(written from a Production point of view)
The Doctor teaches Seven about dating and romantic relationships, but then realizes that he may have developed feelings for her himself.
In the mess hall of USS Voyager, Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres share a romantic meal. On the other side of the room, Seven of Nine is obviously observing them and taking notes on a PADD. Paris and Torres are discussing the prospect of Torres learning to drive a 1969 Mustang. She pauses from the conversation to comment on Seven's presence. Neelix approaches offering cheese he has prepared for the Kadi, who are offended by anything that differs from their standard blandness. While Captain Janeway is with the Kadi, their representative is to be left entirely in the hands of Neelix. He takes this responsibility very seriously.
After Neelix leaves, they return to the conversation about Seven. Finally, Torres stands up and goes to confront her. Seven admits to "observing" Paris and Torres; she claims it is for her research on Human mating behavior. At this point Torres grabs a PADD from Seven's table to read its contents. It contains a log of the events in Paris' and Torres' relationship, ranging from couple's quarreling to "intimate relations." After reading the latter, Torres threatens Seven with physical harm. Neelix and Paris attempt to mediate.
In the captain's ready room, Janeway discusses the incident with Seven of Nine. The captain is in full dress uniform in preparation for the meeting with the Kadi. As Seven helps the captain attach a pip, Janeway suggests that Seven try dating herself. The first-hand experience would be much more useful.
Lt. Commander Tuvok, Captain Janeway, and Neelix arrive in the transporter room as the Kadi representatives beam aboard. There are two of them, Abbot will escort the Captain and Tuvok to the planet. Ambassador Tomin will stay aboard Voyager and receive the full tour conducted by Neelix. The Kadi are very puritanical, hence the excessive preparations that Neelix underwent.
As Neelix takes Tomin on a tour of Voyager, he begins to lead him to Main Engineering. However, Tomin expresses the wish to first sample some food items, including Hasperat. He wants flavorful food despite his race's traditionally bland palette.
In sickbay, The Doctor gives Seven of Nine her standard check-up. She is running at peak efficiency, but he asks her about the mess hall incident. He suggests that she begin dating, in order to broaden her horizons and insight into Humanity. Once Seven accepts The Doctor's proposal, he proceeds to nominate himself to be her educator. Using various holodeck simulations he will prepare her for emotional interactions. Once they arrive on the holodeck, The Doctor has prepared a holographic slideshow, entitled "Love Amid the Stars" to illustrate his points. The slides include Humans, Klingons, Bolians, and even Species 8472's mating rituals.
After the slide show, The Doctor activates holoprogram Paris 3, Chez Sandríne. Seven and The Doctor act out a series of scripted romantic encounters, until Seven is ready for a more realistic encounter. She approaches the holographic character Steven Price. They engage in vague small talk. As The Doctor observes, Paris enters the holodeck. They talk about Seven's prospects and end up making a wager on whether or not she will be able to bring a date to the reception in honor of the Kadi and leave with the same date on good terms without causing a diplomatic incident. If Paris wins the bet, he does not have to work in Sick Bay for a month, whereas if The Doctor wins, Paris will work double shifts.
Tomin sits at a table in the Mess Hall, with about fifteen empty plates and cups before him. It is obvious that he has been eating everything that Neelix has to offer. Neelix approaches bearing Tomin's next adventure: Ktarian pudding. Tomin praises it ecstatically as he gobbles it up. Neelix tries to steer Tomin back to Engineering and his duties, but he is interrupted by Tomin's comments about the females of Voyager.
In Cargo bay 2, Seven is going about her duties when The Doctor arrives to begin their next lesson. This lesson will focus on personality and interests. They discuss Seven's goals: perfection. They move on to hobbies, Seven is intrigued by music. The Doctor displays a basic musical scale, and Seven sings it perfectly. When The Doctor compliments her on her voice, she says it is caused by her Borg vocal subprocessor. They move on to something more challenging: "You Are My Sunshine." At first, Seven does not grasp the need to include emotion in her singing. When The Doctor demonstrates, they begin to sing together as a duet. As The Doctor begins to get carried away, he pauses and stares at Seven as if something important has just dawned on him. He resumes before she becomes suspicious. (file info)
Ensign Harry Kim enters Astrometrics looking for the latest scans. He notices that Seven is reviewing the crew roster. She is searching for a compatible first date, and Harry is put out to find he is not one of the candidates. She has narrowed it down to Ensign Doug Bronowski and Lieutenant William Chapman. Kim helps her make her final decision: Lt. Chapman is the lucky man.
