Star Trek: Voyager


2.5 stars

Air date: 11/20/1996
Written by Lisa Klink
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I won't stop until you're broken and helpless. There's nowhere you can go to get away from me. I'll be relentless and merciless just like you." - Kes to Tieran, battling for her mind

Nutshell: A corny, pedestrian plot, but Jennifer Lien makes it entertaining enough to chew through an hour—and has energy to spare.

First things first—I have to get something off my chest that's somewhat off the topic. I need to say that I'm quite tired of Voyager's advertising campaign. It's smug, self-important, hokey, and it never does justice to any episode it advertises. Week after week we're fed lines like "Voyager is better than ever!" and "You won't believe what happens!", and every fourth show seems to come advertised as a "special" episode. Enough already. Can't the promo producers be a little more low-profile and just tell us what the episode is about—like, say, the way the DS9 previews function?

The trailer for "Warlord" made it look like the epitome of silliness and triviality. And while this admittedly isn't the deepest episode to hit the screen this year, it's certainly not bad. In fact, there are some virtues here that prove quite entertaining.

Among these virtues is not the plot. The premise is pretty tired and dull—yet another alien who takes control of the mind and body of a Star Trek character. It happened on DS9's "The Assignment" just a mere three weeks earlier, and was done there with much better dramatic effect. On the other hand, "Warlord's" take on body snatcher milieu is another Voyager example of silly, fast-paced fun—and displays more energy than "The Assignment" could muster even with its textured Colm Meaney performance.

In "Warlord," the Voyager beams injured Ilari survivors off a damaged ship. One of the Ilari dies, but before he does, he transfers his mind (using a mysterious, concealed device) into Kes' mind and then steals her body, claiming it as his own. After escaping Voyager with the assistance of his faction of followers, he begins harnessing Kes' undeveloped mental abilities to his advantage, sometimes to manipulate his own followers (like any villain would). As it turns out, this man is a tyrant named Tieran, and he's been transferring his mind from host to host for centuries. Now he wants to reclaim an ancient Ilari throne and rule the world forever! (Pardon the tongue-in-cheek factor.)

Who cares about the plot? I sure don't. The internal politics of this world have about as much ultimate relevance to the series as what I ate for breakfast yesterday, and are about as interesting. The scenes between Janeway and the Ilari official on the Voyager who wants to see Tieran stopped are the same old standard negotiate-and-plan scenes that I'd expect in any random episode.

What makes this show worth watching is its hyperkinetic pacing and attitude. This is without a doubt the biggest show Jennifer Lien has had to carry to date, and by far Lien's most interesting performance. I'd say the best way to describe this performance is "Jennifer Lien in crazy mode." Her performance is gleefully over-the-top and stylized at times, but it's gutsy, engaging, and so full of energy unlike anything she's ever done on the show. What can I say? I liked it—a lot.

One thing Lien really has going for her is that wonderful, throaty voice—I just loved that voice in this episode, because she commands it so well. Another thing I enjoyed was Lien's use of expressive body language. She darts around the room, throwing herself into the role with such exuberance and energy that at times I was able to overlook the hokiness of the plot.

For forty minutes, Lien is Tieran. And Tieran is seductive, manipulative, power-hungry, and ruthless. What the writers have Tieran do is hardly important compared to how Lien conveys Tieran's actions. Did I care whether the evil Tieran would keep his throne? Not really. Did I enjoy watching Lien attempt to seduce two people in two minutes, and threaten to kill five others in five? You bet.

This type of show sometimes demands looking at the superficial qualities while ignoring what little lies beneath. Actually, in all fairness, there are a few, isolated subsurface elements here. The idea of a mental battle of wills proves to be the show's most effective story point. You see, Tieran may have control of Kes, but somewhere in the back of her brain, Kes is fighting back—fighting to regain her stolen mind. Tieran scoffs at her and dismisses her—in a dream he tells her that no little girl is going to beat his superior strength. The point here, however, is that this is a fight that isn't won by brute strength or weapons—it's won by the superior will. And Kes, despite her quiet, fragile outer appearance, has the determined strength to see that this villain does not escape.

The scenes between Tieran/Kes and Tuvok also work pretty well. Tieran attempts to use Kes' mental connections along with some seductive intentions against Tuvok, but Tieran fails. Here is revealed a man who thinks he is bigger than he truly is. He's not up to the challenge of superior intellects.

