Star Trek: Voyager


4 stars

Air date: 10/21/1998
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller and Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Bryan Fuller and Harry Doc Kloor
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Maybe this is the collective's new strategy. They don't assimilate anymore, they just show up and look helpless." — Torres on the Borg

Nutshell: Very intriguing and poignant. Voyager at its best.

"Drone" opens with Seven looking into a mirror, practicing her smile. This is a wonderful scene. It works on the "cute" level, but there's a lot going on under the surface. It's quite clear that her smile is completely superficial. Seven doesn't feel like smiling, and she can't "feel" the smile when she makes it. It's just there. And knowing that frustrates her. In 20 seconds, without a single line of dialog, "Drone" has already managed to say something interesting about Seven: She's trying, but she's just not there yet—and it may be quite some time before she is.

"Drone" is one of the classic type of "human" Star Trek stories. What does it mean to be human and to have feelings? Why do we consider certain values so important? What kind of sacrifices should we make to serve the greater good? All of these questions have been asked dozens if not hundreds of times through the years of the Trek canon, but "Drone" does it as well as some of the best of them.

Once again, it accomplishes this through an analysis of Seven and the Borg. Voyager has played these cards many times, but when they're played as well as they are here, I'm hardly in a position to complain.

In this case, a freak transporter mishap causes Doc's mobile emitter to malfunction. And somehow, when Seven touches it, some of her Borg nanoprobes fuse with the holo-emitter technology. A bizarre technological process spontaneously erupts, and before long, Doc's emitter is assimilated by the nanoprobes, which in turn assimilates a Voyager computer station, turning it into a Borg maturation chamber. The chamber steals a sample of an ensign's DNA, and presto—a Borg fetus. It's surprising how plausible the episode makes this techno-evolution all seem. And the episode's visual conception of this process is neat—creepy and weird, and also irresistibly intriguing. Because this new Borg is based partially upon the 29th-century technology in Doc's emitter, there's the frightening prospect that this will become a very advanced new form of Borg drone.

So what's the prudent course of action? Pull the plug? Terminate the Borg before it can become a threat? Possibly. But that certainly wouldn't be the human thing to do, and it most definitely isn't what Janeway is going to do. The plan is to allow it to develop; since it won't have access to the Borg collective, the Voyager crew can train it to adopt human values. Janeway puts Seven in charge of this endeavor.

"Drone" is a primarily Seven-oriented episode, but it utilizes the ensemble much better than a lot of single-character-heavy shows. If "Drone" and "Night" are any indication, Voyager is doing a better job of balancing the cast than last season. (But somebody please promote Harry to lieutenant, already. Now he's an ensign who's running the bridge at night, for crying out loud.)

This episode is a melding of sorts of TNG's "The Offspring" and "I, Borg," as well as Voyager's "The Gift" from last season. It's not be the first episode of its kind, but who really cares? "Drone" is entertaining from beginning to end, working on every level—evoking mystery, fear, wonder, and eventually sympathy and pain.

The most noteworthy characteristic of "Drone" is that it made me care. Sure, some aspects of the story are more or less inevitable, but that didn't hurt the show because I felt for all parties involved in the plot—particularly Seven and the drone—and I was very caught up in the flow of the story.

Part of this arises out of the sense of amazement in watching this new Borg come to life. Within a day, it fully develops from fetus to adult. When Seven activates it, the drone is like an empty shell waiting for a set of instructions and a purpose—sort of like a computer with no operating system loaded. Being a Borg, the drone is able to assimilate information easily and quickly, which the crew provides in a manner that allows him to learn at an incredible pace.

J. Paul Boehmer, who plays the Borg drone, brings a detached sense of confused curiosity to the role, which proves immensely effective. He asks questions and is genuinely interested in learning the answers, but in some cases he doesn't understand the nature of the questions he asks or the answers he receives. He's extremely innocent, and certainly doesn't understand the nature of emotions, even though he obviously has them. But he's perceptive and is quick to clue in to the fact that people are nervous around him, as shown in a scene where he asks the Doctor, "Am I unwelcome here?"

Meanwhile, Seven helps him as best she can, but proceeds with caution when the subject of the Borg arises. There's that area of doubt—the question of whether the drone will seek out the collective if he learns about it. But as Janeway rightly says to Seven, they can't hide the nature of the Borg from him forever. The parent-child bond that begins to form between Seven and the drone (who adopts the appropriate name, "One") is quietly moving, especially the scene in the cargo bay where Seven shows One that he must regenerate in a Borg alcove. "Thank you," One tells her. Seven, caught off-guard, finds she can only repeat, "We must regenerate."

What's particularly interesting given this story's situation is that One is permitted the chance to become a very human, individualized Borg, unlike the individuals who are assimilated into the Borg collective and vanish into a hive bent on consuming everything it encounters.

When the moment comes when One must learn about the Borg collective, he exclaims, "I would like to experience the hive mind." The scene doesn't play out One's exclamation for us to fear, as one might initially expect. Rather, the scene as it unfolds demonstrates how Seven and the captain try to teach him about the nature of individuality, and how the Borg collective steals such individuality away from people forever. Slowly, they get through to him; One coming to grasp what it means to be an individual is a big part of "Drone's" appeal.

There's a significant action overture here, which also works on story terms, where the Borg collective learns of this drone's presence and sends a ship to intercept Voyager and assimilate him. What this demonstrates, alas, is the danger in adopting something so complex and inherently dangerous as a Borg. Even when the situation is seemingly controlled, an unknown variable can bring about disaster (in this case, One unknowingly sends a homing signal to the Borg). Before long, the Borg are looming in front of Voyager, spouting their usual threats of assimilation. The confrontation benefits from the typically impressive effects, including a spherical CG Borg ship.

Voyager's fate ultimately hangs on a noble sacrifice on One's part, who beams himself aboard the Borg ship and, with the aid of his superior technology, is able to take control and destroy it from within. It's not so much the confrontation with the Borg ship that's important; it's One's sacrifice that hits home. Even after One miraculously survives the destruction of the Borg ship, he denies himself emergency surgery once beamed back aboard Voyager. He realizes that his existence—an accident, as he even acknowledges—will put Voyager in danger if the Borg ever learn he survived.

I was moved by One's selfless act; who would've conceived of a selfless, noble Borg individual? Equally impressive is Seven's reaction to this sacrifice—which for her is a personal loss. Jeri Ryan's performance is heartfelt and on-target, leading into a finale that has no words, but just a silent Seven staring into the mirror like she was at the story's beginning. It's very nice, allowing the moment to speak for itself rather than offering us overly obvious dialog.

This ending peers into Seven's mind. She may not be able to make a smile work yet, but Seven knows partially what it means to feel and to be human. That may not be a particularly new concept in itself, but it's the fact that we've made additional progress—a step forward—that really counts.

"Drone" epitomizes the broadest concepts of Star Trek in its most visible forms. Everything that has always made Trek so accessible and appealing—new types of alien intelligence, action and special effects, neat gadgets—can be found here. But there's also the deeper meanings, questions, and emotions—the ongoing character analysis, the broad strokes of wonder and tragedy, the contemplation upon what makes us human. "Drone" is like the perfect balance of a little of everything, and the story pulls it all off within an appealing, pleasant, and quietly exciting hour. It's one of Voyager's best moments.

Next week: And one of the longest-standing Voyager mysteries is answered—how the crew goes about making new shuttles!

