Star Trek: Voyager

“Dark Frontier”

3 stars.

Air date: 2/17/1999
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Part I directed by Cliff Bole
Part II directed by Terry Windell

"There are three things to remember about being a starship captain: Keep your shirt tucked in; go down with the ship; and never abandon a member of your crew." — Janeway to Naomi

Review Text

Nutshell: Ambitious and often very effective entertainment, but the plot doesn't bear too much scrutiny.

"Dark Frontier" does probably exactly what UPN executives wanted it to—it provides "an epic two-hour telefilm!" during February sweeps that is accessible to the average sci-fi-but-not-necessarily-Voyager fan and features the Borg, the most popular and reliable of all Trek bad guys. Obviously, no expense was spared in producing this two hour "event." So the real question: Is it any good? Answer: Yes.

Next question: Could it have been better? Answer: Yes.

I also have to ask: Was this story really necessary? I mean, the whole story, when you think about it, doesn't really take us anywhere new, especially when it comes to its central character, Seven of Nine. "Dark Frontier" seems at times like it exists more for the sake of grand spectacle than for grand story development. Not that I would necessarily let that get in the way of enjoying it.

If "Dark Frontier" was trying to get my attention with pure cinematic audacity, it worked. The episode wastes no time in coming out big and bold, showing off production values in an entertainingly effective way. The first scene opens on a Borg scout ship, featuring a Borg point-of-view sequence as a drone wakes up to assist the ship's attack on Voyager, which it has detected as a target for assimilation. David Bell's score comes out stronger than music is normally ever permitted to be on Trek episodes these days, with an actual theme and a thundering attitude. Not long after, there's a brief battle, followed by large-scale special effects and explosions when Voyager beams a torpedo into the ship and destroys it. As action-adventure, to say "Dark Frontier" revealed its intentions confidently and effectively right up front would be an understatement.

The crew salvages debris from the destroyed ship in hopes of finding useful technology. A transwarp coil in particular would be useful; it could shave 20 years off the journey. What's left of the salvaged coil, however, is useless.

From here, Janeway devises a daring plan. A crippled Borg vessel is detected heading back toward Borg space. With a carefully executed maneuver, the crew could break its defenses and steal a warp coil. The plan is appropriately dubbed "Operation: Fort Knox."

While we're talking about Janeway, I'd like to comment on a character whose actions have long been controversial and inconsistently written. I find myself reminded of second season's "Alliances." At the end of that episode, the writers alleged that, in light of being stuck in the chaotic Delta Quadrant surrounded by brutal opportunistic enemies, Janeway's course of adjustment would simply be to maintain Federation morals—"business as usual," as Chakotay once put it. I found that attitude to be shallow, naive, and dramatically limiting. (To analyze Federation ideals, the writers must challenge them in new ways, even if it means willful deviation.)

Over the years of Voyager's uneasy run, that attitude has been changed. Now we have a Janeway that, while still maintaining diplomacy and a sense of morality, will go further to protect her crew and get them home more quickly. (It has been said that Kate Mulgrew feels Brannon Braga understands Janeway better than former executive producers Jeri Taylor or Michael Piller did; perhaps that partially explains this alteration in attitude.)

So the question is whether this robbery mission better demonstrates Janeway's strengths. I'm thinking it does; it shows through action the way she will push the boundaries of typical Federation morals in the name of her crew. And Mulgrew fares well when she's allowed to show her teeth. (Although, Janeway came off as a little smug in the scene where she introduces "Operation: Fort Knox" to the crew; Mulgrew sometimes goes overboard with the body language.)

Now then—what about the moral implications of this theft? Is it okay to steal from the Borg, even if they are one of the worst enemies the Federation has ever known? More immediately, is it prudent to charge into the lion's den for a great prize if there's a risk the entire crew could end up assimilated? While I appreciate moral and practical ambiguity, the writers don't seem to really be asking these questions so much as they arise as a side effect. "Dark Frontier" charges forward with plot and action without completely considering the consequences.

But no matter. "Dark Frontier" exists more often for plot and action than for philosophic content. On that level, it fares well.

In preparation for the big heist, there are holodeck training drills and information searches. The major character undercurrent here, naturally, is for Seven of Nine, who, at Janeway's request, searches through her parents' data logs, which were retrieved from the USS Raven more than a year earlier. Seven apparently has been avoiding these logs to avoid facing her old pre-Borg childhood memories—back when her name was Annika Hansen. The new need for information now has her facing up to the past.

"Dark Frontier" is not afraid to invent or even reinvent backstory for the sake of advancing its story. Through a series of Seven's flashbacks, we get new insight into Annika's parents, Magnus and Erin Hansen (Kirk Baily and Laura Stepp). The story reveals them as two scientists who undertook a mission to find and learn about the nefarious Borg, and became so obsessed with their leads that they disregarded orders from their scientist colleagues, effectively alienating themselves. Since there was no turning back, they simply pressed forward, hoping to find Borg. Eventually, they did.

The Hansens' audacity is remarkable. There's a fine line between brave and stupid, and the Hansens walked that line for three years, we learn, studying a Borg cube without being detected as "relevant" before finally crossing the line and getting themselves assimilated. In that time, they boarded the cube on many occasions, and even kidnapped dormant drones from their regeneration alcoves to study them. All the while, they tell each other, "This could prove our theory!" I kept asking myself: What's wrong with these people? Don't they care about getting themselves and their 5-year-old daughter killed or assimilated? In any case, I found the Hansens' overconfidence and obsession interesting.

Was any of the Hansens' Borg research intended back when last season's "The Raven" was written? I doubt it, but then again I don't really care; "Raven" kept the Hansens' history vague, and the rewriting of that history proves interesting and is put to good use in "Dark Frontier."

On the other hand, some of this reinvention I found a little annoying, because it flies in the face of established continuity. More specifically, these flashbacks allege that Starfleet knew about the Borg years before they could have. The first Borg episode, TNG's "Q Who," was about 10 years ago. Starfleet knew nothing about them. Here, the Hansens apparently knew about the Borg some 20 years ago, which is simply impossible given what we've seen before.

Is any of this continuity quibbling important to "Dark Frontier"? Probably not, but it is a blatant disregard for past history for those of us who remember the Borg's introduction back in the second season of TNG, and I have to at least mention my objection to the distorting the facts.

But again, no matter. Story advancement first, plot continuity second. "Dark Frontier" blends the flashbacks into the main story effectively, balancing Seven's feelings on the matter with the bigger plot involving the mission.

It's about this time that Seven is contacted by the Borg, who somehow know about Janeway's plan. They tell her, essentially, that she must rejoin the collective, or the Borg will assimilate Voyager. Why do they want her? "Because you are unique." Borg riddles. Gotta love 'em.

This leads to a very nice scene where Seven makes a plea to Janeway to allow her to stay on the mission even though she has been fraught with emotional distraction over the last few days. Seven knows something Janeway doesn't, but can't tell her about it. The plan must go on for Voyager's sake. Seven's sense of self-sacrifice is fairly affecting; the character certainly has come a long way in the past year.

The mission is nicely executed, as is Seven's capture. The story comes up with some interesting ways of giving Voyager the advantage, like the devices that make crew members temporarily undetectable from the Borg while on a Borg ship (which are established through the Hansen backstory, who used them to run around the Borg cube for hours at a time)—although, I was somewhat confused by the story's unclear intentions of how much of the plan the Voyager crew pulled off versus how much the Borg let them get away with it.

"Dark Frontier" is an episode whose action works through little details. The Hansen flashbacks benefit from some nice nuances, such as the Hansens giving the Borg drones pet names as a way of keeping track of them, or the frighteningly implicit consequences foreshadowed by little Annika (Katelin Petersen) saying "bye" as her parents beam a Borg drone back to the cube.

In the present storyline, we have good use of Naomi Wildman, a character whose presence manages to transcend the "cute" factor and tell us something about the other characters, whether serving as a reminder for Seven's truncated childhood, or playing off the captain in a scene that reveals Janeway's codependency of humanity and duty ("Keep your shirt tucked in; go down with the ship; and never abandon a member of your crew").

Once Seven returns to the Borg, the story's big hook is the reintroduction of the Borg Queen (Susanna Thompson), which is supposed to provide a one-on-one battle of wills, I think, over the nature of Seven's unique re-assimilation into the collective. It's at this point the story seems to resign itself to the fact the writers have used the Borg about a dozen times and now must ask, well, where can we go from here? The second half of "Dark Frontier" is entertaining, but psychologically it can't deliver much more than what we've already seen. It feels more like a series of skillfully executed set pieces than a story trying to find its way to some sort of emotional resolution. The Borg Queen's attempts to crack Seven are all too similar to the Queen's attempt to crack Data in First Contact: coercion, temptation, finding the crux of human morality, elusive riddles, etc.

The use of the Borg Queen had me asking questions with no apparent answers. For starters, what is the purpose of the Queen? As Data put it, "I wish to understand the organizational relationships." Is there some sort of hierarchy, where the Queen actually runs the collective? Or is the Queen simply a special liaison—a symbol of the hive mind—who is assembled whenever there is special need to psychologically crack an individual? (There's evidence here that could have it either way, but because by the end of the episode we'll now have two Queens that have died, it's apparent they aren't crucial to the collective.)

For that matter, I'm confused at why the Borg even want Seven of Nine back. What's so special about her individuality that makes her valuable? The Queen says that no other Borg has ever regained individuality, but I must raise my hand and ask about the entire colony in "Unity." (But, no; I must again remind myself that continuity doesn't count.) But even forgetting that for the moment, if the Borg assimilate Seven's memories, won't that be everything they need? Apparently not; the Queen wants Seven to remain an individual who willfully chooses to side with the Borg. How this helps the collective I'm not sure. The story thinks weird, elusive dialog will suffice as an answer. I disagree. It was interesting in First Contact; here it begins to feel like a shallow imitation.

Susanna Thompson works fairly well early on as the Queen (and she has great eyes for the part), but near the end her performance loses the surreal edge and seems far too concrete and flat to be anything more than a "Borg villain." Her attempts to coax Seven into abandoning her human compassion involves a host of psychological tricks, some of which are interesting, others which aren't.

The most compelling idea is the Borg's assimilation of an entire society while Seven is forced to assist, which proves quite effective and intense. Seven walks through the corridors as dozens of drones move mindlessly through the ship with their alien prisoners, as screaming emerges from an uncertain distance; it conveys a frightening chaos that seems like some surreal Nazi nightmare. It's a unique and powerful look at the Borg, and Seven's "human" choices in this situation are interesting.

On the other hand is the appearance of Seven's "father" in the form of a drone, which is going way too over the top, and in presentation seems like nothing more than a cheap "shock value" gag that puts forward no interesting consequences.

During all of this, the Voyager crew realizes Seven had been coerced into leaving them, so Janeway equips the Delta Flyer with the recently acquired transwarp coil to track Seven down in Borg space. They arrive there, which leads to a somewhat unexpected cinema cliché where Janeway and the Queen engage in the Borg version of the Movie Armed Standoff™ for the custody of Seven—with Janeway holding a big gun while lots of Borg threaten to come closer to her. The idea is handled somewhat klutzily (with tech procedures and "pure attitude" the key components in the showdown, and neither really winning a sense of urgency)—but I did enjoy the Queen's look of downright anger when Seven and Janeway beamed away.

Of course, I must point out that it strains the usefulness of the Borg as a believably powerful enemy in the galaxy if the Delta Flyer can get the better of them with some convenient technobabble and Borg connections, even though an entire fleet can barely deal with a single cube zeroing in on Earth. The Borg are neat enemies, but they lose their edge of implacability because of their willingness to negotiate near the end of "Dark Frontier."