Other than the mental battles and the impressive Lien performance, there's not much else to scrutinize here. I really could've done without the hopelessly-dumb-and-transparent-as-usual Neelix holodeck scenes. If there's a more pointless teaser in the history of Voyager than the one that opens "Warlord," then I've missed it (and I'm positive that hasn't happened). And as far as the scene where Neelix and Kes "break up" goes, it hardly matters. I doubt it "really" happened; the writers never make it clear, but it seems to simply be a side effect of the Tieran-takeover plot. That's too bad; I for one am sick of Kes and Neelix fawning over each other. It's trite, it's annoying, it goes nowhere. At least separating them for a while could've had story possibilities.

Fortunately, such annoying sequences are few and far between, and as compensation the episode supplies a reasonable amount of thin but entertaining moments, mostly fueled by Lien's respectable energy.

Previous episode: Future's End, Part II
Next episode: The Q and the Grey

◄ Season Index

51 comments on this review

Tue, Oct 30, 2007, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Jennifer Lien = HOT in this episode. I can't believe that they kicked Kes to the curb for Seven of Nine as Voyager's token sex symbol. Sadly, Neelix doesn't kill himself after getting dumped in this episode, thus forcing us to endure him for the rest of the series.
Fri, Dec 21, 2007, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
Great moment in this episode seeing Neelix heart get broken
David Forrest
Sun, Mar 16, 2008, 12:01am (UTC -5)
After watching this episode I was going to hope the writers were going to make Kes a little more fun as you described in your review. She would have been great to have around with Seven of Nine. They could have played off each other really well. I still enjoyed the character of Kes, and you are right in the regard that Lien carried this episode wonderfully.
David Forrest
Sun, Mar 16, 2008, 12:05am (UTC -5)
For what it's worth (and not to be a total nitpick!) the teleplay credits are:
Teleplay By
Lisa Klink
Story By
Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman
Dirk Hartmann
Wed, Apr 9, 2008, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
This is undoubtedly the best performance we got from Jennifer Lien on Voyager. It's a bid strange to find that this was only possible within a setting that allowed her to act out of character. In the end, this goes a long way in proving that the character "Kes" was simply too weak to retain - even as good an actress as Lien was not able make the role worthwile. So, in the end, I guess it was inevitable that Kes had to go.
Wed, Oct 22, 2008, 9:52am (UTC -5)
As a Kes fan I have to disagree with Dirk. Perhaps her character didn't show as much potential as Seven, but neither did Harry (Mr. Boring) or Chakotay (unless you want more 'Chakotay travels the woods with his father' plots). Not to mention the worst character by far: Neelix, who remained almost unwatchable from season 1 to 7.

I think keeping Kes would have allowed for some amazing Seven/Kes plots; the two actresses might have been quite interesting together, and it would have enabled the show to stay more ensemble and less Janeway/Seven/Doctor.

I think season 3 was really setting Kes up. I think she had improved dramatically as an actress since season 1 (Warlord would frankly have been a disaster in season 1), she had dumped Neelix, her psychic abilities had improved....there were a lot of directions the show could have taken her.

Incidentally, it's interesting that they basically kept Kes' dumping of Neelix, even though she dumped him under the influence of Tieran. It's almost like the writers wanted us to forget (or new viewers to not know) that Kes and Neelix had ever been involved, probably because they were planning on giving her a lot more screen time and episodes.
Thu, Feb 19, 2009, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
This episode was as lame as TNG's Power Play. Same exact plot, same flimsy excuse for the people to act out of character. Can't the writers come up with *legitimate* reasons for characters to come into conflict with each other?
Sun, May 24, 2009, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
I liked this episode, but after the first part it was pretty hard to concentrate because I made the mistake of watching a repeat with a guy who has a massive crush on Roxann Dawson. Needless to say, he wanted to see more of the first part and kept asking if she would be in a swimsuit again.

Some people...
Wed, Apr 21, 2010, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Every time I see this episode I am amazed by Lien's performance (except in the dream scene, where she's supposed to be Kes but sounds more like Kes). That moment early in the episode where Kes takes out her phaser and begins shooting everyone really gets your heart beating. I wasn't reminded of "Power Play" or "The Assignment" when watching this. The only other episode that comes to mind is "The Passenger" which, let's face it, was trash compared to this.
Tue, May 25, 2010, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
By far, the best Kes episode in the series (sadly, that's not saying much)...

