The EMH daydreams, gets stuck in a recursive daydream loop, has his fantasies laid bare for all the crew to see, and gets to command the ship and save the day. It’s a banner day for Robert Picardo, as the Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch hopes John LeCarré isn’t turning over in his grave at “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy.”
There’s a lot of DNA of past Trek episodes in this one. You’ve got bluffing an enemy with a fake weapon (“The Corbomite Maneuver,” “The Deadly Years”), you’ve got a crew member thrust into a brutal command situation (“The Arsenal of Freedom,” “The Emissary”), you’ve got a crew member’s fantasies laid bare on the holodeck (“Hollow Pursuits”), and you’ve got an AI acquiring the ability to dream (“Birthright I,” “Phantasms”).
And it’s still a lot of fun, mainly—as usual—because of Robert Picardo. He modulates perfectly from the subdued but intense desire to improve himself, the over-the-top confidence in his daydreams, and the panic when he’s thrust into a real command situation.