Voyager rewatch 3.18 – “Darkling”

Toxic masculinity ruins the party again.

I’m feeling a bit under the weather, and more significantly, my hands are arthritic, so here are my feelpinions in dot point form:

  • No women were involved in the writing of this episode, and it shows
  • Like, a significant proportion of the Doctor’s role models were FAMOUSLY abusive towards the women in their lives
  • And then there’s his sexual harassment of B’Elanna played for comedy, when it’s as much a horror scenario as his later medical abuse
  • That Goth Doctor cares for Kes is treated as a redemptive trait, when it’s actually just the flipside to his abuse
  • I just feel like the writers didn’t quite understand the story they were telling?
  • Robert Picardo’s performance ranged from “brilliant and menacing” to “please, sir, stop eating the scenery”, sometimes in the same shot
  • This feels like one of those cases where someone (Berman) was like, “Only ONE member of the cast can emote!” so Jennifer Lien drew the short straw
  • Like, this should be a Kes story, but it’s … kind of not
  • Her love interest is just your standard Generic Star Trek Non-Villainous Male Love Interest, ie, a bit milquetoast, a bit too charming, a lot dull
  • One thing you can say about Neelix, he’s not dull
  • I quite like Kes’s velour catsuits! Even though I hate what they stand for, ie, more pandering to the male gaze
  • Seriously, I have a book on Star Trek costumes, and it includes a dismissal of Kes’s original outfits as “the sort of thing that appeals to teenage girls”
  • Was once a teenage girl, can confirm I found those outfits very appealing
  • Still not sure why that’s a bad thing!

Anyway

This episode is a mess. Aside from the bit where the Doctor and Kes are beamed out mid-fall, that’s cool. Just say no to Lord Byron. One hollow Socrates out of five.

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