I think I'd have said that yes, this was almost certainly a flawed recreation of the real daVinci, and use that to examine the concept of hero worship through Janeway, and the fact that heroes are just human despite the mythos that surrounds them, perhaps relating in some ways to the pressure Janeway felt she had to live up to as Captain. Perhaps Janeway would have gained insight that she doesn't have to be perfect, that her flaws are part of what makes her, well, her. Perhaps a silly lesson for a middle-aged starship captain to be learning. Then again, maybe not.
See, that's a good idea and if they had given things a little more thought that is what this episode could have been, but unfortunately they decided to do a "fun" adventure with da Vinci and you all know the end result.
An episode where Neelix dies in the first five minutes? 5 stars!!
An episode where Neelix dies in the first five minutes and comes back to life? No stars for you!
An episode where Neelix dies in the first five minutes and comes back to life in order to be emotionally tortured to the point of attempted suicide? 3 and a half.
Mortal Coil (***½)
Neelix can be intolerable in small doses, but give him an episode and he can usually pull it off, and this is another episode which follows that befuddling rule. It is an interesting idea for an episode and one which I'm surprised Trek had not already done at this point. It has a similar idea to that in season 1's Emanations
, but they don't cheat the ending and the story is much, much better.
The biggest problem I have with this episode is the retconning performed on Neelix's character because he never came across as "religious" before. I like the idea that his religion is what gave him the strength to get past the death of his family during the war, but this just seems to come from nowhere. I also like Neelix attempting to kill himself after losing his faith even if it is melodramatic, but it loses its power because we've known Neelix for 3 years and spirituality has never played even a minor role in his life up to this point.
There was a shuttle in this episode. *grumble*