Previous episode: Night
Next episode: Extreme Risk

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84 comments on this post

Robert Murphy
Thu, Feb 14, 2008, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
I agree. This is a great moment in Voyager history. Although I never considered Voyager to be the best series in ST, this episode gave us a really good sci-fi story. I really wish they had given One a nice arc instead of a one off (lousy pun). This would probably have been too un-Voyagerlike, but I really think One deserved an arc. Of course he is too powerful to keep in the story forever, so they would have had to eventually kill him off, perhaps selflessly killing Borg, or some other threat, but that could come after the crew (and the viewers) got really attached to him over a longer period of time. It would have been much sadder and would have made this season a better one. There was so much potential in this One character -his parts are from the future! He is the strongest Borg alive, and he's on our side! So many cool things could have come from this concept. It's such a shame that it all ended in one show... but such is the way with Voyager... sigh.
Fri, Mar 21, 2008, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
This episode is similar to Tuvix. The transporter accidentally leads to a merger. The merger results in a new individual. In a very dramatic climax, the new individual is killed. At least this time Captain Janeway didn't murder the new individual, although that possibility was brought up during the episode.
Dirk Hartmann
Fri, May 9, 2008, 4:23am (UTC -5)
I loved this episode. Actually, I even enjoyed it more the second time around because during the first time I watched it, I constantly feared that the story would eventually decline into a predictable "drone gets out of control, goes on a rampage and must be stopped" setting. Boy, am I glad it didn't!
John Pate
Mon, Jan 19, 2009, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
This was a solid episode and the story played out well. The drone had to die at the end, he was simply too powerful not to overwhelm subsequent storylines by being more than a match for any challenges "Voyager" faced - presumably it wouldn't have taken him long to fix up transwarp drive for "Voyager" or figure out howto make "Quantum Slipstream" drive function. Still looks good in 2009. Classic "Voyager."
Thu, Feb 26, 2009, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
The setup required another transporter accident...sigh...but at least it serves the purpose of creating a good story, as opposed to, say, hyper-aging.

Unfortunately, the Doctor continues to become more shrill and tedious with each passing episode. His utter petulance when he calls up Torres at dawn to find out about his mobile emitter is played for laughs, but it only served to annoy and remind viewers that the chain of command is quickly breaking down on this ship.
Tue, Mar 3, 2009, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
It's amazing that this episode, which in a way is quite derivative of TNG's "I, Borg", still somehow manages to be a masterpiece in its own right.
Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 6:15am (UTC -5)
"Terminate the Borg before it can become a threat? Possibly. But that certainly wouldn't be the human thing to do, and it most definitely isn't what Janeway is going to do."

I seem to remember a certain murder of Tuvix. That wasn't even a threat. Janeway just liked Tuvok and Neelix better.
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 9:50am (UTC -5)
People liked this? I thought it was just a copy of I, Borg. I could see the ending a mile off.
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
I've enjoyed watching Voyager, since about mid season 4, but it does like its lack of continuity. So in this episode, we see that the Doc's emitter is effectively inside the Drone's brain. So can we take it then that it is unserviceable? Nope, we need the Doc to be mobile again, so 2 episodes later, he has it at his disposal once more! Grr.
Sun, Aug 1, 2010, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
The biggest plot hole in this nonetheless enjoyable episode is the clear implication that since the Super Borg dies, the regular Borg lose interest in the mobile emitter. The twenty-fourth-century Borg would be interested in that emitter -- hell, interested in any twenty-ninth-century technology -- whether it's a standalone piece of equipment or whether it's embedded in the Super Borg's head. I can accept that they didn't know of its existence until they made contact with One, but now that they know about it they should be frantic to get their hands on it.

We know from "First Contact" that the Borg have time-travel capability. I guess they're limited to going into the past; otherwise, they'd be traveling to the future to get all sorts of techno-goodies.
Tue, Nov 23, 2010, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
This wasn't bad, but don't think I'd have given it 4 stars. It seemed to use every cliché in the book, recycled a LOT of stuff and ended up with the usual Voyager reset button plotting (how convenient that the borg survived in a way that has never been known before, just long enough to get the mobile emitter back!)

A little bit of amusement is how One's walk seems to match that of Kryten in Red Dwarf. Maybe they should have put him in charge of laundry :-)

Don't know about how Janeway has become at this point. "Stubborn as a Klingon" is about right, but she didn't seem to rule out murder. "I'd *prefer* not to" isn't good enough and very unbecoming of a respected Starfleet captain IMHO! I'd taken Tuvix as a bit of a "forget about it, the writers weren't thinking" type episode, but to have that ruthless nature show up again, even if it wasn't acted upon... hmm.

It did have its good points. Seven losing One (does that make her Six?!) was pretty powerful, and far more effective than Data losing Lal. I appreciate what the episode tried to do, and I didn't hate it like it sounds, but I'd struggle to give it this kind of glowing review.

On another positive side, at least they had gone back to the concept of a manned transporter room. Poor Kim gets a break from being blamed for the Transporter Difficulty of the Week!
Sat, Jan 29, 2011, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
Seven says the Borg assimilate rather than reproducing in this fashion, but way back in Q-Who? they showed a nursery where Borg are born biologically and then immediately fitted with implants.
Mon, Jul 25, 2011, 3:56am (UTC -5)
This episode was engaging and compelling, but no way was it a four-star effort. For me it was far too derivative of "I Borg" and I had a problem with the guy playing the Borg - while his delivery was often fine, he still played it far too 'cutesy' at times and his walk was hilarious - whenever he moved it was so obvious it was an actor trying hard to 'do the robot'. As someone said he walked like Kryten from Red Dwarf. I also wonder at Voyager's decision to make the Borg speak like regular humans - why didn't they use the vocoder effect they used on Locutus and Hugh, for example? That was highly effective and made the Borg seem more Borg. I also didn't buy the climax in this episode and One's self-sacrifice. Nothing in the story really justifies One's willingness to make sacrifice himself for the Voyager crew - it was obviously just done because the writers had backed themselves into a corner and had to end the story. As a result I found the climax lacked the emotional resonance it really thought it had. As I said, it was an engaging episode, but ultimately didn't quite work for me. 3 stars from me.
Tue, Aug 9, 2011, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Although there were certain things I didn't like about this episode, I thought the portrayal of the borg was refreshing. Hugh from TNG was more like a wussy child, not an intimidating presence that could actually instill fear.

Although One's movements were more robotic, he was a new drone and a new being... and I found the mouth and body movements helped to show this (move here, say this) as well as create unease and uncertainty of how he would react, would the borg side win over?

Overall I wish this episode would have been split into two... things happened too quickly and made his quick development seem somewhat unbelievable and didn't allow long enough for the viewer to emotionally connect with him.
Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 10:40am (UTC -5)
"now that (The Borg) know about (Doc's mobile emitter) they should be frantic to get their hands on it."

@navamske, as far as The Borg are concerned One died in the sphere explosion and the emitter (even if they did know that *it* was responsible for his existence in the first place) was destroyed with him.

"Nothing in the story really justifies One's willingness to sacrifice himself for the Voyager crew"

@Iceblink, I disagree. When One assimilated all of the information he was given on humanity and human history, he learned about the concept of self-sacrifice. His interactions with the crew and his understanding of the inherent dangerousness of his own existence led him to make that sacrifice.

"(this episode) seemed to use every cliché in the book"

@Cloudane, in my mind that's one of the reasons it is such a great episode. It does use clichés, but the story is so powerful, it manages to transcend all of them.

As Jammer said, there's a little bit of everything here that makes Trek what it is. In fact, episodes like this are why I watch Star Trek in the first place and continued to watch Voyager even during its worst days. I suffered through the boredom of the Kazon, the insanity of "Threshold," and the high-concept ridiculousness of "Demon" to get to episodes like "Drone." Occasional brilliance was inevitable with a cast this good and characters this interesting.
Wed, May 16, 2012, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
The whole time I was watching this, I was waiting for One to meet his "father". One's biological component is based on a *member of Voyager's crew*. That could have serviced the story and One's character development in so many ways.
Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
I'm wondering why B'Ehlanna would have a towel next to a sonic shower...there's nothing to dry afterwards...
Sat, May 11, 2013, 11:56am (UTC -5)
A great episode. The best scene was when One transported into the Borg sphere and pwned the 2 Borg drones who tried to stop him. That was hilarious.
Wed, Jul 10, 2013, 11:43am (UTC -5)
@Jay - good point it should have been a robe instead of a towel. But the scene bothered me. "Look we can sexually exploit another actress in the series..."
Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 4:34am (UTC -5)
Forget the absurdity of these magical nanoprobes creating a new living being etc...
How about the thought of the doctor frantically ripping into the drones skull to remove his mobile emitter...
Thats entertainment....
Sun, Aug 4, 2013, 5:04am (UTC -5)
I too noted the plot holes and derivative nature of the show but at the end when One dies, I got choked up. This story was emotionally compelling and that's good enough for me.
Fri, Aug 16, 2013, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Wonderful Star Trek. Easily 4 stars.

