Star Trek: Voyager


3 stars

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

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147 comments on this post

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.
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.
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.
Sun, Jun 5, 2011, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Good to see that time ship. AGAIN.
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.
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.
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.
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 4:28pm (UTC -5)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:

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?
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?
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!
Sun, Jan 10, 2016, 2:32am (UTC -5)

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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
"Continuity is for ph'taks and pussies. "

And DS9!
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.

Joey Lock
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Loren above, this episode has a completely unresolved ending, it almost felt like a filler episode that had no real effect, it was a "It's Sevens fault" again episode just like the previous one "Prey" where in the end Seven is to blame and Janeway once again is willing to risk her entire crew for the sake of one person, it's almost like a recycle of the previous episodes moral conundrums.
Mon, Aug 29, 2016, 3:26am (UTC -5)
Janeway says "Here we are again."
My sentiments exactly. Very tedious episode. What else is new.
Red Tim
Wed, Sep 7, 2016, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Reading these comments, I'm glad I'm not the only one left disturbed and angry by this episode. I think the worst part is how everyone acts as though the whole thing was Seven's fault, when she's either
a) A woman who's been assaulted and violated, and then blamed for her attacker's death because she had the temerity to accuse him; or
b) A woman who's been convinced by a trusted medical professional that she experienced a horribly traumatic event, and reacted accordingly.
Which she is depdends on whether Kovin is guilty or innocent (and the evidence is by no means conclusive either way), but in neither case is she at fault - she wasn't making up the allegations for fun, she really believed that Kovin had "violated" her. At least the Doctor partly acknowledges that if Kovin really was innocent, then he (the Doc) is the one mainly to blame for Kovin's death (although, to be honest, the person mainly to blame is the one who opened fire on a much bigger starship and overloaded his own weapons in the process).

The other thing that really bugs me is the investigation. In previous Trek incarnations, it's been established that by scanning someone's "memory engrams" it's sometimes possible to detect whether memories have been implanted or suppressed using some kind of psychic powers or alien tech. No-one ever even mentions engrams as far as I can recall. No-one tries to find the woman that Seven remembers assisting Kovin, no-one tries to find the alleged new-born Borg drone (which would be a serious security threat, right?), no-one even mentions the possibility of memory-altering technologies being used, even though if what Seven 'remembers' really happened, Kovin must have suppressed the memory somehow. For that matter, maybe someone else stole the nanoprobes and altered Seven's memory to make her *think* it was Kovin (I never did trust that Magistrate...). The possibility is never mentioned. it's almost like the writers had decided that Kovin was innocent, so they didn't bother writing a proper investigation.

Oh, and what's the final scene of the episode - Seven coming to terms with her traumatic experience? Seven reflecting on her vulnerability and (misplaced) remorse? No - the Doctor, making it all about him. Almost as though the writers were just using the Seven's analogous-to-rape experience as a convenient plot point to tell a story about so-called 'recovered memories'. Almost as though a woman being effectively raped (or believing that she had been effectively raped) wasn't really that important to them.

Well, never mind. I'm sure this episode hasn't added to the widespread, incorrect and highly damaging perception that false rape accusations are a common occurrence. Nah. Probably nothing to worry about.
Mon, Oct 31, 2016, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Seven's story could have been easily prosecuted by a good lawyer. Paris states that Seven was gone for approximately two hours. Without the inclusion of Sevens suppressed memories, she can only account for a small portion of those two hours. Furthermore, Kovin can not adequately explain away the whole two hour lapse in time. Upon closer investigation, it would have been uncovered that a large portion of the two hours is not accounted for.

A similar situation was reached at the end of the movie Contact, with Jodie Foster. She traveled across space for several hours which appeared as only ten minutes on earth. Nobody believed her when she testified that she did make the voyage. However, at the end of the movie and after the trial, it was discovered, that her head set recorded several hours of static, during the supposed 10 minute displacement.
Mon, Nov 7, 2016, 5:52am (UTC -5)
@Chris P hit the nail on the head.

Guys, suggesting this episode is encouraging people to doubt rape victims is incorrect. It is encouraging us to doubt the validity of "recovered" memories. Read Chris P's post above for the full story. There's no point me restating it all.

This show is about the damage that can be done by false accusations. Sadly it has become all too common for innocent men to be accused of sexual misconduct, particularly in divorce proceedings. Whilst it may be beneficial to one party, it does irreparable harm to the accused person, and also to the children who are used as pawns. It is impossible to prove a negative ie that you didn't commit the crime, and in most cases the person accused is presumed guilty. This very thing happened to a relative of mine, and even though the accuser has retracted the accusations, I will admit that I still doubt him. Even though I believe that he is innocent, I cannot be certain. The event destroyed his family.

That issues like this are being tackled by voyager is fantastic. They are intelligent and thought-provoking. They did an excellent job with the subject.

Voyager has certainly benefited greatly from the introduction of Seven.

3.5 stars.
Mon, Nov 7, 2016, 6:06am (UTC -5)
Anyone who still doubts this shows message should read all of John's posts above. Sure he's a lawyer but he actually makes a lot of sense.
Tue, Nov 8, 2016, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
Agree Mikey. When I watched this episode I didn't really make that connection because I thought he did it, but I can see that viewpoint as well.
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 10:44am (UTC -5)
After re watching the episode, I don't think Kovin is dead I thhink e beamed back to the planetto grab the rest of those nano probes that the doctor for some reason left behind.
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Worst episode of all time. Terrible handling of sexual assault.
Paul Allen
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
A tough watch, a rape analogy episode, and how it was handled by the captain et al was appalling.

No conclusive evidence, so his word against hers? Really uneasy about how easily everyonw turned to flat out disbelieving her.

Terrible message.
Sun, Feb 12, 2017, 11:41am (UTC -5)
@Paul Allen

"No conclusive evidence, so his word against hers? Really uneasy about how easily everyonw turned to flat out disbelieving her."

What should they have done, then? Just listened and believed her?

There was no evidence against him. Isn't there still such a thing as innocent until proven guilty? A case of "he said/she said" isn't enough to justify simply believing her.
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
This was obviously a dig at recovered memories (all the rage when the episode aired) not sexual assault accusations (all the rage now).

The part that bugged me was in the beginning when Janeway gets that self satisfied look on her face when she's negotiating, and leans back after the arms dealer pays her a false compliment when he's the one who just upped the ante (installation charge) and got more chips for it. I half expected her to buy the extended warranty for 50 more isolinear chips and lean back when Korvin congratulates her on her excellent choice.

F'in Janeway. Why is she so poorly written? Do the writers hate her?
Sat, Mar 4, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -5)
I was going to write a detailed response to the review and the comments above, but John saved me the trouble. While I am not sure I would agree that the huge majority of rape allegations may be false, everything else in Johns post is absolutely spot on.

It's virtually an axiom of liberal feminist dogma that the female making any allegation of assault must always be believed automatically, and that the accused must therefore prove his innocence. This notion, along with all those comments above which clearly subscribe to it, are despicable. Truly despicable.

In case you are unable to grasp it, allow me to restate it clearly. Kovin has no need whatsoever to PROVE his innocence. He is ALREADY presumed innocent. IT'S HIS ACCUSERS WHO BEAR THE BURDEN OF PROVING HIS GUILT, WHICH THEY COMPLETELY FAILED TO DO, because there is not a shred of hard evidence. Therefore there is absolutely no ambiguity whatsoever at the end regarding his innocence. He is. CASE CLOSED. The fact that you are refusing to see this just shows your natural bias and prejudice in this matter

To all those professing shock and horror at the handling of a "rape" case on star trek where the plight of the female "victim" was handled insensitively, allow me to ask you a question. Where were your exclamations of horror and outrage when Chakotay was tortured and then raped by Seska and his dna used to (unsuccessfully, as it transpired) impregnate herself with his child against his wishes? Oh thats right, there wasn't any. There was a general "ho-hum, that nasty seska up to her old tricks again" response. Ironically, THAT was a true rape, unlike what happened to seven, yet there was barely a murmur of disquiet at the spectacle. But he is a man so who gives a shit really what happens to him, right? We even had a scene where chuckles dad basically told him to suck it up and just accept the kid already. Can you imagine the hurricane of outrage from the sisterhood if the roles had been reversed, and a female was raped, impregnated and told to stop moaning and just accept and raise the child?

Although many posters here would refuse to acknowledge it, there are two potential victims when it comes to rape. The genuine victims who are telling the truth, AND those men who are the victim of false rape accusations. And to Nic above who stated "Of course it happens in real life, but very rarely", how the hell could you possibly know that? You cannot just pull statments like that out of your butt and expect to be taken seriously.

A false rape allegation can completely DESTROY a mans life. As someone who witnessed just such an occurence, where a false rape charge led to the man committing suicide in despair only to see the accuser later recant her claim, I have nothing but sympathy for Kovins character here. Take the example of this episode. Even though the case against Kovin completely collapsed, we still have a bevy of posters muttering at how they are not convinced of his innocence, and that his strong emotional reaction to the accusations are, if anything, suggestive of his guilt! Can you imagine what its like for a man who similarly accused in real life? Everyone looks on you as guilty, evidence be damned. Your colleagues, neighbours, friends, acquaintances and even family all look at you with barely disguised suspicion at best, or open contempt at worst. Even when completely acquitted and exonerated, there are plenty of people who will still assume his guilt on the principle that there is no smoke without fire. Disgusting.

In defence of seven, I will say that I do not believe she is primarily to blame here, although she cannot evade responsibility for her role in making false allegations. However I have sympathy for her because she genuinely believes her repressed memory impressions are accurate and real. The true culprit to my mind is the doctor. He is the one primarily responsible for the ensuing witch hunt, however I can partially forgive him for it in the light of his remorse and contrition at the end. Neither of them are directly responsible for Kovins suicide, and I believe Janeway showed commendable courage and restraint when he was attacking voyager in his panic. However, there should be SOME consequences for the accusers, beyond simply feeling guilty and then being told its ok.

In summation, I have to confess I am genuinely amazed and impressed that a series like Star trek, which is largely informed by a liberal, feminist ideology would have the courage to tackle the issue of false rape allegations, especially where the accuser was female and accused was the male alien-of-the-week. Bravo.
Tue, Mar 21, 2017, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
The controversy stirred by this episode is fairly interesting, and I am all for episodes which ask difficult even unanswerable questions. While I feel this happened in moments of Retrospects, I also feel those moments were terribly disjointed and overwhelmed by the seemingly unintentional and clearly confusing messages.

I don't care about the implications for Kovin here, simply because they are not difficult to grasp nor are they particularly interesting. I will point out that in the show he IS presumed innocent, his alarm is at being subject to the law in any capacity. He feels, perhaps correctly, that it will destroy his career if anybody finds out he was investigated even momentarily. That's messed up. We have the victim's testimony, the medical professionals strong recommendation, the captain's approval, and Tuvok earnestly promising a fair trial and unbiased investigation. Kovin appears to believe his assault is de facto not a crime as it should not be investigated under any circumstances. Which is, obviously, absurd.

I understand the intention to do an episode about false memories. First, they flubbed it. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Second they stated that they felt they had succeeded in separating the sexual elements of a date rape story away from the false memory story. Wrong. Putting aside at what point they thought they had a 'date rape' story, they explicitly used the language of sexual assault victims in almost every scene. Why not model the false memory off of ptsd? Why not flip one or both gender roles? Tuvok has a pretty messed up head, couldn't we be blaming him for other people's trust in him.

The biggest failure, is that they show the "false memory sequence" with no difficulty and it's weirdly sexualised. Doc says it happened and seconds later we are present at the event. Are mental health professionals that potent/dangerous, or as suggested later are victims of assault the susceptible to delusion? Not only that, the event quickly becomes an arms dealer arranged for me to follow him to his lab where he shot me point blank which I guess is date rape in space because then he violated me and I didn't remember it 'til just now. If we have a false memory here, and if it is being planted by the doctor, shouldn't that be signaled by the writers. Take time to develop the docs logic so we can later point to his error, not hers. Or take time to develop the memory instead of the instant response we got. Maybe don't show us what you later say (but don't prove) isn't there.

