Star Trek: Voyager


3 stars.

Air date: 10/11/2000
Teleplay by Carleton Eastlake and Robert Doherty
Story by Andre Bormanis
Directed by David Livingston

"So you think I need to learn to rely on other people? What about you? You've refused to rely on a single member of this crew!"— Icheb to Seven

Review Text

In brief: A nicely done allegory on terminal illness, though the Borg crutch and irrelevant action scenes are growing tiresome.

"Imperfection" is said to have grown out of a story pitch based on a true experience involving a kidney transplant — from both the donating and receiving ends. I can believe that, because this episode has a ring of truth to it. The story concept is a fairly simple one, but the predicament that arises is emotional and difficult, ultimately leading to a seemingly impossible choice.

At the same time, Seven of Nine stories are getting a bit repetitive (doesn't she essentially learn the same lessons every time, unable to later apply them to similar situations?), and it seems like the production teams are breaking out the Borg sets every other week. When familiar elements are utilized this well I'm hardly in a position to complain, but do we really need three episodes of Voyager in a row about the Borg and Seven of Nine? Seven is a good character, but probably mostly because half the rest of the cast is ignored.

Still, if you're going to do a terminal illness story, Seven seems like a good choice. She's probably the character we generally think of as the least "mortal," with the possible exception of the Doctor. And, after all, since this is science fiction, a terminal illness with a sci-fi twist seems to lend itself particularly well to Seven's Borg inner-workings.

In this case, Seven begins showing symptoms of a severe problem when her cortical node — which is responsible for regulating her vital Borg implants — begins to malfunction. It cannot be repaired because it is too complex. In theory its Borg adaptability should lead it to repair itself, but it doesn't. After a brief display of believable denial, Seven realizes that it's very possible she could soon be dead.

Some options for treatment are considered. The most hopeful method is simply replacing the cortical node with a module from another drone. (Although, I wonder — in something as complex as a cortical node, I would expect there would be issues of compatibility from drone to drone; after all, you don't just get a heart transplant from anybody, let alone something that controls your important biological systems.)

This leads Janeway to track down a destroyed Borg ship nearby (how convenient!), from which they might find a dead drone with an undamaged cortical node that can serve as a replacement. Just how many times has Voyager chased after the Borg, anyway? Funny how Chakotay says, "It's not every day we go looking for the Borg." Could've fooled me.

Though competently executed, I could've done without this week's Voyager Action Insert, the gratuitous sequence that serves as an argument that no episode of Voyager is demographic-friendly without some sort of exchange of weapons and/or chase through a debris field. While aboard the damaged Borg vessel we don't run into any Borg drones looking to assimilate our crew members, but instead the stock Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week, who will not listen to two words of reason. "This is my debris field," and out come the weapons. How tired I am of this scene.

The ensuing ship chase then takes place through the Borg debris field, with the hard-headed aliens chasing the Delta Flyer. The recently destroyed Delta Flyer, you ask? Why, yes. Oh sure, there's a single-line acknowledgement that it was destroyed in "Unimatrix Zero" ("The last time you took the Delta Flyer to confront the Borg, it ended up in a couple thousand pieces," Paris says helpfully), but it's so cavalierly tossed at us and hopelessly transparent — I don't buy it. What's particularly laughable is that the line as delivered seems to imply that the Delta Flyer was salvaged rather than replaced after being blown to smithereens. (Break out the super glue and prepare for an all-nighter of reassembly, I guess.)

As usual, I find that I can take this show seriously on its given episodic standalone terms (the terminal illness story is top-drawer), but the credibility of the series as a whole is reduced to a pathetic joke. Voyager and its crew are indestructible; it can be blown up and they assimilated by Borg, and it's always just another day at the office. At least when the Defiant was destroyed on DS9 the writers waited a few episodes before replacing it, and acted as if it were actually a different ship.

But back to the main idea here (to which the episode, fortunately, is wise enough to quickly return after straying for the Action Insert). The core is a genuinely good story. It certainly has more of a heart than "Unimatrix Zero," which was essentially a wind-up action toy. There's some nicely portrayed character work in "Imperfection" that makes a lot of sense. After the initial plan to replace the node fails (any dead drone's node will prove useless, Doc learns), we get scenes where Seven's death becomes a looming possibility for the characters to consider. As I said, I liked Seven's brief bit of denial and the fact that it was kept relatively brief (Seven is the type to consider the data and then act upon the hard facts at hand); shortly afterward comes the anger, frustration, and ultimately acceptance. The idea of the usually in-control Seven not wanting others to see her in a state of vulnerability is particularly believable, and her desire to break out of sickbay I can completely understand.

What's nice in addition to the terminal illness issue is that this story manages to tackle Seven's character from a couple different perspectives. She occupies an interesting position in between Janeway, her mentor, and Icheb, her protege. The fact that Seven might be dying is good for exploring the dialog scenes. A highlight includes Seven wondering if she has lived up to the captain's hopes of becoming an individual, and an apt moment where she points out dead Voyager crew members who were individuals when she was still linked to the hive mind. Another highlight is the issue of Icheb's dependency on Seven, which cuts both ways, as the episode demonstrates that Seven is independent to a fault.

Ryan, Picardo, and Mulgrew put in their typically good performances, but the surprise here is Manu Intiraymi as Icheb, who comes up with a risky plan that might be able to save Seven — donating his own cortical node, which his research indicates he can probably survive without. The risks bring out the hard choices; Seven will not hear of Icheb risking his life, so Icheb simply forces the issue in an urgently played scene. Intiraymi adequately carries a meatier role here than he has to date, including in last season's "Child's Play." (Icheb as of now is also the last of the Borg children; at the episode's outset the three other children have said their goodbyes, having been given a new home with a passerby family.)

I also was impressed with the sincere dialog between Seven and Torres about the question of belief in an afterlife. These two characters really share a good moment here ... although the episode misses a key opportunity when it seems to completely forget B'Elanna's near-death experience a year ago in "Barge of the Dead." (A real shame, too, because this scene was perfectly appropriate for such a reference. But such references are apparently illegal on the studio lot.) There's some compelling talk of Seven fearing her death will result in total oblivion: In the collective her memories would live on through the hive mind, but that's of course no longer possible.

"Imperfection" is a solid story with some well-sold emotions and a situation that can be recognized to some degree as real life, even if not necessarily yours or mine. What "Imperfection" is not is particularly unexpected. We've been to similar places with Seven (indeed, we've been probably everywhere with Seven), and even though a Seven/Janeway or Seven/Icheb scene can still be very good, it also feels like an iteration of a Voyager staple.

Next week: Get on your marks — it's the Indy 5 Billion!

