The Doctor starts experimenting with a subroutine that lets him daydream at the same time that an alien is using him to spy on Voyager.
This episode provides examples of:
- The Ace: The Doctor in his fantasies — every women wants him, the crew loves his opera, he's an expert on everything and a kick-ass commander.
- All Just a Dream...Or Was It a Dream?: It's hard to tell at times which parts of the Doctor's daydreams are real or not.
- Amusing Aliens: The Hierarchy aliens with their potato-head appearance and excessively bureaucratic culture; unfortunately their technological and military superiority means they have to be taken seriously.
- All There in the Script: The alien observer's name is Phlox, though neither he nor any of his crewmates are ever named onscreen.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Doctor's formal complaint is about failure to recognize his sentience, a request to be made captain in the case of a catastrophic emergency, and people being rude to him.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: The Hierarchy aliens prepare a type-3 stealth assault. They then change it to a type-4 after Voyager had repaired itself from the (fake) Borg Sphere attack.
- Bad "Bad Acting": The Doctor stumbles over his lines and can't even use the right pronouns when parroting Janeway, despite being an Artificial Intelligence.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: The Doctor's sketches of Seven have a conspicuous lack of detail.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Doctor dreams of commanding Voyager during an alien attack. Well, he certainly gets his wish...
- Becoming the Mask: The Doctor must play the Emergency Command Hologram for real, in order to bluff the Hierarchy.
- Beneath the Mask: Janeway isn't impressed by the Doctor's self-aggrandizing dreams, until she hears him talking about how he only wants to use his abilities to help people.EMH: Thank you for this opportunity, Captain. All I ever wanted was to live up to my full potential, to hone all my skills, expand my abilities, to help the people I love.
- Brandishment Bluff: It helps that the aliens have already seen the (imaginary) Photonic Cannon in action.
- Breather Episode: After Season 6 starts with plenty of grittiness and moral ambiguity.
- The Borg assimilation virus was referenced in "Dark Frontier."
- Kim's Dare to Be Badass talk with the Doctor is a reversal of their positions in "Warhead," in which it was Kim who was the inexperienced commander and the Doctor who was much more sure-footed (although Kim's a tad more supportive than the Doctor was).
- The idea of an emergency computer program that can run a starship harkens back to the M-5 multitronic computer from TOS's "The Ultimate Computer". Chakotay even asks Janeway if she's uncomfortable with the idea of giving up command to a computer, similar to how Spock and McCoy spoke to Kirk.
- Tuvok's emotional breakdown during the Doctor's operatic performance in the opening brings to mind TNG's "Sarek", when Picard and the crew saw Ambassador Sarek weeping during Data's classical music performance, which would soon tip them off to Sarek's struggles with Bendii syndrome.
- Chekhov's Gun: The photonic cannon. An invention of the Doctor's daydreams, which then gets puts to use in a Brandishment Bluff.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The Hierarchy will return as the Villain of the Week in future episodes.
- Chick Magnet: Daydream!B'Elanna, Daydream!Seven, and Daydream!Janeway all want Daydream!Doctor.
- Chickification: Seven in the Doctor's Borg attack dream.
- Commonality Connection: Phlox genuinely admires the Doctor for having the courage to look outside his assigned role, just as he wants to do.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- Voyager's shields get knocked out with one blast.
- One of the Doctor's daydreams has him doing this to a Borg sphere.
- Dare to Be Badass: It's Kim, of all people, who gives this talk to the Doctor before the first non-daydream use of the Emergency Command Hologram. After all, Kim knows from what he speaks when it comes to being nervous about taking command for the first time.
- Daydream Believer: Deconstructed. Once the Doctor's daydream program malfunctions he can't tell what's fantasy and reality anymore, he almost ejects the real warp core because the warp core in his daydream was going to explode.
- Deadly Doctor: Dual Wielding with hyposprays!
- Deadpan Snarker: The ship's computer in one of the Doctor's daydreams."Warning: warp core breach, a lot sooner than you think.""Warning: last chance to be a hero, Doctor, get going!"