I think viewers who need to argue away the complications here are partly biased, and seeing what they want to see, and partly victim to the biases and errors of the script. It's a shame that so much of the discussion revolves around Korvin and how he is treated or about people's personal views on rape. The story the writers wanted to write was about us, about the crew, and how they reacted. Not the facts of the matter, but the social response to the unknowable. Again they failed, but even in failing that becomes the most interesting part of the episode. The logic and the implications in how the crews position progressed is well worth discussion as well as how they came to make it an issue about them in the first place. Personally, I think the character with a history of 'being violated' being pushed into integrating with society and engaging with an unliked individual only to then be condemned for defending herself against the stranger/arms dealer, and later deciding that as a society you had failed to rise above her individuality to act with collective impartiality and disregard her experience is all massively problematic and interesting. Pity it couldn't also have been coherent.

In order to look at the show in different ways I do sometimes presume Korvin is guilty. But either way I look at it, I still end up with more questions and more emotional response for Doc and Janeaway than for Korvin or Seven of Nine.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Everyone here arguing whether Kovin may or may not have been guilty, while that's of no consequence. The problem isn't that the story as written makes no sense: it does. The problem is that they should have written a different story.

What about writing an episode where a woman's TRUE rape accusations are not taken seriously, which is not only more realistic (unreported rapes are far, far, far more frequent than false accusations) but also more in line with Voyager's ethos as a whole?

For all its great emphasis on social and political justice, the show has a truly bad track record about violence against women. (Blood Fever is another offender, though to a lesser degree than this mess of an episode).

I often use "Retrospect" in my ethics classes, and students are almost universally appalled by it.
Jason R.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Claudio as others noted the episode wasn't about false rape allegations, it was about false molestation allegations due to "recovered memories", a topic that was current when the episode aired in the 90s.

Don't get me wrong: the topics are related as present moral panic over rape is very similar to moral panic over molestation, just as it was for Satanic ritual abuse before it.

But if you're intent on projecting contemporary obsessions on 90s television, then I'd argue the false rape narrative is even more germane. Given the push to reverse the burden of proof for sex assault (believe women) and the hysteria trumped up by man-haters and their apologists, I'm quite pleased with the end product. We need more stories about false allegations, not fewer.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Claudio - Your students are "almost universally appalled by it"?

If the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" appalls them, then there is something seriously wrong with your students.
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
I'll once again mention that 7 is claiming Kovin created a Borg drone. If they need evidence track down the drone! scanning for Borg nano whatevers should be easy for them by now.
Fri, May 19, 2017, 12:33am (UTC -5)
Janeway is so concerned that Borg elements may have been stolen from Seven. Then why was Seven ever alone with the alien? Recently Seven questioned why Tuvok was on a mission with her and Tuvok answered that it was standard procedure for two Starfleet personnel to be on missions, not just one. Yes, Paris was also on the planet, but I don’t think we know why he conveniently wasn’t with Seven for 2 hours. I guess it’s just not SOP for away team personnel to stay together.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time that ST personnel were trusting of aliens who perhaps didn’t deserve it.

But for an alien whose business was dealing with customers, he had a very aggressive attitude. Maybe he didn’t do what Seven accused him of, but he certainly impatiently pushed her aside with little provocation. But maybe he wasn’t interested in developing a relationship for repeat business.

Or maybe I just found the writing of the set-up and resolution lacking.
Fri, May 19, 2017, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
To some of the naysayers here: There are far more deliberate false rape accusations made by women, than there are real rapes. No series I've seen has been willing to explore what happens to a man made to feel like a criminal, doubted by friends and family, forced to go to court - all because of a malicious and lying woman.

Why didn't Trek try tackling that, I WONDER?
Fri, May 19, 2017, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
If the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" appalls them, then there is something seriously wrong with your students.

What's wrong with them is years of indoctrination from media and TV shows that show things from one side of the argument. See my comment above for more.
Fri, May 19, 2017, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
James. Didn't see your post. Bravo. This man-hating bullshit, and double standards in the media regarding men, has gone too far. It's gotten to the point that being a male (especially a white male) is a crime. This episode isn't even tackling anything gutsy (although it did at least show that the accusations were unfounded, which makes a change), and yet some here are throwing their bile about because the guy wasn't crucified on Seven's word alone. Real lives are destroyed by false accusations. In Britain, we've recently had a scandal involving celebrities having sex with minors - this led to several more total witch hunts that INNOCENT men had to deal with—dragged through the legal system and plastered on the front pages as paedophiles. That's what happens when your justice system and population succumb to that kind of backward way of operating.

There is a reason it's innocent until proven guilty. And it's also about time that Britain protects ALL people from accusations until they have been charged AND found guilty. At the moment, just an accusation leads to people jumping around like mindless barbarians.
Reuben K
Wed, Jun 7, 2017, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
It's interesting to see the evolution of socio-political trends in the comments, especially how much more vocal the backlash against "listen and believe" has become in last few years. I actually worked with an older gentleman who was accused of molesting his own daughter after she saw a therapist and discovered "repressed memories". It was proven to be false and I know him well enough to know he didn't do it, but the rage coming off of him about that false accusation was so strong it was scary. (Keep in mind he was in his late 60s when I worked with him over 10 years ago and this had happened when he was a young early 80's?) Can you imagine loving and raising your daughter only to have some "expert" convince her that you did something monstrous to her? This is the danger of "listen and believe". It doesn't minimize the pain, suffering and seriousness of a true experience to be skeptical of a claim, because it does maximize pain, suffering and seriousness to blindly believe any accusation. It makes it more likely for a charlatan or a liar to take advantage of such a situation, causing innocent people to suffer, and make it less likely for people to believe the true claims. It's actually quite small-minded and despicable to not care about that.

Which is why I think Kovin panicking and runnning was a great idea. It's completely understandable given his awareness of his own culture and what will most likely happen to him. AND it also makes him look more guilty to the ones hunting him and reinforces the assumptions of those who see him as guilty. I'm surprised so few people mention Kovin's initial trust in Tuvok. He makes it point to recognize that Tuvok is the most likely to offer an impartial investigation - another indication that logic is the best way to navigate through an emotionally charged situation like this.
Reuben K
Wed, Jun 7, 2017, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Also. You would think that if the Doctor had downloaded all of Starfleet's database regarding therapy and the like, it would have included some cautions about Repressed Memories and the influence of bias. And if you want to propose the possibility of Future Developments making Repressed Memories an actual, proven and practiced therapy, then this episode shouldn't have happened at all.
Sun, Jun 18, 2017, 3:44am (UTC -5)
I haven't read all the previous comments, so apologise if this has been said.

About 2/3 the way through this episode, I though it was going to turn out that Job on was also victim to memory regression, and that his assistant was the real culprit.

Not sure if that would have been a better ending or preposterous.
Tue, Jul 11, 2017, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
I am left feeling ambiguous about this episode. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the evidence that Seven's memories were recently deliberately suppressed. The Doctor harps on this point initially, but then it seems to be forgotten. If Kovin was innocent, why were Seven's memories suppressed? The absence of the medical bed in his lab isn't definitive- they could have transported her elsewhere for the procedure, then transported her back again.

I appreciate the points that others have raised- innocent until proven guilty: I agree wholeheartedly. The danger and damage of false accusations- yes. Of course. The unreliability of recovered memories- yes. Though the fact that they are unreliable does not equate to them always being wrong.

But... yes. I find the ambiguity of Kovin's guilt or innocence to be unsettling and also to be unsettled. I disagree that this is a strength in the writing; rather, I found it to be a cop out. The memory suppression is, for me, strong evidence (albeit circumstantial) that SOMETHING happened to her. Her behavioral changes further suggest this.

And I found it to be contradictory when Janeway told Seven that no one is abandoning her. In fact, they all abandoned her, and where is she left now? Who is dealing with the aftermath of her trauma? Regardless of its basis in reality, its still there. I would hate to be Kovin in this episode, but I would also hate to be Seven. I find the Doctor most culpable, and I am glad he realizes this. He was irresponsible re Kovin, but also re Seven.

If I were Seven, I would have lost my trust (if I had any to begin with) for the whole Voyager crew. Not because they didn't just accept her story at face value, but because in the absence of confirming evidence, they just blew it off. Hardly the way you treat someone who's subjectively experienced a trauma.
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Wow, that awful ending, though.

If the writers wanted to keep the truth "ambiguous", then they shouldn't have had the Doc and Seven talking to each other about how wrong they were, followed by another convo between the Doc and Janeway about how wrong they were, again!

If the episode was supposed to have a question mark at the end, then the crew should have acknowledged that the investigation was unfinished and the best they could do know was to help figure out what was going on with Seven.

If it wasn't because of Kovin, then what caused Seven's PTSD? And how could it be treated? Would Seven recover soon?

Apparently the only message the show wanted to get across was that the Doc could be wrong sometimes, and he would have to learn how to deal with that.

These nutty writers.
Nic F
Mon, Jul 31, 2017, 5:48pm (UTC -5)
I had no idea the question of guilt or innocence in this episode was so heavily in question.

Since it was in the end a tv show, I'm willing to buy the fact that he was innocent. The problem I had was more or less with Seven's memories? Am I suppose to simply say to myself "oooookay then, they weren't real?"..... Shouldn't we get some closure as to where those memories came from?
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
A good character episode for 7 of 9 and the doctor and Janeway to a lesser extent, but I guess it is a bit contrived in that 7 comes up with these false memories due to the doctor being an untrained psychologist and that leads to false accusations and the accused basically killing himself. A tad extreme but it does make a worthy point about being swayed by a crewmate to rush to judgment and the consequences of that.

I also think Kovin's actions are a bit extreme but I guess you have to understand his alien point of view of being accused is just as bad as being guilty. In our society we see police chases, shootout, suicides in cases where the accused knows he's guilty -- in Kovin's case knowing he's not guilty, he still loses his mind, fires on Voyager and then winds up blowing himself up even after Janeway apologizes. Certainly heavy-handed to make a point.

I'm starting to like Picardo as the doctor more and more -- certainly showing a personality and the desire to pick up new skills. Good to see Janeway learn something here -- she screwed up royally in "Prey" and didn't admit her mistakes. It does feel like VOY S4 is leaning heavily on the "integrating 7 of 9" into the cast but I do think VOY has had a very good run of episodes so far.

I'd rate "Retrospect" 2.5 stars -- got a good guest actor to play Kovin and the dynamics between the crew around 7 are getting better. Definitely heavy-handed though and certain parts were a stretch for me. But good to see the Voyager crew eat some humble pie in this good character development episode.
Sat, Aug 19, 2017, 5:22am (UTC -5)
Agree with @cabbie.

1) Why had 7 repressed/supressed the memory of Kovin 'accidently' firing the phaser and it hitting her hand? If it was just an accident why wouldn't she remember? If she was unconcious following the phaser fire for so long why didn't Kovin get a medic to attend to ber? 2) Why did she suddenly attack him in Engineering? Both of these incidents suggest something happened between them. Either that or they suggest poor writing!

Very messy episode and uncomfortable viewing. It treats a very sensitive issue in a very hamfisted manner. I found Janeway's really nasty glare at 7 towards the end upsetting ie 7 this is all YOUR fault, an innocent man has blown himself up because of YOU!!! Note how comfy cosy Janeway is with the Doc in contrast. I would argue that his amateurish egoistic prodding around in 7's mind, memories and emotions is a real violation 7 experienced.

However, I see I am not alone in suspecting Kovin staged his own death and is alive and well and merrily selling his 'acquired' Born technology to the highest bidders!
Thu, Sep 7, 2017, 12:53am (UTC -5)
I was very upset by this episode. It was unfair to blame Seven because Kovin died fleeing the investigation. First, she didn't accuse him out of malicious intent. Second, innocent or not, he shouldn't have treated the Voyager with such antagonism and put his life in jeopardy over his fears. It's one thing for her or the Doctor to reflect on how they could have made better choices, it's yet another for Janeway to make a leap and imply they were at fault for his actions. All the characters should be held responsible for their own actions.

