Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Unimatrix Zero, Part II"


Air date: 10/4/2000
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Mike Sussman and Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Mike Vejar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You'll have to destroy the entire collective to find them all." — Janeway

Note: This episode was rerated from 3 to 2.5 stars when the season recap was written.

In brief: Played out about how I expected. Surprises are scarce, contrivances are plentiful, but it's a pretty enjoyable hour.

The funny thing about the implausible but well-crafted "Unimatrix Zero, Part II" is that it more or less plays out the only way it possibly could've. Everything here borders on the inevitable.

Obviously, Our Heroes would not still be Borg drones by the end of the episode (beware the Reset Button). Obviously, the crew's plan to subvert the hive mind and help the individualized Borg in Unimatrix Zero would be successful. Obviously, there would be some snags in the plan along the way. Obviously, Seven's romantic theme would play into the human storyline. Obviously, the setup in part one called for an eventual Borg insurgence within the collective, which would happen here. Obviously, a big season-opening budget would provide us with all the production design, makeup, and visual effects to give it a slick, high-tech look — yet another episode that proves this is one of, if not the, best-looking sci-fi shows on television.

What we have here is a story that contains few surprises but works so efficiently that it hardly matters. This is not an inspired episode of Voyager, or even a believable one, but it is an entertaining and interesting one, and it hints that there may be a Bigger Picture [TM] concerning the Borg that might be revisited down the line.

What I expected of "UMZ II" was pretty much what I got — a solid-on-its-own-terms cliffhanger resolution that left me puzzled with questions about the Borg (and especially, of course, the Borg Queen), but provided enough change in the Borg's situation to justify the effort and revisions used to get there.

Oh, the contrivances and silliness are here. I for one would still like to know how any Starfleet officer wakes up in the morning and decides they're going to march into a Borg cube and get assimilated (here, saw my hand off while I sit and watch calmly). Convenient how Janeway, Tuvok, and Torres all manage to get Assimilation Lite, which means no amputations or ocular implants. Even more convenient that they're able to remain individualized — separate from the hive mind, thanks to a magical device called a "neural suppressor." (Why wasn't such a device invented long before this? It probably could've been the undoing of the Borg centuries ago.) This allows them to walk about the Borg ship without easily being detected or detained, so they can set the Master Plan in motion.

Said plan suggests that the Borg need to renew their McAfee VirusScan license, not to mention establish a firewall between possible individualized Voyager crew drones and crucial network areas of the ship. Janeway et al are able to (easily) make their way to the ship's "central plexus," where Torres uploads the virus into the system, where it promptly spreads through the Borg collective. This virus has been designed to allow the drones who exist as individuals in the virtual reality realm Unimatrix Zero to retain their individuality when they awaken from their regeneration state, severing them from the collective. It also allows them to remember what ship they exist on in real life when they enter UMZ, supplying the Borg resistance movement some tactical means to subvert the hive. This is a neat concept, even though it makes Borg security look like Swiss cheese. (With all those drones walking around doing who-knows-what, you'd think some armed guards protecting crucial network areas of the collective would be prudent.)

Meanwhile there's a problem with Tuvok; his neural suppressor is not getting the job done, and his connection with the hive begins to turn him into a drone. This also allows the Borg Queen to figure out Janeway & Co.'s whereabouts in the collective and realize what they're doing. You'd think that the last person to have problems resisting the collective would be the mentally disciplined Tuvok, but there you are.

Subsequently, Janeway is held captive and the Borg Queen attempts to negotiate a surrender of the individualized Borg drones in UMZ. In a potent scene, the Queen destroys two entire Borg vessels with tens of thousands of drones because a handful of Borg on board had been severed from the collective, outside its control. This plays Janeway's conscience and respect for life against her own need to see the Borg's undoing: It hurts to watch Borg cubes incinerated by the collective will because of her own actions, but she'll be damned if she's going to give into the Queen's attempt to put down the insurgence ("You'll have to destroy the entire collective to find them all").

There are some other nice character touches in the episode, including some mildly ironic debating between Chakotay and Paris concerning command decisions, where Chakotay plays the Janeway role and Paris plays the Chakotay role.

Seven's romance with Axum (Mark Deakins) is more or less by the numbers, but the fact that it's Seven we're dealing with makes it a situation that seems halfway new. There's also a wonderfully acted and directed scene between Doc and Seven where they discuss this possible romance. As always, Doc/Seven is a character pairing that never seems to fail on this series. The subtle nuances in Robert Picardo's performance reveal Doc's true feelings for Seven without needing a single line of dialog to remind us.

