Monday, September 11, 2017

Voyager 5x15 "Dark Frontier, Part 1"

rating: ****

the story: The Borg Queen comes calling for Seven.

what it's all about: "Dark Frontier" is likely responsible for much of fan angst over Voyager's use of the Borg. It not only brings back First Contact's Borg Queen (portrayed by a different actress), but it seems to retcon early human contact with the Collective.

Let's get the second point out of the way first.  Next Generation clearly featured a couple of traumatic early encounters with the Borg.  It's worth remembering, however, that as early as the first season, the presence of the Borg was being teased well before they made their actual first appearance.  The backstory of Seven's parents investigating the Borg, then, doesn't seem so outlandish.  Clearly their efforts ended in disaster, assimilation, and so their activities have no tangible effect on Picard's experiences with the Borg. 

The appearance of the Borg Queen seems to be more problematic, but in First Contact she makes numerous vague comments about her existence that she claims simply isn't as easy to comprehend as might be assumed.  While seeing her again might seem to cheapen Picard's victory over her (and a rather grisly death scene), it's not necessary to view it that way.  Like most fan opinions about the greater franchise, you're absolutely free to think what you like.  It's just as likely that there's a kind of DNA template the Borg Queen uses to modify new hosts; being the central figure in the Collective she's certainly entitled to such perks.  It's no stretch to assume her memory can be easily downloaded from body to body.

Anyway, "Dark Frontier" also has Janeway plan another audacious plan against the Borg, and that in itself would be problematic for some fans, even though Next Generation did that, too, which is how Picard stopped being Locutus, after all.

I choose to interpret all this, as I do all of Voyager's Borg episodes, as a wonderful continuation of a rich ongoing story about one of the franchise's most distinct elements. 

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - The Borg are back!
  • series - Back in the franchise, back in this show!
  • character - Seven explores her backstory as she actively dreads returning to the Collective.
  • essential - Viewed by its own merits, this is rich material.
notable guest-stars:
Susanna Thompson (Borg Queen)
Scarlett Pomers (Naomi)

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