Star Trek: Voyager

"Retrospect"

***

Air date: 2/25/1998
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller & Lisa Klink
Story by Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman
Directed by Jesus Salvador Trevino

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I often find my own patience tested by someone like Mr. Kovin. Of course, I generally respond with a devastating quip rather than a left hook." — Doc to Seven

Nutshell: The plot is a tad convenient at times, but the effect is quite good. Seven continues to be the capable center of the season.

It's so nice to see the Voyager writers, in what is clearly the best season of this series yet, unlock the potential of their characters—or, more specifically, their newest character, Seven of Nine.

I don't necessarily want to go on record saying that Seven of Nine is the best thing that has ever happened to Voyager, but I definitely think the character has been very good for the writing staff. Ever since her controversial introduction to the cast, the effective use of Seven has proven wrong the premature fears of skeptics (myself included). The writers seem to have so much control when writing her, and the shows always seem like they have direction when they pick up a story that explores the character's puzzling dilemmas. These days, my only skepticism is that all the other characters are sitting idly in the background because this one's getting so much spotlight attention.

This week's Seven story, "Retrospect," finally begins to analyze the character's emotions, something I've been long awaiting. It accomplishes this with a fairly standard plot device that benefits from an interesting twist: namely the fact that, for once, the Voyager crew is on the wrong side of a judgment call. Their intentions are good in rallying around Seven in her apparent hour of need, but they make some mistakes which leads to some ugly results.

Perhaps some background would be in order. Still inside Hirogen-traveled space, Voyager comes across a prosperous commerce world featuring This Week's Friendly Aliens (not to be confused with This Week's Evil Aliens). Voyager negotiates with a trader named Kovin (Michael Horton), a somewhat hot-headed and annoying man who deals in powerful weapons that would prove particularly useful in the dangerous areas that Voyager is traveling. Janeway has hammered out a barter deal, but the deal is complicated when Seven loses her cool and assaults Kovin in engineering, breaking his nose.

Naturally, there's more to this than what meets the eye. Seven is on-edge, tense, unusually emotional (in a Seven kind of way). When Doc tries to run scans she grows uneasy and claustrophobic. Doc attributes her uneasiness to memories that have been mysteriously blocked out. When he helps her bring these memories to the surface, she realizes that she was attacked by Kovin when analyzing his weapons stock on the planet surface. Apparently, he shot her with a phaser, confined her to a medical table, extracted Borg nanoprobes from her arm, and then used them to test on another subject—a clear violation of her rights of an individual, not to mention a theft of dangerous technology.

Well, ultimately, the whole point of "Retrospect" is that none of what Seven remembers actually happened. There was indeed an accident: Kovin's phaser had overloaded, stunning Seven—but that was all, according to Kovin's story. Seven must have imagined the rest. (Exactly how she inadvertently concocted the Kovin-specific flashbacks with such alarming detail based merely on "previously witnessing individuals being assimilated back when she was a Borg" is beyond me. I don't claim to be a psychologist.) The episode doesn't let us in on the truth until near the end of the story. In the meantime, there are some lengthy investigations into Kovin's affairs, as the Voyager crew tries to confirm Seven's story.

One question under scrutiny in this episode is just how "impartial" Janeway truly is when a member of her "family" is at stake. Tuvok is by definition impartial, but as "Retrospect" continues, it seems evident that Voyager's search for evidence seems to continue as long as it seems even the slightest bit possible that Kovin is guilty. As the plot would have it (which sometimes proves a little on the contrived side), every clue the investigation uncovers can be read two ways. Is Kovin a liar trying to cover up dangerous experiments? Or is he the innocent subject of people who are very protective of themselves when it comes to their individual rights?

Michael Horton as Kovin has more fire than most guest stars playing aliens, and for this role it's appropriate. Kovin vehemently professes his innocence from the outset, and he's completely appalled that Janeway believes he could've attacked one of her crew members. It's interesting to note that if Kovin had really been guilty, he probably would've been portrayed by the guest actor as a guilty-seeming persona. Here that's obviously not the case.

However, of more interest is the regular cast. Once again, the performances are what truly carries this show. Of honorable mention this week is Robert Picardo as Doc, who is supplied with the interesting role of helping—even prodding—Seven to acknowledge her feelings. He explains to her why it would be "healthy" to feel anger and resentment, and the more he talks, the more Seven understands. A pivotal moment in the story comes when Doc tells her, "When Kovin gets what he deserves, you're going to feel much better." But now knowing that Kovin was, in fact, innocent, Doc's course of action seems to me like traveling in dangerous territory, which I suspect is the story's point.

Kate Mulgrew is typically good as simply "the captain," trying to take control of the messy situation as it unfolds. And Jeri Ryan, who was wonderful in "Prey" last week, again proves adept at conveying confused emotion in a new and interesting way. Some of this material seemed a bit on the familiar side, particularly when Seven finally found her buried emotions beginning to surface. Lines like "I believe I am feeling anger" seem like they came straight out of Data's experience in Generations, but I think "Retrospect" handled this situation much more effectively and subtly overall, rather than going over the top into comic anarchy like Generations did. Besides, this had to happen eventually given the fact that Seven is inherently human, and I'm glad the writers were restrained and plausible in handling it—it made the sentiment much stronger.