As for the Borg Queen ... there's a fine line between a mystery and a muddle, and everything about the Queen resides on the "muddle" side of that line. What is the Queen's purpose? She is the collective personified as far as I can tell, used solely as a narrative tool so the audience knows what's going on and why. There are scenes where the Queen talks to herself to explain to us that links have been severed. Unlikely, but probably necessary for a television story. And there's also a scene where the Queen tells a child that she also was assimilated as a child. 'Scuse me? I always figured the Queen — who has been "killed" twice — was a symbolic drone simply assembled on demand. After "UMZ II" there's nothing for me to do but admit but logical defeat; there is no logic to apply here. (I highly doubt that even Braga & Menosky understand, or care about, the Borg rules that they've written by.)

A lot of people are unhappy that the Borg have been reduced to a presence that is no longer remotely intimidating or threatening. I will not be arguing that position, because the Borg have not been intimidating for years. There's no going back to what the Borg were in their TNG heyday, so I'm all about moving forward. The direction that "UMZ II" takes seems to me like a reasonable direction. It's certainly a better direction than the one proposed (and ultimately rejected) by TNG's "Descent."

The conclusion provides what I mean: the simple but intriguing concept of a Borg civil war. Yes, I wondered how General Korok (Jerome Butler), the Klingon drone from UMZ, could take command of an entire Borg ship with thousands of drones against him. And in thinking about it, I'm even a little hazy about the notion of the Queen delivering the second virus in UMZ. (If these drones can be traced through the Borg network to UMZ, surely they can be traced back to their real-life locations? I suppose the UMZ drones have a better-trained network administrator.) But the sight of one Borg ship firing on another is so bizarre, twisted, and interesting that I didn't care about the logical questions. I for one hope the Borg are changed forever. Heck, I wouldn't mind seeing this arc played all the way through until the Borg collective has fallen. That seems to be the direction we're headed in, and we certainly could use a storyline with a direction on this series.

"UMZ II" is such an efficient hour of production, in fact, that in retrospect it almost feels mechanical and preordained. It's an exercise in technical mastery more than it is creative storytelling. It lacks passion. It's a Borg drone.

And yet with sly conviction, it peddles BS like only the best door-to-door salesmen. Even though you know it's BS, you still want to buy it. Logic suggests that this story is so full of holes it's an incomprehensible mess. But somehow, it's not. It's remarkably confident on its terms, and it swept me along for the ride. Resistance was, as they say (but not anymore), futile.

Next week: Seven comes face to face with her mortality.

Previous episode: Unimatrix Zero, Part I
Next episode: Imperfection

Season Index

49 comments on this review

Chris - Sun, Sep 9, 2007 - 12:23pm (USA Central)
Janeway and co showing no ill effects of their assimilation in later episodes is something of a slap in the face to TNG's "Family", which showed just how damaged Picard was by his ordeal in "Best of Both Worlds". Coming up with a plan to voluntarily be assimilated is one thing, but for the plan to have no impact on the characters was unbelievable. One of the most frustrating things about Voyager was the complete lack of actions having real consequences. Episodes which set up interesting avenues for the future were rounded off with "I'll give you my report in the morning"....ponderous expression on other character's face....CREDITS". And then when the next episode came along, it was as if nothing had happened.
Germaninsd - Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - 7:10pm (USA Central)
I don't think you can compare this situation with Picard's after Best of both Worlds. Picard is mostly suffering emotionally. Compare Picard's situation with rape and Janeway's with Engaging in the Act. Picard was suffering from being helpless and stripped off his personality and dignity. None of that happened with Voyager's guys.

About the Borg Queen: They could have been able to retain at least a bit of the Borg sizzle if she had acted more like a drone, as the culmination but not independent mind of the whole.
Gretchen - Mon, Oct 22, 2007 - 4:01pm (USA Central)
Whatever, dude.
Voyager was a watered-down version of TNG just like Friday the 13th was a watered-down version of Halloween.
Daniel - Thu, Dec 27, 2007 - 3:52pm (USA Central)
Voyager didn't do a great job with the Borg, but I don't have a problem with them making the Borg less scary. The main reason that they were scary in "Q Who" and "Best of Both Worlds" was because they were unknown. The Borg fights on Voyager were supposed to be happening 7-10 years later, so it makes sense in that time that Starfleet would know a lot more about how to handle them, and the "mystery" factor would be lost.

