Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Unimatrix Zero, Part I"

***

Air date: 5/24/2000
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Mike Sussman
Directed by Allan Kroeker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"We'll see you soon, Harry." — Borg Queen, ominous unresolved mystery

Nutshell: A reasonably engaging hour of sci-fi, as long as you accept that setup often substitutes for story.

A show of hands: Who thinks season-ending cliffhangers are gratuitous?

Oddly, the first season-ending TV cliffhanger I clearly remember is TNG's famous "The Best of Both Worlds." I was 14 years old and at a point where I was paying closer attention to TV as an avenue for storytelling. I was less cynical concerning plot devices (I wasn't a critic and didn't think in those terms then) and probably more open to possibilities. I had no idea how "Best of Both Worlds" would be resolved; it was one long summer. Would Picard die? Would Earth be attacked by the Borg? I really wondered. Maybe I was simply more naive and impressionable then. Maybe it's just that the cliffhanger was simply a lot better. Hard to say. Of course, it was probably also helpful that there wasn't the Web as we now know it to bombard us with spoilers. Or trailers that gave away half the surprises.

Ever since that TV season in 1990, I've been abundantly aware of cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger. On all shows. Even lame sitcoms, for crying out loud, where suspense and caring about the characters is contrary to the point. It was probably that way long before 1990, but from my point of view, it started with "Best of Both Worlds," which will never, ever be topped (DS9's "Call to Arms" and Homicide's "Work Related" come closest, but no cigar). One just can't go back.

But anyway. "Unimatrix Zero." Like "Equinox" last year, it's pretty hard to critique half a story. Like most cliffhangers, it's all setup and no payoff. And unlike "Scorpion" from three years back, the presence of the Borg is not even close to a novelty value. Since "Scorpion," thanks to the presence of Seven of Nine, we've probably had close to a dozen stories about the Borg, and more if you count the indirect examples. The Borg have been part of Trek milieu for 11 years now. How long can the cow be milked before it dies?

Well, in the case of the Borg, I'll accept them as storytelling devices so long as what they represent continues to evolve and remain interesting, even if by definition we can never go back. The Borg were once awesome villains, whereas now they're cool but not nearly as compelling. They've changed. A lot. They used to be one mind. Now they seem less like one huge mind and more like an entity controlled by an individual villain leader.

It's just as well that the Borg have changed. Like I said, one can't go back, and that also goes for the writers. They must go forward, and forward is in changing the Borg into something other than what they were. Is it as interesting? Maybe not, but it's either that or abandon the Borg completely (which might not be such a bad idea).

The new spin here is a high-concept masterstroke: "Seven is contacted in Borg cyberspace by drones who have created a virtual reality where they can exist as individuals." It's like The Matrix, except kind of in reverse, and with an outdoor natural setting rather than a mysteriously generic city with Chicago street names.

The drones who can exist in this version of the Matrix, which is known here officially as Unimatrix Zero, are very rare (one in every million). Something about their brains allows their imaginations to drift away from the collective whenever they regenerate. Through the Borg hive link, these drones have found a common place where they exist and interact while they sleep—a virtual sanctuary. This virtual world exists completely apart from the real world. When they're awake, they're ordinary drones with no knowledge or memory of their virtual sanctuary. The central problem is that the rest of the Borg consciousness has recently become aware of this "defective" subset in the collective, and the Borg Queen (Susanna Thompson reprising the role) is determined to snuff it out. It's indeed a very clever story concept.

This of course all involves Seven in a very central way. It turns out that before her liberation from the collective, she was one of the 0.0001% of drones (gee, how convenient!) who exhibited this condition and existed in VR. She lived this virtual life for 18 years, and even had a VR lover for six years, Axum (Mark Deakins), who is the one who now contacts her asking for help.

Quick statistics lesson. The "one in a million" notion is a bit of a stretch given who all we see in UM-Zero. The chances of Seven and another human (the one here who was assimilated at Wolf 359, which itself is still a mystery that hasn't been explicitly solved) both having the UM-Zero defect would mean the odds would require about 2 million humans having first been assimilated, wouldn't it? The Klingon character's presence would mean, statistically, about 1 million Klingons would've needed to be assimilated. This all seems somewhat of a probability stretch. Maybe races that we as viewers know about have a higher likelihood of carrying the defect. Yeah, that's the ticket. But never mind—it's only a story. Nitpick I won't (though I guess I already did).