Oh well. Despite Voyager's tendency to overuse the Borg, I still thought the actual execution of the action was well done overall, and the final chase managed to milk a good amount of excitement out a questionable ending. And, hey, we even got 15 years closer to home thanks to the transwarp coil.

If I may comment on technical aspects: Simply put—awesome. The visual effects are among the best and most convincing I've ever seen on sci-fi television, and succeed extremely well on the "cool" factor. The sheer number of visuals is impressive. The Queen's ship is a marvel of design complexity that is still consistent with Borg geometry and symmetry—and, well, it just looks neat. The story ventures into Borg territory, where we see massive space stations. The sets and makeup design are all solid and pleasing to the eye (even if green light rays perpetually shining on the Borg Queen was pushing it). I can't imagine what this all cost to produce; there's a lot on the screen, and most of it proves very effective.

As television production goes, "Dark Frontier" is easily the most ambitious thing Voyager has ever done. It's exceptionally well constructed. Unfortunately, it's not exceptionally well thought out. The story just can't keep up with the ambition. Nevertheless, it's probably good to have ambition, and I credit the producers for trying something so large, even if original ideas couldn't always fit the concept.

Next week: Choose your title: "Harry Gets Some" or "Lust in Space."

Previous episode: Bliss
Next episode: The Disease

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Comment Section

120 comments on this post

    In terms of quality, TNG's Borg episodes were like Night of the Living Dead. Voyager's Borg episodes(and Dark Frontier is no exception) are more like House of the Dead.

    I have a problem with this so called heist. It is so very un-trek. You simply can't justify stealing technology when your directive instructs you not even to trade it with alien cultures...even if it is borg.

    I didn't like the Borg Queen. In First Contact, she appears to be the Borg CPU. She simply organizes all the data in the Collective. Here she appears to be something akin to the evil matriarch in a primetime soap opera.

    Jammer's absolutely right about the fact that the Borg, if continuity mattered to the Voyager writers, should have simply reassimilated Seven. Why convince her of anything, when she would obviously agree with the Borg Queen once she was a drone again? With Data it was necessary, because Data could not be assimilated in the standard way. With Seven, it's completely illogical.

    I sort of wank away the reason why the Borg didn't just assimilate Seven by looking at their appraisal of humanity. According to their analysis, humans don't have any particularly outstanding biological features and the technology of the Federation is woefully inadequate compared to the Borg. Yet they've managed to repel Borg invasions multiple times. Borg rarely fail when they set their sites on a civilization, and probably never when they have such a huge advantage in resources and technology. So how do these upright apes keep managing to do so? They could do something like send a hundred cubes to the Alpha quadrant, but I suspect that the Collective's hubris won't allow them to take such a drastic action; its an inefficient use of resources and tantamount to admitting that their perfection is flawed. One cube should be -plenty-. Yet it never is.

    Its a puzzle the Collective can't figure out, but they figure it must have something to do with Federation individuality. If individuality is the key, reassimilating Seven would be counter productive; the Collective wants, essentially, someone who knows how the -enemy- thinks and anticipate and adapt to that type of thinking. Assimilation would destroy that.

    Why Seven? Because she was basically raised by the Collective, so her loyalties are much more likely to be affiliated with the Borg, even if she becomes individualized. The other Borg who left the collective have all been adults who had lots of life experience before being assimilated (Hugh doesn't count -- his branch of the Collective collapsed). Also, Seven is human; since that is the main species the Borg are interested in as far as the Federation is concerned, it makes sense to use her.

    This is speculation, of course, but it seems plausible enough to fit what we're shown.

    This episode, and many of the other two parters have convinced me that Voyager excels at the action-adventure side of Trek, much more so than the other series. In fact, had they realized this all along, they could have just had 13, two hour telemovies a year and been done with it.

    That having been said, Dark Frontier is the most pointless Borg episode of all the Voyager-Borg stories. The queen basically had no motivation for kidnapping Seven in the first place. And while I respect that Voyager is led by a risk-taker, and has more Borg knowledge from kind of seems as if the Borg lost their teeth here...and never really got them back.

    This contrasts with TNG, where the Borg were scary, even in their stupid unitards with plastic. They were untouchable. Voyager made them mechanical Romulans, in a way: a threat, but one that could be dealt with.

    I liked it, it was a good action-adventure (tho with a lot of holes). There was one scene however that infuriated me. After B'Elanna had managed to get the Borg/Fed engine to work (after looking at 7's data):

    Janeway: "And B'Elanna, don't access personal databses without my authorisation."
    B: "Captain?"
    Janeway: "There are protocols for observing privacy on this ship"
    B: "No offence, but 7 is not on this ship anymore"
    J: "I realise you two weren't exactly close. Regardless, we just lost one of our own."
    B: "She was never one of our own, Captain. Didn't she just prove that?"
    J: "I don't know what happened on that sphere, and neither do you Lt. Carry on."

    I love these two characters, but J really bothered me here. Leaving the alcove on would have been enough, without putting this scene in there.

    Eh, the plot was a dribbling mishmash, thank you Brannon Braga, but I really enjoyed the music. Somehow, composer David Bell managed to break free from the Rick Berman collective edict of Sonic Wallpaper to deliver a bombastic score. It's still no Best of Both Worlds by Ron Jones; nonetheless, I found myself humming it for several days afterward.

    I have to give this episode ***1/2 stars just based on the entertainment value alone! I was so "into" the episode that I even gasped when Seven's "Papa" appeared as a drone at a critical juncture near the end.

    As to the logic: I really bought the Queen's reasoning regarding Seven's "Uniqueness". It was clear from the start that Seven was chosen to interact with Voyager's crew initially (in "Scorpion") because she was a human who had been part of the collective for 16 years. The Borg were probably upset that she left the collective, and the Queen then made it her mission to get her back after "allowing" her to absorb human individuality for two years. Taking all of that in combination with the two failed attempts by the Borg to assimilate Earth and there's a certain fabric to the logic here. What I didn't buy was the scene at the end when the Queen tried to force Seven to help the Borg create the Earth "Bio-Bomb". That part seemed a little rushed, but it *did* allow for a very dramatic ending confrontation.

    This was no "Living Witness"; but it was perhaps even more enjoyable as pure entertainment.

    no borg has ever regained their individuality.
    All the aliens on that planet chakotay went to who later decided to become their own collective but still "regained their individuality" for a time

    continuity abused for producers/writers creative license. not to forget phlox in enterprise's "regeneration" he almost became borg and heard their thoughts

    I'm surprised no one brought this funny nit up. Near the end when Janeway explains her plan to rescue Seven, she says "Thanks to the Hansens, we'll be prepared for an encounter with the Borg."
    Ummm..., weren't the Hansens assimilated? So, wouldn't any knowledge they had be useless since the Borg would obtained it once they were assimilated?

    Did anyone notice the use of "Please"? Seven tries to persuade each of her Ersatz-mothers and both change their mind after Seven says "please": Janeway takes her onto the mission, the Borg queen releases the four aliens. Was that some kind of lesson or does Seven learn to use her charm?

    Did no one else find the whole assimilation section of this episode extremely harrowing. Was very dark stuff.
    The producers painted themselves in a corner by announcing the age of Seven's assimilation in another episode. Better to have changed that and had a slightly older 7 (how old is she suppposed to be as an adult) so it could have fitted in with the Hansens heading off soon after the first Borg meeting.

    Acoushla Moya: "Better safe than assimilated."

    A nice, stimulating episode, full of action and adventure. Shame about the several soppy "let's-talk-about-our-feelings" sequences, but they didn't spoil the overall thing. Another minor annoyance: Naomi Wildman's absurd forehead bumps. Ugly. What the hell... - reproductive glands or something???

    For those talking about continuity and trying to explain the illogic and holes: Are you serious?! The Star Trek universe makes no sense anyway and if we began detailing everything that's inconsistent, illogical or just plain dumb about it, we'd end up with a tome more voluminous than the Encyclopedia Britannica!

    So, Janeway takes on the Borg and wins. Again and again. One busybody, who belongs to a species even the Borg denoted as of below-average intellectual capacity and lacking in many aspects, comes up trumps against a race that has effortlessly assimilated billions of individuals all over the universe. Ah, whatever. Just take it for what it is: A bit of harmless entertainment. In that regard, this episode excels. Four stars, at the very least.


    "Another minor annoyance: Naomi Wildman's absurd forehead bumps. Ugly. What the hell... - reproductive glands or something?"

    Those things are the result of her being half Ktarian. I agree they look stupid, but there's a legitimate, canonical reason for them, and all four actresses who played Naomi (unless the infant was a CGI construct) had them. Even Naomi's daughter had them, in "Endgame." Why do they bother you?

    Navamske: They look ugly, number one. Number two, it's laziness and lack of imagination on the writers' and makeup artists' part. What: The only way to make someone look non-human is to stick some seashells on their forehead?? The old "forehead of the week" story... - except this time it's a recurring character, so they could've invested a bit more effort into it. S'all.

    Certainly this episode is one of the standouts of the series, but agree it's more for the action and spectacle, as opposed to the story.

    I certainly didn't like how the Borg backstory was conceived. This is one of those continuity goofs I never understood. It really seems to diminish the impact of "Q Who?"

    VOY tended to do very well by their big EVENT episodes. Most of the weekly stories are annoyingly average with the occasional classic. But usually the event episodes came off quite well. The stories may not have been the best. But the action and effects made them interesting to watch and "Dark Frontier" is no exception.

    It's just too bad the writers couldn't make the regular characters (outside of Seven and the EMH) more interesting on just a regular basis as opposed to the EVENT episodes.

    Could do without spoiler comments.. some of us are going through the series and reviews later in life. (At least it sounds like the miracle growth nature of Naomi gets explored and probably explained, but still.)

    So this is the infamous episode that throws away all continuity and acknowledgement that TNG even existed.
    Other than that it was a very good episode, and on its own it had the potential to be a true Trek classic. Without going into great detail analysing the plot I would simply say it has a fine balance of action and things like characterisation and emotion, brilliantly produced and directed, with some great music. The blatant disregard for the past though, spoils it an awful lot.

    Voyager "changed" continuity only inasmuch as it offered a deeper insight (granted a newly invented one, but so what, it was a new show) into that continuity. Why is it so wrong that the Borg's motivations at their core are the same as everyone else's, just with an atypically scary and probing form of propaganda, the collective? I think it's a brilliant way to apply TOS era Trek-ology to a TNG era creation.

    DS9 changed the continuity of what it meant to be human, but no one seems to give a damn. A character like Picard or Data could never be written into the DS9 Universe--notice that Picard hardly acts like himself in "Emissary," (or in ST: Nemesis for that matter).

    This episode was standout for its ability not only to 1) present an engaging action premise, yes but couched amidst ongoing character development, 2) coagulate themes from the series run as well as its predecessors' and 3) redefine (or expose fully depending on one's perspective) the nature of Trek's greatest enemy conceived to the cause of eventually deconstructing (and destroying) them in this series' finale. Remarkable episode which also featured stunning effects, characterisations, acting (I can't stress enough how much better it is than the regulars on DS9 and I'm sorry if Dukat and Garak aren't on the opening credits, they aren't "regulars") music and cinematography. 4 stars.

    Did any one else notice the whole mother-daughter moment at the end of the episode between Janeway and Seven?
    Janeway asking Seven to go regenerate, Seven saying she'll go when she's finished and Janeway saying 'No, now.' Then she goes and sets up the alcove, metaphorically tucking her in and says 'Sweet dreams.' I thought it was really cute.
    Ya gotta love those two, there's such a tangible bond between them.

    Voyager's greatest strengths and weaknesses exemplified here: it's ability to create engaging, action-packed episodes that no appealed to a wide demographic, for they are quite easy to follow for the more casual viewer.