SEVEN: You must comply. Please, you are hurting me.
ONE: You will adapt.

Tue, Oct 8, 2013, 3:41am (UTC -5)
One was only dying on his human biological side. What happened to Seven's Borg technology that can revive a dead person "up to 72 hours after death" like she did for Neelix?
Thu, Oct 10, 2013, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
I am watching again Voyager. It was the first complete series I watched about 8 years ago.
Well, what to say? Drone is a refreshing change from Voyager's dominant theme: the evil alien. At list in DS9 there was only one relentless villain, the Dominion. In Voyager, from the Kazon to the Malon (that is what I am watching now) they are all bad guys. Even the good ones have something "wrong".
In this episode "humanity" shamelessly wins over other considerations. Best episode thus far.
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Overall a pretty good episode, another nice vehicle for Seven to demonstrate progress on her journey to rejoining the human race. Gotta agree with others that the plot was incredibly derivative, with the ending fully predictable lightyears away.

When one considers the disastrous previous encounters with the borg, galaxy wide battles with hundreds of cubes and millions of drones, Janeway should have aborted the drone fetus in a heart beat. For the sake of the ship and crew, how suicidal is she to take on such a risk? Indeed, the drone ended up summoning a borg sphere.

That said, Tuvix was a more compelling 'transporter malfunction' episode, mainly because it forced the Voyager crew (particularly Janeway) to make a moral decision on behalf of a new lifeform - that choice being forced euthanasia. --- or was it cold blooded murder? Depends on your point of view.

In Drone, we get noble self-sacrifice, not unlike Spock in Star Trek II. Though obviously the ending was necessary for the sake of continuity of voyager, it failed to bring anything new to the moral universe of star trek - it merely reinforced well trodden tropes. Furthermore, at no point in the episode did actions of the crew have any meaningful impact on the course of events - they were just extraneous window-dressing. However, Seven did learn yet another consequence of being human, suffering emotional loss. A longer denouement could have fleshed out these new emotional scars.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 2:45am (UTC -5)
Holy Trek. Aside from the very implausible, silly, ludicrous explanation for how One was "born", the rest of the episode was pure joy to watch. Oh mine, it is amazing how much Seven has added to this show. The final of the episode, the dialogue, and how it builds upon Seven's contexto is just really really good.

I also enjoyed quite a lot the portrayal of One, as well as the actíng behind him. They ressembled the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, in the way he moved, talked and, most touching, both the facial expressions in between machine and human and the way he looked at the others.

Loved this one.
Thu, May 1, 2014, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode. This one really shined, and is by far one of my favorites of Voyager. ST VOY really should have had many more episodes along these lines (not necessarily with the Borg, but overall).

Although they had Geordi make a cameo appearance for the episode: Timeless, and DeLance reprise his role as The Q between Barkley here or there, what Voyager really needed was an appearance of Commander Data (perhaps even Lore) in the Delta quadrant.

What a trip that would have been if of all things, Lore had to teach the drone the aspects of NOT being evil having learned lessons from Data and others...between Seven of Nine trying to be a mother to One.

Honestly though, I think that they should have saved One until the end and combined his existence with Endgame for the most powerful season finale / Star Trek ending ever.

Could you imagine what it would have been like for One and Admiral Janeway to have teamed up and worked together to jump from one Borg ship to the next before encountering and doing a final Battle with the Borg Queen?

And although Admiral Janeway manages to save the lives of the crew, Seven and the Voyager crew are able to return to earth and survive not just because of Admiral Janeway's sacrifice...but also because of One's.

Seven then would have to deal with knowing that One was gone, but his sacrifice was to get them home as well as to save their lives with Admiral Janeway.

The end of the story could have shown Seven of Nine looking in that exact same mirror at the end, only on Earth as the final scene after they made it home...and as the last human on Voyager before she steps out onto the planet for the first time since she was a child herself.

What do you think?

Would that have been too haunting to end the show with and final season?
Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
I found this to be just a redo of "I, Borg" with better special effects and less compelling drama. The whole process of growing the Borg out of stolen cells seemed too contrived for me. The actors depiction of the Borg just wasn't convincing either - a far cry from the mechanical and chilling performances of the TNG era Borg.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Well I thought Janeway had completely lost her marbles, the most advanced borg ever, clearly a dangerous threat to the ship and everyone in it and she decides to let it live.
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
I thought One's decision to resist the Borg was completely unearned by the plot. He spends a few days with the Voyager crew and suddenly he's willing to die for them? He has no human sense of morality, so I don't see how he could be so moved by the plight of those that the Borg assimilate. When he finally learned the Borg's history he reacted to it the way a human being would, but he's not a human being. When he finally made contact with them it would have made far more sense for him to embrace them rather than fight them.

The greater problem though, is that the episode was sappy. I thought the same thing about "I, Borg". Episodes like this serve to neuter the Borg as adversaries. I will say that Jeri Ryan was enjoyable to watch as always though, and like T'Pol on Enterprise, she's my favorite part of this show.

Thu, Apr 23, 2015, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the episode, even though the origins of the drone were a bit of a stretch. Still, I'm willing to let it slide as it was obviously just a set up to get to the story. If it takes a rather implausible set of coincidences to get to a story as decent as this, I'm okay with that.

I was initially thinking the story would rapidly devolve into the predictable tedious Borg drone runs amok and causes general mayhem kind of stories, but I'm glad they decided to go the other way. It was for the better.
I don't think it detracts from the threat of the Borg as a dangerous adversary, since One is a unique instance who is completely detached from the collective. He was a freak accident.

As is getting to be the routine, it was another Seven of Nine focused episode, but like I already said. Voyager has very few characters interesting enough to work with, so if that means they have to rely heavily on the most interesting one to carry the show, then so be it. I do tire of it sometimes, but it's better then seeing episodes focused around characters that don't really grow or change.
That's looking at you, Neelix and Harry, who are still mostly the same now as they were in season 1. At least Seven grows and changes over the course of the show. And although she's not the only one to do so, she is one of the more interesting ones.
Wed, Apr 29, 2015, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
There was one small detail I really liked that no one's mentioned yet: the EMH was justifiably hurt and upset at the possibility of being locked in one small sickbay 24/7 again forever, which we know he finds lonely and distressing. But he never said or even implied anything about that to grown-up One (who was certainly perceptive enough to ask if the rest of the crew didn't like him), and the latter had to literally force EMH to stop trying to save his life at the end.

Doc's quality of life was going to drop like a rock without his emitter for the duration of however long One would have lived. Fussing at Torres early on was one (funny) thing, but once One became aware Doc never did anything to make him feel bad about being born. I thought that was really kind and a quiet statement about how far the EMH has come as a person, even though this was mainly a Seven episode.
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
The ensign at the beginning of the episode was really hot, i would have enjoyed this unoriginal story alot more if he'd had a bigger part
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 4:12am (UTC -5)
Jay - Sat, Jan 29, 2011 - 12:52pm (USA Central)

"Seven says the Borg assimilate rather than reproducing in this fashion, but way back in Q-Who? they showed a nursery where Borg are born biologically and then immediately fitted with implants."