Voluntary assimilation was going too far though. It's true that the characters shouldn't have been emotionally scarred by the assimilation, because they participated in it willingly. However, it's a huge risk, and the characters should've likely failed, and no one even acknowledges that, as usual.
Jeff - Wed, Feb 27, 2008 - 7:02am (USA Central)
I watched this episode on DVD for the first time last night and I feel it's the worst episode of ST: V I've seen yet. I just can't believe that a ship stranded in the Delta Quadrant would so willingly offer its captain, cheif engineer and tactical officer in order to save the dreams of the Borg. It struck me as an irresponsible thing for Janeway to decide to do and for the rest of the crew to so willingly go along with it. UMZ is a VR world. None of it truly exists. Voyager basically put itself at extreme risk for Bog dreams. And the fact that none of the away team was fully assimilated strikes me as lazy. I'm sure it was done solely for the benefit of making sure their recovery to their former selves would be as simple as possible. This was just very disappointing to me.
Katie - Wed, Apr 30, 2008 - 12:40am (USA Central)
Although I'm not a big fan of the Borg queen, this episode did raise an interesting question about her, and about the nature of the Borg as a whole when she tells the child in Unimatrix Zero that she was assimilated at about his age.

So the Borg existed before the queen--does that mean that she somehow emerged as an individual but remained linked to the hive, thus changing the nature of the Borg? Or have there been a succession of queens (or kings)? If that's the case, how do they come to exist? Are they created by their predecessors, as the queen attempted to create Locutus? Or are they originally drones? Was this perhaps the role that the queen had for Seven of Nine when she brought her back to the Collective in Dark Frontier?

Interesting questions--but unfortunately this episode will forever be hampered (for me anyway) by a glaring problem in the story--how do Axom and the others in Unimatrix Zero know that Seven has escaped the Collective? If they can't carry memories between Unimatrix Zero and the real world it seems there's no possible way they could know what's happened to her. She would have stopped appearing in Unimatrix Zero, but she could simply have died or been "deactivated" or whatever.

Maybe this isn't a major problem in terms of willful suspension of disbelief, but it messes up the story for me.
Aaron - Thu, Jul 31, 2008 - 2:40pm (USA Central)
You know, this story started off really well. The idea of helping Borg regain their individuality was great. The idea that Janeway finally had real power (and could instill real fear in the Queen) was great. The 'let us get assimilated' method? Insane.
EP - Sun, Mar 8, 2009 - 4:00pm (USA Central)
This episode lost me as an interested viewer when the Queen says to the little boy, re: assimilation, "It's fun."

Chakotay continues to go unused. At least he gets to sit in the Captain's chair.

Neelix is at the comm station. Training? What?

Tom gets promoted...Harry is still stuck as an Ensign at Ops. I'd file a complaint...or at least, get thrown in the brig first. Such a thing would appear to be a pre-req for more pips.

The whole trippy "Borg dream" business smacks of Brannon Braga. Too bad that Axim character was such a shmuck, otherwise I might have had some sympathy for these drones.

Meh, at least "Body and Soul" is coming up soon. That line about cheesecake always makes me smile.
Panagiotis Karatasios - Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - 4:00am (USA Central)
Voyager's episodes with the borg were a real disaster for the borg idea. InTNG the borg were mysterious, truly allien, truly different, the exact opposite of humanity but yet so similar to federation. After all was perfection an absolutely different goal from humanity's objective to better itself? it was the eans that were so different and it was the means that made borg so frightening. And then came voyager. The borg were transformed from an awesome villaint to something dangerous but also trivial loosing their radical difference. just another villaint race. In comparison with voyager's borg the dominion look much more threatening amd much more different. Thy were also trandformed from a race with truly collective consciousness to one with individual leadership. Their collectiveness was also destroyed with their transformation into mindless automata but collective consciousness amd mindless automata are two different things. Well what remained? almost nothing.
gion - Sun, May 17, 2009 - 11:58am (USA Central)
I can live with the idea of doing new things with the borg, otherwise they're going to get pretty boring after a while (being the same one-dimensional "you'll be assimilated" over and over again). The trouble is that Voyager turned the borg into a horribly confused mess.
Jay - Sat, Sep 5, 2009 - 6:37pm (USA Central)
Janeway, Tuvok, and Torres are lucky that none of them lost an eyeball.
Jay - Sat, Sep 5, 2009 - 7:20pm (USA Central)
And what's the story with hair? Within 48 hours all three had their full coiffures back...
Will - Sun, Oct 4, 2009 - 4:23pm (USA Central)
The story with the hair is that the Doctor stimulates their hari folicles so hair grows again or some such thing. He did the same thing with Seven of Nine. I didn't UMZ was as good as Equinox and is one of the weaker Borg stories of Voyager, but still pretty enjoyable. I didn't mind Voyager adding mroe dimensions to the Borg. When a villain's been around that long you have to find something to make them more interesting.
trlkly - Mon, Nov 16, 2009 - 4:10am (USA Central)
Way too many of you guys didn't get the episode. Which I guess qualifies as a flaw, but not for the reasons listed. Shows rarely explain everything, so here's a list of reasons for all your objections.

1. A neural suppressor is not a device, it's a drug. One that the Doctor obviously created to combat being assimilated. It makes sense that this wouldn't have happened before, as, never before have they had a Borg to work with. Technology increases as it goes along.