Lt. Chapman is inside a Jefferies tube, he hears someone enter and asks for an isolinear spanner from Robertson. Seven of Nine informs him that she doesn't have one. Her voice startles him and he drops the tool he is working with. She requests his presence on the holodeck. When it dawns on him that she is asking him out, he accepts her offer.
Back in Cargo Bay 2, Seven seems to be going about her duties as usual. The Doctor arrives and informs her that she only has ten minutes before the date. She claims she is ready, dressed in her regular dermaplastic garment. The Doctor first lets down her hair, then he shows her that he has programmed other more casual outfits for her into the computer, she selects one and begins to get changed.
Back in Chez Sandríne, Chapman sits at the bar in standard casual attire. A beautifully dressed Seven of Nine enters and walks toward him. She glances at the piano player, The Doctor, as she passes. They move together to a table, Chapman calls it the "best in the house." He seems very nice and excited, though Seven often misses things. However, the date seems to be making steady progress. She is confused by the lobster meals they are served. From across the room, The Doctor motions to her how to break the shell. She does so with too much force, spraying Chapman with lobster innards.
Chapman asks if she would like to dance with him, she says that dancing is covered in lesson 35 and she has not learned how yet. He persuades her by saying he's not much of a dancer either. At first she is very tense and claims that her chronographic sequencer keeps her synchronous with the music. He asks her to relax, and they begin to dance better. Until Seven observes a holographic couple's woman twirl. She attempts this maneuver, but in the process tears one of Chapman's shoulder ligaments. The Doctor rushes over and sends him to Sick Bay where Paris will treat him.
At this point, Seven wishes to end her lessons in social contact, but The Doctor persuades her to let him teach her to dance. First they mention that the two of them have a good rapport and communicate well together. The Doctor orders the computer to play the instrumental from "Someone to Watch over Me". After teaching the basics, they begin to dance pretty well together, The Doctor is obviously enjoying himself greatly.
Later, on the holodeck, Neelix enters frantically searching for Tomin. He finds him obviously intoxicated surrounded by two women. Alandra, a Bolian, and Tria. Apparently the reception begins soon, and Neelix had lost track of the ambassador. He gives him some coffee to combat his intoxication. Though there is only synthehol onboard, the Kadi are affected by it as if it were alcohol.
The Doctor enters astrometrics, where Seven is working. He asks her to accompany him to the reception as his date. In the Mess Hall, Tomin is laughing hysterically at Paris's jokes. Neelix is still trying to get him to drink coffee and calm down. While going to find more coffee he runs into Commander Chakotay who demands to know why the Tomin is drunk at his own reception. Neelix is afraid because the Captain will be returning the next day and, despite everything he did to try and keep him happy Tomin has now ended up out of control.
Seven of Nine and The Doctor arrive and are immediately intercepted by Tom Paris. Seven leaves to get drinks for the three of them, and Paris uses this time to discuss Seven's progress. Tomin yells from across the room for more of Paris' jokes, The Doctor says that Seven should take this time to make a toast. She says, "May cultural differences build bridges of understanding, to all that makes us unique."
Tomin pulls Neelix aside to inquire about Seven of Nine. Paris slyly one-ups The Doctor by congratulating Seven on the toast and telling The Doctor that he has won the bet. Seven is offended by the fact that they bet on her without her knowledge, and is hurt to think that The Doctor's desire to help her was motivated entirely to win a wager. Despite The Doctor attempting to assure her the gesture was entirely sincere and Paris also attempting to backpedal by telling her it was his idea entirely, she begins to storm out of the room but is interrupted by Tomin who informs her that he has studied Human mating rituals. She pushes past him and leaves, then he becomes very belligerent and begins yelling. Chakotay and Neelix try to control him, but he collapses.