    It's weakness is that the writing isn't as good as it could have been. It's a solid enough episode and it goes from A to B to C in a reasonable manner, but there's just not enough plot to sustain a two hour episode. It's pretty stretched and I didn't feel the characterisation probed as deeply as it could have. The endless exchanges between Seven and the Borg Queen lacked spark and drama. With some tighter writing, their scenes could really have been something special. It just never went anywhere.

    The Hansen flashbacks were adequate, although maybe a little unnecessary and unfortunately they p****d all over continuity, in a major way. The Hansens, whose obsession with the Borg bordered on idiocy, also have to be the most astoundably
    irresponsible parents ever seen on Trek. They obviously didn't care about their daughter's safety one little bit.

    Apart from that, it's still an enjoyable episode, if you keep the brain in neutral. Kind of the Trek equivalent of a Hollywood popcorn movie - something Voyager did well.

    Funny how in the episode with the Cardassian doctor, which was just a simulation, bloody murder was screamed about using the technologies in question because of how they were acquired, but here the Borg, whose entire technology is essentially the rape of civilizations, Janeway actually goes on an expedition to grab her some...I think I even saw drool coming out of the side of her mouth.

    Nitpicks aside, this episode is just a lot of epic-scale fun. I'd give it four stars.

    "As I recall, Cochrane was famous for his imaginative stories. He was also known to be frequently intoxicated." T'Pol in Regeneration.

    Clearly the Hansens were big Cochrane fans and investigated his drunked story more seriously than Starfleet.


    Janeway made the same decision in both the case of the Cardassian doctor hologram and in the case of stealing Borg technology.

    "these flashbacks allege that Starfleet knew about the Borg years before they could have"

    No, Starfleet didn't know about the Borg at the time the Hansens were studying them. However, given the events of First Contact, it is reasonable to assume that there were rumors of the Borg. So the Hansens set out to find them. But there were no official reports of the Borg until "Q Who". That was Starfleet's real first discovery of them. The Hansens never sent any information back to Starfleet because they were brought to the Delta Quadrant and crashed on a planet.

    Continuity was thrown away with Generations. Or did nobody ask a single El Aurian refugee what happened to their planet? I'd wager Braga was to blame for that blunder originally.

    @ Grumpy...well actually it goes all the way back to Q-Who? When Guinan revealed her familiarity with the Borg, you'd think Picard would have replied "and you didn't tell us about such a malevolent and dangerous adversary because...?"

    Ugh Lee....Ugh Lee! Any Salute Your Shorts fans out there notice that Seven's dad was played my the one and only Counselor Kevin "Ugh" Lee? 5 stars for that reason alone!

    Well great entertainment but again an insult to viewers intelligence.
    DS9 may have gone against Trekian philosophy but it treated the viewers like adults.
    Voyager may have stuck with Trek ideals (when it suited them) but treated viewers like kids.

    I'd still rate this as 4 stars, it's the Voyager movie that never went to cinema, great production values and FX. JUst leave your brain at the door.

    I think this is about the point where the Borg stopped being scary and unbeatable and became just another race of Hard-Headed Aliens that could be easily defeated by Our Heroes. If we use the logic of BOBW, the Hanses' entire research should have been completely useless because the Borg now have that knowledge as well. It just takes them way too long to figure it out. It's not just a matter of continuity, it's a matter of keeping us on the edge of our seats. Still, I can't say I wasn't entertained.

    So now we have a love triangle - or Two Suitors for Seven. The Borg queen's come-on was much more erotic so I guess they had to kill her off. Janeway beats the dominatrix and has to content herself with simply having the obsessive object of her desire be the only woman on the ship to prance around in a cat suit to stare at longingly watching her "regenerate."

    Were this Showtime or HBO it could have been overt and far more interesting :)

    It worked well as a big action spectacle event and the very solid characterisation meant we had plenty of emotional pay-offs to soothe over the cracks of the actual plot. It wasn't exactly deep but it was very satisfying and it made me care whilst in the heat of the impressive set pieces, so I'd consider it a success.

    3 stars seems about right. I'd even be tempted to nudge it up to 3 and a half if the mechanics of the plot were a little less wobbly.

    One other thing, I finally figuired out what 7s' facial implants remind me of! The one around her eyebrow looks like a metal dolphin and the one by the corner of her jaw is like a little star fish....I can't be the only one to see that!

    Oh and while I'm at it I'll mention that I still dislike Niomi (sp?) Wilman, I hate Star Trek Ginius Sickly Sweet Children...but I have to be honest and say I'm not a big fan of kids in general, especially in sci-fi.

    I just couldn't get past the plot holes, irresponsible Hansens and wonky Borg reasons to really enjoy this.

    some reason, a lot of people get caught up in "continuity." many fans of star trek just like the stories. who cares if he hansens over lap with what happened in TNG? most people wouldnt even know or care? how does what happened in TNG have any impact on how i watch this episode? i thought it was a good way to explain what the Hansens were really doing.

    I enjoyed the story. i enjoyed the graphics.

    what i am surprised is no one mentioned how they are good enough to install the coil, but it only lasts x number of light years and it is worthless? good thing they dont have that problem with the warp drive. lol.

    any story is going to have a problem. we all know that the borg have millions of ships and billions of drones. the borg could send 10,000 ships to earth and destroy it..but it would be too convenient..right?

    azcats... Personally, I believe any story is better if it obeys the rules of its fictional world, including canonical continuity. However, as you say, "any story is going to have a problem." It's a question worth thinking about -- or overthinking, as in this dialogue (with spoilers for some recent movies):

    @azcats: The problem with this episode isn't that it's a LITTLE inconsistent with established Trek history. It's that it completely blows it out of the water.

    In previous episodes about Seven's parents, it's implied (or at least can be implied) that they were explorers who discovered the Borg before anyone in the Federation did. In this episode, Seven's father basically says their plan (which was approved by the Federation) was to go look for the Borg on the outset of the mission -- which makes no sense, given established Trek history.

    Assuming Seven is about 20 when Voyager rescues her, the episode flashbacks would have occurred in 2354-58 or thereabouts. That's about a full decade before the Borg (apparently) attacked the Federation and Romulan outposts along the neutral zone. In 'Q Who?', which occurs in 2365, the only person with any previous knowledge of the Borg was Guinan.

    So, unless the El Aurians or someone else ONLY tipped off a few scientists -- and not the Federation generally -- it's implausible that Seven's parents would know as much about the Borg as they do before their mission. Someone on the Enterprise (Picard? Data?) would have known about some rumored race of mindless drones in 'Q Who'.

    As with much of Voyager, the inconsistency wasn't necessary to advance the plot or make the story better. All they had to do was advance the storyline a few years -- maybe to 2365-66? -- and make Seven an older child on the Raven when they encountered (and first heard of) the Borg. Or, with the time parameters of this episode, Seven's dad could have said they were going to find a race with incredible destructive power, thought to originate in the Delta Quadrant.

    It's even possible that the events of 'First Contact' (and later 'Regeneration') could have somewhat increased the Federation's knowledge of the Borg. But naming the race and providing as much detail as Seven's parents had in the 2350s just makes little sense. Archer et. al, never got a name for the Borg.

    And, to the predictable counterpoint, yes, the new movies reset the timeline. But that was clearly established in the movie's dialog and plot. There's no indication that the Voyager writers were that clever -- they just rewrote established Trek history somewhat unnecessarily for this episode. The existence of the Hanson diaries -- which, presumably, Voyager had in its database before 'Caretaker' -- is another F you to Trek cannon.

    The best sci-fi has interior logic and continuity. Deviations should be minimal or they become a distraction.

    That's what happened here. The episode was entertaining on many levels, but as a huge TNG fan, I could not ignore their complete disregard for the establishment of the Borg. That wasn't a minimal change. That was HUGE.

    The worst part is that it could so easily have been averted with a little effort and explanation. Paul came up with one that would have worked (see above). I am forced to conclude that the writers simply didn't care enough to bother; I consider that a weakness. It's one that you can choose to overlook, but it is a weakness nonetheless.

    It really bugged how people kept dissing the Borg with Seven standing right around them. That was a total show tone disconnect. The crew of the Voyager is supposed to be evolved beyond that kind of childish behavior no matter how much they might dislike an enemy. Evolved sensibilities tell us that our enemy are still people even if they want to destroy us. The crew and even the captain of the Voyager were acting terribly hawkish, and that really turned me (and Seven) off. I feel like it was done simply to quickly give Seven more reason to want to leave the ship and was not at all how anyone had been acting prior to the opening of this episode.

    I thought the Borg Queen idea was just plain stupid. It was stupid in the movie and it was still stupid in this episode. The Borg are supposed to be a single huge enemy comprised of multiple unremarkable units. That made them scary because there was no one small person you could try to reason with. It would be like trying to talk to a water molecule to get a wave to stop crashing on the beach. Having a slinky, evil queen boss makes the Borg look no different than a dumb Bond villain with his senselessly evil organization. And, what is the point of having a head and shoulders that disconnects from the rest of the body? So stupid.

    The Borg would have assimilated the Hansen's cloak technology, which makes this a pretty glaring plot hole.

    @Tom just because you know how something works doesn't mean you know how to counteract it. See: H-bombs.

    The Borg were much more menacing when they were a true 'collective', minus the inclusion of a Borg Queen. After all, the borg are terrifying because there is no weak link in their command structure, if one falls, another takes its place. They are a seamless entity, consuming whole civilizations to add to their own 'perfection'--- utterly horrifying to any species that treasures their autonomy and individuality. However, the crusade of the Borg to attain perfection through assimilation of all knowledge in the universe remains highly alluring, as long as one ignores the methods employed.

    As an action adventure shoot'em up, this episode was OK. I found it rather perpostrous so many high level command figures were in the delta flier. Would Picard endanger himself in such a way, leaving the Enterprises to fend for themselves while going on a suicide mission? I think not.

    I was disappointed that the Hansens didn't even once stop what they were doing to look into the camera and go "Mmmmmbop!".

    What was stopping the Borg from going back on their little "deal" and assimilating everyone?

    Don't the writers even think?

    Really like this episode. Great atmosphere and music. Also really bought in to the sense of inevitable dread watching the Hansen's, especially when they first locate the Borg cube. There's a great moment when the cube first shows up on their senses and the dad tries to send Annika to bed and she peeks out from around the corner and the music changes. Good stuff.

    There's also a cute scene between Janeway and Naomi in the Captain's ready room which is one of the few examples in either tv or movies of a scene depicted two female characters with one acting in a mentorship role to another. Usually the mentor role is played by a male character. Nice to see it flipped on its head for once.

    On that note, Naomi Wildman is the least annoying child character in the Trek cannon.

    I agree with DLPB. Too many of the comments here focus on the continuity errors. Continuity with TNG is a problem in this episode, however, this pales in comparison to the biggest problem with this episode, which is the Borg's inability to combat Janeway's away teams. It just doesn't make sense that they would be so vulnerable to attack. It makes sense on TNG that they don't consider them a threat when they beam over and look around with their Type 1 phasers in their holsters, but when Janeway sends multiple teams over at once, with Type 3 phasers drawn and Harry Kim planting bombs, they should be responding aggressively. Instead they just carry on with their everyday maintenance.

    And why oh why do they not assimilate Seven and Janeway at the end? The queen spends an eternity talking about how Voyager is inferior and they will be defeated, but they are just standing around doing nothing, for ages. It just doesn't make sense.

    And why does Janeway have to only blast one node for the Borg to lose their ability to keep shields? The writers do not take basic story logic into account, and the result is a depiction of the Borg as inept idiots.

