June 19, 2024

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Weekend Trek “Scorpion Part 1”

Janeway does the unthinkable: make an alliance with the Borg!

John Rhys-Davies pops up on this one as a holographic Leonardo da Vinci.  He has two scenes, and I guess he’s there to give Janeway advice in the second, but I am not sure how much she needs him for it.  Good guest star and all, but I don’t know that the character actually needed him.

This was a season finale, and there’s an appropriate cliffhanger, but the cold open might be what really sets things up:  two Borg cubes floating up to a target, giving the standard “We are the Borg, prepare to be assimilated” speech, but then before they can finish, some beam shoots out and destroys both cubes.  The whole cold open is maybe a minute long, but it gets the job done.  This is the Borg, the mightiest enemies in the Star Trek universe, the guys that Captain Picard probably only beat because he got lucky a couple times, the guys who adapt to any and all attacks…and there’s something out there that can take them out in seconds.

That would be Species 8472.  Yes, those guys don’t appear for quite a while, and it would be tempting to just let the Borg fight them, but that’s not going to happen.  For one thing, Species 8472 comes from another dimension, and they speak to each other telepathically.  Kes can hear them sometimes, and what she hears isn’t good.  These guys, basically, seem to want to defeat the weak, and that is basically everyone else.

The idea here, though, is that Voyager needs to get through Borg space, and there does seem to be a path through, but that’s where Species 8472 is coming through a dimensional portal in a virtual invasion.  And since these guys see everyone else as weak, they’re not going to stop with the Borg.  Case in point:  Chakotay leads an away team onto a damaged Borg ship only to find a Species 8472 bio ship stuck to it, and the pilot attacks Harry, rendering him dying of some sort of fast-growing cells that are eating Harry alive while preventing him from at least slipping into unconsciousness.  The Doctor does find a possible cure using some recovered Borg nanoprobes, but he can’t make enough of them fast enough to save Harry.

So, here’s a species from another universe.  They have weapons that can destroy Borg cubes and even a Borg planet without too much trouble.  They can’t be assimilated.  They’re creepy looking, large, and as CGI creations, far less human-looking than pretty much every other alien race on Star Trek.  There’s only one thing Janeway can do:  cut a deal with the Borg.  Yes, the Borg are treacherous, as Picard and other Starfleet captains have all said, and Chakotay has that scorpion story about how they can’t keep from doing what their nature says they must do.  Sure, Janeway has some things going for:  the nanoprobes plans, the only weapon the Borg might be able to use to fight Species 8472, are within the Doctor’s holographic program and she can delete them at the first sign of betrayal.  Likewise, all she’s asking for is safe passage through Borg space.

That the Borg are listening at all without trying to assimilate says something.  And since the Borg can only understand what they can assimilate, the Starfleet crew’s own way of learning means they know more about Species 8472 than the Borg do.

It’s a smart move, the best Janeway has, and it may work in Part 2.

At the least, it paves the way for Seven of Nine to join the cast.