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Janeway lays the smack down on the Queen of the Borg. Seven reunites with an old flame as Club Drone burns.
Jump straight to the Analysis
[NOTE: This review is under construction.]
Narrator Last time on Star Trek: Voyager:
Borg Queen Two more of the mutations has been discovered in spatial grid 649.
Borg Queen Have their cortical nodes removed and analyzed.
Seven of Nine I'm regenerating. This is only a dream.
Axum You're not dreaming. I brought you here. This is Unimatrix zero.
Axum You used to come here before you escaped the Collective.
Seven of Nine Unimatrix zero is real and so are the people who go there. They need our help.
Borg Queen If we can't terminate their link...Then we'll simply have to pay them a visit.
Drone ( screaming )
Janeway The people there are vulnerable. They don't have the ability to take action in the real world. We're going to give them that ability.
Borg Queen Tend to your own crew. Stay away from things that don't concern you.
Janeway I'm afraid I can't do that.
Seven of Nine We were more than friends weren't we?
Janeway: this is our target. You'll keep a transporter lock on me. Once I make it to the central plexus and release the virus, you can beam me back.
Doctor In how many pieces?
Borg Queen Captain...I expected something more cunning from you.
Doctor Their life signs are destabilizing.
Narrator And now the conclusion.
(Tuvok, now a drone, sees things in DroneVision. He finds Torres)
Torres I'm all right.
Tuvok You've been given a subvocal processor.
Torres I can live with it. The Captain?
Tuvok We were separated. I don't know where they took her. We must proceed to the central plexus.
(elsewhere on the same cube)
A large rod is inserted into the skull of Janeway of Borg. She accepts the modification with a blank expression.
* * *
( Voyager's Bridge)
Paris 17 minutes. We should have heard something by now.
Doctor Their higher brain functions are stable.
( beeping )
Kim Cube changing course. New heading, 121 mark 6.
Paris Matching course and speed.
(Bridge, a while later)
Seven: the damage to their propulsion system is regenerating. They'll be capable of transwarp in less than two hours.
Chakotay I want you inside Unimatrix zero. When the virus is released your friends there will be the first to know.
Seven of Nine No...But I wouldn't call them my 'friends.'
Chakotay Acquaintances then. If you're having issues with these people I suggest you set them aside.
Seven of Nine Understood.
Cargo Bay 2
Seven walks into her alcove and begins regeneration sequence
Korok Tell your hunters to patrol the northeastern perimeter. More drones were spotted there.
Seven of Nine appears
Korok Where's that virus you promised?
Seven of Nine Captain Janeway's deploying it now.
Korok Good. The Borg have increased their attacks here. They're identifying us one by one. If you're looking for your mate he is not here.
Seven of Nine He's not my mate. He must not be regenerating.
Korok That or he's dead. He should have been here hours ago. No one's seen him. (more kindly) If he died in battle I'm sure it was honorable. Here, help me. (they pick up what looks like a tree stump)
Korok It's obvious your heart is in conflict.
Seven of Nine (irritably) My heart is functioning perfectly.
Korok Some advice from a warrior in the bedchamber as well as the battlefield. At times like these you must treat your heart as the enemy so you won't be distracted in battle.
Seven of Nine I'll keep that in mind.
Seven of Nine Has the virus been deployed?
Male I'm not sure.
Seven of Nine Do you remember anything? Your location? What ship you're on?
Male No, nothing.
Torres The central plexus is through here.
They pass through shields. It's good to be a drone.
Torres Those must be the shield emitters that Seven told us about.
They pass through more.
Torres We need to get through that hatch.
Tuvok I'll attempt to deactivate him. (about to invoke Vulcan nerve pinch--but it's Janeway, and she shrugs away in time)
Janeway What's left of her. How are you holding up?
Janeway I can't access the plexus without shutting down the power grid for this section. That's bound to draw attention. Is there another way in?
Torres The primary access port. I think it's isolated from the main power grid.
Janeway Where is it?
Torres About 30 meters from here.
Janeway: let's take a look.
Tuvok is distracted
Tuvok (returning to himself) I can hear the Collective.