Previous episode: Unimatrix Zero, Part II
Next episode: Drive

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Comment Section

73 comments on this post

    I wonder if Imperfection was originally to be after Drive. I could have sworn that Tom had his wedding ring on during Seven's operation. One of you're big complaints in Imperfection was a lack of explanation of how they rebuilt The Flyer. Drive at least explains that it was altogether a new ship. Still doesn't explain how they built the darn thing, but it at least acknowledges that it blew up in Unimatrix Zero with more than just a throw away line.

    "Drive" and "Imperfection" were indeed flipped in the airing order. I learned this shortly after this episode aired.

    "Funny how Chakotay says, 'It's not every day we go looking for the Borg.' Could've fooled me."

    The funnier line was Chakotay's saying, "If we're not careful, we could all end up wearing cortical nodes."

    Yes, Paris is wearing his wedding ring in the operation scene, which means "Drive" occurs (and was intended to air) BEFORE "Imperfection." This makes the episode more watchable, I think, first of all because it's not the third Borg episode in a row, and the Delta Flyer has been christened.

    1 Star. Awful.

    This show was the biggest string of predictable plotting I've ever seen. As soon as I knew that Seven was sick, it was so obvious that Icheb would come to rescue. Everything else after that was just padding to the episode. The writers/director telegraphed it from a mile away.

    You have many other bad plot points. Janeway continues to want to do things herself. She's been this way concerning away missions time and again... it's getting a little repetitive. Instead of investigating why this is the case... and perhaps the sudden increase in solo suicide missions... the story just keeps doing it... and the series never answers for it.

    Moreover, as soon as they get the cordical node... aliens have to show up and cause problems. Who are they? Why are they there? Do they have any importance or relevance to the plot? Nope. It's just typical hard-headed, cardboard alien bullies that we see on Voyager week after week. And they don't even come back into the episode once there scene has ended.

    The biggest problem with this episode is that there is no satisfiable outcome. If Icheb dies, it merely get rids of a character they may want to kill off so they no longer have to worry about continuity of having rescued him in the first place. And if Icheb lives, the story has no lasting impact and the whole endevour is irrelevant. So either way, the story is screwed.

    Lately, the endings of these shows has been really sappy, and this story is no exception. The writers want to give a "warm feeling" at the end, but I just cringe as I watch it. The opposite effect happens - I wish I had never seen the episode at all, as I feel I've wasted 40 minutes of my life watching the show.

    This 3 star review is completely unfounded. I usually agree, but this episode was terrible.

    I don't believe either episode was flipped in airing order. I believe UPN simply forgot to flip them, because Imperfection was actually shot before Drive. In fact, Repression and Critical Care were the flipped episodes in airing order.

    What: This time no drama with the kids - will they go, won't they go, should they go, can they go, must they go, boo-hoo...? Their departure is presented as a fait accompli. What, then, was the point of that saga a few episodes back with Icheb's "internal battle of emotions" or whatever psychobabble is applicable to what was happening there?

    The erosion of Seven as an interesting character continues. Now she's shown hugging the kids and getting all sentimental. Next we'll have her and Torres waxing their legs at a pajama party. Oh, puh-lease. And, oh my gooooooooood, when The Doc starts yapping in that newly-developed "compassionate" arched-eyebrow manner of his with the voice to boot, I want to hurl. And Neelix and The Doctor talking about adminiring flowers? I was afright for a moment they might kiss and start giving each other foot rubs. Then Seven and Torres' "discourse" on the afterlife - that's five minutes of my life I'll never get back. Was any of this nonsense necessary in the slightest?? Was the whole angle of "Seven coming to terms with her putatively impending death and everyone else coming to terms with it and Seven weighing her consequence in this world and blah-blah-blah" necessary for that matter?? Why couldn't we have had a show about her cortical whatever malfunctioning and everyone focusing on finding a solution; you know, a show about SCIENCE-fiction? Besides, what kind of tripe is this: I won't undergo an operation to save my life if there is >any< chance of Icheb being harmed... - is that the reasoning of a logical, level-headed Borg? Then Icheb pulls his little stunt, there's a major hoopla, "Seven, you must do this," "I won't," "Yes, you will," "Why are you doing this?" "Because I'm dependent on you," "But you shouldn't be," "But YOU are," "No, I'm not"... - oh, for crying out loud, I'd have phaser-stunned both of them and done the surgery if I was Janeway.

    "Persistence is furile"? *GROOOAAAN*

    As far as the Delta Flier, O.K., so apparently it was rebuilt at some point between this and the previous episode. I see Paris's ridiculous 20th-century dials, levers and pads make a comeback. *exasperated sigh* Why doesn't Paris install a breaststrap on the Flier, too, and pretend he's piloting a horse-drawn buggy! Oh, I forgot, he's a TWENTIETH-century aficionado, not the sixteenth. *rolls eyes*

    I liked the scene where Tuvok and Paris volunteered to go with Janeway. It demonstrates loyalty, valor and moral fiber. For Tuvok it didn't surprise me; for Paris it rather did.

    Overall though, I spent far more time playing Minesweeper during this show than I did paying attention. 1 star. Maybe. A big maybe.

    Definitely "Drive" and "Imperfection" were switched in the airing order. Anyone with the DVD sets can see the production numbers and no for certain that "Drive" was filmed before "Imperfection." But it shows how either UPN or the producers didn't much care. For the most part any VOY episode is interchangeable.

    But that's not what I want to write about. In some of the VOY fandom I've read there is a school of thought which theorizes Janeway fell in love Seven over the course of the series. While I don't believe it to be "canon" I do think it is an interesting concept for the show and would have been quite groundbreaking had the writers attempted it.

    I think if any episode can give actual proof to the theory of Janeway loving Seven I believe it is this one. Mulgrew gives one of her best performances. Her pain and fear over Seven's illness are quite palpable and believable, but Mulgrew (intentionally or not) plays Janeway as grieving for a loved one. Granted she calls Seven her friend in the episode, but right from the beginning Janeway is more impassioned than ever to save the life of one of the crew.

    Almost immediately she is telling Chakotay she'll risk the ship and everyone else to find another cortical node for Seven. She also attempts to find one on her own. I took it as Janeway wanting so desperately to be the one to be able to save her even though the EMH would actually do the surgery.

    Also, when Seven and Janeway are in astrometrics after Janeway mentions farmland Seven immediately brings up a picture of Janeway's hometown and Janeway wistfully tells Seven she'd love to take her there to see it.

    I know I'm reading a bit into this. Friends would react virtually the same way, but Mulgrew's performance this time around really seems to have that extra something in it. In this one episode at least I can see the case for Janeway having fallen for Seven. Too bad the writers didn't take the risk. I think it would have been well worth it.

    Also the fact that Seven tells Janeway "I don't think you'd be able to accept my death." And sure enough in "Endgame" we see Adm. Janeway altering the past in order to save the woman she loves from a premature end.

    "Then Seven and Torres' "discourse" on the afterlife - that's five minutes of my life I'll never get back. Was any of this nonsense necessary in the slightest??"

    Was that bit necessary? That was the whole point!

