The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Survival Instinct"

by David E. Sluss

4 October 1999

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: Belief must be suspended from the Eiffel Tower, but it's worth the effort, thanks to some strong acting and decent dialogue.


NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: It really is a small quadrant, isn't it? We know the Borg sphere of influence spans tens of thousands of light years and that Voyager has crossed twenty or thirty thousand light years since Seven joined the crew, and yet these Ex-Borg folks happen to be in the right place at just the right time to run into the one person in the galaxy capable of helping them. Right.

UPN SCAM OF THE WEEK: The preview of this week's show featured a scene with Seven of Nine saying "I will return to the Borg," a scene which obviously didn't appear here, but was apparently culled from another episode ("The Raven?" "Dark Frontier?"). It's nothing compared to UPN's ongoing scam of pretending to run a national television network, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

NEW TECHNOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Was this the Christmas episode of Voyager? No, I don't mean Janeway's ready room, but the rather comical number of blinky lights all over the Borg suits during the flashback sequences. They seem to multiply with every Borg appearance, to the point that I expect bubbly candles to appear next...

EUNUCHS OF THE WEEK: The Borg had other problems this week besides their "Wal-Mart in December" look, as the Borg collective mind is made to look practically voluntary. The biggest problem has to be the notion that the neural link Seven created was able to supercede the Borg's collective will after the Triad was reassimilated, to such an extent that the three had the will and the ability to escape the Borg on their own. In addition, during the flashback, it seemed to take about five minutes before the Triad and Seven started reverting to their individual personas. This seems to contradict the struggles of Hugh Borg in The Next Generation's "I, Borg," as well as that of the Ex-Borgs in Voyager's own "Unity," in which the reversion of Borg drones to individuals was treated as being virtually unheard of. Based on this episode, you'd think there'd be Ex-Borgs and nearly-Ex-Borgs hiding in bushes all over the Quadrant.

CONSISTENCY OF THE WEEK: I was kind of amused during the flashback at one of the Ex-Borg's idea that turning off some gizmo in their heads would help them hide from Borg sensors. I guess there's some law of physics throughout the Star Trek universe that prevents sensors from working when anyone is looking for missing crew members on a planet.

ILLOGIC OF THE WEEK: It apparently never occurred to the Triad that proximity, or the lack thereof, might have an impact on the neural link. That is, not travelling together constantly like Siamese triplets just might have been enough to alleviate their suffering.

POOR PLANNING OF THE WEEK: The Ex-Borg Marika is apparently a Bajoran, and yet while implementing a Super Secret Devious Plan on Voyager, she takes the dollar tour of the ship, without covering up very well. Doesn't it seem likely that someone would notice that a representative from an Alpha Quadrant species is walking around the ship? Oh, well, I guess all those Forehead Aliens kind of blur together, to the point that no one notices a stray Bajoran nose here and here. Oh, and from the Most Trivial Nitpick Department, during the flashback to the Borg crash, Marika shrieks "Oh, my God!" Shouldn't that be "By the Prophets," or something like that?

SHOEHORN OF THE WEEK: Any idea why that idiotic Paris/Kim scene was here, other than to make the actors earn a bit of their paychecks? I kept thinking that Kim and Paris spouting excuses in harmony was supposed to be juxtaposed in some bizarre fashion with the plight of the Triad, but it didn't really lead anywhere and was probably merely filler.

Previous: "Equinox, Part II"
Next: "Barge of the Dead"
NEXT WEEK: First, Janeway goes a little funny in the head. Then we run into the Borg. Next we get a look at the darkness in Torres' heart. This really is the fifth season, isn't it?



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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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