Janeway The neural suppressant must be wearing off.
Tuvok I'll be all right.
Borg Queen I heard him... The vulcan... But he's gone. Why? Why can't I hear the others?
* * *
Drones, on a mission from the Queen, seek out the 'defective' drones. One gets caught in the hunter drones' sites. It pursues. It trips a booby trap, and a log smashes into its chest. The drone goes down, and disappears.
Another gets caught in a net, but doesn't disappear. Axum and another rebel drone investigate.
It's Seven of Nine.
Axum smiles. Leave this one to me.
Axum (amused) Comfortable?
Seven of Nine Release me.
Axum Easier said than done. I think I designed this trap a little too well. What are you doing out here?
Seven of Nine Looking for you. (he looks at her) Korok was concerned.
Axum (smiling) That doesn't sound like Korok.
Seven of Nine He said you were missing.
Axum As you can see, I've been busy setting traps.
Seven of Nine Not the most sophisticated technology.
Axum Seems to work. Hold on. (he cuts her free of the net)
Seven of Nine I should return to the camp; wait for word on the virus.
Axum I'll go with you . . . in case you run into any more trouble.
Seven of Nine As you wish.
Axum I'm sure Korok will be glad to see me. (she ignores the gibe; he grins mischievously)
Power cube. Janeway and Torres work. Tuvok, standing guard, gets distracted by a voice.
Borg queen: Tuvok... Where are you, Tuvok?
Tuvok Stardate 38774... Vulcanis lunar colony. The time and place of my birth. Recalling the details of my life helps me remain focused. Captain, if I succumb to the Collective I'll pose a security risk. You must be prepared to deactivate me.
Janeway (maternally) Without the Doctor's help, that could kill you. Stay focused. Stay Tuvok. That's an order.
Torres Captain, I've bypassed the access codes.
Torres works her magic. A door opens.
Torres Welcome to the central plexus.
Borg Queen Tuvok...Where are you, Tuvok?
Tuvok tries to remain Tuvok.
Voyager, captain's ready room
Chakotay What's on your mind?
Paris The away team. The plan was to give them two hours. It's been 2½.
Chakotay The Doctor's keeping an eye on them. We'll give it a little more time. Unfortunately, not everything goes according to plan.
Paris You know, it occurs to me that, with you in command and Tuvok off the ship that makes me acting first officer--technically speaking.
Chakotay (sighing) What's your point?
Paris Well, it's my duty to give you an opinion and in my opinion I think we should pull them out now before it's too late.
Chakotay I appreciate your diligence...But I've made my decision. We wait.
Paris (shakes head impatiently) How long? A day? A week?
Chakotay As long as it takes to complete the mission.
Paris This mission isn't worth their lives.
Chakotay You've made your point.
Paris (rising to leave, muttering) Apparently not.
Chakotay A first officer could get in a lot of trouble for talking to his Captain that way.
Paris I've learned from the best.
Chakotay I appreciate your concerns, Tom, but I need your support on this.
Paris (mollified) Aye, sir.
Janeway opens the hatch to the central plexus
Janeway Download the virus.
Torres assimilates it.
Borg queen: Tuvok...
Tuvok My daughter's name is asil. She was born
Tuvok and Borg queen: in the city of t'paal.
Borg Queen We share your memories. You are part of us now. Don't resist.
( alarm beeping )
Doctor There's a problem with Commander Tuvok. His synaptic pathways are destabilizing.
Chakotay If I decide to move in closer I assume my first officer would concur.
Paris You assume correctly. (ship goes to warp)
Janeway We have to get out of this chamber and contact Voyager.
Tuvok blocks the way
Janeway You're Commander Tuvok tactical officer of the Starship Voyager. I'm your Captain. Step aside. That's an order.
Borg Queen She's irrelevant.
Tuvok Captain, you must deactivate me.
Janeway tries. She gets shocked.
Tuvok My designation is three of 12.
Borg Queen Where are you, Tuvok?
Borg Queen pulls thoughts from Tuvok's head. The central plexus.
Drones converge. Janewya and Torres flee.
Paris Range: 40,000 kilometers.
Kim Too much shielding around the central plexus. I can't get a lock.