2. The Borg have no firewall because they gain knowledge solely though assimilation. And no other species has done anything like that before. They are also quite arrogant: "Resistance is futile", remember? They don't know their own flaws. Heck, Picard was able to tell Data how to hack the system by giving a sleep command. (Apparently the Queen was not activated at that point. More on this later.)

3. Tuvok's brain, is different than everyone else's. Being a telepath is actually a problem here. It gives you a way to get into his brain despite the stuff blocking the probes. His inner strength could also be a problem. It means that, once the thought gets in his head, it's a lot stronger than everyone else's. So not only does it make sense froma plot view (Tuvok goes evil a lot), it makes sense from an in-universe view.

4. THe Borg Queen is an admission by the Borg that sometimes an individual is necessary to make quick decisions. You'll notice she's not always active, but only comes into play when she's necessary. Data and Picard beat the Borg beat them with the sleep command when she wasn't active. If she were, she could have overridden it. But now they knows that, whenever humans are involved, they need her.

As for her being assimilated as a child--remember, she has all the memories of every drone. I mean, if Seven can have residuals from those she assimilated, surely the queen has more. There's got to be at least one drone that was assimilated as a kid, So she can truthfully say "she" was. But, even if not, why couldn't the villain be lying?

5. The Klingon was probably not alone, and being Borgified, can get past all the security as easily as Janeway and Co did. With his individuality intact, he's essentially cut off from the Queen. He can use his willpower once he's killed enough drones (which don't expect anything. More on that later.)

6. The Unimatrix gene obviously makes it hard for the Queen to track what's going on. This one's explicit. The virus just activates the gene even when they aren't regenerating. Unfortunately, this disconnects them from the network and she can trace them. But it takes a little bit of time. Otherwise, why wouldn't she have just blown up all the rogue ships at once? And apparently, do to the arrogance-induced lack of security mentioned above, the cubes themselves don't have a contingency plan.

7. Of course they show no ill effects. Tuvok was the only one who was actually assimilated. And he's Vulcan, and isn't going to show his pain. For the rest of them, their minds stayed intact the whole time. It wouldn't make sense for them to have ill effects, other than maybe some physical problems. But Neelix has had nanoprobes in his system for a while, and it hasn't been a problem.

8. Voluntary assimilation: yeah, that does seem weird. It would make more sense if it were a life or death situation. But perhaps regrowing limbs and eyes isn't impossible with Doc's medical science. And the neural suppressant, by it's very name, would probably double as a pain killer.

9. Harry is a bit character. They were even going to get rid of him rather than Kes at the beginning of season 4. There's no reason he deserves a promotion now more than he did in the past. Also, don't forget the weird bureaucracy mentioned later that you can't promote an ensign in the field. Remember Tom's promotion is purely restitution for a demotion. (As could be Tuvok's--if you watch the early episodes carefully, you'll notice he originally had the bars of a full commander.) And, anyways, rank is pretty arbitrary out here. Kim's been getting leadership positions despite his rank for a while, as has everyone else on the bridge. The ranks don't mean much, other than indicating the captain's approval.

Yes, some of these are a bit fanwanky, like #4a, #5,#8, 9b. But the point is, if you don't come in looking for flaws, and take the time to think about the ones you do notice, you can resolve most things. I see no more plot holes than anything else I've ever seen.

If you want to get started on anything, talk about the acting. Yuck! I originally read these all in recap form, where they seemed a lot better because I could imagine how the actors sounded. Seeing the real thing is a disappointment. And this goes for all of Voyager, as well as Enterprise.
Eric - Mon, Nov 16, 2009 - 10:22pm (USA Central)
I might also add that the klingon was on a really small ship: It wasn't crewed by thousands of borg.

What I found hard to believe was that Voyager was able to hold its own against that cube. Unless your techonology is far superior, you shouldn't be able to take on an opponent who's 20 times your size.
Tony - Tue, Feb 9, 2010 - 7:33pm (USA Central)
"3. Tuvok's brain, is different than everyone else's. Being a telepath is actually a problem here. It gives you a way to get into his brain despite the stuff blocking the probes. His inner strength could also be a problem. It means that, once the thought gets in his head, it's a lot stronger than everyone else's. So not only does it make sense froma plot view (Tuvok goes evil a lot), it makes sense from an in-universe view."

Do you honestly think Spock would've succumbed so easily to the collective had this been a TOS episode?
DeanGrr - Tue, Mar 2, 2010 - 11:20pm (USA Central)
I agree with Jammer's reviews, that the Borg have been watered down: they seemed most frightening as a cold, relentless, ruthless collective mind (i.e. Seven's threat to transport 500 drones to Voyager in Scorpion Part 2).