In conclusion, I was offended that Kovin's death was conflated with his innocence. Also, I was offended by how coarsely the writers and Janeway treated an emotionally complicated issue. Even if the Kovin was innocent, that does not mean Seven was the perpetrator.
Thu, Sep 7, 2017, 1:09am (UTC -5)
To be clear, I believe that Seven receives blame for Kovin's death due to Janeway's behavior to her after he dies. I also concluded that the writers were suggesting her culpability in his death by the fact the "discovery" of his innocence is so heavily tied to his death in the narrative. I feel it is strongly implied that her unsupported accusations caused his death.

I added the above because I thought I should clarify the reasons why I felt Seven received blame for his death.

I also want to emphasize that I understand why Seven might want to be reflect on how to be more careful before issuing accusations. That's not my problem with the episode. I have a problem with Seven receiving blame for his death.
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 11:07pm (UTC -5)
I've seen a fair amount of anger toward the moral commentary of the episode, especially from Trek feminists who believe its just "victim shaming" and obviously a "evil man violating a poor innocent woman" despite the whole evidence pointing to Kovin's innocence.

I think its interesting to explore the other side, the side of false rape/abuse accusations that do happen more often than people realise or are told about. However rather than blaming Seven, the victim, I would blame The Doctor as he does himself.

In my view the Doctors actions in this episode are analogous to a court case with a fervant lawyer or legal adviser of some sort. I've heard of cases before where people who believe they may possibly have been a victim of abuse but can't really be sure or remember will seek advise or help and if a lawyer decides to take the case as they see it as an "easy win" case with a big payout in court they'll try persuade the victim that the crime 100% did take place and that they need to punish the suspect to help the victim feel better. This is essentially what The Doctor did, I feel he let his affection for Seven cloud his judgement as we can see from his dialogue he continually insisted to Seven various possibilities and ardently defended her in front of the crew leading Tuvok to even notice that he had essentially already made up his mind that Kovin was guilty before any evidence had been found.

This "egging on" from the Doctor lead Seven herself to feel more secure that she had "support" for her memories and then when the Doctor realised he'd jumped the gun and admitted he was unsure, Seven felt like a victim again, being told she was wrong and in her words "The Doctor told me I would feel better when Kovin gets what he deserves. I want him to be punished. I won't settle for anything less." to me its analogous to a plaintiff being told by their legal advisers that they were definitely a victim and they'd feel good once they punished their alleged attacker only for the case to turn against them when the other side provides proof of the defendants innocence or at least "evidence to the contrary" that damages the plaintiffs case, which in turn causes the plaintiff to suddenly become more resolute and steadfast in what they were told was the truth despite previously doubting themselves in the beginning, its like a psychological self-defence mechanism of sorts.

Unfortunately Kovin was one of those cases where the accused was essentially hounded, persecuted and harassed into what is analogous to committing suicide. I quite like that they made the Doctor realise his mistake rather than just end the episode where everyone feels bad and nothing comes of it.

It may be outspoken to say but given the wave of Feminism and "social justice" in recent years, I can't imagine anything like this would appear on Star Trek Discovery unless Kovin was 100% guilty and it was more of a cut and dry "man vs woman" rape metaphor rather than a good ambiguous possible false accusation story this episode was.
William B
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
I'm going to avoid wading too deep into the waters on this one since it's generated a lot of controversy and I don't really want to deal with that right now, but one thing I wanted to note is that, despite Janeway's dialogue with the Doctor about the whole ship bearing responsibility, I'm not clear that the Voyager crew as a whole (as opposed to the Doctor) did anything wrong. Tuvok maintained objectivity throughout. An allegation was made by a crew member and I don't see how Voyager can choose *not* to investigate allegations. Even if it was not worth risking trade negotiations etc. on the basis of the claim of the damage to Seven personally -- which is a big "if" -- taking Borg nanoprobes is serious stuff and goes straight to the importance of not sharing dangerous tech which has been a steady theme in most of the show. Janeway only called the Magistrate when Kovin made it clear he wasn't going to let them examine his workspace without going to a higher authority, and so the fact that Kovin comes from a species where (if we believe him) the authorities always side with foreign accusers to protect trade agreements is very unfortunate but not Janeway's fault. In terms of the actual way that the crew treated Kovin directly (as opposed to internal conversations of the Voyager crew), the main area where I think that overzealousness can be identified is in the Doctor's smug attitude while scanning around and when he finds the nanoprobes. That's not to say that I don't think the Doctor screwed up; it's clear that he became overzealous with Seven herself, particularly when he started insisting that she should feel angry and especially when he started pushing her to imagine how much satisfaction she will get when Kovin "gets what he deserves." However, besides that one scene where the Doctor had a bad attitude with Kovin, I don't see evidence within the episode that this actually filtered down to Kovin beyond the fact of Voyager crew investigating the accusation, which honestly they should. It's not that I don't have sympathy for Kovin (putting aside the theory posited here that Kovin may still be guilty), but I don't think that it's reasonable to expect Voyager not to investigate potential assault and theft of dangerous technology, and we saw evidence of the crew continuing to carry out the investigation even after Kovin ran. Of course, there's also a contradiction of sorts in that when they do find a bunch of nanoprobes lying around on Kovin's table, they don't actually bother cleaning it up (but just bring some back for study), which suggests a pretty lackadaisical approach to the unlimited destructive potential etc. I guess those nanoprobes are fine?

Putting aside the controversial elements which I'm not going to get into, I found the central performances of Picardo and Ryan to be very strong and there are a lot of good scenes, especially the Doctor's request to Janeway at the end, but I also find the plot to be contrived in several ways. Why *did* Seven have that weird engrammatic activity, anyway? And why could she not remember the whole time in Kovin's lab? It's okay for there to be some mysteries at the end of an episode, but it's frustrating that several elements that were required to lead to Seven/the Doctor's accusations were not only left mysteries, but apparently forgotten entirely, once the episode's big reveal happened.
Tue, Nov 28, 2017, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
2 stars

This one didn’t work for me
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
Sorry this is so long, but whatever. :P

I don't know why anyone even started talking about rape. Seven wasn't raped. They knocked her out and stole some of her nanoprobes. That would be like someone knocking me out and stealing some of my blood. This episode is clearly about the alleged implanting of false memories, not rape, or falsely accusing someone of rape. It's even in the title of the episode. If it had been Paris they did this to, no one would be talking about rape at all. Just because Seven is a sexy woman, it equates to rape? That's stupid. A person can say they were violated without it meaning rape. Sheesh. Everyone stop immediately jumping to 'rape' when someone says the word 'violated'.

And Kovin is obviously guilty. Either that or the writers messed up big time. Like very big.

She totally overreacted to Kovin by breaking his nose. Why would she do that if something hadn't happened between them? She has never acted like that before. She's not Torres.

Seven began having flashbacks of what happened before the Doc even did anything to her. That's why they started this whole process. Why would she have false memories before she underwent regression therapy?

The Doc then clearly found that someone had suppressed Seven's memories.

EMH: She experienced an episode of acute anxiety with all the trimmings. Intense apprehension, shortness of breath, dizziness. I finally managed to sedate her.
JANEWAY: Could this have been caused by her cortical implants?
EMH: I don't think so. I think the problem has to do with memory suppression. I've detected a high concentration of biogenic amines in Seven's hippocampus, a substance I haven't noticed before. It's blocking portions of her memory centre.

So if her memories weren't suppressed, then either the Doc is lying or incompetent. Neither of which is true.

Then when he tries to get her to remember what happened, he asked almost no leading questions at all. In fact he says a couple things that she contradicts. Here's what happened. (edited somewhat)

EMH: ...Describe the first image that enters your mind.
SEVEN: A medical tricorder. Duritanium casing. Seven point six centimetres by nine point eight centimetres by three point two centimetres. Alphanumeric display.
EMH: That's enough. So, you're in Sickbay. How does the tricorder make you feel?
SEVEN: It disturbs me.
EMH: Why does it disturb you?
SEVEN: I'm afraid it will hurt me.
EMH: Is there anything else there that causes you to anticipate pain?
SEVEN: The diagnostic bed. It's closing around me.
EMH: You feel restrained, confined? (*--- possibly leading)
SEVEN Yes. I am uneasy.
EMH: About what?
SEVEN: It's Kovin.
EMH: What is he doing?
SEVEN: He's restraining me. I want to get away from him but I can't. Kovin's using some kind of instrument on me.
EMH: Seven?
SEVEN: I didn't recall this before.
EMH: Recall what?
SEVEN: Kovin. He performed a surgical procedure on me. He extracted Borg technology from my body. He violated me.
EMH: We're making progress. Now tell me, this surgical procedure, when did it happen?
SEVEN: I don't know. The details are vague. There are only images.
EMH: And you're sure it was Kovin? Did you see Kovin?
EMH: You said he was restraining you, using an instrument of some sort.
SEVEN: He was.
EMH: Were you on Voyager when this happened?
SEVEN: No. It must have been when we were testing the weapons on the surface.
EMH: Then concentrate on that away mission. Focus on the first image that enters your mind. Describe it for me.
SEVEN: A large granitic stone, approximately one half metre high.
EMH: Now, allow that memory to develop beyond the image. Integrate it into your consciousness. Let the memory take shape.
SEVEN: Kovin took me to a small laboratory.
EMH: Describe it.
SEVEN: It was poorly illuminated. I saw various instruments, technology unfamiliar to me. I assumed this was where he developed new weapon designs.
SEVEN: He turned the weapon on me.
EMH: He fired? (*---- possibly leading)
SEVEN: Yes, I remember it now.
EMH: What happened next?
SEVEN: I'm not sure.
EMH: Concentrate. See the laboratory in your mind.
SEVEN: There was a light in my eyes.
EMH: Was Kovin still in the room with you?
SEVEN: They bound me to an examination table.
EMH: What did they do to you? Did they scan you? (*---- possibly leading)
SEVEN: They put a device near my head.
SEVEN: They removed my ocular implant.
SEVEN: Then some of the implants in my arm were activated.
EMH: Which ones? Can you be more specific?
SEVEN: They extracted nanoprobes through my assimilation tubules. I was powerless, unable to stop them.
EMH: You couldn't be expected to. You were restrained. Then what happened?
SEVEN: They took the nanoprobes to another subject, also restrained. Then they, they assimilated him.
SEVEN: The next thing I remember I was back in Kovin's lab. He claimed the particle beam rifle overloaded, that it had burned my hand. But it was a lie. They had attacked me.
EMH: I'll inform the captain.

Virtually everything in that exchange came from Seven, not the Doctor.

Then there is this....

EMH: ...we're dealing with a very recent memory here, that was blocked by artificial means...She's remembering what happened to her. I've confirmed this by analysing the specific engrammatic activity in her hippocampus. We're not talking about conjecture, we're talking about science.

So again, if there are no suppressed memories, then either the Doc is incompetent or lying. And again, he's neither.

And this....

JANEWAY: She now remembers that you fired the weapon at her deliberately.
KOVIN: That's preposterous.
JANEWAY: The Doctor now tells me the blast could have been enough to render her unconscious.
KOVIN: But it didn't. We were both startled for a moment. And after I apologised for the accident, she asked if I had a dermal regenerator, which I did, and I used on her arm. The one with the mechanical implants.

If she wasn't knocked unconscious, why wouldn't she just remember everything as it happened? Answer: She would. Why would she have false memories of something that had just happened to her a few hours ago? Since she doesn't remember what 'actually' happened, she must have been unconscious. And if her memory wasn't wiped, why did the Doc find evidence that it had been, and that the wipe was fading away, causing her to remember things, before he even did his regression therapy? Why would Seven remember all of that detail with no prompting from the Doc during the regression? And why did the engrammatic scan confirm that she was remembering if there was nothing to remember?

And because the hypospray they gave her made her nanoprobes act the same as if the gun overloaded, or if Kovin experimented on them, that proves nothing either way. Only that either one was possible.

Then of course there is Kovin's extreme actions near the end of the episode. Why would he possibly act like that if he were innocent? It makes no sense. Going mental and attacking Voyager and not listening when they tell him they believe him. It seems as though he knew he was guilty and didn't trust them, that they were tricking him into giving up.

