The EMH falls into an unlikely relationship with a Vidiian doctor, who turns out to be charming as all heck. But is their romance doomed thanks to him being a hologram who can only exist in two rooms and her being a doctor who suffers from an awful disease? The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch takes some “Lifesigns.”
It’s a tribute to how well Picardo has inhabited the holographic doctor that this romance is completely believable. His romance with Freya was, to some extent, dictated by the circumstances of the Beowulf program that she was a part of, and he was throwing himself into the part—though he also did seem to have a genuine attraction for her. (That “Heroes and Demons” was never referenced once is maddening.) In this case, though, he finds himself with someone who speaks his language as a fellow physician, someone who is genuinely compassionate and kind, and someone who enjoys his company. As a Phage sufferer, who also spends her life treating other Phage victims, she’s had little joy in her life, and the EMH has given her that. The EMH has also found himself drawn somewhat to intelligent women, mostly seen in his relationship with Kes, and Pel is cut from the same cloth as the Ocampan.
And Susan Diol is superb. I was worried about this bit of casting, after the cringe-worthy performance she gave in “Silicon Avatar,” but I needn’t have been concerned. Given a good script, Diol shines, subtly playing the character’s neuroses, exhaustion, and slowly burgeoning happiness.