Subsequently, when the investigation falls apart (but not before driving Kovin to a panic), Doc realizes he made a serious mistake in his prejudgment, which only leaves Seven more confused. Evidence suggests that Kovin was telling the truth, but by this time Seven has become so emotionally involved in the matter that she doesn't want Kovin to be innocent. She just wants to feel better when Kovin is finally punished. Seven's irrational emotional reaction makes sense because, like she said herself, resentment is not objective or structured. Now she's learning the hard way.

Salvador's direction over the scene in sickbay where Doc has to inform Seven of Kovin's innocence uses an effective subtext: It places Janeway, Doc, and Tuvok all on one side of the room looking across at Seven, who suddenly realizes she is alone. Janeway says that no one is abandoning her, but it certainly must not feel that way to Seven. The visual placement gives the moment a nice touch.

Not quite everything with "Retrospect," however, comes off quite as naturally as it could have. Some of the story's concluding passages are a bit overwrought. As the possible evidence mounts against Kovin, he becomes frustrated and trapped—which I can understand. But that he becomes so desperate that he panics and flees his own world in a ship didn't strike me as completely believable; it struck me more as a convenient turn in the plot used to lead the episode to its culmination in disaster. Likewise, when Voyager tries to contact Kovin and explain how they were wrong, he opens fire on them, disbelieving their promises that they now know the truth. He's killed when his weapons overload and blow up his own ship. Speaking in plot terms, it's awfully extreme.

However, when looking at the outcome of this series of events, it makes sense in the big picture, especially considering that this episode's payoff is about the emotional aftermath that the Voyager crew must deal with. There's some good stuff in here, including Janeway realizing that rallying around a member of the Voyager family can cloud objectivity—something we've all seen Janeway do but seldom acknowledge afterward.

Meanwhile, Seven realizing that she is feeling remorse in this "single being's" death is framed in a nice context. On the surface you can just barely tell she's being affected by her feelings—and "barely" is a perfectly fascinating level of change. The ending also seems to draw an interesting connection between Doc and Seven. Both are relatively new to reacting to emotions. Doc claims to be an "expert" at times, but he knows he really isn't, and in the final scene he goes before the captain and asks to be "reset" to his original program, missing the whole point of why people learn from their mistakes. Keeping in terms with the maternal figure that she has represented through much of this season, Janeway explains the point to him. It's an obvious point, admittedly, but in terms of who Doc is, it's also a sincere one.

I just hope the writers continue to challenge themselves with logical character evolution. "Retrospect" is a good example of the potential, especially considering all the untapped humanity still within Seven. If there's one thing that Seven cannot exhibit, it's a static personality. I hope that if Voyager continues for another two or three seasons I can look back and see that Seven has changed and grown immensely. An episode like "Retrospect" definitely proves that such an evolution is possible within the context of the stories. Let's just hope the writers take the subsequent steps.

Rating-wise, I'm electing to go with three stars; like with DS9 this week, that's on a particularly high end of the three-star range. Quite good, but not quite enough to be standout.

In any case, whether you agree or disagree with me, you can consider me a member of the Seven of Nine fan club. Her character has sparked a lot of compelling stories this season. But I still want to see some of the other characters doing interesting things.

Next week: Poor relations with the Hirogen reach their breaking point with some deadly holodeck games.

Previous episode: Prey
Next episode: The Killing Game

◄ Season Index

46 comments on this review

EP
Mon, Feb 23, 2009, 4:14am (UTC -5)
I actually found the ending preposterous for different reasons. In the last episode "Prey," Janeway, the ultimate moralist, was willing the sacrifice the safety of the entire Voyager crew just to protect a member of Species 8472, and confines Seven of Nine to the cargo bay for her dissent.
In this episode, Janeway essentially says, "Oops, my bad," for her part in causing the death of an innocent man who was ready to sell her better weapons so that Voyager could survive the Delta quadrant. Then Voyager warps away and the end credits roll.
As an aside, the brain-dead writer who concocted the idea of the holographic Doctor being able to modify his own program without obtaining authorization or even formally informing the Captain of his actions needs to return his plot-development diploma to the garbage bin he found it in.
Ryan
Sun, Aug 29, 2010, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on Seven as a character, but I think the answer is simple. Conflict. She brings conflict. Have often do we see any substantive conflict between regular characters?

Seven is a true challenge, and not just to Janeway. As with TNG you sometimes wonder if they're pumping Prozac into the air ducts in Voyager, any deviation from the day-in day-out deep mutual respect we see between the regulars is usually a minor blip on the radar.

