Star Trek 553: One

553. One

FORMULA: Persistence of Vision + Distant Voices + Night Terrors

WHY WE LIKE IT: Rerouting power actually well used.

WHY WE DON'T: Been there, done that.

REVIEW: If you're updating your Star Trek Voyager drinking game, don't forget to include Seven hallucinating because it seems to happen a heck of a lot. The premise isn't bad though. Voyager encounters a nebula that has deleterious effects on the crew (and would be a boring part of the journey to boot), and only Seven and the Doctor can survive it. So they place everyone in stasis for a month and the "artificial" duo takes care of things, but even the ship starts to degrade (those neural gel packs are starting to look like a bad idea, Starfleet!). And so does Seven.

One is meant to be a lesson for Seven, who up to this point has been staunchly antisocial. Here we learn that the Borg can't stand being alone, and this, in part, drives her mad by the end of the episode. I'm not sure that's a good take on the Borg at all. As a collective being, the Borg are essentially one lone creature, huge and sprawling, but already "One". The drones freed from the Collective we've seen (and Seven in particular) are upset to have lost the "voices" of the others, yes, but human, physical companionship never seemed an issue. In fact, how do the events of this episode differ from her social routine? The Doctor is her only friend, as usual, and she bickers even with him.

In any case, any psychological coherence here is undercut by the nebula's attack on organic systems. Seven is taken with a fear of loneliness perhaps only because of its effects, since the issue only comes up at the same time as the hallucinations. And these are fairly standard for the show, highly reminiscent of Bashir's telepathic damage in Distant Voices (with the powerful monster coming to getcha). There's the zombie crew too (drink!). Though they try to make us think the intruder is real at first, I would have been more surprised if he HAD been real.

For all that, the ending is still tensely orchestrated. Characters reroute power all the time on the show, but here it's a real puzzle of what to power and in what order to prevent anyone from being killed. Hard choices that become right choices and we can forgive, I think, the conceit that the Doctor came back online in time to save Seven from suffocation. Or maybe Tom could have woken up from stasis all by himself, as this episode claims can happen. It's an amusing notion, and one Seven uses to bond with her crew mates at the end (I know all MY friendships are based on laughing at others), but it still seems wrong, doesn't it?

LESSON: Voyager WILL make you drunk.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Though there are some good elements, the episode quickly degrades into the same old, same old. You might as well sleep through the fourth act.


Anonymous said...

An the theme is later reprised in ST:Enterprise when they have to go through an area of space that is too toxic(?) and the only safe place is within the shielded warp nacelles.


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