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"Star Trek: Voyager" Darkling (1997)

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Doctor and Mr. Hyde

7/10
Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
26 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While gathering information about the space ahead of them from a race of space travellers Kes becomes interested in one of them in particular a man called Zahir. Meanwhile the Doctor is hoping to expand his program by adding the personalities of various well-known people such as Ghandi and Lord Byron. The additions have some unexpected effects however. When Zahir is attacked there is no evidence, nobody suspects that this is because his assailant was a hologram. B'Ellana realises that something is wrong with the Doctor and explains that he will have to deactivate himself so she can remove the new subroutines. When he switches off however he doesn't disappear, his new personality appears; a personality he didn't realise he had. As the new personality takes over he kidnaps Kes and takes her to the planet below where she tries to explain that he needs the good side of his personality. As Tuvok, Chakotay and Zahir close in on the Doctor's position he takes drastic measures to prevent himself being caught!

I must have missed something in a previous episode, as I was unaware that Kes had split with Neelix; I guess that explained her new 'sexy' costumes that or an attempt to increase ratings. It was a surprise to see the Doctor become so dangerous but rather fun, Robert Picardo was delightfully over the top as the Doctor's evil alter ego and Jennifer Lien is always good as Kes.

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18 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Garbage

1/10
Author: Bolesroor from New York, NY USA
2 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Perhaps the single lamest line in Star Trek history is uttered here as The Doctor casually drops the bomb that Neelix and Kes are no longer a couple: "After Kes' recent breakup with Neelix..."

What?!?

WHAT?!?

I've been the one protesting this terrible character arc from DAY ONE, but now you're going to retro-actively announce that Kes and Neelix have broken up with a passing line of exposition by Holo-Doc? Outrageously awful and offensive on every level.

While Star Trek producers may attempt to tell you that the breakup occurred in the episode "Warlord," NOTHING was definite, and the vague reference to their "relationship changing" was done in an episode where Kes was possessed by a man!

Pretty sloppy stuff, and this episode never recovers. Doctor- who gets more obnoxious with each passing episode- is now not only freed from the confines of Sick Bay but able to augment his own personality program using historical characters from the holodeck! By now the Doctor storyline has devolved into laughable absurdity... if these holograms are capable of all this why send living beings out in Starships at all? Just call it Holo-Starfleet and be done with it.

To no one's surprise, the Doctor's personality re-write goes bad. (Goodness gracious me.) Some cartoon-villain version of the Doctor appears, and he kidnaps Kes, and Kes has to save her life by reminding him that there's love in him after all, which of course there isn't because he's a F=CKING HOLOGRAM! A pathetic mess.

GRADE: F

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Out of Nowhere, Picardo finds his inner Spencer Tracy

9/10
Author: A_Different_Drummer from North America
13 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have talked about this series before, and frankly it deserves all the attention it can get. It was the last "proper" Star Trek franchise before the disastrous re-imagining of the origins, and before network TV met Netflix, and was never the same again. It had a rough start but found better footing as it evolved. The quality was uneven, ranging from just OK to brilliant. The time travel episodes in particular are as good a many features. Jennifer Lien, originally the femme fatale, was thrown under the bus for a newbie Borg character who, to be fair, made Lien look like a boy. And -- note this episode in particular -- the series included a strange photonic doctor played by an actor -- Picardo -- who in his career did not ordinarily "do" good guys, but managed to hold up his end nonetheless. And then here comes this gem. If you have ever seen Tracy in the original Jekyll and Hyde, then you know how tricky this transition is, how it takes the most subtle of mannerisms to convey the change. And Picardo pulls it off! The scene where he follows an attractive ensign into the turbo-lift is astonishing because nothing actually happens, but the sense of impending menace is almost tangible. Kudos to Picardo. This performance should never be forgotten. Which of course is that the IMDb is for.

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Inner Villains, Round Two

9/10
Author: temlakos-1 from United States
19 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Regular actors in TV series hit their best strides when they can, however temporarily, turn bad. Jennifer Lien took her turn in "Warlord." Robert Picardo takes his turn here--and ironically (or perhaps not so ironically), Jennifer Lien is along--unwillingly--for the ride.

Briefly, The Doctor tries to borrow personality traits from such historical figures as Lord Byron (Earth) and T'Pau (Vulcan; cf. "Amok Time" in ST:TOS). But, as Robert Louis Stevenson (or maybe Sigmund Freud) could have told him, all great people have a dark side. When all those dark sides come together, watch out! Robert Picardo here takes his opportunity to be as bad as he knows how to be. Very entertaining to watch. At the same time we see Jennifer Lien clearly anticipating her last episodes.

One problem: the capabilities of Federation medicine to bring a man back even after someone has thrown him off a precipice suddenly look dreadfully contrived. And transporting two people in mid-fall from that same precipice...! Can we say, "Deus ex machina"?!? That aside, this episode stands alone as one of Voyager's best.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

While I usually love the Doctor, here he seems wasted and silly.

3/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
19 February 2015

I think that the Doctor (Robert Picardo) is the best member of Voyager's crew. He's funny, snippy and very interesting as his character evolves throughout the series. However, occasionally the show really struck out when it tried to expand his character and "Darkling" is clearly one of these times.

The Doctor is trying to expand his programming by interacting with various historical characters. Unfortunately, this has unforeseen effects on him and he becomes a 'Jekyl & Hyde' sort of personality. At the same time, Kes is considering leaving the ship and going on an adventure with a new guy she just met. How these two plots interact is something you'll have to see for yourself.

The problem with this one is that changes in the Doctor are just fine--insane and HUGE changes aren't. It all comes off as very contrived and silly. The only real positive I see in this show is that the writers finally decided to have Kes and Neelix break up-- which is so positive as Neelix's jealousy is so boorish and annoying....and a bit creepy.

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