That's not true. That was just Riker's flawed interpretation of things. Most likely, those babies in Q Who were kidnapped from another species and in the process of being assimilated.
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 4:17am (UTC -5)
skadoo - Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - 11:43am (USA Central)

"@Jay - good point it should have been a robe instead of a towel. But the scene bothered me. "Look we can sexually exploit another actress in the series..."

Sigh. What makes you think it had anything to do with any type of disrespectful sexual exploitation? Would you say the same thing if it were a naked Neelix? Sorry for the imagery, but damn, it was only meant to be a funny scene with the doctor showing how he wants his emitter back, only to contrast that with his positive attitude to One, thus implying that the doctor is a really good person.

That scene had nothing to do with exploiting women. I swear, some of you people are just so negative about sex.
Thu, Dec 31, 2015, 3:04am (UTC -5)
Another hum drum episode. Agreed that I, Borg had already covered similar territory. Didn't even matter if the Doc's holo-emitter was futuristic and never assimilated by the Borg till now. It still felt too derivative. And maybe it's also because I was nonplussed with that ep on TNG, too.

The borg are at their best when they are shown as totalitarian, take no prisoners and being cold-bloodedly efficient with their lifeless execution of getting things done. No talking, no useless wasting of energy. These eps I guess are to try to soften them (yet again). Something Voyager did till Endgame in which by then they were all but impotent.

And I thought I was the only one who noticed B'elanna had a towel for a sonic shower. Which made zero sense. For the scene, maybe.

2 stars is all I could muster for this one.
Jason R.
Fri, Feb 5, 2016, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
As I was watching this episode, it occurred to me that instead of showing this advanced drone around the ship and giving him a tour of the mess hall, they probably should have just handed him a rusted out transwarp coil from one of the borg wrecks they salvaged, a screwdriver, and said "here, make this work" and then given him an afternoon to get them home to the Alpha quadrant. You'd think the crew would have learned by now that characters like that don't stick around for long and you gotta put'em to work while you can.
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 9:37am (UTC -5)
A being resulting from "an accidental convergence of technologies" grows to show more nobility and sense of self-sacrifice for the greater good than all of the rules of the almighty Federation put together. What dramatic irony that the most advanced Borg conceivable displays the greatest sense of moral individual decision making. WOW ten times over. A singularly great hour of sci-fi cinematic excellence.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Feb 26, 2016, 6:29am (UTC -5)
Strong episode, but in the end I found it to be slightly too derivative of I, Borg to get the top marks. But that aside, this is a really intelligent character piece for Seven and provides both a thought-provoking and exciting hour's viewing. The concept of the 'future-Borg' was also an inventive and intriguing one. 3.5 stars.
Tue, May 24, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Just watched this one again last night.

If I may, .... on little nit pick?

You'd think that the creation of Borg technology on board in a science lab might set off some sort of alarm? :-)

But this one was a gem.

Couple thoughts from this one.

Seven goes from "We can still terminate it, but we must act quickly." to "You are hurting me" .... powerful stuff.

I just love when One meets Janeway... "One?" :-)

I thought the Torres meeting in Engineering was funny too. "You get a gold star" :-)

SEVEN: You have assimilated enough for one day. :-)

I'm a sap for the ending... it gets me every time. Jeri's performance throughout is awesome and J. Paul Boehmer was outstanding as our futuristic Borg Drone as well.

Do we ever hear about Mulcahey again? I can't remember.

One of Voyager's finest. Punn intended :-)
Tue, Jun 14, 2016, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
For all the similarities with "I, Borg," I think this episode has the most in common with "The Offspring," in which Data creates and then loses his daughter, Lal. Even the scene with the as-yet-unnamed drone waddling down the corridor as crewmembers do double takes, and especially noticing a human female, is reminiscent of the new android before it gets a human appearance.

The overarching story in each is virtually identical: The character who epitomizes emotionless logic striving toward humanity gets a "child" who becomes more human than the "parent," and that very breakthrough leads to the "child's" death, ultimately "humanizing" the regular character.
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
This was a decent episode, but I thought it was a rip-off of I, Borg and a few other Trek episodes which I feel were done better. I even saw similarities to Tripp's clone.

It also underscores how Janeway flip-flops. She'll kill Tuvix, a man who is begging not to die, but won't "pull the plug" on an embryo that could end up giving the Borg access to 29th Century technology. "let's see what happens." Really?

Not a five star episode for me.
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
I meant "4 star." Forgot which rating system We're using.
Tue, Aug 30, 2016, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
As Janeway pointed out, we went through this with Seven. Predictable ending (***)
Sun, Oct 2, 2016, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
I have to say, having just binge watched the entire series again after not having seen it since the original run. This is one of the their best episodes. I too wish that One would of had a longer arc story wise. The actor played him very well and I wanted him to live. I am loving this show more than I remembered from the first time. I was a big fan orginally too.
Wed, Nov 9, 2016, 4:52am (UTC -5)
@Yanks - I agree totally. Seven's "you're hurting me" was really poignant. Jeri Ryan may be great eye candy but I can't imagine anyone doing a better job as seven. She consistently nails it.

One of my favourite voyager eps.
Sun, Jan 8, 2017, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
A decent episode, but Torres seems to have reverted here to the more surly behavior she had in the early seemed out of place here and a bit distracting.
Paul Allen
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
Another transporter accident, those things are dangerous!!! :)

I've always thought that borg episodes, doctor episodes, and seven episodes are my favourites.

This has all three! Five stars out of four!
John Drake
Fri, May 26, 2017, 1:07am (UTC -5)
I'd caught the tail end of this one a couple of years ago, so I knew how it resolved going in, but it was somewhat better than I'd expected. Agree that it's a mashup of "I, Borg" and "The Offspring", and that it combines three whiz-bang improbable, problem-spewing Treknologies (transporters, Borg nanoprobes and the mobile emitter) into a single ridiculous result (One), but they *almost* pull the thing off, and Jeri Ryan is dynamite as 7 (once again).

The biggest problem with the episode is there just isn't enough time for One to become enough of a part of the crew for his actions - or 7's reaction - to make much sense. They probably should have skipped the silliness with the nebula and began the episode with 7 trying to fix the Doctor's malfunctioning mobile emitter with nanoprobes. It would have appeared to have been a success, and 7 would have left it overnight in the science lab for a full diagnostic - right before the credits rolled we'd have seen it do its Borg thing...

Either that or expand "Drone" to a two parter, or even a loosely-connected set of "One" themed episodes. They could have been in the process of slowly removing what implants they could as they tried to make One more human, somewhere along the line triggering the regeneration of his signaling apparatus. Or maybe they'd have just encountered the Borg in some other unrelated circumstance and One could have sacrificed himself as part of an attempt to defeat them...

The final bit with One's death and Jeri Ryan's last scene was excellent - really powerful stuff - but it's unfortunate the process of getting there was somewhat unoriginal, uneven and terribly rushed. Unfortunately that describes most of the better Voyager episodes - this franchise really needed new blood, and instead Paramount let the same tired hacks run it straight into the ground.
Reuben K
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 12:13am (UTC -5)
This was a great episode. Seven's words and expressions as One let himself die were tear-jerking. That being said, I wanted to make three nitpicks:

1. The death or removal of One was too telegraphed from the beginning. I literally had the thought, "This guy is too powerful. He gives them and easy way out of everything. He has the mobile emitter in his head. They are so going to kill him at the end of this."

2. You would think by now that the standard procedure for evaluating any kind of explosive/expansive stellar phenomenon is NOT to do it in a shuttle! Jesus Christ these idiots don't deserve to survive. It's so frustrating that it makes it harder to suspend my disbelief.

3. Not a nitpick, but can you imagine what it must've been like for the Doctor to remove his emitter from One's head?
Sun, Jun 18, 2017, 9:45am (UTC -5)
I admit I was surprised by the number of negative opinions registered here. Was the episode, at least in part, derivative? Sure. But then, the argument has been well made that there haven't been original stories for millennia, certainly in the broad, central themes and governing principles.

