Star Trek: Voyager: Scorpion, Part II   Rewatch 
August 28, 2017 9:03 AM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

"I speak for the Borg." -- Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One.

Are you willing to risk a direct confrontation with Memory Alpha?:

- The degree of tension between Janeway and Chakotay in this episode was influenced by director Winrich Kolbe. "I pushed for it because I wanted to explore the relationship between a disabled commander and her second in command," he recalled, "and the military perspective of what do you do if your second-in-line disagrees with the first-in-line, and the first-in-line is out, though the orders she left were very clear. We didn't resolve it with a happy ending, and they don't just say, 'Well, our friendship has to survive.' I wanted a real dressing down, wanted to make sure that everybody knew that what Chakotay did was a court-martial offense. I never got that far, but [Janeway actress] Kate [Mulgrew] and I kept pushing [co-writer] Brannon Braga on the idea that we had to show a conflict, and that conflicts don't have to be resolved."

- Brannon Braga initially considered including, in this episode, a reference to an event that takes place in Star Trek: First Contact. At the time, he announced, "I'm planning on saying that one of the things that made the Borg more vulnerable was the fact that the Queen was killed, and we'll learn a little bit about that in Part II." This plan never came to fruition, however. Braga remembered, "I realized it was a plot thread that would come off as exposition. The last thing you want to do in a big, sweeping two-parter is to start explaining a movie that half the audience may not have seen. So I dropped it." Nonetheless, the character of the Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact was indeed utilized as one of several points of inspiration for the writing of this installment. Joe Menosky, the episode's other co-writer, explained, "The original inspiration was a couple of things. One was when Picard became the voice of the Collective as Locutus, so there was an individual speaking for the Collective. Another was when the Borg Queen did the same. (Executive producer) Rick Berman was pretty adamant that you get bored with the Collective voice pretty quickly, and someone had better step forward."Another influence on this episode was the Borg-centric third season installment "Unity". Brannon Braga was watching a televised promotion for that episode when he had the original thought that would ultimately develop into the regular character of Seven of Nine, first introduced here. At the same time, he concluded that the Borg should be featured again on Voyager but more prominently than in that Season 3 episode (a conclusion that would inspire him to write this episode's two-parter).

- Much consideration went into choosing Seven of Nine's name. Brannon Braga explained, "We struggled for a long time. Initially, we gave her a Human name. She was gonna be named Pera, or Annika, or something [....] We wrote the first couple of scripts with a Human name. And it wasn't until a little later that we thought, 'She shouldn't have a Human name. She should be set apart, in some way.'"

- According to Jeri Ryan, the breakthrough with her portrayal of Seven of Nine was advice provided to her by Winrich Kolbe. "I managed to find her voice and exactly what it was that makes her tick. It was Rick Kolbe who helped me figure it out," Ryan explained. "He gave me the image of a Prussian general. He said, 'She's not a robot and she's not the Borg Queen. She's not that free. But she has this military bearing and the presence of a Prussian general.' That's the image I had in my head."

- Jeri Ryan found considerable difficulty with donning the Borg appearance. Of the full body cast, for example, she complained, "When it hardens you can't breathe!" (Star Trek: Communicator, issue 115, p. 24) She also said, "It was a lot of makeup. It was a pretty restrictive costume [....] It was very heavy, and very thick, all half-inch rubber and Latex, equipped with the wires for the blinkey lights. So it was rather snug. It was tight around the neck. It was [fitted] to my bare neck, and then once the half-inch-thick latex bald cap was on my neck as well and the costume was zipped up, it pressed on my carotid artery." In fact, Ryan came close to passing out due to the tightness of the costume. "I knew that I couldn't comfortably turn my head out of any position other than straight ahead, because it made me black out. It wasn't a pleasant sensation," the actress reflected. "It was compounded by the fact that we were working in smoke, and getting overheated with the costume because it was rubber, and very thick and heavy. I was trying to be a martyr thinking that I was saving time, by saying, 'Oh no, let's just do another take,' and then I had paramedics to the set."

- Jennifer Lien's name has been removed from the opening credits, to be replaced by Jeri Ryan's. In this episode and the following one ("The Gift"), Lien receives billing under "Also Starring" after the episode's opening titles sequence.

