Star Trek 561: Infinite Regress

561. Infinite Regress

FORMULA: Masks + The Raven

WHY WE LIKE IT: Jeri Ryan's acting.

WHY WE DON'T: Something's wrong with that climax.

REVIEW: As Voyager nears a damaged Borg Cube, Seven starts exhibiting personalities from dozens of people she helped assimilate. The technological MacGuffin is that the heart of the Cube - the vinculum (definition: a ligament that limits the movement of an organ or part, but it's also got a similar meaning for algebra fans) - is malfunctioning and as it tries to re-assimilate Seven from a distance, it also prevents her from inhibiting those personalities.

Whatever the technological conceit used, it quickly turns into an acting showcase for Jeri Ryan who manages to create, quickly and effectively, half a dozen characters. She makes each one credible, from the little girl to the Ferengi, and is the real reason to keep watching. However, the "mirror images" are an odd directorial choice for a usually pretty naturalistic series, more Quantum Leap than Voyager.

There might not be enough emphasis on Seven essentially being confronted by her victims (perhaps because she's never really in the same room with them), but the episode does bring Seven and Naomi Wildman together. While it might be strategically unsound to throw two new characters together (thereby ignoring older characters in desperate need of attention), it makes aesthetic sense. They are the two daughters aboard ship, Sam's and Janeway's, and both must integrate into this "adult/Starfleet" society. Naomi's perception of Seven goes from bogeyman to friend here, and even dips into hero worship a little bit. If Neelix is her surrogate father, Seven is her surrogate big sister.

To provide excitement, the vinculum was actually infected with a virus by the interestingly attired Species 6339 (a similar computer virus-type ploy was abandoned by Picard in I,Borg, you might remember - some people are more ruthless). Sadly, the climax is all over the place and not very satisfying. Tuvok battles for Seven's soul in a mindmeld, but the personalities disappear as soon as B'Elanna unplugs the vinculum, so did he really need to go in? And as soon as that happens, Voyager gives the aliens the vinculum and they leave. No fuss, no muss. Basically just a reason for exploding consoles. Ah well.

LESSON: You can get out of the Borg Collective, but you should expect side-effects.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A great showcase for Ryan's acting (she certainly gets a chance to play roles that go against her casting), but a bit insubstantial otherwise.


mwb said...

Setting aside the obvious visual appeal of Jeri Ryan, I actually do like her as an actress.

It's good when she gets some actual material to work with.


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