I think all of that proves her memories were real and Kovin is guilty. I'd vote him guilty if I was on a jury.

So the writers portrayed him as completely guilty the entire episode, but then at the end everyone thinks he is innocent for some unknown reason. Bad writing. Or if they were trying to make him look innocent, they did a terrible job. One piece of evidence that is inconclusive at best, shouldn't make them discount all the other actual medical evidence. I don't know what the writers were trying to do to be honest. If he's guilty, then the memories weren't implanted, which is how it seems, and if that's the case, then what is the point of the episode? That they didn't investigate well enough? If he's innocent, and the memories are implanted, then what's the point? That you shouldn't investigate someone when they are accused, even if they believe them to be innocent at the end? It's very confusing.

If they found out he was truly innocent after he was wrongfully convicted, or the opposite, found out he was guilty after letting him go, then that would have some point. As it is, it says nothing about anything.

1 1/2 stars.
Peter G.
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
@ Skorpa,

I think you're probably right that he episode ends up saying nothing. I'd like to respond to one early comment you made, though:

"Seven wasn't raped. They knocked her out and stole some of her nanoprobes. That would be like someone knocking me out and stealing some of my blood."

I think you may have missed the implication of taking her nanoprobes. In the Borg the nanoprobes are what they use to assimilate and create *new Borg* drones. Think about that for a moment: it's what they use to reproduce. The closest analogy to this wouldn't be knocking you out and taking your blood, it would be knocking you out and *taking your sperm*. And yes, if someone did that I'm quite certain it would qualify as rape in every sense, especially in the sense of it being an assault on someone's sexual organs. It might seem odd to refer to a piece of technology as a sexual organ but in the Borg that's exactly what it is.
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 4:46am (UTC -5)
I disagree with you totally.

I think we all know what rape is. I don't think I need to go into any more detail. But you and I and everyone else knows what rape is.

A medical procedure to remove nanoprobes, or even my sperm, isn't rape. It's completely wrong, and terrible, and a total invasion, but it isn't rape.

And the point of the episode was that maybe Seven had false memories implanted. That's it. People trying to make it about something else are reading too much into it, I think.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
This thread shows perfectly why self proclaimed geeks guys are utterly terrifying when they leave their mother's basements. So much red pills, and so little stats and facts. Actually terrifying. Is it any wonder women are increasingly choosing not to marry, not to have children and not enter relationships.
I Hate Janeway
Fri, Dec 29, 2017, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
I was not convinced that Kovin wasn't guilty. He had the motive (steal Borg tech to sell it to someone else and get rich), and Seven couldn't remember what happened during the two hours, and that Kovin would rather be blown up than get caught implied that his ship was full of incriminating evidence. If they wanted me to believe Kovin was innocent, they should have had Tuvok explain it more logically.

Anyway, why was what Kovin did such a big deal? Janeway had the Doctor remove all of Seven's Borg implants against her will, changing her very nature. But all Kovin did was take a few self-regenerating nanites that Seven wouldn't miss.

And if Kovin is able to sell such advanced weaponry, why doesn't his own spaceship have any of it? Kovin should have been able to blast Voyager out of space with his superior guns.
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
I agree that the episode had some very awkward execution.

In terms of those suggesting Kovin is innocent, I more or less took the "nanoprobes" evidence at the end of somehow proving definitively that the weapon fired accidentally. It is very poorly explained, but that is the only reason the Doctor and Janeway would act so convinced that Kovin was innocent - if there was strong evidence he was.

Regarding the rape accusations, I am somewhat appalled as are others that so many on this thread are arguing that the majority of rape accuasations are false.

A few things I would hope most of us could agree on:
* The standard for criminal court cases, such as this, is always innocent until proven guilty and requres hard evidence. Kovin couldn't be convicted without evidence.
* There are other, lesser, standards of evidence required for other situations (e.g. keeping a job, staying at a university, etc.) - most people can be fired without cause in this country, and maybe that sucks but it's true for all crimes
* The vast majority of historical rape cases have been ignored, stifled, or shrugged off by authorities, families, or others and not taken seriously or investigated. That is the horrible history we are trying to resolve.

Jammer, again, I enjoy your reviews even years after so thanks again for all your hard work.
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -5)
The vast majority of historical rape cases have been ignored, stifled, or shrugged off by authorities, families, or others and not taken seriously or investigated. That is the horrible history we are trying to resole

And a hell of a lot of those allegations of rape were false accusations that led to the destruction of lives. When will you be tackling that injustice, I wonder? Most rapes aren't ignored at all. They are fully investigated. And when the allegation is false, the guy is still dragged in for questioning. When it's someone famous, this is plastered all over the news, causing even further embarrassment. Have you ever been the victim of that? Regurgitating what you hear on CNN is not evidence, and nor are studies by biased left-wing think tanks.

Real life is more complicated than what your post suggests.
Fri, Mar 2, 2018, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
It is not an awful episode per se, but damn boring. It could have been really interesting if Seven had accused a crew member, like Tom or Chakotay. Who really cares about the weapon merchant?
Sat, Mar 10, 2018, 11:17am (UTC -5)
@DLPB There is simply not a shred of evidence to suggest that a majority of rape accusations are false. There is on the other hand a great amount of evidence that suggests that not only are most cases of rape not reported at all, and that those that are routinely end up being ignored or badly investigated, today.
Here, I was quite disappointed since the episode started with what could have been an interesting examination of this kind of case. The episode ultimately tried to go both ways: putting Voyager on the other side of the "aliens make false accusation" story and an examination of a rape accusation. The way the two were put together was disturbing.
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
You've created a straw man. Read my comment again.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 4:20am (UTC -5)
Just a thought: If Kovin lives in a society where even an accusation of misconduct will destroy his business, why is he so poorly equipped to defend himself?

It feels like Russian dash cam scenario, where you want incontrovertible proof of all interactions.

Like others here, I think VOY tried to do a "your memories of trauma can deceive you" story, but fumbled it (as usual). And in the process, they accidentally wrote a prescient allegory about the current climate of "believe victims" and "false accusations."

We should all try to remember that twenty years ago, victim-blaming and false rape were not the headline grabbing hotpoints they are now.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 4:28am (UTC -5)
Something that HASN'T changed, sadly; the outrage at the perception that an attractive white woman can get whatever she wants, at the expense of a man's self-worth and reputation.

I remember being super angry at that kind of idea in the 90's; but I was also a hormonally-charged, socially-inept and sexually frustrated teenage virgin at the time.
Mon, Apr 2, 2018, 2:48am (UTC -5)
This store have several levels.
Prejudice and justice. I really hoped that Kovin would be guilt. It was a re watch and until the very end almost I had a memory telling me that they did find an evidence. It was annoying to realise that the end was open.
Nothing, apart from Sevens memory gave a clear indication. Only Kovins unsympathetic manor, and perhaps that he was a weapons dealer, spoke against him. His escape in despair is understandable because he will loos everything.
The doctor, in my opinion, lost his critical sense. Janeway tried to be impartial but was still very biased and even Tuvok indicated having some sort of bias.

Still not a real indication speaks against him.

I am not sure if this episode should be a statement or an indication against women’s credibility in rape cases. That would be unfortunate but memories and especially retrieved “hidden memories” are very disputable things.
By the way, even if Picardo is a good actor, he as usual tries to steel she show with overstatements but Ryan convinces with understatements.

PS. I hope that there will be another timeline next time I watch it and that Kovin is guilty then.
Sun, Apr 15, 2018, 11:42am (UTC -5)
I wonder if a few people upthread were talking past each other somewhat.

“Not guilty” is a legal term indicating that a person could not be PROVED beyond a reasonable doubt to have committed a crime.

“Innocent” is not a legal term and in this context applies to a person falsely accused of committing a crime.

By the information provided in this episode, Kovin would not be found guilty of the alleged crime because it essentially boils down to Seven’s (possibly tainted) word against his. There are no witnesses and no forensic evidence supporting the accusation. However it is also not possible to ascertain that Kovin did not commit the crime. It is perfectly possibly for people who are anything but innocent to be found not guilty by courts.
Fri, May 11, 2018, 10:52am (UTC -5)
As someone with a family member that was false accused of sexual abuse (and it was proven to be false), I'll just say that, no you can't always believe the "victim" and that anyone who even suggests doing away with the presumption of innocence because certain people "never" lie is playing with fire and doing a great disservice to our society.
Sat, May 12, 2018, 9:35am (UTC -5)
I don't mind the accusation turning out to be (probably, apparently) false. I very much mind that there was no explanation of what did cause Seven to have and believe the memory other than (vague) Borg background, a very weak and unconvincing pseudo-explanation.

The episode also awkwardly had Tuvok being impartial but for some reason just not very involved in the investigation, just choosing to or not choosing to but just randomly taking a backseat in the investigation to the less-impartial Doctor so that the accused could accuse the crew of not being impartial without Tuvok being too blatantly out-of-character.
Chris P
Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Since my comment 4 1/2 years ago I've had a family member falsely accused. When reading the debate between then and now - and the reports from people who know someone falsely accused - it's sad to say that I'm now part of the that group.

I still don't believe that this episode is about specifically about rape though. It's about repressed memories and how the system can be used by opportunists who have motives other than justice to convince people that something that didn't happen happened. I suppose false rape allegation fall under that umbrella but let's not lose the initial message about the larger problem, lest we forget history.

In my personal case, there was an overzealous, young district attorney just shotgunning accusations throughout our community hoping for some to stick. Sucks for the people who, in the eyes of the community, were perfect family men Tuesday and potential criminals Wednesday (fortunately for my family member nobody believes it so he is not suffering the usual social ostracization). Our society needs to talk about removing the incentive for parties to play this game with peoples' lives: mainly career advancement on behalf of the "professionals" and gender prejudice on behalf of other "professionals". That they can take advantage of young, naive people to convince them to ruin the lives of others is just the latest version of the same old story: witch hunts, the red scare, satanic panic, repressed memories, and now all men are apparently potential rapists. It always ends up hurting actual victims and the falsely accused way, way more than it helps anybody.

Let's return to innocent until PROVEN guilty and pressure our system to protect the names of those accused until something is proven.
Sun, Sep 23, 2018, 7:36am (UTC -5)
Did not like. I might have, had the explanation for Seven's false memory made even the tiniest bit of sense, but that ridiculous speculation just ruined the whole thing for me. Blech.
Sean Hagins
Mon, Nov 19, 2018, 4:30am (UTC -5)
First, the episode-the Doctor getting Seven to feel anger was SO wrong! He talks of how unhealthy it is to suppress emotions-such negative emotions as vindictiveness, and anger of that sort SHOULD be suppressed! It amazes me how wrong the writers get this!

Now, for the people who say how the guest character probably was guilty because he took such an extreme reaction, I have to say this: he explained that his societies economics is based on trade with alien cultures to the point that the magistrate would likely side against him anyway. I can understand this because of my job-I am a youth sports photographer. If someone accused me of inappropriate conduct with the kids, it would disturb me greatly because in our society this is so prevalent that a lot of people might assume I was guilty even if I know I am not. Now, I probably wouldn't have such a reaction because I rely upon God for help, but in this secular society of Star Trek, I can see someone totally panicking the way the main character did and assume he would be locked up without a real chance to defend himself (or at least his career would be ruined)

I actually do believe he was totally innocent
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 4:56am (UTC -5)
Ten years worth of arguing about rights, repressed memories, false accusations, and rape. All from a Voyager episode that aired twenty-one years ago...

I think we can all agree, we are a LONG ways away from a 24th century utopia at this rate. :-(
Tue, Mar 19, 2019, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
I am really disappointed to see so many spiteful comments about “malicious women” and “female scum” and “man haters” in this thread. Shame on me for expecting better coming in here.