There's a fight in VR that seems to take a few lessons from The Matrix, although I'm still waiting for the day when Janeway learns Kung Fu. Unlike The Matrix, if you die in UM-Zero, it would seem you do not die in real life—you simply are forced out of VR until you re-enter your next regeneration stage—which could be an interesting advantage for our VR good guys.

With the Borg Queen tracking down the secret of UM-Zero—and coming closer every day—the crew's dilemma in the story is what to do about Axum's call for help. Seven convinces Janeway to help save UM-Zero from destruction from the Borg. Discussed is the issue that in doing so, our heroes could find themselves in the middle of a "Borg civil war" (an interesting image, that) though Janeway settles for the term "resistance movement." This leads to a Daring Plan involving a techno-virus that will allow the UM-Zero drones to retain their memories once they wake up from VR. In order for this to work, however, the virus must be administered to a central distributor on a Borg ship. The crew tracks down a Borg ship and prepares to initiate the plan. I must say that any Borg ship that could be vulnerable to this plan probably needs better network security or upgraded anti-virus software. (Repeat after me: It's only TV. It's only TV...)

Meanwhile, there's the Borg Queen seeking out the defective drones. What's the Queen's purpose? I didn't exactly get it in First Contact. I certainly didn't get it in "Dark Frontier." And here it appears that, really, there's nothing to get. The Queen is simply the Borg personified for the audience's benefit, and on that level, it probably works. Thompson's take on the Queen is one of a calm exterior with an evil villain inside. She sees and hears all through her video screen, and smiles evil smiles when things go her way, and looks menacing when they don't. To Thompson's credit, she does all this with Borg-like restraint, without going over the top. And although the very notion of the Queen as a villain strips away some of what made the Borg unique, it's still kind of fun (though the unspoken notion of Janeway and the Queen being arch-enemies is maybe pushing it).

The crew's Daring Plan involves Janeway, Tuvok, and Torres beaming onto the Borg ship to administer the virus. Because this is a cliffhanger, things don't go as planned. Actually, yes they do. The three of them are assimilated, but the story's twist reveals that their assimilation was part of the Daring Plan. I would guess that they're carrying the virus, and have still more tricks up their sleeves.

About that. I'd have my doubts about any plan that includes willfully being assimilated by the Borg. This goes beyond bravery and into the territory of implausible. I just have a hard time believing anyone would do it. If I locked you in a room and said, "Okay. Here's a hacksaw. I want you to saw through your forearm until it becomes detached, and don't worry about the blood, pain, or permanent disfigurement," would you do it? I doubt it. And I tend to doubt Janeway & Co. would so easily accept the horrors of assimilation in the interests of some master plan.

On its bottom line, "Unimatrix Zero" is another Voyager action show. (Seven's personal dilemma and any potential psychological VR implications are put on hold.) As such, it shows the Voyager virtue of visual panache. This is almost as good-looking as "Dark Frontier," which was one of the best examples of production design and special effects I've ever seen on the small screen.

There are a couple standout brain-dissection scenes where we get to see disembodied Borg heads. Very cool. And beautiful sets. And a nifty new Borg vessel that looks very "armored." Yes, as production goes, this is top-notch stuff which on its own is almost worth the hour's view.

But I also recommend the story, despite the holes and the fact that Janeway and her crew must be about one inch shy of insane. The concept is neat, and the story moves confidently through its motions as a techno-thriller. There's also some reasonable character work here, like the Janeway/Chakotay scenes, which choose not to go the "Scorpion"/"Equinox" route of conflict, but instead have Chakotay supporting the captain—they agree this time. It's one of few times all season we've seen Chakotay exhibit any sort of opinion.

Also noteworthy is the potential here for Seven, whose existence in UM-Zero takes an interesting spin; she's more human-like when her VR memories begin to resurface, and she even goes by her human name, Annika. Ryan brings additional humanity to her character with a toning down of the Borg qualities and inserting some subtle emotion in her speech and facial expressions—that is, until after the entire gravity of the situation reveals itself, at which point Seven asserts her true personality over her virtual one ("My name is Seven of Nine," she tells a mildly lovesick Axum).