Chakotay Stay on it. (to Paris) Closer.
Torres This way.
Tuvok intercepts. Whups Torres' butt. Other drones surround Jneway and drag her off.
Borg Queen sees Voyager.
Borg Queen Back so soon?
Chakotay Target their shield generators. Stand by phasers.
.Chakotay: shields to full. Brace for impact.
Kim: someone's accessing our tactical controls. Our shields are down!
Chakotay Evasive maneuvers.
Doctor Sensors are off-line! I've lost the away team!
Kim Hull breaches--decks five, six, Seven!
Chakotay Reverse course.
Paris We can't just leave them.
Chakotay The Borg have our access codes. Get us out of here.
Borg Queen (satisfied--in the universe, all is as it should be) Thank you, Tuvok.
Borg Queen (concerned--maybe not everything) I'm losing voices. Five in spatial grid 96. 12 in grid 182. Hundreds now...Thousands.
Borg Queen notices another voice lost. She whirls around and sees a drone in her own room who doesn't pay attention to her, who's looking around like it's HIS idea rather than hers to do so.
Borg queen: I can't hear you. Why can't I hear you?
Borg Queen You've disconnected from the hive mind. Explain.
Drone looks at her with naked contempt
Borg Queen Comply.
Drone (angrily) No! (attacks queen, but gets stopped by forcefield, and is captured immediately by still-compliant drones)
Drone I'm not alone. You can't stop us all! (is dragged away)
Queen doesn't like this development at all.
* * *
Janeway is locked into an alcove against her will by Tuvok and another drone. She is scanned.
Borg queen: I altered the transmission to restore your original appearance. I know now vain humans can be.
Janeway Why am I here?
Borg Queen You've caused a great deal of suffering. I wanted you to see for yourself. You are the cause of his death, Captain. (points to rebel drone) You disconnected him from the hive mind.
Janeway You didn't have to kill him.
Borg Queen He was confused, irrational. I had no choice. Many more will die unless you tell me how to counteract the virus.
Janeway Sorry, we didn't think to develop an antidote.
Borg Queen I'll assimilate Voyager, then. Your Doctor created the pathogen. He can find a cure.
Janeway My first officer has orders to delete the Doctor's program if you go anywhere near Voyager. The resistance is already underway. It won't be long before thousands of drones begin to fight back.
Borg Queen They will fail.
Janeway Maybe...Probably...But a lot of damage will be done before they do.
Borg Queen Yes, a lot of damage.
(she calls up a visual)
Borg Queen Spatial grid 94, cube 630. Complement: 64,000 drones but I can no longer hear three of them. No doubt they've joined your resistance. Are they trying to sabotage the vessel and liberate others? I don't know . . . because I can no longer hear them.
Borg Queen Initiate self-destruct. (cube goes boom)
Borg Queen An effective solution, don't you agree?
Borg Queen Spatial grid 091, sphere 878. Complement: 11,000 drones. Only one is silent--but I have no choice. I must silence all of them. (BOOM)
Janeway is somber.
Borg Queen I know how this must upset you, Captain. As a Starfleet officer, you value all life--even drones. How many more are you willing to sacrifice? Thousands? Millions?
Janeway delivers the People's Eyebrow.
Borg Queen You can put an end to this. I want you to go on a diplomatic mission. It's one of your primary functions, isn't it? Negotiations?
Janeway Go on.
Borg Queen Tell them to rejoin the Collective, and I'll stop the destruction.
Janeway They will never agree to that.
Borg Queen They're individuals now. They have a choice. What are you afraid of, Captain? That they may cooperate? You've been waiting for a chance to damage the Borg. Now you've found one. You're only using them.
Janeway If you really wanted to negotiate, you'd visit Unimatrix zero. You found a way to send drones. Surely, you could go yourself. Or are you afraid that a taste of individuality might make you realize it is something worth fighting for?
Borg Queen (irritably) calls up another visual of a Cube.
Borg Queen Comply or you will be responsible for many more deaths.
Janeway You'll have to destroy the entire Collective to find them all.
