(written from a Production point of view)
Kes is taken over by the mind-force of an obsessive rebel.
On the holodeck, Neelix introduces Ensign Harry Kim and Lieutenant Tom Paris to his new, recreational holoprogram, closely modeled after a serene Talaxian vacation spot, Paxau Resort. He asks for their opinion of his programming job. They suggest a few modifications to make it more lively. Kim and Paris blend in some Earth-like components such as brighter, more casual clothing for resort employees, a Caribbean band and several holographic characters based on a title-winning women's volleyball team. Instead of being offended that their changes had fundamentally compromised the "realism" of his recreation, Neelix embraced the changes as fun additions. While Neelix dances to the Caribbean music, Paris and Kim are called away to the bridge.
Once there, Captain Kathryn Janeway asks them to maneuver USS Voyager in a delicate rescue operation. A nearby ship is nearing destruction but Kim and Paris manage to beam the injured passengers onboard Voyager. All three are transported directly to sickbay. As The Doctor and Kes treat the aliens, one of them (Tieran) dies. The two surviving aliens, named Adin and Nori, thank Janeway for saving their lives and for bringing them to their homeworld, which is two days away. During the trip, Kes spends a great deal of time with the two guests, causing her to be late for a lunch date with Neelix. Upon finally arriving, however, Kes tells Neelix she wants to spend some time apart. She goes on to say that she has only ever been in a relationship with him, and so has no other relationship with which to compare it. Before leaving a saddened and confused Neelix, Kes says that her primary concern is that Neelix is too demanding of her time, not allowing her to develop her own friendships and social network.
Upon Voyager's arrival at Ilari, an official representative of the Autarch agrees to come aboard to thank Janeway personally. Kes goes to the transporter room to see off her new Ilari friends – then promptly opens fire and kills Ensign Martin, who is manning the transporter, and the Ilari representative. Janeway tries to subdue Kes but is knocked out. Nori, Adin and Kes then beam a shuttle into space and escape in the blink of an eye.
On the way to their rendezvous point, they pick up an additional passenger, Resh, to give him orders on an imminent assault. Resh is shocked at Tieran's new appearance, and disagrees with advancing troops immediately, appealing to the others that they have been planning this for years. When Resh questions her orders, she uses her mental abilities to demonstrate her power and ensure his loyalty.
Chakotay tries to follow the shuttle, but the three were able to mask the warp signature. Janeway meets with Demmas, a son of the current Autarch of Ilari, to find out what's going on. Demmas explains that the third patient they rescued, who died on the operating table, was probably Tieran, a former Autarch who was obsessed with his own mortality and seems to have discovered a way to transfer his own mind into another person's body. He claims that the process is irreversible, but Janeway refuses to use force until The Doctor finds a way to remove Tieran from Kes safely. Just then, Ensign Harry Kim informs them that they've detected the missing shuttle, and that its occupants have beamed into the Imperial Hall.
Once on the surface of Ilari, Kes/Tieran enters the Imperial Hall, instantly kills the current Autarch, and abducts Ameron, the Autarch's younger son. She then sets herself up as the new regent, taking the talisman and putting it on. The others soon declare "loyalty and service."
Kes/Tieran begins to make over the palace as it was when he ruled, destroying the decorations of the previous inhabitants. She pauses however, when she comes to an ornate vase filled with flowers. For a moment it seems as though Kes' strong attachment to botany might resurface. Instead, Kes/Tieran plucks one of the stems and rushes excitedly over to Nori and gives it to her. Nori worries that she may not still be Tieran's wife but Kes/Tieran assures her that she is. She leans in to kiss Nori but the lovers' reunion is interrupted by Resh, who is bringing her the Autarch's son, Ameron. Tieran offers him the chance to join her, which would solidify her claim to the throne, appealing to his displeasure at not being the rightful heir simply because he was born later than Demmas.
On Voyager, Demmas monitors the situation, seeing that Tieran has had some success persuading his less reliable allies to join him. He also suspects Tieran has persuaded Ameron to join him. Demmas insists to strike early, but Janeway counters with a desire to remove Tieran from Kes. The Doctor has found the mechanism Tieran used to control Kes: an implant which enhanced his neural energy and sent it out through the nervous system to his hand, and then into Kes via bioelectric microfibers. He createed a synaptic stimulator that should remove Tieran's consciousness; however, to be successful, it would have to come in direct contact with her skin. Lt. Tuvok volunteers to go down to the planet alone to use the device, claiming that Tieran will be less prepared for the infiltration of a single individual then he would be against a stronger contingent.