In sickbay, The Doctor examines Tomin and reports that the Kadi do not have certain enzymes that would render synthehol harmless. They devise a plan whereby Seven's nanoprobes would be encoded to replace the missing enzymes. When Seven of Nine and The Doctor are alone, he apologizes and tells her that he asked her to the reception because he enjoys her company. He tells her that they have become good friends in the past few days. She agrees with him. When Seven goes to work in another part of sickbay, The Doctor asks Paris how one should proceed when they have developed romantic feelings. Tom is in favor of the direct approach, tell the person how you feel.
Tom easily figures out that The Doctor is referring to himself and Seven of Nine, he reiterates his idea of direct confrontation. Meanwhile in a corridor, Tomin is hung over, while the Captain and Abbot are due back any moment. When they arrive, Tomin and Neelix keep up the ruse that Tomin did not indulge himself at all. To their surprise, Abbot suggests that Tomin could have been more explorative, just as long as he does not do so excessively.
Later, The Doctor apparently tells Seven how much he has grown attached to her after she picks up the roses (which she classifies as species Rosa rubifolia) that The Doctor had placed in her regeneration alcove. Before Seven can respond to The Doctor's explanation of his feelings, the holodeck program ends and the real Seven enters. Seven informs The Doctor that, because she has looked through all of the potential mates on the ship and has not found an acceptable one, there is no longer any need for The Doctor to help Seven in social situations. If she finds a suitable mate, however, she will seek him out again. The Doctor looks sad as Seven walks away. The Doctor then returns to Chez Sandríne, Tom's holographic bar, and sits at the piano, playing a rendition of "Someone to Watch over Me," with the patrons looking on.
"Seven! Has anyone ever told you: You have a beautiful voice! It's a true gift!"
"The gift is from the Collective. A vocal subprocessor designed to facilitate the sonic interface with Borg transponders."
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine, on her perfect singing voice
"Species 8472 appears to have as many as five sexes. Bystanders better keep their distance."
- - The Doctor, to Seven of Nine
"You know I don't drink. I don't have the stomach for it."
- - The Doctor, to Seven of Nine and Tom Paris
"Here we see how Fortress Ovum is besieged by countless little warriors..."
- - The Doctor's explanation of conception.
"How the hell do you know when we're having intimate relations?"
"There is no one on Deck 9, Section 12 who doesn't know when you're having intimate relations."
- - B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine
"Don't worry. I don't have any ligaments to tear."
- - The Doctor, to Seven of Nine while they dance
"Then study this. Borg provokes Klingon. Klingon breaks Borg nose.
- - B'Elanna Torres, to Seven of Nine
"Have you ever considered trying it yourself? Romance, I mean."
- - Captain Kathryn Janeway, to Seven of Nine
"They say gossip travels faster than warp speed."
- - The Doctor, to Seven of Nine
"Seven, please state the nature of the medical emergency."
"I have a date."
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine
"You're a woman, Seven."
"Is that an observation or a diagnosis?"
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine
"When first contact is successful, romance quickly ensues and in the happiest of circumstances, procreation."
- - The Doctor, teaching Seven Human dating rituals
- - The Doctor, describing to Seven of Nine the Chez Sandrine holographic setting
"What are your likes, your dislikes?"
"I dislike irrelevant conversation."
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine
"Remove your hand, or I will remove your arm."
- - Seven of Nine to Tomin
"Who is that extraordinary female?"
"Seven of Nine."
"I want to meet her!"
"Take a number."
- - Tomin and Neelix
"Seven of Mine!"
- - Tomin, heavily intoxicated
"You're teaching Seven how to date? Ha... talk about the blind leading the blind."
- - Tom Paris, to The Doctor
"What did the counselor say to the hologram? "You're projecting!""
