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Star Trek Voy - Season 4 - Episode 02

Star Trek Voy - 4x02 - The Gift

Originally Aired: 1997-9-10

Synopsis:
Voyager adjusts to its new crewmember. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.21

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Problems
- According to Janeway, Tuvok's meditation lamp was purchased from a Vulcan master who doubled the price when he saw the Starfleet insignias. Well, the Federation does not use a currency driven economy. The Vulcans as Federation members wouldn't be selling things to other Federation members. Furthermore, the Vulcan master would have no reason to double his price upon noticing that his buyers were Starfleet officers, seeing as how Starfleet officers do not get paid. On the contrary, Janeway seemed to imply that Starfleet officers are very well paid and that the Vulcan master knew this which is why he doubled his price.

Factoids
- Like the previous episode, the Kes character is actually a guest star in this episode.
- This episode establishes that Seven of Nine's given name is Annika Hansen.
- Species 259 was assimilated in galactic cluster 3. They contributed autonomous regeneration sequencers to the Borg. Galactic cluster 3 is supposedly beyond Ensign Kim's comprehension. Seven of Nine described it as being a "transmaterial energy plane intersecting 22 billion omnicordial life forms."
- Janeway claims to have met Borg who were freed from the Collective. Given her lines, it would seem she's talking about people other than Jean-Luc Picard.

Remarkable Scenes
- The opening scene showing Voyager still "augmented" with Borg systems everywhere.
- Kes beginning to display extraordinary powers.
- Janeway researching Seven of Nine's past.
- Kes saving Seven of Nine's life.
- Seven of Nine working in Engineering.
- Kes manipulating the flame in Tuvok's Vulcan mental exercises.
- Kes stopping Seven of Nine from contacting the Borg.
- Janeway: "I've got an Ocampan who wants to be something more and a Borg who's afraid of becoming something less. Here's to Vulcan stability."
- Janeway: "One voice can be stronger than a thousand voices."
- Kes blowing up the corridors as she walked through them.
- Kes throwing Voyager 9,500 light years closer to home.

My Review
This episode is more like Voy: Scorpion, Part III, as it directly deals with the events of the two parter. Never before has Voyager done a three part arc before. Interestingly, Seven of Nine says in this episode that Janeway won't be able to change her nature and that she will betray Voyager. When Seven said that, Chakotay's scorpion speech was ringing in my head. I'm not sure if the connection was intentional or not, but certainly interesting. In some ways I could have done without the scene depicting Janeway's private goodbye conversation with Kes. It was a little too feminine and tearful for my tastes. But I understand that it was necessary. It's just that I find it vaguely ridiculous trying to imagine a scene like that between Troi and Crusher, or Kira and Dax. In some ways it felt overacted. In the end, I suppose Kes was given a suitable amount of closure. Her scene with Neelix certainly could have been done better. The reason for their breakup is written off as a joke. And the suddenness of her leaving the ship is kind of annoying. I realize that behind the scenes, Jennifer Lien wanted to leave the show and all, but I would have expected a better farewell. To me, the loss of the Kes character really is a loss. I like Seven of Nine, but I liked Kes more. And I was really looking forward to seeing her grow old like was depicted in Voy: Before and After. Oh well. What's done is done. No more Kes. As a final comment, it's remarkable to note that this is the first of many times Voyager cuts substantial sum of time from its journey due to some extraordinary means. Thanks Kes!

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Mike on 2008-07-07 at 11:05pm:
    Jennifer Lien did not want to leave the show; she was forced out. This is well known in ST fandom.
  • From JaM on 2009-06-01 at 8:32am:
    "Janeway claims to have met Borg who were freed from the Collective. Given her lines, it would seem she's talking about people other than Jean-Luc Picard" Well, she met the Ex-Borg in 3rd seasons: "Unity"
  • From Drac on 2010-05-04 at 1:07pm:
    Not suprised Jennifer Lien had to leave the show her acting made them all look bad.She and the doctor are my favourite characters so far.Her character held so much potential and she had the talent to back it up thats what i call wasted opportunity.Not like Harry Kim who had his chance one too many times , he should be dead alredy that would make it easier to forget about Kes.About the borg they handled her poorly but i am willing to let this one go.I can tell alredy she will be a weak substitute for Kes.
  • From blown on 2011-09-18 at 4:04am:
    This episode blew me away. Up in my favorite Voyager episodes so far.

    It had less action than the two-parter that sets it up, but much more heart, drama, and ethical dilemma to make up for it.

    It was an absolute blast to watch Seven of Nine's transformation, and interesting to see the Doc and Janeway confront the ethical ambiguity of their actions - what Seven of Nine referred to as forced "assimilation" into humanity. Loved this role reversal.

    The Seven-in-recovery was a very compelling mix of trapped animal, addict going through withdrawal, and desperate young woman in the midst of a severe emotional and existential crisis. I thought the performance was excellent.