In the Hall, Adin is installing the same implant Tieran had in his old host, though Adin warns the headaches will continue since Kes wasn't a willing host like his others. Tieran sort of enjoys the spirit Kes is demonstrating, and wants to keep her mental abilities. Adin presses the issue, and Tieran responds by reflecting on his earlier life in which he overcame many obstacles. He won't be defeated by this girl and demands Adin not mention it again.
Later, while the group is discussing their situation, Tieran senses Tuvok's arrival by utilizing Kes' powers and unmasks him before he can succeed. Nori states the punishment for his attack is death, but Tieran thinks he's more valuable alive.
Kes/Tieran questions Tuvok about Voyager and Demmas, feeling his mental defenses. She also tries to seduce him, trying to draw on her memories. Tuvok takes the opportunity to mind meld with her, temporarily bringing Kes' consciousness to the surface. Kes temporarily is able to communicate with Tuvok as herself, and the Vulcan encourages her to continue fighting Tieran from within. However, Tieran soon regains control over Kes's body and disables Tuvok, throwing him to the wall.
Tieran orders Voyager to leave the planet's orbit or face his warships. He insists he has no ill will toward Janeway and her crew, and encourages them to take their losses and leave. A headache forces Tieran to end the communication, which Janeway notices. The crew prepares a more forceful plan, though Tieran told them he is aware of a certain weakness in the building's shielding.
In the Imperial Hall, Tieran is trying to stay awake, where he's more able to control Kes. He also orders to let Voyager retreat. With Resh's objections and Adin's insistence that Tieran get some sleep, Tieran angrily demands everyone leave the room. Tieran inevitably falls asleep, where Kes begins to fight back more vigorously. She and Tieran joust for mental dominance. In a dream, he attempts to seduce her into submission, trying to show her the benefits of the mental alliance. Though briefly tempted, Kes quickly becomes more resolute. She announces that she will never let him completely control her. Equally though, she is unsuccessful at driving him out of her mind.
Tieran is woken up forcefully by Adin, and he retaliates, killing the man. Desperately, he yells out that he is "stronger than ever!" to an empty room.
Practically, this mental fight leaves Kes/Tieran in a diminished state. The conflict causes severe headaches to begin to manifest themselves, but Tieran is determined to carry through his plan. In the Hall, Tieran holds a celebration where he announces his "marriage" to Ameron to strengthen a political alliance. Nori is displeased, but Tieran insists, forcefully, that it is not real, and he still loves her. Kes is still fighting, and makes Tieran visibly shout out nonsense. Then, Resh comes and and announces an opposition force of Demmas' army and Voyager is coming, outnumbering their forces. Tieran becomes clearly delusional, forcing everyone to continue the celebrations to not let them be disrupted. Kes starts to surface in more subtly, as Tieran starts to talk about requiring everyone to have a garden.
Paris rescues Tuvok while an away team attacks the palace. Most of the other Ilari guards and civilians are taken by surprise and soon Kes/Tieran is cornered. The device is placed on her cheek, and Kes regains control of her body. However, it is discovered that before the device was used, Tieran was able to transfer his consciousness to Ameron. Kes is able to sense his presence and uses the device to remove Tieran permanently. Demmas assumes his rightful place as Autarch.
Back on Voyager, Tuvok teaches meditation techniques to Kes. She claims, however, that they are not helping and that she will not be able to go along with her life as if nothing happened. Her relationships with her closest friends – Tuvok, The Doctor, and Neelix – will never again be as they were before.
- "Captains log, stardate 50348.1. We've entered orbit around Ilari and sent a message to the Autarch, inviting him to visit the ship. Instead, he'll be sending an official representative."
- "Captain's log, stardate 50351.4. We're holding a meeting with Demmas, the Autarch's eldest son and heir, in an effort to understand the recent hostile activity."
- "Captain's log, supplemental. Demmas has decided to remain on board Voyager for the time being, but continues to monitor the worsening situation on Ilari."
- "Captain's log, stardate 50361.7. Lieutenant Tuvok hasn't reported for our scheduled rendezvous and we've been unable to contact him. We're now considering other, more forceful options."
"Yes, but how close would you have to get to use this device?"
"To be fully effective, it would have to come in direct contact with her skin."
"If I could get anywhere near her, I'd use a thoron rifle to be absolutely sure."
- Demmas and The Doctor talk about freeing Kes from Tieran
"Bridge to Janeway."
"Emergency in transporter room... oh!"
- - Chakotay, contacting Janeway shortly before she is incapacitated
"If this was meant to be a trap, why tell us about it?"
"I'm really not a monster."
