Alien vs Predator Hirogen vs Species 8472 in the episode that originally aired on February 18, 1998, this is Prey.
Captain’s Log Stardate 51652.3 Prey
Voyager helps a young Hirogen hunter as he attempts to track down his prey…an old enemy of Voyagers…
After a Hirogen hunting party confronts an alien being in what seems like a successful hunt, Voyager comes across the same Hirogen vessel with only one life-sign detected on board. Seeing this as an opportunity to mend the relationship between Voyager and the Hirogen, Janeway sends a team to the Hirogen vessel to assist. There, Chakotay and his team find a wounded Hirogen Alpha alive among a decimated crew. With the Hirogen Alpha safely on board being treated in sickbay, Janeway wonders who could be taking out this fierce race of hunters and why. Unknown to her the answer is crawling on Voyagers hull in the form of Species 8472.
With the Alpha-Hirogen awake, Janeway learns that the Alpha and his partner captured a resilient alien that ultimately broke free and slaughtered the crew. Janeway convinces the Alpha to accept their treatment despite his reluctance as he wishes to continue his hunt for this alien. Soon Janeway learns that additional Hirogen are heading their way causing Janeway to attempt to evade them until the Doctor can fully heal the Alpha in sickbay. Hoping to use the Alpha as a sign of good will, Janeway begins her plans only for the ship to begin having issues. It seems that something has torn its way inside, leaving blood on the hull, a blood that seems to come from Species 8472. With things going form bad to worse, Janeway gears up.
After a brief encounter in Engineering, Janeway questions Seven as to the Borg’s tactics in handling Species 8472. Seven shares what she knows but it seems this particular creature is not following the same pattern. Returning to sickbay, Janeway learns that the Alpha has been hunting this single creature for some time and he once again asks to be allowed to finish the hunt. Janeway asks Seven to alter some of the rifles to fire nanoprobes and allows the Alpha to participate as long as he agrees to not kill the alien prey. The Hirogen hunter agrees and they begin tracking the alien invader.
After a continuing battle with the creature, Tuvok connects with it physically and learns that, having been disconnected from fluidic space after the battle with the Borg, it only wants to return home as it is dying. Janeway agrees to find a way to get it back home but they soon loose contact with it as it falls unconscious due to it’s wounds. The Hirogen Alpha demands that the creature be given to him to complete the hunt but Janeway declines his wishes instead she instructs Tuvok to get Seven to assist in opening a gateway into fluidic space so that the Alien can return home. Seven, of course, believe this is a bad idea as Species 8472 is a danger to them all, and she refuses to help. Janeway confines Seven to the cargo-bay until the situation is resolved knowing that the former Borg may pose an issue.
The additional Hirogen arrive and demand that both the Alpha and the alien prey be returned to them or they will destroy Voyager. Janeway agrees to release the Alpha but indicates that the alien will remain on board. The Hirogen are not happy with this and begin their attack. Having been sedated, The Species 8472 creature begins to get restless and the Doctor asks Seven for additional nanoprobes. Seven instead frees the Hirogen Alpha allowing him to confront the alien being. She then beams them both to the attacking vessels causing them to break off their attack and leave. Unable to follow due to the warp core being offline from the attack, Janeway is upset to learn that Seven has assisted in letting the Hirogen take the alien being.