I hated this episode. Seven was clearly displaying PTSD and was disturbed greatly, and it was explained away as just some Borg trauma arising for no reason. She’s never acted like that before, and I haven’t seen the whole series but not surprised if it never happens again. I felt for her. If this were real life she must have felt incredibly alone and I wouldn’t blame her if she was resentful toward Janeway and the Doctor.
Dr. Robotnik
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 3:59am (UTC -5)
This episode could have been done much better without the rape analogy. I understand what they were trying to do, but as it stands, it raises some really unfortunate implications about victim blaming.
Mon, Jul 8, 2019, 5:31am (UTC -5)
Did anyone notice that in the opening shot it is clearly Earth below them? Specifically Canada and the northern United States. At first I thought this meant we were getting a plot that occurred in the Alpha quadrant but no.

It’s a pity that the debates over these fraught topics occur almost entirely between groups that make themselves strawmen for the other side.

False accusations of rape are not vanishingly rare. They are more common than false reports of other kinds of crime. And my best friend in college had his reputation ruined and dropped out because of just such a false accusation. I know for a fact that it was false because he was 200 miles away with me the whole weekend in question. But if I had not been, I would have always wondered, and despite the narrative we so often hear, the young woman was believed rather than him. And the police went around talking to people but never went back to tell them he had an airtight alibi.

However, we do not live in a society where women actually have all the power and are constantly oppressing men. Nor are anything close to a majority of rape allegations false. The real number is somewhere around five or ten percent, but that is high enough that we have to stick with “innocent until proven guilty” and not just go by the woman’s word without corroborating evidence.

The conservative “red pill” types are terrible evangelists for this message because their rhetoric really does always seem to confirm the accusation from the other side that they are motivated by misogyny.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 3:10am (UTC -5)
I’m surprised by a lot of the ignorant misogyny here. Man hating feminists purport fakes rape stories all the time? I suppose the accusers enjoy all the shaming and interrogations and disruption a rape trial can do to their personal and professional lives. Lest you think it’s a feminist conspiracy, look at all the sexual abuse stories that have come out against Catholic priests in the last few years, abuse directed at men and women. I guess they were all lying too? Or in the military? People in power never violate people under their command or in a vulnerable position? Men never violate women? Whites masters never abused their slaves back in the day? You false rape paranoiacs are most likely a bunch of InCels and on the wrong side of history.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 3:32am (UTC -5)
If anyone is interested, google “Women at Warp” Episode 104 or google “Voyager retrospect reviews “ for a more current podcast on the topic, and some interesting links. False rape accusers are rare, but as the poster above said, not non existent and no one want s to do away with the notion of innocent until proven guilty. But the false rape accusers are rare and easily caught, where as many more real assaults are more likely not to get reported, and the victims have many decks stacked against them, which is a bigger problem. By the way, I lived through the nineties and I don’t remember repressed memory being a real crisis of our judicial system sending a whole generation of innocent men to the gulag and threatening to bring down our justice system. I do remember generations of victims of sexual abuse in Catholic Churches all over the world finally going public and beginning to find some justice and healing, which is still continuing today. So my sympathy and solidarity to all victims who have been afraid to come forward and haven’t been believed when they did, and have been put under more scrutiny and interrogation than the perpetrator. Which is why I find this episode troublesome.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -5)
So, nobody wants to do away with innocent until proven guilty but we should still just believe someone who (like Seven) claims to be a victim without any evidence.

Methinks there’s a contradiction there somewhere. Or does that make me a misogynistic Incel?
Tue, Oct 22, 2019, 10:52am (UTC -5)
As I said 2 years ago. I still don't understand why anyone thinks this episode is about rape at all. It's about repressed/supressed memories, and whether they may or may not be true.

All this talk of rape and false rape allegations, etc. has nothing to do with this episode. Of course some people are raped, and some people lie about rape, and who knows whether statistics about it are correct or not? But it doesn't matter, that's not what is happening here. It's about memories, not rape.

I can't believe I have to explain this to what I would assume to be smart Star Trek fans. geez.
Tue, Oct 22, 2019, 10:54am (UTC -5)
There are several ST episodes about rape, but this isn't one of them.
Top Hat
Tue, Oct 22, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Let's recall that UPN promoted it sort of like it was about rape: Frankly, if they wanted to do an episode about false memories, it's a very unfortunate choice to layer it onto an episode that even suggests a rape-like experience, as the writers' points don't exactly land.
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
This is terrible episode for many reasons, but the biggest is that the message is "Women shouldn't make accusations against men". I might add some superfluous wording about "unless they have 100% proof", but its a chicken and egg device to stop any accusations. For how can the victim have the burden of proof? They would need assistance to get it (police, detectives, lawyers, etc.), but if they can't make the accusation, they can never get the proof.

The episode was always about sexual assault. If you read any article about it, when the writers came in to clean up the pitch and make it a story, they have gone on record as removing the 'sexual' elements, but it still seems like an allegory so, they changed the wording but the subtext is resoundingly clear (especially with the 'violation' phrasing).

This is basically a Harvey Weinstein defense piece before the truth came out. Considering how long that abuse went on, it really seems like this is propaganda directed at women, to let them know they should never make any kind of fuss about assault, otherwise, it will literally kill the man and it will be their fault.

The fact that a fairly impartial process leads to the death of an 'innocent' man (c'mon, who runs and kills themselves if the are totally innocent) seems to be pushing propaganda for abusers.

STNG already did a very good episode about how different people remember things (maybe even having false memories). The one where Riker is accused of murdering a scientist developing a power source, used as a weapon. There, the accused was a main character, so we know that he is innocent. If the writers wanted to do a false memory episode, it should have followed that format.

This episode was just a poorly written (not unusually so, but Voyager is usually smothering itself with plot holes). Why did Tuvok not mind meld? Why didn't they scan for that guys DNA on Seven? Why couldn't the Doctor find damage to Sevens neck? Why was the Doctor so amazingly incompetent? Voyager is pretty much garbage and this episode is just exhibit #99.
Jason R.
Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 6:43am (UTC -5)
"The episode was always about sexual assault. If you read any article about it, when the writers came in to clean up the pitch and make it a story, they have gone on record as removing the 'sexual' elements, but it still seems like an allegory so, they changed the wording but the subtext is resoundingly clear (especially with the 'violation' "

I will take your word for it on what the writers intended.

But for those that don't know or don't remember, in the 90s there were several high profile cases where individuals were convicted of terrible crimes (childhood sexual abuse mostly) based on memories recovered in therapy - memories that turned out to be false in all likelihood.

In the Ramona v. Isabella case (1994) out of the UK, one of the falsely accused recovered $500,000 in a civil claim against one such therapist who implanted false memories of abuse in his daughter. There were a string of such civil claims in the years leading up to the airing of this episode (1998).

Given that the episode literally concerns recovered memories solicited by a doctor (acting as a therapist), we could be forgiven for assuming that this was the topic the writers were going for and not the Weinstein variety you allude to.
William B
Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 11:57am (UTC -5)
I'll add that TNG's Violations also was possibly inspired by these "false memory" cases. There the "therapist" (evil memory retrieval person) plants false traumatic memories (and retrieves real ones?) for, apparently, sadistic pleasure. The Doctor is well meaning in this episode but I suspect Jason is correct that this episode is inspired by cases of that sort. I'll add that Seven is already vulnerable because of what the Borg did to her (and her parents, for taking a seven year old into Borg space), but it is not possible to bring the Borg to justice, whereas it seems possible to bring Kovin. I think at core the episode is not saying "people don't get victimized," so much as that there are sometimes places where memory gets hazy, and the (correct) desire to see justice done can cloud judgment, especially when the possible victim is already a victim of a major trauma which the justice system is completely unable to deal with. I don't know that it's successful, partly because the plot takes some cheats, though I think Ryan and Picardo are excellent and much of the character material works.
Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
I took 'violated' to mean in the non-sexual way, e.g. if a doctor performs a procedure without consent that's a violation of an individual's right to decide (I forget the wording - but basically consent being important in all areas of life, not just sex). Of course the implications of this particular violation were wider than the effect it would have on the individual (Borg technology, yikes!) and I really thought they needed a part 2 to establish what exactly was going on.

The memory block was recent, so who put it there?
Was there a random drone some on the trader's planet?
What happened in those two hours - could modifying the weapon really have taken that long? (And did Tom Paris really not think to check in during that time?!) Why can't Seven remember more than a few minutes of working with the weapons?

It's the memory block that gives this far a more scientific basis than repressed memories in the real world. They couldn't prove Korvin's guilt BUT in order to prove his innocence for themselves they needed a part 2 to find out what exactly was going on despite his death. They needed to for Seven's sake if nothing else - and that way they wouldn't have been abandoning her like they said they wouldn't. Those memories got there somehow, that memory block got there somehow - maybe a creation of malfunctioning Borg tech or some other sci-fi explanation, it's more than just unreliable human memory.

I liked the idea of our heroes being on the wrong side of a judgement call, but the writers messed it up by putting in the memory block which was never dealt with. That's what made the Doctor so certain; without it the episode would have been believably ambiguous.

Seven was not at all at fault; I was incredibly disappointed that Janeway started out saying 'I have no doubt you believe what you're saying' and then ending by glaring at her after Korvin died. If she had no medical basis to believe the memories were accurate yet went spreading her account far and wide, yes she'd have been somewhat guilty in driving him to flee and end up dead. But as it was written, she had sound reason to believe these memories were accurate and expected the investigation to corroborate them - and we don't see her spreading anything beyond those who needed to know on Voyager either.

I appreciated the ending with Janeway and the Doctor, a bit deeper than 'and they all went on their merry way' like most episodes are. It wasn't perfect, but made a change and was fittingly downbeat after the events of the episode. Would have made more sense if they'd found the actual explanation for the memory block and memories though!
Fri, May 1, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
People's rush to position themselves on this episode based on their political beliefs is disappointing. I have read through block-caps essays of really unnecessary ranting on both sides. Innocent until proven guilty and 'give credence to women' are not mutually exclusive. It is our often hysterical reaction to pick a side that makes these principles mutually untenable.

It is permissible to hold judgement until a burden of proof is satisfied. Despite the attempts of Tuvok and Janeway in this episode, few on this thread are happy to do that. People pick sides and they often collate with their preconceptions.

If we rush to believe women we fail to protect the falsely accused. If we doubt an accuser we fail to protect women. It is a mess the Voyager crew get stuck in. This episode was written in a 90s context which does involve the false memory controversies of the time. The linking of the Doc's dabbling in psychology, this theme, and the wider cost of guilt and remorse is well out together.

I think fixating on unravelling the evidence is misleading. The narrative intention is that the scientific evidence simply refutes Sevens story. The Doc, Captain and Tuvok all sadly try and explain this to Seven. When the human brain comes up against scientific absolutes, it is often our perceptions that are flawed. I have concrete memories about dialogue from shows I watched uears ago. I am often surprised to find them completely misremembered upon rewatch. Not that I'm comparing this to that, but memory errs.

The narrative is clearly, oh heck we screwed up. Kovin is for me, clearly acted by someone who is innocent. Voyager always gives us a shifty alien when required. This nuanced hothead is required for the more complicated material that we see here. Janeway is furious. She tried to play by the book and the worst still happens. In her mind there is no doubt, which is why she glares at Seven. She has just watched someone die, and must have felt between the magistrate, Seven and the Doc's actions, she had very little help.

It is correct that someone who is convinced they were violated cannot be blamed for anger, resentment, a desire for retribution. But if we are then to find out evidence is that we were wrong, at the very least our call for punishment being connected to the outcome of the cost of someone's life, well it certainly is a matter for remorse.
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
So Seven's flashbacks were fake?? I don't buy it. She's not that neurotic. This just seemed like some dumb writing, where key conversations didn't happen. So far, the least favorite episode in my rewatch.
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Does anyone have the answer as to why Tuvok didn’t mind meld with Seven or Kovin? It would have been fairly obvious to resolve.

I’m watching the series again with my two boys (9 and 11). They enjoy the series and my 9 year old can’t fathom why there was no mind meld?
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 10:05am (UTC -5)
I am shocked and deeply saddened by some of the comments here.

He "may have been guilty" = he was innocent.
He "seemed guilty" = he was innocent.
He "looked the type" = he was innocent.
His "story was fishy" = he was innocent.
He was "not proven innocent" = he was innocent.

Innocence does NOT need to be proven.
GUILT needs to be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt.

