Friday, January 18, 2013

“Imperfection” Is A Far From Harrowing Life Or Death Episode.

The Good: Decent plot progression, No acting problems.
The Bad: Huge continuity problems, Poor character design, Neglects the ethical issues for most of the episode.
The Basics: When Seven Of Nine’s life is threatened, the solution is easily found within the forty-three minute episode that is “Imperfection.”

As Star Trek: Voyager wound down, I was one of many people who hoped the show would take some risks. In the final season, it actually became easier for me to watch episodes (thanks to a change in local stations), but I had been so soured on the series that it took exceptional episodes to actually bring me back. “Imperfection” was not one of those episodes at the time and I recall that at the time, I was curious about the episode based upon the advertising campaign. The ads for the episode made it appear like the producers might actually kill off Seven Of Nine.

In the final season of Star Trek: Voyager, killing off Seven Of Nine was a no-risk scenario that the producers nevertheless chickened out of, at least in “Imperfection.” Seven Of Nine was brought on to raise ratings and given that the seventh season was going to be the final one anyway, there would have been no inherent risk to the show in killing off Seven Of Nine. “Imperfection” fails to be that ballsy, in addition to not caring much for the continuity of the series.

Following Mezoti, Rebi, and Azan departing Voyager, Seven Of Nine begins to experience heightened emotions and implants breaking down. When, following Icheb telling her he wants to take the StarFleet entrance exam, Seven Of Nine collapses in the mess hall, her implants begin breaking down en masse. As Seven Of Nine’s health worsens, Icheb volunteers for a dangerous transplant procedure which should save her live, possibly at the cost of his own.

“Imperfection” takes some time to develop the “medical problem” storyline and in that way, it is a sufficient episode. The character element that has Seven Of Nine ridiculously denying the problem of her cortical node degradation is insulting to her intelligence. Instead of having a somewhat stupid worldview – wherein Seven Of Nine knows the facts and simply denies them - “Imperfection” could have been far more interesting as an episode to explore a character who accepted death with dignity. Writers Carlton Eastlake and Robert Doherty take a far easier route.

That route has little respect for continuity. The Delta Flyer, destroyed in “Unimatrix Zero” (reviewed here!) returns intact with only a passing notation to the last time Janeway took it out to deal with the Borg. Moreover, there is a troubling lack of character development for Tuvok, who volunteers to go with Janeway to salvage from the Borg debris field. When Tuvok last encountered the Borg, he had a pretty traumatic experience and his willingness to volunteer seems tactically unwise, even if not an emotionally necessary development given the nature of his character.

The continuity is further buggered by the forgetfulness of the writers who neglect the most obvious solution to the Borg cortical node problem (which becomes an issue for the Doctor when Janeway wants to hunt down a drone to steal the cortical node from a live drone). Like forgetting that the recently-sunk ship in “Rocks And Shoals” (reviewed here!) is loaded with ketracel white, “Imperfection” neglects the idea that there is a Borg sphere that Janeway could contact to get a cortical node from a drone, given how “Unimatrix Zero, Part 2” (reviewed here!) ended. Not acknowledging that is somewhat lazy.

The make-up in “Imperfection” is also particularly lazy. The aliens who attack Janeway and Tuvok on the Borg ship are Kazon in everything but name and that is disappointing to see.

Ultimately, “Imperfection” is not bad, it just lacks a spark or a compelling aspect to make viewers believe that this could be Seven Of Nine’s final hour. Outside the teaser, which saw off the other ex-Borg children, there is really no reason to watch it.

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


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

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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