Seven genuinely pissed people off, breaks rules that have consequences. She takes us back to the dramatic tension in Season 1, the potential of which was frittered away shorthly thereafter.
Kieran
Mon, Sep 20, 2010, 7:52am (UTC -5)
This was a good episode but it left a bad taste in my mouth. The Doctor essentially drove an innocent man to his death and all he gets is a "we all make mistakes" from Janeway.
Paul
Sun, Jun 5, 2011, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Good to see that time ship. AGAIN.
Nic
Thu, Jul 21, 2011, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Am I the only one who still thinks Kovin might have been guilty? They weren't able to prove his guilt, but that doesn't necessarily make him innocent. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't. But Seven truly BELIEVED he did, so the emotional consequences are the same.

I am greatly disturbed by how often on television a story of violation/rape turns out to be false, either through lies or deleusions. Of course it happens in real life, but very rarely.
Destructor
Sun, Aug 7, 2011, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
But Star Trek has had a variety of rape analogies where the perpetrator has been guilty, so it's not awful to have one that deals with false memory, particularly as it relates to childhood abuse- that is to say, Seven HAS been raped, by the Borg and, possibly, again by Kovin. I also was in two minds about his guilt, which makes his death (hardly Voyager's direct responsibility, they did try to tell him to stop) slightly more palatable.
Justin
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
It was a review either during season 2 or 3 where Jammer made an offhand comment about how horrible the UPN Voyager previews were. The preview for this episode when it originally aired was perhaps the worst of all. I remember it like it was yesterday. It focused on 3 words said by Seven of Nine: "He violated me."

Quite the attention grabber isn't it? What made matters worse is that a few days before the episode aired I heard a radio promo which took those words to ridiculous extreme. Complete with reverb and echo:

"He violated...violated...he violated...HE VIOLATED ME," followed by that cheesy promo guy voice, "Next time on STAAAR TREK - Voyager."

Get it? This was UPN's way of grabbing ratings by saying "hey everyone, you know that hot voluptuous blonde we have on Voyager now? Well she gets RAPED in the next episode! So be sure to tune in 'kay?"

Needless to say, I was appalled. After watching the episode I was glad to see that it was a very good story AND a worthy topic (dealing with how false accusations can ruin peoples lives - something you rarely see on TV). I was also relieved to see that there was nothing sexual about the episode at all, especially rape. But then I was even more upset about how they tried to "hook" people into watching with their disgustingly suggestive promos.

It was then that I realized that Voyager's biggest problem was not the writers or the actors - it was UPN. One of the reasons TNG was so successful and DS9 was so well conceived and richly textured is because they were syndicated shows, untethered by network executives and their peurile attempts at attracting an audience. "Enterprise" suffered from the same problems. It might have gotten its full 7-year run had it been syndicated.
stargazer
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
@Paul

Yes, Kovin is evidently sitting in what appears to be the 29th century time ship Aeon. LOL

Obviously not a big budget for this episode, so they had to resort to recycling.

SamB
Wed, Jan 23, 2013, 6:50am (UTC -5)
I find it interesting how many viewers, Jammer included, read the episode as definitng that Kovin was innocent. It was my understanding that all the evidence they found *against* him was eventually disproved, but there was similarly nothing that proved he didn't do it.

Of course, a man is innocent until proven guilty, and that should always hold, particularly in the Star Trek universe, I feel. But I really liked how the episode left open that grain of doubt - that perhaps Seven had been right after all.
Lt. Yarko
Mon, Jul 1, 2013, 1:31am (UTC -5)
I, too, was a bit annoyed that it seemed that everyone had decided he was innocent simply because they couldn't build an airtight case against him. That was weird. And did the guy really have to blow himself up? That was what he did, after all. It's not like THEY killed him. His actions made sense only if the guy was out of his mind. How could they blame themselves for that? It was a weird ending for sure.
Nancy
Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 3:37am (UTC -5)
I still believe he could've been guilty. The guy freaking out and becoming deperate enough to kill suggest guilt to me. It does seem that everyone else believes he's innocent, though, and even Seven must doubt herself because she now feels "remorse" and "guilt" although she never renounces the memories.

I didn't like Janeway's admonishing glare at Seven after the guy blew himself up. She had done nothing wrong. If she were having false memories, it was a genuine mistake. If the memories were real and he was guilty, the message is apparently "Don't accuse people of assault even if you're sure they're guilty because they might get upset and accidentally blow themselves up." It makes me uncomfortable because it reminds me of how date rapes are often handled: "you'll destroy his life if you accuse him.... Are you SURE it was REALLY rape? You were drinking after all....isn't it possible you just imagined telling him no and the sex got rough so you panicked..." Etc etc.

The episode surprised me, made me think, and made me appreciate Seven more.... All good things. The way Janeway acted.... Not a good thing. Overall a strong episode.
DK
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
This is the first time in a long time that I have been proud of a television show for having courage. ALWAYS it is stressed on tv to NEVER doubt a female victims's account of an attack. Thank God a show had courage to face down the majority traditional mandate and show that it is possible for women to be wrong in those circumstances and that we shouldn't be so quick to judge those accused simply because a female claims an attack. Predictably the trained herd of sheep are quick to cast fear doubt and worry over the subject of the show but I am proud.
T'Paul
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 7:43am (UTC -5)
I must admit I find this one quite disturbing.