That applies to everything, from a parking violation to multiple homicide in the first degree. And yes, to rape and others violations of the person also.

That this is even questions fills me with despair. I'm not absolutist about many things in life, but this IS one of the few things where it's truly black or white. If you impugn the presumption of innocence, whatever your rationalization, then you overthrow the very linchpins of our civilization: A society whose criminal justice system is based on arbitrariness and caprice is an anarcho-tyranny. With it, we may as well throw all our achievements down the can.
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Seven of Nine **is* the best thing that ever happened to "Voyager," and that's the problem. Clearly the creators had no clue what to do beyond the first episode.
SS Elim
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Can't really say it better than MikeyZ.
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Seven never exhibited nervous response to anything but separation from the "collective". Seven was a battle hardened Borg who assimilated countless millions. At the time of her encounter with Kovin, Seven still showed indifference to human weakness. Captain Janeway was running out of options to cure Seven of Bord tendencies and make her more haman. Yet when kovin blasted Seven with a canon Seven suddenly loses her Borg efficiency exhibiting the traits of human weakness in imagining illogical event which would not effect any self respecting Borg. kovin as a violator of her person should have been nothing to a Bord who dose not regard the emotional response a human would show. It is illogical to expect such inefficient reaction from a former Borg drone who has not transitioned very far from Borgdness. It is most likely that kovin actually violated Seven.
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 10:32am (UTC -5)
It bothers me that we never get an explanation for Seven's sudden fear of medical procedures, and that Kovin's death convinces Seven that she was wrong.

The only physical evidence was the behaviour of the nanoprobes, and while the dispersal pattern potentially supported Kovin's version of events, all it proved was that Seven had been hit by the blast. Which they already knew. The Doctor initially assumed, wrongly, that the nanoprobes would have been inactive, and speculated that Kovin must have been experimenting with them, but while the experiment proved that the dispersal pattern of the nanoprobes couldn't be considered evidence of Kovin's guilt, it didn't explain Seven's reaction to Kovin or her panic in Sickbay, both of which preceded her or why she remembered Kovin performing the procedure on her. What are the odds that suppressed memories of trauma from her time as a Borg would surface during an encounter with an alien who (a) is a weapons dealer with an arguable motive to steal Borg technology, (b) happened to be alone with her for a couple of hours, and (c) accidentally shot her without causing injury or unconsciousness?

I can see why the experiment would lead them to disregard the dispersal pattern of the nanoprobes as evidence, one way or the other, but not why they would go from believing Seven to taking it as a given that Kovin was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Kovin's flight fits equally well with a guilty man who feels the net closing around him and knows that he has no hope of getting away with his crime as it does with an innocent man who has no faith that he will receive a fair trial.

It also really bothers me that Seven is just left to get on with it. Whether or not her memories were accurate, they were real to her. Worse, Captain Janeway gives her a reproachful look after Kovin's suicide as if Seven has done something wrong.

Kovin's death feels like it was intended to be a final resolution to the story, confirming his innocence beyond all possible doubt, but it doesn't work for me because there are too many unanswered questions.

One possible alternate ending would be if the experiment with the nanoprobes and the possibility of Seven misremembering incidents from her time in the Collective, combined with the Entharan representative's lack of interest in the truth, led Janeway to conclude that they simply didn't have enough evidence to prove that was Kovin was guilty to Federation standards of justice, and that as the Entharans regarded him as guilty by virtue of being accused by a customer, dropping the charges was the only way to keep Kovin from being executed or whatever. Basically, better to risk that a guilty person go free than that an innocent person be wrongly convicted.
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 8:00am (UTC -5)
This comments section functions as a really interesting time capsule, with people getting more passionate as time gets on.
Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Is Kovin’s rifle a Dyson vacuum cleaner?
Wed, Oct 14, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Just watched it for the 1st time. I was appalled.
Which leads to a thought that the episode was perhaps well-written?

It tackled 3 very messy and complex issues.

1. What happens when an untrained person decides they are a psychotherapist.
2. What happens when a chronic childhood abuse victim with repressed memories/feelings starts to recover those feelings/memories
3. What happens when a person is accused of rape with no concrete evidence of guilt or non-guilt

I was around during the whole repressed memory debacle of the 80s/ 90s. We still don't KNOW if Woody Allen did it or not. And although some men have won against accusations made by repressed memory recollections in court, we don't KNOW if they are innocent. Or guilty. And we can't know because we weren't there. It is messy.

As a survivor of chronic childhood abuse, (age 6 to 16) I can attest to the confusion of memory. And the effects of PTSD that didn't show up until I was in my 30s carrying my 1st child. It wasn't until I was pregnant that I even realized that I had been abused. I thought it was a normal relationship. It wasn't. I never accused anyone of 'violation' but I did have adverse reactions to people during my dating years who probably were just trying to be nice. Again. Messy. (And before you call me a bitter man-hater, my abuser was female)

To link that back to 7, she is emerging from years of being surgically violated. Girl has been affected and it's a shame that this episode didn't follow up with anything to explore that further. The shaming she received, as uncomfortable as it was to watch, is realistic of how a person in 7's position is treated.

False accusations. It's a bad term. We need a new term. How about 'accusation'. Someone is accused of rape. They are found guilty or not guilty.
But let's take rape out of the scenario. If someone says they have been robbed, an investigation is held. It turns out that there is evidence to support or discredit the accusation.
Is the person accused of theft destroyed afterwards? Or a person accused of murder. If found not guilty, do people treat them differently?
Realistically, it comes down to how clear the evidence is. If the murder or theft happened while the accused was 200 kms away, people will not doubt their innocence.
However, in rape, there is rarely conclusive evidence to support a non-consensual vs consensual act. So there is always doubt. And it is very messy.

In this episode, it was left messy. Which is good writing. We just don't know what happened. And again, the reactions towards 7 were realistic. As were the reactions to the Doctor.

For those men who are worried and angry about not being believed in a rape case and having their world shattered - welcome to our reality. You now know a little bit about what it feels like to be raped and to have to trust the justice system to help you.

But rest assured that the probability of you being falsely accused vs actually being raped is approximately 1:100 000.

And I say that as someone who recognizes the toxic femininity that exists with the toxic masculinity of our society. Our only way forward is to create a society with whole, emotionally healthy men and women.

I am in if you are.
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 2:50am (UTC -5)
So many of the people in this comment section seem to be under the impression false accusations happen often. Absolutely not. Imagine having to make a claim like that and to tell your family and friends that you were raped and lying directly to their faces. This doesn't happen as often as you all apparently think it does. It just seems that this episode was written with a clear agenda that bent Janeway and the dr's characters to the will of the writer. This was honestly so insulting as a viewer.
At the end of the episode, I would expect Janeway to be deeply troubled with what happened. She might need to discuss the issue with Tuvok or Chakotay as she has done numerous times when seeking counsel or comfort about something that has disturbed her. And it WOULD have disturbed her, her character being so empathetic and focused on fairness. Not only did she not discuss her feelings at all about it (except her conversation with the dr which I'll address in a second), she didn't even have a closing conversation with 7 of 9! Whose recollections were the FOCUS of the episode. There was absolutely no resolution there, with Janeway or with seven by herself making a personal log. This is absolutely bullshit and shows a clear agenda overly sympathetic towards this random man who may or may not ( because, again, IT IS NOT CLEAR ) have assaulted her. In the right or not, seven is still a main character on the show and it makes absolutely no sense not to tie up the loose end on her episode. Again, I think this shows clear bias that this was someone intent on using Janeway and the Dr to make an OPINION (a wrong one) into a whole Voyager episode.

Addressing the conversation with the dr and Janeway, it just felt wrong in every way. She says, paraphrasing, "that's what will help you make sure it doesn't happen again". I assume Janeway here means the conversation that happened earlier in the episode in which the dr encourages (?) or incites anger in Seven of Nine towards Kovin about the assault. This scene also frustrated and angered me. It felt, again, like someone assuming what happens when a victim goes through assault or perhaps false(?) repressed memories. (which when you think about it doesn't make any sense- I will try to address that in a second). For the allegory's purpose, this is ridiculous. Victims don't need any help being angry. They don't need to be coerced to be angry. Those emotions happen naturally. In fact, more emotions than anger happen naturally. To assume that there is someone stoking the fires is too insulting for words. Seven is a victim of such extreme abuse that it makes sense that she wouldn't totally comprehend the anger that she would and could feel about Kovin's supposed trespass. But it's clear the episode is telling a bigger story about life and about rape victims. However, real life victims aren't post-borg. The majority of them know how to feel pain, anger, sadness, violation. And most of the time there is no "Anger cheerleader", encouraging them to publicly accuse anyone. In fact, it's usually the opposite. Often they are told not to rock the boat. They are told NOT to say anything.
And on top of telling him he shouldn't be this weird made up archetype of an anger cheerleader, Janeway's also telling him not to be the other things he was in this episode. She's telling him not to support seven, not to be protective of seven, not to believe seven, not to personally check out the site that that accusations were made. It's a really frustrating way to end the episode, because it doesn't ring true to her character. She doesn't say she thought the dr was fighting for what he believed in or fighting for a member of the crew, which is something that she has shown time and time again she would have done herself. She doesn't say he was fighting for justice, which is what Starfleet is all about. She doesn't even address the messiness of the situation. Why? Because the writer has made up their mind about the situation. They know their answer.
This episode NEVER should have been greenlit.
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 9:12am (UTC -5)
I couldn't believe I had just seen the episode I did once it was done. Well, maybe I shouldn't be, since even just reading this thread it's easy to see how messed up society still is when it comes to an issue like this. Most people seem to always be biased to once side or the other rather than even trying to look at every case logically, impartially, and without preconcieved notions.

First of all, it's pointless to argue if what happened to Seven was rape or not. Ultimately, it is the obvious conclusion that what happaned to Seven was intended to be an ALLEGORY to rape or sexual assault. She alleged that her body was tampered with without her consent by another for reasons of selfish gain. It's incomparable to her having her borg implants removed as that can be compared to a medical procedure to save someone's life (maybe the allegory could be that she was in a cult that drugged out her mind and had to be put under control to in order to save her from that situation). So that much is established.

My first issue is that the issues with Seven that had been brought up in the beginning, which I was expecting to be refered to as PTSD but never was, was never addresed or explained by the end of the episode. The memory she had was supposed to be the explaination, but by the end the writing of the episode was telling us to doubt that was the case.

I was worried as soon as it had become apparent to me what this episode was going to be about. But I liked how they found a way to bring the issue up in a novel way that tied into futuristic ideas (how a Cyborg, which is basically what Seven is, could come to feel violated in a way that isn't sexual). But even using an allegory, violating someone's consent is a difficult and delicate subject to tackle as somehow society still seems to be split on how to look at the subject. I was hoping that the writers would take this as an opportunity to show us how this is yet another thing that people of the future, in the universe of Star Trek, have figured out and gotten past. When the trader spoke with Tuvok and and he assured him that the investigation would be impartial and fact-based, I had hope it was going in the right direction.

NO ONE HERE, as far as I've read (forgive me if I only managed to get through about 60% of this thread), has said the trader was definitely guilty (yet many have jumped on calling him innocent). When someone accuses someone of violating them, we should believe that they're telling the truth, because the science and evidence has historically proven that 9 times out of 10 they aren't lying. But that doesn't mean we should automatically believe the alleged purpetrator is guilty, it just means we should take at least take the allegation seriously and do whatever we can to find the truth. The trader was upset that his reputation would be ruined, but it's never explained how or why anyone other than those who already knew about it would need to know. In the real world, if these matters could be dealt with the way they actually should be - meaning that every time such an unfortunate thing does actually happen, that victim knows that they can contact the right people right away and know that they'll be taken seriously and have their case looked into as privately as possible instead of having to deal with social fears and stigma which leads to them resorting to other ways to find solace, like blasting the name of the alleged victim on social media.

