Part I of II: The Summary

The episode opens with a scene of a crashing shuttle. It falls through the atmosphere and smashes onto what appears to be a deserted planet (naturally). Four Borg appeared to have survived and one of them is Seven - all decked out in full Borg regalia!

Then, out of nowhere, we see Voyager. The ship has docked at the Marconian Outpost and is in the middle of a cultural exchange, despite Tuvok's objections. Part of this exchange appears to involve the sharing of gifts, one of which includes a woman-grabbing plant (nice little image of Janeway tangled in a tree. Chakotay - that was your cue!). Tuvok also gifts the Captain with something (minds out of the gutter!) - a security report entailing the numerous criminal activities that the guests have committed. Reflecting back on this, I'm not sure what the objective for this was, except to show that Tuvy was not doing his job…?

While Naomi and Seven have lunch, a stranger shows Seven a briefcase with Borg synaptic matrices that she later discovers are from her former unimatrix. As Seven leaves to explore these devices, the outsider silently communicates with two others, who all agree - telepathically - to move to Phase III of their plan.

We are subjected to more flashbacks of Seven and three other Borg on this deserted planet. This time, they are all eating around a campfire and remembering that they are individuals. Remembering other times, other places, other faces.

Back on Voyager, these three strangers (who look shockingly like the three Borg in Seven's memory, except that these strangers have hair and a few less metal appliances stuck to their heads) continue their telepathic communication and argue about Seven's safety. They are unable to continue without a consensus and finally agree that Seven's safety is irrelevant. They will move on to Phase III. Seven's safety be damned. (Obviously, Cilla was consulted behind the scenes.) They become aware that Seven is regenerating and sneak into her Cargo Bay via a climb out of a halted lift. As they try to access her memory files, she becomes aware and tries to regain consciousness. Meanwhile, Tuvok is notified of a security violation and a security team comes to Seven's rescue and stun the strangers.

More flashbacks: This is worse than a bad acid trip. The three Borg continue to recall their individuality, while Seven tries to exert control and make them let go of these memories.

Back on Voyager, the Doc discovers that these three strangers are former Drones. :::gasp::: They are the three Borg that Seven has been remembering in her flashbacks. These three, however, are connected by some sort of organic connection through their left hemisphere. After they are awakened by the Doctor, they explain that they wanted to access Seven's memory files. They have gaps in their memory right before they were reassimilated after the crash eight years ago. They need to find out what happened so that they can break their neural link. After they were reassimilated, they had worked together to escape the collective, but could not rid themselves of their semicollective link. They are not individuals nor are they Borg. They can hear each other's thoughts and dream each other's dreams. They want to be complete individuals.

For some reason, the writers felt it important to include a scene with Tom and Harry. They were in a bar fight on the station, arrested, and brought to face the Captain. The schizophrenic Janeway was third season Janeway here. Slightly maternal and glad that they won their bar brawl. Seven came to see Janeway to consult with her about the former Borg drones. She tells the Captain about their missing memory files and that there is a potential solution. Seven can join their mini-collective briefly to reconstruct those missing events. There is a danger to this plan - Seven could be trapped in their link. (Again, Cilla was consulted behind the scenes. :-) ) Janeway asks Seven if these three former Drones are family, reminding her that blood is thicker than water. There is a touching scene in the corridor when Seven asks Naomi if Seven is family to her. The pressured child answers yes (what was that poor kid supposed to say?? You could tell by the way she winced that she wanted to say "Hell no, you implanted freak!") and Seven admits the little mite is family to her as well.

Seven and the three former drones all join in the link and the rest of the flashback sequences are finally seen. Thank God. The communicating beacon flashes. The Borg have located them on this planet. Two of Nine smashes the beacon and all three of them rather frantically admit that they do not want to rejoin the collective. They go off in different directions, leaving Seven to face the scary dark alone. Finally, she goes off in search of them, and one by one, she injects them with nanoprobes, which cause the neural link between the three. They are then all reassimilated. On Voyager, the three break their link with Seven and in doing so, are damaged. The EMH has two choices. Their link can be severed, leaving them with roughly a month to live. Or they can be returned to the collective to live out a normal, healthy physical life. Seven grapples with this decision, which for some reason is hers to make. She chooses individuality over the collective. In a speech which brought Cilla running for the hurl bucket, Seven she explains to the EMH that he too was a drone and now that he has freedom, would he like to be reconfined?