Voyager (in flames)
Seven of Nine Several drones have reported that they retained their memories of Unimatrix Zero after their regeneration ended. The virus has been deployed.
Chakotay Good. We're going to need all the help we can get. The away team's still trapped on that cube.
Kim And as you may have noticed we're in no shape to mount a rescue.
Paris Can you get back in find out if they have anybody else aboard this cube?
Chakotay If they do, tell them to hurry. They're the only allies we've got.
Doctor I'd like to make a few adjustments to your alcove before you return. (they hit the turbolift)
Cargo Bay 2
Doctor When this crisis ends I'll come up with a more permanent solution so you can spend more time in Unimatrix zero. You're in a unique position. Not many of us get to lead a double life.
Seven of Nine When this crisis ends I intend to sever my link to Unimatrix zero.
Doctor May I ask why?
Seven of Nine I'm having difficulties with one of the people there.
Doctor Mr. Axum? (seven refuses to answer) Whenever you mention his name your pupils dilate by nearly a millimeter blood flow increases to your facial capillaries. Both are consistent with an emotional response.
Seven of Nine (embarrassed) Axum and I apparently had a relationship.
Doctor Oh. Romantic?
Seven refuses to answer
Doctor There go those pupils again.
Seven of Nine Your diagnosis is accurate.
Doctor (bravely) Well...How ironic. (turns around, back to her to hide his own emotions) All this time, we've been trying to develop that aspect of your humanity and it's been there all along.
Seven of Nine Not anymore.
Doctor My readings say otherwise. You're very particular about who you choose to spend time with, Seven. No doubt that's why you and I have become friends. (turns back to her) If you were involved with Axum once, doesn't that suggest he's a worthwhile individual?
Seven of Nine He does … possess … commendable qualities.
Doctor Coming from you that's high praise. There's nothing wrong with feeling ambivalent, Seven. After all, you're in the middle of a civil war. But eventually you may want to give this romance a second chance. Who knows? You may even get to meet him in person someday.
Doctor completes modifications to alcove. She steps in.
Doctor I'll say this for your Mr. Axum: he's a very lucky man. (smiles)
Seven of Nine acknowledges, and slips into regeneration mode. Doc looks at her with tight lips and a look of unrequited tumescence.
Axum: the Collective has found a new way to attack us. 11 ships have self-destructed in the last three hours.
Korok We need to coordinate a battle plan--a way to strike at the heart of the Collective.
Axum Our target should be the primary unicomplex. If we can disrupt the Queen's control of the hive mind it'll give us a chance to organize--build up a fighting force.
Seven of Nine There is one more objective: the Voyager away team.
Korok They fought like warriors. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Seven of Nine We can still rescue them.
Axum: she's right. They risked their lives for us. Now it's our turn.
Korok There's no time!
Axum It's a matter of honor, Korok! I thought you of all people would understand that.
Korok I'll see if any of our people are on a vessel near theirs. (leaves)
Seven of Nine Thank you.
Axum It's the least we can do.
Seven of Nine What's wrong?
Axum It turns out I'm on a scout ship patrolling the border of fluidic space--on the other side of the galaxy.
Seven of Nine I...was hoping we'd be able to meet, one day, in the real world.
Axum Me, too.
Axum There are things I can do where I am. I'll try to contact species 8472--see if I can persuade them to join the fight.
Seven of Nine Given their history with the Borg I'm sure they'll be eager.
Seven of Nine I guess this rules out Vorothon Gorge.
Seven of Nine It was at the top of our list of things to see in the real world if we were ever freed from the Collective. (hesitantly) Don't you remember?
Axum We could add fluidic space to our list. (they stop walking)
Axum We still have Unimatrix zero.
Seven of Nine (softly) It was sufficient before.
Axum And now?
Seven of Nine takes Axum's hand. They kiss. Tentatively at first, then with increasing intimacy.
* * *
Boy Where are you?
Another boy Over here.
(hide and seek--a game, not life or death)
boy runs into Borg Queen
Borg Queen Don't be frightened. Stand up; let me look at you.
Boy You're one of the machine people. You're trying to hurt us.
Borg Queen That's the last thing I want to do. I'm here to help you...All of you.