    Re: the Kes storyline, I liked this progression as well. Pretty bad ass to see her perform neurosurgery with her mind, see through the fabric of matter, energy, and thought, and ultimately go through some kind of mysterious ascension, saving Voyager from Borg-space (and cutting 10 years off their journey) in her final parting moments. Vaguely techno-spiritual, but nicely done.

    The few things I took issue with were Tuvok saying, "there is nothing beyond the sub-atomic level" - granted he's not a science officer, but I'm sure he's still well educated. The comment just made no sense.

    Another small point was Torres and Kim's (non)reaction to working with Seven of Nine. I mean, you would think they'd be a bit less casual about working side by side with someone so recently "de-Borged," and so recently trying to sabotage the ship. They were just unrealistically casual and nonchalant about it. Kim was practically hitting on her. I mean, all this is fine, just not so incredibly soon!

    Another thing I didn't much like was how Kes unintentionally hurts Neelix physically in the mess hall (though I love how she succeeds in sparing most of his emotions in their "soft" break-up). This "Kes has powers beyond her control" thing was done pretty much to death in "Voyager: Cold Fire," and I was actually relieved when she was finally in control in this episode...so it was really annoying to see this kind of thing start to creep back in.

    Likewise, the other slightly annoying thing was how Kes' transformation was destabilizing the molecular integrity of the ship or whatever. On the one hand, I like what this does for the plot and how it compels Kes to leave. Seeing her as a kind of walking time-bomb in the very last moments is also kind of interesting. But something about all that just doesn't sit quite right. It's probably because it's more of that same stuff from Cold Fire...Does *everything* cool that happens Kes have to simultaneously be dangerous and harmful? Why are her not-so-latent powers so irritatingly ironic?

    Anyway, I complain about this but as I said, I also weirdly appreciate it. It reminds me a bit of Jean Gray from X-Men and her transformation into the Phoenix force (if you forgive the weird comparison).

    So, overall a great episode and I suspect a slightly under-rated one.
  • From Rick on 2013-03-30 at 11:34am:
    ""interesting to see the Doc and Janeway confront the ethical ambiguity of their actions - what Seven of Nine referred to as forced "assimilation" into humanity. Loved this role reversal.""

    I thought this was a specious argument. I would counter by saying that sure, you can go join the collective because its your choice. But by the way, if you are willfully choosing to join the collective you are guilty about 100 billion counts of conspiracy to commit murder, so we are going to have to lock you up. The whole reason no one blames the drones is because they didnt have a choice, but if they willfully choose to be a borg then that kind of goes out the window. So of course Janeway is correct to point out that she has no rational capability to make this decision.
  • From thaibites on 2014-05-25 at 12:12am:
    Wow, 3 kick-ass episodes in a row! I'm shocked and quite happy. These all had action, drama, and suspense. I wish all the episodes could be this good. Is this a turning point for the series, or just an anomaly?
  • From Dstyle on 2015-06-01 at 10:07am:
    From the moment she was introduced I've had this fear for the Seven of Nine character, which is that she'll serve as the "I know everything the Borg Collective knows" character. I just don't think that's how the Borg are supposed to work.

    To use an admittedly imperfect analogy, picture the Borg Collective as a gigantic supercomputer with each drone acting as a single microchip in that computer. Then remove and isolate one microchip and say, "Hey microchip, tell me everything the supercomputer knows." The microchip would be like, "Uh, I turn this switch on when I get the signal and turn it off when I get another signal. That's all I know." I just don't think each drone, when separated from the Collective, can retain all of the knowledge of the Collective.

    To use another imperfect analogy, think of the Borg Collective as the Internet. We can all tap into the collected knowledge of the internet whenever we need it. If a situation arises where I need to access this knowledge, say the toilet lever breaks, I can tap into this massive repository of human knowledge and quickly and easily look up a video on YouTube on how to repair the toilet and make the repair myself. Take away the Internet and I'm left to my own devices. Maybe I remember how to fix the toilet, maybe I don't.

    I've watched one or two episodes past this one and it's clear Seven seems to know and remember everything the Borg know, which just seems ridiculous to me. If anything, she should barely be able to function at all once severed from the Collective. The transition seems to be happening too easily for my tastes, but I guess I'm watching a late 90s show in 2015, when the nature and quality of television programming has changed dramatically, and I need to adjust my expectations accordingly.
  • From McCoy on 2017-08-12 at 2:13pm:
    "Star Trek: The Series of Wasted Opportunities" continues. Great premise 1 - Starfleet and Maquis on one ship. Execution - all friends after couple of days. Great premise 2 - Delta Quadrant. Execution - holodeck adventures, abducted humans, quasi-klingons, borg...
    And now the conclusion - from all characters in this show they kicking off one of two interesting (second is The Doctor). If they nedded more space for new character, why they didn't kicked off frustrating one dimensional Torres, boring Chakotay, Jar Jar Neelix or Mr. Nobody Kim? Oh, I know. I've read Kim was too beautiful to be killed...
    Really - this is beyond my understanding. I would love to see Kes growing older, maybe becoming mentor to the crew. And just before death sending Voyager back home. So much potential in her! All wasted.

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