    I could buy a story where they kidnap Seven and try to convince her to stay with the Borg as an individual, for the reasons Joseph B states, and also perhaps because they are trying to win the "hearts and minds" of humans as a way of validating their way of life, which could be quite interesting. But the writers fail to explore this idea at all, instead having the Borg queen try to force Seven to think like a drone even though they refuse to assimilate her. This basic illogic hurt the credibility of the story immeasurably.

    Only a population of 300,000?

    I guess Species 10026 was having a reproductive crisis that week!

    children episodes are so much better if you're a parent
    I can think of all those TNG serials which I found annoying but then rewatching them 20 years later the emotional response (like the Hansen flashbacks)were disarming

    nerds can only agree upon one thing:that there should be more episodes

    Certainly a lot of holes. Some really big, like changing the continuity, as Jammer has correctly pointed out. I was a harsh critic of how DS9 changed a lot of things Trek's universe. Now that Voyager does the same (although in less philosophically profound and consequential ways), I will not be blind. It was a major hole that only once again shows the lazy writing regarding the plot initial motors. It is a recurrent problem in Voyager and here is put to the limit, just showing a "don't care" disrespect with basic Trek established history.

    That said, what a wonderful episode for Seven! How Jammer can find more action-based than deep in development, it is beyond me. This episode highlighted many of Seven's inner issues and created a lot of potential for lasting consequences to her (which, after seeing the few next episodes, I think is confirmed). It means, it was a huge character development in many parts.

    Overall, a really strong episode that, as usual, is built over a ridiculous plot hole. 8.5 ou of 10 from me.

    A very good episode, with action, thrills and wonderful little character bits woven together.

    I'll buy that the Queen would want Seven back. One thing that I thought gave the Borg a lot of character is that they would expend a lot of resources trying to reclaim former drones, as if they themselves regarded them as lost children. It continued to reinforce the idea that the Borg truly believe that they're doing the best thing for you by assimilating you, bringing you close to perfection. And if you lose your way, they'll move heaven and earth to make sure you can find your way back into the Collective.

    I really liked that episode, small continuity errors aside. I really like the idea that the Hansens were actively chasing the Borgs - it explains why they would end up being assimilated and in the delta quadrant all of places.

    This being said, i hate the Borg Queen - here on in the movies. I thought that was a really weak move on the part of the writers. THAT is what made the Borg look weak, not Voyager. They were scary because they were a collective with drones which had lost all sense of individuality. Speaking to one was speaking to all. That's what made them so alien. The minute one was able to say "they're like..." (insects, a hive, whatever) their alienness was ruined.

    I have to disagree with the comments about the Borg Queen making the Borg weak.

    From the outset the Borg are like and insect species based on hornets, wasps and ants but instead of chemical signals its a collective conciousness.

    The fact there is a Queen gives them purpose and a structure.

    I am currently rewatching Voyager after watching all TNG and TNG movies. Never got into TOS too 80's child and never liked "Deep Sleep 9" to quote the TNG cast.

    The people commenting on continuity are missing the point of Voyager. It is an alien of the week show with each big jump in space allows for new weekly aliens.

    The best saving grace of this was there was only one Ferengi episode. And the Borg got more dimention and with more exposure the scariest beast can be understood and that makes them less scary.

    1. You're missing out on DS9
    2. There were 2 VOY Ferengi episodes
    3. The continuity bothers me and so did VOY constantly beating the Borg. Demystify the Borg and making them less scary and adding the Queen didn't bother me.

    To those arguing the timeline of Seven's age and the time of the Hansen's explorations: This was addressed in Q-Who - Borg Maturation Chambers; it's possible Seven's growth/age was accelerated by a number of years when she was many assimilated small children have we seen running around in Borg ships? Not many.

    In fairness, the way the Hansens talk about the Borg is like people talk about Sasquatch these days.
    The thing that jars it is the model Cube. Only someone that has actually seen the Borg would know what their ships looked like.
    Maybe those El-Aurians who survived the Nexus in Generations spread a few rumours.


    1. The Borg weren't introduced to the Federation until TNG's "Q Who," which was a second season TNG episode that took place exactly 10 years before the fifth season of Voyager. Seven was assimilated 20 years ago. Up until this episode, that didn't pose a problem. The Hansens were explorers who, according to Janeway, "pointed their small ship to the Delta Quadrant and were never heard from again." It's possible they simply encountered a Borg cube and were assimilated. But here, it is established that Starfleet knew about the Borg 10 years before TNG's "Q Who" and even gave the Hansens the green light to track them down. The young Seven even plays with a model of the Borg cube while they are still on Earth getting the green light from Starfleet to search for, and study, the Borg. Absolutely insane continuity error!

    2. Janeway says that Seven has been an individual now for "over two years." The Borg Queen just says "two years." Actually, it's been one and a half, dumbasses!

    3. The Borg Queen says that Seven is the only drone to ever regain her individuality. Jesus, let me count the people that have regained their individuality from the Borg: Picard, Hugh (TNG's 5th season episode "I, Borg"), about 500,000 Borg drones under the control of Data's evil twin brother Lore (TNG's Descent 1 and 2, season 6 finale/7 premiere), and of course the entire colony of yet another 500,000 Borg drones who regained their individuality in Voyager's 3rd season episode "Unity" (the one where Chakotay was linked to them). The writers are officially retarded!

    4. When the Borg Queen talks about humanity, she creates a hologram of a naked male his underwear. I had no idea that the Borg are so prudish. Is that their weakness? The penis?

    5. Janeway names her plan "Operation Fort Knox." Then Paris gives a history lesson saying that when money went the way of the dinosaur, Fort Knox was turned into a museum. But he continued saying that all the gold in it remained, and because of that "a few Ferengi have tried to break into it once or twice." But this is contradicted by DS9. In the sixth season Deep Space Nine episode "Who Mourns for Morn" it is established that the Ferengi currency "Latinum" is a liquid encased in those gold bricks. When Quark finds out that the Latinum is completely gone from the bricks in that episode and the inside of the bricks is completely dry, he says "there's nothing here but worthless gold." So why would the Ferengi want to break in to Fort Knox?

    I think the concerns regarding plot continuity are overblown, although I remember feeling that way as well when it first aired. As others have pointed out, the fact that Guinan (and others) are hanging around the Federation already makes the Neutral Zone/Q Who storyline a bit awkward. And since Guinan was already present, it means that it was messed up from the very moment we saw our first cube. After all, there was not a single sociology grad student in all of the Federation who decided to interview the eyebrowless refugees from the mysterious Delta Quadrant? Why tir yourself down to something that already is problematic?

    Solution: well, the El-Aurians are a race of listeners, not talkers. They never said much about the Borg because, well, they thought the Borg were far enough away that it didn't matter. So Starfleet never got much out of the whole situation except, well, that they were a race that loved technology, cybernetics, and had cube-like ships. Heck, even once the Enterprise was in the Delta Quadrant, Guinan didn't mention the Borg, she just said they should leave. So clearly, data on the Borg was limited to almost nothing.

    Should Picard still have known about it? Maybe... But then again, rumors of a far-off race of bad guys isn't exactly going to be of pressing concern for a Starfleet captain. And once the Borg ship appeared, well, he had an expert on board who knew far more about the Borg than their computer did, so he had no need to consult the Federation database. And with what little information the Federation had, there would have been no reason to connect the ripped-out outposts along the Neutral Zone with the Borg.

    So perhaps our plothole can be filled in. There were rumors of the Borg, but only rumors. The Hansens set out to find them, but got assimilated before they could get any information back. As far as Starfleet knows, they were just lost in space (the episode even said they probably burned their bridges with the Federation crossing the Neutral Zone, so Starfleet probably didn't even think they ever found the Borg). Hence, Picard's knowledge of the situation was still very limited. While he could have consulted the old rumors in Q Who, he didn't because Guinan was right there. Problem solved.

    As for the episode itself, well, it was great except for the resolution. Great setup: Seven stuck with the Borg Queen, so how does she escape of Voyager come rescue her from the greatest threat the Federation ever knew? Riker had to pull off some impressive misdirection just to get Locutus off a single cube, so how are you going to get her out of the middle of Borg City? Answer: uh, standard action cliches. Just a complete letdown after all of that buildup.

    Same thing with the denouement. Seven just went through hell. So what do we get with the quiet final scene? Just Janeway telling her to get some sleep. Well, that was quite the anticlimactic character piece.

    I complain about the ending because, well, the setup was that great. This is about as exciting as you can make a TV show, and a lot of the scenery, a lot of the emotion, and a lot to make you think. Some other random comments:

    - The nightmare scene with Naomi was effective. I mean, when she started asking the same questions as the flashback, you already knew it was a dream or hallucination or whatever. But when Naomi suddenly turned into a Borg, it was still creepy and still sent a shiver down my spine. Not bad for something that was telegraphed.

    - As others have stated, the assimilation scenes were quite haunting. Probably the scariest the Borg have been. I mean, we've seen them assimilate Enterprise crew members in First Contact, and that's not comforting imagery, but at least they were soldiers. This was a systematic extinction, and thus far more menacing. Given that so many people consider this episode a neutering of the Borg, one has to admit that they were still scary in this scene.

    - Was anyone else reminded of Return of the Jedi with the Borg Queen and Seven? The Emperor taunting/tempting Luke? Sure, the Queen was being cryptic about everything, and it wasn't really clear what the final purpose was, but still the scenes were engaging.

    - That said, I don't think this was as unclear or poorly thought out as some people think. For starters, the assault on the Borg Sphere was as easy as it was precisely because it was a trap laid for Seven; no neutering of the Borg there. So people complaining that the Borg should have paid attention to the bombs and all were missing the point. Secondly, I think it makes sense that the Queen didn't want to simply assimilate Seven any more than she did Picard. She specifically stated that it was Seven's uniqueness; being fully Borg and living among humans (something that doesn't apply to either Picard, Hugh, or the Unity drones, so there's something unique there), that she wanted. Presumably, assimilating her would eliminate that uniqueness. The Borg have assimilated trillions of unique personalities, and usually just delete or ignore the personalities. Perhaps, if they were to just turn Seven into a drone, they would be unable to extract the unique element they're looking for, the psychology of humanity as seen from a Borg drone. They simply wouldn't know how to sift through an individual personality. Thus, they need Seven to give it willingly.

    - And with THAT said, the Queen seemed to jump straight into super evil mode, trying to get Seven to assimilate Earth while still resisting the Borg? Dumb dumb dumb. Then again, the Queen does consider these emotions irrelevant, and maybe she saw the time of the episode running low and felt she had to rush things...

    - Meanwhile, why are there doors on the Queen's chambers? Doors serve two purposes: privacy and security, and the Borg have no need for either of them.

    - As for the comment comparing this to Nothing Human, Janeway was consistent in both episodes. It was the Doctor, gleefully grave-robbing an arm off the Borg, that didn't really fit. Of course, an argument could be made that the Cardassian, being an individual, really should know better, while the Borg are more a force of nature. There would be nothing wrong with studying the aftereffects of a hurricane or a plague breakout, even if suffering occurred then, and using that research, so maybe the Doc felt that way here as well. But I agree, coming so close to that episode, it was jarring.

    The trivial and literal-minded nitpicking on this thread is depressing. This is an outstanding episode with atmosphere, mood and tone so rich it deserved the big screen. It's a superior stand alone ep with a cinematic pedigree some of the ST movies could only dream about. Thopmson is spectacularly effective, Ryan shines, and an ep based on a triangle of female relationships and tensions creates an extraordinary feminist statement. This is most satisfying SciFi above and beyond the narrow ST confines. The notion of a ST Canon and the harped upon need for continuity are a toddler's neediness, a fear of getting out of one's comfort zone. There's nothing in this ep that contradicts the spirit of ST and its scope for creating powerful metaphor. It's simply great meyaphorical ST and great Sci-Fi.