What is the message supposed to be? That we should doubt rape victims?

A bit of clarity might have helped, it all seemed rather jumbled. The supposed criminal killed himself, even when Voyager admitted they could be wrong.
T'Paul
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 8:21am (UTC -5)
It's not that I don't accept that false accusations can happen, but I think they are a tiny minority of rape cases, and I'm unsure why Voyager would want to jump on the "false rape" bandwagon.

I think that that particular cause does not need any help from science fiction, and that it kind of flies against Trek trying to give us moral messages about our time on behalf of oppressed or weaker groups (for example, the diversity on the TOS bridge). What's next, an episode in favour of fathers' rights against the terrible mothers who gain custody of their children?
T'Paul
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Now, if some say, the message is false accusations, it could have been far better done.

As some others have commented above, blowing yourself up because you've been accused of something, especially when your accusers are rescinding themselves, is hardly a logical course of action, as Tuvok would say.

And to repeat others above, the failure of an airtight case does not prove innocence.

Which is why I would say this is a failed and confused idea, and which would seem to have some unsavoury consequences if taken to its "logical" conclusion.
Tuff
Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 1:40am (UTC -5)
It's such a relief to see folks aghast at the perspectives on rape found in this story. I saw this theme right as it started to develop and hoped that it didn't turn out like it did. Star Trek always seems to shine some light on human nature or runs some social experiment, but this was one of the ones that made me uncomfortable. I hope the writer doesn't think that this is some kind of norm.
Kempt
Sat, Oct 5, 2013, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
As an ex-Scientologist I'll go ahead and call this the DIANETICS episode of Voyager.

When a doctor decides to just "program in" psychotherapy abilities without any proper training the resulting false memories end up being destructive to careers, justice, and ultimately life.
Nick
Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 8:19am (UTC -5)
This episode left open many doors to interpretation. The doctor was allowed to expand his program, this results in ambiguity regarding his new methods. The memories he recovers from Seven are not proven to be false, but they aren't proven to be accurate either.

Seven's recollections are also not correlated with the evidence beyond circumstantial -- but the door is left open for different interpretations.

The way Kovin reacts, running away on his spaceship and even attacking Voyager reeks of guilt. This is a weapons dealer after all, a shady and morally dubious business if ever there was one.

Putting aside the exterior story elements, this episode effectively expanded upon Seven and the Doctor in interesting ways. They both learned about ambiguity, dealing with seemingly conflicting facts, and how to rationalize irrational events - ie. Kovin's seemingly irrational flight from justice. -- being human means accepting that one cannot control nor rationalize every action in the universe, especially when accounting for a strict adherence to logic.
Caine
Wed, Nov 13, 2013, 3:11am (UTC -5)
To me, deciding to do an episode about the consequences of wrongly accusing someone - and having our main cast be the accusers - is a gutsy move. I, for one, applaud it!

Unfortunately I think the execution of the plot was handled horribly clumsilly!
The story and the actions of most of the characters completely lost all credibility to me, when the Voayager crew turned on a plate. When they discovered that their one solid piece of evidence against Kovin wasn't valid after all, they went directly from "let's try to stay objective and find solid evidence against Kovin to prove his guilt before we accuse him" to "tis piece of evidence didn't point towards Kovin's guilt, so 7 of 9 was wrong and imagined it all". What?! That doesn't make any sense!

The disappointed/angry stare that Janeway gave 7 of 9 after Kovin blew himself up didn't make any sense either. What's she mad at her for? What did 7 of 9 do wrong?

Furthermore I found the conversation between Doc and Janeway at the end to be unbelievable. After 3 and a half years, Doc hasn't learned enough about "the human condition" to see that mistakes happen and it's important to learn from your mistakes? Sure, he was - understandably - emotionally affected by his mistake ... but to the point of committing personality suicide? Really? Really?!

I do, however, believe that Kovin's behaviour was understandable - i.e. him panicking and trying to escape by all means, not listening to Janeway's assurences that "it was our mistake". As he said early on, in his culture, getting accused is the same as being convicted. In his eyes, he has been convicted of a horrible crime (whether he committed it or not is not really the point here) and frantically tries to escape, no matter what.

An episode with a good premise but horrible excution on some pivotal points. I'd give it 1,5-2 stars.

Jack
Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
I could never much stand the Doctor, but form here forward I just despised him. This episode came to my mind even in much later episodes.
Kevin
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 3:44am (UTC -5)
As often as Jammer talks about this being a lightweight season, I've found that several of the episodes have shocked me with their darkness. These are some difficult issues being experimented with, and although Voyager isn't always the best Trek franchise, this season in particular has brought out some of the darkest Trek I've ever seen. Episodes like Retrospect, Nemesis, and Mortal Coil are among the most pronounced, but even Random Thoughts brought out a side of Trek that we've rarely seen done well. DS9 was gritty and gray, but these cross the line into bleak and depressing. I feel worse for having watched them. But in a good way.