Tuvok: Activating the "photonic cannon"... sir.
- Also, Tuvok's delivery when ordered to activate the photonic cannon.
- Descriptively-Named Species: The Hierarchy. Low-ranking Hierarchy individuals are not allowed to do anything out of the routine without consulting their superiors first.
- Do Holograms Dream?
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu:Borg: WE ARE THE BORG.ECH: (Talk to the Hand) I know very well who you are.
- Dream Sue: One of the Doctor's daydreams is when he imagines himself constantly having to assume command of Voyager as the Emergency Command Hologram, who gets the crew out of situations even more single-handedly and hammily than most real Star Trek captains. It turns out an alien race monitors these daydreams and thinks they're reality, eventually causing the crew to find out, much to his embarrassment.
- Enemy Mine: Realizing he's messed up, Phlox contacts the Doctor to let him know of the impending attack by his ship. His only condition is that the Doctor continue to play The Captain of Voyager so his superiors don't learn about his mistake.
- Exact Time to Failure: Parodied by the ship's computer during the imaginary warp core breach.Computer: Warning: warp core breach a lot sooner than you think.
- Face Palm: Janeway, during one moment when the Doctor's supposed to be playing Captain but starts talking more like a shrink.
- A Fool for a Client: B'Elanna quotes the Klingon equivalent: "A doctor who operates on himself has a petaQ for a patient."
- Footsie Under the Table: B'Elanna gives Doctor one in his daydream. And that's just how that one starts.
- Get Out!: When Daydream!B'Elanna gets jealous of the Doctor touching Daydream!Janeway.B'Elanna: Get away from him!Janeway: You...are dismissed.
- Give Me A Hypospray: Part of the Doc's improvised Tuvok song.
- Gone Horribly Wrong:
- Obviously the Doctor didn't expect his daydream subroutines to completely take over his program.
- Likewise, Phlox wanted to eavesdrop on the Doctor's life on Voyager, not his fantasies.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs:Borg: You will be assimilated.
Doctor: Over my dead program* .
- Inelegant Blubbering: The Doctor daydreams that his singing is so beautiful it reduces Tuvok to this.
- Instant Sedation: The Doctor does this twice in his daydreams. The first one is very much Played for Laughs.
- Intimate Telecommunications: The Doctor in one of his daydreams has one with Seven of Nine through the PADD during a staff meeting.
- Ironic Echo: The commander of the Hierarchy spaceship says Voyager is an "unacceptable risk" (because they don't know anything about it) so they won't attack it. Phlox goes over his head to the Hierarchy and gets their approval. When his friend cautions him that their commander will report him, Phlox brags, "Acceptable risk!"
- Is That a Threat?: When Daydream!Seven and Daydream!B'Elanna are arguing over the Doctor's affections.Seven: Assimilation is an unpleasant fate.B'Elanna: Is that a threat?
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: In his daydreams, Seven, B'Elanna and Janeway are all thirsty for the Doctor.
- Large Ham: The Doctor (as usual), but the others ham it up in his daydreams.
- Lover Tug of War: Daydream!B'Elanna and Daydream!Seven literally do this to the Doctor in Engineering.
- Maintain the Lie: Phlox tells his boss that the Doctor is in command of Voyager, and the crew has to make it look like that's the case.
- Meaningful Look: The Doctor puts in a formal complaint about the crew not recognizing his sentience and being rude to him. When Janeway reads out the latter, she casts a Death Glare at Tom Paris—who reacts to it, even though he's not facing her.
- Mood-Swinger: In the opening dream sequence, Tuvok goes from crying to laughing to enraged in less than a minute when his Pon Farr kicks in.
- Mundane Made Awesome: As well as the below-mentioned Transformation Sequence, the Doctor treats Tuvok's pon farr while singing opera.
- Nervous Wreck: The Doctor commanding the ship was just a fun fantasy. When he has to do it for real, he's petrified and doesn't know what to do with himself.
