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Virtuoso (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Virtuoso"
VOY, Episode 6x13
Production number: 234
First aired: 26 January 2000
132nd of 168 produced in VOY
131st of 168 released in VOY
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 168 released in VOY Remastered  
591st of 728 released in all
The Doctor sings on Qomar homeworld
Written By
Raf Green & Kenneth Biller

Directed By
Les Landau
53556.4 (2376)
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The Doctor becomes a celebrity among a race that has not developed music.

Summary

Teaser

"Captain's log, stardate 53556.4. We've towed a damaged vessel aboard and are attempting to repair it; while The Doctor treats the Qomarian crew who have suffered minor injuries."

The USS Voyager has picked up some Qomar to treat their injuries. The Qomar ship was damaged when Voyager's sensor scans disturbed its impulse engines. The Qomar are extremely rude to Voyager's crew whom they regard as intellectually inferior. While The Doctor tries to treat the Qomar's injuries they are very dismissive and patronizing and even attempt to break into his program to shut off his vocal subroutines. He tells them that they're not authorized to do that and that they need to sit down so that he can treat them. While he begins their treatment he starts to sing the first verse of I've Been Working on the Railroad.

The Qomar are immediately fascinated by The Doctor's singing which is something they have never heard before. They find it so intriguing, that they request him to sing some more.

Act One

The Doctor amuses the Qomar by singing the 4th and 5th verse of the song and they listen on in utter admiration.

Mostly they are intrigued by the mathematical aspects of the music and they do not understand what it is for. The Doctor explains that it is meant to convey emotions and that it's a form of entertainment. He is surprised to learn that this supposedly advanced race does not possess music of any kind. He informs them that many of Voyager's crew possess musical skills, though of course he is himself the most talented one. He offers the Qomar access to Voyager's musical database so that they can hear more of the vast musical selection available to the crew. Pleased by the offer, the Qomar ask The Doctor to sing more for them which of course appeals greatly to his vanity. Immensely intrigued by their new discovery of music, they invite Voyager to their system.

"Captain's log, supplemental. The Qomar have completed repairs to their ship and, surprisingly, have invited us to visit their system. Apparently, it's no longer closed to outsiders."

In the Qomar system, the Voyager crew meets Prelate Koru, who wants to hear The Doctor sing. Captain Janeway suggests a show with several different types of music. During this recital, The Doctor sings a rendition of Dio, che nell'alma infondere, a duet from the opera Don Carlos, composed by Giuseppe Verdi.

His performance is a resounding success and he receives great applause from his crew-mates but particularly from the Qomar. The Doctor then announces the next act: the jazz band Harry Kim and the Kimtones. They begin playing a instrumental version of That Old Black Magic. However, the Qomar aren't interested in hearing them play. They begin disrupting the performance by yelling that they only want to hear The Doctor sing. Tom Paris urges The Doctor to help Harry and the band out, which he does by quickly jumping on stage. He instructs the band to pick up the tempo and starts singing the lyrics of the song. This pleases the Qomar greatly and they start enjoying the swinging music.

Act Two

After the recital, Captain Janeway congratulates The Doctor on his performance. The Prelate then invites The Doctor to perform on the planet so that the rest of the Qomar homeworld can enjoy this newly discovered music. The Doctor is greatly flattered by the offer and instructs the Prelate to arrange the details with his 'representative' Captain Janeway. She is already seeing that all this attention is beginning to go to The Doctor's head but she agrees to the performance.

The Doctor asks B'Elanna Torres to reprogram his mobile emitter so that he can change appearance quickly in between acts. She snorts at his arrogance but agrees to make the modifications. Tincoo, one of the Qomar, says that she believes the crew don't seem to appreciate him very much. The Doctor of course agrees and laments his own self-perceived plight of being under-appreciated. Torres feels he is exaggerating and being extremely arrogant, especially when he tells Tincoo that in order for his performance to be fully appreciated the lecture hall where his performance is scheduled to take place will need to be entirely restructured. The Doctor goes on and even insults Torres by saying that her knowledge of music goes no further than a smattering of Klingon drinking songs. The Qomar, on the other hand, will do anything to please their new idol and agree to rebuild the lecture hall's structure.

