WarlordBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 2:29 PM GMT
See Also: 'Warlord' Episode Guide
Voyager rescues a damaged ship with three people on board, but Kes and the Doctor are unable to save the badly injured Tieran. Still, in the moments before his death, he transfers his consciousness into Kes's body. First she acts hostile to Neelix and complains about how people treat her; then, with the assistance of Tieran's wife and cohort, she arranges to steal a shuttle and head for a nearby planet. Before Voyager can stop her, she murders the leader and takes over the government.
Voyager beams aboard the eldest son and rightful heir, who helps them devise a plan to infiltrate the warlord's stronghold. In the meantime, Tieran - in Kes's body - tries to work out his relationship with his wife, and arrange a marriage with the younger son of the dead leader, who has been taken hostage. He's close to succeeding in the latter, but Kes fights him from within, weakening him.
When an attempt by Tuvok to reach Kes fails, Voyager takes stronger measures. They storm the stronghold with phaser rifles and force Tieran to abandon Kes's body, then the rightful heir kills him in the body of one of the usurpers. Kes is shaken but undamaged by the experience.
This was not a good episode by any means, but it was a glorious outing for Jennifer Lien, who proves here as she did in "Cold Fire" that her performances can overcome even the silliest of scripts. The show began with a new holodeck program by Neelix: Baywatch Babes. Oh, there were some guys in the background, but it consists largely of a tropical resort where Harry and Tom add women for the purposes of decoration. Torres brought along a tiny-toweled man, but the bathing suit she was wearing at the time was so revealing that the sexism of the scene wasn't particularly lessened. I'm not even going to ask why a Klingon woman apparently waxes all the hair off her body; I guess cosmetic prejudice will be alive and well in the 24th century.
And that problem extended to Tieran. What in heck was a warlord doing in stiletto heels? Obviously he didn't feel in the least threatened in a smaller body than he had previously, so it wasn't for height...I guess it was for ratings. There was also a gratuitous scene where Lien almost kissed the woman playing her wife, but they were interrupted...again, ratings ploy, titillation without risking upsetting the homophobes in the audience. And the scene between Tuvok and Kes/Tieran was absolutely offensive. Evil people are often portrayed as sex fiends, but women especially seem inevitably to be nymphomaniacs when they're bad - just look at DS9's Intendant. Tieran in Kes's body made passes at pretty much everyone around her, nastily and exploitatively.
Lien saved the role, looking both like she was enjoying herself and like she believed in the conundrum of having two warring personalities inside her body. Her voice, posture, and gestures changed greatly when she became Tieran, and back again when she played Kes arguing with Tieran's disembodied personality. What a strong, gutsy actress - if only we got to see more of that when Kes wasn't possessed! Give her a real script next time, please. And tell Janeway to drop the big gun already; she doesn't look any more impressive in high heels striding around with a weapon than Tieran did.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.