- - Tom Paris telling a joke
- - Tomin, to Seven
- This episode has repeatedly been likened to the film My Fair Lady. (Delta Quadrant, p. 307; Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26) For example, director and Paris actor Robert Duncan McNeill said of the episode, "It's got The Doctor and Seven of Nine in a kind of My Fair Lady situation." Neelix actor Ethan Phillips likewise compared the installment's B-story to another film; "It's kind of like that movie with Peter O'Toole, My Favorite Year; the guy is entrusted with keeping him sober." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- Robert Duncan McNeill noted that the episode's conclusion was deliberately restrained, as the writers were not willing to continue the romantic aspect of the relationship between The Doctor and Seven of Nine. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
Cast and characters Edit
- Robert Duncan McNeill appreciated this episode's focus on the cast. "It's a real actors' show," he said, "so I felt particularly excited, being an actor, to work on a show that really depended on the performances and the subtleties that the actors could bring to it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26) McNeill also felt that his own character of Paris had "some really great stuff to do, as an actor." 
- Robert Picardo and Jeri Ryan, the performers of The Doctor and Seven of Nine respectively, did at least some of their own singing in this episode, including the duet "You Are My Sunshine". (; Delta Quadrant, p. 307; Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 330)
- Collaborating with Robert Picardo on this production was joyful for Robert Duncan McNeill, who stated, "I really enjoyed working with Bob." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- Robert Duncan McNeill also observed that Jeri Ryan altered her performance here; "Jeri found, I think, a different kind of humanity in Seven of Nine than we have seen before, a real kind of child-like sense of humor in her character." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- Ethan Phillips liked this episode's depiction of Neelix. "It's a funny part and a really neat role," Phillips remarked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- This episode is a bottle show. (X)
- The episode's uniqueness slightly worried Robert Duncan McNeill, shortly before he directed the outing. "It was a very unusual episode for Star Trek, because it's a very traditional romantic comedy," McNeill observed. "I have to admit, when I first read it I was a little nervous. I thought, this is not what someone would expect from a Star Trek show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- However, Robert Duncan McNeill found that helming the episode was highly enjoyable, especially due to the fact that McNeill (who had previously directed both VOY: "Sacred Ground" and "Unity") had recently begun directing non-Trek productions, such as having shot the short film The Battery. "This time directing, I really felt very comfortable and relaxed [....] The fact that I [had] started directing outside helped me not only feel comfortable, but it helped the whole crew and the cast feel like, 'He's becoming a real director. He's not just an actor on our show who is trying to direct." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 52)
- The episode's conclusion was not yet written when the shooting company filmed the rest of the installment. "When the whole script wasn't written," Robert Duncan McNeill recalled, "we were just sort of making it up, shooting it as it was being written [....] It definitely kept us on our toes, kept us aware of how much we were telling, in what order we were telling the story, and not to have The Doctor fall in love with Seven in Act One, to really find the whole journey, and fill it out fully." Robert Picardo offered, "This episode is like the movie Casablanca, because we shot it without knowing what the end will be. It's like shooting a romantic story, without knowing the payoff. But Casablanca turned out pretty well. I'm hoping that we will be equally fortunate." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- The dance sequences were choreographed by Laura Behr, the wife of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writer Ira Steven Behr. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- The image of an ovum being approached by countless sperm – used in The Doctor's dating lessons for Seven of Nine – was taken from footage from the movie Look Who's Talking, which starred Kirstie Alley. 
Continuity and trivia Edit
- This is the last time in the series that the Chez Sandríne holoprogram appears.
- While The Doctor teaches Seven about the different sexual activities and customs, he refers to Species 8472 as having as many as five sexes. We also see a holoimage of two of Species 8472 in a courting ritual, although no explanation is given as to how this was acquired; it is possible it was acquired during the events of VOY: "In the Flesh".
- During her date with Lieutenant Chapman, Seven of Nine refuses having a glass of champagne, since synthehol affects her cortical functions, which had occurred earlier in the season when she had a glass of champagne in engineering in VOY: "Timeless".
- In TNG: "Liaisons", some Iyaaran ambassadors visit the USS Enterprise-D for a cultural exchange. Ambassador Loquel was studying pleasure and indulged in experimenting with various food, similar to what Ambassador Tomin does.