It's such a shame that the writers couldn't flesh out Kes more than they did. Jennifer Lien did a great job with the role, and I would have enjoyed seeing more of her.
Sat, May 29, 2010, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Sorry I meant "she's supposed to be Kes but sounds more like Tieran". I should reread myself before posting.
Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 3:05am (UTC -5)
I hadn't really been on board with the Neelix hate so far but the start of this episode, with him making baby sounds while getting his stupid rubber feet rubbed? Yeah, okay, count me in.
Fri, Dec 9, 2011, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
I have to admit...this episode made me fall in love with Jennifer Lien...she was amazing and sexy...and that other then her the rest of it was kind of blah, especially the Neelix parts. I don't hate Neelix like most seem to but the beginning of the episode really bothered me...all that cooing...ugh...
Tue, Mar 20, 2012, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I'll agree that Lien's performance turns the episode into a net positive—while reminding me of mirror universe's Kira Neris.

Did anyone notice the inconsistency that occurred when Starfleet 'exorcised' Tieran from his new host at the very end? The very idea of using a technological device to draw out his psychic presence was predicted on micro-dermic implants that facilitate transfer to a new host. If you remember, Kes was given these as soon as 'she' attained the throne, and there's no way the new host could have had them in time for the good guys to zap the evil spirit out of him.
Sun, Mar 25, 2012, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
Jammer's so right about the ridiculous, overwrought, and too often misleading Voyager previews on UPN. One particular egregious example comes to mind, but I'll save that for the episode in question when I come to it.

Suffice to say this episode was one of the better possession episodes mainly due to Lien's performance. Too bad Kes was never properly developed.
Sat, May 18, 2013, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
This episode appears to have been filmed at a higher frame rate. The onacreen motion is both smoother and quicker, which may be why it seems more energetic.
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 1:18am (UTC -5)
I love this episode. It was fun, fast-paced, and a good use of the body-stealing trope. Kes was never more interesting and Jennifer Lien never gave a better performance. I wish she had stayed Tieran! Kes was usually so bland, but slinking around in that black outfit trying to draw everyone into the dark side (I know, wrong series)...for once, she was downright sexy. Even if she was possessed.

Sorry guys, I still don't hate Neelix. xD He's not that bad as a character, he just suffers the most at the hands of the writers--next to Kim who is thinner than a sheet of paper, and Chakotay who has nothing to do.
Dave in MN
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Liked the episode, but why does Star Trek always hire such bad actors for guest roles? The guy who played the insurgent that Tieran/Kes attacked with mental powers was terrible!

BTW, that may have been the first time I can recall a threesome being mentioned so blatantly in dialog, so bonus points for that.
Fri, Mar 21, 2014, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
I think it was a mistake to ever have had Neelix and Kes to be a couple in the first place. Kes generally is so sedate that it seems out of place for a species that lives only seven years. You don't have much time, so you had better be quick about it. Her performance is good, and she certainly looks good in that tight black suit. That doesn't mean that I would want her to portray Kes like that all the time, even though I think she could have been a little more intense, like she's in more of a hurry.

It was a shame that Kes left, I think she should have dies. Don't get me wrong! I'm not anti-Kes. But her natural lifespan was such that she would have died before the end of the series. That's her story. If she would have stayed, we would have had the opportunity to see a character's entire life story. Her death wouldn't have been any more terrible than any other person dying at the end of their natural lifespan.

Of course, when the introduced the second Caretaker, and gave those Ocampa expanded lifespans, it seems they were backing away from the lifespan the had been set out at the beginning. As it was, she was off the show too soon.
Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 2:18am (UTC -5)
It is not that I dislike Voyager so far (this is the first time I watch it). Sure the show had its flaws and the usual lack of continuity sometimes sucks. But the show also had its strong moments here and there, very good overall argument and premise, promising characters such as the Doc and Chakotay, a fairly decent acting regarding the capitain, among other things.

However, I can't handle anymore transport problems to beam up or down, or how easy people, aliens and intruders escape any security measure in Voyager, gets any shuttlecrafts, disable tractor beams, and so on. Nothing never Works! I don't know who should be responsible, but certainly there are a few officers that deserve to be released from duty when the ship gets back to the Alpha Quadrant...

That said, this episode was not totally bad. One or two interesting political issues, good acting. The bissexual nature bt Tieran at some point is suprising. And Lien seated at the main chair, screaming alone "stronger than ever" really reminded me of Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones, hehe. Overall, sure the episode lacked a bit of depth for an episode dealing with the questions it touched, but ok.
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
It reminded me of the Mirror Universe episodes in DS9 and to some extent, Enterprise. I think Warlord paled in comparison though. Not a bad Kes episode, but that's not saying much. meh
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Certainly their were some great Kes moments here. However, their were some hokey ones as well. It all becomes a mixed bag performance-wise. The plot itself was average and nothing to write home about.

One of the highlights of the episode was Kes telling Neelix that they should spend some time apart. The look on his face said a thousand words and I definitely felt bad for the poor guy.