There's also the re-promotion of Paris to lieutenant at the beginning of the show, which is handled by Janeway leaving a box containing a collar pip on his chair. This prompts Harry to comment, not without reason, "I didn't see a little box on my chair." This guy has been an ensign forever. What gives? Maybe Janeway is still punishing him for inappropriate pursuit of, um, another type of box back in "The Disease." (Did I just violate my PG review rule? Many apologies.)

I must admit that spoilers undercut the shock value, as it were, of the ending. Not simply Internet spoilers, but also the ones revealed in the trailers—Janeway getting injected with nanoprobes, the Delta Flyer being destroyed. Indeed, marketing of entertainment these days gives away anything if it's something that might make you want to watch.

"Unimatrix Zero" is still well worth an hour. It has potential. It's an incomplete story, and as always I don't expect any big impact on our crew to come out of it (including for the three who are now Borg drones). But as an entertainment and a season-ender, it gets the job done.

Upcoming: Rerun season. Stay tuned for the usual season recap and commentary article, which I'll have ready sometime this summer.

Previous episode: The Haunting of Deck Twelve
Next episode: Unimatrix Zero, Part II

End-of-season article: Sixth Season Recap

Season Index

35 comments on this review

spmsmith - Fri, Mar 21, 2008 - 11:52pm (USA Central)
"I just have a hard time believing anyone would do it. If I locked you in a room and said, "Okay. Here's a hacksaw. I want you to saw through your forearm until it becomes detached, and don't worry about the blood, pain, or permanent disfigurement," would you do it? I doubt it."

Hee - Jammer, I think you just outed yourself as being the founding father of the entire torture-porn genre. Who knew the director of Saw was reading your recaps?
Katie - Tue, Apr 29, 2008 - 11:03pm (USA Central)
Voyager continues to chip away at the Borg concept. In this episode's teaser we see 1) the Borg queen talking to a drone as if he's an individual, 2) the drone responding with "I" and 3) the drone exhibiting fear of death. What is going on? Whatever happened to the Borg of TNG?
Hayes - Mon, Sep 8, 2008 - 9:33am (USA Central)
I would like to say that when the Queen is speaking to the disconnected borg, it doesn't go against the borg ideal as much as you think. I mean the drone is just like a finger or something to the queen and now she can't feel it anymore and so she is basically talking to herself asking why she can't feel it. People talk to themselves all the time. I suppose it would've been funny if she'd acted unnerved when her finger spoke back. But she just looked ticked...
Markus - Mon, Aug 24, 2009 - 2:26am (USA Central)
I don't get the "box"-punchline... :(
Sebastian - Sat, Oct 17, 2009 - 3:42am (USA Central)
Cool new feature:

We have known you can beam out people from an exploding ship to Enterprise or Voyager. They get stored in the transporter buffer during the explosion and materialise afterwards just fine.

Now with the delta flyer we see an exploding ship can beam the passengers out of it, explode and then the passengers materialise ... must be some etherial transporter buffer with rematerialisation circuits ...
Eric - Mon, Nov 16, 2009 - 9:56pm (USA Central)
I remembered liking this episode a while back, but I must have forgotten about the whole "getting assimilated on purpose" thing. That's just ridiculous. What if the cube had transwarped away, and Voyager couldn't get her crew out?
Hayes - Tue, Nov 17, 2009 - 5:14pm (USA Central)
It's not ridiculous. They probably assumed they wouldn't be coming back. They were acting selfless in order to help the resistance movement. Janeway did it again a year later when she came up with a plan to destroy the transwarp hub rather than taking the easy road home. She was thinking of the countless lives at stake in both situations. They just got really lucky. I mean of course they did, otherwise we'd be watching Chakotay macking on 7 of 9 for a whole season. Bleck.
Will - Tue, Jan 5, 2010 - 9:06am (USA Central)
Maybe the Borg cube should've transwarped away. It would've made a more interesting cliffhanger
Simon - Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - 8:51pm (USA Central)
can you say BATSHIT INSANE CRAZY PLAN OF STUPIDITY...

seriously, BORG TACTICAL VESSEL. its not some junker scout ship blown half to space trash by some ion storm, its a TACTICAL ship, this means to me that they are the rank and file of the borg offensive lineup here. they tackle a field kicker with a broken leg and think they can take out a linebacker?
Michael - Wed, Jul 14, 2010 - 1:46pm (USA Central)
This is quite a good episode. There could've been less soppiness and sentimentality in places (e.g. Seven frenching that guy in Unimatrix Zero) but it wasn't too bad.