Borg Queen They said you want to assim...Assimi...
Borg Queen Assimilate you. Yes. But that's nothing to be afraid of. You like having friends, don't you?
Borg Queen Assimilation turns us all into friends. In fact, it brings us so close together we can hear each other's thoughts.
Boy Is that fun?
Bq Yes. It's fun.
She steps forward. Boy steps back.
Borg Queen I was just about your age when I was assimilated. I was worried then, too. But when I began to hear the others...Hear their thoughts...I wasn't afraid anymore.
boy Don't you miss your parents?
Borg Queen They're here with me...Part of us. I can hear them right now. (looks at boy) Would you like to be with your parents? They miss you. They want to see you.
Boy Can I talk to them?
Borg Queen Soon. But first... I'd like to see more of this.
Boy There's a place where you can see the whole forest.
Bq (extends hand) Show me.
boy and queen reach summit overlooking Unimatrix Zero Bay
boy It's pretty, isn't it?
Borg queen: I took your advice, Captain. I paid a visit to Unimatrix zero. It's far more primitive than I expected. I don't understand how anyone could prefer a crude environment to Borg perfection.
Janeway Spend a little more time there. You might find out.
Borg Queen I've seen enough. It's an illusion.
Janeway Even so the people who go there are real and they won't give it up without a fight.
Borg Queen They'll fail. (brings up image on screen) I thought you'd like to see our latest accomplishment. Recognize it?
Janeway (evenly) No.
Borg Queen I think you do. It's your nanovirus, with a few modifications. We reprogrammed it to target your mutated drones. Once it's released, it will erode their autonomic functions. They will die within minutes.
Janeway You have no way to deliver it. Those drones have been separated from the hive mind. They aren't linked to the central plexus anymore.
Borg Queen No. But there's another way I can reach them. I'm prepared to go back to Unimatrix Zero and release it myself. But I'm willing to reconsider. It all depends on you.
Borg Queen If they rejoin the Collective I'll spare their lives. They listen to you. Tell them it's time to come home. You were responsible for many deaths. Now you can save thousands. (this sinks in with Janeway)
Borg Queen Decide.
Chakotay Let's try this again. Ensign?
Kim The warp core is online, navigational array shields at 20%.
Neelix We've got sensors, short-range only.
Chakotay It's a start. (to Paris) Try to get a fix on the away team.
Something goes ZZZt.
Paris Now what?
Kim Someone's tapping into our holographic systems.
Kim It's a Borg signal.
(beep) Doctor to the bridge.
Chakotay Go ahead.
Doctor Someone's here to see you and Seven, Commander. You'd better come down here right away.
Sick bay. Seven and Chakotay appear.
Janeway The Borg have established this link so I could propose a compromise.
Chakotay We're listening.
Janeway They've developed a nanovirus that can kill every Borg with the mutation. They're prepared to release it inside Unimatrix zero unless all the drones there return to the Collective for reassimilation immediately.
Seven of Nine That's not compromise--that's surrender.
Janeway I won't be responsible for any more deaths. At least they'll survive as drones. Tell them Unimatrix zero can no longer exist. That's an order.
Chakotay is silent.
Janeway Have I made myself clear, Commander?
Chakotay Yes, Captain.
Doctor We did our best.
Chakotay It's not over yet, Doctor. (to seven) Can you disrupt the interlink frequency for Unimatrix zero?
Doctor Commander...The Captain gave us a direct order.
Chakotay Yes, she did, but not the one you think. Seven?
Seven of Nine I believe I can, but why?
Chakotay Didn't you hear? Unimatrix zero can no longer exist.
Chakotay to the bridge. Report.
Paris: a transwarp conduit just opened off our port bow.
On sceen--a sphere.
Kim: they're on an intercept course.
Paris Evasive maneuvers. (sits in captain's chair--as acting first officer and ranking officer on bridge, that's where he belongs. But who's driving?). Battle stations.
Neelix They're hailing us.
Paris Open a channel.
Starship Voyager. I am general Korok. This vessel is now under my command. We've come to join you in battle.
