The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Collective"

by David E. Sluss

20 February 2000

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: A half-baked episode, with a poorly-conceived and poorly-executed premise.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.0 (F)

MYSTERIES OF THE WEEK: Let's count 'em down, shall we?

5. What exactly was the Delta Fryer doing when it was intercepted by the Borg?

4. How did the Borg cube become so damaged externally? Barring a "Macrocosm"-type virus (which is best not to think about), a simple space bug can't have caused all of that. Strange that no one seemed especially interested.

3. What happened to the baby? She seemed to have been forgotten after the sickbay scene, but doesn't she need to regenerate like the other brats?

2. Why beam Seven alone to the cube, when the Borg are known to want Seven back, and to lay traps for Voyager for that very purpose (c.f. "Dark Frontier")?

And the Numero Uno Mystery of the week:

1. Why make this episode at all? Other than to finally have a reason for the extra regeneration chambers in Seven's cargo bay, does Voyager really need more ex-drones or more children? Normally, I'd applaud the non-hit of the reset button (well, no, I wouldn't; it's just not in my nature), but in this case, I'd have to say that this idea is so bad on its face that an ending in which the Borg punks are killed or re-assimilated would have been preferable. What Voyager as a show has gained here is not entirely clear. The baby and the twins aren't talking, apparently. The oldest kid is a chump (named at the end of the episode, appropriately, Achump, or something like that). Only the girl was interesting in this episode, but only when she was doing something malevolent like shocking Paris or stealing Kim's playing cards, which she is unlikely to do in the future. In any event, this whole episode seems to exude a lack of enthusiasm, as if Braga said "We need kids on Voyager and we need a Borg sweeps episode" and the sheep on the writing staff "complied," with minimal effort.

WIMP OF THE WEEK: After bragging of her superior strength last week in "Tsunkatse," Seven gets knocked to the ground like a damsel in distress by the Borg first, and stays there long enough to need protection from Achump, the second.

PIMP OF THE WEEK: Executive Producer Brannon Braga, now, sickeningly, Jeri Ryan's paramour, who gets Seven of Nine two -- ahem -- "front and center" episodes in a row during sweeps month.

ILLOGIC OF THE WEEK: I hate to rag Tuvok, who's lucky to get any dialog at all, but one of his lines seemed strikingly out of character. No, not his line about using the virus against the Borg, which, frankly, I agree with; Starfleet has been hemming and hawing for years, blowing opportunity after opportunity to neutralize the Borg, like in "Infinite Regress," or, most significantly, The Next Generation's "I, Borg." But I digress. The line that got me was his response to Janeway asking how long it had been since he lost contact with Kim; Tuvok replies, "Four or five minutes." Come on: a Vulcan not getting it right down to the second? What a crock...

MISSED OPPORTUNITY OF THE WEEK: It's not clear what happened to the cube in the end; you'd have to hope that Janeway wouldn't just leave it floating around. But did Voyager's crew attempt to salvage anything, like transwarp coils? A mention in Janeway's closing log entry might have been appropriate. I can accept that nothing functional was found on the cube, but I can't accept that no one even looked, not when Janeway was willing to steal tech from a populated cube in "Dark Frontier."

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: All of the Borg cube's devices are failing and/or being used incorrectly by the brats, except for the masking gizmo that hides the cube from the Delta Fryer until the shocking "Borg cube through the windshield scene" in the teaser can be completed. Any reason why that device isn't standard issue on all Borg cubes?

CONTINUITY OF THE WEEK: The Girl Borg, we are told, is a Norcadian, from a binary star system. Why, just last week, in "Tsunkatse," we visited the Norcadians, and they really do have binary suns! What is it they say about monkeys and typewriters?

MESSAGE OF THE WEEK: "People are alike all over." In a heart-warming scene, the Borg first is done in by an exploding console on the Borg cube, proving that the Borg have more in common with the Federation than they let on.

NOSTALGIA OF THE WEEK: I had to laugh at the poker game, which I guess was designed to make people think of New Trek's glory days back in TNG. Unfortunately, it just looked foolish; even Jonathan Frakes could do those scenes better than these Stooges...
 

Previous: "Tsunkatse"
Next: "Spirit Folk"
NEXT WEEK: Trek's producers realized that the holodeck didn't malfunction in "Fair Haven," and so they set out to rectify the problem; the viewers are grateful...

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