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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 6 E 24 Life Line

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The Doctor meets his maker. No, literally. (Oh, hey, Troi.)
The Doctor receives word that his creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, is in need of critical medical treatment and transmits himself to the Alpha Quadrant to take care of him. Unfortunately Zimmerman proves unwilling to be treated by a medical hologram whose model has long been superseded.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Zimmerman: No EMH was ever designed to be anyone's friend! He's just a hologram!
    Haley: Is that how you feel about me? Just a hologram?
  • Batman Gambit: The Doctor's sudden degradation spurs Zimmerman to take action and ultimately leads to them reconciling. Of course, the whole thing was caused by Barclay, but he and Troi neglected to tell the Doctor about it until the end. Subverted in that Zimmerman knew it was a ruse.
  • Beneath the Mask: Zimmerman sitting in the darkness of his quarters, dictating his last will and testament. He admits that Reg Barclay is the only person who truly appreciates his work, and the only friends he has are Barclay and his own holographic creations.
  • Catchphrase: Zimmerman tries to change the Doctor's "Please state the nature of the medical emergency" to something more friendly. He's not amused.
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  • Character Overlap: Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation makes an appearance in this episode.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Robert Picardo rolls up his sleeves, tucks in his bib, and has the hot lemon-scented towels on standby in this episode, and no mistake.
  • Comfort Food: Chocolate ice cream for Deanna, when her initial efforts prove to be a failure.
  • Commonality Connection: Deanna tries to get both doctors to see each others' position. It doesn't work. She then decides to force the issue.
  • Continuity Nod: Dr. Zimmerman mentions that he hasn't left Jupiter Station in four years, which coincides with his trip to Deep Space Nine.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Zimmerman decides to alter the EMH's personality, the EMH objects in an argument similar to a gay teen reacting to gay reversion therapy.
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  • Double Vision: Robert Picardo as both the Doctor and Lewis Zimmerman.
  • Do Holograms Dream: The Mark One's having been reassigned for their inadequacies, Zimmerman isn't prepared to meet a Mark One who has exceeded his program.
  • Dr. Jerk: Times two.
    Troi: Now I see you're both exactly the same. You're both jerks!
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Janeway is disturbed when Admiral Hayes makes a 'casual' inquiry about their Maquis crewmembers. After all they're one big happy crew now. Chakotay agrees to help write a joint response.
  • Foil: Barclay to Zimmerman, the reason he's Zimmerman's Only Friend — they're both genius engineers with poor people skills, but Zimmerman's problem is that he's insensitive, arrogant and rude, while Barclay's is that he's shy, neurotic and lacking in confidence.
  • Forehead of Doom
    Doctor: What were your initial symptoms?
    Zimmerman: Radical hair loss.
  • Foreshadowing: The fate of his fellow Mark Ones inspires the Doctor's literary efforts in "Author, Author".
  • A Friend in Need: Barclay and Haley save Zimmerman despite his efforts.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The EMH Mark One were dubbed Emergency Medical Hotheads and Extremely Marginal Housecalls.
  • Get Out!: The EMH is trying to examine Dr Zimmerman, who is not cooperating.
    Zimmerman: Enough questions! Finish your scans and get out of here!
    EMH: Doctor!
    Zimmerman: I said get out of here!
    EMH: Doctor, I traveled halfway across the galaxy to treat you. The least you can do is show a little gratitude!
  • Guile Hero: Reg creates an algorithm that affects the Doctor's program, forcing Zimmerman to become emotionally invested in repairing him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Haley. Blonde and unfailingly kind to everyone. She's the one who gets Zimmerman to reveal his Hidden Heart of Gold.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Zimmerman vs Doc.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Zimmerman once cancelled a lecture and headed back from Vulcan. Haley's program suddenly malfunctioned, though he insists he just didn't want to have to speak in front of "a bunch of pointy-eared blowhards."
  • Homoerotic Subtext
    Troi: I can assure you I'm quite real.
    Zimmerman: Oh. Well the last beautiful woman to walk in here turned out to be him!
    EMH: I'll take that as a compliment.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Zimmerman is glad to hear Janeway won't authorize another house call, though he adds Doc is welcome to drop him a line... if he wants to, of course.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In this case, he's not a zookeeper.
    • "She's a counselor, not an engineer."
  • I'm Standing Right Here
    Zimmerman: No EMH was ever designed to be anyone's friend. He's just a hologram.
    Zimmerman: [beat] I will not be ambushed in my own lab.
  • Insufferable Genius: Dr Zimmerman
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's deeply buried, but Zimmerman does care about his creations.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: The Doctor lampshades the importance of a good chin.
  • Last of His Kind: The Doctor is the only Mark One still doing the job it was created for.
  • Leave Me Alone!: Having been diagnosed as incurable by Starfleet doctors and even the later model EMH's, Dr Zimmerman has little patience for an 'inferior' model EMH who thinks he can cure him with a 'ghoulish assimilation technique' taken from a Borg Rogue Drone.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: As per usual for this trope, the Doctor ends up swatting it despite being a hologram himself.
    Barclay: Oh that's Roy.
    EMH: Don't tell me — another hologram?
    Barclay: It was developed for Starfleet Intelligence; an experiment in micro-surveillance.
  • Locked in a Room: The Doctor is stuck on Jupiter Station until the next transmission to Voyager. Becomes an Invoked Trope when Reg sabotages his program so Zimmerman will work on him.