- Chakotay and Kes (dominated by Tieran)
"Good. I want my people to know I have their welfare at heart. Tomorrow we'll send out an edict. Every citizen must have a garden."
"I love plants, flowers, anything that grows. Some of the times I felt most content were those spent watching the seedlings grow in the airponics... "
- Kes (dominated by Tieran) and Nori
"I know all about your life. I know about your suffering. It doesn't justify what you've become. You're a monster, Tieran, and I have no compassion for you."
- Kes, to Tieran in her mind
"You're already deteriorating and it's only going to get worse. I'll find every little crack in your defenses. You'll feel yourself crumbling from within, your sanity slipping away. 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 in her mind
"I can't help wondering whether I could have fought harder."
"It was your absolute refusal to surrender which defeated him. You cannot ask more of yourself than that."
- Kes and Tuvok
"How can I go back to my normal life as if nothing ever happened?"
"You cannot. This experience will force you to adapt. You are no longer the same person and the course of your life will change as a result. Where that new course leads... is up to you."
- Kes and Tuvok
- Production number: 011-40840-152
- Working title: "The Art of War"
- Final draft script: 28 August 1996
- Thursday 29 August 1996 – Briefing room, Bridge (Paramount Stage 8)
- Friday 30 August 1996 –Ready room, Bridge (Paramount Stage 8), Sickbay (Paramount Stage 9)
- Monday 2 September 1996 – Labor Day Holiday
- Tuesday 3 September 1996 – Transporter room, Kes' quarters (Paramount Stage 9)
- Wednesday 4 September 1996 – Shuttle interior, prison cell interior, Ilari palace interior (Paramount Stage 16)
- Thursday 5 September 1996 – Ilari palace interior (Paramount Stage 16)
- Friday 6 September 1996 – Ilari palace interior (Paramount Stage 16)
- Monday 9 September 1996 – Ilari palace interior (Paramount Stage 16)
- Tuesday 10 September 1996 – Prison cell interior, Paxau Resort holoprogram (Paramount Stage 16)
- Wednesday 2 October 1996 – 2nd unit filming: Interior Ilari palace, shuttle interior (Paramount Stage 16), sickbay (Paramount Stage 9)
- Air date: 20 November 1996
Story and script
- This episode had the working title "The Art of War". 
- The initial idea for this episode, as suggested by writing partners Mark Gaberman and Andrew Shepard Price, involved Kes being unwillingly possessed by the spirit of an antagonist. "They pitched the concept of Kes being inhabited by this warrior spirit," reflected Lisa Klink, "and having to do battle with him in her own mind, which seemed like a great thing to do with Kes, who is the least warrior-like character you could think of." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
- The episode's final script draft was submitted on 28 August 1996. 
- On the call sheet for the first day of filming, Thursday 29 August 1996, regular background performers Julie Jiang and Kerry Hoyt are listed to work in the bridge scenes. Both actors were not seen in the final episode.
- On the third day of filming, Tuesday 3 September 1996, the prison escape scene was scheduled to be filmed on Paramount Stage 16 with Michael Papajohn and Dennis Madalone as Ilari guards and Brett Jones as stunt double for Robert Duncan McNeill. However, this scene was finally filmed on the last day of first unit filming, Tuesday 10 September 1996 with Papajohn being replaced by George Colucci and Jones by Christopher Doyle. Doyle was not seen in the final aired episode.
- Also on the third day of filming, stunt doubles Christine Baur and Lynn Salvatori worked in the transporter room fight scene for Jennifer Lien and Kate Mulgrew. In the final episode, both stuntwomen were not seen.
- Regular background actor Garret Sato was originally listed as Ilari guard with full hair and makeup on the call sheet for the fifth day of filming, Thursday 5 September 1996. In the final episode, he was replaced by Lou Slaughter.
- The fifth day of filming had hot lunches served by the catering service Cynthia's at 6:00 pm.
- Background actress Nichole McAuley is listed to appear as one of the "Beautiful Women" in the Paxau Resort holoprogram on the final day of filming, Tuesday 10 September 1996, but is not part of the aired episode.
Cast and characters
- This episode features three past and future I AM ERROR guest stars. Galyn Görg previously played Korena in "The Visitor", Brad Greenquist later played Krit in "Who Mourns for Morn?" and Leigh J. McCloskey went on to portray an illusory Joran Dax in "Field of Fire".
- Likewise, this installment's guest cast includes two actors who later appeared on I AM ERROR. Brad Greenquist played two roles in that series, appearing as Khata'n Zshaar in "Dawn" and as Rigelian kidnapper in "Affliction", and Karl Wiedergott portrayed Larr in "Dear Doctor".