    But of course you're too busy waiting for "proper sci-fi" big bangs and wanting everyone to be a drone or Data with no troublesome human emotions to understand that, aren't you?

    Your tiresome opinion on every single one of Jammer's reviews is becoming increasingly annoying. Why don't you just go off and write your own website where you can hand down your opinions as if they were the word of God in splended isolation and I can ignore you completely?

    "I liked the scene where Tuvok and Paris volunteered to go with Janeway. It demonstrates loyalty, valor and moral fiber. For Tuvok it didn't surprise me; for Paris it rather did."

    Same again, boring, totally predictable and detachable for me. Once again, the mighty Michael completely misses the point of an episode. What a drag.

    Hehehehe am I getting to ya!

    The last time I checked, this was AMERICA, and I have the right to say whatever the tarnation I want, so long as it is within criminal and civil law.

    I think your sentiments are as much bull as you think mine are, but I'd never even think of telling you to !@#$ off. Either grow up or take it to iRan; they love your sort over there.

    Oh come on, let's not fight. Let's talk about our feelings, our misplaced aggression and have a group hug. Better yet, let's video-tape it and upload it on YouTube. We'd be on to a real winner because I bet there are MILLIONS who'd watch it and give it positive reviews on Jammer's!!!


    Don't go, Michael. Your comments are mostly hilarious, even when I disagree with 'em.

    The death list Seven called up had a Commander, 2 Lt. Commanders, and two Lieutenants, so some promotion openings, and yet Harry is still an Ensign.

    Poor Hogan, who died in Basics, isn't on the list...

    No sign of Samantha Wildman either, if she's dead (I have no idea).

    Thanks for the spoilers for both the next episode and the final episode guys :facepalm:
    It did annoy me greatly that the Flyer was apparently salvaged (after those pieces, many of them charred? Exsqueeze me?), if it was in fact rebuilt I can accept that and was already ready to.

    Very heartfelt episode in places.. felt my own ocular implant beginning to malfunction once or twice. It was kind of obvious how things were going to pan out due to the reset button nature of the series, but I still found the dilemmas worthwhile. And I continue to be impressed by Jeri Ryan as an actress - "malfunctions" aside (reminds me of Data finding Spot in Generations), her emotions are still very visible whilst remaining controlled and subtle.

    No complaints. I agree with the 3 star rating.

    As an aside -
    Jammer: "A nicely done allegory on terminal illness, though the Borg crutch and irrelevant action scenes are growing tiresome."
    Michael: A nicely done action scene, though the irrelevant story stuff is growing tiresome


    I disagree with that interpretation of the Janeway/Seven relationship entirely. It's seemed very obvious to me that their relationship is that of a mother and daughter, and the writers and actors have invested a lot into making that a subtle, but strong and ever-present dynamic of the show.

    Janeway rescued Seven and adopted her into the crew. When Seven first joined the crew, she had no knowledge of human emotion, relationships or social interactions. She was like a young child being guided in her development and growth by her adoptive mother, Janeway. She was also independent and rebellious, determined to make her own way and not be forced into a mould that didn't fit; struggling to learn who she was and how she fit into her world. Nearly all of her conflict with Janeway was about this, and these conversations/arguments paralleled the interactions of a rebellious teen and her mother.

    In this episode, Seven feels remorse that she hasn't been able to live up to Janeway's expectations, that she's failed her somehow, despite Janeway's efforts to guide her in finding her individuality (growing up). Janeway responds as any good TV mother would (and as I would hope most real mothers would) with pride, saying that Seven is wrong, that she has exceeded Janeway's expectations. Many people, myself included, hit a point in their young adult lives when they've chosen their own path and they don't feel that it's what their parents would have chosen for them. This is one of those moments between adolescence and adulthood that signals a shift in the parent child relationship. It says, "I love you, and I'm proud of who you've become, regardless of whether or not it's who I first imagined you to be."

    This scene signaled that Seven is moving out of her intensive learning/child stage and is becoming a fully realised individual/adult who no longer needs strong guidance, but who will continue to rely on her mother figure as an adult.

    So, yes, there was definitely love and grief in that scene, and Janeway is far more likely to risk all in a less than rational way for Seven than for any other crew member. But not, as far as I can see, because of any romantic attraction. Most mothers would choose to risk their life for their child.

    I just wanted to point out that the other borg children where not just given a 'new home with a passerby family' but that the Voyager crew actually succeeded in locating the homeworld of of the borg twins along with some relatives who were so happy to have the twins back alive and well that they were willing to take in the borg girl as well who presumably didnt want to be seperated from her friends.

    Otherwise great review :)

    I thought this was a very touching and well done episode. It was a human drama of self-sacrifice and interdependence, but played through ex-Borgs who do not suffer from sentimentality, so they are perfect vehicles for the honest exploration of these issues. I agree with the comments somewhere above that equate the Janeway-Seven relationship to that of mother-daughter. Seven-Icheb is likewise that of older sister-younger brother. She is a mentor to him as Janeway is a mentor to her. The action scene was gratuitous and did not fit in, but the rest of it was well scripted and played, I thought. It reminded me a lot of "Drone" -- at least the part where Seven experiences what it means to love. These episodes reveal that she has a human heart, despite her Borg coldness.

    A great and wonderful episode, I enjoyed seeing a lot of the emotional side of the characters. Great acting by the young man playing "Icheb". The only comment I mirror Jammer on...why are we AGAIN heading off to see the Borg ? Other than that (very small point) This is one reason I watch the show, for great moments like the ones presented...

    It was a nice homage that 7 of the 10 deceased crewmembers on the display screen were named after characters from "The West Wing".

    Janeway, Torres, and Tuvok were recently assimilated...shouldn't each of them have a cortical node they can probably do without now? Or if they were removed after they were "restored" (it's all ridiculous, but sleeping dogs), aren't they available still in sickbay (unless Doc through them away)?

    Also, they're huge! How much of Janeway and Company's (and of course Seven's) brains were removed to accomodate these things?

    @ V - exactly! Just what I thought. Janeway is Seven's adopted Mom.

    I read an interview with Mulgrew that she gave a few years after the show where she'd wished that they'd given Janeway a son that had been left home. It would fuel her desire to get home because he dies before she gets there. It was something she came up in the interview off the cuff but it would also have helped to explain the maternal side of Janeway a bit more. Maybe they decided that if she had a kid at home it would have been too Ripley?

    A lovely episode with well-played emotional gravitas and a meaty core. For once, the use of the reset button didn't offend. I felt it worked well as a self-contained piece because the solution felt weighty enough on its own. Full recovery is always the hope in the resolution of life-threatening medical situations so showing they would both be alright didn't feel like a cop-out but rather the desirable outcome that we wanted to see.