And, no, I do not subscribe to the I Hate Neelix Bandwagon Fan Club. He obviously cares a great deal for Kes and he genuinely is a good person that cares also for the crew. He does nothing short of trying to help wherever he can. Of course he has annoying moments and it's pretty shitty the writers didn't do more with his character than they had. But being annoying a bit here and there doesn't make someone a bad person. And really that's all it is. Just moments. Removing the "Neelix-hate" filter while watching will reveal a good character with relevant dialogue, humorous moments, and some endearing qualities. And, yes, he CAN be annoying.

I guess I get tired of reading through fifteen Neelix-bashing comments on every episode. I could avoid them, yes, but I like finding posts that have something relevant to say. That's what makes forums such as this so great at times.

Digression aside, it was an entertaining enough hour I suppose, but I couldn't help but feel a sense of boredom the whole time despite Lien's energetic performance.

2 stars.
Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 9:45pm (UTC -5)
Heh, I think I liked this episode more than I should. Maybe it's just because the episode never presented itself as more than a lighthearted fluff episode. And for a lighthearted, fluff episode, it was very well executed. Some random comments:

- The scene inside Kes/Tieran's head was great. There was one nice subtle thing: at first, inside the mind, Tieran was sitting in his council room. Meanwhile, when the camera switched to Kes, she was on board Voyager. As she became more and more assertive, the scene behind Tieran changed into Voyager as well, indicating that Kes was winning the battle of the brain. Like I said, it was subtle, but effective.

- One thing that helped (probably accidentally) is that much of the cliched writing that one would expect actualy made sense here. For example, Tieran calling Kes a "little girl." Normally, it's something to indicate the evil bad guy is dismissive of the heroine, as we the viewers don't see the heroine as little or young or whatever. Yet, of course, Kes is 3 years old and Tieran is 300. Also, he refuses to switch bodies, even though logically one would think he would want to change (especially after the headaches start). Stupid arrogance on the part of the villain just to move the plot along? Maybe. But then again, now he can kill people with his brain. That seems to be quite a useful tool while starting an uprising, after all. So maybe it makes sense for him to keep Kes' body a little while longer.

- There's also the little cliche of turning the attractive heroine into a seductress as soon as she turns evil (see Mirror Kira as an example). Yet, again, I think this does make some sense. I get the feeling that Tieran had never transferred his brain to a woman before. Assuming similar gender differences to humans (don't blame me; Trek is lazy about this), Tieran is clearly a testosterone-filled alpha male, and undoubtedly knows the effect that female sexuality has on him. So with Kes' body, he expects he can use that power on others. The fact that he tries to be seductive towards his wife (which clearly creeps her out) and Tuvok (who he should know it won't work on) is just due to his arrogance and misunderstanding. But again, a cliche kinda works in this situation.

- It also helps that Tieran isn't COMPLETELY a two-dimensional creature. The prince acknowledged that his skills as a warlord were quite useful way back when, and he probably would have been remembered as a hero if he had simply gone away peacefully. Also, after gaining control, he starts talking about public works projects. Sure, it was basically for propaganda purposes, but it's different from the typical evil overlord. One expects that Tieran does want to be a loved ruler, and wants what is best for his people as well. It just so happens that he is too arrogant to realize that they don't necessarily want him too.

Like I said, everything about this episode was well-crafted. Can't argue with that.
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Jennifer's energy, yes Jammer, that's it.

But while I appreciate that energy, I thought she hammed it up to much at the end of the episode.

I just kept thinking during the episode... 'What a voice Jennifer has".

Was Kes possessed when she dumped Neelix? If so, do they address this in a later episode?

I can't rememeber.

I'll go 2.5 stars for Jen's energy.
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 7:49am (UTC -5)
"Was Kes possessed when she dumped Neelix?" Yes.

"If so, do they address this in a later episode?"


I'm better now.
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 11:30am (UTC -5)

lol ... we pretty much all universally didn't like the "Kes/Neelix" thing... then the writers finally give us what we want and the botch it.

Jason R.
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
I found Lien positively hokey in this one. As noted by others, the only real high point was Kes finally doing away with Neelix. Of all the awkward, painful, creepy romances, those two being an item has to take the cake. No, scratch that - awkward and creepy is what it would have been if I ever actually bought it in the first place. If the writers had ever really sold that concept to us, that would have been interesting. Creepy and wrong, but interesting. Fortunately for us, I don't think the writers believed it any more than we did.
Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:27am (UTC -5)
Skeptical I agree about him not wanting to switch bodies. It sure was causing him headaches trying to fight Kes off but the reward was like you said the ability to kill people with his mind. For some reason I was reminded of that 1984 movie Firestarter with a very young Drew Barrymore. More specifically her old man who had the ability to influence others too, only for him to deal with heaps of nosebleeds afterwards.

