OneBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 3:37 PM GMT
See Also: 'One' Episode Guide
Seven practices her social skills with holographic simulations of Torres and Kim, but the Doctor tells her she's doing a lousy job. When Voyager approaches a huge nebula which would take more than a year to circumnavigate, crewmembers experience severe radiation burns. The Doctor tells Janeway that the only way to protect them inside the nebula would be to put the entire crew in stasis chambers; the only individuals who can survive outside are himself and Seven, whose Borg implants apparently protect her. Janeway is unwilling to add a year to their journey going around the nebula, so, with Seven's encouragement, she decides to traverse it with the crew in stasis for a month. She advises Seven that the Doctor will be in command.
Chakotay privately tells Janeway he has concerns about the rebellious ex-Borg in charge of the ship, but the captain says she has confidence in Seven. Chakotay says that's good enough for him. Though Paris complains of claustrophobia, the entire crew goes into stasis chambers on Deck 14. Paris escapes, but Seven finds and returns him to his chamber. She and the Doctor quarrel about her moodiness, and he orders her to go socialize with holograms so she doesn't suffer as a result of being alone. But in the middle of her unsuccessful attempts to bond with simulated crewmembers, the ship's systems begin to fail. Seven and the Doctor discover that the bioneural gelpacks are being affected by radiation, which also begins to affect his portable emitter. He rushes back to sickbay and confines himself until the emitter can be repaired.
Alone on the ship, Seven has nightmares about her isolation and is exhausted by ongoing system failures. An alien vessel approaches with a captain seeking to trade supplies; Seven invites him onto Voyager. The alien, Traygis, announces that he intends to be the first person to successfully traverse the nebula, and asks Seven whether she's lonely, becoming increasingly aggressive and finally threatening. She pulls a phaser, but imagines that she hears Paris calling for help again; when she turns, Traygis escapes. The Doctor cannot trace his life signs and informs Seven that the alien must have a cloaking device. Traygis plays a game of cat and mouse with Seven until she tricks him and depletes the oxygen supply to the Bridge while he is there.
However, Seven sees more and more hallucinations, including Paris and Kim being burned to death and Traygis threatening to take advantage of her lonely, defenseless position. The Doctor ties his emitter into the EPS conduits so he can move throughout the ship, finding Seven in engineering with a phaser aimed at empty space. He tells her that the radiation must be affecting her Borg implants, but he cannot help her because the EPS relays fail, taking him offline. Seven declares that she can survive alone, but hallucinates a group of Borg telling her that she needs others and that she will die alone.
Propulsion fails with less than a day of travel remaining. Seven reroutes all power, but it isn't enough. She hallucinates the bridge crew saying that they knew all along she would fail, with Chakotay declaring that he never wanted her on the ship and Janeway saying she was wrong to trust her, speculating that Seven will try to take power from the statis units, killing the crewmembers inside. Seven does reroute power from ten units and regains propulsion, but her hallucinations drive her to Deck 14, where she sees the ten crewmembers dying. She shuts down all life support on the ship, gasping that she will adapt when her hallucinations tell her she has failed.
Seven comes to in Sickbay with Janeway, Chakotay, and the Doctor surrounding her, telling her that the crew is fine, but they almost lost her. When she is recovered, Seven asks Paris, Torres, and Kim whether she can join them in the mess hall. She tells Paris about his escape from stasis. Paris jokes that he must have been more claustrophobic than he thought, but Seven says seriously that perhaps he dislikes being alone.
Well, Voyager's writers have finally found a way to perfect what they've been doing in principle all season: declare the rest of the crew irrelevant and make it the Seven of Nine show. Actually, other than being tired of her attitude (the Doc shared those sentiments for awhile, but then became such a whiner that we HAD to root for Seven instead), this was a reasonably engrossing episode, not sticking too long with any one genre and permitting Jeri Ryan to show some range.
"One" started as an adventure story, with Captain Janeway making yet another incredibly stupid decision which paid off only because of sheer dumb luck. If the bioneural gelpacks had failed simultaneously instead of sequentially, the ship would have rotted in the nebula forever, and if Seven's implants had rotted just slightly more quickly, they all would have died anyway. A year out of the way doesn't sound so bad, given the odds and the longevity of the journey. I laughed when Chakotay lamented that Seven is now Janeway's pet instead of himself - that is, when he commented on the trust between the Captain and the Borg despite the enfant terrible's behavior - but he tucked his tail between his legs and went along with her once Kathryn patted him on the shoulder like she used to do.
Then the episode became a twisted sort of character comedy, with Doc accusing Seven of acting too Vulcan and Seven accusing Doc of whining too much - they were both right, and the Spock-McCoy parallels were cute. The segue into girl-in-danger-thriller was a bit too unsubtle, as it was obvious from the moment the arrogant alien saw her catsuit that he was going to try to rape Seven. The bad news in terms of the drama is that it was impossible to fear for her breasts of steel, though that was also the good news, since I find gratuitous threats of rape extremely offensive and was glad I didn't really need to worry about her.
Once the alien was dispatched, however, the episode got interesting. I liked seeing Seven vulnerable, exploring what it means to be Borg among humans. Her nightmare of frigid isolation was very telling. I wonder what it means that she programmed a holographic Janeway in a sexy red dress? OK, let's not go there. For all the misogyny of Seven's costumes and her gratuitous questions about sexuality, she and Janeway don't seem to have much use for men, so maybe I should look at this as the ultimate feminist statement...but then again, Seven and Janeway spend more time bailing each other out than exploring strange new worlds.
I wish Seven would develop a better sense of humor - hers is flatter than Tuvok's, so her banter with the Doctor has a nasty edge rather than a witty one. Nonetheless, if we're stuck with seeing her at the expense of virtually every other character, I prefer episodes like this which show us what makes her tick to the sort where she saves the ship without learning anything at all.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.