Paris rises, amazed by the new development. There's something you don't see every day…
* * *
Unimatrix One. Voyager is on screen.
Borg Queen Your crewmates are coming to retrieve you. You were wise to comply.
Janeway returns cold look.
Chakotay to Seven of Nine. We're almost in range.
Seven of Nine Stand by. I've isolated the frequency.
Chakotay Get Korok.
Korok Our emitters are fully charged.
Chakotay: you should be receiving the interlink frequency.
Korok: we have it.
Chakotay Wait for my signal.
Axum We have to end our regeneration cycles. We can't be here when it happens.
Woman Will there be anything left?
Axum: I know we're being asked to make a sacrifice but it's the only way.
Paris We're in range.
Chakotay Full power to the shields. All weapons online. Voyager to Korok. It's time.
Voyager and Sphere converge on Power Cube. They fire disruptor bursts at the PQ to disrupt UZ.
Axum You must go.
Seven of Nine Bridge, it's working. Unimatrix zero is shutting down.
Chakotay Acknowledged. Voyager to Korok. Now.
Borg Queen What are they doing?
Janeway You wanted to destroy Unimatrix zero. We're just lending you a hand.
Borg Queen Get me the virus.
Janeway You're too late. There's no one left to infect.
Borg Queen This is your compromise?
Janeway I don't compromise with Borg.
Queen reaches her hand out to throttle Janeway--but the captain is only a projection. They lock eyes. Janeway doesn't flinch.
Realizing the futility of the gesture, the queen clenches her fist, then drops her hand.
Korok Match their shield modulations and fire!
Sphere takes on the cube. Janeway's image begins to flicker in Unimatrix One
Torres gets tossed about as cube goes BOOM. She heads to a pylon and sees Voyager attacking.
Neelix I'm picking up the away team!
Kim: I'm isolating their bio-signatures.
Chakotay Get a lock.
Kim I still can't penetrate their inner shields.
Chakotay Voyager to Korok. Status?
Korok Patience, Commander. They're trying to remodulate their secondary shield grid. I'm trying to compensate.
Seven of Nine runs into her alcove and logs in.
Unimatrix Zero is burning.
Axum is the only one left.
Axum You shouldn't be here.
Seven of Nine Neither should you. (they embrace fiercely)
Seven of Nine I've wasted our time together.
Axum No, you didn't. It gave us a chance to fall in love again.
Seven of Nine We've lost our only way to be together.
Axum No. I'll find you.
Seven of Nine Axum...?
Axum I'll find you! (disappears)
Seven of Nine disappears
Tores stomps a drone and begins the effort to lower the shields.
Korok Shields in sub-grid 42 are destabilizing. Target that section!
Borg Queen (irked) Initiate self-destruct.
Power Cube begins to fry.
Paris Their shields are down.
Cube goes boom. Sphere and Voyager ride out the massive debris storm.
Chief medical officer's log, Stardate 54014.4. It's been 48 hours since the away team returned to Voyager thanks to the neural suppressant I've been able to extract most of their Borg technology. The Captain and B'Elanna are on the mend but Tuvok will need a little more time to recover.
Janeway - in bed in sickbay, drinking coffee and reading status reports. Naturally.
Seven of Nine (enters) General Korok is finished with his repairs. He's already been contacted by another Borg vessel in the region. It's also under the control of former drones.
Janeway (tries to sit up, then groans and falls back) The Doctor removed my spinal clamps but it'll be a while before I'm playing hoverball again. (grins weakly, wags finger) If I ever imply it's been easy on you these last few years remind me about today.
Seven of Nine (smiles slightly) Noted.
Janeway (reads from PADD) Well, Unimatrix Zero may be gone but it looks like the resistance is alive and kicking. With any luck, the Collective may never be the same.
Seven of Nine Korok said he would try to maintain contact; keep us informed.
Janeway Have you heard from your friend?
Seven of Nine No...But I don't expect to. Axum's vessel is in a remote sector of the beta quadrant.
Janeway nods sympathetically.
Seven of Nine (after a pause, shares a secret) If I ever imply that he was nothing more than a friend…remind me about today.
Momma Kate smiles big. Her little girl is growing up.
