the story: The crew discover that the Hirogens have underestimated the holographic prey they have them in "The Killing Game."
what it's all about: An unlikely sequel leads to the epic hologram war the series finally gets around to after spending so much of its run exploring the varying ways holograms can exist and whether or not it affects the Doctor's status.
"The Killing Game" was a two-part episode in the fourth season where the Hirogen were ultimately pacified by being given seemingly the perfect solution to a species just looking for a good hunt. "Flesh and Blood" exposes that to have been wishful thinking at best. It's like "Space Seed" succeeded by Wrath of Khan, where Kirk learns disposing of the genetic superman on his own planet didn't somehow solve everything. The next time the franchise attempted such a solution, Next Generation's "Ship in a Bottle," in which the brilliant Moriarty (who is a hologram, by the way) is pacified by a false solution to his yearning for freedom. Ironically, "Ship" itself was a continuation of a similar conclusion to his first appearance, "Elementary, Dear Data." So clearly some problems will always have complicated results.
The Doctor is once again confronted by a dilemma that forces him to argue for the rights of his people, regardless of whether or not they're behaving themselves (which itself is a freedom of speech analogy relevant to 2017) as he finds himself caught in the middle of the crew trying to help the Hirogen and the holograms striving for their own freedom.
Since this is a two-part episode, I'll refrain from drawing conclusions as to who's right in all this.
- franchise - Shares in the tradition of surprising follow-ups to previous solutions.
- series - A sequel to "The Killing Game."
- character - The Doctor reaches an epic turning point in the fight for the rights of holograms.
- essential - If Data and Lore had "Descent," then it's fair to say this is the Doctor's version, and it's got more on its mind.