What DID annoy me though, and supremely so, is how impotent the Borg have been rendered thru the Voyager series. From the baddest-ass race in the Universe they've become barely more than a passing nuisance; just another conundrum for the Voyager crew to attend to, all in a day's work. I mean, for the "Borg queen" to be reduced to having to engage in a repartee with Janeway across the bridge screen (I'm sure that thing has a name but can't think of it now)... What next: The two will get together over a pot of coffee and a game of kal-toh!?! LOL!! We're talking about a collective of billions of drones, vastly superior technology, hundreds of thousands of spaceships available at a moment's notice, and yet Janeway and her motley crew of 150-odd members run rings around the Borg time and again.

And what's up with the "Borg queen" anyway?! What's her purpose? And why does she issue audible oral commands to scions that are part of her neural network?!?

Ah, forget it. Yeah, loved the episode. 3.5! Next!
Jay - Mon, Mar 7, 2011 - 1:16pm (USA Central)
The Borg were forever ruined by the First Contact film when a Borg Queen was introduced. The best thing about the Borg was that they were a unified mind, without a hierarchy.

The entirety of Voyager did less overall damage than that one movie did.
Jared - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 6:08pm (USA Central)
In First Contact, essentially all Borg transformation was done by nanoprobes...but here we have a throwback to BOBW, where hardware is manually fitted to their heads...
Cloudane - Sun, Apr 3, 2011 - 7:51am (USA Central)
I wasn't sure if the assimilation was part of the plan. I thought maybe Chakotay and co were just oblivious when they said everything was ok and warped off. If so though then yeah, it's suicidal and batshit insane.. will find out next episode I guess.

An enjoyable action episode anyway. I think it's a little blatant in trying to outdo BoBW ("This time we'll assimilate THREE of the crew! Hell yeah!") and am already preparing to cringe at the 3 of them being instantly restored by Doc as if you can be assimilated and unassimilated as easily as you put your clothes on and take them off, undermining the achievements of unassimilating Picard and Seven. I'm also ready to cringe at a new Delta Flyer undoubtedly appearing within an episode or two (like with the Defiant on DS9). But never mind.

The biggest thing that grates is the "one in a million" hole and all the implausibility that goes with it. How very convenient indeed that Seven was one of them. I'm going to consider it hyperbole on the part of Axum as it's the only way for it to make sense.

Poor Kim :) Sorry Harry but your key performance indicator for "successful acquisitions of transporter locks" is still incredibly poor, no promotion for you. You don't hear Paris saying "I can't start the engine!" every time he's asked to go to warp.

Despite all its holes and suicidal leadership (maybe it's best not to analyse it afterwards) I was glued to the TV all the way through this episode and that's not bad going. 3.5 stars for me, though 3 is not unreasonable.
Kieran - Mon, Apr 18, 2011 - 6:00am (USA Central)
I love the way none of the crew even take notice of Harry's "I didn't see a little box on my chair." The idea is clearly so ridiculous there's no point even discussing it - Harry has essentially become a parody of himself. I also like the way he's referred to as Young Harry by the folk in Fair Haven and by the aliens in Muse yet he's clearly at least 30 by now.

Anyway, I though this episode was ok, but I'm so sick of the bloody Borg.
Jake Tee - Fri, Sep 16, 2011 - 2:29am (USA Central)
I dont understand how if they can't remember whats what happens in Unimatrix 0 then how is it that seven can? How did that lover of hers die, then come back in the unimatrix? All in all part 1eft me confused. I get there are there to plant a virus to kill all borgs, but i don't understand how the hell the memory thing works. Arg. Two popcorns because im lost in the delta space.
Steve - Sun, Sep 18, 2011 - 12:14pm (USA Central)
The new Borg cubes with the bizarre plating look hideous.