    I have to say I'm very impressed with the young man who played Icheb. A very heartfelt performance that was pivotal to the success of the story and he pulled it off beautifully. In fact, the scenes between Seven/Icheb, Seven/Janeway, Seven/Doc, Seven/Torres, and even Seven/Neelix were all poignant and well-done.

    The only scene that was grossly out of place was, indeed, the action scene. I think it would have been more effective for them to just get it done without a problem and comment that the whole thing felt far too easy only to find that the node from a dead drone wouldn't work. While being a clever nod to the absence of an excessive obligatory action scene, it would have also been a better and more subtle way to show that nothing is ever that simple. Also, is it me or did those aliens kinda have a Kazon-esque quality? Maybe it was the crazy, "I just stuck my finger in an electrical socket" hair.

    In any case, loved the episode for the most part. Made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

    An intense and affecting episode. I really like Ichbed and I'm so glad they've giving him things to do. I never expected to see so much of the Borg kids after their introductory episode.

    The episode could have been sentimental and trite, but instead it kept me interested.

    @Jeff, V and Paul York.

    yes, i disagree with Jeff. Anyone who sees Seven and Janeway as lovers are immature fools. Any thoughtful person should see this as a parent/child relationship. Janeway is the reason for seven's existence. she feels responsible for her, just like anyone in her position feels. furthermore, Icheb and Seven's relationship enhances this view point. I see Seven as a mother not an older sister for Icheb. and i see icheb as wanting to save his "mother" or guardian.

    i loved this episode. I thought all the conversations were riveting. and i LIKED the chase threw the borg debris. it was fun. people who dont like action are silly.

    @ken Egervari. I dont understand this guys viewpoint. have you ever watched a Matlock, Columbo or Lawn&Order CI? you know WHODUNNIT. the story is not WHAT is going to happen, but how you get there.

    forget continuity and plotholes. just ask..were you entertained?

    4 stars!

    I probably would have given this 3.5 or even 4 stars.

    It really was emotional and genuinely effecting stuff, and I must give credit to the absolutely flawless acting from everyone. It just goes to show that when the writers give the cast something more challenging to work with, what they deliver is nothing short of magnificent.

    Knowing "Drive" was supposed to come first makes a lot of sense and I'm surprised this wasn't fixed on the DVD episode ordering. I think David Livingston deserves much praise too. He really helped the whole story come alive, even the slightly gratuitous action scene was very thrilling and impressed me.

    For the emotional punch this packs and for the way everybody from writers to actors seems to be on great form is what solidifies a strong 3.5 from me.

    So ... all Borg drones have a cortical stimulator, right?

    And they are places in the front of the brain, obviously taking up space that brain tissue normally would?

    Wow ... good thing that Federation technology can apparantly repair removed parts of the brain, otherwise Picard, Janeway, Tuvok and Torres (and presumably many other droens-turned-back-into-individuals) would have to live out their lives with a Borg implant where a big chunk of their brains should be.

    (Yes, this was sarcasm).

    I thought the same thing, Caine. I guess our obsession with micro technology waxes and wanes in the 24th century. I expected anything in the cranium to be very small. Also, Janeway was just returned from Borg, why the writers didn't make her the one to hand over a node is surprising. (not really)

    Actually, I think this episode would have made a great Tuvok/Janeway episode if one of their nodes failed and the other saves them. It would solidify to the audience this supposed friendship that was mentioned a few times in season one. Tuvok would get more air time and less seven. yay.

    Putting aside the logical absurdities apointed by many above (I particularly got angry during the episode due to the silliness well pointed by Caine above), this was not bad.

    Although executed in a bit of a soap-opera style, I though this was indeed touching after all. Seying Seven cry was pretty powerful. Especially the imagery rhyme at the end, which although was not subtle as it could and should have been, was still home-hitting.

    The music in this episode kind of felt like Lord of the Rings music at times. For some reason.

    Also, it's true that Janeway, Torres, and Tuvok should have this sort of technology still in them. And that their being turned back into their normal selves shouldn't be so easy. But let's not forget that Voyager is, at its heart, a reset button episodic show. It's not a satisfying show, like DS9 or even TNG by any means, but you have to put aside expectations for continuity. You have to understand that the show is not going to acknowledge that those three were drones ever again. So you shouldn't expect this episode to acknowledge it or even mention it as a possibility. It would have made for a more interesting episode, sure, but you've just got to ignore it.

    That said, if you do take the continuity into account, it actually does make sense that Janeway, Torres, and Tuvok wouldn't give up their own node since everyone needs it to live. They can't ever fully be their old selves again. Of course the show wouldn't say this, but that would be the reason.

    Paris was under attack and presumably had the Delta Flyer's shields up...but Tuvok and Janeway were able to beam aboard anyways. Oops.

    Some technicalities about this story.

    So nodes from dead drones won't work, and Janeway doesn't want to kill a living one to procure the component, gotcha. But how about the obvious next option? The borg don't sacrifice themselves to make new drones, so vessels must have stockpiles of pre-initiated nodes ready, to support their ambition. I'm sure there must have been some in that same debris field they were at.

    Second story technicality: Ichep brought up a good point about his young age helping his adaptation to life without a node. But what about the other children they left behind on so and so planet? Their lifespans won't be much longer than twenty years unless their nodes are removed too.

    Wow, lots of comments, but no props yet for the fx dudes and dudettes that worked on this episode?

    There are multiple scenes where an actor's head is opened up and an implant the size of a freakin' ROLL OF QUARTERS is either pulled out of it or inserted, all clearly visible in a single shot. That's AWESOME work.

    I like these emotional eps a lot; the whole cast was just spot on. Also, I don't know why the action scene bothers people. It was fun!

    PARIS: I need you on tactical! When they come back around, target their engine core.

    JANEWAY: Yes, SIR!!


    I'm in the 3.5 to 4 star camp.

    Not bad, but too damn cliche. Once again, all hope lost... only for a risky procedure that ends in 100% success for all parties. Urgh.

    And, of course, magic wand writing... like lost Borg ships being nearby.

    And the ending was v corny.

    As usual, there are a few things I can't help but wonder:
    -What was the point of that goodbye scene to those 3 Borg kids? That kinda felt like it came out of nowhere and didn't really serve any purpose. Sure, they're not important characters (especially the twins) but it feels like they just wanted to get rid of them to simplify matters. This way they can focus on Icheb as a character without those 3 tagging along every time.
    -Tuvok gets shot on the Borg ship. No one seems to care. Are you telling me that those aliens are sifting through the wreckage of a Borg vessel with their weapons on safe mode? Those are Borg we're talking about. Deadly force should be used at all times. But this is a Seven of Nine episode. No one has time to worry about Tuvok this time.
    -Where the hell is Naomi Wildman? She's like family to Seven and yet, she is nowhere to be seen. Seven is on her deathbed and yet one of her closest friends, who considers her family, doesn't care enough to show up. Either that or no one told her Seven is dying. Either way, what the hell? One scene would've been enough, but nope. Nothing.