On a side note, it's interesting that Voyager is finally starting to act like a ship lost all by itself. Seeing Voyager trading for better weapons is very un-Star Fleet, but much more realistic given their circumstances, as was the unauthorized use of the comm array a few episodes back. Normal Trek might have used it once, but Janeway forced her way in repeatedly. Feels like the show is finally finding its groove - just hope it keeps it up!
Chris P
Fri, Jan 31, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
I'm not so sure the theme was false rape accusations in general. This episode aired as people began to come out of the hysteria of the 80s and 90s where it became widely accepted that repressed memories were real memories. The episode does what Star Trek does best: it brings to light a real world issue. Careers in childcare, medicine, and other fields were ruined and communities turned against good people merely based on the "memories" of "trauma" dredged up in "victims". Google the topic for more information. There were despicable things done to people by "therapists" seeking to make a name for themselves. Star Trek was a good vehicle to bring the skepticism about repressed traumatic memories to the public conscience.

To send a more effective message they should have provided a solid answer about Kovin's innocence/guilt and should not have promoted the episode as "Adult Seven gets violated". To do the issue justice they would have had to use a child as the victim and I doubt they wanted to deal with the splashback that would have provided. Instead they used Seven, a blond bombshell, and the message gets confused somewhere between the repressed memory issue and false rape allegations.
K'Elvis
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
@Chris I agree, this episode is more about False Memory Syndrome than a metaphor for rape. In the 90's, the belief in repressed memories was very popular, but as it turns out, it's quite easy for even a well-intentioned therapist to induce false memories. Asking leading questions must be avoided.
Sonya
Sat, Apr 4, 2015, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
It was validating to read the comments below...

Nic - Thu, Jul 21, 2011 - 8:58am (USA Central)
Am I the only one who still thinks Kovin might have been guilty? They weren't able to prove his guilt, but that doesn't necessarily make him innocent. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't...

SamB - Wed, Jan 23, 2013 - 6:50am (USA Central)
I find it interesting how many viewers, Jammer included, read the episode as defining that Kovin was innocent...

Lt. Yarko - Mon, Jul 1, 2013 - 1:31am (USA Central)
I, too, was a bit annoyed that it seemed that everyone had decided he was innocent simply because they couldn't build an airtight case against him...

Nancy - Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - 3:37am (USA Central)
I still believe he could've been guilty... If the memories were real and he was guilty, the message is apparently "Don't accuse people of assault even if you're sure they're guilty because they might get upset and accidentally blow themselves up." It makes me uncomfortable because it reminds me of how date rapes are often handled: "you'll destroy his life if you accuse him.... Are you SURE it was REALLY rape? You were drinking after all....isn't it possible you just imagined telling him no and the sex got rough so you panicked..." Etc etc.

T'Paul - Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - 7:43am (USA Central)
I must admit I find this one quite disturbing. What is the message supposed to be? That we should doubt rape victims?

Caine - Wed, Nov 13, 2013 - 3:11am (USA Central)
...The story and the actions of most of the characters completely lost all credibility to me, when the Voayager crew turned on a plate. When they discovered that their one solid piece of evidence against Kovin wasn't valid after all, they went directly from "let's try to stay objective and find solid evidence against Kovin to prove his guilt before we accuse him" to "this piece of evidence didn't point towards Kovin's guilt, so 7 of 9 was wrong and imagined it all". What?! That doesn't make any sense!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I was watching the end of the episode thinking, did I miss something? We are still left not knowing what really happened.

The Doctor's behavior was not professional - he asked leading questions and tried to elicit emotions in 7 that she did not report feeling (including a desire for vengeance)- risky under any circumstance, but especially so in the context of an ongoing investigation. Nor was Janeway's behavior professional. I don't believe that 7's consent was actually obtained to conduct the experiment to see if the rifle blast caused her nanoprobes to regenerate. Because 7's story was not supported or refuted, the tradesman's story is now supported? Janeway's glare at the doctor I understand, but the glare at 7?

It bothers me that 7 feels remorse. It's not her fault that people around her made mistakes, and there was no evidence to support or refute her story. If the writers were trying to show that women who accuse men of violating them are both supported and punished, mission accomplished.
EuroMIX
Wed, May 13, 2015, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I am saddened, but not surprised, to see so many in this comment section alone presuming guilt with no evidence.

Innocent until PROVEN guilty; always. Due process is vital to any respectable society.
krirby
Sat, Jul 18, 2015, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
EuroMIX - Wed, May 13, 2015 - 10:10pm (USA Central)
I am saddened, but not surprised, to see so many in this comment section alone presuming guilt with no evidence.

Innocent until PROVEN guilty; always. Due process is vital to any respectable society.

I don't think anyone is presuming guilty, they are just denying that it had to be for certain false recollections on sevens' part. I think the ending was left ambiguous on purpose. In the end the ship of Kovin blew up because of weapon overload, a while before the doctor explicitly stated that borg technology has the serious potential to backfire. Kovin also acts in a way that could be equally interpreted as guilty as well as just exceedingly anxious. The episode really goes out of its way to not provide a clear answer to what really happened.