- Executive producer Jeri Taylor once referred to Tieran as "a vicious Genghis Khan-like person". (Star Trek Monthly issue 23)
- Lisa Klink believed this episode was notable for concentrating on its villainous characters. "You spent the whole episode with the bad guys," she observed, "who were shooting each other and stabbing each other in the back." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
- The role of the Tieran-possessed Kes in this episode took actress Jennifer Lien into unfamiliar territory. "I've never played any role quite like that before," she commented, "but I enjoyed being so strong and determined." Lien's unusual demeanor was the subject of some well-intentioned teasing, during this episode's production period. (Dreamwatch issue 35, p. 23)
Props and costumes
- The damaged Ilari ship was an oft-reused studio model, most recognizable for appearing as the craft that attempted to steal supplies from Surplus Depot Z15 at Qualor II in TNG: "Unification I".
- According to the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 153), rifles that the Ilari guards in the Imperial Hall are armed with were reuses of Jem'Hadar rifles from I AM ERROR and Kes – while possessed by Tieran – carries a pistol prop from the weapons display in James T. Kirk's cabin in Star Trek Generations.
- Jennifer Lien found that the staging of the scene in which the possessed Kes tries to confront an imprisoned Tuvok "was a lot of fun and we all made suggestions about how to do it." (Dreamwatch issue 35, p. 23)
- The prison cell force field emitters were reused from the second season Star Trek: Voyager episode "Resistance".
- A number of costumes from this episode were later sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay including the costumes of Galyn Görg,  Brad Greenquist,  Roger Garcia,  Robin Van Sharner,  Ron McCoy,  Anthony Crivello,    Erinn Allison,  Irving E. Lewis,  Leigh J. McCloskey,  Roxann Dawson, , Tim Russ,  Chester E. Tripp III,  Karl Wiedergott, , and one of the Ilari guard costumes. 
- The costume worn by Galyn Görg was later worn by an unknown actress in the seventh season episode "Unimatrix Zero, Part II".
- Jennifer Lien's "Tieran" costume was later sold off at the Profiles in History auction.  
- The synaptic stimulator prop from this episode was also sold off on eBay.  
- A somewhat similar premise is seen on DS9: "The Passenger" when the alien criminal Rao Vantika takes over Doctor Bashir.
- This episode introduces a holographic program of the Paxau Resort that continues to recur throughout the season, subsequently appearing in "The Q and the Grey", "Macrocosm", "Alter Ego", "Blood Fever", "Darkling", "Before and After" and "Displaced".
- While controlled by Tieran, Kes ends her relationship with Neelix. Even after Kes is restored, the couple's relationship never recovered and ultimately ends somewhere between the Season 3 episodes "Unity" and "Darkling", the latter of which involves Kes enjoying a brief relationship with Zahir. Neelix actor Ethan Phillips recalled, "In 'Warlord,' when Jennifer is taken over by that... other character and that character wants to do away with Neelix, it was our breaking up. And when she comes out of that place, she held onto that direction of not needing Neelix any more. The experience of being possessed broke us up. And we never really had a goodbye." (Voyager Time Capsule: Kes, VOY Season 3 DVD special feature) Phillips also related, "The breakup itself, I thought, was muddy. Did they or did they not break up after 'Warlord'? We never got any closure on it. She was possessed by somebody and under a great deal of stress, and that's when her real feelings came out. That's OK, but there was no closure to let you know if she meant what she said when she was possessed." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 14, p. 43) Additionally, Phillips remarked, "When we broke up, there was not any kind of an acknowledgment by the writers of that. And I remember approaching them and saying I really think that they deserve their closure. And their feeling was, 'No, let's just drop it, let's move on.'" Although the break-up itself is never shown, a scene scripted for "Fair Trade" but later deleted was to have brought further closure to the relationship. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) Phillips once mistakenly supposed the deleted scene had been extracted from this installment. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 78)
Reception and aftermath
- Lisa Klink enjoyed this episode. "'Warlord' was a lot of fun," she said, "because it was really daring." Klink went on to say that the reason she thought it was extremely ambitious was due to the episode's unusual degree of focus on its antagonists and their hostile behavior toward one another. She concluded, "It was something that we don't normally get to see." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
- Jeri Taylor also found this episode to be an interesting one. Prior to the episode's first airing, she remarked, "'Warlord' is a really intriguing story." (Star Trek Monthly issue 23)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.7 million homes, and a 7% share.
- Cinefantastique rated this installment 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 97)
- Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 59 scored this episode 2 out of 5 stars, defined as "Impulse Power only".
