Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Spirit Folk”

“Spirit Folk”
Written by Bryan Fuller
Directed by David Livingston
Season 6, Episode 17
Production episode 237
Original air date: February 23, 2000
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Paris has reconstructed the Fair Haven holodeck program, and is in it driving a version of a 1904 Oldsmobile Runabout with only moderate skill, eventually crashing into a barrel, damaging a tire. Seamus comments on his ability to afford such a vehicle, and Paris says he came into an inheritance. Seamus asks for a tiny percentage of that inheritance to pay for a drink to celebrate Paris’ good fortune.

Paris asks the computer to fix the car, which it does in an instant. Seamus, surprisingly, sees the computer doing that and thinks it’s black magic. He immediately tells everyone in the pub about it, and while most are skeptical of Seamus’ claim, some people do think that Paris and his friends are weird, and Milo tells of a town called Kilmanin where the whole town was taken by faerie folk.

Janeway walks in as “Katie O’Clare,” and all talk of the Voyager crew being fae folk ceases.

Torres complains that the open-door policy of Fair Haven is straining the holoemitters. Kim has dressed up and has a bunch of flowers for a date with Maggie O’Halloran. Paris trails Kim on his date while holding a padd, and uses it to change Maggie into a cow right when Kim kisses her.

Chakotay summons the pair of them to the bridge (the only time in the entire episode there’s even a hint of actual ship’s business), and they never get around to restoring the cow.

Unbeknownst to Paris, Seamus and Milo were tailing him, and they saw Maggie’s transformation. They bring the cow to the church the following morning, where the EMH is back in his role as the town priest, delivering a fire-and-brimstone speech. They insist that the cow they have brought into the church is Maggie transformed. The EMH lies and says that he saw Maggie that very morning, after the alleged transformation. After mass ends, and Seamus and Milo depart with everyone else, leaving the cow behind, the EMH instructs the computer to transform her back. However, Maggie remembers bits of it—a strange dream where she was naked except for a bell and was brought to the church.

They go to the pub, and now everyone’s got a story about the Voyager crew being weird: Kim changing the weather, a daughter who fell into a well suddenly being safe seemingly thanks to “Katie,” and “Father Mulligan” disappearing after church one day. Michael Sullivan, however, thinks this is crazy talk, though others point out that he’s sweet on “Katie.”

Star Trek: Voyager "Spirit Folk"

Screenshot: CBS

Later, Sullivan gives Janeway a copy of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene by way of telling her what the townsfolk are saying. Sullivan laments that he had no idea that she loved epic poetry so much, which is odd, since their first conversation after Janeway reprogrammed him in “Fair Haven” was about poetry. When the conversation gets awkward, Janeway ends the program.

Janeway goes to Paris, asking what’s wrong with the program. The holodeck characters should not be able to notice when they make alterations like that. An investigation reveals that the code running the characters has been corrupted, and the subroutines that keep the characters unaware of anything outside the story, as it were, are not running. They call up Sullivan’s character, and instead of just the image as expected, they instead get him in character, where he recognizes that they’re in uniform and that he isn’t in Fair Haven. They try to fix him, but it doesn’t take.

Sullivan is now totally on Team Seamus and Milo with regards to the Voyager crew. Opinion is divided on how to deal with them: rifles, spells from old books, rowan berries and red thread. They catch Paris and Kim trying to fix the holodeck using a control panel in Sullivan’s Pub, and they shoot the control panel, thus borking the holodeck, killing the safety protocols, making it impossible to modify or end the program or call an exit—or get a transporter lock. They can beam Kim and Paris out with transporter enhancers, and they send the EMH in, wearing his mobile emitter so he won’t be subject to the malfunctioning holodeck.

Unfortunately, the EMH fails, getting himself captured, the mobile emitter being removed. He’s now malfunctioning with the rest of them, and is apparently now able to be hypnotized, er, somehow. The townspeople get him to reveal the truth, and Sullivan attaches the mobile emitter to himself. Tuvok gets a transporter lock on the emitter and beams it to the bridge, and Sullivan is now present.

Janeway decides to take him into her confidence, telling him a version of the truth: she says they’re time travellers, going back four hundred and seventy-five years into the past. She and Sullivan return to Fair Haven and convince the townspeople that they aren’t using magic, just advanced technology from the future. Eventually, the folks accept this, and free Paris, Kim, and the EMH. Also Torres says the program can’t run 24/7, so its use will be limited—but that means it now works right.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Apparently, running a starship holodeck 24/7 causes all kinds of technical problems. Also the safety protocols won’t stop a holographic rifle from damaging a computer console. Sure.

There’s coffee in that nebula! Janeway is very upset that the malfunctioning holodeck is messing with her nookie.

Please state the nature of the medical emergency. The EMH gives a fiery sermon on being excellent to each other and partying on, dudes, and then later is hypnotized, er, somehow. Amusingly, when they ask him what his real name is, he says he hasn’t decided yet…

Star Trek: Voyager "Spirit Folk"

Screenshot: CBS

Half and half. Torres’ sole participation in the program her boyfriend created and caretakes is to bitch about how much of a technical problem it is for her.