    On the plus side, I liked Icheb's part in all this. The first time he contributes something meaningfull, both character wise and driving the plot forward. Very commendable job.
    I liked the episode overall, but there were a few scenes that felt like they were dragging a bit. B'elanna and Seven discussing the afterlife and Neelix' game of Kadis-kot were two things I could've done without.
    Thank god they didn't bring up Neelix' crisis of faith from his earlier near death episode.

    My favorite VOY episode, featuring my favorite character, Icheb. I cry my eyes out every time I see it. I watched it tonight (and sought out your lovely blog), and I'm glad I had a napkin.

    You can focus on the "cliche" every time if you want to, but then, why enjoy Star Trek? It's not perfect. It's the TV expression of "everything we've already been saying about sci-fi". At least it brings it to life, at least it brings it to the masses. What else have we GOT? Doctor Who? That's ONE.

    I went straight to "Drive" after this, and yes, it seems to better explain the Delta Flyer in that order, and Netflix streams them in that order. Oh well.

    The scene in sickbay where Icheb forces the issue just kills me. He's so right, and it says so much about the human condition. As Alice says, in Wonderland, "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it". Seven "knows" the best behavior for everyone else to follow, but she's not so good at following it herself. Seven brought a lot of what this show needed, but Icheb brought the rest. This episode allows him to deconstruct what she's all about. One of the biggest parts of Star Trek is having that one character who can act as the "audience surrogate", like the Vulcan, or the android. Seven was it for VOY, but here, Trek goes a step beyond, and surrogates the surrogate. "Eighty six percent?" "Point nine." Suddenly SOMEBODY is listening to logic. THANK YOU, doctor, for listening. Icheb is too awesome. He even gets a Q episode of his own! Can't wait for that again on the stream schedule, should be soon.

    In short, thank you for loving Star Trek enough to blog about it, thanks for the comment space, thanks for sharing a love for this genre. There's not enough of it.

    And I forgot to mention, it was "Capitalist" above who mentioned the outstanding special effects involved with the "roll of quarters" coming straight out of their heads. I remember watching this during the original 2000 air date, and being amazed by that. They did it no less than three times! That's another thing sci-fi TV is all about, showing us the things we've always imagined but have never seen. It doesn't matter if it's "cliche". The human imagination renders it all "cliche". Our imagination is better. At least someone spent some budget on making it visual, visible. Thank goodness for sci-fi TV. Compare your damned "star rating" against the Real Housewives. Five for five, every time.

    I think this episode could have been a bit more intense. I can see Picard discussing this subject intelligently.

    The Actor who plays Icheb did a great job! I wish they would have used the character more, he just plays very authentically! The argument between him and seven was outstanding making Janeway and the Doctor look very "faint". He owned that scene. It also shows that Ryan is a very compatible actress making for great scenes with different actors.

    The other scene I loved was the action scene with the flyer, very nice.

    What bugs me is the fact that the node is yet another piece of technology that can't be replicated or repaired or whatsoever.

    Overall I would give this five stars just for the dialog between icheb and seven. again, i wished they would have given him more screen time. He really contributed to the episode. When I look at janeaway and the doctor i admit that they act great. but with them its more like they're just rattling it off like usual. sometimes its just not that convincing, like they're not giving 100 %.

    Excellent acting and FX. 4 stars for Icheb and Seven. Normal Voyager plot holes and contrivances.

    Could've mentioned the baby here. Just say the twin's mother is taking the baby too. They didn't have to show the baby, just say it.

    I guess losing a large portion of your brain to install a node is irrelevant. People freed from the Borg should be more like Vedek Bareil on DS9, when he had part of his brain replaced with technology. Ex-drones should be acting a little different.

    Strong episode. Lots of good character scenes, some really strong performances and conjures up some real heart and emotion. The action scene didn't bother me at all, and actually was something of a standout in terms of FX.

    We could have done without another Borg centred episode, although clearly that was something unplanned, and the mystery of where the new Delta Flyer has come from is of course left hanging. But this is good stuff overall. 3.5 stars.

    This one definitely grew on me as time went on. The beginning, honestly, was not so great. It felt rather cliched (aw, someone ignoring warning signs and disobeying the doctor) and pointless action scenes (the aforementioned silly aliens of the week). Fortunately, I didn't give up on it.

    But before we get to that, there was another scene I was annoyed with besides the action scene, and that was Neelix's Kaddiskot (or whatever) bit. First of all, that's Seven's favorite game? The person who can solve the Vulcan chess thingy in one move is going to be thrilled with a kids game? I assumed it was Naomi's favorite game, and Seven merely plays it with her because she likes Naomi. Seriously, it looks as challenging as checkers. Secondly, what's with the painfully transparent reverse psychology? I know Seven is supposed to still not be a master at social interactions, but surely she's smart enough to see such a blatant ploy. And most importantly, the whole thing was just trite. In an episode like this, it just felt like a timewaster.

    Which is a bit unfortunate, because that time (and the action scene) could be put to much better use. There's not much in terms of plot here, just a whole bunch of excellent dialog scenes. Seven's progression from denial to anger to acceptance to refusing to allow Icheb to donate was very realistic to me. And each of those scenes felt true to the characters and true to the situation.

    By the way Jammer, as for her discussion with Torres, I too was looking for a Barge of the Dead reference, but even still, I think it was implied. Based on Torres' character, I would assume she would not have responded with "I don't know but I hope so" without that episode, since she never seemed a believer in Klingon mythology or even cared about it. But with her experiences in BotD, she gives the hopeful answer. I think that episode is what gave her a more positive feeling about spirituality. So I still thought it worked. Honestly, I think a better thing to call out there in that scene was the formerly hostile relationship between them. The fact that they were able to share such an intimate moment now is all the evidence needed for Torres' statement that Seven has had a positive impact on the crew.

    I also really liked the discussion with Janeway. There were some frustrating moments in Season 4 when Janeway, when teaching Seven about humanity, could have expressed more about individuality and how she doesn't need to become a clone of Janeway, but didn't. I thought those moments were weaker because of that lack of expression, but their loss is this episode's gain. Seven's misinterpreting Janeway's motivations, that Janeway wanted a clone, which Janeway strenuously objected to, was touching here. It really felt like the final graduation (if you will) of their relationship. And summation of their relationship.

    As for Icheb's sacrifice, it definitely wasn't cliche, DLPB. Of course they both survived, that was the point! Icheb pointed out that Seven's odds of recovery were 87.9%, and that his research showed that he too would probably be fine. It was a dangerous BUT DOABLE surgery, and was stated as such up front. The more important part was Seven's pride, attempting to refuse any help. If she looked at it dispassionately, she would see Icheb's choice is logical. But she has no desire to even risk her protoge's life, even if it is a reasonable risk. She has no desire to ever be seen as needing anyone's help, as being less than perfect. She needs to swallow her pride here and see that sometimes she needs to accept charity from others.

