The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Unimatrix Zero. Part II"

by David E. Sluss

9 October 2000

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Voyager's season premiere features erratic pacing, commercial breaks that seem to take place at random, time-to-pay-the-bills intervals, and a lot of the usual Voyager hokum. But I'm rating this show a little higher than Part I because the damage was largely done there.

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.0 (F+)

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK: Much of what occurred in the resolution of last season's cliffhanger was rather predictable. It's not as if we could expect that Janeway and Company would remain assimilated, or even that the Captain would be wearing an eye patch or artificial limb at the end of the hour, for instance. But I said in my review for Part I that Seven's boyfriend Axum "might as well have 'I am a dead man' stamped on his forehead," and that prediction didn't come to pass.

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Moe and Curly (Chakotay and Paris, for those of you who came in late) were reasonably effective in this outing, with their scene in the ready room turning out to be a decent counterpoint to a similar Janeway/Chakotay scene in Part I. Monkeys and typewriters, I guess...

SHALLOW BENCH OF THE WEEK: Voyager's situation must be really dire if Shemp is running tactical while Tuvok is away.

LAUGH LINE OF THE WEEK: The Borg Queen: "Assimilation turns us all into friends." Even considering that she was trying to sell a small child on the merits of assimilation, that's too silly.

LAUGH NON-LINE OF THE WEEK: I was practically rolling on the floor when Axum and company leveled a couple of drones with the old tree battering ram trick. It was just silly, like one of Wile E. Coyote's contraptions. And I'm still waiting for a reason why the Unimatrix Zero drones can "dream up" Bat'Leths, but not other weaponry. When on Endor, act like Ewoks, I guess...

RESET BUTTON OF THE WEEK: Getting assimilated is now just like dressing up to go to an S&M club, and changing back into normal clothes when you come home. It's just ridiculous, of course, how easily Janeway and company were de-assimilated, and was pretty much exactly what I expected. It might also have been nice to see Tuvok reacting to his failure on the mission, but -- whoops -- 10:00 already!

TEMPORAL ANOMALY OF THE WEEK: Tuvok, who despite his Vulcan mental discipline is the only member of the Away Team to succumb to the Queen, says he was born on Stardate 38774; that would make him, what, about sixteen years old?

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: Axum claims to be on a Borg vessel patrolling the border of fluidic space in the Beta Quadrant. Why in hell would they be in the Beta Quadrant? And anyway, "Scorpion" portrays fluidic space as being another dimension, not a territory. The "border" between fluidic space and normal space is essentially everywhere.

NEW BIOLOGY OF THE WEEK: Admittedly the neural suppressor wasn't entirely effective, since Tuvok's dose wore off prematurely, but still, the notion of shooting up as a method for preventing assimilation doesn't pass the laugh test but does neatly follow Voyager's only consistent story arc: making the Borg less and less threatening with each appearance. First, the idea that assimilation, a process which apparently takes over all bodily functions, can't neutralize or even detect such a substance doesn't seem very likely; Borg technology is supposed to adapt, right? So if the being isn't fully assimilated, adapt! Second, the drones and/or the Queen should notice immediately, and not after hours of attempted sabotage, that the new "drones" aren't contributing to the hive mind. Third, if such a thing were possible, you'd think that races all over the galaxy would have stumbled across this, perfected the method, and essentially put the Borg out of business. As usual, Voyager's writers didn't think much about the way the Borg's hive mind should behave. They did manage to fix one aspect of the Borg Collective that they botched in Part I, though. As the individuality virus spread throughout the collective, the Queen noticed immediately that she was "losing voices." This pretty much hoses the notion presented in Part I that the Unimatrix Zero drones would only have to "act natural" once the virus was deployed in order to avoid detection, and it (for once) makes sense.

LONG-TERM PLOTTING OF THE WEEK: So is this Borg civil war going to amount to anything, or will it go the way of "In the Flesh" and never be heard from again? Much as I'd like to never see the Borg again, the notion of "Borg friendlies" in the Delta Quadrant needs to be revisited. And, Captain Janeway, the next time Turok the Klingon drone drops by, see if you can borrow a cup of transwarp, know what I mean?

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: So what was the Queen's "See you soon, Larry" tease from Part I supposed to mean?

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: The origin of Unimatrix Zero itself was never revealed. As I watched Part I again before this episode aired, a line that caught my attention was Seven's comment that "some believe that it was caused by the malfunction of a single drone." It occurred to me then that perhaps the Queen herself had malfunctioned, unaware that she had inadvertently created Unimatrix Zero. The Queen's visit to U0 in Part II had me nearly convinced that this was what was going on, but it looks to be another plot point that wound up getting the ax.
  

Next: "Imperfection" NEXT WEEK: Braga's Borg Babe Belly-Up; Borg brats bore. Bye!

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