** (2 stars out of 5)
'Kes, do you like Original Series episodes about gladiators? Uh, I mean, stalkers?'
He's 'improving' his personality by merging elements he admires from historical programs. I must say these holo-programs seem to take wild liberties with likenesses: maybe no pictures of Gandhi survived the centuries, but why not T'Pau? She wasn't Asian-Vulcamerican!
Anyway, that's the least of the Doctor's problems: he's picked up character traits of sleazy creepy creepiness. Perhaps his mental stew needed less Byron. (Seriously? Byron? Why not Hemingway while you're at it? Just really load in the crazy! Also, load a holo-shotgun...)
Apparently, the Doctor was creeping in the bushes while Kes was... doing a little travelling on her Mikhal Traveller. Heebies and jeebies, anyone?
Handsome Zahir plans to ride Kes off into the sunset (so to speak). Before leaving, he warns Tuvok not to take Voyager near the Tarkans, powerful enough to shipjack them and strand them on a moon. Like Tuvok would ever let THAT happen! Oh, right, the Kazon.
That night, Secret Nutjob Doctor badly injures Zahir by throwing him into a ravine and burns an innkeeper. (I only sided with him on the Zahir part.)
The Hyde version of the EMH chemically paralyses Torres, smells women in the turbolift, dissects historical figures, and kidnaps Kes for later. He believes that evil has more lasting value than goodness. (Which is why so many kids are named Adolf lately.) Kes argues that empathy and cooperation get a lot more done. Like building transporters that split people into good and evil, or scalpel-wielding holograms with no safety features whatsoever.
The tormented EMH hurls both of them off a cliff- and Ensign Kim beams them up safely and in violation of the law of inertia. Transporters can do that now.
"Darkling" is dumb. There, I said it. Or rather, the performances are very good, and some scares are still there but I just don't see the sense in it:
EMH: I have an afternoon to kill. Why don't I unscrew my head and pop in multiple personalities?
Kes: Wait a minute, Doctor, won't that cause some kind of, I don't know, disorder?
EMH: Hush, foolish girl. Bring me my cape and cowl, for I am BATMAN!
Kes: But Doctor, last year you nearly destroyed yourself just by adding one hobby too many. Is this really what the Diagnostic Routine sacrificed himself for?
EMH: (slobbering through werewolf teeth) I KEEL YOU! Durpy durpy durp...