Star Trek 530: The Gift

530. The Gift

FORMULA: I, Borg + Cold Fire + Transfigurations

WHY WE LIKE IT: Seven of Nine.

WHY WE DON'T: Kes' goodbyes get the shaft.

REVIEW: The episode deals with two young women in a state of becoming, and though artificial in construction (a simultaneous in and out for cast members), it nevertheless does its best to make the two threads intersect significantly. Still, both storylines suffer from the shorter time afforded them. Kes' strand in particular seems to have been curtailed. She has a nice last scene with Neelix, giving us insight into their relationship post-Warlord. She also gets the requisite tear-jerking farewell scene with Janeway, but no one else (well, Tuvok gets a nice moment of vigil at the end). Nothing with the Doctor or Tom Paris (he's just lost a potential future!). I didn't think she was that close to the captain frankly.

Star Trek promises that we will one day evolve into godlike beings, and we've even seen this process occur to individuals inside the span of their lives. Her encounter with Species 8472 seems to have jumpstarted Kes' transformation (we don't get much more of an explanation than that, though the potential has been there since at least Cold Fire). Suddenly, she has CSI vision, can peer beyond the subatomic, destabilize matter and pitch Voyager forward 10,000 light-years. Nice gift indeed.

Despite Kes' heartfelt departure, Seven's re-humanization remains the most interesting thing in the episode. Unlike Hugh, she's brought kicking and screaming into this individualized world. She's become Janeway's pet project, but I'm glad she can still call the captain's bullshit. Unless the show's creators really do want us to intensely dislike Janeway, they should really stop putting in effectively written scenes where her hypocrisy is called out like that. At best, she makes like a bad therapist. At worst, she's ethically bankrupt, taking away Seven's lifestyle choice.

In the end, Seven comes around just enough to accept her new situation, though not before a valiant effort to contact the Collective. If it wasn't for Kes' increasing powers, Voyager would surely have been assimilated. Still looks it, in fact, as the Borg hardware hasn't yet been removed (shades of the kind of continual degradation I would have liked to see on Voyager). Great endings in this episode, between the staging of Seven's new look revealed, her small bit of memory about her pre-Borg life, and the zoom-out from Tuvok's window (as Kes' consciousness leaves us?).

LESSON: Duct tape really can fix anything.

REWATCHABILITY - High: Both ladies get some good scenes, though it might leave you wanting even more.

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