The Voyager Doctor's Key Moments

Imperfection (7x2)

Doc has evolved to become the epitome of bedside manner.

In this medical crisis story - which could have been set just as easily in our time - the Doctor treats his terminal patient with care, comforts "family members", and applies reverse psychology to get Seven of Nine out of her funk enough to play some Kadis-kot with Neelix.

Putting this episode beside any from Voyager's first season would more than confirm Doc's professionalism. In fact, anyone unfamiliar with the series who happened to tune in would never have suspected that the Doctor ever had an attitude problem.


Critical Care (7x5)

The Doctor performs an unethical act as a means to an end, but cannot attribute it to a malfunction. He has to live with the fact that he did it of his own accord.


Body & Soul (7x7)

Stored in and living through Seven of Nine's body, the Doctor experiences the full myriad of sensations which come with being a true biological lifeform.


Flesh & Blood (7x9/10)

Doc gets brainwashed into joining a cult of holograms. In the end, he learns that it isn't enough to be made of the same stuff to justify an allegiance.


Lineage (7x12)

Despite Captain Janeway's revelation over the Doctor's condition in Season 5's Latent Image, Chief Engineer Lt. B'Elanna Torres remained dubious of his degree of sentience. When the Doctor returned from his away mission in Season 6's Blink of an Eye, she was agog to learn he lived with a woman for over three years...

...By the end of this episode, B'Elanna will come to accept the Doctor as a family friend and bestow upon him the privilege of being her baby's godfather.

B'Elanna alters the Doctor's program so that he reconsiders a dangerous and ethically questionable procedure. As we've seen in previous seasons, the Doctor's program when tampered with can lead to all sorts of unusual results, and usually out of his control and beyond his better judgement. Perhaps with added security protocols set in place by Seven of Nine after an incident during Season 6's Equinox Pt. II, these scenarios have become far less likely. But here we're dealing with Torres: the Doctor's own doctor. If it isn't the results of security enhancements, then one must wonder how far the Doctor's come, where - when tampering of his program is called to his attention - he now has the presence of mind to consider the possibility and cooperate with the investigation.

It is also interesting to compare the Doctor's enthusiasm over Tom & B'Elanna's good fortune with his expert but methodical and impersonal maintenance of an expectant Ensign Wildman way back in Season 2 (see Tattoo).


Workforce (7x16/17)

The crew must abandon ship, so the Captain activates the Emergency Command Hologram and leaves the Doctor in charge. This is one of Doc's dreams come true. He presented the concept of an ECH to Janeway in last season's Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy. Not only does the Doctor more than prove his worth in The Big Chair, he also gets in a little dig at Voyager's perpetual ensign, Harry Kim.

Doc expresses in part two a desire to continue on as an ECH and have a new EMH created. Although this is a disturbing notion for a hologram who has the Hippocratic Oath instilled in his programming to consider (as in Virtuoso), one must take into account that over two million tactical subroutines may prove a formidable influence.

Not to mention the effect the power of command has on his ego. We also see with this program enhancement a return of some bite in the Doctor's attitude.


Pts I & II:

Author, Author (7x20)

MILESTONE ALERT! Now that the Doctor has become recognized by the Voyager crew as a fully realized individual, it is time to confront the next obstacle: recognition by the Federation.

The Doctor writes a holonovel (which is comparable to an interactive videogame), and uses his three minutes of communications time to submit a draft of it to a prestigious Federation publisher.

Meanwhile, his crewmates take turns running it and portraying an EMH in a no-win situation aboard a hostile ship. They voice concern that the characters are too derivative of them, so much so that Voyager's reputation may come into question.

One of the Doctor's qualities as an AI is attention to detail. As a result, he defies them - believing that minor tweaks to their actual semblance were enough to discount any connection. A tweak of the program by Paris - in which the Doctor witnesses a pseudo Doctor take liberties with a pseudo Seven of Nine - and an enlightening talk with Neelix - turns him around.

It becomes evident that the publisher has already distributed the rough draft, and leans on the fact that there are no laws to protect the rights of holograms. Arbitration ensues to determine whether or not the Doctor has artistic rights to his holonovel.

Apparently, they've saved the larger issue of holographic rights for another time, being that the charge was about artistic rights to his own material. Ruling that the Doctor was "no ordinary hologram" worked in his favor this time around. However, Trek fandom waited for references to the Star Trek:Next Generation series episode The Measure of a Man to be cited. In that one, android officer Lt. Commander Data was granted rights as an individual of the Federation based on sentience. The precedent, set almost thirteen years prior, was certainly in Voyager's database. And with the Doctor, it would be very difficult to prove he wasn't sentient.

The epilogue to this episode is poignant: a cult following for the Doctor's holonovel is developing among the Federation's Mark I EMH's. As mentioned in Season Six' Life Line, their poor bedside manner condemned them to scrubbing plasma conduits and mining dilithium. The scene clearly illustrates TNG character Guinan's reference to "whole generations of disposable people" from said Data story.


Renaissance Man (7x24)

How far would you be willing to go to save a friend's life? The Doctor would be willing to strand the crew.

His relationship with Captain Janeway reaches its final destination in the series' penultimate episode.

We've seen her view of the Doctor gradually evolve over the course of seven seasons: she insisted to Kes that he was not alive in Eye of the Needle (season one), and revealed in her delivery certain doubt as to his sentience while explaining a holodeck predicament to him in Heroes and Demons (also season one). Her revelation that he had a soul in Latent Image (season five) turned her around. By season six, she saw him as a being who had feelings and a need for acceptance (Virtuoso). This season, Janeway has acknowledged him as a fully realized person in his own right (Flesh & Blood and Author, Author), and gone to great lengths to protect him as she would any member of her crew.

With the end of this episode comes a new beginning, as she accepts him not just as a colleague, but as a friend.

Most Doctor fans expected his sudden "deathbed confession" of his love for Seven of Nine to result in some sort of resolution after two years (see season five's Someone to Watch Over Me). Unfortunately, the writers have pulled a curve on Seven's romantic pursuits which strikes the Doctor out. First, by driving a social rift between the two (they used to share a bond as the ship's technological outcasts. This year, while the crew as a whole have started to accept the Doctor in earnest, she has made several remarks which distance her from his position. Seven is no longer the advocate she was in Latent Image). Then, by suddenly throwing Chakotay into her sights. The First Officer and former Borg never got along well, and he was certainly not on her list of prospective mates in 'Someone. It is suspected that the decision to take that direction was a politcal one rather than one based on continuity and characterization, and has managed to infuriate a very large chunk of fandom in the process: not just those in favor of the Doctor and Seven finally starting a relationship, but also those expecting Chakotay and the Captain to come to terms with their feelings for eachother.


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