"Don't worry. I'll delete myself at the first sign of trouble. Well, maybe not the first sign."

- The Doctor, about his knowledge of the modified nanoprobes

"You still have a tendril up your nose."

- Torres, to Kim after he returned from sickbay

"When your captain first approached us, we suspected that an agreement with Humans would prove impossible to maintain. You are erratic, conflicted, disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned, every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony; cohesion; greatness. It will be your undoing."

- Seven of Nine, to Chakotay

""It will be your undoing.""
"What?"
"Our conflictive nature, our individuality. Seven of Nine said that we lacked the cohesion of a collective mind. That one day it would divide us and destroy us. And here we are proving her point."
"I'll tell you when we lost control of the situation, when we made our mistake. It was the moment we turned away of each other. We don't have to stop being individuals to get through this. We just have to stop fighting each other."

- Chakotay and Janeway

"There are two wars going on, the one out there and the one in here and we're losing both of them."

- Janeway

Poster's Log:

Before I get to the obvious highlight of this episode (does Harry really still have a tendril up his nose?), let's look at some of the things that were set up last episode, and how/if they were resolved. Species 8472: Still pretty creepy, with the implication that they may know Voyager's plans via Kes (a nice parallel to the Borg being able to defeat the Federation fleet at Wolf 359 after assimilating Picard), and in a further Borg parallel, what I thought was something of an implication--via the facts that none of S8472 are named, the ships are not necessarily biologically distinct from the individuals, and the nature of fluidic space--that S8472 may be a single super-organism with seeming individual organisms and ships being the equivalent of red and white blood cells; that it may be the only thing in its universe. (Sadly, the events of S8472's last appearance, in the next season, don't seem to bear that out.) The Borg: Still kind of jerks who can't be trusted, even as they face extinction. Janeway WRT her trusting her second in command: Still kind of problematic. She was right regarding keeping the alliance with the Borg going for as long as it took them to deal with S8472, but it seemed that she started jumping on Chakotay's case before she had all the facts (unless they were on the PADD that she was holding in sickbay, in which case she didn't acknowledge that). Comparing again with "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", in which the fact that Riker's taking actions that Picard couldn't predict actually helps save the day, Janeway seems positively horrified that her XO did the same, based on his understanding of the situation and personal experiences. This has all sorts of unfortunate implications, including the unresolved question of whether it's specifically Chakotay who she doesn't fully trust or whether she'd trust anyone to take over if they weren't going to do exactly what she would do, and I don't think that they really get into this question again until "Equinox, Part II" a full two seasons from now.

But let's talk about the newest crew member and how her introduction went. (I'll just pause briefly to say that, while I don't mind that Ryan got put in the title credits, I thought that it was pretty tacky, not to mention a bit spoilery, that Jennifer Lien got demoted even before she left the show.) Of course, we know that eventually Seven is going to end up strongly fanservicey, and there's a bit in the MA entry about how Ryan started to get negative feedback about that even before she was introduced on the show, and Beltran had to reassure a con audience, and so forth. But her appearance here is much more in the mode of a typical drone (and according to the link above, some people had a problem with that), much more so than the Borg Queen in First Contact, and I think that it may be because I first saw Ryan in publicity stills looking more like how Seven would look throughout the rest of the series, and then her first actual appearance was while she was completely Borged out, that it just really struck me how horrifying the assimilation process is. Of course, the Borg are typically presented as space zombies, but that in part is reinforced by the fact that most Borg don't speak. Picard is physically assimilated, but most of that seemed to be stick-on parts that were easily removed.
Seven's full-Borg form reminds me more of someone who's been very sick or very badly injured and is in the ICU with all kinds of tubes and gadgets plugged into them. The effect is furthered by her being bald, which in people who weren't already bald (such as Picard) is associated again with illness (such as chemotherapy patients) or serious head injury. Even after Seven is Barbified, we can remember that her metal implants aren't removed because they can't be and that her left eye is artificial.

