With Seven’s full title as Seven of Nine Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, Have you ever wondered who the others in Unimatrix 01 were? Well, ask no longer, we finally meat the others of Unimatrix 01 in the episode that was originally broadcast on September 29, 1999. This is Survival Instinct.
Captain’s Log Stardate 53049.2 Survival Instinct
Seven of Nine comes face to face with her past when some familiar drones arrive asking for help.
Starting with a flashback of Seven of Nine and several other drones crash landing on a planet, we find that she and three others are the only survivors and they have been separated from the Collective as a whole.
Voyager is visiting an outpost to pickup supplies and conduct a cultural exchange event aboard the ship. With the crew on shorleave, Janeway has her hands full with tons of visitors aboard the ship. Meanwhile Seven and Naomi go to lunch together only to find that the mess hall is quite crowded. After they get their food, Seven is shocked when a stranger approaches them asking if she is Seven of Nine. Presenting her with a box of old Borg parts, he leaves the dismayed Seven as she recognizes them from her former unimatrix. Watching from around the corner, the old man contacts others mentally informing them that Stage Two is complete.
Seven and the others begin working on a way to get home but the others begin remembering their past. Seven reminds them that they are not individuals and should not think of themselves as such.
On Voyager Seven and B’Elanna begin studying the parts she recieved. As they work on them the three mentally linked people (who happen to look like the drones in the flashbacks), decide that they need to act soon. Just as Seven goes into her sleep cycle they act, breaking into Seven’s cargo bay, they begin working on a device that will ‘help them to become individuals’. Just as they access Seven’s memory files they are stopped when Tuvok is notified of a security breach and responds by stunning the intruders.
The other drones begin to remember who they were before being assimilated. Identifying themselves as Lansor, P’Chan and Marika Wilkarah, the three are shocked when they realize how far they have been changed from their former selves. Seven, who has few memories of her past, becomes terrified of her own individuality and instructs the others not to speak until they have been re-assimilated.
With the Drones in Sickbay, Seven comes to recognize them as some of her former Borg-mates, namely Two of Nine, Four of Nine and Three of Nine. The Doctor notes that their removal from the Borg has been done horribly leaving scars and internal damage, however they are all three connected via interlink nodes that functions as a version of a hive mind. Waking them, Janeway demands answers.
The three explain their situation and that, as they are linked they are unable to leave one another and believe that Seven is still carrying the memories of how they can sever their link. Having escaped the Borg, they tracked down Seven to retrieve these memories and need her help. Seven does not remember the specifics but agrees to allow them access to her files if they think it will help.
Digging up the files, they soon discover that there is a gap in the memories which seems to be where this information is stored. Unable to find this gap in the files, they soon realize that Seven may need to link with the mini-collective in order to help them remember. It is dangerous as Seven herself may end up trapped in this collective, but she is determined to help them as Janeway once helped her.
Seven, determined to get back to the Collective, finds that the other drones are becoming less and less useful due to their individuality. Deciding that she needs to fix the issue when they begin claiming that they plan to leave the collective, Seven re-assimilates them all and links them into a smaller collective.
Seven awakens to find the others upset that it was in fact Seven who created the link. Seven cries for help when she is overwhelmed by their mental barrage and the three collapse upon Tuvok’s arrival. Getting them to Sickbay, the Doctor finds that they have gone into a neural shock due to the premature link breakage. The Doctor informs her that he can revive them but it would likely kill them in a month at least. His other option, return them to the Borg. As their only living ‘relative’ the Doctor asks Seven for her input and she asks for some time to talk.
Visiting Chakotay, she asks about his brief experience n his own small collective. After explaining the situation to him, Chakotay asks Seven what would she choose, to live as an individual for a month or as a drone for a lifetime. She decides that the Doctor should remove the nodes.
The Doctor refuses to do so as it would mean their death but she convinces him using his own freedom as an example. If he had to choose to be confined to sickbay again, would he willingly let himself be? He finally agrees and frees the three from their psychic bond.
The three part ways after telling Seven how they feel about her, two forgive her, one doesn’t but understands, and Seven is left to her own thoughts. With Voyager back underway, Naomi joins her Borg-Friend in astrometrics where Seven finds herself appreciating the company.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
I love a good Seven of Nine episode and this one is certainly just that.
While we already know of Seven’s pre-Borg days aboard the Raven, we really haven’t had a chance to see much of Seven’s time as a Borg. This makes sense as I am sure much of her experience was basic and rather boring tasks like recalibrating some random part or assisting in the assimilation of a species but still, this part of her life is rather mysterious. So, when we finally get a chance to see Borgified Seven in action, this not only fills in the blanks of her past but also gives her some much needed additional depth.
Seeing Seven in action as a Borg Drone, it is really no surprise that she was essentially ‘Pro-Borg’ having practically been raised by the collective itself. What little memories she has is that of being a child and were mostly linked to fear and uncertainty. So, with this in mind, the Borg Collective never had a concern that she would try to regain her individuality. However, what would the Borg version of Seven do if others were to begin remembering their own past? Well, she would try to bring a sense of normalcy to her life by returning to the thing she remembers most, being a Borg.
That being said, this experience gives seven a chance to further make amends for her time as a Borg Drone. We have already seen this once before when Seven was forced to relive the memories of some of those she assimilated but she has never had to come face to face with others she once worked with and was responsible for returning to the Borg. The cool thing is, even before knowing that she was indeed responsible for the three’s condition, Seven is ready and willing to help in any way she can. This alone shows just how far Seven has come since her removal from the Collective, she has finally become a responsible selfless individual who can see beyond her own self. This event serves as almost a foreshadowing of something that is to come this season that will have lasting ramifications on Seven’s life. In fact, the events to come will have lasting effects on Seven’s life well into her latest appearance on Picard, but that is getting ahead of ourselves.
Overall, this is a fantastic episode that would have been a much better season premiere than what we got. In fact, this is the start to sever pretty solid episodes as Voyager enters it’s Sixth season alone on the air for the first time.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, -14 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- We learn that Seven does not like being in crowds.
- Seven and Naomi further their relationship as Seven has come to see Naomi as family.
- We see both a Voth and an Evora on the ship. I guess the Voth are finally branching out from their Dino friends but the Evora is shocking as they live in the Alpha Quadrant. Could Voyager have been this close to a way back home without even knowing it?!
- Harry and Paris get into a fight over a strange game of Tennis. They won though so it’s okay.
- Former Borg Marika Wilkarah is a Bajoran who served on the USS Titan. Although Marika remained aboard Voyager for the last of her days, we never see nor hear from her again.
- Janeway gets a plant that tries to eat her hair. We never see it again but I have a feeling it may have ended up as part of one of Neelix’s dishes.
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: Barge of the Dead
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Late To The Game 1/4/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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