The link is severed and the three go there separate ways. Seven, alone again, is working. Naomi visits her, telling her that she heard what happen and maybe Seven would like to be around family right now.

Section II of II: The Review

All in all, not a bad episode. While it did star Seven -- big shock there! -- she was not exactly the hero nor did she save the day. She, in fact, caused the problem of the neurolink in the first place. The final resolution was neither neat nor tidy. While the three former drones were able to be individuals, their lives were cut drastically short. This new ambiguity in Voyager signals, perhaps, a return to the dynamic episodes that we once saw with Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation.

The theme of family was very strong, making Cilla Kone want to call her mother, Pad Edbra. Mama Janeway was very parental proud in chastising them and the asking the boys how their fight went, Naomi and Seven are now family (now where did I place those air sick bags??), and these cousins of Seven's needed her to make their life decision for them. Rather like next of kin. I wonder if this theme will continue. Or if, in typical Berman style, this too shall be forgotten by the next episode.

While this was a good episode, there were MAJOR problems with it. I am beginning to think that TPTB either need to stop the extra-curricular pharmaceutical activities or stop thinking that the viewers are moronic four year olds with no memory. Well…they ARE trying to capture the male market, which explains the moronic---never mind. Anyway, the first major problem was that around the campfire, I noticed that Seven did not have her Borgie arm, but she had the hand thing that the doctor made for her. When she first arrived on Voyager - and believe me, I remember the day that TPTB sold out and went for T&A over good scripts, Seven had one arm and one Borg propeller arm thing for the other (left arm, I think). The Doc gave her a hand and it's the one with the Borg webbing on it. Well, around the campfire she had the Borg webbing stuff! Interesting.

I was also a bit puzzled by the reactions of the Borg when they were planet side. If I recall correctly (and I do, because I rewatched the episode today), in "I, Borg" (The Next Generation, Episode 223, season 5), a young Borg was found, and while he was cut off from his collective, he maintained that he was Borg and that humanity was irrelevant. It took Geordi quite a while to teach him about humanity and friends. Hugh, as he was called by the Enterprise crew, finally refers to himself as "I" instead of "we". While here on this nameless planet in the Delta Quadrant, it takes these Borg minutes to recall their full names, their former occupations and their individuality. Hugh didn't seem to recall much of that. Interesting. I guess they don't make 'em like the used to. Drones or episodes.

Other problems/catty comments with this episode:

1. My personal favorite: why did no one notice a BAJORAN ON THE SHIP!!!!! Hello? Vulcan to Tuvok, come in Tuvok. Tell me that you aren't going to notice a Bajoran who is NOT a member of the crew just moseying around the ship. Please! How did she get on ship without anyone noticing???
2. In "I, Borg", Hugh could not eat food. Why could these drones? And, while I have tried to blot it out of my mind, when Seven first began eating, she had to eat gentle foods. I think that the next assignment for TPTB should be to watch every episode of all four series. Just as a refresher. There will be a test at the end.
3. Why was Seven in charge on the planet when they crashed? I didn't think the Borg did that. 4. My boss gets points for noticing that when the Bajoran women noticed she was wearing the latest in Borg fashions, yelled "My God!" instead of "My Prophets" or "My Gods" or some other Bajoran expletive.
5. General appearance comments: Seven needs updated lipstick, Janeway needs new hair, Chuckles needs a new diet, Tom needs to stop combing his hair forward over the bald places. Bald boy bangs do not make the viewers think you have hair, Tom.

Rating: Tragically, as with many Voyager episodes, the idea was great, but it is taken on a trip straight to nowhere. There were such horrendous problems, that they took away from actually following the story line and made it less believable than normal. I was really interested, but…what a fizzle. AND there was NO J/C. I give this a four out of nine.