctor's evaluation of Kim's command abilities at the end of the episode (a contrast to the beginning of the episode, when he openly regarded Kim as Ensign Newbie and felt free to steamroll him accordingly).
  • Permission to Speak Freely: Jenkins telling Harry to lighten up, even if he's weighed down by The Chains of Commanding on a boring night shift. And again when she thanks him for saving Voyager.
  • Properly Paranoid: Kim initially wants to get the warhead off the ship as fast as possible, but gets overruled by the Doctor's pleas for compassionate treatment of AIs.
  • Quit Your Whining: Torres verbally snaps Kim out of his Heroic BSoD.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Naturally, once the Warhead chooses to stop being an implacable killing machine, its life expectancy is measured in minutes.
  • Red Shirt: Averted. Harry, Doc, and a nameless gold-shirt go on an away mission, and all three make it back without incident.
  • Serious Business: Tom Ain't Too Proud to Beg Neelix for an advance on his replicator rations for his First Date anniversary with B'Elanna.
  • Screen Shake: Janeway has the ship shook to make the Warhead think they've encountered a minefield.
  • Speaks Fluent Computer: The Doctor is able to speak to the warhead originating from an unknown alien species, in what is treated as a universal machine language.
  • Something About a Rose: Tom has a replicated rose made for his anniversary celebrations.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Kim's Kirk Summation is what finally breaks the warhead, rather than any attempts to sabotage it.
  • Talking Weapon: The weapon itself only communicates through beeps, but that changes once it takes over the Doctor.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The plan to have Seven take out the warhead is thoroughly discussed — it fails miserably.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Again, the long-range tactical armor unit.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Doctor urges they help the damaged AI, but the crew balk when they realise they've brought a WMD on board. They're fully prepared to destroy the warhead or abandon it back on the planet, but the Doctor talks them into trying to disarm it instead.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Seven is given fake injuries so she can be taken into Sickbay.
  • You Are in Command Now: Harry enjoys taking the night shift for this reason.
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