    So overall, a quiet episode, but effective.

    As someone who has been dealing with illness, death, and dying of family members for most of my life, I find this episode poignant and true rather than cliched. The estimated success rate of these Icheb's proposal is far higher than many treatments take for granted today. What Seven's character offers us is a directness and freshness that we often fail to see in real life.

    We "do" conversations about illness, infirmity, death, and dying very poorly in our culture and this fact was even more the case when this episode was first broadcast. When fiction offers us a way to think about our real lives and to ponder how we might play out that script, then it moves from entertainment to parable. This episode achieved this level for me and I've added it to the short list of Trek episodes that I hold in my heart and review when counting sheep fails to keep nightmares at bay.

    Jammer: "and even though a Seven/Janeway or Seven/Icheb scene can still be very good, it also feels like an iteration of a Voyager staple."

    You mean like meaningless Ferengi episodes in DS9? :-)

    Love this one. I could have done without the "I got here first aliens". Nothing added, nothing gained.

    All actors were very good. They sold this one. I'm a sap, Icheb/Seven relationship had me in tears.

    3.5 stars here.

    This was another Voyager episode that brought my living room to a standstill. Excellent writing, brilliant acting, with the hand of Berman only visible during the brief "This is our debris field, screw your crew member, open fire" alien of the week scene which simply didn't need to exist. (Coincidental how they recently flew past a Borg debris field - why didn't they try to salvage what they could at the time?)

    This is literally the only episode I remember where Echeb shows any sort of charisma. If he was allowed to act like this every week he would certainly have been a worthy addition to the crew. Jeri Ryan is one of the best things to happen to Trek and as usual she owns the episode.

    Funny how Voyager, one of the most maligned Treks, produced two of Star Trek's all time best characters in Seven and the Doctor.

    "Funny how Voyager, one of the most maligned Treks, produced two of Star Trek's all time best characters in Seven and the Doctor."

    Voyager gets WAY too much malignment IMHO. The one characters on this show that don't really shine is Harry and Kes.

    I think VOY is partially maligned because of over-reliance on those two standouts though. It's a double edged sword. It often just felt like the writers had too hard of a time doing anything interesting with the others.

    @Mephyve: where are you buddy? I know how much you love hospital shows...

    By the way 7 of 9 isn't her name, it's the ratio of episodes she stars in. Good thing I like her.

    3 stars!

    And my review of Voyager after a few years is into Season 7

    So, every comments section seems to have this Michael fellow crapping on the series. I find it fascinating someone would invest that kind of time to watch 172 episodes, comment in 172 review threads, and come back to all 172 comment threads to banter back and forth with people. I wonder if he will re watch Voyager again and do this all over.

    I liked this episode. Look, I think we all need to accept that continuity to story is not going to happen with Voyager. They were committed to episodes that were always wrapped up, and paid little attention to details about consequences from past episodes and story threads. So, I don't get too riled up about that stuff.

    The alien battle was way out of pace with this episode. I wonder if the writers felt compelled to have this in every episode or of UPN pressured them to have shoot-em-up every week to help with their trailers?

    I am happy the borg kids are gone... Naomi Wildman was enough and good on the show for sending them off.

    Icheb.. I didn't like him much before this, but he was really good here. The scene with the Doc and his research, and the scene after he disconnected himself with Seven wsa great stuff.

    We all know why Jeri Ryan was hired and why so many episodes revolved around here. However, she turned out to be a damn fine actress and other than the fair point that she had too many episodes, she did great work throughout the series. I think the most detriment was to Torres because she got pushed more to the sidelines as the strong female crew member in favor of Seven.

    Everyone's said mostly everything needed. All the nitpickers have spoken.

    I will say this episode hit me right in the feels. The Icheb actor really shined here, while giving 7 a piece of his mind... literally.

    Yes, the action sequence was out of place because of the random ass aliens. For a minute there I thought they were Kazons due to that bonzai shrubbery on their heads. I was like oh heeeeelllll naw! Then i realized they were just random ass aliens that somebody pulled out of the deep recesses of their bowels. They should've just had a confrontation with the Borg themselves and it would've made much more sense.

    I will say that people who are allergic to action are every bit as ridiculous as those who are constantly hopped up on it. You're like people who never go to bed naked or who always sleep suited and booted with padded pajamas and long johns. You all need to go sleep together so you can eternally piss each other off and leave the rest of us alone.

    No, the children leaving wasn't out of place. It was put in this episode for a reason. They wanted to make you think they were cleaning house, which knowing Voyager they easily could have been. Icheb could plausibly have died in this episode. The children leaving brings that front and center.

    All in all a very good episode. 3 stars firmly deserved.

    I'm with EdmondWherever on this one. I freely agree with the specific comments on here about terminal illness, etc., but I'd also step back a few and totally get on Edmond's bandwagon. My ocular implants were malfunctioning big-time when Icheb was dissing Seven about how she was able and willing to offer help to others but was so stubborn about accepting it herself. That's pride on Seven's part, and in a very bad way, and Icheb owned that scene for that reason. Her avoidance of her colleagues, her refusal of help / treatment, all that. You go, Icheb!

    Good episode overall but the sheer size of the cortical node cracks me up every time. Seven must be missing quite a chunk of brain to be able to fit that thing in her head. I'm surprised she wasn't hired as a Voyager writer...

    So when Janeway, Tuvok and Torres were assimilated, not only did none of them lose an eye or arm as most new drones do, but they seemingly weren't fitted with this oh-so important brain node? Let's not forget they were fully Borg, armour and all, and we even saw Janeway getting extra stuff bolted on (onto and into her head too) but the Borg didn't give them one of those at the same time?

    Speaking of "Unimatrix Zero", couldn't there have been some call back to that episode? Not with Seven's emotions as Axum was a bore, but with the Borg civil war. The convienient Borg debris field they passed a week ago could have been from the fighting between the Collective and the freed drones. Or even one of the ones the Queen self destructed. And it would have only required a line or two of dialogue. They had Janeway say they passed the debris a week ago in an expanse with an actual name (that she knew somehow). Why not have her say "Harry, the Borg Queen blew up a cube a few light years from here, scan for it". Still would have been contrived, but a nice call back at least. It's that kind of thing that would have made a nice difference to those of us that care about that sort of thing, but lazy writing trumps actual effort.

    As for the new Delta Flyer, it didn't bother me. They've been building shuttles out of nothing since start. Hell, they built the first Flyer from nothing in a rush. Hopefully they also solved the problem of how to fit the Flyer, Baxial and assorted Type-6/8/9 shuttles into Shuttlebay 2 (it's Voyager's one and only shuttlebay, so of course it's name wouldn't make sense. I assume Shuttlebay 1 is a police box that the shuttles fly into on their way in).