    As a big screen actioner with stunning visuals, excellent production values and great score this succeeds unreservedly. As a story, I feel less so. The Hansen interludes I thought were an effective plot device well played. The Borg queen I was less happy with - there was none of the seductive eroticism of the queen in First Contact, and the interaction with Seven fell flat as a consequence.

    Ultimately this whole episode can be pretty much summed up as 'Seven is co-opted by the Borg and then rescued'. It can be enjoyed on that level but doesn't stand much deeper scrutiny. 2.5 stars.

    I am another laughing my ass off at #4 of John's post. Hahahaha!


    Seriously, though, your post is all true.

    Have i missed something. Do we know how the Hansens got to the delta quadrant in the first place

    Oh thanks i thought they must of covered that. I didnt think comment posted so kept doing it then 3 came up at once lol.

    OK, 'First Contact' diminished the effects of the Borg in Q-Who... everything after that just piles on, along with the Hansen's and Regeneration etc.

    This is probably my favorite Voyager 2-parter (and that's saying something). Visually stunning, music was awesome and something that I don't think has been mentioned yet.... pace. Dark Frontier kept pounding at you... very, very good.

    The scenes where we actually see assimilation of civilians was gut-wrenching. they succeeded in driving the point home that the Borg have no morals.

    Hard to add to what Jammer wrote. I'll just give my cut on why the Borg Queen probably was so interested in 7. Seven is of course "unique", maybe, just maybe, Seven was looked upon as the next Borg Queen? Who knows, my one knock on this episode is they didn't elaborate enough on that revelation.

    As to why everyone doesn't know about the Borg? ... section 31 anyone? We know of a "race" of being that can't be stopped... I can see S31 snuffing that for the betterment of Star Fleet and the Federation.

    Easy 4-star episode for me.

    It's possible Starfleet new about the Borg prior to Q Who. Very plausible if you consider the Enterprise episode Regeneration. It was probably just classified and compartmentalized to some part of Starfleet.

    The Borg have already been retconned anyway. Originally they didn't assimilate people but later on it was stated they always have.

    Jammer, I'm not sure why you assert that continuity has been rewritten regarding the introduction of humanity to the Borg. It has not been. The Hansens set out to pursue a rumor about a cybernetic species that no one in the Alpha Quadrant knew about. They remained far away from the Federation for years and never sent their data back to Starfleet. Ultimately their sacrifice was entirely in vain since they were assimilated before they could inform the Alpha Quadrant of their discoveries.

    Why was kid Seven of Nine playing with a Borg Cube? That indicates more than a rumor. Especially as the Borg Cube as a concept was a complete surprise to Picard and the team when they encountered it.

    No... Ooh this sounds similar to the Borg theory that was knocking about 20 odd years ago.

    All they had to do was drop in a line about hearing about them from an El-Aurian and not have a model cube and it can make a bit more sense.

    In my view, the concept of the Borg Queen killed it. The Borg were disturbing because of their faceless, collective nature - just this frickin cube of metal just absorbing everything under the leash of an ever-present hive mind.

    Then they brought in the Borg Queen. Some kind of serpentine villainess with all the irrational and vain characteristics the Borg consider irrelevant. Why the hell would the Queen have a personality? They could have renamed her "Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People" and it wouldn't have mattered.

    I think the dumbing down of Star Trek began here...when we needed "bad guys" and special effects over chilling concepts and creepy aliens.

    Plot holes and continuity issues aside, I really enjoyed this one. It helps that due to a misspent youth my memory leaves much to be desired, and I just plain don't notice some of the continuity problems...

    A couple of points:
    - Annika's parents are deplorable people. And where was Starfleet? Apparently they approved the Hansen's plan to study the Borg, but would they really let them take a 5yo? I seriously doubt it.
    - I thought the child playing Annika was terrible. It made me appreciate more what a good little actress they found to play Naomi Wildman.
    - Here's a continuity issue that I don't think anyone has mentioned: child Annika has brown eyes. WTF? They did the same thing with Paris in his flashback scenes in "30 Days". I don't get it. Are brown eyed blonds cheaper to hire?

    Ug Lee! Ug Lee!! UG LEE! Always awesome to see Kirk Bailey in anything. He was the greatest camp counselor ever, and was great as Seven's dad. Too bad they just left him there and made no attempt to rescue him from the borg. It's not like the haven't liberated anyone else on this show.

    Bloody hell how irresponsible were the Hansen's taking their 5 year child with them to study the Borg?! I thought Archer was bad taking Porthos along when hunting down the Xindi weapon, but that seems fairly minor in comparison. The Hansen's would have been less hideous to watch, and more believable (what sort of parent would actually do that?), if Annika had been in her mid to late teens but I suppose that would ruin the drama of 7 being 'raised' by the Collective.

    Agree the child actor playing Annika was dreadful and not at all believable as the infant 7 who I would imagine was a bit of a little madam.

    Thoroughly enjoyed "Dark Frontier" although recognize there are continuity issues and plot holes. It's not perfect but it's very good Trek. The production is amazing -- normally that doesn't impress me, but I think there's enough new stuff here concerning the Borg that I liked it a lot. That new stuff would be some of the back story from the Hansen family mainly.

    The flashbacks of the Hansen family were pretty cool, although I find it a bit hard to believe they could last a couple of years studying the Borg so closely and it bugs me that this happened before "Q Who" (continuity issue).

    It was weird to see a Borg ship try attack Voyager right off the bat because I thought we were well beyond Borg space -- but no matter, VOY wanted another Borg episode so there you go. It was a great teaser.

    Some of the other things I liked was seeing the Borg station and how they went about assimilating another race. 7's reaction here is pretty predictable with her compassion coming through although that made me wonder why it was so easy to abandon Voyager in the first place just because of a call from the Borg Queen.

    I wasn't a fan of the Borg Queen in First Contact and nor was I here although she did serve a purpose for coordinating things and strategizing against Janeway. The ultimate end seemed a bit fortunate for Janeway & Co. So they blast some important power generation thingy, but all the while the Borg just stand there and don't try and assimilate Janeway -- made the Borg look stupid.

    For me, "Dark Frontier" does enough to get to 3.5 stars. Trek can't really go wrong with the Borg as villains. The action and the plot for the story was good enough to make me disregard sufficiently the inconsistencies, conveniences, and continuity issues. An interesting idea for Janeway to go on the offensive to steal Borg technology and then dealing with all the consequences.

    A person being "cured" after Borg assimilation wasn't a "never happened before" thing, but it is rare. I always thought it would have been an intriguing notion if they had it that a person who has been assimilated by the Borg and then restored was thereafter immune from it ever happening again. In such a case, the Borg Queen's machinations with Seven of Nine, rather than just instantly re-assimilating her as some here indicate should have happened, would make considerably more sense.

    Few nitpicks..

    -- Naomi shows Janeway her "proposal." Janeway glances at it maybe half a second, no exageration. She says "oh!" Are you kidding me? She has developed super-fast reading skills in the Delta Quadrant?

    -- Toward the end, Seven murmurs "Captain" when Janeway contacts her through her [whatever]. Queen touches her face and knows exactly what communication took place in a milisecond? Why didn't she just touch her face and learn everything she needs in that case? Why have all the dialogues?

    -- And if the Queen can read Seven's mind with a touch, she can surely know instantly what each drone communicates or knows. That's the whole point of the collective anyway. So what is the purpose of each drone's separate [whatever] unique signal that the Doctor revealed as if he could communicate with them individually? Doctor made it sound like they could send a message individually to each drone without the rest of the collective knowing about it, and that just seems absurd in this case.

    And thank you Jammer for questioning the Borg Queen's role (few others followed it up in previous comments). I felt the same way when I watched Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg's strength was the colllective. That is what made them scary. In the name of creating a villain, the film threw that out the window and made a large number of drones unequal, dependent on a single Queen, and Voyager does the same here. Don't get me wrong, I liked ST: First Contact, but it did sacrifice a lot from the Borg's intimidating image and presence, in order to make it sexy (ie the good Starfleet vs the evil "one") to the large movie-going audience.

    Back to the episode. Aside from the nitpicks above, it was a fine, entertaining hour and a half of TV.

    Good point made by Charlie in his comment from 2009 (and Nic from 2013).

    This episode is now nearly 20 years old! It holds up well I think. The VFX look good even by todays standards.

    3 stars

    This is one of my favorite Voyager episodes. It’s pretty much just an excuse to show off the Borg in all their intimidating glory. The two hour film also had great atmosphere and creepy mood. It also managed to pull together various little pieces over last two years and fill in blanks surrounding Seven and her background such as how the Raven wound up all the way in the Delta Quadrant

    Originally I was absolutely confused when the episodevrevealed the Hansens were aware and f the Borg even having a model of a cube ten years before “Q who?” But I reflected on it and realized maybe they had heard about the Borg from the El Aurian refugees but it would have been nice had that the writers taken just a minute to include a line or two to that effect

    I did like the way the episode approached the Hansen’s as researchers studying the Borg in pure scientific terms with their assortment of improvised tech gadgets

    I also liked how Naomi symbolized Seven as a child

    The Borg Queen is as big of a headache here as in First Contact. The writers of both try to play coy with what exactly she is instead of just coming right out and say she is an individual with emotions and the drones are her mindless slaves. The FC writers and Dark Frontier choose to play it vague. Is she an avatar for the Hive Mind? is she an individual? This episodes de was the perfect opportunity to really delve into who she is especially since Seven seems unaware of her existence until the queen appears before her

    Not only that but the writers had asked Alice Kruge to play the queen in this episode but couldn’t because of scheduling. Yet we saw the Queen in FC played by Krige be destroyed and all the drones self destruct as a result/-which totally goes against the idea of having things decentralized. Her death should have had zero effect if she were just merely a specialized drone who can be replaced with a clone or another female drone.
    But then in more confusion this DF Queen perishes st end of the hour but she returns in Unimatrix Zero and the Collective is still around so the DF Queen dying didn’t have the FC effect of drones dying when she died. Then Alice Krige returns in Endgame and ends up arguing and overriding the Collective furthering the confusion

    I did expect more from this outing but it was still enjoyable on its own terms Seven seemed to finally have a breakthrough in unimatrix one once confronted by her assimilated father and the queen and I thought after this episode she would reclaim her human name based on her outburst but it didn’t play out that way

    I also had an issue with the crew believing they could use the Hansen gadgets since knowledge of that tech would have been assimilated when they were and the Borg adapt from that point on to resist it. I also had a hard time believing the Delta flyer and Janeway could do easily waltz into the heart of Borgdom and surrounded by trillions of drones as Tuvok states. It also wasnt too bright to bring the Doc along with his mobile emitter. If it was assimilated the Collective would jump forward five centuries in technological progress Paris was already on board and could provide assistance if necessary

    On the objection to Seven being the "first Borg to regain her individuality" I'd argue that in a sense it's true if we qualify it by excluding:

    1. People who were only in the Collective for a short time.

    2. People who were later re-assimilated either into the mainstream Borg Collective or some substitute hive mind.

    3. Children who were in the Collective, but rescued while still very young.

    Seven is either the only or first to live as a Borg for nearly 20 years but eventually learn to function as a relatively normal person by the standards of her species (though highly traumatized and with special medical needs).

    I always wince at:

    "Does [the Borg Queen] have a a crown?"

    "We think she's more like the queen of an insect colony--coordinating the activities of the others."

    In other words, she's very like the sort of queen who wears a crown, and almost nothing like the queen of an insect colony...

