Star Trek 605: Unimatrix Zero

605. Unimatrix Zero

FORMULA: Dark Frontier + Unification + The Enterprise Incident + Descent

WHY WE LIKE IT: Tactical cubes.

WHY WE DON'T: Borg dissidents. Wha?

REVIEW: Every species has to have a dissident movement so that we, as an audience, can find the humanity in them. There are no true villains in Star Trek, no people we cannot learn to become friends with. I'd say that's true in all cases but the Borg. Well, no longer. They've found a way to create a dissident movement in a race that share the same mind, whose very concept hinges on their lack of dissidence. In fact, they're more or less played as your typical fascist state here, with the interrogation and torture of its citizens. Heads on spikes at tea time? Sure, why not?

Unimatrix Zero is a virtual space that one out of every million drones could access during regeneration and where their individuality was restored. By coincidence, Seven was one of those rare mutations, and they throw in a lover for her in there, Axum, whom she doesn't quite remember. Jeri Ryan does a good job of inflecting her voice more softly when she's in Unimatrix Zero, even before her total transformation into Annika. Axum however, is a little dull, as Trek romantic guest stars often are.

The idea that Unimatrix Zero might help bring the downfall of the Collective isn't a bad one, so Janeway gets into season finale mode (i.e. unreasonable). Nowhere near as bad as in Equinox, of course, but she has the usual speech about needing Chakotay's support (which he gives, he's obviously given up), and then turning a dangerous plan into a suicidal one by announcing she's going alone. Chakotay puts his foot down, yadda yadda yadda. They don't do a particularly good job of selling the importance of this mission however, and by the end, when Janeway, Tuvok and B'Elanna have been assimilated, and the Delta Flyer destroyed, it's hard for the audience to see it as an appropriate risk and sacrifice. Dialogue on the bridge indicates it's all part of the plan (which takes away some shock value), but it still seems too much just to fund the Borg a resistance movement.

Tom Paris gets his lieutenant's pip back in this episode, prompting Harry Kim to ask where HIS promotion's gone. Combined with the Borg Queen's ominous "we'll see you soon Harry", it seems to promise some kind of betrayal coming. Maybe in connection with the Queen's promise of help getting Voyager home by transwarp conduit (rejected out of hand by Janeway, making her mission even more foolish). Speaking of the Queen, I can't fault the effects, except they make me wonder how many variations on her head attaching to her body I need to see. Tac cubes are pretty cool though.

LESSON: Janeway makes a shockingly ugly drone.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A lot of big bangs, like any season finale, but falls a little flat. My usual reaction when plot comes before characterization.


De said...

I think what made this episode a Low for me was the notion of "let's get assimilated and then return to normal" treated so casually. Doesn't that essentially remove the Borg as a threat?

Siskoid said...

Part II is the real culprit, but I can get behind what you're saying.


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