    I really wanted to give this episode a 3 1/2 or 4 stars because i enjoyed many things about it. I love how we all have our different reactions to different aspects--for me the Torres/7 scene discussing death was a very poignant one and very well done (although i do agree that making a more explicit connection with her experience on Barge of Death would have been really cool). Icheb's role added a new flavor to the action too. And despite agreeing with others that the fight scene was superfluous, it was also really well done and i enjoyed it.

    I end up lowering my overall rating to 3 stars for a couple of reasons:
    1) because the putting the entire crew in danger of assimilation to save one crew member, the umpteenth time in which the overall welfare of the crew is risked for a gamble with a low probability of success really irks me
    2) i can't stand janeway herself going on these missions--only an incredibly irresponsible captain would endanger herself so needlessly
    3) I haven't watched "Drive" yet, so haven't heard the explanation they give, but if i recall correctly it took much time to put the Delta flyer together and the fact that they put another one together seemingly so quickly was unbelievable to me

    Like Ric this episode reminded me of soap operas, but not in a good way. All the histrionics of the Doctor, Janeway, and especially Seven and Icheb were ridiculous and bordering on parody. "I'm willing to risk my life for you!" "no, let ME risk my life for YOU!" Barf.

    The episode would have been more interesting if Icheb was reluctant to donate his cortical node and the episode was about compelling him to do so; or if Icheb was a willing donor motivated by an infatuation with Seven.

    So many things wrong with this episode, as usual, but a couple things not mentioned yet that bothered me.

    They can't make a cortical implant themselves, because it's too complicated, but they can create a holodeck program that perfectly replicates 7 and all of her other implants to test out the one they found? If they don't know how it works or how her other implants work, how can they expect to test it properly on a holodeck, that can somehow recreate all of her other implants perfectly?

    The other thing, that bothers me, though it's not really that important, is when they go onto the chunk of borg ship. Before they go, they say 'it still has a breatheable atmosphere' or some such. On a blasted hunk of metal floating around in space. An atmosphere, and power, and gravity. Unless they have an atmosphere generator, power generator, and gravity generator every 100 feet or so on a borg ship, that's just silly.

    And a couple things just in general about Star Trek, not Voyager in particular, that have always bothered me. I was reminded of the first when they mentioned Torres enhancing the doc's emotions. That is, it was so difficult to give emotions to Data and other androids, yet the computer can give actual emotions to holodeck characters, like when fairhaven became 'real' or moriarty became 'real' and of course the doc himself has emotions. So what makes it so hard for androids?

    The second is space battles. Particularly phasers. About half the time, they can pinpoint a tiny part of a ship; 'target their weapons!' 'target their warp core!' 'target that arbitrarily weak point!' etc. Yet half the time, they can't even hit the ship at all. You'd think by then, they would have targeting systems that could shoot a fly off of someones nose every time, either that or they would just aim it like a pistol and hope they hit something. But it's always one or the other. Torpedoes the same, but that's a little more forgivable since they are much slower.

    3 stars

    A very solid Seven story with nice action on the borg cube and loved Icheb. Voyager needed more TNG-type episodes like this

    Icheb is the star of this episode. The scene where he out-argues Janeway, Doctor, and Seven in sickbay was a 5-star performance and dialogue. If it weren't for the pointless action scene - Jammer astutely criticized it in his review - I would have rated this episode four stars.

    Great comment by KB above. If it resonates with experiences in true life such as KB's, the episode is a winner.

    The main story of Icheb's risking his life to save 7's and 7's reaction to being terminally ill are strong enough to make this a good VOY episode. 7 is an overused character and VOY can't seem to get enough mileage out of using the Borg, but these episodes work.

    There are a couple of head shaking moments though: Why does Janeway initially insist on taking the Delta Flyer by herself to the Borg debris? How does that make any sense and how is that remotely close to what a captain should be doing? OK, Janeway feels something special for 7 but this is ridiculous.

    And then who are these random hard-ass aliens (look a bit like Kazon) who claim the Borg debris and start fighting the Voyager away party? That totally could have been left out of the episode.

    But the strong aspects of this episode -- Torres and 7 talking about the afterlife and how 7 doubts she's lived up to Janeway's expectations -- the soft stuff works. It's yet another episode where 7 comes to terms with a human part of life.

    3 stars for "Imperfection" -- definitely will resonate with some folks having to deal with terminal or very serious illness. Good acting by Ryan, Mulgrew, Picardo. The Icheb character is pretty wooden -- even if he is formerly Borg -- but he gets the required job done here. Felt like a one of VOY's typical decent episodes overall.

    Funny how two people can watch the same thing and yet see it entirely differently.

    For instance, many of you are extolling the acting prowess of Icheb in this episode. To which I almost fell off my chair the first time I read it. The guy has the acting chops of a tongue depressor (with emphasis on ‘depress.’)

    His range is two-fold: 1) Dull. 2) Not in the scene.

    And that shirt... eegah, they need to find an Intergalactic Ren Faire and drop Icheb off.

    While I watched this episode, I thought that showing the children departing Voyager at the beginning was a prelude to Seven experiencing emotions, particularly a sense of loss. I think this was supposed to make her bond with Icheb stronger and more important to her, and explain why it was so important to her that he not be endangered.

    I thought the aliens on the Borg wreckage were there to prevent Voyager from further salvaging efforts. Wouldn't want them to get transwarp technology this soon, for example. So there needed to be a reason for them to need to leave quickly. This also allows the crew to not keep hunting for a useable cortical implant, and to pursue a different strategy. I appreciated that the hard-headed aliens of the week were dispensed with quickly.

    I actually didn't mind Neelix that much this episode; he usually bothers me more. I missed Naomi, and thought her absence was notable. I imagine that the actress was simply not available. I wonder if the Neelix game stuff was actually supposed to be Seven and Naomi, and it was rewritten to use Neelix instead.

    I was surprised by a Seven ep immediately after Unimatrix Zero. I like Seven, but she'd can be too much of a good thing.

    A decent ep. Especially enjoyed Seven and B'Ellana.

    I thought for sure Icheb was going to end up dead somehow. Might have made a better story, but probably too dark for Trek.

    Will read review and comments later, must pick up a toddler from preschool, and that kid waits for no man. Or woman. Or Android. Etc.

    Comments on the commentary:

    --Yes, Seven does learn the same lessons over and over before they truly "take." This is how humans work, for the most part.

    -- The action scene was fun and short, just like I like 'em. It actually fits into the theme of "what's yours, what's mine," sharing or not, and the malleability of relationships (when it comes to who is giving, who is taking . . . who's the "parent."). Note the comment from Janeway about Icheb not understanding hierarchy, then Paris ordering her around in the shuttle. So anyhow, it's not just mindless action filler.

    --Interesting about the ep being out of order. Makes sense.