Just before the concert, The Doctor is starting to feel nervous because he feels pressured by having the great responsibility of being the first person to expose the Qomar to music. He speaks to Tincoo about it, and she makes him feel even more nervous at first by saying that the performance is being broadcast to millions of Qomar. But she eases his fears just before he goes on stage by expressing her confidence and great appreciation of him. The performance is a resounding success even before it starts with the Qomar giving The Doctor a standing ovation even before he begins to sing. The applause and admiration give The Doctor's ego an enormous boost and he revels in the attention.

Act Three

After the performance, everyone is back on board Voyager and the troubles with The Doctor's growing fame among the Qomar are starting to arise. Seven of Nine issues a red alert from astrometrics because she believes the Qomar are trying to sabotage Voyager's comm system. When Janeway arrives in astrometrics, Seven tells her that the Qomar are trying to overload the comm system by flooding it with millions of teraquads of irrelevant information. After realizing that all the information the Qomar are transmitting to Voyager is all addressed to The Doctor and that it is actually just fan mail, Janeway cancels the red alert. She explains to Seven the concept of fans and both are a little amused by the whole thing.

However, Janeway's amusement at the situation quickly fades when Tuvok calls her to address another problem. Hundreds of Qomar fans of The Doctor are swarming the ship and are interfering with normal ship functions. The Captain agrees with Tuvok that they should disallow any further Qomar visits and beam those already aboard back to the planet as soon as possible.

The next thing that Janeway sees is going on with The Doctor really disturbs her. Apparently The Doctor is signing autographs in the mess hall and handing out miniature singing holograms of himself. He's even entertaining the Qomar by singing the duet Dio, che nell'alma infondere with one of the miniature holograms.

The captain cuts in line to speak to The Doctor and he tells her to wait her turn if she wants an autograph. Angered by his enormous ego she tells him she needs to speak to him. She informs him that this whole thing is getting out of hand and that he shouldn't have used valuable replicator reserves to make souvenirs of himself. The Doctor then informs her that he did no such thing and that they were actually made on Qomar. Apparently they've devoted an entire factory to producing them. However the captain says that things are still getting far out of hand. For instance, she tells him that he's been neglecting his duties in sickbay and that he's getting behind on his reports. He then tells her that none of it is that important and he even goes so far of calling her by her first name. This irks Janeway to no end. He's getting far too familiar with her and becoming negligent in his duties and disrespectful of her and the crew. She orders him to resume his duties in sickbay.

The Doctor does realize he went a little too far with Janeway and returns to his regular duties. But when he arrives in sickbay he finds Paris attending to two young Qomar ladies. They say that they became faint and overwhelmed while waiting in line for The Doctor. The Doctor dismisses Paris and begins examining the young women. He finds nothing wrong with them and they admit that they faked illness to get into a more private situation with him. They become harassing and refuse to leave him alone. Desperate, The Doctor calls for security and even deactivates himself to get away from the overly-insistent women.

Later, The Doctor is working on the surface of planet. He runs into Tincoo and tells her that he came down to get some peace and quiet. She surprises him with a musical piece she has written in his honor. Immensely flattered and impressed, he reads it over. It is enormously complex and an amazing piece of work for someone who has only been aware of music for a few days. She requests that he sing it in his performance tomorrow, but he explains that he doesn't believe he can. It is too complex and beyond his vocal range, which is that of a normal humanoid. Tincoo is puzzled and tells him that since he is not Human he could easily be reprogrammed to expand his vocal range. She even offers to help him with it, but he doesn't believe they have enough time, since his final performance is the day after. She then tells him that it doesn't have to be his last performance. He can stay on Qomar where his talents will be far more appreciated. He is tempted, but feels he cannot forget his duties on Voyager. She reasons that his duties on Voyager pale in comparison to the cultural enlightenment of the millions of Qomar. He still doesn't want to leave Voyager but then Tincoo says that she personally wants him to stay. That she feels her time with him has been the most stimulating of her life. The Doctor feels the same way and thinks she genuinely has feelings for him. This seals the deal for him. He wants to stay.