Janeway visits Seven in Cargobay 2 demanding answers and indicating that Seven has effectively killed a sentient being. Seven counters that she was responsible for saving the ship but Janeway is not there to argue. The Captain informs the former Borg that, due to her actions, Seven is to be confined to her quarters only being allowed to work in astrometrics with no additional freedoms. Seven counters that Janeway has encouraged the former Borg to assert her independence but now questions why she is being punished for doing just that. Janeway can give no answer…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While I can appreciate the Hirogen as a threat to the ship, despite what I said in the last review about them clearly being a knockoff of a certain alien species, I really feel that Voyager’s encounters with the Hirogen this season so far have been rather rushed. I get wanted to show off the shiny new alien in a series but, with this episode, we have had three encounters with this species learning only little about them, adding to the mystery of who they really are. This would be all fine and good and, while it aired, gave us the idea that this species would be a continuing threat and, possibly, a future alley for Voyager….but, on hindsight, this is one of the most wasted species in the series. Seriously, my memory of the Hirogen is of them being a much longer lasting enemy in the series but they only appear, or are even mentioned, on about seven episodes. Sure, some of those episodes, like the upcoming Killing Game story, are memorable, but not much is done with the Hirogen in the long run. Imagine Voyager returning to the Alpha Quadrant with a contingency of Hirogen ready to fight the Dominion. Now that would have been a cool twist of fate also setting up a danger of a hunter species being let loose in the Alpha Quadrant. Sadly, they only make a few appearances and are mostly forgotten by the end.
Is this a good episode though? Yeah, on it’s own it is actually pretty solid. Taking Voyager’s most recent engagement with Species 8472 combining it with a new very dangerous threat certainly gives the series some much needed action, implying a crazy threat from multiple angles. While the payoff at the end is a little lackluster, we do get a chance to really see Seven of Nine becoming more human with her attempts to save the ship by doing what she feels is best and not necessarily what Janeway wants. It is this aspect of the episode that really shines.
From Seven’s first appearance on the series, Janeway has made it her personal mission to restore some semblance of humanity to the former Borg. While this is all well and good, one thing Janeway forgot is that, by encouraging individuality, there may be some things Seven does that Janeway herself is not comfortable with. In fact, it is this revelation that really makes this episode worth while. Seven is a growing character who is starting to find her own way, so her actions to save the ship, even if it meant killing an ‘innocent’ being to do so, are not unwarranted. Janeway seems to believe that her attempts to educate Seven in the ways of humanity would include assimilating Seven to Janeway’s own moral code, despite the fact that Seven is neither a member of Star Fleet nor has ever been trained as such. This is somewhat naive of Janeway as she seems to forget that Seven would in fact have a mind of her own, learning to make her own decisions through her rehabilitation. To assume that Seven would simply fall in line seems a little narrow minded of Janeway, so for Seven to make a decision that saves the ship but is contrary to Janeway’s wishes makes for a very interesting moment in her development. Seven is indeed developing her human independence, but will she fall in line or try to find her own path….this, of course, is part of her journey that we get to see as the series progresses. It certainly makes for some great drama, making this episode well worth it.
Overall, I really dig this episode as a stand alone story. The excellent Seven of Nine development aside, with the great Tony Todd in the roll of the Alpha Hirogen, you really can’t go wrong. If you have been following my blog, you know my love for this actor and, frankly, any episode with Mr. Todd has a warm spot in my heart. It really is a solid episode, but don’t get too used to the Hirogen, they are a cool diversion that, while an obvious derivative of the Predator, don’t stick around very long. Their story is not over yet though…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 20 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -1 remaining
- Neelix is asked to join the security detail in an upcoming emergency situation. It seems Tuvok is taking the Talaxian up on his offer to cross-train.
- We see the first attempt by The Doctor to help Seven of Nine learn to be more human. This is not the last time we see this education.
- We learn that Janeway fought in the Cardassian Wars (or as Janeway put it ‘a Cardassian Border Conflict’) that took place sometime before STNG and was referenced by Chief O’Brien on multiple occasions.
- Also….this is not the last we will see of Species 8472, not surprised are you?
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Retrospect
more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Late To The Game 10/12/2020
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One thought on “Retro TV Review: Star Trek Voyager SSN 4 Episode Sixteen: Prey”
Tony Todd really breathed life into this one didn’t he? That said, I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Hirogen myself, but I do remember this episode😀 I think this season was also in all likelyhood the last season I watched from Voyager. I seriously need to get back to watching Trek…so many things I haven’t yet seen. Good thing they are all on Netflix now😀
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