The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager


by David E. Sluss

13 October 2000

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: Though good in places, there's too many problems to call this episode a success. In short, this episode lives up to its title.


LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: Chakotay: "It's not every day we go looking for the Borg." But ... it is! [Credit where credit is due; though I thought of this as the Laugh Line of the Week while first watching the episode, reader John David Watker thought up what I was going to write in this space practically verbatim and emailed me about it. Talk about two minds without a single thought!]

BRAIN DAMAGE OF THE WEEK: I'll leave the writers out of it for once, but seeing the size of the cortical node, it occurred to me that as a result of semi-assimilation in "Unimatrix Zero," Janeway (along with Tuvok and Torres) must be missing a good chunk of her brain. But there doesn't seem to be much of a difference, since Janeway's grave-robbery of the Borg, and her entertaining the notion of attacking an active Borg vessel to get a node, aren't really any worse than her past decisions, sad to say.

RESET BUTTON OF THE WEEK: You gotta love the return of the Delta Flyer, with only an obviously tacked-on line by Paris to even suggest that it was destroyed just a couple of episodes ago. But then, that's probably the Cadillac of continuity as far as Voyager goes. At least when Deep Space Nine reset the Defiant's destruction (in "The Dogs of War") they made a big deal out of it. Here, it was conducted in a manner that practically made you hear Ken Biller saying "Let's hope they don't notice."

RESET BUTTON OF LAST WEEK: Janeway and Tuvok, fresh from being semi-assimiliated, show no reservations whatsoever about visiting a Borg cube, and risking being grabbed by a Borg salvage party. I wouldn't necessarily expect them to cower in fear, but some sort of comment, glance, something, would seem to have been in order.

MISSED CONTINUTIY OF THE WEEK: This episode offers no explanation (or even investigation) of the cause of the Borg vessel's destruction. This was a perfect opportunity to follow up on last week's "Unimatrix Zero, Part II." Why not mention, just for the hell of it or to shut up pests such as me, that the vessel was destroyed by the Borg rebels (or was itself a rebel ship)? Obviously Voyager's writers don't go out of their way for the sake of continuity, but this one was handed to them on a platter. I'll be charitable and suggest that perhaps, like last year's "Collective," something was being set up for the future here, but in this case I seriously doubt it. And, by the way, with Borg friendlies in the general area, why not try to track one of their ships down and see if they can spare a cortical node?

MISSED CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Torres is either being coy or forgetful when she tells Seven that she only "hopes" there is an afterlife. Last year's "Barge of the Dead" seemed to make a true believer out of her.

FAREWELL OF THE WEEK: I won't exactly miss the Borg children, except perhaps for Mazola, the only one of the bunch who had any life in her. I do have to say that I was stunned by the actor playing Icheb this time out. He seems a lot more capable now than he ever did last year, and made this character halfway compelling; in the Damning with Faint Praise Department, I'll add that this week's performance put him ahead of Beltran and Wang. So for now, we'll quit calling him Achump. One other thing about the children, sing it with me one last time: "What the hell happened to that baby??!!"

MINDF^&# OF THE WEEK: Proving that Braga still has influence on Voyager, the phony sickbay "simulation" practically had his name written on it. I won't even try to pontificate about this one: it's a bunch of shit.

VOYAGER CLICHE OF THE WEEK: We avoided the shuttle crash, but we had surly forehead aliens being assholes for no particular reason, in a five minute sequence of fight-scene-and-space-battle filler. Gratuitous doesn't even begin to describe it. The aliens, looking as usual like Kazon rejects, aren't even named; the closing credits has one of them listed as "Hostile Alien #1" or something like that.

TECHNOLOGICAL MYSTERIES OF THE WEEK: Voyager, as usual, hoisted itself on its technological petard this week in a number of ways:

  1. Any reason why Janeway and Tuvok had to beam aboard the Borg wreckage? Couldn't a Borg body or two have been beamed to the Flyer?
  2. Seven must have shut off The Doctor's "thinking subroutine" too, since he runs around all over the ship looking for Seven instead of asking the computer to locate a female human with implants -- either type will do.
  3. During the Gratuitous Space Battle, Paris was flying solo, doing evasive maneuvers, while the damaged transporters magically fixed themselves, since no one else was aboard the Flyer to do it.
  4. It's -- ahem -- futile to mention this, I suppose, but the inability of Voyager's replicators to duplicate certain Borg technology is really irritating, arising as it does from nothing more than writer fiat. I'm sorry, but DS9's "Rivals," in which a civilian creates duplicates of a mysterious probability-altering ball merely by asking a replicator to do it, screws the pooch on any rationalization of the replicators' finicky behavior. And besides, if the transporter works on the cortical node, which it obviously does, since Seven has used it, then the replicator should as well, since we've been told repeatedly that both devices are more or less the same technology.

SUCK-UP OF THE WEEK: Janeway fires at the Surly Alien vessel and knocks out its engines. Paris the brown-noser says, "Nice shot!" even though at least two torpedoes obviously missed the target.

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: According to Janeway, the debris field was "six or seven days" behind Voyager's position. It certainly didn't seem as if the Delta Flyer's mission took two weeks to complete. I got the distinct impression that Seven's condition was deteriorating a bit more rapidly than that.

PRAYER OF THE WEEK: "Whatever Gods there be, don't let this Icheb subplot be a set up for a 'Starfleet Academy' series."

Previous: "Unimatrix Zero,
Part II
Next: "Drive"
NEXT WEEK: Last year, Voyager courted the "professional" wrestling demographic; this year it's the NASCAR crowd...



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