As far as the Kes/Neelix relationship, I felt Neelix became a good deal more annoying to watch after Kes' departure, to be honest. I'm not sure if he was meant to be comic relief or what but even so I'd say the Doctor already had a lock on that. The drama bit I'd say B'elanna already took first place with that. Maybe Paris too. Nothing against Ethan Phillips directly, I just thought Neelix was not one of his better roles.

Speaking of locks I was just about to give can't-get-a-lock kim the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of the ep...till a few moments later when he defaulted. Oops-yer-gone cuz I couldn't get a lock.

I liked seeing this side of Jennifer Lien. She could certainly act it up when she wanted to. Kinda wished Roxann had done that more often too (she looked dern good in that blue bikini btw :)). The only time we got to see that side of her was when she was literally split into her Klingon/human halves.

Anyways Kes still showed more acting range than chuckles and kim. Even if you were nonplussed by her hamming it up I can't say I was bored watching the ep. The old mind swap concept is hardly new, but then again neither is time travel. Variations on a theme is the closest thing to originality we'll ever get, especially nowadays.

So I can't say I've seen it done quite this way before. And to that end it held my attention.

Who says resistance is futile? (Well, aside from the Borg, whom Voyager all but neutered by the end of the show's run) Kes was fighting back against Tieran throughout his possession of her. She continuously showed deeper conviction than the writers ever gave her. It never once came off as inauthentic. I know some reviewers here would say otherwise but I must admit I was thoroughly impressed. Can you imagine what she would have been like in S4's 'Witness'? This ep gave us a minor taste of an "Evil Kes" if you will.

Oh, and don't get me started on what that ep would have done if Seska stayed a part of the crew. Damn, wish I could go back in time to rewrite history myself to have the best of all worlds just to see them in action in that ep. Yep, I'd keep Jeri Ryan. How could you not? But I would also have kept Ms Lien and most def Ms. Hackett as well. I agree the ep was easily 4 stars as it stands. Just saying with the other two ladies in it the ep probably would have been THE episode of the series!

Back to this ep. Creeped out by her affair w/ Neelix? Didn't give it a thought to be honest. Everybody needs somebody, why discriminate based on age? They are both adults and like Kes said in Darkling she can spend her time with whomever she chooses. As long as they are happy together (and not faking the chemistry just to secure a paycheck and ratings) I don't really mind. Nasty way to breakup, tho.

Her advances toward Tieran's wife was something different. I get he possessed her. But something about that scene and seeing her slink around in black Tres kinky.

Still, since Jennifer rarely got to extend her acting chops I didn't mind the leather prancing just to see if she could hold her own. I'm guessing the writers didn't mind, either.

She couldn't go back to the way things were, even before her departure. That's why I rate it ever so slightly higher. It would have forced the writers to show a maturing young lady. In that sense it raises it slightly above the standard alien of the week fare.

2.5 to a low 3 is what I'd rate it.
Fri, Dec 25, 2015, 4:03am (UTC -5)
@Alex. Sorry I don't see the inconsistency. The original Tieran (at least the one that's beamed to Voyager at the start) using the transfer thingy in his arm to move to Kes when he died in sickbay. Then Kes presumably got fitted with the same thing after he escape from Voyager and take over of the Ilari government, which she used when Voyager stormed the throne room to move to Demmas' brother just before they could use the Doctor's dodad on her. However, as Tieran moved to the brother so quick, he didn't have time to have the arm thingy installed, so had no way to escape when the dodad was used again. Made sense to me anyway.

Shoutout for Ensign Martin, the goldshirt who got phasered by Kes, for having an awesome name! ;) Strange they shot him when he went for a phaser, but only knocked Janeway out while she was physically attacking them! Character shields up!

I liked the part with Kes and Tieran fighting over Kes's mind, Kes's background being Voyager and Tieran's being the throne room. Then as Kes wins the argument, the throne room behind Tieran changes to Kes's Voyager. Nice subtle hint as to who was winning the battle.
Diamond Dave
Wed, Jan 27, 2016, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Liked this a lot. It has no pretensions to be anything other than a straight re-tread of a fairly tired science fiction standby, and carries it off with a verve and energy that offers more than might be expected.