Introducing the Borg Queen made the Borg personal rather than a ruthless Artificial Intelligence. Allowing characters to be assimilated willingly and easily undo that experience made the Borg too easy to defeat.

In any case, this is only a TV show, and it was still fun to watch the action/adventure. The virtual reality element was really neat, and seemed a legitimate way to rebel against Borg assimilation.
Michael - Wed, Jul 14, 2010 - 3:34pm (USA Central)
Voyager was left at the end of Season 6 with the Borg cube kicking its ass; yet here we open with the ship intact and no Borg in sight.

Just a couple of things to comment on: The Doc encouraging Seven to "explore" (*rolls eyes*) her amorous entanglement with Whatsisname in Unimatrix Zero. Why the hell can't they all just let her be her?! Is The Doc (BTW, I thought he had settled on the name Schmalus, Schweitzer, Schlemiel or somesuch(?)) going to be there telling her how to f**k in the most "human" and sensual way, too, when the time comes?!? Honestly... I found the schmaltzy shots of her and Axum "bonding" fake and superfluous. I'll tune into some cheesy Mexican telenovela for that, thank you. And scenes of Seven smiling and acting all girly were just uncalled for.

And where the hell did Torres spring out from at the end? Hadn't she been seized together with Janeway? This time it wasn't deus ex machina but Torres ex machina.

Ah yep, and Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim couldn't get a lock, twice this time around. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! This is what, the 200th time!?! What a schmuck! LOL!!

Heheh as Dean says above: It's just a T.V. show :)
Bill T - Tue, Nov 9, 2010 - 1:04am (USA Central)
Worst Borg episode ever, for 2 reasons:

- Voluntarily assimilation = insane
- Motivation of the Borg Queen = insane

"Ahm a gonna bloooow up my own ships! You better stop meeee!!!" As a starfleet captain, I would be ecstatic. Since it is unlikely that most borg drones could ever be saved, and that billions of individuals WOULD be saved from future assimilation, it's a no brainer. Sure! Let's blow up more of those cubes, can I help?

As for their lack of trauma vs. Jean-Luc in 'Family', remember that Jean-Luc was forced to lead an attack and betray and kill thousands of starfleet officers. Not the case here.
Jay - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 6:34pm (USA Central)
Why is the Queen bathed in green light even in the Unimatrix?
Kieran - Thu, Apr 21, 2011 - 5:06am (USA Central)
Torres speaking with that vocal thing sounded like Janeway normally. Maybe Kate Mulgrew has been a Borg sleeper-agent all along.

The Borg just don't interest me all that much I have to say (maybe because I've never really watched TNG and so missed them actually being scary). I always hate whenever the crew transport to a Borg ship and just casually dander past all these drones doing nothing - just makes them seem dopey and not a threat in any way. Where did the Borg come from anyway? I assume they must have been man-made (or alien-made). Were they an experiment that went out of control?

The Borg Queen telling the kid about the joys of being in the collective was actually a very good scene to my mind. Yes, I agree she doesn't make much sense, but I think the writers do well with what they've got.

If anything Harry should be demoted for never, ever, ever, ever, ever getting a lock. Why does he even bother turning up for duty?

Paris is the 4th highest ranking character? What about Lt. Chapman from Someone to Watch Over Me? When will he get his time to shine? ;)

Am I the only one who finds Chakotay to be a far better captain than Janeway? He's not a nutcase and seems far more approachable and doesn't act like a passive-aggressive mother hen to the crew.
Fanner - Tue, Jul 12, 2011 - 4:19pm (USA Central)
@Chris''One of the most frustrating things about Voyager was the complete lack of actions having real consequences. Episodes which set up interesting avenues for the future were rounded off with "I'll give you my report in the morning"....ponderous expression on other character's face....CREDITS". And then when the next episode came along, it was as if nothing had happened.''

Sums up my Voyager feelings exactly. Loved the first two eps. The rest - BORING. ... Even in TNG's early years with the ATROCIOUS episodes you could be entertained by the vileness and laugh at their absurdity. Not so, Voyager.

@ all those arguing Chakotay was a better leader and more interesting character than Janeway that was shockingly underused......I agree completely.
Brian - Sat, Aug 13, 2011 - 8:54pm (USA Central)
One major flaw to me is the fact that they didn't change their command codes. Hey lets voluntarily be assimilated and don't bother changing the command codes as we are certain the neural block will work.

Lol at Tony's comment:-

"Do you honestly think Spock would've succumbed so easily to the collective had this been a TOS episode?"

