May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Weekend Trek “Darkling”

The Doctor messes with his program and creates an evil persona.

So, Neelix and Kes broke up.  Did that happen in a scene I only half paid attention to because I don’t care about their relationship, or did it happen between episodes like I think it did?

Regardless, the ship has stopped to get directions from a race of solitary travelers, offering pointers on what to avoid and where to go, and mixing in some tall tales.  Kes, for her part, seems enamored with a particularly honest one who likes showing her some neat stuff on the planet they’re on.

And while this is going on, the Doctor is looking to supplement his personality program by adding in traits from some of history’s best thinkers like Gandhi and Lord Byron, even if their holographic versions are arguing with each other.  The idea the Doctor has isn’t an awful one, and it does fit with the character’s basic goal to grow as a physician.  Sure, his first attempt makes him something of a lothario, and B’Elanna doesn’t appreciate that.  She also thinks that adding other personalities to the Doctor’s programming is a bad idea because, for all that people like Byron and that Vulcan woman did a lot of great things, they also had dark sides and character traits like emotional instability and utter ruthlessness.  Why, combining those traits together would probably do all kinds of unexpected and awful things.

Like, you know, turning the Doctor into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  The Doctor glitches, and his evil side comes out to cause trouble, mostly by trying to prevent Kes from taking a trip with that alien hottie she’s been getting friendly with.

Having the Doctor go bad makes for some interesting scenarios.  As a hologram, he doesn’t leave physical evidence behind when he, say, pushing Kes’s new boyfriend off a cliff.  It also means pushing a guy off a cliff won’t kill him because the series needs the Doctor to basically not do anything irredeemable.  He’s also a unique enough character that when he’s fixed by the end of the episode, no one will really hold what he did against him.  It was this other persona that was looking to take over the “body” for itself and keep the Doctor from doing much of anything that might stop the evil guy from doing evil things.

I mean, Evil Doc paralyzed and toyed with B’Elanna in a really creepy way, and she doesn’t seem to be showing even a hint of concern when she’s talking to him by the end of the episode.  That can’t just be the Klingon in her.  Evil Doc had the same face as Regular Doc after all.  And I know this is Star Trek where characters are basically understanding and mentally sound, but that is remarkably forgiving of, well, everyone, especially since the Doctor was fixed by simply beaming him back to Voyager somehow.

Then again, Kes was pretty quick to point out that the Doctor was not being as evil as he could be, so there’s that.  And the episode did show the Doctor’s attempts at “surgery” on the holographic programs he borrowed personalities from.  One or two of them were creepy while being entirely bloodless.  The net result is an episode that plays around with the possibility of a character going bad, never quite letting him, and then having everyone forget about it.

That may include the Voyager crewman Evil Doc shot.  I hope that was a stun setting…