As noted, Lien's superb performance is what really keeps it afloat, and if it some points there's a bit of scenery chewing going on that can be forgiven. Leather Kes is certainly one of the more memorable things in the series so far. 3 stars.
Sun, May 22, 2016, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Kes finally gets to act. She carried the whole show. Kudo to her. One observation though: Tuvok masquerading as a guard seemed hokey and out of character.
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
When Keiko got body snatched I fast forwarded to the victory sequence. Dud the same thing here. The inherent problem with these shows is that the villain gets 3 5 minutes to huff and puff and gloat about it then we get 30seconds of come uppence footage. I can't sit through the bluster for long. All that evil warrants a big payoff where the villain and their accomplices suffer for a while.
George Monet
Wed, Aug 24, 2016, 2:50am (UTC -5)
Any episode that features Kes finally breaking up with her perverted uncle Neelix gets full marks from me. That horrible relationship has always been a blemish on Voyager.
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 3:26am (UTC -5)
yup. I noticed. was complete kakamany (or however it is spelled). completely bogus writing. they fudged up the whole synaptic simulator thing by their own description and directions.

Alex is right, you're wrong. I even rewound my DVR to double check myself. the doctor said the "doodad" would work based on the implant's tech to force the warlord out. it was discussed that KES would have the transfer implant most likely and that they would use it against her. they were counting on her having a transfer implant. only way the "doodad" (synaptic simulator) works on the dude at the end is if he had an implant setup as a pre-plan that the warlord would escape to him which was never mentioned.

as it was never mentioned, counts as a huge plot hole in my book for a series that tech is a huge part of.
nothingoriginal 55
Sun, Oct 23, 2016, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
I could have done without Neelix's big dancing number in the beginning. Bleh.
Dan W
Thu, Nov 24, 2016, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Ugh it's episodes like this that make me wish they kept Kes. They should have gotten rid of Kim, he was the most boring character next to Chakotay! He was pnly saved because he made the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World” list. And I think Seven and Kes could have had some great episodes together.
Paul Allen
Fri, Dec 23, 2016, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
Neelix is such an annoying character in terms of his relationship with Kes. Plays the overbearing controlling boyfriend far too well.
Tue, May 9, 2017, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone

I wasn't looking forward to seeing this one again, but figured I'd watch the performances and see how they were. Mostly, I liked them.

The one bad guy, that Tieran/Kes made bleed early on and who became higher-ranking, was the same actor who played the Klingon lawyer trying to take Worf down in Rules of Engagement. Ron Canada. I thought he was much better on DS9. Perhaps he was more familiar with how a Klingon might act, but was a bit lost with this new race and just sort of plowed through it as best he could.

Yep, I liked Jennifer in this one. Yes, I did notice the leather outfit that looks so much better than the potato sack she normally wears. It really suited her. I wonder if that helped her get into character, because I thought she was right on, playing the somewhat insane former Leader with flair.

Another thought on the Kes head battle between the two. The picture on the wall showed us the best vision of Tieran. I figure in Kes's head, he'd look very good, a General, styled, a perfect picture of health in his minds eye (Kes looked her normal, potato-sack good). But Tieran looked haggard, like he just stepped off the battlefield and had a heavy weight on his back. That look, along with the changing scene behind him, really worked to show how hard he was having to work to keep it together.

In conclusion, not a big thumbs up, but a small one. I wouldn't cringe if I had to watch it again, but I probably wouldn't look it up on purpose.

Have a great day Everyone... RT
Wed, Jul 12, 2017, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Jennifer Lien is fantastic and truly makes this episode - one of the best performances in the whole of Star Trek, a dynamic, sexual, theatrical portrayal like no other.
Fri, Jul 21, 2017, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
2 stars

This was pretty tedious --another third season 3 episode. This is the worst Voy season and very well maybe the worst season of Star Trek period
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 3:38am (UTC -5)
Sorry I really didn't like this episode. How many clichés? The slowly deteriorating of the mental condition of the villain, the usual freakout by Neelix who seems obsessively (and annoyingly) concerned about Kes and nothing else, Tuvok who gets captured so easily, the 200 year-old tough, witty survivor who turns stupid in the last 15 minutes... enough already.

And Janeway's line "Consider yourself drafted".. Barf! When it's so obvious that the emotionally obsessive Neelix with little-to-no training is allowed to join the rescue effort, when his behavior screams "I would jeopardize the mission in a heartbeat because I am so possessive and obsessive about Kes that I can't think straight".. This is precisely the type of person you don't allow on a dangerous rescue mission but Janeway does it after a few ridiculous pleading sentences by Neelix..

Lien does carry the episode for about 25 minutes (although for those who enjoy rewatching specific sequences, her hug of Nori at the beginning is a terrible moment of acting).