The other thing about Seven's introduction is that I think that Ryan nails the character perfectly from the beginning. Again, it's worth comparing Seven in this episode to Picard/Locutus in TBoBWPII. (BTW, I'm aware that, besides Locutus and the Borg Queen, there's also the prior example of Hugh, a Borg who speaks as an individual and was disassimilated from the larger Collective; I've seen the "Descent" two-parter and am pretty sure that I watched "I, Borg" at some point, but I did so after I watched this VOY two-parter and it thus made less of an impact on me than it might have; anyone who saw the TNG episodes first may have a different reaction.) Locutus comes off as more flatly arrogant (insisting on referring to Riker as "Number One" even after Will pins on his captain's pip), although there is that one solitary tear trickling down his cheek as the Collective is sticking more implants on/in him, and his giving Data and the others the clue to the cube's defeat. Seven likewise displays a bit of arrogance, especially in her little this-is-why-you're-hosed speech as quoted above, but what I get from her for much of this episode isn't contempt so much as real anger; Ryan's glare is fierce. And, if you subscribe to the psychological theory that anger is often a cover-up emotion for something else, then there's something else there; I'd propose that it's fear of being around unassimilated humans and being reminded of not only her own assimilation but also the loss of her parents. There's another psychological theory that states that, often, abused children stop growing emotionally at the age that the abuse started; I used to think that the secret meaning of "Seven" was that that was the age at which she was assimilated, but reading her character bio, it says in "The Raven" that she was assimilated on her sixth birthday. We'll see in upcoming episodes how she deals with disassimilation, and it would probably be worth discussing more next episode, as she wants to be returned to the Collective and Janeway refuses to do so, how that seems to be in conflict with Federation ethics. For now, it makes sense that her link to the Collective is broken, and it's a nice call-back to "Unity" that Chakotay is the one to do it.

Poster's Log, Supplemental: Thinking about the full-Borg Seven leads me to consider different ways that there could have been some better continuity with the original version of the character than the high-heeled catsuit. Here's one fan redesign, and here's another. I also think that they could have gone with a somewhat degadgeted version of the Borg "wetsuit" and had her hair grow out over the coming seasons until it reached its full length, but that would have gone contrary to the whole episode-interchangeability thing that they'd already established.
posted by Halloween Jack (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I haven't watched part II again yet, but this...

Brannon Braga was watching a televised promotion for that episode when he had the original thought that would ultimately develop into the regular character of Seven of Nine, first introduced here. At the same time, he concluded that the Borg should be featured again on Voyager but more prominently than in that Season 3 episode (a conclusion that would inspire him to write this episode's two-parter).

just reminds me of how untrustworthy the alleged events behind the scenes are.

There is simply no way that they weren't already planning on bringing the Borg back for more after the Unity episode. That simply doesn't make any sense at all. They wouldn't have even introduced them had they not planned to make them a significant part of the next season, and especially not in the way they did, as a cliffhanger first suggesting they are entering Borg space. As to the Seven of Nine bit, maybe that sparked some specific idea about that character, but even then I strongly suspect there was already plans made for ditching some cast members and bringing in a Borg, which is why the Unity episode exists as it does, highlighting the human side of the Borg.

This isn't the first time I've questioned the "official story" and maybe I'm wrong, but there is a lot of claims that seem more like a revisionist history than what fits what's seen in the episodes.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:22 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Particle of the Week: And this week, it's Borg nanoprobes. (IIRC, that will be a theme going forward.)
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: The most Star Trek Online thing in the world is using items repurposed from antagonistic non-Federation species, which Voyager does this week - the assimilated look of the ship used to be popular, and Liberated Borg Bridge Officers are directly available in the cash shop, (fanservice catsuit sold separately). Personally, I use villain stuff as much as possible, though I'm more about the Romulans than the Borg.

Also, the bio-molecular warheads used in this episode are available in-game via a variety of means, most notably the 8472 task force reputation. They're not that good though - as an avid torpedo enthusiast, I removed them from my ship even when fighting 8472 specifically.