  • Mad Science: Zimmerman isn't happy that the Doctor is planning to use Seven's do-everything nanoprobes to cure him.
  • Meat Versus Veggies: Zimmerman gripes about Haley giving him salad; as he's dying anyway, what difference does it make? He's later shown scoffing down the salad as he works to repair the Doctor's program.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Mark Ones are this for Zimmerman. They were deemed faulty and obnoxious by Starfleet, and weren't even decommissioned.
    "Do you know how humiliating it is to have 675 Mark Ones out there, scrubbing plasma conduits... all with my face?"
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe, Lewis Zimmerman is depressed that his original Mark I EMH programs are now menial labor holograms bearing his face. The only bright spot he has is that Voyager's copy of the EMH is one that escaped the same fate.
  • Not So Differen Remark:
    Troi: I came here thinking that you were opposite sides of the same coin. Identical, but different. Now I see you're both exactly the same. You're both jerks!
  • Only Friend: While filling out his will, Zimmerman sadly realizes that Barclay is the only friend he has that isn't holographic.
  • The Only One: Barclay insists that Deanna Troi is the best counselor for the job, even though Troi recommends someone on Earth. Troi says the Enterprise is in the middle of a mission, so she might not be there until the following week.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Doc finds his creator is not as grateful for his Character Development as he expected.
  • Projected Man: In this case he's projected 30,000 light years!
  • Punctuated Pounding: Sort of, as the Doctor is swatting at a holo-fly (but not actually hitting it):
    Doctor: This isn't a research station! It's a three...ring...circus! You should charge admission!
  • Robotic Reveal: Troi notes that she can't read Haley — realizing she's a hologram.
  • Robotic Spouse: While the physical nature of their relationship is unclear, the dialogue between Lewis and Haley is often Like an Old Married Couple.
  • Sarcasm Mode: To Zimmerman's surprise, as the Doctor isn't supposed to have one.
    EMH: I also have an exceptionally high tolerance for difficult patients.
    Zimmerman: I didn't programme you for sarcasm.
    EMH: You'll find I'm full of surprises.
    Zimmerman: Show the good Doctor to the plasma generator. I understand there's quite a build-up of residue.
    EMH: If we had more time, I'd enjoy trading barbs with you. But right now, there's a more pressing concern. Your life. I'm working on a treatment based on a disease I encountered in the Delta Quadrant, but I'll need to run a complete analysis. However, if it's impossible for you to believe that a lowly Mark One could have anything useful to offer, I'll be happy to pack my bags and go explore those sulphur mines.
  • Series Continuity Error: Janeway saying that the last time they sent the Doctor to the Alpha Quadrant was three years ago (it was two) and Zimmerman saying that he hasn't left Jupiter Station in four years (it was three). Someone clearly added an extra year in there for no good reason.
  • Shrine to Self: One that backfired badly. Dr Zimmerman put his face on what he assumed would be his greatest creation, a hologram that would save lives on Starfleet vessels throughout the quadrant.
    "Do you know how humiliating it is to have 675 Mark Ones out there, scrubbing plasma conduits, all with my face?"
  • Space Station: The episode is set on Jupiter Station.
  • Talking Animal: Leonard the holographic iguana.
  • Technobabble: Zimmerman tells Troi to spare them the psychobabble.
  • Tempting Fate: The Doctor tells Zimmerman he's exceeded his original programming and therefore no longer under his creator's control. Zimmerman demonstrates otherwise by having the computer transfer Doc to another part of the station.
  • The Triple: Voyager's EMH is examining Dr Zimmerman.
    EMH: To your knowledge have you been exposed to theta radiation?
    Zimmerman: No.
    EMH: Neutron flux?
    Zimmerman: Never.
    EMH: Have you ever had intimate relations with a Bolian?
  • Undying Loyalty: Haley, a holographic woman created by Zimmerman, who tolerates his acerbic ways because she knows from experience that Zimmerman cares about her.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: The Doctor is basically this to his creator. Eventually.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: The EMH Mark One's are reconfigured for manual labor in the mines. This, when they have devices capable of disassembling matter to the subatomic level (including industrial ones, as mentioned on Deep Space Nine), not to mention a race of friendly living ore processors (the Horta). But no, they consign outdated humanoid holograms with glorified shovels and picks to mining. This implies that the Federation either does this on a wide scale, or that they specifically modified this mine with holo-emitters to do such a thing.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Zimmerman mentions that he was already treated by the Mark III and IV EMHs. Given that the Mark I's were reconfigured for manual labor, one has to wonder what happened to the Mark II.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zimmerman is outraged when the Doctor arbitrarily shuts down his holographic iguana (an act that's always infuriated the Doctor when it was done to him, even in Season One). This is the first hint that Zimmerman really does care about his creations.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • When the Doctor suddenly starts malfunctioning, Zimmerman gets grief from Barclay and Troi for not trying to help him and potentially leaving the Voyager crew without their doctor/friend. Haley gets in on it when Zimmerman angrily says that no one is friends with a hologram.
    • The Doctor has a word with Barclay about the algorithm, but he doesn't make a big deal about it since everything worked out.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Dr Zimmerman is griping about how the EMH keeps trying to diagnose his illness, while receiving a soothing massage from a holographic Elloran female, who then covertly takes out a tricorder and starts to scan him.
    Zimmerman: (realizes something is wrong) Computer, realign Voyager's EMH.
    (Doctor smiles sheepishly as he returns to normal)
    Zimmerman: YOU!!