Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Push And Pull Relationship Seven Of Nine Has With The Borg Is Realized In “Dark Frontier, Part 2”

The Good: Moments of character, Moments of performance
The Bad: Premise is very difficult to buy, Details.
The Basics: When Seven Of Nine is reunited with the Borg, she mounts a resistance while Janeway searches for her in “Dark Frontier, Part 2.”

The awkward aspect of a two-parter is that if the first part has a rocky premise or execution, the second part bears a heavy burden to engage the viewer. Such is the way with Star Trek: Voyager’s “Dark Frontier, Part 2.” Picking up exactly where “Dark Frontier, Part 1” (reviewed here!) ended, the second part of the episode pits Seven Of Nine against the Borg Queen while Voyager works to adapt Borg technology. The episode reinforces Janeway’s loyalty to her crew and the progress that Seven Of Nine has made over the prior two years.

Ignoring the first half of the episode and the problematic assumption that opens the episode – i.e. that the Borg Queen put Seven on Voyager as part of an experiment to create a new, unique, Borg to learn more about reassimilating old drones – “Dark Frontier, Part 2” actually works exceptionally well . . . except that it makes no sense that the Borg would want a unique individual.

With Seven Of Nine captured by the Borg Queen, Voyager begins to integrate Borg technology to attempt to get the transwarp coil they stole active. Janeway becomes determined to find out why Seven Of Nine stayed behind on the Borg ship and quickly discovers the carrier wave the Borg used to communicate with Seven Of Nine while she was still aboard the ship. Impressed by a plan from Naomi Wildman, Janeway begins to formulate a rescue plan to go after Seven Of Nine.

Meanwhile, the Borg Queen takes Seven Of Nine to a planet with under four hundred thousand people to assimilate. With the Delta Flyer equipped with the transwarp coil, the Borg ship with Seven Of Nine comes under attack and the Borg Queen uses Seven Of Nine to help assimilate the alien species.

“Dark Frontier, Part 2” is filled with so many conceptual issues that it is almost hard to overlook how much it gets right where the acting and characters are concerned. The problems with “Dark Frontier, Part 2” are all at the writing level. Sure, a Borg Queen’s vessel makes for a very cool special effect, but for a group of creatures that do not use individuals and have a collective mind, it makes no sense to have different ships.

Moreover, the fact that the Borg Queen admits to coming from Species 125 further weakens the Borg and makes no rational sense. After all, the Borg should not need a Queen with their hive mind, but because the Queen is not Species 1, she cannot be the original Queen. This means that the Borg have replaced their Queen at least once and that means at some point there had to be a replacement and it is inconceivable that there would be a replacement process that makes sense for the hive mind.

That said, Janeway’s desire to go after Seven Of Nine is compelling and it plays out well. Jeri Ryan plays the horror of seeing her character’s father alive again exceptionally well. Susanna Thompson plays the Borg Queen perfectly, making the character cold and menacing once again.

Ultimately, there is very little to say about “Dark Frontier, Part 2;” it is a character study that involves Janeway, Seven Of Nine, and the Borg Queen and the “chess match” is well-executed, despite its conceptual flaws. The episode is straightforward in both the “temptation of Seven Of Nine” storyline and the rescue attempt portion of the episode.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Fifth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the season here!


For other Star Trek episode and movie reviews, please visit my Star Trek Review Index Page!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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