- No Name Given: We never actually learn the name of the alien race in this episode. They usually get referred to as "the Hierarchy", although strictly speaking that's the name of their governing body, not the race themselves.*
- Not So Above It All: When Janeway, Harry, B'Elanna, and Seven watch some of the Doctor's fantasies play out on the Holodeck, Seven can be seen smirking in amusement at the Doc's fantasy of B'Elanna coming onto him.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Phlox's reaction when he realizes all the intel he gave his superiors — having assured them it would be invaluable — actually came from the Doctor's fantasies.
- Phlox looks to be on the edge of a breakdown when his captain changes the attack plan.
- The Doctor has a moment when he finds himself in another daydream against his wishes.
- Torres, Seven and Kim all have a Mass "Oh, Crap!" when the Doctor wanders over to shut down the warp core for real.
- Playing Sick: Daydream!Janeway pretends that she has an old injury in her behind so that she could have an excuse for The Doctor to massage it, which he gladly does.
- Pressure Point: Daydream!Doctor fells Borg-ed Daydream!Tuvok with a Vulcan neck pinch.
- Properly Paranoid: The Hierarchy captain is wary about attacking a starship from a completely unknown species. Also when he sees Voyager fight a Borg Sphere on Phlox's monitor, he orders his crew to scan for more Borg ships, just in case.
- Public Exposure/Toplessness from the Back: Daydream!Seven being painted by Daydream!Doctor.
- Renaissance Man: Played for Laughs. "He appears to be an expert on everything!"
- Reset Button: Lampshaded with the Hierachy captain's surprise at Voyager appearing completely undamaged shortly after a fight with the Borg. Phlox suggests they're just really fast with repairs.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Isn't 1000 kilometers a little small for a nebula? That's even smaller than Earth's moon.
- Sexophone: One plays during the Doctor's daydream that takes place in a briefing session with the rest of the staff. Naturally, Jim "Reviewboy" Wright can't help noticing.I know I often say "insert bad jazz music here," an aural clue that some BOWM-chikka-BOWM low-budget Showtime After Dark sweaty snugglebunnies are imminent. Well, this time...it happens onscreen. For real. Greasy saxophone music oozes through the speaker, promising all manner of carnal delights.
At moments like this, I wonder if I'm daydreaming. Scenes like this don't even need the Review Boy treatment. They've already been parodized for your enjoyment...
- Smooch of Victory: At the end of the episode, the real Seven gives Doc a peck on the cheek.
- Space Clouds: The Hierachy vessel is lurking in a nebula.
- Space Pirates: The Hierarchy plan to attack Voyager and steal their supplies.
- Species of Hats: The Hierarchy are the most bureaucratic Space Pirates you'll ever meet.
- Squick: Daydream!Tom's In-Universe reaction to Daydream!Janeway putting Doc's hand on her behind.
- Throw It In: In-Universe—when one version of Daydream!Tuvok has a sudden bout of pon farr during the Doctor's performance of "La Donna e Mobile", he improvs new lyrics about it.Tuvok, I understand
You are a Vulcan man
You have just gone without
For seven years, about
Paris, please find a way
To load a hypospray
I will give you the sign
Just aim for his behind
Hormones are raging
It's all so veeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrry
- Transformation Sequence: Overlaps with Mundane Made Awesome, as the Doctor's transformation into the ECH is accompanied by a dramatic zoom on the Doctor's lapel as the pips appear one by one.Janeway: Nice touch.
- The Virus: Voyager gets hit with a Borg assimilation virus at the same time that they attack the ship in one of the Doctor's daydreams.
- Wave-Motion Gun:Doctor: Activate the Photonic Cannon!
- Whoopee Cushion: As the Doctor is playing the role of the ECH, Tom Paris tells Harry Kim that he would give anything to have one in the captain's seat when the Doctor sits down in it. Harry doesn't even know what a whoopee cushion is. You're such a nerd, Tom!
- You Need to Get Laid: The pon farr song.