Was it predictable? Well, clearly the answer for some was yes, but I've always found the question a bit foreign. I've never been the "type of person" (ung...what a problmatic expression) that found much to be predictable. I get caught up in the story and my mind is usually too occupied watching emotions play on faces, listening to the score, etc., to even consider what will happen later. Mind you, many friends do find themselves outside the story, and a few even babble their predictions in real time, usually announced triumphantly, and sometimes spoiling it for me. And if a story is truly terrible, I may do the same. In general, though, I am lucky enough (or stupid enough ) to bob along with the moment, so predictability is not an issue.

Why did several people decide the origin of "One" was outlandish? Borg nano probes, if they do anything at all, create (and maintain) more Borg - using whatever resources are available. That's why they exist. If they found themselves suddenly exposed to a new, resource-rich environment, what else WOULD they do? Combined with advanced technology, but short on the biological material with which they are programmed to merge, why was sampling the first living tissue they encoutered a stretch? I don't mean any disprespect, but the many arguments dismissing One's creation seem almost, well, bizarre.

Most of the cast had some strong, small moments. I like Robert Beltran (he is too often underrated) and I love his big smile, which whetever else you might say about him, is never deployed unearned. Even Wang has a nice showing, conveying just the right note when he announces One is still alive in the Borg Sphere debris field.

Jeri Ryan was, as she so often is, amazing. She and ( drat - I can't recall his name- ung SORRY very good actor who also played a creepily-convincing holodeck Nazi in another Voyager episode!) One had visible chemistry (as actors, like Hopkins and Foster, or Shanks and Dean-Anderson, or Varney and Gabriel ) and when One dies, it is quite profitable to watch Ryan's face closely, as the director clealy intends.

Stewart was , and is, in league of his own in the entire Trek universe, and beyond, at being able convey the full range human emotions, sometimes many simultaneously, without saying a word. Nimoy was also amazing at this, as is Mulgrew, on many occasions, and Brooks on several. Jeri Ryan can, likewise, project an internal experience with remarkable skill, and Sevens' arc from beginning to end, from cautious fascination to parental pride to deeper investment to the shock and grief of loss, plays across her face with moving conviction.

There are probably a hundred little moments, but one example has the Doctor (in one of HIS strong moments) say to Seven, on One's death, that he is sorry. Seven jumps as if startled - just the sound of another voice rips her from her stunned instant of bewildering loss. That is great, internal acting; she is RIGHT THERE and we feel it.

So, with respect, for these and many more reasons, this a great episode.

p.s. Petulant, I couldn't agree more. If they had at some point used Todd Babcock again, I would have been very happy.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
I'm re-watching this ep today. While I agree with many here that this was an outstanding episode, one thing gnawed at me and distracted me throughout the entire episode. Mulchaey's DNA was used to create One, yet we hear nothing from him later. Technically, he's the drone's father, right? Yet no one ever consulted him about One's role or destiny or whatever you want to call it? (I swear I am not trying to turn this into a political/moral conversation, lol) I liked the actor and think he should have had a voice equal to Seven's.
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 9:14am (UTC -5)
While definitely recycling ideas from other episodes, I would say this one falls into "an old story well-told" category. Could be because I think I might have a soft spot for stories about weird motherhood. I was worried how were they going to handle the inevitable exit of One. We know he has to go and him heroically sacreficing himself would be particulary generic way to go and I was prepared to be disappointed when he blew up with the sphere. And then he beams back and comits suicide right before Seven. What a gut punch. I also give credit for bring back the Borg but keeping them extremely dangerous. Thank god they used a sphere and not a cube.
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Outstanding episode - really great acting by Jeri Ryan for 7 of 9. You can see the emotion in her and how she struggles with it from start to finish. "Drone" made me care despite some wild sci-fi that stretches the realm of believability. In the end, some of the loopholes didn't matter because we have an intensely compelling and poignant story.

The early part of it really reminded me of Frankenstein. I expected the new Borg drone to go on some kind of rampage, maybe get 7 on his side, and that Janeway was being foolish putting 7 in charge. But 7 developed motherly instincts and the Borg drone identified with the crew and its individuality. When the Borg sphere came calling, the episode really picked up. There's a moment of doubt where you wonder if the call of the Borg will convert the new Borg drone. Again, for me, there's no enemy like the Borg -- their presence automatically makes you take notice.

Really great review written by Jammer too, which I wholeheartedly agree with. This is a good episode for the ongoing arc of 7 of 9 learning to be human. There was the early part where the doctor is training her to make conversation with Torres and Kim and that goes wrong, the part with her learning to smile -- all little things that feed into the greater story of her emotions at the end.

As for the Borg drone itself, yes, it is a lot like the TNG terrific episode "I, Borg" but this one still really worked for me. The whole creation of the new Borg drone was quite a stroke of creativity to come up with a way to conceive of a 29th century Borg drone -- but I didn't care about the huge stretch of believability because here we have a compelling and very poignant ending.

4 stars for "Drone". 7 of 9 is such a better character than Kes (and most of the others on the ship). I'd have to assume the 29th century Borg drone has that added dimension to its thinking to realize it's better off dead than alive as far as the Borg threat to the Voyager crew -- so it has empathy and can make the ultimate sacrifice.
Sat, Sep 23, 2017, 12:31am (UTC -5)
Here I go again... finding myself agreeing with Seven when she disagrees with Janeway about the latter's decision not to terminate the drone.. It seems Seven knows more about humanity and the consequences of playing God better than Janeway. Again, Janeway makes a decision on behalf of the Borg drone to make him develop in her image of what he should become in the same way she did with Seven, nine months ago (in fact, that was the core of Seven's argument back then. It's a consistent pattern.

Great job by the guest actor Boehmer playing the drone. And kudos to Jeri Ryan for how well ahe expressed her desperation in her final dialogue with One. Great beginning and ending shots also. The fake smile, and the real sadness. Priceless.
Prince of Space
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:23am (UTC -5)
All I’ve learned from reading these comments to a really enjoyable Voyager episode is that everyone likes saying the word “derivative.”

Half of the people that say it do so so smugly that you can almost hear them rubbing their chins afterwards while admiring their handiwork. So impressive... no, really.

Great episode, a textbook example of what decent Trek writing can accomplish. Keyboard wanna-be script writers pounding out the word derivative should be assimilated.
Mon, Nov 6, 2017, 3:33am (UTC -5)
Did anyone notice one of the random security guards chewing gum when Janeway confronted the drone about the transmission?
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
2-2.5 stars

I didn’t think much of this one

A 29th century drone was intriguing but it really wasn’t put to much use and I didn’t feel much of anything even though the episode tried hard at pulling at the heartstrings. This was a poor rehash Of the much better TNG” The Offspring”
William B
Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 11:23am (UTC -5)
As with Timeless, I want to state outfront that I like this a lot and think highly of it. And yet I'm still going to go straight to criticisms, ha! I guess the main thing I want to talk about is the fact that I felt my emotional engagement is not where it "should have been" for this story, and I'm curious as to why that is. I don't know if I will, but I wouldn't mind revisiting this one to see how I feel on another viewing. But I think this time (and also the first time I saw it all those years ago), I found it interesting but too rushed to get as involved as I feel I should be. There isn't enough time for the full arc of One's creation, evolution, and death, as well as Seven's rapidly changing views of him, as well as the Borg threat which, let's note, is the first time the show has seriously played the card of the presence of the Borg for real since Kes got them out of Borg space in The Gift. It's a lot to take in, and the emotional beats feel a bit unearned because there just isn't time enough to relax with the characters and understand what "normal" actually constitutes for them, at least for me.