It was fine up to the point where they were in the lab and looking for evidence, and apparently found some. But then, right after the commercial break, it's like everything suddently took a 180 degree turn. It wasn't seamless or anything, it felt more like they had the story going in one direction but then suddenly decided to rewrite it and ignore multiple things. Ok, so whatever the supposed evidence was had been disproven, but after that it's like the writters are telling us "that must mean he's innocent". Even though there's never any explaination given as to why Seven was affected the way she was, why she had that memory, which I don't think is a case of False Memory Syndrome. She came up with that memory entirely on her own and had no input from The Doctor, he had only told her to close her eyes and breath and suggested nothing else until later on when he tried to help her understand her own feelings.

Most people seem to agree here that the story is left open ended and open to interpretation in terms of the trader's guilt or innocence. I disagree with that. All the writting and character reactions by the end up the episode are telling us to not see any ambiguity, they all suddenly believe he was innocent... except maybe Seven, who either may still believe she's right and decided to just shut up about it, or doubts herself due to her guilt over her allegations leading to a man's unnecesary death. I was expecting Janeway to say "now we may never know the truth" after the trader blew up, but instead she and the others suddenly and instantly feel guilty for "driving a man to his death"!? I don't understand how she or anyone else could feel that way when they made every effort to help him. His actions were entirely irrational and nonsensical. Literally the only way to explain his ultimate actions is if he really was guilty, but even so there's no way to know for sure.

You'd think in the future there'd be more tech in place, especially on a space ship of all things, to help prevent something like this from happening in the first place, and even if it does there should be tech to easily prove what happened. Maybe some advanced monitoring devices? Is there so much trust and lack of issues on Star Ships that there's no need for any kind of surveillance, either worn or even part of the ship's AI? Or how about that Vulcan mind meld, like at least one post here suggested?

Well nevermind that, this episode didn't have to end with someone being obviously right or wrong. This actually would have been a great episode if they had managed to calm the trader down and he ended up going on his merry way due to lack of being able to find evidence against him. They should have actually gone for actually pushing to leave ending more ambiguous and open ended, and thus far more realistic and relavent to our times. Cases like this don't usually end up with someone getting blown up. The sad reality is that often the nature of these cases make it inheriently difficult to prove one way or the other, leading to truth being replaced by belief based on bias in the minds of all observers aside from the alleged victims and purpetrators.

Ultimately it felt like this episode was written by people who are socially/politically alligned with one side of the issue (giving The Doctor dialogue that was obviously made to make him look hysterical about the situation really drove that home for me). It just came off as a defense for the minority of situations where allegations end up precieved (not proven) as false. It just felt tone deaf. I can only respect them having the guts to "go there" with touching on this socially contentious issue if they had come to it from a fair position.
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Oh, I completely forgot to bring it up on my lengthy comment, but what about the one who was assimilated by Korvin (the arms trader)? Wouldn't that be clear physical evidence that Seven's story was true, if they were able to find him?

Also I read a few comments up that someone is really upset by the idea of people saying that he shouldn't be called innocent. I think that technically, yes, unless he's proven guiilty then he is innocent, but I think the issue is that his innocence is still under contention by the end of the episode. Being accused of a crime means you're innocent until proven guilty, but it also means your innocence could be under contention, unlike the rest of us innocents who aren't accused of crimes. In Korvin's case, it was and is very reasonably under contention. I guess the fear from some people is that unless this is seen sctrictly as black and white then people can go around accusing whoever they want and destroying lives simply through heresay, but making accusations without any grounds comes with risks too (just as the boy who cried wolf). If I were to make up a false accusation against someone to ruin their life and get found out, I'd imagine that'd more likely ruin my life.

All in all, this episode was just too poorly executed, even if the idea could have been good.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 11:31am (UTC -5)
gozar asked: "Is Kovin’s rifle a Dyson vacuum cleaner?"

Flushed with success from their vacuum cleaner business, the Dyson Corporation overextended itself by jumping into the Sphere business just before the market went bust. Sadly, by the 24th century they were reduced to manufacturing low quality small arms in the Delta Quadrant.

I liked this episode. I think it would have been interesting if it had been extended into a two-parter so that we could see more of the ramifications of the Doctor's actions on both he and Seven. I would also have liked to have seen a little more time devoted to the investigation, as well as more time devoted to the arms dealer's culture so that we could better appreciate his fear of being accused.
Thu, Mar 25, 2021, 8:19am (UTC -5)
It is extremely frustrating to watch these episodes where characters make 180 turns on positions without explanation.

Almost as if the writers want to confuse the audience on purpose. Here for instance Janeway goes from sensible and rational investigation to concluding Seven made it all up, and then accusing her of the consequences (the way she looks at her when the guy blows himself up).

It is also depressing to come on this site to try and find answers (or at least interesting interpretations) that can provide clarity, only to find 90% of the posts being biased opinions with heavy preconceived political messages.

There is no evidence that the arms dealer is guilty or innocent. What’s the point of trying to infer whether he is or not, based on his reaction, or statistical data of false vs true claims, or whether Seven’s story is believeable, etc? We just don’t know, so he remains innocent, from a legal perspective. Given the facts presented there is nothing more to say or do about it, that’s it.

What is truly appalling however is that for some reason, the fact that he is not proven guilty automatically seems to mean that Seven made it all up and is at fault!!! This is so wrong on many levels. We actually don’t know, it has NOT been established, so 2 possibilities exist:

1/ If Seven indeed made it all up, it means she is in a pretty bad place psychologically speaking and needs support. She is a member of the crew (the ‘family’ as the show has tried to convince us so many times), she should be helped. Seeing Janeway blaming Seven really is revolting. That’s right, as the SINGLE and ONLY authority figure in these people’s life, blame them when they are in distress and something bad happens to them, that’s the right approach. I can only pray the writers did not have kids themselves because these poor little ones must have gotten messed up pretty bad. What I wanted to see here is compassion and much more discussion with Seven to try and help her as she has extreme difficulty dealing with this and more generally adapting to her new situation.

2/ If the arms dealer actually did violate Seven, well, it means Janeway is blaming the victim, great

The only thing I am wondering is whether the writers are idiots/incompetent, lazy, or purposely making Janeway’s actions and reactions contentious / provocative for the sake of it. If I had to guess I would say it is all of the above. In any case that shows contempt for the audience, and this is where I see a big difference with TNG. I only felt respect as a viewer when watching TNG. Whereas with VOY I feel like I am being played with, confused gratuitously more often than not.
Sun, Apr 11, 2021, 11:31am (UTC -5)
I love Voyager, it's my favourite Star Trek by far, but this gets half a star from me only based on acting. Story has so many flaws it's ridiculous.

There is real shallowness to it, in how it touches several important themes but then just dismisses them (PTSD, victim blaming) and it's full of plot holes (what about medical evidence before whole repressed memories procedure?, missing two hours?, what about other two people in 7's memory?, crown evidence on regenerating nanoprobes ONLY proves trader fired at 7 - which is only part of the story they both agree on! It doesn't prove anything either way, so trader decided to destroy Voyager rather than face ruined reputation???, complete 180 turn of the crew in second part... I give up).

I think this is episode I missed on my many re-watches on telly and I wish I missed it again.
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
This is the season where Seven is the LeBron James of Voyager. With some great support from the Doctor and Janeway, she is pretty much responsible for carrying the crew in making some good episodes. But if she's having an off day, the show kind of falls apart for a few episodes.
Gary Twinem
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
Poor Seven. Janeway gave her that "bad dog" look everyone gave Data when he pushed Beverly into harmless holographic water in "Generations".
Mon, Sep 27, 2021, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
This episode is way worse than Threshold. Lizard babies are mostly harmless.

Victim blaming is not. Very messy and uncomfortable to watch. Zero stars.
Tue, Sep 28, 2021, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Sigh. Another strike against “innocent until proven guilty”. How far we’ve fallen since “The Drumhead”. I guess they should have just listened and believed. Right?
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
[Sigh. Another strike against “innocent until proven guilty”. How far we’ve fallen since “The Drumhead”. I guess they should have just listened and believed. Right?]

You are missing the point of the criticism of this episode. Nothing to do with Drumhead. RonB comment hit the nail right on the head:
Sat, Oct 9, 2021, 2:49am (UTC -5)
I just watched it again after rereading my comments and I still feel the same way. Of all my TV watching, this is the only episode of anything that has made me want to come online to read others' opinions and express my own over what I see as terrible writing.

RonB really summed it up nicely with his two scenarios. If she was made it up, the episode was badly written, and if she was telling the truth, it was still badly written.

And combining this was what happened just the episode before where Janeway got pissed at Seven for disobeying her order, and Seven asks her "Why am I being punished for exercising my individuality?", and Janeway literally can't give her a proper answer, it's amazing she still wants to be part of this "family" and doesn't express dislike for having become human again. She was assimilated in the middle of childhood and lacked the love and joy of those years. Until this point she's made to feel the human emotions like "anger" and "regret", but no one has yet to take her into the holodeck to experience some joy or fun, and no one shows her any real love, either friendly or familial. There were moments I felt like Janeway could have given her a friendly or even motherly hug, but nope. If I were her, I'd be thinking "man, it really sucks being human".
The Real Trent
Wed, Nov 10, 2021, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
Voyager did its own version of Michael Douglas' "Fatal Attraction" some episodes earlier, and this one feels like an attempt at Douglas' "Disclosure".

Some commenters above have called this gutsy ("Wow, a man being wrongly accused by a woman!"), but that was the trend in the 1990s.

Personally I think this is an awful episode. There's no drama, no tension, and the script is buried under massive amounts of techno-babble. Because of this you never really feel anything for either Kovin or Seven; they're both too busy spouting cumbersome jargon.

Also bad is the way the episode requires everyone to act like an idiot. Janeway and the Doctor in particular do not behave like sympathetic, rational or intelligent people.

For example 7of9 is immediately berated by Janeway for attacking Kovin. At no point does Janeway ask why she attacked, or make the connection between 7of9's past trauma - she's essentially a victim of sustained child abuse - and her lashing out.

Kovin is similarly treated as an annoyance even before they suspect him of crimes.

When Janeway and the EMH learn that Kovin might have raped Seven - and it IS a metaphorical rape (see all the talk of "bio-ablation pumps" and "growth mediums being inserted" and "assimilation tubules" being "stimulated" so that they "multiply nanoprobes" etc) - everyone then suddenly goes idiotic the other way, immediately hounding Kovin.

There's no nuance or skepticism, and the only person who seems to be proceeding like an intelligent, far-future-guy is Tuvok.

The irony is that the clunkiness of the episode undermines its own point. This is an episode in which a man is "hounded to death" by a "woman's false accusations", but instead of engendering sympathy for him, we find ourselves focusing on how contrived circumstances must be, and how odd people must behave, for him to become a victim.

IMO this episode would have played better as a straight up witch-hunt. Go full Salem Witch trials on Kovin. Have Janeway and Seven militantly hounding the guy, and Tuvok and Chakotay defending him. Make all the women side with Janeway. Make the episode about hysteria and shared delusions. Make the episode about Janeway's mad desire to protect Seven no matter the cost. Seven's been abused and bashed around her whole life, and Janeway overcompensates. Push all the sexist cliches to the limit (evil hectoring women out to get the men!), but then own them, and make us nevertheless sympathize with Janeway despite her errors.

If you're going to have the crew act weird, go all the way.
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 10:30am (UTC -5)
The Real Trent: “IMO this episode would have played better as a straight up witch-hunt. Go full Salem Witch trials on Kovin. Have Janeway and Seven militantly hounding the guy, and Tuvok and Chakotay defending him. Make all the women side with Janeway. Make the episode about hysteria and shared delusions. Make the episode about Janeway's mad desire to protect Seven no matter the cost. Seven's been abused and bashed around her whole life, and Janeway overcompensates. Push all the sexist cliches to the limit (evil hectoring women out to get the men!), but then own them, and make us nevertheless sympathize with Janeway despite her errors.”

They didn’t need to have the Voyager crew being the ones engaging in a witch hunt.

Kovin claims that the Entharan authorities only care about appeasing potential offworld customers and that being accused of a crime by an offworlder is a crime in itself, but it’s very much a case of “tell” over “show”.