The Borg seem like "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of guys...I can;t imagine them remodeling things.
Kristen - Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
Ditto 90% of the issues raised above.

"It's one of few times all season we've seen Chakotay exhibit any sort of opinion."

Holy cow, no joke. Throughout seasons 5 and 6, I've been thinking they've been setting us up for Chakotay leaving Voyager. Janeway consistently turns to Tuvok for trusted counsel and to make secret plans, leaves Harry in charge of the bridge, engages 7/9 in personal activities -- it's like Chakotay is just some enlisted nobody instead of her first officer and second in command.

Seeing that over and over, I expected that it was a conscientious plan by the writing/creative staff to distance Chakotay and Janeway. I fully, fully expected something big to come of it.

It seems, instead, to just be more crappy writing. Chakotay is suddenly just the lapdog, happy to get whatever scraps of attention Janeway has to give.

Oh well...maybe it'll come to a head in Season 7. Hope springs eternal with this Trek fan. It has to, or I would have stopped watching when Kes left. (The first time, that is. We don't acknowledge "Fury" in my household.)
Nathan - Sat, Nov 12, 2011 - 5:05pm (USA Central)
A recessive mutation? Of what? Do the nanoprobes reproduce with genes and such?
Justin - Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - 3:19pm (USA Central)
Speaking for myself, I never got sick of the Borg. Even when I felt they had been essentially neutered as a humongoid thread, I still enjoyed every Borg (and Seven-centric) episode.

That being said, the one huge sticking point (aside from the batshit insane idea of Janeway/Torres/Tuvok willingly being assimilated) is the UM-Zero human who was apparently assimilated at Wolf-359. Um...hello? That Borg cube was DESTROYED, remember? If he was assimilated at Wolf, he's particlized atoms by now. This is the kind of continuity that you can't ignore or sidestep. What's worse, it's manufactured continuity. This is the writers making a concerted effort to link VOY to TNG - and failing. Miserably.

Seriously, have any non-canon nerds out there tried to retcon this one? How did the new human assimilatees survive the regeneration feedback/overload that blowed their cube up? Anyone...?
Cail Corishev - Sat, Sep 29, 2012 - 6:27pm (USA Central)
I didn't mind the queen when she seemed to be an appendage the hive could create when it made communication with individuals easier. But as an actual leader complete with twirling villain mustache, she could never be as scary as an entire cube saying in one voice, "We are Borg."

It would've helped if she'd kept referring to herself in the first-person plural, though. "Bring us the data" is at least a hundred times spookier than "Bring me the data" any day.
sandwich - Mon, Jan 7, 2013 - 2:55pm (USA Central)
i dont think they were getting themselves assimilated on purpose. But they needed a Backup to carry out their plan.

Take it easy - Tue, Jan 8, 2013 - 12:15pm (USA Central)
@Cail Corishev: Totally agree. Queen was supposed to be a spokesperson rather than giving orders to other drones.

As many mentioned it seems the borg are made dumber and less dangerous every episode. For eg. a few thousand drones against the whole empire? And they are easy to identify. You cannot connect to them. It is like 3 drones in a 64K drone vessel. Very scary for the empire. And some of them are children and most of them civilians (not warriors like the Korrok).

When the queen found 3 are not reachable, she can ask the 64K-3 drones to find them and kill instead of destroying all 64K. I don't even understand why she is afraid of the resistance. "Resistance is futile" isn't it.

I liked the episode though :)
Leah - Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - 2:50pm (USA Central)
Yeah, the Borg aren't really intimidating anymore. When that cliffhanger of BoBW aired, it really made my jaw hit the floor in a genuine, "OH SHIT!" moment. And it was established that the experience permanently affected Picard. Here, I just can't bring myself to care. I know everything will be completely resolved and fine by the end of Part 2.

