|Reference to the previous bald Star Trek girl?|
Written between 28th and 29th September 2015
How appropriate that as I begin Cybermen Month on Nostalgia Filter, we encounter Unity, the first Voyager episode to star the Borg, Star Trek's direct equivalent. It's funny now to see look here and see that Unity was considered such a highlight episode, a rare guest appearance. While this episode may have only been added to the series in order to tie the show in with the release of Star Trek: First Contact, the movie which renovated the Borg, Voyager would go on to use the pre-existing lore around them to turn them into their most important recurring villains - and would even have one as a main character. It's no exaggeration to say that the Borg were Voyager's saving grace as a show.
Chakotay is on a shuttle with Obviously-Dead-Ensign™ when they crash onto an island with a Federation hail. Chakotay awakens to find himself in a community inhabited by lots of species from back in the Alpha Quadrant - the result of a Borg Ship being separated from its collective, its inhabitants regaining their old lives. In particular, Chakotay becomes friends with a human woman, Riley. Voyager is trotting along until it encounters a burnt-out Borg Cube. Riley says that they're creating a shared society, and asks Chakotay to ask Voyager for weapons and supplies should they arrive. Chakotay has a brain injury from being attacked upon the crash, and so the Borg-ettes implant him with a temporary brain device which allows him to become part of their collective, somehow healing his wounds. When he returns to Voyager and Janeway refuses to help them in their desire to reestablish a collective, they use the residual trace connection to force Chakotay to reactivate the Cube, allowing them to spread their collective across the planet and achieve peace and harmony.
Despite last week leaving that big ol' cliffhanger that this was the Borg episode, and the presence of the Borg being a massive part of the publicity around this episode, the episode tries its best to keep their presence here a secret. When Riley explains the reason why she's in the Delta Quadrant in the first place, she's obtuse in her description of the Borg, simply calling them "aliens". This has a story purpose, of course, but it feels a little lacklustre to hold this information hostage - I would have preferred it had the episode had Voyager encounter the cube in the cold open, allowing the scenes with Chakotay's shuttle to feel more sinister with the knowledge that the Borg are here, just not in plain sight.
|Because we had to have at least one active Drone for it to be|
considered a Borg episode.
NEXT WEEK: The "unholy trio" of bad Season Three episodes begins with Darkling.