    A few thoughts on part one (more later):

    Janeway stealing the Borg transwarp coil versus using the Moset program in Nothing Human: as pointed out above, Janeway was in favour of using the Moset program, so there's no contradiction there. But even if she was against it, I think the situations are different. Part of the issue is the concern that using Moset's research would normalize his methods, which is a risk since Moset is already a respected Alpha Quadrant figure/physician. He's been accepted. Now of course by this point, Cardassia is with the Dominion so things are a bit different, but Moset had already been accepted as part of Alpha Quadrant society, and so was basically rewarded for his tech. In this ep, Janeway is proposing an act of piracy to steal from the Borg, so her plan would both *hurt* the Borg and then gain something for her crew. It's a Robin Hood-type logic -- steal from the bad guys, which hurts the bad guys, and give to the good guys, which in this case is Janeway. The Borg don't benefit from Voyager stealing their technology against their will, is the idea.

    On the other hand, yes I think Janeway stealing the transwarp coil was a crazy idea and I can't believe no one called her on it (except for Chakotay to some extent beforehand when talking about her fiddling her commbadge). Now, the episode actually *does* call Janeway out on it in the episode's structure. The episode (part I in particular) emphasizes parallels between Annika's experience on the Raven and Seven's current experience on Voyager; Janeway, like the Hansens, is obsessed with a particular goal (getting home for Janeway, scientific knowledge for the Hansens) and it's leading her to madness and arrogance which is going to lead to the crew's destruction and, in particular, Annika/Seven's. Seven is terrified and only she can really see how dangerous what they are doing is, but hse doesn't quite believe it, and partly it's because on some level she's *still a child*; the episode gives Seven three parents or sets of parents, the Hansens, Janeway, and the Borg Queen, and three extended families (the Hansens again, Voyager, and the Borg), and the episode (part one that is) is about Seven realizing she's about to re-experience a traumatic event and she is still unable to do anything about it. (This is a really fantastic episode for Seven, all around, I think, and I disagree with Jammer's suggesting that it didn't do much new for the character.) The most she manages to do is to save Voyager, but *not* herself, and her decision tends to indicate on some level that she sees her parents' destruction as her fault, even as she's also angry with them for their destruction of her. The Hansens' arrogance is understandable because they had not really fully reckoned with the Borg's destructive power up close (this was pre-Wolf 359), though still worth condemning -- they got their young daughter assimilated, and *even had that not happened*, they still took her away from Federation society by breaking the laws they broke in the desperation to find answers.

    But I dunno -- Janeway finds out that the Borg knew about her transwarp stealing plan, and do she or the crew have a moment of reflection of, gee, maybe that was a stupid idea, taking on the Borg and assuming that we could pull off a heist against them in two weeks training, in retrospect it's obvious we were wrong and stupid? Well, no, of course not. It just seems weird to me that no one on the crew besides Seven seemed to realize how foolhardy Janeway's plan was, and there was very little internal justification. By contrast, in Scorpion, a lot of time was spent establishing both why Janeway thought her dangerous plan was the best option and Chakotay was given a voice to emphasize why he didn't believe in the risks. I know, I know, not every episode has to be Scorpion. But I just found Janeway's behaviour here hard to buy. Unlike the Hansens, I don't quite know why Janeway thought she could get away with this plan without being assimilated or destroyed. I guess here we could say it's part of Janeway's ongoing arc -- she's desperate to get home, and is taking bigger risks, but it's at the point now where the desperation is actually buried and so doesn't even show up except in her reckless behaviour, so that she does not seem to have the sadness that we saw in Scorpion or in the Year of Hell segments.

    Part II:

    So the big character piece in this two-parter, under the action, is about Seven's role in her three families, and what it means for her to be recovered by Voyager. The Borg Queen tells her that (apparently) she was actually only allowed to be recovered by Voyager as part of the Borg's plan to allow her to be some sort of double agent to eventually take over humanity. Huge if true, and it makes some sense of the Borg's relative disinterest in recovering Seven; it's a revelation, though, that the show doesn't make much of in the long-term, and one wonders if it makes sense for it to have been introduced.

    (If she was a double agent, why not try to recover her again after this episode's end? It's not wholly inconsistent with what we know from, e.g., First Contact, that the Borg wanted some sort of willing counerpart representative from humanity. It's not stated explicitly, but implicit in the Borg Queen's run-through of human failings is that humans still avoided assimilation, and she wants to know why; that something about human resourcefulness, probably linked in some way to their individuality, is something the Borg know they lack, and so want to be able to incorporate with a willing counterpart ala a Picard/Locutus, a Data, or a Seven.)

    Anyway, the idea that she was allowed to be on Voyager as part of a double-agent plan creates a weird push-pull; on the one hand, her Borg family never truly abandoned her, and always had plans for her, lending credence to the Queen's claim that Seven is still *essentially* Borg rather than human, and that her human time is mostly a bad dream and an illusion. On the other, it emphasizes the cruelty of the Borg that the Queen apparently allowed Seven to suffer and believe herself to be completely cut off from them merely because of the utility of some sort of double-agent drone with human experiences. There were parallels drawn between Janeway and the Hansens, especially in part one, and now there are parallels drawn between Janeway and the Queen, with some repeated dialogue (the Queen's line about maybe pushing Seven too fast repeats Janeway's line before), and there's an open question how much the Queen and Janeway as dueling mothers both insist on imposing their own values on Seven in order to use her for her skills.

    Annika Hansen apparently when her family brought her to the Borg and they took her over and replaced her with Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct to Unimatrix Zero One, who no longer had to fear the destruction of self and loss of family that Annika went through because the Borg were invincible and total; the fact that she was a Borg True Believer is part of their programming, of course, but also on some level a psychological defense mechanism from someone whose family were destroyed and who then needed to believe absolutely in the new family, even if they were the ones who destroyed her old one. It's creepy that her family was even folded into the Borg, and also that the Queen seems to wait to deploy this until the last moment -- a trump card that she has apparently hidden from Seven, who maybe believed her parents were murdered despite having been linked to the hive mind and so should have known that her parents were alive. It's not very Borg, I guess, or what we know about them, but it's kind of classic psychological manipulation in a cult (or other authoritarian regime), withholding belonging except sprinkled in small doses, doling out tiny secret privilege carrots only as temptations to prevent a person from escaping when the stick is likely to fail. We actually know from I, Borg already that individual Borg who don't have quite Seven/Annika's history don't react the same way to threats to Borg-ness that Seven did, in The Gift (and, as we discover, in Survival Instinct), and it seems to be the result of the isolation and terror of having her whole family killed or assimilated.

    Seven wanted to return to the Collective when Voyager got a hold of her, and only agreed to stay when Janeway started playing the Collective card -- telling her to comply and whatnot in The Gift. In The Raven, she still wanted to rejoin the Collective but was willing to allow that Tuvok and the others might not want to and to respect that. In Hope and Fear, Seven revealed that her preference would be to not rejoin the Collective. So we know that her preference would be to stay on Voyager, in this episode, but she's still ambivalent, and after deciding to give herself up in order to spare Voyager, Seven tries to make the most of her re-Borg-ification. So here we get a taste of what Seven has learned on Voyager. On Voyager she rejects Janeway's emphasis on individualism, but that rebellion took place in an environment which encouraged Seven's individualism to a degree, so here she resists the Queen's. We don't get much time on it, but Seven's allowing a handful of people to escape assimilation (in a really great, bravura sequence) is both her showing her Federation "corruption" and also showing the same spark of rebellion that Seven used to use against Janeway (in e.g. Prey), when she applied Borg philosophy to break against Starfleet, instead of Starfleet against Borg. What's interesting is the way the Queen seems to make some sort of allowances for Seven's rebellion, allowing the family to escape (the way, you know, the Raven wasn't allowed to escape), rather like the special privileges Seven occasionally enjoyed on Voyager.

    Janeway's taking a big risk to rescue Seven for Seven's sake in spite of Seven's betrayal is what convinces Seven to return to Voyager, and also on some level releases her from the trauma of her family having endangered/destroyed her. She even declares that her name is Annika Hansen here, for the first time (after having rejected that name for a long time), and she seems to be progressing to the point of, on some level, regaining a kind of ability to trust that was destroyed all that time ago. And yet there's still that edge to it; Janeway orders her around. We know that Seven would prefer to follow Janeway's orders than the Queen's now. When will she be past having to "comply," with either? Janeway's role as parent comes up again in the final scene -- where she orders her to go to sleep and have sweet dreams. And it's weird and interesting that Seven has this ambivalence about her "parents"; trusting her own parents (and being unable to stop them) led to her destruction, and then her second family took her individuality away and then abandoned her, and then her third family was a bumpy ride. Is it good or bad that she's trusting Janeway enough to follow her orders for her own good, rather than rebel? Is it progress or is she regressing?

    I like this episode a lot for the Seven side of things. But, and this is a big but, it's unbelievable that the rescue operation worked. It's one thing for Voyager to be able to win in a skirmish with some small sphere-shuttle, or something, but come on -- Borg HQ? Back in The Gift, the Borg's not trying to track them down indefinitely was explicable because they got the big distance-boost from Kes and, more to the point, Seven *wasn't that important*; she was just one drone. Here we learn she's a double-agent and also that the Borg are planning another assault on Earth, and it just dies on the vine because the Queen can't do anything but gape when Janeway shoots that one node thing? I don't buy it and it hurts the episode in a pretty major way.

    So the problems with both parts come down to the same thing -- the show doesn't sufficiently justify how Janeway et al. could reasonably expect to survive a Borg encounter. In part one, they justify it by having it be a puny sphere, but even then reveal that OF COURSE the Borg are too powerful and Janeway et al. are foolish, but then part two then amps things up by having Janeway et al. go to Borg HQ and then, after having the Borg having had a years-long (if opaque) plan far beyond Voyager's reckoning, they're completely incompetent in the face of a rescue attempt. It's not that hard to overlook this flaw during the Seven scenes, but it becomes difficult during the Janeway scenes.

    I think a high 3 stars for both parts -- but it's really a split rating, not between Part 1 and Part 2 but between different elements of the story (maybe 3.5/2.5? 4/2?).

    Thinking about it, I think that the plan to steal the transwarp coil in part 1 might have been less crazy, I guess, had it been presented in a different way. They did emphasize that the one sphere was limping and that it had limited capabilities, and they did make an effort to show that they were trying to be "careful."

    The main problem is that we've seen repeatedly that the Borg do try to recover their technology. The idea that they might be able to board a Borg ship without being assimilated isn't that crazy because the Borg *sometimes* don't respond if they aren't interested, though even there they'd need to somehow either be sure the Borg didn't see them or that they wouldn't be interested, which is hard to determine. But would they allow someone to take their tech without recovering it? They recover lost drones and lost tech all the time. Maybe if the plan had been to get the specs on a piece of equipment to be able to replicate it or something, it would have been more plausible; or if there were some work establishing why this circumstance was special. I don't know; I think it'd be possible to more convincingly assert that there was a Special Opportunity with a small Borg target, and the episode didn't do that for me.

    I'll add that one thing that might have helped (and did sort of help in the final episode) is this: there is no reason to expect that the Borg were setting a trap, because there was no reason to anticipate that the Borg would play some sort of game. Why would they need to "lure Voyager in" with all the deception? It's not their MO. And then the show could reveal that the reason they are playing the deception is because the Queen wants Seven to come back willingly. Probably in the AQ, they know that the Borg sometimes want willing participants (from Picard/Data's revelations in First Contact), but that might not have been told to Voyager in the scattered messages they got in season four.

    (I'll also add that this episode would work better if not for Drone, which did show the Borg obsessively pursuing the ship because of One, and I'm not clear on why the Borg would have "forgotten" that, or that Voyager has 29th century tech on board. I don't consider that as big a deal because one could say it was just the freak occurrence of One's existence that led to the Borg's interest, but it should still be a concern for the Voyager crew.)

    Re-watching this, it's very amusing how blatantly they have sidelined all the poorer actors in favour of the the Captain, Seven, the Doctor and Tuvok. Naomi Wildman is a more convincing character than most of the adults and that is embarrassing.