Ongoing Counts: Inaccurate on the part of the writers.
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: So my count for the most possible torpedoes at the start of the episode was 22, but Seven claims the numbers is 32 before they fight. During the battle, they modify 13 torpedoes, but I only saw them fire 5, so I guess the best possible count going forward is 17.
* Shuttles: Down 4.
* Crew: 143, since this is in that narrow window where both Seven and Kes are onboard. (It might be argued Seven doesn't count yet, but she's in the credits. Also, I counted Naomi Wildman from birth, and Seven was more helpful than that already.)
* Other: 46 bio-neural gelpacks remaining, maybe 25-50% of the escape pods should be gone at this point.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 8.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful. Still only met with discussion in this episode.

Notes:
* Scale is a problem here.

I meant to talk about this last week and it slipped my mind - proof this is a good story, because I was entertained enough not to nitpick everything. It was a little more jarring this week though - last time, the Borg were knocking Voyager out of warp via subspace turbulence that occurred literally light years away. This week, the largest warhead Voyager puts together should have a 5 light year dispersal radius. That's... well, I feel about that the way I do every time anyone references a number of any kind on Game of Thrones.

* Surprising no one, the Borg started this, (and probably via doing research).

So, the Borg deliberately encroached on fluidic space in search of Species 8472, with the specific goal of assimilating them because 8472 is 'perfect.' It's unclear exactly how they found out about fluidic space, but it looks like - bare minimum - they decided to pursue this line of research themselves once they were clued in by someone else, in contrast with the earlier incorrect assertion that they... well, don't do that sort of thing.

We've already talked about that, though. Something more interesting about this: they consider 8472 to be the apex of biological life, and that totally tracks with how the new, post-First Contact Borg work. See, the Borg incorporate the best of whatever they encounter into their Collective: tech, life forms, whatever in the pursuit of perfection.

8472 is the logical endpoint of their philosophy, were it successful: an entire universe that's just them. No one and nothing else even exists there, only a single race with a single purpose. It's unclear whether 8472 accomplished this themselves, or if their weird Lovecraftian horror realm was always like that, but it doesn't really matter - at the end of the day, they really are exactly what the Borg aspire to be, and it's baked into their entire concept rather than just their magic DNA.

So that's thematically pretty cool: the Borg picked a fight with a race on the exact same tech tree/game ending they're after, but further on the track. Them losing actually makes a lot more sense in retrospect from a dramatic standpoint.

* Not a fan of how Janeway is written here.

This is also an extension of last week's discussion: Janeway taking things too personally. I like Jack's discussion of it in the post very well: This has all sorts of unfortunate implications, including the unresolved question of whether it's specifically Chakotay who she doesn't fully trust or whether she'd trust anyone to take over if they weren't going to do exactly what she would do.

Star Trek is competence porn. That's part of the whole deal, even on the grittier DS9: when we watch Star Trek, whatever crew we're watching is unusually capable and from an unusually capable faction. Indeed, this is even lampshaded in-universe a few times. My favorite's in DS9's Rocks and Shoals:
Sisko: Why are you doing this?
Keevan: That... that's a communications system. It needs repair but I'm willing to bet that you've brought one of those famed Starfleet engineers who can turn rocks into replicators. He should have more success repairing it, than a Jem'Hadar suffering from withdrawal.
People on Star Trek are still basically people, but everyone's got a degree, everyone's accomplished. Poor Harry Kim, Tortured Everyman of Voyager, is capable enough that in an alternate timeline he designed the Yellowstone Runabout. Benjamin Sisko didn't just captain the Defiant, he helped design her.

Up until now, every captain we've had has been the best suited to lead on a given ship:
- Kirk: Spock is smarter, but Kirk/Spock/Bones are a classic Superego/Ego/Id trio, with Kirk as the balancing element between emotion and logic.
- Picard: Picard is flatly older and wiser than his crew.
- Sisko: He's depicted as having a number of issues, (the pilot opens with him holding a grudge against Picard), and Dax obviously has centuries more life experience. All the same, she's new in her Jadzia incarnation when things start, and Sisko rapidly grows into a good leader.