Act Four

Back on Voyager, The Doctor informs the Captain that he wishes to resign his commission. At first she refuses, saying that he can't neglect his duties like that and that Voyager needs him more than the Qomar. When he says that they'll adapt to the situation, the discussion moves to the fact that he is a system of the ship. They argue about his rights as an individual and that he's not merely a piece of equipment. As his friend, the Captain reluctantly agrees to his request, mostly because he informs her that there's a woman involved.

The Doctor begins settling his affairs on Voyager by telling Paris what his duties will be now that he's Voyager's chief medical officer. Paris tells The Doctor that he doesn't want him to leave. Who will he torment after he's gone?

The Doctor then goes to see Seven of Nine. He wants to say goodbye and give her some more social lessons to study after he's gone. She is angry with him. She doesn't want to lose her friend and mentor. He tells her he wants to grow as an individual and that he'll be loved and appreciated on Qomar more than he ever was on Voyager. Seven accuses him of abandoning his friends because he desires fame and attention. He admits to wanting those things but if those are the things he wants then why shouldn't he try to attain them. Seven considers such things irrelevant and says she simply doesn't want to lose her friend to a mere fad. The Doctor wishes her to understand better but doesn't get the opportunity to talk things through when a call comes through for him. It is Tincoo, and she asks The Doctor to join her on the surface. He agrees and then turns to Seven to say goodbye, but she simply dismisses him by saying that he shouldn't keep his fans waiting. He is hurt by her words and silently leaves, leaving a distraught Seven behind.

On the surface Tincoo tells The Doctor that she had an inspiration. At first he thinks she's made another composition, but it turns out to be a new holographic matrix. She informs The Doctor that it will solve all their problems. The Doctor asks what problems she is referring to and she says that this program will allow him to stay on Voyager since he was reluctant to leave, and that the program is far superior to him in abilities so that it can do what The Doctor struggled to even try. It is capable of singing any musical piece no matter how complex. When he tells her that singing is more than complex subroutines, that it needs soul and artistry. She simply states that she has copied that too. The Doctor is very hurt, realizing that she had no real feelings for him and that she would settle for any copy of The Doctor and discard the old one for the newest version.

Act Five

Hurt, he returns to Voyager where he attempts to upgrade his own program so that the Qomar and especially Tincoo would still want him. He doesn't have much luck as he continues to struggle with singing Tincoo's composition. He calls Torres to help him. He needs her access codes so that he can erase his medical database. She asks why he would want to do such a thing and he explains the situation a little bit to her. At first she's a little dismissive because of his earlier insults. She discusses the problem with him, informing him that she can reprogram him to be anything he wants, even to be a whistling teapot if needs be but if she does that than he really wouldn't be himself anymore, would he? Her words strike a chord with him and he realizes that she's right.

At his performance that evening he tells the crowd of Qomar that he isn't advanced enough to sing Tincoo's composition, much to their disappointment, and that this will be his goodbye show. Instead, he sings an old Neapolitan ballad about lost love called Rondine al nido, which moves Janeway to tears.

He then gives way to Tincoo, who calls his performance "very fascinating" and then proudly announces the new and "improved" musical hologram that will sing her own musical piece. The new hologram takes the stage and begins singing Tincoo's work. It sounds terrible and very odd but the Qomar seem to enjoy it immensely, to the confusion of the Voyager crew who don't like it at all. The more strange and awful sounds the hologram produces the more the Qomar applaud it. The hologram seems capable of creating his own accompanying music with his voice and making it sound as if he is singing with several voices at once. At the conclusion of the composition, the faint sound of a whistling teapot can be heard mixed into it.

If anything, it shows that the Qomar still have no true understanding of the real meaning of music; that it doesn't revolve around algorithms, binary syntax and quadratic equations, but around emotions, artistry and soul.