[Note from Jim: this analysis is still in progress. I expect to update it when I expand the summary.]
It's rare that a Trek two-parter finishes as well as it begins. This has been true for TNG and DS9 as well as Voyager. The setup is often wildly ambitious, but the second half rarely has enough time to do justice to it all. The result often feels like a shortcut.
"Unimatrix Zero," however, succeeds, at least in part because--despite the galactic import of the events--the plot revolves around individuals and the action and special effects are used to enhance the story, rather than replace it. The focus on character and interpersonal conflict/resolution is this episode's strength.
The Borg have been reinvented several times since their introduction. Some lament that the utter alienness of the Collective, which was completely disinterested in the people of Picard's Enterprise and who paid attention to the ship only as a source of raw material, has been reduced to a grudge match between Janeway and the Borg Queen, and that the assimilation of Picard--an event so traumatic to him that its repercussions echoed for years--has been trivialized by Janeway's bright idea of assimilation-as-infiltration, that being injected with nanoprobes and overhauled like a Camaro in Tom's holodeck garage is as reversible as a bad hairstyle. There is something to be said for this opinion.
But I must admit, the only way Voyager could possibly have survived the last three years was for the Borg's vulnerabilities to be exposed and exploited. And as First Contact showed, the introduction of the Queen as embodiment of the Collective need not reduce the threat level of the Borg--if done properly, it merely reinvents the nature of the threat. In this sense, "Unimatrix Zero" is superior to "Dark Frontier"--the Borg Queen, forced to react rather than act, displays more of her self, and the lengths to which she is willing to go to maintain absolute control. One voice lost on a ship of thousands? Initiate self-destruct. Brrrr. The sight of the Queen with the little boy was reminiscent of that memorable scene in Boris Karloff's FRANKENSTEIN--I got chills. The manner in which she presented her ultimata to Janeway also fostered a nicely dramatic sense of dread. Susanna Thompson's performance as the Queen was excellent--alien but all too familiar, seductive yet slimy, she was the ultimate Boss From Hell. ("Profits are up, but there are three whiteboard markers missing from Supply. I'm firing you all.")
Not to plug myself too shamelessly, but I recently completed my own take on a Borg resistance movement, a riff on "Scorpion" called The Best of Both Girls: a Janeway of Borg adventure. When "Unimatrix Zero" was announced, I was curious to see if any elements of my vision of a civil war within the Collective would make it to the small screen. Not that I had any concerns that I would be "ripped off"--I know how careful the writers and producers are about avoiding even the appearance of looking at ideas not submitted through official channels, and I wrote the story with no inclination to submit. I was just having fun. Even so, I did see some parallels, and I was pleased. Unimatrix Zero is both more ambitious, and less so. They don't make my beloved Auburn Queen the queen of the collective, but they do the next best thing--they toss her into a steel-cage (literally) grudge match with the current Queen, and provide a nice battle of wills between skilled adversaries. The Queen is no dummy, though her unwillingness to have even one drone not under her absolute control is her Achilles heel. Janeway, despite her stubbornness, has a soft spot for "innocent" lives. Seven of Nine, once she was identified as cute little Annika Hansen, became Janeway's latest crusade. And once she entered Unimatrix Zero, Janeway fought for them with all the fire within her.
The other relationships in this episode revolve around Seven of Nine. The most obvious is her relationship with Axum, the drone from the wrong side of the galaxy.
I was critical of the cliffhanger because I thought they gave away the ending--"so far so good" pretty much ruined the suspense that can carry fan speculation through a summer. Not that there couldn't be new plot twists--and there were--but I felt they'd erred in making the direction a little too obvious. However, having seen the second part, I see why they did it. They weren't trying to set us up for a huge surprise ("guess what? They're not really assimilated!"), which could have been a less effective use of precious screen time. That allowed them to skip ahead to the unexpected plot twits that WERE hard to predict. It may have been slightly frustrating as a cliffhanger, but when shown as a whole, a two-part movie--more common with two-parters these days--the decision makes good sense.
Call it (* * * 1/2) on a 4 star scale.
Next week: Seven of Nine's warranty expires at a very bad time.
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