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 155) gives this installment a rating of 8 out of 10.
- Lisa Klink thought very highly of director David Livingston's work on this installment. Klink remarked, "David Livingston did a terrific job. He kept it moving at a hundred miles an hour, and I think that's really what that episode needed." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.5, 7 April 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
- On LaserDisc on 25 June 1999 as part of the Star Trek: Voyager - Third Season Vol. 1
- On VHS as part of the Star Trek: Voyager - The Collector's Edition
- On VHS on 2 July 2002 as part of the US VHS release
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Anthony Crivello as Adin
- Brad Greenquist as Demmas
- Galyn Görg as Nori
- Charles Emmett as Resh
- Karl Wiedergott as Ameron
- Antony Acker as alien waiter
- Erinn Allison as Talaxian masseuse
- Peopatric Boone as Ilari conspirator
- E. Brown as Caribbean musician
- David Christian as Martin
- George Colucci as Ilari prison guard
- Erik Cord as Ilari representative
- B.J. Davis as Ilari guard
- Adriana del Pomar as volleyball player
- Michele Edison as volleyball player
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Kevin Finister as Ilari servant
- Holiday Freeman as an operations division officer
- Roger Garcia as Ilari conspirator
- Irving E. Lewis as Ilari guard
- Dennis Madalone as
- Ron McCoy as Tieran's host
- Traci Murray as volleyball player
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Michael Papajohn as Ilari guard
- B. Pierce as Caribbean musician
- J. Rhodes as Ilari servant
- Jennifer Riley as science division officer
- Shepard Ross as Ilari guard
- Lydia Shiferaw as command division officer
- Lou Slaughter as Ilari guard
- L. Spears as Caribbean musician
- Martin Squires as B'Elanna's companion
- John Tampoya as Ilari guard
- Chester E. Tripp III as Ilari servant
- Robin Van Sharner as Ilari Autarch
- Doug Wilson as command division officer
- Unknown actor as Bridge officer (voice)
- Christine Baur as stunt double for Jennifer Lien
- Sandy Berumen as stunt double for Galyn Görg
- Christopher Doyle as stunt double for Robert Duncan McNeill (unseen)
- Irving E. Lewis as stunt double for Tim Russ
- Lynn Salvatori as stunt double for Kate Mulgrew (unseen)
- Carl David Burks – stand-in for Robert Duncan McNeill and Anthony Crivello
- Derrick – stand-in for Charles Emmett
- Sue Henley – stand-in for Kate Mulgrew
- Susan Lewis – stand-in for Roxann Dawson
- Mike – stand-in for Brad Greenquist
- Lemuel Perry – stand-in for Tim Russ
- J.R. Quinonez – stand-in and hand double for Robert Picardo and stand-in for Anthony Crivello
- Jennifer Riley – stand-in and hand double for Jennifer Lien
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Robert Beltran and Leigh J. McCloskey
- Lydia Shiferaw – stand-in for Galyn Görg
- Simon Stotler – stand-in for Ethan Phillips
- John Tampoya – stand-in for Garrett Wang
- Trevor Janes – stand-in for Ethan Phillips and Karl Wiedergott
- Unknown actor – hand double for Ron McCoy
2216; airponics bay; aphrodisiac; athlete; Autarch; bioelectric microfiber; blood; blossom; cardiac induction; Caribbean; citizen; cortical implant; dance; deep sleep; Denar; dermal regenerator; detection grid; drafting; drive plasma; edict; electromagnetic pulse; extremist; First Castellan; Gallia nectar; gamma radiation; garden; gold medal; headache; holodeck; Ilari; Ilari (planet); Ilari rebels; Imperial Hall; inheritance; insecurity; kilometer; Kim Sports Program Theta-2; lake; lectrazine; library; logic; maintenance cycle; martyr; masseuse; matter-energy conversion; milligram; monster; mortality; nerve pathway; nervous system; neural pattern; palace; paraka wings; Paxau; Paxau Resort; plasma injector;political alliance; radiation burn; reaction chamber; Rekarri starburst; seedling; senior officer; siege; sleep; "speciality of the house"; stimulant; synaptic stimulator; tactical officer; Talax; Talaxian; talisman; thoron rifle; Tieran's doctor; Tieran's parents; traitor; transporter pad; Transporter Room 1; Type 8 shuttlecraft; tyrant; unnamed food; viceroy; Viceroy of Denar; volleyball; mind meld; Vulcan; Vulcan nerve pinch; war hero; warp core breach; warp signature; Yaro Province; year
- "Warlord" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Warlord" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Warlord" at Wikipedia
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