The episode has some I, Borg elements, but mostly I think it's strongly reminiscent of episodes like The Offspring in TNG and The Begotten on DS9. And I had a bit of a similar issue tracking The Offspring emotionally. I'd say though that the difference -- and why I think The Offspring is a great episode and I'm not so sure if I'd say that about Drone (though I know that Jammer's ratings are reversed) -- is that The Offspring is very forthright about the emotional distance that it creates. No one knows what to make of Lal and of Data's parenthood, and Data and Lal lack emotions, at least for most of the story's running time. The bizarreness of the situation, including the accelerated "growth" of Lal (emerging essentially fully formed once she chooses her appearance) is put front-and-centre, and also becomes part of the justification for Haftel's intervention -- how can we know what the parental bond between Data and Lal should look like? We are in totally uncharted territory, and I think we are led to feel uneasy about things (right from the beginning, where Geordi, Wesley and Deanna are a little spooked by Data's reveal of his private project, and it's hard to tell how much he recognizes the weight of what he is doing, though ultimately I think he does). And further, if I feel somewhat bewildered at the end of the episode and am not sure how to process all my feelings, this seems appropriate, and also further underscores what's unique about Data -- the way he somehow both is and is not changed by the event, that he's taken Lal completely into himself but can also plausibly outwardly go on as if nothing has happened, rather than having a long recovery arc for the loss of a child. The weirdness and uncomfortable speed with which all this takes place is part of the point, and gets to something that is at the core of Data's character and of what the main justification might be for objecting to Data procreating -- that he is unpredictable and hard for us mere humanoids to fully see and connect to, though I think the episode also strongly argues in favour of what he does for Lal. Now I won't deny that Drone also successfully emphasizes the weirdness of One's status and of Borg relationships, such as they are, and the uniqueness of his experience, but the way it comes about as a freak accident ends up meaning a little less about Seven, in comparison, and I'm not so sure that the hyper-speed movement through her essentially getting and losing a super-advanced adult child who can outmaneuver the Borg collective is necessary or organic to the character. The way The Begotten worked was by being less ambitious and covering less in the hour -- focusing on the Odo/Mora dynamic and the possibilities opened by the baby changeling, but without feeling the need to accelerate it to be an adult of Odo's that he bonds with and loses; the tragedy is still present, but it is somewhat muted because the story doesn't push us to see the baby changeling as a sentient, fully-formed being or to push Odo to interact with it as such.

The episode is in some ways more like TNG's The Child, an episode of which I'm not a fan, though having One be a freak accident is preferable to it being an experiment the way Troi's pregnancy and Ian Andrew's brief life was there. This episode is better executed in almost every way, but it does leave me similarly unsure how I feel, and maybe a little weird about feeling like I was manipulated. At the same time, I'm not *against* what the episode did (the way I was against The Child). I think if I can get into the episode's rhythms I might really enjoy it and be moved by it.
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 1:36am (UTC -5)
I don't see how a storage device/emitter for holograms, even if it's from the future, would lead to a borg that can modify Voyager's shields and weapons and be able to totally overcome a borg ship all by itself.

And why is there a viewscreen in Torres' bathroom? And if so why would it be able to be activated by someone from the outside? Whoever designed Voyager must have been a peeping tom.

Good episode though. Best one since 'Prey' if you ask me.

3 stars.
I Hate Janeway
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Janeway: "Let's create a new Borg with 29th Century technology. What could possibly go wrong?"

Seven of Nine: [Explains everything that could go wrong.]

Janeway: Well we can't MURDER this unborn drone just because it might save billions of lives. That would be immoral of me.
I Hate Janeway
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
And a few episodes later:

Harry Kim: We've encountered a pre-warp planet with a billion people that will be destroyed by a plague.

Emergency Medical Hologram: No problem, we can give them some advanced technology that will let them cure the plague.

Janeway: We can't do that, that would violate the Prime Directive. Let them all die! Lieutenant Paris, take us out of here, maximum warp!
Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!

I just hit this one again on my re-watch, and was pleasantly surprised as, once again, I had forgotten much of it. My thoughts, in no particular order:

When One is getting his first injection of information, they keep the shot on his face, and it really struck me as his mouth dropped open slightly, and a look of awe crept in. I really liked how Boehmer acted here, and throughout.

As others mentioned, I also noticed when Doctor didn't say one bad thing about his emitter being in One (not even a slightly snarky comment), once One was up and about. It was as if he was just simply pleased to see this somewhat new lifeform, with a big smile when he scanned him. And I figured right then that One would be able to construct a new emitter eventually, some day down the road.

I never thought the Borg would really grow their own children (unless they had an idea about how to do something better), but my thought was if the Borg assimilated a unwilling participant who was with child, they'd keep the baby and grow him/her as Borg. Out of a population of millions or billions, there'd be quite a few babies around as well, and they'd just keep them too, so long as it was efficient to grow them. We already know they kept children, since Seven was young when assimilated.

We saw in the brig of the Enterprise that there was water for the sink in TNG episode "The Hunted". Perhaps they usually use a sonic shower, but do use some water sometimes and thus, a towel.

As much as I liked the episode, it sure seemed to be moving fast. I agree that parts of it could have been spread out over two or three.

I really liked Neelix interacting with One in the corridor. He just seemed like the perfect sentient to be helping him right there. Although I did feel that Neelix accepted him rather quickly, with no apparent trepidation (see previous comment).

When they were in engineering, and One came up with the algorithm, my first thought was Seven just realized she wasn't going to be the first stop for complicated problems any more. I don't know what her face was supposed to convey then, but I didn't read pride or satisfaction, more like "Oh crud, he's just out-done me".

We now know that no matter what they do to their weapons or shields they cannot be upgraded any higher than they are now, to be able to defeat a Borg ship. I'd think One's overclocking the systems would probably stick (heh, but you know... Voyager), but they would obviously need to upgrade their capabilities. In all fairness, they did show them attempting to do that a few episodes ago in "Retrospect", but this should show them they need to go much further than they have. In their current state, if One couldn't get weapons or shields any higher than that, no one can.

Lastly, One had multi-phasic shields up, or some such thing, after he destroyed the sphere, and the first thing Janeway says is "Get a lock on him!". Would they be able to?

I think that's about it. Thanks for your time and have a great day... RT
Sat, May 12, 2018, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
If you pick away at an episode for long enough you can come up with enough plot holes and things to complain about to ruin it for yourself. I think Jammer hit the right note with it's an enjoyable hour of trek. I did agree with one of the commenters that One should have had Two...episodes, that is. Obviously, he was too advanced to remain on board but making him a two episode character would have been completely unexpected and given a lot of opportunities to flesh out the character and integrate him into the series.
I'm reminded of Battlestar Galactica, where everyone expected the second battlestar to buy it immediately, but surprisingly was integrated into the series for weeks. A similar unexpected addition, for at least a second episode, would have been a fresh aspect to treks usually too episodic nature. Nevertheless, yeah, it's 4 stars.
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Brought a tear to my eye, at the end. A well done episode, with subtle and overt adaption (to her humanity) for Seven.

Voyager at its best is the best. As a whole, the characters are the most compelling, which is central to me, for enjoying a series.
Sean Hagins
Sat, Nov 24, 2018, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Maybe this is just my macabre sense of humour, but as soon as Seven left sickbay in despair after One dies, I could see the Doctor going, "Well, I guess he won't need this anymore!" and cheerfully pulling out his mobile emitter
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
I don't buy all the derivative/ripoff comments, this episode is way too good to be levying such criticisms. Yes there's elements of those other shows, but that doesn't make it a ripoff. This is a standout hour of television, one of my favorites of the whole franchise. It's not one that I normally think about, compared to Yesterday's Enterprise, Best of Both Worlds, or In the Pale Moonlight, but it should be. It's one of those episodes where I think "oh yes, THIS one!" when it comes up in my rotation, and that's rare.