Voyager leaves the Qomar system and continues on its journey back to the Alpha Quadrant. The Doctor requests permission of the captain to delete his musical subroutines. She refuses and tells him that his action insulted a lot of people on Voyager.

The Doctor returns to his duties. He listens to one of his mini holograms singing and then throws it into the trash, almost hitting Seven in the process. He apologizes and says he hadn't seen her enter. She tells him she has another piece of fan mail to deliver to him. He tells her to delete it. She refuses to comply and begins to read it to him. The letter describes the feelings of a fan who is saddened by the fact that his last performance wasn't the success he had hoped for. But, there are still fans who still appreciate his unique talents and admire him as an individual, and they'll always consider themselves as a loyal fan. The letter cheers him up a bit and when he asks who it is from she tells him that the letter is hers. She gives him the letter and leaves and he reads over it again, deeply warmed by her heartfelt words. He then gets back to work and softly starts singing I've Been Working on the Railroad to himself again.

Memorable Quotes

"I can expand your musical subroutines all you like. I can even reprogram you to be a whistling teapot."

- B'Elanna Torres, to The Doctor


"You're right. They won't be able to see anything but the top of your head. The glare could blind them."

- B'Elanna Torres, to The Doctor


"While we're at it, Lieutenant, I'll need some help with my wardrobe."
"I'm an engineer, not a costume designer."

- The Doctor and B'Elanna Torres


"Doctor, or do you prefer Maestro?"
"Oh, please, either is acceptable."
"Well, then, let me make it clear to both of you. Maestro, you're finished for today. Doctor, report to Sickbay. Now."

- Captain Janeway and The Doctor


"I believe the Qomar are attempting to disable our com system."
"How?"
"By overloading it with millions of teraquads of irrelevant data."
"What do you mean by "irrelevant"? (reads) They are transmissions... all addressed to The Doctor."
"Precisely. I've only been able to decipher a small fraction of them so far, but they include invitations to social and scientific functions, requests for personal encounters, cloying tributes to The Doctor's talents."
"Computer, stand down red alert. This isn't sabotage, Seven. This is fan mail."

- Seven of Nine and Captain Janeway


"I'd like you to make an adjustment to my mobile emitter that would allow me to make quick changes between songs."
"That sounds exciting!"
"Oh, it will be! I plan to segue from Don Juan to Rigoletto in the blink of an eye. It will be a triumph of-"
"Arrogance and self-absorption?"
(The Doctor looks at Torres and frowns)
"Just trying to help."

- The Doctor, Tincoo and B'Elanna Torres


"I have something for you."
"What is it?"
"Fan mail."
"Delete it. I don't want to read another word."
"Then I'll read it for you."
"Seven..."
"Dear Doctor, I regret that your last performance was not as successful as you'd hoped. There are still those who appreciate your unique talents and admire you as an individual. I'll always consider myself your loyal fan."
"Who's it from?"
"It's signed "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01.""

- Seven of Nine and The Doctor

Background Information

Video and DVD releases

Links and References

Starring

Also starring

Guest Stars

Uncredited Co-Stars

Stand-ins

References

algorithm; ballad; bloodletting; Dio, che nell'alma infondere; dizziness; Don Carlos; Don Juan; Earth; fan mail; flu; fractal; jazz; holomatrix; holo-processing plant; I've Been Working on the Railroad; Harry Kim and the Kimtones; heart attack; Klingon drinking song; mobile emitter; multi-harmonic overtone; music; opera; Pagliacci; pi; placebo; polyphonic sequencer; Prelate; Qomar; Qomar Planetary Alliance; Qomar singing holographic matrix; Qomar starbase; Qomar starships; Qomar transport; quadratic equation; red alert; Rigoletto; rock and roll; Rondine al nido; social lesson; subroutine; Teatro alla Scala; That Old Black Magic; teraquad; Toluncan ague; trigonometry; Verdi, Giuseppe; vocal processor; wave-form calculus


Previous episode:
"Blink of an Eye"
Star Trek: Voyager
Season 6
Next episode:
"Memorial"

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