Star Trek 549: The Omega Directive

549. The Omega Directive

FORMULA: The Enterprise Incident + Jetrel + Lower Decks + Rightful Heir

WHY WE LIKE IT: Seven's leadership skills.

WHY WE DON'T: God is technobabble.

REVIEW: Voyager's always had a science fantasy bent, but we're really getting into the "magical" phase of the show lately. This time, we're presented with a magic molecule that could be God. I'm not up on my quantum physics or anything, but is there anything about this so-called "perfect" molecule that makes sense? This thing is so magical that's it's actually MYTHICAL, figuring into a number of creation myths across the galaxy.

The conceit is that single unstable molecule can apparently destroy subspace on a massive scale, and since having access to warp travel is apparently more important to Starfleet than non-interference, we have the Omega Directive hijacking the ship's monitors, Janeway going into top secret mode, and characters speculating, Lower Decks-style, about what the heck is really going on. They all find out, of course, but it's not like Janeway destroys all KNOWLEDGE of Omega here, just the particles. I don't know what's stopping these aliens from reproducing the experiment or sharing their information with someone else. This story could have been more like In the Pale Moonlight, with the bodies and ethical atrocities piling up. Instead, it turns into an exploration of Seven's spirituality and the Section 31 stuff (if I may call it that) takes a back seat.

This episode is an excellent showcase for Seven, don't get me wrong. The fact she has the knowledge of many Starfleet captains in her head includes her in Janeway's plan from the start, and the way she organizes her taskforce, giving them all drone numbers, is great fun. The episode almost starts like Data's Day, as she lets us in on her very strict agenda, which includes compensating for Harry Kim's small talk. But they've given her (and the Borg) a very strange drive here. The Borg now have a "religion" and it's the same as Voyager's, really. Worshiping at the altar of weird science. It's hard to get interested when the holy grail is entirely made up of technobabble, y'know? Seven's spiritual experience itself is well played, but that's it really. The show's been so adamantly atheistic that it can't go anywhere with it. And if we're going to explore Seven's spirituality, why not do it in a human context (confronting her to her actual heritage) instead of coming up with a nonsensical Borg equivalent?

LESSON: God is the Alpha and the Omega, so there must be an Alpha Directive as well.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A mishandled attempt at looking at religion from Seven's point of view nonetheless yields good scenes for the character.

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