I just watched Stand By Me the other day (it's been 25 years) and this reminds me of the "Do you think Mighty Mouse would beat Superman in a fight?" question in that movie. These kind of pointless debates are better left to a certain age group.
Jay - Mon, Sep 19, 2011 - 10:58am (USA Central)
Whenever someone is run through the transporter, they are essentially recreated from new matter. And in TNG S2's "Unnatural Selection", we found that DNA can be used to rematerialize someone even from a former state. All that being so, it would seem that any being could be "un-Borged" simply by running them through the transporter with their pre-Borg DNA.
Kristen - Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - 7:16pm (USA Central)
Again, ditto to all the criticisms made above.

Also...if the Borg Queen's nanoprobe disease could be administered in Unimatrix Zero, why did Janeway, Torres, and Tuvok have to go to the Borg ship in person to administer theirs?

Did I miss a line of technobabble that explains this INSANE GAPING PLOT HOLE?!
Nathan - Sat, Nov 12, 2011 - 9:54pm (USA Central)
""3. Tuvok's brain, is different than everyone else's. [...]"

Do you honestly think Spock would've succumbed so easily to the collective had this been a TOS episode?"

He succumbed to those 'givers of pleasure and pain', so why not :)
navamske - Sat, Dec 24, 2011 - 3:46pm (USA Central)
"I agree with Jammer's reviews, that the Borg have been watered down: they seemed most frightening as a cold, relentless, ruthless collective mind (i.e. Seven's threat to transport 500 drones to Voyager in Scorpion Part 2)."

Yes, but it's almost cringe-worthy to hear the Borg say in their first appearance (in whatever TNG episode that was), "If you resist you will be punished," given what badasses they were drawn as later.
Justin - Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - 4:22pm (USA Central)
@Jammer, I believe the Borg subscribed to Symantec, not McAfee. That would explain why they had so many problems with Starfleet viruses...
Justin - Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - 8:59am (USA Central)

Since you seem so adept at resolving plot holes, maybe you can explain the most glaring.

How could Seven's love interest in UMZ possibly have been assimilated at Wolf-359? That cube was destroyed.

Also, WTF is the point of the "vocal sub-processor"? I thought talking was irrelevant...
Joan - Fri, Jan 25, 2013 - 6:55pm (USA Central)

Good point about the vocal sub-processor, they just use it to try and scare people I think.
Adara - Tue, May 7, 2013 - 1:45pm (USA Central)
Sometimes I curse "The Caretaker" for being so good. It got me hooked into this show and for the most part it's been a tedious ride. This episode really takes the cake though. Other reviewers try to explain the plot holes, but I don't think there's anything to explain. I think the writers just stopped caring. Getting Picard back in "Best of Both Worlds" seemed like such an impossible feat, viewers spent the whole summer in suspense. In this case, we know everything will be back to normal with some technobabble explanation. If salamanders can be turned back into humans without a second thought, why not Borg? Why not anything? I know "Threshold" isn't supposed to count, but it's really only a step more ridiculous than this. A small step.

Regarding Michael and everyone's assumption that he is a troll, (I know it's not mentioned by anyone here but it is in lots of other threads) I beg to differ. I suspect Michael probably has Asperger Syndrome and therefore any scenes involving emotion are, as the Borg would say, irrelevant. (I apologize if I'm way off the mark, Michael) Regardless, it's all a matter of opinion so why get upset? I'll never understand why people will say a review is "wrong." How can an opinion be wrong? Reviews are fun because they give you an idea of what other people are thinking and offer fresh perspectives, but any review should be taken with a grain of salt. Unless it was written by your clone, you're not always going to agree with it. I usually agree with Jammer, but I think "Barge of the Dead" and "Muse" are both awful episodes, and I loved "Tsunkatse." Repeat after me: "It's only an opinion. It's only an opinion..."
ProgHead777 - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 1:14am (USA Central)
The only thing I would like to add to this review is that the scene where the Queen visits UMZ was VERY good. I found her conversation with the child to be one of the most chilling scenes in all of Star Trek and the actress playing the Queen in particular absolutely NAILED it. Nevermind the logical inconsistencies (that should be the tagline for the entire series, though, shouldn't it?), that scene was CREEPY and the "Serpent in The Garden" symbolism was not lost on me. I would give the half a star back based on that alone.
Leah - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 2:34am (USA Central)
I writhed agonizingly in my chair when the queen got Voyager's command codes from Tuvok. Do these people ever change their bloody command codes during a possible compromising situation?! This isn't the first time something like this has happened and in every single situation, it's STUPID!

Anyhoo, parts of this episode were kinda cool, parts were pretty bad. Production was top-notch so at least it was nice to look at. Overall, it gets a slightly upbeat "meh" from me.
azcats - Tue, Aug 20, 2013 - 10:25am (USA Central)
I think you need to comment on every episode to explain away the plot holes. I think most people over think them. i enjoyed that response. i feel like i could do it on every episode but then it would be tedious.

good episode, but the voluntary assimilation is lame. they should have found a better way. cause..as someone pointed out. you dont want your 3 BEST officers ASSIMILATED! and dang, that would be SCARY!

