Holodeck addiction and a ship in danger, no, it’s not Lt Barclay this time…. Originally broadcast on March 7, 2001 this is Human Error.
Captain’s Log Stardate Undetermined: Human Error
Seven of Nine explores her social side through recreations of the crew on the holodeck only to find herself more attracted to the fantasy than the reality. Voyager also finds itself in danger when it winds up on a bombing range.
An implant free Seven of Nine attends the baby shower of Tom and B’Elanna. There she discusses her decision to have her implants removed with the Captain and is soon granted a uniform and Quarters of her own. Seven proposes a toast to the child of Paris and Torres only to be called by Janeway from the Bridge to report to astrometrics. She ends the holo-program and heads to work revealing that all her implants are still present.
In astrometrics, Janeway is concerned about the discharges in the space they are heading into and Seven agrees to monitor the situation. In the mean time The Captain asks that Tuvok and Seven attend the baby shower they are planning for B’Elanna and Seven agrees to consider attending. Instead of going, she instead goes back to the holodeck where she continues her fantasy. There she has taken her new quarters and begins a romantic relationship with a holographic Chakotay.
When going through a checkup, the Doctor notices that she is not as healthy as normal as she has missed some of her regeneration cycles. Seven assures him that she is fine and asks him to stay out of her personal life. Things take a turn when the ship shakes as Voyager narrowly misses being hit by a bomb blast in space. Reporting to astrometrics, Seven ascertains that they are being bombarded by long range warheads and, although they are not targeting Voyager itself, the radiation from them will prevent the ship from going to warp. Seven devises a way to detect one of the missiles prior to it exploding so that Voyager can get through safely.
Afterwards, although the Doctor orders Seven to regenerate, she goes back to the Holodeck to continue her fictional life. There she continues her relationship with Chakotay. She wakes the next morning in bed with Chakotay with the real Chakotay asking her to report to astrometrics. Real Chakotay is concerned for her unusual tardiness but is assured it is nothing. She soon finds herself back in the holodeck upsetting the real Chakotay and Janeway that she is not at her post when the ship is rocked by another detonation. After the ‘attack’ Janeway questions Seven about her dereliction of duty and why Seven has been spending so much time in the holodeck. Seven lies that she has been developing a new gravimetric array in the holodeck but Janeway calls her bluff when she asks to assist her once they get past this current situation they are in.
Back in the holodeck Seven tries to break up with holographic Chakotay and suddenly finds herself in pain. After she collapses on the floor, the Doctor arrives to find that Seven’s cortical node is shutting down. Taking her to sickbay Seven is revived and finally admits that she has been exploring her social side on the holodeck ever since her experience in Unimatrix Zero. He understands her intentions and encourages her to continue her research as long as she remembers to attend to her health and duty as well.
Harry Kim and B’Elanna finally get the warp engines back online and just as the ship heads out another warhead fires toward them attracted to their warp field. They attempt to disable it with photon torpedoes but nothing works. Seven identifies the warheads frequency and Tuvok uses this information to disable the warhead allowing Seven time to beam out the warheads detonator.
After the crisis, Seven learns that her issues with her Cortical Node were not a malfunction, but a Borg failsafe to prevent her from being too emotional. The Doctor offers to reconfigure her brain so that she can continue on her road to humanity but she turns him down citing that she does not have time for fantasies any longer. The Doctor assures her that one day they will be able to remove her implants, for now she will have to adapt. She heads off to work only to be stopped by the real Chakotay who asks if she wants to attend a cooking lesson with him. She turns him down but, for a moment, considers it.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
As a episode that dives deeply into Seven of Nine’s emotional growth, Human Error does a tremendous job showing us the struggles that this former drone goes through on a daily basis. Having never really had the opportunity to experience social interaction as a Borg, Seven is sure to undergo a plethora of emotion the likes she has never encountered. Sure, we have seen her fall in love and even cry a few times but she hasn’t really explored her feelings as it pertains to her crewmates. Or at least that we knew about.
Much like Lt Barclay in STNG, it seems Seven has fallen prey to the comfort of the holodeck and its ability to replace reality with something more fulfilling. While this isn’t quite holo-addiction it is bordering close to it for the former drone as she finds herself drawn to it over her normal life. I mean, who wouldn’t find a certain comfort in a fictional universe where you can literally live any life you want.
One aspect that this episode touches on is Seven’s desire to no longer be Borg. The fact that part of her fiction involves the complete removal of her cybernetics is very telling in the development of her character. Here is a person who values efficiency above most but wishes to remove items that enhance this efficiency in order to be more human. It is a subtle thing, something seen and brought up briefly in conversation, but just the simple act of masking her implants in a holo-program is significant. She even asks B’Elanna for advice on hair styles indicating an innate desire to simply be ‘normal’. It is both touching and sad knowing that she feels she can not show this side of her to her friends and family aboard the ship. Such is the lonely life of Seven of Nine and a hint of why she became the damaged person she became in Star Trek Picard.
Overall, This is an excellent character study episode giving us a much deeper glimpse into the mind and emotions of the ship’s resident Borg. While it is not an action packed adventure, it really didn’t need to be as it had enough internal conflict to touch on.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 4 photon torpedoes fired, -28 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -6 remaining
- We never find out who was using that region of space for a firing range
- I have to wonder if Janeway and Chakotay ever find out about Seven’s holodeck fantasy
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: Q2
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Late To The Game 4/7/2021
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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