I am surprised that nobody has brought up DS9's The Abandoned. That episode has a lot of similarities in that it's about a baby Jem'Hadar being raised (or attempting to be raised) by Odo. He tries to instill his values, but the kid's nature is in conflict with that. He wants to learn about his people, just like One does. Yes the path is different, and in the end Odo fails to get through to the Jem'Hadar kid while Voyager's crew succeeds in getting through to One, and that is encouraging.

I really love Boehmer's acting. He brings a robotic but also child-like quality to the character which is both endearing and threatening. He really sells the character and gets us invested in him.

7: You must comply.
1: I will NOT!
7: You must comply. Please. You are hurting me.
1: You will adapt.


The PoV shot from inside the maturation chamber, watching Janeway and the others discussing what to do is an excellent touch as well. It's not the first time we've seen something like that, but it's pretty rare, and I really enjoy it here.
Thu, Jun 6, 2019, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Meh. This was 2 stars at best. Watchable, but I have no idea why so many of you liked it. It's yet another "exploration" of a Borg being an individual, and as such is entirely predictable. Borg is born (by the way, Seven said that this isn't the way Borg are born, yet in the VERY FIRST Borg episode in TNG, Riker uncovers a Borg baby in a maturation chamber...), Borg assimilates knowledge, Borg realizes "being an individual" is important (why? why is the idea that being in the collective is better never explored?), Borg sphere approaches Voyager, viewer is completely relaxed because Voyager always beats the Borg through some deus ex machina, and surprise surprise the sphere is destroyed because apparently 1 Borg with some future technology can effortlessly outwit a million Borg on a space vessel.

I hate the way they dealt with the Borg throughout Voyager. They took them from being a menacing enemy to being a wimpy collective that one never felt any fear of whatsoever. Everything in this episode felt rushed and by-the-numbers. Most of it revolved around focusing on Seven as she "showed her emotion" about her "accidental Borg child" during different stages of its development. Big wow. Couldn't care less. Nothing particularly new or interesting. There's only so much exploration of individuality you can do until it becomes boring (they had Huw in TNG, and then of course Seven, and probably a few I've forgotten - what is the point in this episode, again?) It would be far more interesting if they did a story from an assimilated Borg's point of view, being offered individuality by Voyager and rejecting it, preferring to be part of the collective. But no, individuality is always better (possibly because everything is being seen from the POV of individuals...?) Just Another Borg Episode.

4 stars? You've gotta be joking.
Sleeper Agent
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Great episode! Although I like the precious "Night" better, this one certainly had a lot of entertaining elements including a great guest star, amazing make up and effects, and a thrilling story which had you (kind of) guessing 'til the end.

What I find curious is the sudden appearance of a Borg SPHERE. Did I miss something or have the collective suddenly developed a new model of ships? As the crew seem astonishingly blasé about it when it appears, I am leaning to the former.

On another note, I've noticed that the better VOY gets, the more bitter the comments. H8rs gonna h8, I guess....
Simon Blake
Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Among my favourite episodes, mainly for two lines that REALLY stick in my memory even 20 years on:
First, when One volunteers to go over to the Borg ship, Seven warns "They will try to assimilate you." One makes the slightest of head movements which nevertheless CLEARLY conveys the sentiment "bitch, please", and simply says "They will fail." Brilliant.

And second when the "You are hurting me" line repetition pays off with "You will adapt." That is absolutely lovely and brings a tear to my eye as I'm typing this. Five stars just for getting to those two lines.
Tue, Apr 14, 2020, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
The “You will adapt” line gets me every time,, especially used after Seven’s “You are hurting me” line, which she thinks will work a second time. Heartbreaking.

Some lovely cinematography in the episode too.
Sat, May 2, 2020, 8:48am (UTC -5)
First. I just have to say how much I enjoy seeing these comments continue so many years after the show aired, wow!!

I think what bothered me the most is how, despite ONE being the literal child of that ensign (not by choice, but still) his father was not at all included in any moment or aspect of One’s existence thereafter. IT’S HIS KID, DAMMIT—not Seven’s (unless, given her nanoprobes’ envolvement, maybe One is the child
of both?

Sure, maybe the ensign would choose not to connect with his offspring—but them SHOW this, onscreen! And I would understand how, for security reasons, Janeway would need to terminate his parental rights, given that executive leadership capacity would be required here. But again, if that’s the case, SHOW THIS.

On another note - an idea, not a critique - it could have been interesting if the holo-emitter (either initially, or later, after One’s death) somehow recognized the Doctor as a “being” to assimilate, not just a program. Perhaps a 29th Century tech attribute. Imagine if Borg technology then adapted to assimilate holographic “life”—and assimilate the Doc! ;)
Sun, May 17, 2020, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
This episode holds sentimental value for me because when it first premiered, I erroneously thought "Ensign" was a name and not a military rank. So when Chakotay was trying to reach "Ensign Mulchaey", I thought Chakotay was addressing the crew member by his full name.

I was not a smart 15 year old.
Mon, May 18, 2020, 5:32am (UTC -5)
8,000 cubic kilometers per hour, lol. Hard to imagine they would need to bother moving the ship. The edge of the nebula is almost certainly approaching them slower than an old man using a walker. Probably slower than a snail.

But I did really like this episode, and the ending really “gave me all the feels” in a way that rarely happens with Trek (“Inner Light” and “City on the Edge of Forever” come to mind, not that this episode is necessarily quite in that stratospheric company).

I did initially see it the way @Nick did, though: “Janeway should have aborted the drone fetus in a heart beat”. But my feelings about it evolved along with Seven’s, and I was tearing up right with her when One died.
Sarjenka's Brother
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Great episode. Only one element missing for me. This creation comes from not two, but three, beings: The doctor's device, Seven's nanoprobes and the DNA of the crewman.

I feel like he should have been part of the story, too.
Thu, Aug 20, 2020, 10:23am (UTC -5)
This was pretty good though not quite 4 stars.

I wish I could have found the "You will adapt" line as moving as many commenters did but I can't. I just never formed any kind of an emotional bond with the characters, such that their personal triumphs and tribulations would leave me anything other than nonplussed.

If a similar kind of a line would have been delivered in a similar context on Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5, it would've had me bawling. That's Voyager's single greatest failure.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
I really don't understand why so many people compared this episode to "I, Borg." I mean both episodes feature a Borg with individuality, but other than that they are completely different shows.

"I, Borg" Is a 45 minute ethical debate about whether Hugh is more than a machine, and if so is it immoral to use him as a weapon. Which leads to the next question: If Hugh is "human" what are the implications of killing the Borg? What was initially believed to be self defense against soulless automatons may very well be an act of genocide against an enslaved race. The final question is "Is it morally right to commit genocide if you believe that you think your own people face an existential threat?

There are really no moral debates in "Drone" other than a 15 second scene where Janeway says she won't kill the infant drone.

Others have compared the episode to "The Offspring" and I think that is closer to the mark. Both are about characters who learn more about humanity through their "children." There are substantial differences though.

Lal's creation creates an ethical debate about whether Data has the right to "procreate" as well as a debate about who is best suited to raise her. Janeway sees One as a potential boon and immediately puts Seven in the role of mother.

Data, who wants to become more human, purposely creates Lal. Seven has humanity thrust upon her and becomes a parent due to a transporter accident and a decision by Janeway. This doesn't seem all that important, but it makes the ending of both episodes more tragic, imo. The ending of "The Offspring" is sad for the audience because Data can't truly feel sadness for his daughter. Compare that to "One." Seven begins the episode by looking in a reflective surface and faking human emotions. By the end of the episode she looks on the same surface and she is legitimately heartbroken. The endings of both episodes are tragic but for exactly opposite reasons.

Anyways...all three are great episodes.

MVP: Jeri Ryan. She gives another great performance.

