Monday, September 11, 2017

Voyager 5x16 "Dark Frontier, Part 2"

rating: ****

the story: Seven struggles to free herself from the Borg Queen's clutches.

what it's all about: The conclusion to the audacious story that seeks to expand the significance of Voyager's Borg stories, this half is all about the Borg Queen having Seven question why she gained back her individuality, and whether or not she can become the new human collaborator the Collective needs to contend with pesky humanity.

Having Seven and the Borg Queen interact so closely is a little like what First Contact teased about what we didn't see in Next Generation's "Best of Both Worlds," Picard's original experiences with the Borg Queen.  What sets "Dark Frontier" apart is, of course, that Seven spent years assimilated as an ordinary drone rather than how Picard spent a limited time as a special kind of Borg mouthpiece.  The whole thing is almost Voyager's second attempt at a major continuing arc, transforming "Scorpion" into an opening act that eventually ends with the last episode of the series, "Endgame," in which there's a final reckoning between the ship and the Borg Queen, who seems as much interested in assimilation as she is playing chess.  Like the Kazon arc of the first two seasons, it's all about mental maneuvering.  The Borg arc will continue at the end of the next season and beginning of the seventh, "Unimatrix Zero," which borrows the idea of Seven secretly working against the Borg from within, as she does here.

"Dark Frontier" is the only "event" midseason two-parter of the fifth season, but it certainly makes the most of it by tackling arguably the most ambitious story Voyager attempted with the concept.

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - A big Borg story.
  • series - Redefines the Borg in Voyager as a major new arc, plus gives the crew another boost homeward.
  • character - Seven steps into Picard's role and offers new insights into his experiences.
  • essential - One of the most ambitious stories of the series and, arguably, franchise.
notable guest-stars:
Susanna Thompson (Borg Queen)
Scarlett Pomers (Naomi)

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