    I really enjoyed all the scientist back-story even if it was ridiculously reckless and is retconning, but this ep. is, yet-again, another showcase for superb Jeri Ryan acting. To have somehow found someone who looks like that for the geeks, and yet constantly delivers superb and convincing performances should result in a medal for the casting team.

    Neelix spends a bunch of time downloading the information about Seven's parents and brings her a box of dozens of datapads, with more to come. Why? Can't she just read it off of any computer terminal? And do those datapads only hold 3mb of info or what?

    About those 'biodampeners' that are used. How would they even help? Borg sensors can't detect them maybe, but they can still be seen and heard. I guess the Borg don't see or hear? Actually they must not, because they are running around the Borg ship saying stuff like 'put the bombs over there' while standing right next to drones, and then putting the bombs there right in front of them.

    The whole sneaking around the Borg ship annoyed me a great deal. They would certainly arouse the Borg by doing that stuff alone, but then even after the bombs go off and they teleport away a transwarp coil, the Borg still do nothing until a few minutes later. Like that wouldn't have set off any alarms at all? The Borg are stupid in this episode.

    That the Hansen's would have been able to do all the stuff they did for so long without being assimilated is idiotic.

    And the fact that the Delta Flyer can show up at a Borg 'city' and get away, after assaulting the Queen of all things, is just plain silly. I don't care what shields or whatever they have.

    Plus all the other stuff people already mentioned. Especially the canon violations.

    2 stars for Part 1.
    1 1/2 stars for Part 2.

    Skads - “And do those datapads only hold 3mb of info or what?”
    likely they did it to visually convey the volume of information, but I love the idea that back when this episode was made, a pad that size that contained terabytes worth of information was deemed “too unbelievable” for the average audience

    Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 8:53am (UTC -5)

    "The notion of a ST Canon and the harped upon need for continuity are a toddler's neediness, a fear of getting out of one's comfort zone."

    Excuse me? So I'm a toddler because I demand a coherent universe, instead of every episode existing in a different parallel dimension from the one before it? This isn't an anthology series like the Twilight Zone, dude!

    This has nothing to do with my "comfort zone." It has to do with the integrity of the franchise. Either things in past episodes happened or they did not. But demanding that the show recognize its own past isn't a "toddler's neediness" for comfort. It's a need for basic facts to exist within the show's objective universe.

    Either previously established reality exists or it does not. But pretending that it does and that it is coherent, while, at the same time, flushing certain inconvenient past episodes down the "memory hole" is deceitful, contradictory, Orwellian, and indefensible. It has to be one or the other. Either anthology or the same universe.

    I can't believe in two mutually negating things at the same time. If these writers don't even respect the integrity of their own reality, why should we?


    I'm also curious: Would you be okay if, in the next episode, Janeway were suddenly a man? Or the holographic doctor being a real flesh and blood human and the writers pretending that that was the case all along?

    How big does the continuity error have to be before it starts bothering you?

    I particularly liked the precision planning for the Big Borg Caper. The holodeck simulation, the seconds that needed to be shaved off, the need for everything to run like a well oiled machine, all the derring-do, the way the Voyager team had to be a collective to defeat the collective.

    The Seven part was interesting and good character development, she actually says "I am not Borg," a big deal for Seven.

    Showing Daddy was a little over the top, especially since nothing was really done with that. I liked the scene where the Borg were doing the assimilation. Seven is really starting to get some perspective about what was done to her, by her parents and then by the Borg.

    The ship and Seven take a big leap toward home.

    Comments on the comments:

    --The Borg Queen telling Seven she was the first Borg to regain her individuality . . . maybe she was just lying to make Seven feel special and avoid admitting weakness and the need for Seven to defeat the puny, inferior humans.

    --Hansen story line isn't the first to conflict with the "when the Borg were first known to the Federation" timeline. Does Voyager have to be consistent with the original, or the latest?

    --I liked that we found out how the Hansens even made it to the Delta Quadrant.

    --Definitely a deliberate comparison between "the parents" was set up . . . The Hansens, the Borg Queen, Janeway . . . with the "please" and more.

    --Naomi 's bumps: Lazy alien-making, sure, but realistic for a kid actor to endure. Maybe they learned their lesson with Alexander. That was a small child to put through that Klingon make up process. May explain his questionable acting and why he always looked cranky or bored and tired.

    The crew should have mutinied. Janeway's plan to get back Seven amidst thousands of Borg is insane but the writing, while not distracting from that, also annoyingly made its progress feel insanely easy.

    This episode at least kind of destroyed the Borg (though the later "Collective" and "Unimatrix Zero" destroyed them quite a bit more), Janeway, the Voyager crew. Seven also seems crazy to agree to be taken back in order to let Voyager go, to ask to go on the away team rather than just tell Janeway captain the mission is a trap so get away, when she especially should know the Borg can easily break their promises-and the Queen quickly outright freaking tells her her purpose is to assist in assimilating all of humanity. The whole episode is so crazy, though, that Seven making such a crazy decision doesn't hurt her overall too much.

    The flashbacks were OK in the first half (yeah, the parents kind of interesting), way too choppily, annoyingly included in the second. The first half would be a little better, agreeing to the deal aside, if it had been its own episode (without Part I in the onscreen title) so it wouldn't be so obvious that the mission would fail and/or Seven would be captured.

    @Doug Willis

    I've never read his reviews nor will I ever do so. It's always something I have to scroll past when I scan the comments of an episode. I recall 1 brief interaction with him wherein he showed he didn't know what he was talking about. I also seem to recall he stated that he was a socialist -- that's all you really need to know.

    Hello Everyone!

    I always like reading Elliott, even if I don't agree with what they have to say every time.

    Regards... RT

    Ouch...I thought Elliot had a point (does anyone moderate language here?)
    And honestly, I always found DS9 a little boring compared to TNG and even Voyager, though later in life I'm finding DS9 gets more interesting (just dont watch the crappy VOY episodes and it's a pretty neat series...would have been nice if they took more chances but such were the constraints for a 1990s-era syndicated show with a mandate to pump out a finished episode every 2 weeks on average for 7 years straight)

    @Rahul - what does his being or not being a socialist have to do with anything? No, don't answer ; I don't want to dwell on this Elliot business. @ Doug Willis - why did you have to invite people to discuss Elliot in a thread which he hadn't posted to for eight years?


    A hugely entertaining and appropriately splashy two-parter. I do wish more was done with Seven and the Queen in the back half though, as there's never really any doubt that she'll side with Janeway in the final confrontation. As Jammer noted, it plays very similarly to the Picard/Data/Queen standoff in First Contact, which ultimately had more going for it, character-wise. Even just moving the "I am Annika Hansen" line to the climax would have given it some more weight, but as is there's just not enough ambiguity surrounding Seven's motivations here to really land that three-way confrontation. Doesn't stop this from being an absolute blast though and I just love the design of the whole 'Borg city'.

    Way back in San 4s The Gift it was stated Sevens parents went off studying the borg 20 years ago, before Q Who. So it could be that there was a very small, vague awareness known to a few ppl in Starfleet, maybe just speculations of sevens parents known only to them, before Q Who, this would not violate continuity. Great to see Seven bsck5 on Picard. One of Treks best characters.

    I really enjoyed this episode with 3 glaring exceptions:
    1. The whole “no Borg has regained their individuality” thing that has been nitpicked to death already
    2. The last 2 minutes: “we managed to get another 20,000 light years out of the transwarp coil before it gave out...” Huh??? It just gave out? And that’s it? No replicating it? No studying it to apply its mechanics to your warp system?

    Other than that, fantastic stuff. 3.5 stars.

    Little Anika is beyond adorable. If I ever have a daughter, I want one like her! ❤

    Naomi Wildman, subunit of Ensign Samantha Wildman, is also cute (minus the ridiculous forehead pimples). As kids on Star Trek go, she's pretty tolerable and even affable a lot of the time. I don't know why I found her so insufferable on a previous rewatch, a decade ago...

    As for the episode, I liked it. It was replete with dynamic action and just the right amount of talkie-talkie. Quite a few plot holes and groaningly predictable plot turns but, heck, the rest was suspenseful and enjoyable enough to be able to see past that.

    One big annoyance, expressed by a few others, is that this further emasculates and trivializes the Borg. Seeing them outwitted and overcome this easily, it's now difficult to think of them as much more than a bunch of kittens (with a capital P). It makes the Hirogen or even Malons more imposing and formidable. Pity.

    Anyway, 3-1/2 stars, maybe even 4.

    Just about to watch the episode where human parents recklessly put their child in danger. The Hansens should have been locked up for child abuse. Apart from that entertaining episode with a good backstory for Seven. I guess the Hansens were working for Section 31 since mainstream Starfleet officers like Picard were new to The Borg since Archer's experience and the El Aurians refugees stories, must have been classified

    @Den they not only took their 7 year old on an expedition to study the Borg, they also deliberately marooned themselves in the Delta quadrant in a runabout with their 7 year old (in the middle of Borg space). Bad parents doesn't even begin to describe what these two are.

    Interesting that the Queen considered Seven to have been assaulted, mutilated, and indoctrinated by humans, instead of liberated. The Borg see what Janeway did as abhorrent as we see Assimilation.

    Not too different than Quark's little speech about humans and root beer. It's all about perspective.

    We really only see the Alliance in Firefly as the bad guys because our main characters are on the lam, but is the Alliance evil? No.

    It gets into a greyer area with the Peacekeepers in Farscape, but aside from insane military commanders, are the Peacekeepers evil?

    On the far dark end we have the Empire in Star Wars, who definitely perform acts of atrocities, but seem to justify it as bringing order to the galaxy.

    Anyway, I love the ideals of the Federation, I really do! But in spite of the Prime Directive, the Federation does a fair bit of assimilation on their own, and I like the self aware nods to this here and there over the various Trek series.

    I had a bunch of points I was going to make but I see that many previous commenters have beaten me to the punch. The bottom line is that this is frequently a very poorly written show and these two episodes are prime examples. It feels like the writers either don't watch their own tv show or want to punish their audience for paying the slightest bit of attention.

    Jammer said: "(Although, Janeway came off as a little smug in the scene where she introduces "Operation: Fort Knox" to the crew; Mulgrew sometimes goes overboard with the body language.)"

    She performs that scene like she's a gangster in a 1930s crime flick and she's showing off her "moxy."

    Controversial opinion: Mulgrew does a very poor job of acting on most (but certainly not all) episodes of Voyager. Her body language is constantly exaggerated: a swaggering walk, excessive hand gesticulations, touching her face, draping her arms across chairs etc. All of those are things that people do every day, and it isn't like every gesture is wildly over the top or anything, but most normal people don't do those things constantly. It's like she feels that a every line has to have just a little bit of something "extra" or she isn't really acting. It just comes across as artificial, imo. Sometimes, less is more.


    Mulgrew was convincingly charismatic though.
    Avery Brooks had his moments to shine but for my taste he was down the bottom of my favourites as captain, except for Bakula who is just last based on my disinterest in Enterprise.

    Fine episode. Plenty of excitement and thoughtfully written scenes that were well-acted....both kids were good...just different from each other. The Seven - Naomi Wildman connection is worthwhile...from Bliss and into Dark Frontier and I am glad they put all that in there, as well as continuity in the girl's attachment to Neelix.

    Perfect continuity cannot be manufactured after the fact unless we ourselves invent a time machine. When "Q Who" was written, no one at Paramount had yet thought of the Hansens, let alone a transwarp conduit.

    While I marvel sometimes at the writers' fixations on- and re-use of - certain names and numbers e.g., JP Hanson with an "o" not an "e" (admiral at Wolf 359) and "39" (the number of Starfleet vessels destroyed at Wolf, as well as the number of alien ships attacking the Borg in Dark Frontier) I have to chalk that up to sub-conscious patterning within the writers' minds whenever the word Borg is mentioned. Ranting about it 'may be futile.'