- This is the second time that a character criticizes The Doctor's unrealistic programming of a holo-character's personality; here, Tom Paris regarding Steven Price's unwavering acceptance of Seven's Borg past. The first time was in VOY: "Real Life", where B'Elanna Torres told him that his holographic family (Charlene, Belle, and Jeffrey) were too sappy.
Editing and reception Edit
- While this episode was still being pieced together, Jeri Ryan was aware of the episode's popularity. "Even the editors were coming up to me on the set and saying, 'This never happens, but everyone was coming in out of the other editing room, and stopping what they were doing and watching this show while we were cutting it together.' They said it was just so charming that everybody loved it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26)
- The scene in the ready-room where Seven helps Janeway put on her pip was removed from most airings on US stations during its first run (although the scene is present in all syndicated reruns and on the DVDs). An explanation for this was never given.
- The episode's success was evident to Robert Duncan McNeill. "The response has just been incredible," he commented. "A lot of people are saying it's going to be one of our best episodes." McNeill was also personally very pleased with the outing. "I think it's a really fun and surprising way that they have dealt with it. I think the audience is going to be sucked into the story." A highlight of the episode for him was the duet scene between The Doctor and Seven, which McNeill termed "a real nice, little moment." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26) In 2010, he reminisced, "Everybody just did a great job, and the story had a ton of heart, and I really enjoyed 'Someone to Watch Over Me'." 
- Executive producer Brannon Braga was thrilled with this episode, too, describing it as "one of my favorites of the year." He also enthused, "It's very, very charming, and heartbreaking." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 26) In a 2011 interview, he described the episode as "a special favorite to me" and went on to say, "That was really a very simple character piece, with no space battles and not much science fiction at all. It showed Star Trek could be funny and touching." 
- Fellow executive producer Rick Berman was likewise happy with this outing, citing the episode (in 2003) among his favorites from the entirety of Voyager (along with "Scorpion, I and II" and "Timeless"). He said of this installment, "That was sweet, charming, funny and poignant." (Star Trek Monthly issue 105, p. 18)
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.11, 18 October 1999
- As part of the VOY Season 5 DVD collection
Links and referencesEdit
Also starring Edit
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Ensign Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- David Keith Anderson as Ashmore
- Christine Delgado as Susan Nicoletti
- Janet Dey as bar patron
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Rick Evans as waiter
- C. Fisher as bar patron
- Sylvester Foster as Timothy Lang
- Mel Gold as bar patron
- Elizabeth Goldstein as Alandra
- Grace Harrell as female courting Klingon
- Kerry Hoyt as Doug Bronowski
- Neal Kaz as bar patron
- Monika Kusley as Tria
- Redondo Philip as bar patron
- Erin Price as Renlay Sharr
- Sandra Rascon as bar patron
- Bruce Reagan as alien bartender
- Steve Rollins as piano player
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- Lisa Vanasco as female courting Bolian
- Unknown performers as
1969; ablutionary fountain; accordion; airponics; assimilation; astronomy; baby's breath; Bajoran; barstool; Bolian; burrito; catalytic agent; champagne; cheese; Chez Sandrine; chorus; chronographic sequencer; clutch; coffee; cortical implant; dating; dermaplastic garment; Earth; enzyme; exoskeleton; France; gigaquad; gin and tonic; Goddess mother; hangover; hasperat; holodeck; intoxication; isolinear spanner; Jefferies tube; Kadi; Ktarian pudding; Klingon; Klingon mating rituals; ligament; lobster; "Love Amid the Stars: A Romantic Bestiary"; maestro; marriage; Marseille; mating ritual; medical tricorder; Milky Way Galaxy; monk; music; Mustang; nanoprobe; nature preserve; ovum; palate; pool; prism; procreation; pupil; quantum mechanics; Robertson; "Romeo and Juliet"; rosa rubifolia; Sandrine's; slideshow; "Someone to Watch over Me"; sonic interface; sonic shower; Species 8472; sperm; spice; Starfleet Academy; structural engineering; synthehol; transponder; unimatrix; vocal subprocessor; water; "You Are My Sunshine"
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