That being said, I liked the concept and thought the episode was well done for what it was. The actress portraying the Borg queen does a fine job and though her presence as a character actually diminishes the fright-factor of the Borg to a great extent, she plays the part with as much controlled menace as she can. To be honest, if they left her as just the bust dangling from wires and apparatuses, she'd be a lot more intimidating than walking around like any other humanoid.

I also think it would have been more effective if she had not spoken aloud but instead, we heard her voice echoing as if we were privy to the collective's communication...and put that flange on her voice that they used to use for the Borg in TNG. That would reinforce the idea that she's not a puppet-master but rather IS the heart of the collective.

One last thought: I would lament losing Tuvok and Torres, but leave Janeway as a drone. Let Chakotay become Captain. He proved last week he's more than capable and I think he's FAR more level-headed and consistent of character. Just my opinion.
Leah - Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - 2:53pm (USA Central)
Oops, it wasn't last week, it was in "Fury." Doh!
Nancy - Sun, Aug 18, 2013 - 5:59pm (USA Central)
Suspenseful but the decapitated heads getting their brains picked apart on camera was a bit gruesome for my tastes.
azcats - Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 4:24pm (USA Central)
fun episode.

people who know the history of all the star trek dont get to enjoy the shows ..that is what i notice.

it does seem silly to get them selves assimilated. but hoping it was some virtual assimilation.

i dont care about continuity. as long as the show makes reasonable sense. i dont need to know...if a klingon or another human is possible in UM0. i dont need to know transporter technology.

ami entertained??
yes.

3 stars
T'Paul - Sat, Sep 28, 2013 - 7:48pm (USA Central)
Tee hee Cloudane, Harry's KPI's really were rather woeful.

One nitpick to Jammer... the mutation affecting 1 in a million doesn't necessarily mean that a million have to be infected before a mutation arises... averages mean that in 1 particular million you may have 3 or 4, and then none in the following millions.

As for the Queen... for me, sure, she's the embodiment of the collective as needed when needed. I don't know if I agree that the Borg have been neutered... if they hadn't been, then they would have assimilated the whole galaxy a long time ago. As consistent with earlier visions of the Borg as that may be, an absolutely perfect enemy is just as poor story-wise as an enemy who's defeated easily. And let's not forget that in BOBW 2 they were actually defeated rather easily. As for how the human got from Wolf to the collective, who knows? As fans, we could possibly imagine that there are many things that happened on that particular cubes adventures that we don't know about... perhaps some drones were sent off on a smaller vessel through a transwarp conduit back to the collective, for just one idea.

For me all of Voyager's "victories" over the collective are in fact setbacks and it remains as relentless as ever, growing like an out-of-control vine across the galaxy despite the efforts to prune it, even in Endgame. Therefore, they remain just as terrifying as ever, especially since they would probably learn from their defeats with Janeway.

And as has been said... story-wise, the original incarnation of the Borg would not have been interesting forever.

Susan - Sun, Nov 24, 2013 - 1:14pm (USA Central)
If they can plant a virus to let the drones remember unimatrix zero, why can't they plant a virus that just destroys the borg? Ugh, I have decided that the entire crew of voyager is slightly mentally retarded. after that I could enjoy the show a lot more.
Jay - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 11:38am (USA Central)
@ Cail...

True, but we saw later than the Borg could have a spokesperson without also being a Queen...that's precisely how they introduced Seven of Nine.

And even before that, it was done from the other direction with Locutus, he, too, was supposed to function in that role.
Caine - Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - 8:20pm (USA Central)
Why the HECK did the borg queen state everything she thought or saw on the screens out loud?!
Who was she adressing? The mindless drones sorruonding her (despite the supoposed mind-link between all Borg)? Or was she supposed to be excentric, talking to herself?
In a series full of badly excecuted exposition, this takes the cake. Awful, just awful. This in and on itself ruined the episode for me.

Don't get me worng: Susanna Thompson is not only a ridiculosuly hot woman (yowza!), she's also a very good actress. She's proven that in countless other roles over and over again.