Janeway... honestly, she gets short shrift here, and I think it is about unconscious sexism. Her judgment here is questionable, and that's a more frequent theme on Voyager than on other shows. Scorpion II is a particularly egregious example, (though obviously not as bad as Equinox), and Jack's comparison to TBOBW is apt. This is like Picard and Riker, except that Janeway is making this about herself. Moreover, Janeway doesn't have a confidante on the crew: Kirk has Spock and Bones as BFFs, Picard has Guinan (and listens to everyone else), Sisko's got Dax (and later everybody).

Janeway ends up going to holocharacters mostly. I feel like there are a lot of missed opportunities here, and her relationship with Chakotay is one of them - making it about Ambiguous Bathtub Planet Shenanigans versus them learning to really trust each other, (the way Sisko and Kira did in particular), is a disappointment I have with the show overall.

* I like Seven.

Being a Borg drone is a violation of mind and body. TNG spent an unusual amount of time on this with Picard: he was clearly deeply affected by his brief time as Locutus. He still has nightmares by First Contact, and he's not objective about them generally.

Seven's clearly dealing with this too. I like Jack's discussion in particular, where her anger and Borg pride are clearly her coping mechanism: she's spent most of her life as a drone, and sublimated trauma about it by embracing her new existence in a way we don't normally see in the Borg. I also like the whole 'Prussian general' thing - she comes across a bit like Worf, clinging to an ideal set of beliefs to stay moored, and that's a thing with her from here on out.

I should probably come back in a bit when I have a little more time, but those were the big initial thoughts I had about this episode.
posted by mordax at 12:50 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Oh, and d'oh, meant to agree, gus:

This isn't the first time I've questioned the "official story" and maybe I'm wrong, but there is a lot of claims that seem more like a revisionist history than what fits what's seen in the episodes.

I think so too, yes.
posted by mordax at 12:57 PM on August 28


Regarding the backstory of Seven's genesis:
Brannon Braga was watching a televised promotion for that episode when he had the original thought that would ultimately develop into the regular character of Seven of Nine, first introduced here. At the same time, he concluded that the Borg should be featured again on Voyager but more prominently than in that Season 3 episode (a conclusion that would inspire him to write this episode's two-parter).

This is expanded upon on the Seven of Nine page; here are the major details:

The concept of Seven of Nine began while Brannon Braga was sitting at home, late one night, and saw a televised promotion for the Borg-centric third season installment "Unity". The idea of having a Borg crewman aboard the starship Voyager – a notion that instantly appealed to Braga – occurred to him as he was watching the advertisement. He then brought the character concept to the attention of fellow writer Joe Menosky. Braga later remembered, "I called Joe Menosky, and pitched this idea, and he thought it was a great idea. And then we talked about it and all the things.... 'What would that mean, to have a Borg character?' It would be really cool." After Menosky approved of the concept, Braga called Executive Producer Rick Berman. "It was late, but I was so excited [....] He really liked the idea but he had the stroke of genius, 'Make it a Borg babe,'" said Braga. "And we just talked about it, for a couple hours, and we just thought, 'This is a really cool idea. This could be really... just the thing we need.'"

TL;DR: let's have a Borg babe. And elsewhere on MA, it's said that (A) the network didn't want to add a character unless one was lost, out of fear of too many characters, and (B) it was going to be Garrett Wang who got axed until People named him one of the Sexiest People Alive, at which point they switched to Kes. (More on that next time, of course.)

8472 is the logical endpoint of their philosophy, were it successful: an entire universe that's just them. No one and nothing else even exists there, only a single race with a single purpose. It's unclear whether 8472 accomplished this themselves, or if their weird Lovecraftian horror realm was always like that, but it doesn't really matter - at the end of the day, they really are exactly what the Borg aspire to be, and it's baked into their entire concept rather than just their magic DNA.

So that's thematically pretty cool: the Borg picked a fight with a race on the exact same tech tree/game ending they're after, but further on the track. Them losing actually makes a lot more sense in retrospect from a dramatic standpoint.


That's a super-cool point, Mordax, and I'd never really considered it in exactly that way.

Sisko: He's depicted as having a number of issues, (the pilot opens with him holding a grudge against Picard), and Dax obviously has centuries more life experience. All the same, she's new in her Jadzia incarnation when things start, and Sisko rapidly grows into a good leader.

