“The Raven”

Incoming message / From: The Borg Collective / Subject: We'd like to add you to our professional network on LinkedIn
“Incoming message / From: The Borg Collective / Subject: We’d like to add you to our professional network on LinkedIn …”

Janeway is negotiating passage through a part of space controlled by the B’omar, possibly the stupidest (and worst dressed) aliens we’ve met in all of Star Trek. Meanwhile, part of Seven’s Borgness reasserts herself, she steals a shuttle and makes off into B’omar space for what she thinks is (in effect) her Borg mothership, which is summoning her with a homing beacon — making her think she should return to it and be re-assimilated. Tuvok and Paris take off in another shuttle to retrieve her, again violating B’omar space. Turns out Seven actually was being summoned by the ship (the Raven) that she and her parents used to travel to the Delta Quadrant, which was partially assimilated by the Borg (or something) and then crashed on the planet. The encounter makes Seven relive her original assimilation, but Voyager attacks the B’omar and saves Seven, Tuvok and Paris. Back on Voyager, Seven begins to think about her human origins.

Even we don't know what these things on our faces are for. But they're telling us you need to slow your roll Janeway...
“Even we don’t know what these things on our faces are for. But they’re telling us you need to slow your roll, Janeway…”

Why it’s important

This one’s open to interpretation.

At this point in Trek, Seven is pretty clearly the first human ever assimilated by the Borg. So, learning how that happened is important. That said, there are a lot of reasons why that doesn’t quite make sense.

For one thing, if Seven, her parents’ ship and possibly her parents were assimilated “nearly 20 years” earlier, it means the Enterprise’s encounter with the Borg nine years earlier (in “Q Who?”) was a lot less significant. Up until this episode, there was enough ambiguity around Seven that maybe you could figure she became a Borg without the collective knowing about Federation technology. But “The Raven” clears that up, which is really stupid ret-conning as it undercuts one of TNG’s best episodes and the suspense leading up to the original Borg invasion.

What doesn’t hold up

Putting aside what I noted above, Janeway really goes over the line in this episode with her interactions with the B’omar. She essentially declares war on a space-faring people (!) to save Seven. Or, at least, she won’t respect sovereign boundaries.

Now, sure, the B’omar are ridiculous, stupid and petty — and their demands before Seven takes off make very little sense (why would they require Voyager to go at a slow warp velocity if they want the ship to get out of their space as soon as possible?). But that doesn’t really matter. Janeway, acting as the ranking Starfleet officer in the Delta Quadrant, discards borders and attacks B’omar ships in their space. That she dismisses their hails late in the episode because she doesn’t “have time for this” is frankly alarming. Kathy’s certainly not helping the Federation’s Delta Quadrant reputation in this episode. But why start worrying about that now, right?

Then, there’s the matter of Seven’s parents and their ship. Back in “Scorpion”, information on Seven’s parents seemed pretty minimal. But here, Janeway sure knows a lot about them (this gets worse in future episodes, by the way). And why did the Borg “partially assimilate” Seven’s parents’ ship and then leave it behind? There are some ways this might have worked, but the creators don’t really try to address it. And, without the “partial assimilation,” Seven’s homing beacon wouldn’t have been activated.

Oh, and how did Seven’s parents even get to B’omar space? We’re talking 60,000 light years from the Federation! Again, there are ways this could have been explained, but the creators opt not to. Huh.

Lastly, Voyager loses yet another shuttle in this episode. Unreal.

Why do they bother locking the doors to the shuttle bay when we have an unlimited supply of them!
Why do they bother locking the doors to the shuttle bay when we have an unlimited supply of them!

Final thoughts

This is such a weird episode, as there are a lot of good things despite the goofiness. I really liked the scene in which Neelix tries to teach Seven to eat solid food (Ethan Phillips really brought his top form) and Tuvok’s interaction with Seven as they approach the planet where the Raven crashed.

But Janeway just comes across as so dumb and hard-headed. It’s a shame.

Coming later this week …

Andy Dick. For serious.

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