    IMO there does seem to be enough room within the standard Trekverse chronology to allow us to smooth over the continuity choppiness so that the fictional timeline is acceptable. We can then get our lives back.

    Finally, I am glad the Borg are in theory beatable. They remain sufficiently menacing, just not perfectly impregnable perhaps, and I loved the handling of the closing scenes of the episode. Not spoiling that for new watchers. 4 stars

    The Federation knew about the Borg at least as far back as Generations. It was just another distant ambiguous power/possible threat. Consider Earth had to fend off destruction from a giant cigar looking for whales and Earth's own probe returning-- some distant threat that may never manifest will be low on the list.

    There's also reason to believe Q's motivation in "Q Who" wasn't to warn Picard about potential threats in unexplored space, it was to warn him about an *imminent invasion* ... or even an invasion in progress, considering the attacks on the Earth/Romulan neutral zone, which is extremely close to Earth.

    As for the episode ... started out decent, if risky, but really slowed to a crawl in the second half. Seven and the Queen standing around chatting just wasn't interesting enough for the amount of screen time it got.

    Janeway was oddly stupid in this. I just can't see her going into attack mode against the Borg.

    But far worse was her not anticipating the risks to Seven of revisiting any aspects of her Borg experiences, and damn near forcing Seven to read her parents' logs. "Seven, please review your parents' logs where they endangered you, causing their presumed death and you being held hostage in a version of hell for the last 20 years."

    The Delta Flyer managed to oust the entire Borg Unicomplex and the Queen using outdated technology that, as was stated by the Queen herself, was assimilated decades ago. This episode made the Borg look super weak, nothing like the Borg the Enterprise (the Federation's flagship) encountered in Q Who. Granted, Voyager is an updated starship and they have Seven helping them with some Borg tactics, but it was still way too easily pulled off.

    Okay, so the Borg can't see the Delta Flyer on sensors due to multi-adaptive shielding. Can they, I don't know, look out a window to visually see the Flyer? You're telling me in that entire Unicomplex, there isn't one visual port in any of those structures? No cameras or view screens with zooming capabilities?

    The end of part 1 gave you the sense that Seven was gone forever and far away, with no way to really retrieve her. "The Delta Quadrant is a big place", says Janeway, yet they take the Delta Flyer, equipped with a transwarp coil, and somehow fly around the Quadrant until they find Seven's interlink signature? I just don't get it. It's pinpointing someone's location across 15,000 light years or more while you're traveling 25 times the speed of light. How???

    The solutions are a little too easy. The concept of a Queen, in of itself, makes no sense for a highly decentralized collective. In First Contact, a Queen was seemingly created because the micro-collective on the Enterprise needed someone to maintain order. There is no logical reason for there to be a figurehead for the larger collective, other than as a plot device.

    One other thing that bugged me about the choices of the writers is that Seven was the only character that received a really comprehensive backstory, with multiple episodes dedicated to her (Raven, Dark Frontier). With other characters, all we got were brief flashbacks, bits and pieces, or nothing at all. I think there's a reason why some fans started sarcastically calling Star Trek: Voyager the "Seven of Nine Show".

    I enjoyed Dark Frontier for the backstory and its attempt to give us a more comprehensive look at the Borg. I also enjoyed Mulgrew's acting, especially in the scenes between her and Seven, and in the scenes where you could clearly see that Janeway was grieving Seven's loss. I disagree with other posters above that Mulgrew is a bad actress. She was one of the actors who held the show together. I would say, on the whole, the female actresses on the show were superior to the males in depiction and performance. The one exception is Picardo (the Doctor), who is an excellent actor.

    [I really need to step up the pace with this show. I see from looking at the comments section of the previous episode "Bliss" that my family and I watched that episode in 2021! It was in December, so "only" thirteen months ago, but still: at this rate it will take several decades to finish the series.]

    Excellent two-parter, 3.5 out of 4. My wife, who along with our daughter watches with me at my request, rated it a perfect four stars, which is particularly enthusiastic for her about any show but especially this one.

    @Jammer: "The Queen says that no other Borg has ever regained individuality, but I must raise my hand and ask about the entire colony in 'Unity.'"

    Fair question, although they don't have intimate knowledge of Starfleet military operations.

    "But even forgetting that for the moment, if the Borg assimilate Seven's memories, won't that be everything they need? Apparently not; the Queen wants Seven to remain an individual who willfully chooses to side with the Borg. How this helps the collective I'm not sure."

    I thought it was fairly clear: assimilating her memories is no better qualitatively than all the other assimilations they do. It just gives them a little more data. She has to remain an individual to actually think like a human and therefore, in theory, give the Borg a tactical advantage by anticipating what humans might do. Having all that "data" assmilated into the collective doesn't provide that.

    Now, reading the comments, I see that @STD saw it similarly fifteen years ago: "If individuality is the key, reassimilating Seven would be counter productive; the Collective wants, essentially, someone who knows how the -enemy- thinks and anticipate and adapt to that type of thinking. Assimilation would destroy that."

    I agree that the screams of the people being assimilated in the distance were harrowing. But I found it puzzling that the prisoners of that species were so impassive when we saw them up close, except for the one who tried to run (and of course Seven's impulsive move to aid in his capture loaded her up with plenty of guilt, although I'm sure he wouldn't have gotten far in any case).

    I do agree with @Rob in November 2016 that it was a mistake to introduce the Borg queen to begin with. The implacable faceless collective was uniquely chilling, whereas as Rob said "Why the hell would the Queen have a personality? They could have renamed her 'Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People' and it wouldn't have mattered." But this of course was a mistake made outside of Voyager and then the show had to follow along.

    @artymiss in August 2017 noted how "hideous" the Hansens come across and asks "what sort of parent would actually do that?" I felt the same, but it also occurred to me that (1) they were obsessed with their quest which is somewhat understandable given how brilliant they were and what an incredible discovery the Borg were; and (2) the alternative would have been either to abandon their research or leave their daughter behind on Earth for years at a time, also tough for most parents to swallow. Honestly, you could also ask the same question about the families aboard ship starting with the beginning of TNG. I'm not sure how many of the people commenting here were already Trek fans before TNG started, but I'm one of them: TNG didn't start until I was a teenager and had enjoyed Trek since I was a little kid watching TOS reruns (my dad had been a fan when it originally aired, before I was born). I remember thinking right from the TNG pilot that the whole idea of having children on the Enterprise seemed like a colossally stupid idea, considering all the peril Enterprise had been in on TOS and the movies (and of course would be again in TNG). That's actually one reason I was never as sold on TNG as so many others seem to be--I still much prefer TOS.

    @Startrekwatcher, November 2017: "I thought after this episode she would reclaim her human name based on her outburst"

    Yeah, I wish she would have. It would make sense for her character development, but I suppose the producers were afraid of confusing casual viewers or losing something that made her character design interesting.

    @William B, December 2017: "If she was a double agent, why not try to recover her again after this episode's end?"

    Because the queen said at the end of the episode that she was mistaken to have thought the whole double agent plan would work out.

    On continuity: I think some of the complaints people have lodged are legitimate, while others are needlessly picayune. (The comment right above mine from @Robert is a good example: "It's pinpointing someone's location across 15,000 light years or more while you're traveling 25 times the speed of light. How???" Similar complaints could be lodged about pretty much every episode of every Trek show.) I also wonder if in the wake of Discovery's complete trashing of continuity, people might now be a little more forgiving of Voyager.

    @Springy, October 2018: "Showing Daddy was a little over the top, especially since nothing was really done with that."

    I absolutely wanted them to bring out her parents (and why not both of them?), but I definitely did want them to do something more with it.

    @Sigh2000: "Perfect continuity cannot be manufactured after the fact unless we ourselves invent a time machine. When 'Q Who' was written, no one at Paramount had yet thought of the Hansens, let alone a transwarp conduit."

    I sympathize with your general sentiment, but technically you're wrong. If the writers are aware of all the continuity, or at least have a script supervisor who can alert them to violations, they absolutely can maintain perfect continuity without a time machine. It just means they can't write any scripts that contradict the earlier continuity. This obviously handcuffs them a bit, but it's absolutely doable.

    Why are the Borg all men? (Apart from the Queen obviously.) I see why the creative team would favour an aesthetic of identical drones. But the Borg assimilate many diverse species: tall/short, male/female, non-humanoid etc. Yet all we see on their ships are clunky pasty men of the same height and build. Even allowing for technological intervention, it doesn't make sense. E.g. where are all the women?

    Neelix tells Janeway that 7's Borg alcove uses 30 megawatts of power. 30 Megawatts? That's enough to power a small 21st century village!

    Next time Voyager's in a fight and shields are down to 47% they should divert power from 7's alcove.

    My opinions:

    I think the entire premise of the episode that some decades ago a little family style ship was able to pursue the borg as they transwarped across the galaxy, get right up close to them without being detected, beam on board using some "bio dampner", abduct a borg that's sleeping and run scans/implant tracking devices, without any of the borg noticing, was lunacy. The borg literally wouldn't detect a missing borg, suddenly beamed out of its "alcove" or whatever? Millions of years more advanced with the combined tech of tens of thousands of species, and they could get so easily fooled by the Hansens little personal space vehicle or the invincible delta flyer? These borg episodes make no sense and to be honest it is so much random technobabble, that it just becomes boring.

    And of course they can just casually hook up a transwarp coil to their own systems in no time, the same way every other invading alien of the week also instantly knows how to operate and commandeer voyagers systems..amazing how that works!

    Then we have the almighty delta flyer which on the one hand will have a wall implode from taking a little dip inside a gas giant, but can take literally more weapons fire than Voyager can from borg ships, and casually cruise through transwarp conduits while simulatenously taking a barrage of borg weapons hitting them in the process, and come out with barely any damage. The borg can create all these wormholes all over the galaxy, yet are blinded by some remodulated shields on a shuttle craft. They can withstand phasers and torpedoes but a drone can be pulverized by Janeway's phaser rifle.

    I did like the idea of a whole borg base instead of just the ships. Before this the whole idea of the borg can existing as random cubes and spheres floating around the galaxy was lame in my opinion. About time we see some home worlds and central command structures..etc.

    The whole idea of Steven's struggle between humanity and the borg collective is overdramatized and consumes so many episodes with that soap opera nonsense, it's getting a little ridiculous. When I want to watch a Voyager episode on Google TV I don't even look in season 4 altogether at this point. 2 to 2.5 stars for the action, but still kinda lame.

    Seriously what is it with all those random lights flashing in the borg ships all the time lol? And if the borg is one collective mind then isn't the idea of it having a "queen" contradictory? And why does the queen always have to be "assembled" again? That's just so dumb.

    As others have stated here, I also find it hard to believe that as advanced as the borg are, they don't react at all to the away teams casually placing spatial charges and explosives on critical systems as drones waltz right by. The borg supposedly already assimilated the biodampner technology from the Hansens anyway. They have computers monitoring main systems right??

    It's been awhile since I've seen this, but I do remember this episode. It really was well done-I was at the edge of my seat the whole time. Although, I am one of those that really believes that the Borg were a better idea without the idea of a Queen. A faceless enemy is more chilling. Or if the Borg really were like an insect colony. (A queen ant or bee doesn't give orders. Basically, they are just the source of breeding stock. I'm not sure how to do that with the Borg since I imagine that most of their drones are assimilated (I never understood why they showed a Borg baby in the Best of Both Worlds)

    I also like how Janeway and Seven have a bond of friendship and look out for each other (7 gave herself up to save Janeway and Voyager, and Janeway risked much to save 7)

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