I blame the script and the direction.
Don't act as if you're shocked - you've seen the rest of the series and know that I'm right.
Steinway - Mon, Feb 3, 2014 - 12:05pm (USA Central)
I don't get the arguments about the Borg being overdone, too wimpy, etc. I agree that they became something else than what they were in early TNG episodes, but one can only watch those so many times! They became a permanent fixture of the Star Trek universe, along with the Klingons, Romulans, etc. I don't blame the writers for binging the Borg back over and over - they're fascinating! The side effect, of course, is that they can't stay the übervillans for long that way - they have to be approachable in some way or another in order for starships to interact with them. But I don't think they were dialed down so much as to make them seem a different species, or that it wasn't believable- they have always maintained their basic identity.

I always liked the Voyager Borg episodes...I mean, they were in the Delta Quadrant, Borg central! What did we expect? Much better than the Kazon episodes - ugh!
DLPB - Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
The show has completely disintegrated. The writing staff are just making whatever they want happen, without the slightest care for logic.
DLPB - Thu, Mar 13, 2014 - 8:11pm (USA Central)
But never mind—it's only a story
----------

Jammer, you do realize that saying is completely at odds with what a proper reviewer SHOULD feel? You can't review a show if you are going to have that attitude. If a story has bad writing, it's your job to criticize it.

How you have given this episode the rating you have is mind-boggling.
Nic - Thu, May 22, 2014 - 8:56pm (USA Central)
I’m sure it’s not just a question of being more naive and impressionable. I was 14 years old when this episode aired, and sure I thought it was cool, but even then I knew it was not anywhere near « Best of Both Worlds ».

Today, I’m not even sure I’d give it 3 stars. As much as I loved Star Trek: First Contact, I wonder if what turned the Borg from fascinating and frightening foes to plain cardboard villains was the addition of the Queen. In this episode she acts like a cardboard villain; she « negotiates », she gets worried, she makes threats. And then Voyager is able to withstand a several-minute assault from a tactical vessel when a regular vessel destroyed 39 starships in a cinch a mere 10 years ago. So yeah, the Borg aren’t what they used to be.

There was a lot of potential in the idea of a Borg VR, but what we’ve seen so far doesn’t begin to tap into that potential. If they, as Axum claims, can look however they want in this world, why, when the Borg attack, don’t they disguise themselves as drones, or turn into giants, or masquerade as rocks? Maybe I’m the one who has too much imagination… And of course Jammer’s right about the Borg having poorer network security than Internet Explorer. They obviously never assimilated any computer geeks.

Then there’s the issue of Seven’s dreaming. Seven dreamed before in « Waking Moments » and « One », and here she doesn’t even seem to know what a dream is. That is a big retcon to swallow, even by Voyager standards. The best scenes in the episode were the short character bits: Paris being re-promoted, the Janeway/Chakotay interaction.
Ric - Sat, May 31, 2014 - 10:49pm (USA Central)
1) So here it is the recipe of how to destroy a character.

Seven of Nine has always been great. But treating her as so much previously prepared to individuality, is something that weakens quite a lot the development we have been seen for her before this. Not to mention that it makes flatter some of the inner issues she has been dealing with.

What a stupid decision, that of treating Seven as a sort of lucky Hollywoodian "chosen one", not as a random human assimilated that is being desassimilated. Sure it is not the first time. Such stupidity was already present in the episode where we learnt that Seven was separate from the collective before. Referring to that episode, she herself recently said that it might have done her deassimilation much easier than it would have been for other people. Now we find out that it is even more than that: Seven was also already fighting the collective nature of Borg long before meeting Voyager.

This is lame. This is an unbelievably mistaken writing decision. This means watering the character. It is as if Voyager's writers and producers just weren't able to deal with a hit, a success, and had to destroy even it. Shame.

Besides,

2) if Seven was so very much used to individuality as the other dreaming Borg, and she start to realize that, well, she has to come after the episode as quite human-like. Without her lovely nice Borg mannerisms. What, of course, I doubt will come in the next episodes. Ridiculous.

3) but I guess it was an unable excuse for silly, artificially introduced romance-ish.

4) it seems like the Borg have developed a much faster way of assimilating, huh?

5) the last "supposedly shocking scene" only shows how this episode was desperate to deliver. What, of course, always means it didn't. Old trick played with a heavy hand.

I wish the show had ended before delivering such a mess. I have to agree with DLPB above: at this point, the show has completely disintegrated.

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