LVP: B'Elanna Torres. Jesus Christ give it a rest already. Unless the episode revolves around her the writers seem content to make her character a two dimensional bitch.
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
More proof WIFI and 5G are going to be the end of civilization!
Khyron Bensal
Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
I liked the episode, but the ending was somewhat predictable.

I would prefer that the sphere was from Future borgs, more advanced even than One, that they took One with them, without a deep explanation of why, only that One understands, and this is a collective he wants to join.

The heartbreaking separation could still occur, time travel separation is like death in some way, and we will keep us asking: What happens with the borg in the future. This perfect borgs are good? Are evil? They could even return the holografic emmiter with a finger snap given how advance they could be.
Sun, Oct 17, 2021, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
The Doctor: "I see you’ve got your mother's sense of humor."
The Real Trent
Wed, Dec 1, 2021, 11:02am (UTC -5)
"Drone" seems to be popular, but I've always considered it to be a bad episode.

In DS9's "The Abandoned" we watch as a baby Jem Hadar is discovered, bonds with a parental figure, learns various lessons, and then leaves the show.

In DS9's "The Begotten" we watch as a "baby" Changeling is discovered, bonds with a parental figure, learns various lessons, and then dies.

In TNG's "I, Borg" we watch as a wide-eyed Borg drone is discovered, bonds with the crew, learns and imparts various lessons, and then leaves the show.

In TNG's "The Child" we watch as an alien kid is "born", learns various stuff, and then "kills itself".

In TNG's "The Offspring" we watch as a robot child is created, learns various stuff, and then dies.

In VOY's "Real Life" we watch as a hologram daughter is created, teaches various stuff, and then dies.

This is an old Trek formula. In almost all cases the "child" is cute, naive, ignorant, doe-eyed, and speaks in an overly earnest way. Sometimes the child is also extremely dangerous, as in the case of the Borg or the Jem'Hadar, or unable to be reformed or fully enfolded into the crew. If the child doesn't literally die, it will die metaphorically (eg giving up its "individuality" to rejoin a collective, or abandoning its body). In each case the episode tilts toward the sentimental and the saccharine. In each case the child is paired with a mother or father figure.

"Voyager's" "Drone" brings nothing new to the table. It's "child" is an overly cutesy Borg drone, he's given his obligatory surrogate mother (Seven), learns his obligatory lessons, and does the obligatory sacrifice. This episode is one cliche after the other, and whatever "themes" it touches upon required the introduction of no new characters, and should have instead been given entirely over to Seven.
Peter G.
Mon, Dec 6, 2021, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
I always liked this one, most likely because it takes a sci-fi environment seriously, i.e. having to deal with a cybernetic organism who advancement is out of reach of the humans around him. They have to deal with him, gain his trust, and yet not lose control of the situation. And while the congenial tone of the episode is quite pleasant, especially in its naive enjoyment of watching a new life form come into awareness of its surroundings, this naivete actually goes too far and upon closer inspection starts to look like childishness. I'll try to give a few examples.

Right from the start of the situation in sickbay, they find the mobile emitter being host to the generation of a new Borg lifeform. Doc is predictably upset, but this comedic trope actually gets in the way of what should be real alarm by everyone: 29th century technology is being used as the core of a new Borg lifeform? This literally sounds like the biggest threat to life in the galaxy that could exist. So while the tone of curiosity plays nicely as naive interest, the real danger is buried by us laughing at Doc's complaint, which really should not be ignored. Picard let the Borg live out of the principle of not committing genocide; but Janeway here is doing something far more dangerous, purely because she wants to see what happens. This is so irresponsible it's hard to overstate it, it's almost like mad scientist territory.

Later on in the episode "One" is going around learning things, and occasionally has a desire for more information that Seven, as his 'mother', takes it upon herself to sometimes deny. But what once again is played as quaint and cute - the drone wanting something and mama saying no firmly - is actually a sugared over version of what really should have been incredibly challenging. When human parents raise an infant it is completely helpless, so there is no question of the parents having their way. As soon as the infant is capable of doing stuff on its own it becomes nearly impossible to stop it doing dangerous things other than physical interventions (pick the baby up, move it away). When the child can speak, it will say "no" for no good reason when you tell it that it can't have something, and essentially the only recourse the parent has is to say "too bad" and use the helplessness of the child as the only real leverage. You can still pick up a toddler and put him in time out, and so forth. But now imagine the 'toddler' is larger than you, far more advanced and powerful technologically, where there is literally no way you could ever require compliance if it didn't want to. More than once in the episode One is resisting, and Seven uses a sharper tone, 'insisting' that he comply; she even says "Comply!" at least once. And this game of chicken should really be no game at all. In her place I'd be sweating, because the instant One discovered he could refuse with no consequence the game would be over and any illusion of control would be lost. So in terms of this being an analogy to raising an actual child, I think the episode mainly goes for sweet and cute at the expense of anything actually resembling trying to teach a young child how to live in the world. What Seven goes through is really not challenging at all; in fact she is practically just standing by watching One be perfectly congenial and cooperative, with no efforts on her part required to curb him.

Finally things come to a head when (a) One wants to know about the Borg, and (b) the Borg actually come for him. Seven and Janeway have an almost irrelevant conversation about how eventually he'll have to be told the truth, because in literally the next scene to Borg come into the picture. "Eventually" turns into "right now", so I don't know what the point of the conversation was other than to further cement Janeway's fixation with One being a new member of the ship's crew with a choice of his own. Once again, what should be a Lovecraftian nightmare - this super-advanced being taking their mobile emitter and choosing to advance the Borg by 5 centuries in tech - instead is treated as a Barenstain Bears choice of when the little tyke can learn about his real family. I mean, yikes, we're talking about the end of pretty much all DQ species, and eventually the Federation, if he makes this choice. It's just criminal that there's not even a senior staff meeting to consider the options, with Tuvok no doubt offering the option to destroy One before he learns how to defend himself. I mean, that option can be filed under D for Duh, as it's hard to imagine letting a meeting between One and the Borg happen without having taken certain wiring up One's underwear with a thermal detonator.

The fact that One turns out to be a perfect gentleman is adorable (truly), and the fact that he ends up a hero making a noble sacrifice is neat, tying the episode up like a little bow. But the whole exercise from start to finish never takes its own premise seriously, both in terms of the wonder of what One could do, to the danger he poses. In every scene you could replace him with a baby Jem'hadar or baby Klingon and the script would still play more or less the same way. That's a waste of a cool premise.

Overally I always liked this one, and I still do, but it's no better than 'nice' due to these drawbacks. It ends up being an enjoyable but shallow take on having a super-being on the ship needing guidance. This exact formula sort of gets reused in Q2, treated in less seriously in the latter case. If Q2 is a straight Neil Simon comedy, Drone is more like a touching episode of Lassy where you smile when One tells the Borg to go jump in the well.
Jason R.
Mon, Dec 6, 2021, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G great commentary and yet another instance where Voyager fails even when it makes a passably good episode. The writers have this simple idea in their minds of (I guess) giving Seven a taste of some other aspect of humanity, in this case motherhood (what else is new - it is pretty much Star Trek: Seven of Nine now) but in the process totally fails to grasp the implication of its own premise and ends up with something stunted and contrived.

Actually, your commentary made me think of Charlie X, an episode I never thought to connect with this one. But that is an episode that takes the concept of an omnipotent child seriously and needless to say the tone is alot different and the content (rightly) a whole lot more menacing.
Wed, May 11, 2022, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
A Fantastic episode. One of my favorites of any Trek series. They do a great job of making One a character I care about within the course of an episode. His sacrifice is truly an emotional moment, the first moment of true loss Seven has ever had to face. Speaking of Seven, we get to see how much she has grown as an individual since joining the crew. I loved the line where she states "Voyager is my collective". The episode ends the same way it began, with Seven looking in the mirror. Now however, instead of practicing a forced smile, we can see the true feeling of sadness in her eyes.

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