4 stars for action. 3 stars for plot
Lt. Yarko - Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - 1:48am (USA Central)
I realized about 15 minutes into the first episode of this two-parter that I would have to shut off my logic machine to get any enjoyment out of the rest of it. Boy, is that a hard thing for me to do. Here is what I liked about the episodes:

- Good special effects
- Good make up (the goryiest episode of tv Trek by far, I think)
- Good set design
- Decent acting by the cast

And, that's about it. There is simply no logic anywhere to be found in these episodes. The Borg is an absolute mess at this point in the series history, and I mean a mess premise-wise.

And, yes. I find things like cliffhanger season enders to be scummy, manipulative, dirt-bag TV moves, one of the many bullsh*t things tv does that that keeps me watching it in any way that will allow them to make money. If they are going to be aholes to their audiences, I will be an ahole to them and watch their mostly crappy dreck for free forever. ha ha ha. TV is the only thing in the universe I feel comfortable stealing.
Jo Jo Meastro - Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - 12:15pm (USA Central)
I'm back after taking a bit of a break from Voyager! For the most part, I liked it even if I feel as though it just wasn't enough to get excited about. Jammer rightly points out that you know exactly how it'll unfold, the familiar format of the plot and an ending that lets Voyager sail gracefully away with everything as it was.

I still like this episode, especially the second half, and as always I can't fault the character work or the dazzling direction and fun touches. I only wish Voyager had been more willing to sometimes be unpredictable and challenged convention just to keep everyone guessing and inject more fire into the proceedings...

2.5 stars sounds about right for a fun, if unspectacular, ride!
Jack - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 12:47pm (USA Central)
The Queen now has the power to unilaterally destroy other Borg individuals, even vessels full of them...so much for a hive mind.
Jack - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 12:49pm (USA Central)
Also, Icheb's absence was absolutely screaming throughout this episode, all things considered.
Jack - Sat, Dec 14, 2013 - 1:01pm (USA Central)
Also...what is the insignia Chakotay has on his collar? It's not the usual 3 pips of a commander / first officer, but rather a long rounded bar.
Caine - Mon, Jan 27, 2014 - 10:48am (USA Central)
In regard to Jammer's review:

I don't get why Jammer so often would come down hard on a Voyager story for being "predictable". Sure, the stories are predictable - every single TV-show has loads and loads of predictable episodes - among those shows are TOS, TNG and DS9.
There areonly so-and-so many kinds of stories you can tell, and only so-and-so many ways you can tell it. Star Trek is basically the same five stories told over, over and over again throughout the diffrent series (and movies) with basically the same crew of characters (with small differences inbeteween crews). There are only so-and-so many points of view you can use to tell the story, only so-and-so many plot-twist-devices you can use ... and so on.

Not even any of the TOS episodes where ground breaking or even original compared to the many, many years of storytelling, on TV, in books and so on, that had come before.

To me, the episodes of Voayger are no more or less tedious in their predictability than mos other TV-shows (including other Trek shows), and I feel Jammer wasn't being "fair" to the show when calling the stories predictable, inevitable and all the other stuff.

To me, Voyager WAS the weaest of all the Trek shows (yes, including Enterprise), but that has nothing to do with predictability of the stories.
Caine - Mon, Jan 27, 2014 - 10:49am (USA Central)
On this episode:

I found the scene with the Borg Queen and the kid to be fantastic - other than that, a horrible mess. The fact that someone feels the need to write a very long post explaining how plot holes MIGHT be explained just cements the fact that the writers were incredibly lazy ... the big point being, that if the writers had done their job to any satisfaction, there should and would be NO NEED for such a list.
Nick - Sat, Feb 1, 2014 - 4:11pm (USA Central)
Voyager was scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one.


- janeway gets a blue laser.
- the Borg effects, needlessly gory with the vivisection, were on par with Borg lore.

Wow, that's about it.
The Borg are now so watered down, they're about as scary as a basket full of puppies. surprise surprise, the borg have a holo deck ...oh excuse me, a dreamworld, same concept really.

We're left with a lowest common denominator episode, lacking in both scifi conceits, storytelling tension, suspense, or even the need for sympathy for the characters. That the entire exercise was completely avoidable made it even more pointless. 1 star. ;)
Steinway - Mon, Feb 3, 2014 - 2:23pm (USA Central)
Here's an idea, instead of the unbelievable and crazy assimilation plan: how about if Janeway, Tuvok and Torres just beam over and Borg-looking suits? They could get all suited and make-upped up and just look like Borg! Because, from the episode, we can conclude that the Borg simply accepted them as Borg because they look like Borg, not because they could also hear their thoughts. If it was a prerequisite that the other Borg could hear Janeway, Tuvok and Torres's thoughts, then they would've had a problem early on because of the "neural suppressant".