And finally, the "weak" brother who would be puppeted back and forth as easy as my hair in the wind.. Come on..

If it weren't for Lien's acting as the villain (which is a lot more watchable than her regualr character, and that is not saying much) this episode would be 0 stars for me..
William B
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
I wrote a comment but I must have accidentally closed the tab.

Anyway, the short version is, I like it pretty well. It's goofy, especially Tieran's attempted seductions (especially in such rapid-fire order), and the plot is nondescript. But Lien is *fun*, and goes all out and risks looking ridiculous, and manages to carry off a fun, self-aware, manic performance. The interesting character beats come down to the way Tieran makes use of Kes' powers, and the ease with which he does so suggests that this could be what Kes does if she wants to. Kes' eventually coming forth in Tieran's mind to say that she will become as ruthless as him points to the big conflict: will Kes eventually become tempted to use her power to dominate, as Tieran does? Is it necessary to become Tieran in order to defeat him, and to take back her body? The contrast between ancient Tieran and Kes-of-the-nine-year-lifespan reminds us how desperately people are to cling to their *long* lives and how little time Kes has to get what she wants out of life, and how much of Kes' time *now* is devoted to being the helper/nurse/good girlfriend who puts others ahead of herself. Tieran's sex-and-murder spree is a signal to Kes that she doesn't *have* to just be the quiet person she is now, but she also genuinely doesn't want to become like him. I think the episode would have been stronger if they played up the angle of Tieran and Kes' identities bleeding into each other even more than they did, and additionally I think the ending is pretty pat -- after Kes' exclamation that she will become as ruthless as him until she drives him out, the ending is basically just that Paris' away team penetrates their defenses and boom, over. I think the idea is that Tieran was too distracted by Kes tormenting him to properly prepare; my wife pointed out that there's a Macbeth flavour to Tieran's gradual disintegration -- with Kes, inside his head, playing a role somewhat like the ghost of Banquo, and maybe along similar lines we can probably read the disintegration of Tiernan's outside as mirroring the disintegration inside his mind; Tieran ignores reports from his advisers because he needs to CELEBRATE HIS VICTORY which he needs to do because Kes is driving him mad. Still, the rescue (as with any of the plotting involving Voyager vs. Tieran, really) comes off as a letdown, only mildly compensated by Kes destroying Tieran by identifying him having jumped into another body.

It is funny that Tieran apparently couldn't bear to be around Neelix for even one more day, and risked exposure to dump him. It is even funnier that (SPOILER?) apparently Kes just...let the breakup stand? Or something?

I'm almost tempted to go for 3 stars because this *is* really entertaining and there's some implied good material for Kes, but I'll probably stay at a high 2.5.
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 2:28am (UTC -5)
As far as other people saying that the dream sequence where Kes and Tieran fight, that they are in the throneroom at the beginning and that it switches to Voyager to indicate that Kes is winning the psychic battle; that isn't true at all. In the whole sequence, Kes' side shows a bed and things, her room on Voyager, and Tieran's side shows the throneroom. It never switches from solely one to solely the other. It always shows both. It would have been good if they actually did what the other posters thought, because that would have been good direction, but unfortunately it's all in your imagination. I watched it three times to make sure. :)

And there is a massive plothole in this episode, namely the transporter.

They could have, and would have, beamed Kes back to Voyager immediately. They knew where she was, and they could have just done that, and figured out how to fix her and then stuck the synaptic stimulator in her neck and show over. But, you know, plot.

Tuvok beams down with the synaptic stimulator and gets into what must be the highest security place on the planet, somehow, by pretending to be a waiter with a curtain over his face. Whatever.

And then Tuvok is in trouble. They could have beamed him and Kes out then, but no they didn't. Why? Because plot. Tuvok had beamed down with the synaptic stimulator. It takes physical contact to use it. Tuvok is within a few inches of Kes for a long time, so why not stick it on her?

I think Kes is the best character on the show. And she is a powerful being to boot. But they never really explored that in any detail, and that's a shame.

2 stars. Mostly for Kes.
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Skimbles you need to watch again. They absolutely put Tieran in Kes’ quarters. I can’t remember if Kes is ever in his throne room but he is absolutely in her quarters at one point.

Also Tuvok didn’t beam into the throne room! They were discussing a nearby place to launch an assault from - so obviously the palace was shielded. It was a big deal for Tieran to use Kes’ power to sense Tuvok, but any idiot would have seen him just materialise! That’s why they didn’t beam him out. They discussed the shield and Tieran even spoke to them about it and its weakness.