I'm not entirely sure about this episode on a whole. I think the "ambiguous angle" thing is gutsy, but it also muddles the story somewhat. If Seven did have false recollections, then what triggered them? Just because she got stunned by a laser this could be adequate stimulation to make up such an elaborate story out of thin air? If you want to make a story where both explanations could be true at least be thorough so we're not left wondering about the technicalities instead of the central mystery. Also, I feel a sense of closure would've really benefited Sevens character and our perception of her. This is the first time Seven confronts her emotions and on top of that they make her deal also with pondering being violated and having to doubt her own recollection of memories! Like, if Janeway was at the center this could be explored much more succinctly but now the episodes tries to touch too many bases in too little time in my opinion. There wasn't enough time given to Seven at the ending to process the whole thing which leaves the whole thing kind of hanging in the air. Still a good episode though just overburdened itself.
Steve
Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 5:40am (UTC -5)
The evidence was on Kovin's side. It was not inconclusive as some on here have suggested. The scene in sickbay could have been better written. But apparently, the pattern of the way the nanoprobes regenerated matched what they found in the laboratory. And they got this result by duplicating the rifle blast that Kovin said happened. Based on how Janeway and the doctor responded to this evidence, I take it that it's very unlikely this same pattern would have emerged just coincidentally.
Dougie
Tue, Sep 8, 2015, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Am I the only one that wonders why Tuvok didn't just mind meld with Kovin? The interview scene in Tuvok's office was the setup. This is a huge miss, and one of those times the episode would havenot needed to exist after the meld.

The Doctor permanently jumped the shark. I've hated Picardo since the beginning, and this reinforced my loathing. Terrible acting, terrible writing for his part, and he is ruining my binge watching this Labor Day weekend.
Del_Duio
Tue, Sep 8, 2015, 10:49am (UTC -5)
@Dougie- Whaaaat?? Oh man, the Doctor's the best one and certainly the most consistent. I've never heard of anybody who didn't like Picardo's acting before now. To each his own, of course!
Dougie
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
Del_Duio we can surely agree to disagree. I find Picardo to be grating, his singing is more annoying than Barclay's stuttering, and the writing for him requires us to do more than suspend belief, it's total horse shit even as a Data analog.

I would have stomped his mobile emmiter to dust to force him to stay in sickbay.

John C. Worsley
Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Bizarre episode. Muddled and unclear in a way that leaves the story confusing in pretty much every act. Maybe the intended point is that in real life things aren't necessarily as clear as we think they are, but rather than embrace ambiguity they seem to just jump from strong belief to strong anti-belief on flimsy evidence and speculation.

Also +1 to respect and appreciation for the Doctor. One of the most consistently entertaining characters on the show and one who actually gets occasional moments of development, a relative rarity.
Skeptical
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Aw geez T'Paul, does every single episode have to have a message? Does it need to conform to your worldview? The episode itself was nice and messy, leaving everyone feeling a bit unsettled and uncomfortable. And in the end, it made the episode that much better and that much more meaningful. If there was any message, it was that life is complicated and messy and sometimes there are no easy answers. That's far better than some trite anvilicious show that tries to twist reality to suit an agenda. And I for one applaud them for not taking the easy way out here.

While it is certainly true that there is no proof that the random alien of the week didn't do it, there is no reason to assume that Voyager didn't finish the investigation. Presumably, they could fully examine the compound. Seven remembered a bed with restraints; surely they could search for that. After all, since the supposed attack was quick, so it almost certainly happened in the same building. Easy enough to investigate and conclude the innocence/guilt once and for all.

For that matter, his initial interrogation gave me the impression that he was innocent. Sure, he's an alien, but generally speaking people tend to get angry and upset when accused while innocent, and defensive when accused while guilty. So my impression is that he was innocent. But, while it may matter to the crew in general and Seven in particular, it doesn't really matter to the story. All we need is enough real doubt to make it clear that the Doctor overstepped his bounds.

And that's really what the story is about: the Doctor. I was surprised and, quite honestly, a bit appalled at his unprofessionalism. It wasn't just that he was encouraging Seven to become angry (watch out Doc, the last time Deanna said that to Data, he nearly killed her and Geordi...). It was that he was being blatantly biased during the investigation. While he almost certainly didn't know what Kovin said about demanding a completely impartial investigation, it probably didn't help. The Doctor's attitude probably helped in making him flee. Not entirely his fault, but still pretty freaking unprofessional. The only thing that can excuse it is that this is the first time he had to deal with it.

So while I was surprised by the Doctor's actions, I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the ending, when it was actually brought up. And I am always fond of components of these shows that highlight the AI's inhumanity. The Doctor, once again, shows that he cares more about other people than his own program, offering to eliminate his self-improvement given his screw up. It seems perfectly natural thing for him to do, and I loved this episode for it. In many ways, he is still a child, still lacking in experience. That he would overreact and be overconfident in his first bit as a psychiatrist (losing his objectivity in the process) is a natural plot point, as is the fact that he would overreact at the end. Like I said earlier, this episode didn't take the easy way out, didn't just provide mindless action. We get a hard look at one of our characters, and it wasn't a flattering look either. A perfectly meaty episode.