Welllll, I'd say he's depicted as a GOOD leader in the pilot, but he definitely becomes a BETTER leader as things proceed; his character "arc" in the pilot is more about his personal spirituality and life coping skills. But yes, competence porn, absolutely. Which may be another part of why there's a lot of fan hating on Janeway: that she is perceived, accurately or not, fairly or not (and no doubt on the basis of fanboy sexism in many cases), as not competent enough to be a Trek captain.

Anyway, this episode is a bit less badass and fast-paced than the first one, and it suffers from foreknowledge of the whole Seven/Kes swap, but it is entertaining and thrilling enough to allow for some suspension of disbelief/criticism/irritation, for a time anyway. And the core idea of adding a Borg to the crew has definite merit, and does pay dramatic dividends. I must say, though, that the attention the camera pays to Seven's body in the final moments of this episode and the next one is absolutely offensive. One wonders whether the viewers they gained from adding Seven outnumbered the viewers that got turned off by the blatant prurience. (And look, I'm no prude, but c'mon.)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:19 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


the network didn't want to add a character unless one was lost, out of fear of too many characters

That still kind of boggles my mind; then again, so does the revelation that Terry Farrell was kicked off of DS9 because she wanted time off during the last season to work on other things, the same way that Colm Meaney had done for most of the show. Inside baseball stuff like this isn't always fun to know.

One wonders whether the viewers they gained from adding Seven outnumbered the viewers that got turned off by the blatant prurience. (And look, I'm no prude, but c'mon.)

UPN was desperate to get the young male demographic watching its programming. That they might end up alienating a big chunk of Trek fandom, which has always seemed to skew female more so than a lot of other SF franchises, doesn't seem to have either occurred to or bothered them.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:04 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Just popping in to remind the universe that without Seven of Nine, we might not have gotten President Obama.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:54 PM on August 29


roger ackroyd, that theory supposes that Jack Ryan would have won otherwise; it's unlikely, as Ryan was a novice politician who'd made a bundle at Goldman Sachs and quit a few years earlier to teach at a school in Bronzeville in a patently transparent attempt to pretend that he cared about black people. Here's an example of the kind of ad that he ran. By all accounts, he didn't have a fraction of Obama's charisma, and he's not tried to run for anything since.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:37 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


So, this definitely counts as a "meeting cute" for Chakotay and Seven right? So sweet.

This is another good episode in the sense of it being fairly compelling storytelling, but not so great on the what of the story when it comes to Janeway in particular. I just can't see her criticizing Chakotay's decision to alter their relationship with the Borg rather than turn around and head further back into Borg space while Species 8472 is aware of their mission to some unknown extent. They have no defenses against Species 8472 and the Borg wouldn't be around to assist them, so the plan holds zero reasonable benefit for them at that point. I have some doubts Janeway would have gone for the drop them off on the closest planet route, that doesn't seem her usual method, but the rest is completely sensible.

Decision aside, the interactions between Janeway and Chakotay still didn't bother me, even as it is more personal than strictly professional, and that, for me, doesn't reflect badly on either of them. The resolution where they come back together then is satisfying enough in premise, though the split over the decision obviously colors that. Also, the whole Janeway's neural pathworks are soooo messed up the doc needs to put her in a coma, but first let her have a completely coherent conversation bit wasn't all that satisfactory, making the whole thing feel a bit contrived just to get her out of the way for awhile so Chakotay can make a "big decision" that causes unnecessary tension. Oh well, story contrivance is a thing hard to avoid in these sorts of shows.

I really liked mordax's comment on the similarities between Species 8472 and the Borg, one completely organic and one that presents as mostly machine makes the similarities in attitude even more compelling along those lines. And Jack's earlier thoughts on the effects of assimilation as well. It'll be interesting to follow those thoughts some as she develops with the show.

Not thrilled with the ease of taking over the Voyager computer system, yet again, and more than a bit curious on how they see the doctor at this point, where encrypting the info in his "holomatrix" seems to represent something different in their minds than it being a part of the computer system in a way difficult to fathom, but the nature of the doctor is always more than a little vague, which is makes parsing his dilemmas a bit of a challenge.

