- The Doctor’s early line about programming himself set up two of his greatest episodes, where he created a holographic family and joined a resistance movement.
- These episodes explored the Doctor’s journey towards becoming more human, something he strived for throughout his time on Star Trek: Voyager.
- The Doctor’s ability to explore his humanity and expand his program made him one of Voyager’s best characters, much like other popular characters in previous Star Trek projects.
With one early line, Star Trek: Voyager‘s Doctor (Robert Picardo) set up two of his greatest episodes. The Doctor became one of Voyager‘s most popular characters, but he started the show as a very different person from where he ended up. This was mainly due to the fact that the Doctor was a hologram who had to learn how to be human over the course of Voyager‘s seven seasons. When he was first activated, his personality wasn’t well-developed, and he wasn’t allowed the same freedoms he gained as he expanded his program later on. However, the seeds of the Doctor’s later evolution were there in his earliest appearances on the show.
This was demonstrated by an early line of the Doctor’s from Voyager season 1, episode 5, “The Cloud.” During the episode, Voyager‘s resident Klingon B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) came to consult with the Doctor about an organic sample from a nebula the crew had entered, but the conversation began with them discussing the possibility of the Doctor modifying his own program to change his opening line, “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.” When B’Elanna proposed the idea that the Doctor should be given access to his program, he replied, “Hmm… a hologram that programs himself. What would I do with that ability? Create a family? Raise an army?“
Voyager’s Doctor’s Season 1 Line Perfectly Set Up 2 Of His Greatest Episodes
Although seemingly innocuous, the Doctor’s season 1 line ended up setting the stage for two of his greatest episodes. In season 3, episode 22, “Real Life,” the Doctor created a holographic family in order to explore more aspects of humanity, but programmed them to be essentially perfect until B’Elanna suggested he modify the program in order to be more realistic to how a wife and two children would actually act. The episode was a surprisingly poignant exploration of the joys and difficulties of family life and ended up being an important step on the Doctor’s journey toward becoming more human.
In terms of raising an army, although he wasn’t the instigator of the conflict, the Doctor did join a holographic resistance movement in season 7, episodes 9 and 10, “Flesh and Blood, Parts I and II.” After Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) shared holodeck technology with the Hirogen, the holograms the Hirogen programmed to hunt for sport gained sentience and began fighting back against their captors. When Voyager learned of the issue, the Doctor sympathized with the cause and briefly abandoned his ship to join the fight. With this, the Doctor finally fulfilled both aspects of his earlier line about what a hologram who programs himself could do with his freedom.
How The Doctor Became One Of Voyager’s Best Characters
In fact, programming himself was part of the reason the Doctor became one of Voyager‘s best characters. When the Doctor gained the freedom to explore his humanity, it opened up a world of storylines for the character that created some of the show’s most entertaining episodes. Characters like the Doctor in previous Star Trek projects, such as Data (Brent Spiner) from Star Trek: The Next Generation, also became popular for the same reasons, so the Doctor was already primed to be a great addition to Star Trek: Voyager‘s cast. Thanks to Robert Picardo’s suggestions for the Doctor’s hobbies, such as signing, the character reached new heights by expanding his program.