I would also consider the fact that the Entharans spent three days grilling the Doctor about what had happened to be clear evidence that they were not nearly as biased as Kovin claimed. Had his claims been true, I would have expected that they would brush Kovin’s death under the table, and most likely cite his flight as proof of guilt, instead of interrogating offworlders.

I think that the question of Kovin’s guilt should have been left open-ended, with characters unsure if he was an innocent man hounded into destroying himself or a guilty man who wasn’t about to let himself be taken alive and who also protected his accomplices by dying. The Entharan representative should have been shown to take it as evidence of guilt, and to send Voyager on its way, vowing that they will investigate all of Kovin’s family, friends and known associates to find his accomplices and punish them.

Janeway, far less certain of Kovin’s guilt, knows that the incident has sparked a witch hunt that could destroy the lives of pretty much everybody Kovin knew. Perhaps, thinking it better to let the guilty go free than to let the innocent be condemned, she intentionally misleads the Entharan representative, acting as if the experiment conclusively proved Kovin’s innocence in order to ensure that the witch hunt does not take place. She leaves, hoping that she made the right call and that Kovin hasn’t left accomplices continuing to experiment with stolen nanoprobes.
Sun, Aug 14, 2022, 7:19am (UTC -5)
This episode was pretty thought provoking and hit pretty close to home; it portrays well the dilemma often present with real abuse victims, that there's nothing but their word to go on.

However, the execution left much to be desired. All of this is kicked off by the Doctor discovering that Seven's memories have been artificially chemically suppressed. This is the crux of the whole issue, and the only reason the plot kicks off in the first place. But when the crew flips to deciding that Kovin is innocent, this is never brought up again. Who suppressed Seven's memories? Was it Kovin, or was it some Borg implant going haywire? Was it actually done artificially, or was it a normal biological reaction?

Similarly, it is stated that Seven spent 2 hours alone with Covin - yet nobody asks her to recount what they did. I'm sure that Seven has a very good memory, so if there's not enough there to fill two hours (and I doubt they needed two hours to make one adjustment to their laser rifle), then what happened during the rest of the time?

Why does nobody scan the planet for Borg signatures? The Voyager is able to find a tricorder or something on the surface of a planet (as shown a few episodes earlier), so why was this not even attempted?

In essence, there were many lines of inquiry not explored which should have been. And like Regan said above, Kovin is not a trustworthy source - if an accusation is enough to count as a crime, then there would have been no need to question the Doctor. On the contrary - if the administration was only concerned with appeasing trading partners, they'd have done everything they could to put the situation behind them as quickly as possible. Kovin is already dead. There's no need to subject the Doctor to any questioning.

Even if the investiagtion eventually ended inconclusively, it would still have been better than the "Kovin was innocent" conclusion we got, because that conclusion was not supported by anything. Yes, in a legal sense, he was innocent, because his guilt couldn't be proven beyond reasonable doubt. But I would have expected Tuvok and Janeway to still have their reservation about proclaiming his innocence, either. They simply don't know, and that's as much as they can say.

And regardless of whether or not the Doctor induced false memories in Seven, Seven reacted strangely to Covin and to invasions of her personal space long before he did so, so something *was* off. Janeway being disappointed in Seven - again - is just hilarious. Seven did nothing wrong. (Also kinda hilarious to see Janeway teaching Seven about controlling her impulses, given that Janeway has been ... let's say erratic the last few episodes.) The episode could have dealt with the Doctor's questionable methods without shifting the blame on the potential victim as hard as it did, which left a bad taste in my mouth. The whole situation only escalated in the first place because instead of quitely investigating Seven's accusations, gathering evidence to back her up (or not, in case there was none) Janeway decided to tell the potential perpetrator right away, not only giving him a chance to eliminate potential evidence, but also circumventing the legal authority of the planet they were visiting.

And finally, Kovin - he seems to be innocent, given his behaviour (getting angry, mostly - that's something wrongly accused people do). But he acts like an idiot. If he truly wants to not be accused, why didn't he offer Janeway to scan his laboratory, and prove his innocense that way, before she contacted local authorities? If he truly has nothing to hide, wouldn't that have been the best way to get out of this situation? Even if he *has* something to hide - wouldn't that still have been preferrable? But he never tries to establish his innocence. He doesn't want to cooperate with the investigation at all. And his extreme reaction is hard to reconcile with simple fear of being judged on an accusation alone. If he truly believes to be innocent, why would he throw his life away? I guess it's possible that he was panicking completely, but his reaction makes more sense if there *was* something to be afraid of.
Wed, May 10, 2023, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
I think everyone is overlooking a very Important point. Seven said that Kovin had an assistant help during that process where she had her nanoprobes removed. Why was this person not questioned? If this person did not exist then the story is clearly false from seven. If the assistant does exist then that makes seven's story very likely true.
Tue, Jun 13, 2023, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
We also saw, in Seven's flashback, another person being experimented on with the nanoprobes. The episode did not follow up on that point.

I've seen this episode 11 times and i find the controversy fascinating. An objective viewing surely would prod the viewer to notice Chakotay's line, "an innocent man doesn't run," and to notice Kovin's subsequent actions (a real panic to self-destroy real fast) were consistent with someone with something to hide.

The writers, producers and directors themselves could not agree as to what happened in this episode. From the wikia:

Bryan Fuller (Official Star Trek Voyager Magazine #18) believed that he and Lisa Klink had successfully differentiated this episode from a television movie about date rape (that was the word that was used in 1998, people, sorry), and that the decision to remove the sexual aspects from the script had been made "wisely".

He said, "I think it succeeded [...] and I think it's a solid episode." An element of the episode that Fuller especially liked was that it showed The Doctor was not infallible. "That's the great part of the story, that he screwed up," the writer opined.

Nonetheless, Fuller also cited this episode as probably being his least favorite from those he wrote for Voyager's fourth season and related, "I found myself distanced from it. I'm always disappointed in a story when it turns out not to have happened, and it's based on some sort of illusion or memory wackiness." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 18)

So we have one of the writers stating that the show was not intended as a rape allegory, and that same writer making some ambiguous commentnt about how the story (which he wrote) ended up with "some sort of illusion or wackiness."

If the writer of a show cannot express a clear opinion about what he intended to write, or what the final product showed (how was he "distanced" from it - was it rewritten? Was he unhappy with his own end-product), then, how, oh how, can hundreds of people go on to this site and claim, with metaphysical certitude, stated as fact, that the episode "is a men's rights'" allegory, or a "women are not to be trusted" story. Seriously, can someone explain this. One aspect of human nature that was true in 1998, that is true in 2023, and that will be in the 24th century is that hindsight is 20/20 and we see that which we want to. Of that, I'm way more certain than to profess I have a unique, unquestionable insight about what the episode meant.

(And by the way, if the writers had shown the crew being skeptical of Sven from the start, only to rally to her claims as the amasses evidence showed unamiguously that the was the victim - if the story were flipped - there would be people on this site saying the crew's initial insincerity made the episode and the writers morally monstrous. The only way the episode cannot be morally monstrous would be if there were no doubt from the word "go" that every word Seven said about what happened was 100% accurate? Who would want to watch such a show? Where is the arc, the dramatic tension? Must Law and Order now be haled into the dock for all of ITS episodes where a character expressed 1% doubt about the veracity of a rape victim's story?

Anyway..., per the wikia and the same edition of the Voyager magazine,
"Contrastingly, Jesús Salvador Treviño liked the vagueness of this episode's conclusion. "I thought that was very daring for the Voyager writers," Treviño remarked. "That was really nice the way they left it totally open-ended. We don't know whether it really did happen or if it didn't; we have our suspicions and the clues are placed either way.""

So another of the show's creators believed the ending was totally open-ended. Perhaps not, but I believe that there was ambuigity, and just because the episode did not address every single story point that had a latent ambiguity (like the alien strapped to the table/bed) does not mean no ambiguity existed.

To those who say (know?) that this episode was "based" on the McMartin trial or other trials where it was concluded that evidence was hypnotically induced or was not really impressed, why not follow that belief to its logical end point. Who in the popular media and in an honest rendering of those trials are the villains? Mr. McMartin? No. The women/children whose memories were ultimately deemed sufficiently not reliable to meet the relevant legal burden of proof (civil: preponderance of the evidence; criminal: beyond a reasonable doubt)? No. The doctors, quacks, specialists and others, who before state legislatures and federal courts introduced tougher rules against the admissibility of scientific evidence that was merely quackery, that's who.

Plus, the narrative gets messed up whenever the stereotype we want to rail against isn't present. The Duke lacrosse incident involved male players being prosecuted unethically with insufficient evidence. If one were to read the testimony of the accusers, it would (and does) show that none of these accusers came close to saying with any degree of certitude that it was those three men that assaulted them at that particular time. A male prosecutor prosecuted the case on the flimsiest ground. How does THAT fit into "every episode or movie either that depicts women as liars, means the episode is despicable." In the Duke case, the testimony of the three women was hardly conclusive , non hem-haw enough to allow for the concussion that it WAS a lie.

People have a compulsive need to put stories into boxes, boxes that fit neatly on the shelves of their own wrong view. There's something for mens' rights activists to claim for their shelf in this episode - if they ignore the fact that Seven was not lying - that she was psychologically manipulated by the doctor.

It must be so easy and self-seductive, to know you know what everything means...and doesn't.
J Fedora
Thu, Jul 6, 2023, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Watching the back end of Voyager for the first time, and, wow, I was not prepared for this ep. My hackles started going up when "regression" was mentioned, and I remained gobsmacked the whole way through. It tries to have it all ways by casting doubt on everyone (hence the whipsaw change in slant midway through), but it's narratively unsatisfying and ethically dubious--and "dubious" might be an understatement, as the message, such as it is, seems to be that unless a woman's claims can be empirically verified, they're presumptively false. I know that the writers try to get around this by saying that Janeway et al. "believe" Seven, or at least believe that she believes what she's saying, but their actions and the resolution speak louder, to my ear. The original sin of the episode, in my mind, was taking a ripped-from-the-headlines/Law and Order approach, which (again in my opinion) Star Trek is ill-suited to do. ST works better when dealing with broad general moral issues in precise, character-driven ways than with "current events," so to speak, although obviously there's no bright line there.

It's a fair reflection of the "debates" of the time period in which it's produced, and I can't fault Voyager solely on the grounds of the writers not being able to generate a timeless episode free from the biases of the 90s, but in, uh, retrospect, it's just awful.
J Fedora
Thu, Jul 6, 2023, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Plus, this is also the series that gave us a white militia subplot for no apparent reason other than to meet the runtime for a two-parter. And second-wave ST in general certainly had its gross fascination with rape, whether of body or mind, all the way into "Nemesis" and "Enterprise." In general terms, it's hard to give the writers the benefit of the doubt here.
Thu, Jul 6, 2023, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
This VOY episode title reminded me of something I've always found odd about VOY. Coincidence?

Check out these 10 VOY episode titles:
- Resistance
- Resolutions
- Remember
- Rise
- Revulsion
- Retrospect
- Relativity
- Riddles
- Repression
- Repentance
Planet of Hats
Sun, Jul 30, 2023, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
This episode is a lot harder to watch in 2023, in the age of Me Too. A modern viewing feels more like an episode about a man being cancelled to death because people believed a woman's false allegations. The episode provides mostly ambiguous evidence for the arms dealer's position, only for the entire crew to assume he's innocent, complete with Janeway and the Doctor gaslighting Seven into thinking she made it all up. The writing severely mishandles the challenges of what is essentially a rape investigation - in reality they're often tough because it's a crime that usually takes place away from witnesses and leaves little by way of physical evidence. That's set aside here in favour of everyone instantly believing the arms dealer is innocent.

What we're left with is an episode about sexual assault that goes out of its way to perpetuate the idea that women are just making it up. It's a bit of particularly vulgar narrative trickery that only exonerates the arms dealer because the script says so. It does not stand the test of time.
Sun, Jul 30, 2023, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Indeed, the episode is nearly unthinkable in a time when Me Too is in full force. It is common practice to equate "untimely" with "does not stand the test of time" but history has a long arc so who knows? Maybe in the next era will be characterized by Nietzschian perspectivism that will grant it a fresh reception and new life.

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