The necessity of the implants for the device to work is a genuine plot hole but one I didn’t notice when watching. It makes sense that it just forces Tieran out and that if he’s able he’ll use his implants to force himself into someone else. As it works fine without the line about the implants I wonder why they included it. It would have made more sense to wonder things like: might he have left her body already? If so, will she still be alive?
Ferengi wormholer
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 8:49am (UTC -5)
It is funny that Tieran apparently couldn't bear to be around Neelix for even one more day, and risked exposure to dump him. It is even funnier that (SPOILER?) apparently Kes just...let the breakup stand? Or something?
Cesar Gonzalez
Sun, Apr 8, 2018, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Kes was such a great character. Imagine the scenes we could have had with Seven and Kes.
Instead we keep Neelix, the Jar Jar of Star Trek. What a waste.
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Lien's acting is about the only thing going for this episode. She knocks it out of the park for me. Too bad it's mired in shit nobody cares about -- the conflict on this Ilari world, a body-snatcher warlord, and far too much Neelix.

Speaking of Neelix -- this episode must have the most irrelevant teaser in all Trek. It's not even about Kes -- just Neelix and his stupid holodeck program.

But how does Lien get such a range in her voice? Being so small, she can have a deep sultry voice, but it's also effective when she's screaming in rage. Too bad she's normally so docile -- just goes to show what more the writers could have done with her character.

Really enjoyed her scenes trying to seduce Tuvok and the younger brother who she says should be in charge. But also liked it when she'd lash out at her minions. And the large black dude -- he was hard to take seriously as one of the rebels. The whole premise of the uprising comes across as arbitrary. It's really a rescue Kes / body-snatcher episode with a lot of crap filler material.

I guess I wonder why Tieran didn't transfer to another person given all the problems Kes was causing, but he says he keeps fighting against whatever odds and I guess he liked the newfound mental powers. Even the scene with Kes in the mind of Tieran were kind of silly -- why in a bedroom and not some dark, dungeon-like place?

Janeway wants to avoid a PD violation here, trying to be discrete in rescuing Kes. The break-in to the stronghold is standard action fare, nothing special although I was surprised Neelix was able to phaser Kes/Tieran so easily. And so did the device get rid of Tieran's consciousness altogether after it left Kes and the younger brother? Not sure. And I didn't get the ending with Tuvok helping Kes get over the tribulation -- is he saying Kes is a new person now?

Barely 2.5 stars for "Warlord" -- a rare episode for Lien to flex her acting muscles, albeit its not the Kes character really. Too bad she'd leave VOY early instead of Neelix, although getting 7 of 9 was better for the series. I think this episode really needed a B-plot as the premise of Kes's body possession was garbage. Loads of just arbitrary stuff here.
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Really did like this ep. Jennifer Lien gave a great performance. Do any of you know how she found out she was FIRED? On the net years ago at that time ---- the show went on hiatus and The Gift had not been shown [yet]. The people, whoever they were, maybe writers, were at a convention of sorts and told the audience that Voyager would be back [after the hiatus] with a lot of new stuff ---- and that Jennifer Lien was out. She was shocked that they did this to her in the way that they did. Maybe somewhere on the internet a person might be able to find all that info and catch up.

I thought it was really dirty of them. And I try to NOT sit watching and thinking how dumb the actor/character might be, that is not fair if one is watching for entertainment and one is a lover of the series. As for Neelix, the moment I saw him all those years ago, all I could think of was that he looked like a FISH. Remember the TNG ep. with the 2 ambassadors[?] in comas who were actually assassins? They were fish. Mrs. L. Troi read their minds and exposed them.

Lordy, oh lord .......I wish I had thought of the Jar-Jar identity for Neelix. That is so funny. Oh, and Kim-can't-get-a-lock.......and he is so mopey about wanting a girl, I just watched FAVORITE SON, but he did not come off as watering at the mouth over those women, he should take a few pages from Tom's "play" book on how to get a woman. In ALTER EGO he was in love with a holodeck character and talked it over with Tuvok. Then he exploded at Tuvok when he and Arana were together. He had
no idea what was going on but he was really burned because Tuvok stole his girl.
Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
Eh, so so plot, but wildly good performance from Jennifer that makes the show fun to watch and keeps the viewer truly entertained. Three stars, and a toast to Jennifer L.
Sleeper Agent
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Standing in the shadow of Lien's splendor, it's easy to forget the rest. But let us also remember that Mulgrew is on point with her Bad-ass Janeway in this one. The story reminded me of an Elizabethan revenge tragedy.

3 Stars.
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 1:25am (UTC -5)
Those feet of Neelix as shown in the opening scene....looked like leftover Hobbit prosthetic feet from Lord of the Rings...

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