Everybody comes to Neelix’s. Paris at one point refers to “his” open-door policy for Fair Haven, even though that was Neelix’s idea.

Forever an ensign. Kim kisses a cow. It was funnier when Tex Avery did it.

Resistance is futile. Seven is barely in the episode, but her lone contribution is to suggest the EMH use his mobile emitter, so he won’t be tied to the malfunctioning holodeck.

What happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck. If you shut down a program midstream while it’s malfunctioning, you lose the entire program, which proves that the people who programmed the holodeck are less talented than the people who programmed Microsoft Word, which is always able to restore my documents after the computer crashes…

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Kim wants to get lucky with Maggie, but kisses a cow instead. Meanwhile, Janeway is annoyed that her holographic boy toy is asking hard questions and not letting her just have fun banging her holographic boy toy.

Star Trek: Voyager "Spirit Folk"

Screenshot: CBS

Do it.

“Just because we’re from different worlds doesn’t mean we can’t care for each other.”

–Janeway to Sullivan, which is pretty much code for I JUST WANT TO BANG YOU, THANKS.

Welcome aboard. Back from “Fair Haven” are Richard Riehle, Fintan McKeown, Henriette Ivanans, and Duffie McIntire. Also appearing as Fair Haven citizens are Ian Abercrombie as Milo (he last appeared in “Someone to Watch Over Me” as the abbot), Ian Patrick Williams as Dr. Fitzgerald, and Bairbre Dowling as Edith.

Trivial matters: This is a sequel to “Fair Haven,” obviously, with Paris having reconstructed the Fair Haven holodeck program for reasons passing understanding. It was stated in the prior episode that it would take about six weeks to re-create the program, and this episode aired six weeks after “Fair Haven.”

The working title of the episode was “Daoine Sidhe” (“the people of the mounds”), but it was changed, probably because they figured everyone would mispronounce the Gaelic title. (It’s pronounced “deena she.”)

This is the second time a holodeck character has been removed from the holodeck and thought it might be the Americas—Sullivan says that here, and Leonardo da Vinci said it in “Concerning Flight.”

Bairbre Dowling is the ex-wife of TNG/DS9 actor Colm “Chief O’Brien” Meaney.

The Olds Runabout was the best-selling car in America from 1903-1905, outselling the Ford Three-Fold in 1904 by a factor of three. It’s not clear whether or not Paris named the car after a great river on Earth…

And finally, for some real trivia, according to u/DoctorowWho42 on Reddit, if you start this episode at exactly 11:49:35 on New Year’s Eve, Kim will smooch the cow right at the stroke of midnight.

Star Trek: Voyager "Spirit Folk"

Screenshot: CBS

Set a course for home. “Saints preserve us!” I’m just sitting here trying to figure out why anybody thought doing a sequel to “Fair Haven” was a good idea. Hell, I’m still having trouble figuring out why anyone thought doing “Fair Haven” in the first place was a good idea.

There are some things I like better in this than in “Fair Haven.” For starters, there are literary references to actual works of literature! Besides The Faerie Queene, we get mentions and/or sightings of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. The Olds Runabout was cool. And Harry Kim smooches a cow.

Unfortunately, these aren’t enough to mitigate the awfulness, from the actual honest-to-goodness use of “Saints preserve us!” to the EMH somehow being hypnotized, which is simply not possible for a photonic life form, to the tired stereotypes to the idiocy of the holodeck being able to be destroyed by a holographic rifle.

Plus there’s the biggie. We’ve already seen that Quark’s holosuites—which you know he got on the cheap, and which we all know he had Rom maintain on the cheap—can run the Vic Fontaine program 26/7 without any technical difficulties whatsoever, yet the super-duper Voyager holodecks on the top-of-the-line starship can’t manage it here. Sure. I buy that.

This is a terrible sequel to a terrible episode that didn’t even deserve to be made in the first place, much less get a followup.

Warp factor rating: 0


Rewatcher’s note: There’s just a couple days left in the Kickstarter for your humble rewatcher’s latest project: The Four ???? of the Apocalypse, which features alternate takes on the apocalyptic equestrians of yore. Among the authors are Seanan McGuire, David Gerrold, Jonathan Maberry, Peter David, Jody Lynn Nye, David Mack, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Michael Jan Friedman, Adam-Troy Castro, Laura Anne Gilman, Gail Z. Martin, and tons more. Read all about the four cats of the apocalypse! The four lawyers! The four opera singers! The four rock stars! The four cheerleaders! And more! The anthology is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and has tons of nifty bonuses and extras, like book bundles, homemade cookies, mystery book bundles, autographed Star Trek books, a custom story—please, check it out!

Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s latest book is All-the-Way House, the latest in the Systema Paradoxa series about cryptids. AtWH is about the Jersey Devil, and takes place in 2020, 1909, and 1735. It’s out this month from the NeoParadoxa imprint of eSpec Books. Ordering links here.


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