Paris’s sudden insubordination continues, and that mole guy actually gets to talk to Seska this time. Are these plotlines going anywhere?
I mean, probably, and I think I remember where Seska’s is going, but the Paris thing is still a mystery. And that is all I have to say about that.
No, instead, the Doctor finds love. Can a hologram find love? Excellent question! My answer is, well…apparently he can. He likewise finds love with a Vidiian woman, another doctor like himself, and the woman in question, Danara Pel, continues to make the Vidiians one of the more fascinating alien races in the Delta Quadrant. This episode basically let me know that individual Vidiians aren’t born with the Phage as Danara explains she contracted the disease when she was about nine. And since the Doctor is able to recreate a healthy holographic body for her in an attempt to find a way to prolong her own life by finding a way to replace damaged brain tissue that would otherwise kill her.
So, I get to see a healthy Vidiian, learn that it may be possible for Vidiians to never get sick, and this particular Vidiian is of a more compassionate nature than, say, the ones that kidnapped B’Elanna to try and use her Klingon DNA to prolong their lives. That last point is perhaps hammered home the most when the Doctor asks B’Elanna for a little brain tissue, and she initially refuses but changes her mind when Danara simply asks nicely in a way that says Danara would totally understand if B’Elanna said “no” due to what other people of her race did to her.
As a friend pointed out to me recently, the Vidiians offer a wide range of responses to their species’s general predicament. Some, like Danara, will manage to maintain a more humane approach to other species, others will do what they do out of an extreme sense of regret, and then there’s the psychos who are so far gone that they don’t even care. When other alien races are just there for potential organ transplants, it makes a lot of sense that something like that could happen. They became series villains out of necessity and not out of any sort of maliciousness or just some sort of cultural viciousness or something. These are a people who are collectively dying of a fatal illness that eats away at them from the inside.
Small wonder Danara would prefer to be a hologram.
OK, she also wants to stay a hologram because she is certain that the Doctor will not find her attractive in her physical form.
That…that’s an interesting perspective. I’m not sure how she could come to that conclusion. I mean, the Doctor is essentially a computer program. Physical appearances should mean, like, absolutely nothing to him. Indeed, they don’t matter to him judging by the ending of the episode that shows the two of them dancing in Paris’s holodeck French pool hall program. Besides, the Doctor himself doesn’t even understand love as anything more than a concept. It takes Kes to explain what his fascination with Danara is, and then it takes Paris to explain how to deal with rejection because the Doctor (correctly it turns out) assumes Paris is pretty experienced with that sort of thing.
But that is essentially what makes the Doctor an interesting character: he’s learning how to be, well…maybe not human, but the longer he’s turned on and left running, the more he becomes, well, sentient I suppose. He’s still got the beside manner of a fireplace poker, and that applies to asking someone out too. He’s unapologetically blunt, but he is learning, and learning to interact with someone on this level makes for a nice change of pace.
Granted, I have no idea what happens to Danara after this episode. She isn’t dead of the phage, and the tissue sample from Torres might have extended her life, but she and the Doctor probably won’t be a couple beyond this episode. So…what does all that mean? Does it mean that the Doctor has a long distance relationship? I mean, Danara couldn’t stay a hologram. That would kill her. She also had duties to her own people while Voyager‘s whole thing is the ship is just passing through. It’s a nice episode, but it doesn’t really offer much beyond “the Doctor does not love someone based on their appearance” because this relationship, by its very nature, can’t continue past this point.