The fact that it was an ensemble show as well, with Janeway, Tuvok, and Seven playing significant roles as well, helped greatly. As was seeing them recognize that the Delta Quadrant is a dangerous place and trying to upgrade their weaponry. And seeing a race that wasn't pure evil! Based on the description, I came in with low expectations, but ended up thoroughly impressed. Bravo.
John
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 12:40am (UTC -5)
Nic wrote:

"I am greatly disturbed by how often on television a story of violation/rape turns out to be false, either through lies or deleusions. Of course it happens in real life, but very rarely."

Have you been to a college campus lately? False rape accusations are common and trendy. And with universities' brand new psychotic definition of rape, demand for "affirmative consent" and so forth, false rape accusations will become even more common!

I can understand why. Imagine everyone worshipping you, walking on eggshells around you, catering to your every whim, and treating you like royalty. Now that's a power! And all a woman has to do is lie. It's actually extremely chilling!
John
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 12:50am (UTC -5)
Nancy wrote:

"It makes me uncomfortable because it reminds me of how date rapes are often handled: "you'll destroy his life if you accuse him.... Are you SURE it was REALLY rape? You were drinking after all....isn't it possible you just imagined telling him no and the sex got rough so you panicked..." Etc etc."

Please explain why these are NOT valid questions to ask of someone who is about to make an extremely serious accusation on any topic!

It is our moral duty as decent human beings to ask the above very good questions. For you to say otherwise makes ME uncomfortable.



John
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 1:08am (UTC -5)
T'Paul wrote:

"What is the message supposed to be? That we should doubt rape victims?"

Explain why that's a bad message. Anyone making an extremely serious accusation should be doubted. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Until the man is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, doubting the accuser is the sign of a healthy and decent society.

You continue:

"It's not that I don't accept that false accusations can happen, but I think they are a tiny minority of rape cases,"

And I think they are a huge majority of rape accusations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RliMu2JxVr0

You continue:

"and I'm unsure why Voyager would want to jump on the "false rape" bandwagon."

Star Trek is always at its best when it tackles controversial issues and addresses subjects that no one wants to address. Everyone wants to address rape victims. But no one wants to address false accusations.

You continue:

"I think that that particular cause does not need any help from science fiction, and that it kind of flies against Trek trying to give us moral messages about our time on behalf of oppressed or weaker groups"

Actually, this is Star Trek doing its usual good thing - standing up for oppressed people than no one else even wants to acknowledge (in this case, innocent men getting falsely accused).

You continue:

"What's next, an episode in favour of fathers' rights against the terrible mothers who gain custody of their children?"

That would be a great episode, because that would be yet another case in which Star Trek takes on a cause that no one cares about. Everyone talks about the abusive alcoholic father. But no one wants to acknowledge abusive mothers and their superior advantage in our biased family court system. Why would you object to this?

You continue:

"And to repeat others above, the failure of an airtight case does not prove innocence."

So what? You're not supposed to prove innocence, remember? The burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt! That's what innocent until proven guilty means. Instead of proving his innocence, his innocence should be automatically assumed until proven otherwise.

What's the alternative? Guilty until proven innocent? How can he prove that something did NOT take place? You should never be called upon to prove a negative. That is a law of logic, as Tuvok would say.

You continue:

"Which is why I would say this is a failed and confused idea, and which would seem to have some unsavoury consequences if taken to its "logical" conclusion."

What unsavory consequences? That we need evidence to convict people?
John
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 1:26am (UTC -5)
Tuff wrote:

Tuff - Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 1:40am (USA Central)

"It's such a relief to see folks aghast at the perspectives on rape found in this story. I saw this theme right as it started to develop and hoped that it didn't turn out like it did. Star Trek always seems to shine some light on human nature or runs some social experiment, but this was one of the ones that made me uncomfortable. I hope the writer doesn't think that this is some kind of norm."

And if it, in fact, is the norm? What then? Do you want to cover it up in the name of sensitivity and political correctness?
John
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 1:42am (UTC -5)
I am deeply saddened and disturbed that people here seem to automatically side with a rape accuser and tend to dismiss false rape accusations because it "makes it harder for real rape victims to come forward."

Yes, it does make it harder for real rape victims to come forward. But whose fault is that? That is the fault of the female scum who maliciously falsely accuse men of rape. If feminists, and other women's groups, were smart, they would go for these evil women's throats! These despicable women are making it extremely hard out there for real female victims of rape and assault.

Instead, what is the mainstream position? Sweep false accusations under the rug because they hurt real rape victims. And what about those innocent men? "Meh, they are heroes making a noble sacrifice by going to prison and getting anally raped so that real female rape victims will be believed." That way of thinking is so breathtakingly evil, I can't even wrap my head around it. And yet, that is how mainstream society seems to think!