    --The size of the node: Yep. That's a big node. But we know so little about Borg tech that I'm sure concerns could all be technobabbled away . . . but really, who wants to hear about how the brain is manipulated so this and that is retained, but this and that isn't, and how long it takes to become irreversible and why, etc.? Not me.

    One of my favorites.... I agree that 7 was overused in STV at times and certainly they could have spaced the 7 oriented eps out a bit better but that aside, they did a good job with this one. I liked the honesty of fear that was displayed....the honesty between 7 and Torres in facing the unknown territory after death....the honesty between 7 and Janeway about their relationship.... I understood the desire of Janeway to take the Flyer on her own in an attempt to save 7– it was a ‘mom’ instinct to do whatever it took to save her child. Mulgrew at her best in this— nuanced and barely controlled..... Yeah. Imperfection was just about perfection...!

    Great Roddenberry's Ghost! Whyyyy does Janeway never delegate her responsibilities? The captain should NEVER go on every away mission with her head pilot and security officer (or, alternately, her chief engineer). Yes, I realize it's because it's only a TV show, but jeeeeez.

    From my perspective, I will put it as succinctly as I can. whenever I get tears in my eyes from a program it is definitely a home run episode!!!!!!!!!!

    "Whyyyy does Janeway never delegate her responsibilities?"by Kevin S.

    Because, as you said, it's a show. If you watch the other Trek shows you see that every captain does that, especially Kirk - could you imagine if he always just delegated the responsibilities to others while doing paperwork behind a desk?

    Regarding the episode, I have to say that my expectations were low when I knew it would be yet another Seven episode - not that I mind her that much, but she's just too overused in the last seasons.

    Needless to say it was a pleasant surprise to watch what turned out to be a superbly written and acted piece of sci-fi. Janeway shining as always, Seven strong as well, and Icheb unexpectedly delivering lines with some serious weight to them. To my great delight Torres got some time in the spotlight as well - in my opinion she's been shamefully underused in particularly the second half of VOY.

    The effects were also on point. Only thing that felt off was the action scene with the random aliens. However, it brought a big smile to my face when Janeway got hold of one them and immediately threatened him: "Put down your weapons and I'll consider not activating this laser scalpel." - Of all the captains I only see Kirk in the same situation.

    3,5 Stars.

    I couldn't believe it when I realized I hadn't seen this episode before!

    This was very well done (this is how you do flashbacks, Kurtzman!)

    Kind of a missed opportunity with the Bajoran Starfleet officer: it would've been nice if they'd kept her around as a foil/contrast for 7.

    PS The 2-moon planet matte painting looks really cheesy, even by 90's standards.

    3.5 stars

    I'm gonna jump in and defend the so-called 'action insert'.

    The crew hunting for a dead drone and trying a node that needed to be attempted in order to show that they had tried the obvious plan before the risky one was attempted.

    In a region of space where there aren't great powers like the Federation, or the Klingon/Romulan empires, the concept of there being plenty of salvagers about is hardly out of the question. And I would expect salvagers of any stripe to act pretty much the way they acted. I don't judge people on the bumpiness of their forehead, like you racist lot! (:o)

    So hardly a pointless or perfunctory scene, and a perfectly reasonable encounter. On that point 'Why is the Delta Quadrant full of a bunch of nationalistic, racist bigots?' which seems to come up a lot here, HOW 'BOUT TAKE A LOOK AT THE REAL WORLD? It 'gets old' coming from an American, a Brazilian, a Brit, a Pole, a...oh, man, it's everywhere. So, again, a reasonable likelihood (even if these reviews were written long before anyone thought the world was as sh*t as it really is).

    This is one of those episodes that's ok then rattles you with a startling performance.

    Manu Intiraymi's Icheb is strong throughout, but then becomes stunning when he chooses to implement his solution. Watching these scenes, this young actor is so effective, you wish he had been on earlier and had more opportunities.

    Hunched over and shivering in the regeneration chamber, insisting he'll survive, it's quite touching and poignant.

    It's really quite heroic, but also it's quite "logical" and dispassionate. It's a remarkable character and performance.

    Voyager seems to do big emotional moments better than TNG/TOS/DS9. Off the top of my head:

    1. Neelix's sucide/existential breakdown.
    2. Tuvix pleading for his life.
    3 . Torres' shame at having a mixed race kid
    4. Neelix's farewell episode
    5. Seven reading her fan-mail to the Doctor

    etc etc..

    And now here we get several good emotional moments, both big and small:

    1. Janeway taking a shuttle into Borg debris, risking her life for Seven.
    2. Paris and Tuvok similarly risking their lives to accompany Janeway.
    3. Seven's sad ruminations on death (she won't live on, as she's been disconnected from the collective)
    4. Torres' beautiful conversation with Seven in engineering
    5. Icheb's sacrifice
    6. Icheb speech (there are no individuals in Starfleet, in a sense, only a kind of techno-Christian, self-sacrificial, altruistic network)
    7. Seven's break down into tears
    8. Neelix staying by the dying Seven's side.

    I'd give this episode a high 3.5 stars. It abounds with great little scenes, and packs a couple emotional wallops. And I think this is where VOY stands out. TNG, DS9 and TOS have great qualities which VOY lacked, but VOY was better at deriving big, touching, often sad emotional moments from its characters.

    Years ago in UK Star Trek Monthly I read a sentence synopsis both for this episode and Drive which read
    - Seven helps Janeway and the other liberated Drones adjust to life as individuals.
    - The crew builds a new Delta Flyer for a space race.

    I think those plans were nixed, that some exec demanded all the fallout from Unimatrix Zero be done in that episode. Instead we get Seven dealing with her mortality and a rushed Tom and Belanna relationship episode.

    This is actually one of my favourite late Voyager episodes, and a lot of it stems from Icheb. I've always had a soft spot for the character, notwithstanding Manu Intiraymi turning out to be a less-than-stellar person here in the year two thousand and twenty three, and this episode gives him a chance to shine in a way that also gives Seven an interesting dimension. Seven learns lessons about humanity every week, of course, but in this case she's learning them from her nominal ward, which feels novel and interesting. The actors' performances drive it home, managing to dredge up profound emotion from characters normally hard-wired for terseness and stoicism.

    I find it hard to dock this episode points for the action-adventure sequence, but I also tend to be pretty forgiving of it when it's done in service of a broader plot. We may not need to learn about the salvagers, but we don't really need to, and their presence makes for a decent alternative to the usual "Janeway vs. the drones" schtick Voyager had by now run into the ground.

    For me, this was a great episode. Yes, definitely could've done without that "action" sequence, I mean, what was the purpose of it? The best scenes were between Seven and Icheb. Some of the reviewers on here have called Icheb Seven's "ward" or her "protege", but it's very clear that the relationship is a lot more than that. There's clearly a mother/son bond there. Both Jeri Ryan and Manu Intiraymi gave terrific performances. Jeri Ryan really is a pretty stellar actress. It's a real shame we haven't seen her more.

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