June 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Scorpion Part 2”

The Voyager/Borg alliance hits shaky grounds when Janeway is knocked unconscious for a period.

Here we go, the episode that brought in Seven of Nine, with Jeri Ryan’s name in the opening credits and Jennifer Lien’s listed as a guest star since she’s on her way out.

Oh, not yet.  Kes still has a role to play in this one, but for now, she’s still just a guest star.

As I think about it, that’s kinda weird.  For all that she’s listed as a guest star, Kes’s role in the episode is fairly normal.  She has a role to play to defeat the elitist Species 8472, the ones who sound like Space Nazis when they decide to wipe out inferior life forms, and that’s, like, everybody but them.  Of course, this episode more or less reveals that, surprise surprise, everything that happened is all the Borg’s fault.  They went and tried to assimilate Species 8472 because of course they did, and even if they do agree to an alliance with Janeway, they’re not exactly good partners.  They don’t really seem inclined to treat Janeway like an equal, and it only takes her steely attitude to keep the Borg from implanting a neural probe into her and Tuvok, basically getting the Collective to agree to use a single drone to be their spokesperson, and that would be Seven of Nine, a human that was assimilated as a child and only really knows the collective.

It’s a bit hard, in hindsight, to see how much Seven is going to weigh in on the rest of the series.  My understanding is Kate Mulgrew wasn’t happy to see her at first as the show was going for the obvious sex appeal of Ryan in a skintight catsuit that, I wager, might have been difficult to breathe in sometimes.  I could be wrong about that, but let’s face it:  part of Seven’s whole thing is she’s a young blonde woman, attractive, curvy, and walking around in a skintight outfit.

But here’s the thing:  she doesn’t do that here.  By episode’s end, she’s lying on a table in Sickbay, still with her full Borg tech attached.  Yes, the Doctor says her human cells are regenerating nicely now that she’s cut off from the Collective, but she’s still looking like the same drone she was at the end of the episode that she did in the beginning of it.  And quite frankly, this was the first time that I can recall seeing a fully assimilated female drone.  Yeah, there were a couple members of Picard’s crew that were part way there in Star Trek: First Contact, and the Borg Queen first appeared there, but a female drone?  They just weren’t a thing yet.

So, what is Seven like her?  In a word:  not very pleasant.  Not only is she the first female drone to pop up, she’s also the first drone to speak for the Collective itself, and there’s an arrogance to her that suggests she knows what’s best for everyone, even if she is speaking entirely for the Collective.  Janeway tries to reason with Seven the person, but it just doesn’t work.  And then when an attack by Species 8472 kicks in and Janeway is temporarily removed from the board, it’s now up to Chakotay to keep Janeway’s agreement going when there are a handful of Borg drones (plus Seven) making demands in the Cargo Bay after their drone was destroyed by a sneak attack.

Essentially, Chakotay is less interested in being obliging than Janeway was.  It fits.  He did have an experience with an unwilling connection to a different collective, one he felt uneasy about but that Janeway saw as more hopeful.  Naturally, when Janeway wakes up, the two actually argue until the two realize this fits what Seven said about how individuality is a weakness.  Instead, the two come up with a plan.  Janeway, back in charge, goes along with how Seven forced Voyager into fighting Species 8472 in their own universe.  The weapons she developed work and drive Species 8472 back to their home dimension, and likewise, Chakotay was on standby with his unique ability to short out Seven’s connection to the Collective when the Borg predictably order her to subdue Voyager for assimilation.

It’s not really a very endearing sort of character at first glance.  Will that change as I work my way through the last four seasons?  Well, probably.  It just remains to be seen how, but arguably, she was the Collective here, not the Seven of Nine that was to come.

Though I was surprised they used her real name in this one, but I never really realized what it was until Star Trek Picard anyway.  She’s always been Seven.  She just isn’t Seven quite yet here.