"The Darkling"

Season Three, Episode 18
Written by Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky
Directed by Alex Singer
Main Cast:
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran as Chakotay
Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
Jennifer Lien as Kes
Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips as Neelix
Robert Picardo as The Doctor
Tim Russ as Tuvok
Garrett Wang as Harry Kim

Guest Cast:
David Lee Smith as Zahir
Stephen Davies as Nakahn
Noel de Souza as Ghandi
Christopher Clarke as Lord Byron
Sue Henley as the Ensign 


To improve his performance as the ship's physician, The Doctor decides to enhance his programming by using the Holodeck to incorporate the personality and knowledge of several accomplished historical figures. But he also adopts several aberrant character traits from those non-fictional figures and is soon over taken by a dangerous, cruel Mister Hyde-like personality.


Oh dear. After two near-stellar outings for Voyager I was actually starting to muster enthusiasm for the series. But -- bam -- along comes The Darkling, a seriously inept pantomime of a "drama" which left me bored. Seriously, it was so dull and tedious that I found myself flicking through the ceefax pages to pass the time. Yep, I found the ceefax page on Hollywood gossip more exciting than this episode of Voyager. That's not good.

The script is a lame attempt at that tired old "Jekyll and Hyde" premise and that would be at least passable if it led to something interesting. But no, the ends do little to justify the means. All we get is the Doctor running about with Kes spouting loads of supposedly menacing pyschobabble. Robert Picardo does his best, but all the other performances (particularly the guests) are sadly lacking, the directing is lacklustre and even the music seems wishy-washy. There's just so little point to everything about this episode - the plot is predictable, dull and falls completely flat in terms of drama - moments that ought to have been chilling and nerve-wracking, such as B'Elanna's incarceration are just dull. The addition of Kes's new boyfriend is equally uninteresting, largely due to the cardboard performance of the guy that plays him. Even Jennifer Lien fails to rise above this tedium.

So, everything considered I wasn't especially impressed. I don't think there's ever been a more pointless, utterly useless episode - except of course for Threshold or Twisted. We'll forget about Threshold (for the sake of our mental and emotional wellbeing) but at least Twisted wasn't as boring as this. Excuse me while I reach for the caffeine pills, I must otherwise fall asleeee...

Rating: 3

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