@Jack: Yes, where were Icheb and the other ex-Borg kiddies in this episode? Would've been nice to have a scene looking at how they were doing during the conflict between Voyager and the Borg vessel. I imagine they might have been nervous about getting assimilated again… But that would have meant less action and more character development.

One thing I thought was a nice aspect of the episode was the way that Seven was different inside of Unimatrix Zero. I thought Jeri Ryan did a nice job with that. And, it was nice to see her in some more normal looking clothes. I hate the sparkly jumpsuits!
Amanda - Mon, Feb 24, 2014 - 11:16pm (USA Central)
I couldn't get past the insane choice to get assimilated and even that lost its horror when I see bad rubber suits (Esp. Janeway) and bad airbrushing. Just because they kept their thoughts doesn't mean they walk and have the mobility of their old selves. Walk like Borg!

Restored crew nit pick: These three could never be 100% organic again. Or seven would. They would still have robotic components in vital areas and nanoprobes in their blood which brings me to why didn't Janeway or the others ever volunteer their nanoproves to heal the radioactive people in Friendship one? Or trip on when Borg are near :-) Something acknowledging they're forever changed would have been cool.
Looper - Sun, Mar 2, 2014 - 1:54pm (USA Central)
Queen to deactivated drone: "Too bad you're not awake to experience the joy of disembodiment. It's so ... perfect."

Nic - Sat, May 24, 2014 - 10:51pm (USA Central)
I think the second part may be a slight improvement over the first, but it makes sense that you downgraded the rating when you wrote the season recap, because two major things could have and should have come out of this episode, and didn’t (should we be surprised?)
One is the Borg resistance movement, which never got even a passing reference, not even in the finale. So what was the point of these episodes if not to set up the demise of the Borg?
The other is Seven’s personal development… This would have been the perfect opportunity for her to change her appearance and attitude to a more « human » one, the way she acted in the VR. But of course UPN probably feared that would lead to a Felicity-style ratings disaster.

Also, what seriously hampers the drama is the fact that all of the characters seem aware of the Reset Button. The Doc and Seven both say « WHEN this crisis is over », not « If ». That being said, the moment were General Korok arrives, having taken over the sphere touting « We’ve come to join you in battle » still gets me cheering.
Ric - Sat, May 31, 2014 - 10:51pm (USA Central)
An action episode that is not totally bad in its action. One or two scenes are mildly chalenging - and therefore rewarding - like the Borg Queen destroying Borg ships in front of the captain and forcing the captain to be tough.

However, while still better than the first part, it only can't pass over the absurdity, stupidity, that was set by its first part. The ridiculous watery of Seven, now portrayed as a "previously chosen one", since she is a character that already had individually blooming much before. In the end, a ridiculous two-parter, one of these that makes I wish the show was finished before.

PS: the Avatar nature of Unimatrix Zero is intriguing.

PS2: here the spherical ship of Korok looks more similar than always to Star War's Death Star.
Sean - Wed, Jul 23, 2014 - 2:30am (USA Central)
"Something acknowledging they're forever changed would have been cool."

Voyager didn't acknowledge things that happened in previous episodes. Continuity was an extreme rarity. And even when continuity did happen, it made no sense and was fairly badly written, as in the early season and with Fury.
Josh - Wed, Nov 5, 2014 - 4:38pm (USA Central)
There are some good concepts here, but the Borg have served as tired villains through almost every appearance on Voyager. Part of the problem is that the intrepid (no pun intended) crew of Voyager seemingly always defeat them, leaving the Borg Queen more akin to a Scooby Doo villain in competence.

That is,
"And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for meddling Captain Janeway!"

Part of the problem is the Queen herself. Before First Contact, the Borg were faceless, monolithic, utterly inhuman. While a good movie, I still don't think the reconceptualization of the Borg as a more conventional villain really worked. On Voyager, the Queen makes a decent antagonist for Janeway, but the results are inevitably preordained. Voyager, with its limited resources, will be able to thwart the Borg Queen's plans again and again with hardly any consequence.

The assimilation of Janeway, Torres, and Tuvok is the perfect example of a lack of consequences. Picard wasn't left unscathed - at first physically, and later emotionally - and seemingly permanently. That was what made First Contact successful as a character story.

In this episode, we get some interesting stuff for Seven, but the actual "romance" is pretty by the numbers. Where the episodes doesn't quite work is its lack of focus. Janeway's confrontations with the Queen are pedestrian.

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