Star Trek 529: Scorpion, Part II

529. Scorpion, Part II

FORMULA: First Contact + Sins of the Father + Unity

WHY WE LIKE IT: Seven of Nine. Chakotay's solutions.

WHY WE DON'T: Janeway's self-serving arguments.

REVIEW: Part II of Scorpion keeps the momentum, energy and urgency up as well as the nice effects, sets, etc. of Part I, as the Borg-Starfleet alliance goes through its difficulties. Clearly, negotiations can't be easy between the two camps, with the poor Doctor on suicide watch in case the scorpion decides to sting the fox, as it were. Oddly, the Borg assign a "lone voice" to the alliance effort in the form of Seven of Nine. Why they didn't just use the disembodied voice or even summon up a Queen instead of obeying Janeway's capricious request will have to be chalked up to the decision to introduce a Borg character to the cast.

Seven of Nine isn't yet in her final form (though the only female drone we've ever seen), and it's a big plus that they don't try to shoehorn the new status quo in the season opener, simply leaving her aboard and disconnected from the hive mind. Similarly, the changes to the ship aren't immediately undone. Even in heavy Borg drag, Seven already has a lot of poise and attitude. Sure, Borg rules are changed again, but that's almost a given. They constantly adapt and change based on data assimilated so I'm less disturbed than most on this point. Still, it's strange to see the Collective send casualty reports. I didn't think their communication worked that way.

Species 8472, though set up as a great enemy in Part I, doesn't play as much of a role as the Borg in Part II. We do get to visit their subspace domain, or as it is called, "fluidic space". If their entire universe is a biological soup, it certainly explains their super-DNA. But otherwise, we don't get very much about them. As far as the big war goes, we don't really get one as such. When Janeway's cube gets blown up, the Borg beams its lab into Voyager's cargo bay, introducing Seven's future digs pretty nimbly, I thought. Chakotay's final solution, his use of his "cooperative" experience in Unity (does he still have some kind of implant or is this "telepathic" skill akin to Picard's link to the Borg consciousness in First Contact?), is a good one that gets everyone to safety. It is later revealed that Seven was "allowed" to remain on Voyager as part of the Queen's agenda, but the events of the episode defy that interpretation.

This episode's weakness is the same as the previous', i.e. Janeway's new-found arrogance, bruised ego and self-serving arguments. Practically on her death bed, she gives Chakotay one final order to make the alliance work. When the Borg back away from their agreement (which they later break completely as predicted), he makes what she would call the wrong call. Her reaction is totally disrespectful and unreasonable - much like Chakotay's silly pleading for her to understand his position, he shouldn't have to apologize - and when she somewhat acknowledges her mistake, she calls it "our mistake". Yep, Janeway's been broken forever.

LESSON: The Borg? Nah. Janeway is the scorpion.

REWATCHABILITY - High: A successful sequel to Scorpion, with a good introduction to the new cast member. Janeway's new personality is frustrating, but on the whole, this is a winner.


Anonymous said...

Is this really that much of a change in Janeway, after Tuvix?

mwb said...

Setting aside the assimilation/DNA science as iffy at best, it was a whole lot of fun as a pair of episodes.

The fanboy in me always falls for the old "look at powerful the new villain is by how badly they whoop the old villain" - but like some many things in Voyage they just get worse in future episodes.

Siskoid said...

Tuvix used to be an aberration, but from Season 4, it's a generalized change in characterization.


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