Our Founding Fathers in America had one simple philosophy which guided their writing of Amendments 4-8 in our Constitution:

"It is better for one million murderers, rapists, and child molesters to be freed than for even one innocent man to be locked up."

Maybe it's because I'm an attorney, but I agree with this philosophy!

Example: Let's say you have two conjoined twins. The doctor says it is impossible to surgically separate them without killing them both. One conjoined twin is a murderer and a child molester. The other is innocent. Do you lock them both up or let them both go?

The Founding Fathers had a clear answer to that question: YOU MUST LET THEM BOTH GO!

And I agree! If feminists or other women have a problem with this, then my suggestion is to "police your own." Shame false rape accusers! Expose them as the scum that they are! Because they really are ruining everything for the most innocent and vulnerable women and girls among us!
K240
Sun, Jan 10, 2016, 2:32am (UTC -5)
John,

The fact that you actually said (regarding false accusations)

"And I think they are a huge majority of rape accusations"

is so very ridiculous, that if you believe it - I honestly have no words to describe how little credibility you have in this conversation.

(plus, you then linked a YouTube video as your source of evidence for such an outrageous and provably false statement)

Every bit of objective, scientifically gathered, and reliable evidence about rape, sexual assault, and reporting patterns proves the exact opposite of such a very stupid comment as one that says false accusation are the "huge majority" of rape reports.

"huge majority"... I mean... seriously? Seriously?

Diamond Dave
Sun, Feb 14, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
I think it's fairly clear that this is a parable on the potential dangers of recovered memories and incompetent psychotherapy more than anything else. That it leaves the conclusion ambiguous is to its credit - the leading argument is that an innocent man has been hounded to his death, but there is at least an underlying suspicion that there was something more.

Some good performances, but I never really felt too drawn in to the whole thing. Excellent FX shot at the start of the show though. 2.5 stars.
Tom
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 4:57am (UTC -5)
The extreme death scene for me felt plausible - Kovin's conversation with Tuvok highlighted how on a world where trade is the backbone of a society's culture, an accusation alone ruins a man (it happens here). The magistrate offers no impartiality, not when it comes to maintaining diplomatic relations. Kovin basically presumed that he was ruined, and had nothing left to lose.

I guess maybe if it was shown in some other way than through spoken exposition, we would have been able to sympathise more with his desperate situation.

But then that grain of doubt about Seven's memory being true or not would possibly have gone.

I was a bit frustrated with the Doctor suddenly getting all emotional and vigilante and egotistical all of a sudden - The transparency was a bit cringe-worthy. Had this been going for a couple of episodes, it wouldn't be "so clearly for today's episode. This could have been done simply my giving the Doctor a more parental attitude towards Seven's care.

I loved the uncomfortableness at the end. I liked being made to feel awkward in that sense. It's nice to know perfect people make mistakes too. (I see so many shows where the person understands quantum mechanics, speaks 5 languages and plays one instrument to concert standard. Oh and then single-handedly saving the day. It has more effect on our psychology than we realise).
Ivanov
Mon, May 9, 2016, 11:17am (UTC -5)
The Reason I didn't believe Seven was the idea that Kovin was stupid enough to inject borg assimilation probes into someone else therefore turning him into a drone. And that plot thread just disappears! If she was right there is now a borg drone on the planet that's a danger to everybody but no one ever brings it up again.
Loren
Thu, May 12, 2016, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, but this episode made absolutely no sense to me, and had a completely unresolved ending. What was the point of this episode? I feel like nothing actually happened.

I guess this is just one of those episodes where I feel like the typical Voyager hater, although I really like this series.
Yanks
Thu, May 19, 2016, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
I don't know about this episode...

"SEVEN: Kovin. He performed a surgical procedure on me. He extracted Borg technology from my body. He violated me."

So now Seven has boundaries? Borg technology is now "sexual"?... This seemed a little convenient to further the story here. Pretty big leap from "take off your clothes Ensign Kim". Seven hasn't even had any physical relations to refer to.

This story probably would have had been more realistic had they chosen B'Elanna.

But anyway... since when can Doc change his programming? This probably should have been addressed by Janeway at the end.

I too am not convinced that Kovin was innocent. His over the top actions at the end of the episode suggest to me that he was guilty. I guess we'll never know.

I too didn't like the "stare" at 7 from Janeway at the end... that really put me off.

I like the fact that the writers decided to "go there" I just don't like how they did it.

2 stars from me.

Janeway still should have gotten some new guns.




Norvo
Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 9:38am (UTC -5)
One wonders if the Voyager crew ever got around to installing the cannon they bought from Korvin before it all went downhill. It looked like it was already on board and they were about to finish integrating it into the ship's systems.

In any case, the big gun was never seen or used again on the show, because hey... Continuity is for ph'taks and pussies.
Del_Duio
Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
"Continuity is for ph'taks and pussies. "

And DS9!
Tanner
Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
There were clear ways to solve what happened in the lab for those two hours.Any video.? I mean every gas station has one. Who was the woman that Sevev said was assisting Kovin? Who was the man that supposedly assimilated? I've they don't exist then the crime never happened.
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