As to Cheeses expanded Unity quote, yeah, that works better, but it still seems like they are leaving out some info on Lien/Kes in particular. Once they put her in a Seven suit, something obviously was up regarding demands to sexy the show up. The very nature of Kes' aging process tells me the suits weren't going to be happy with her getting older as that goes against the sexy and adding Seven without dumping Kes seems highly unlikely since that would make the show woman heavy, something I think they wouldn't be keen on given the usual attitudes towards such things. I don't doubt they had some reservations about Harry, that seems a pretty usual thing for networks also, but I have to believe they had virtually settled on the decision to ditch Kes earlier than they suggest. I accept though that if that is the case, there may be good reason for not being forthright about it given the possible sensitivity of the relationships between the writers/producers and the networks. Network execs, from what I'm given to understand, can be blunt assholes, so the conversations may not have been pretty however it went down.

I didn't think the end shot of Seven was particularly leering, though that will certainly come, it seemed more to be following a horror trope of looking at the creature in worry over what they might have. It wouldn't have surprised, for example, had Seven opened her eyes, well, eye, at the very end as a predictable "shock" moment all too familiar to horror/thriller storytelling. As it is though it seemed more a way to get the audience wondering about what Voyager got itself into by keeping Seven. It also serves as a before shot to the bodysuit after look, something that I'm sure they also found, um, interesting.

Actually, while there are certainly problems with how Seven is shot on many, many occasions, I'm not entirely opposed to her outfit as it does have some resonance with her character's attitude and adds an interesting dynamic to the show, but one inconsistently followed up, but that discussion can wait to see how it works on a second watch. Seven is an interesting addition to the show and brings along a mix of changes that are often quite good, but sometimes not so welcome.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:44 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, it's really too bad Tom Paris didn't take to watching better movies from Earth's past, since this situation was ripe for a Yojimbo solution, or for going A Fistful of Nanoprobes route.

That is, of course, the way Kirk would have played it if the A Piece of the Action episode is any indication.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:04 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


That still kind of boggles my mind

Well, the suits may well have been arbitrarily rigid about the number of main cast members. DS9 in its prime had about eight and a half leads (Sisko, Kira, O'Brien, either Dax, Odo, Worf, Bashir, Quark, and sometimes Jake), and in the early seasons one fewer. Adding Seven without subtracting would have made it ten (because it was three…wait, dammit, no): Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Torres, the Doctor, Paris, Harry, Neelix, Kes, and Seven. While I doubt it would have hurt the show in any way to have ten, it may have been tricky from the perspective of (A) paying the actors and (B) giving the actors enough screen time to keep them from growing disgruntled.

it still seems like they are leaving out some info on Lien/Kes in particular. Once they put her in a Seven suit, something obviously was up regarding demands to sexy the show up. The very nature of Kes' aging process tells me the suits weren't going to be happy with her getting older as that goes against the sexy and adding Seven without dumping Kes seems highly unlikely since that would make the show woman heavy, something I think they wouldn't be keen on given the usual attitudes towards such things. I don't doubt they had some reservations about Harry, that seems a pretty usual thing for networks also, but I have to believe they had virtually settled on the decision to ditch Kes earlier than they suggest.

Yeah, my suspicion is that a big part of the ulterior motive that you smell may have involved their stated difficulty in coming up with Kes stories. AFAIK they had no similar difficulty coming up with Harry stories, and you'd think his everyman status would make doing so pretty straightforward.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:52 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


"When your captain first approached us, we suspected that an agreement with Humans would prove impossible to maintain. You are erratic, conflicted, disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned, every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony; cohesion; greatness. It will be your undoing."

This is my favourite bit of dialogue from Voyager and it gave me a (soon-dashed) hope that we had a fundamentally different character on the show. Each series had had one character (or more) who was the nonhuman point of view, commenting on human foibles while often aspiring to be human: Spock, Data, Odo, the EMH, and to a lesser extent Worf. Here at last, I thought, was a character who really didn't want to be human and was straightforward about it (although I suppose we had a bit of that with Quark). It did not last all that long.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:38 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


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