However, that meant that Kes was kept in the background in many episodes but when she was given a place under the spotlight, we could actually see that the character had a lot of quality. The same for Jennifer Lien's acting. When she was given the chance to shine, she took it.
I have to agree this is the case in episodes like "Warlord".
Now compare "Warlord" to "Infinate Regress".
Lien was so-so. If she put the emotional impact into "Warlord" like Ryan did with "Regress", there would be no doubt that Kes would have been the breakout character without them ever needing Seven.
All Seven was is a restart to the character Kes was meant to be.