In the third episode of the fourth season of Voyager, Seven of Nine adjusts while B’Elanna has the worst day imaginable. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
SEASON FOUR IS GREAT, LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
Seven of Nine
YES YES YES YES TO EVERYTHING ABOUT HER CHARACTER AND HER STORY AND… I don’t know how I feel about her outfit, though. It’s a little strange. Why wouldn’t she get a normal Starfleet uniform? That’s weird. ANYWAY. Star Trek has had a number of characters throughout it’s run who act as a commentary on humanity simply by positioning those characters outside of humanity. There’s Spock, Data, Odo, Worf, and then… well, it’s complicated for Voyager. Neelix, Kes, Vorik, Tuvok, and B’Elanna is half Klingon. But this show never felt like it was specifically re-creating this dynamic over again, not in any overarching way.
With Seven of Nine, Voyager has found a new twist: a human changed into another “species” and learning what it means to be human once more. Jeri Taylor’s script is full of consistency, too. We watch Seven struggle with human concepts that she doesn’t understand, such as sharing. Individualism. Banter. Bickering. Mistrust. Suspicion. Each of these are met with a sort of detached confusion. Why do humans do all of these silly things??? But there’s another layer to it all: the people of Voyager – Janeway included – don’t have a good reason to trust Seven, especially not after she tried to contact the Borg in the last episode. Well, she also was a Borg drone, and the arrival of the Caatati makes everything a billion times more uncomfortable. Maybe Seven herself was not there when the Caatati were brutalized and murdered, but she was still part of the collective, and as a part of said group, she certainly did not stop the genocide of the Caatati people.
So what can she do? There’s no personal guilt or regret that she can express, in part because she hasn’t expressed those emotions in 18 years. Can she provide closure to the Caatati? Perhaps, and after Tom offers to help her integrate into the crew, she realizes there is a value in acts of kindness. I’d argue that Seven’s transformation is subtle and quiet in this episode instead of something bombastic and larger than life, and I appreciate that. She has a lot to learn about what’s happening to her body, first of all, and even that is dealt with in passing. Like… she has not eaten food or drank liquid in EIGHTEEN YEARS. But if she’s going to find a way to be a part of Voyager, it has to be slow, one lesson at a time, one change at a time. It can’t happen overnight. So I found “Day of Honor” satisfying because of the commitment to taking Seven of Nine on this journey at a slower pace.
Well, I also liked it because of
GOD, THIS IS SO GREAT. First of all, let’s just acknowledge that I cannot think of a more horrendous example of a Worst Day Ever. Like, there’s a moment towards the end of “Day of Honor” where I thought, “Floating in space with just minutes of oxygen left… yeah, this is the worst day on record in all of fiction.” Yet this framework is not the main element of B’Elanna’s story; it might serve as a way to comment on her emotional state or her frustration, sure! I’d be perfectly fine with a reading of this all as a metaphor for B’Elanna’s desire to push Tom away because of how he makes her feel. And yet, even if that’s the case, Tom is still there, by her side. She can have the worst day, and Tom still doesn’t give up.
Obviously, there’s more to it than that. Tom’s not my favorite character on this show, but there is a chemistry between him and B’Elanna, one that’s been hinted at and confirmed at various points along the way. Still, I expected this episode to mainly focus on B’Elanna completing her Day of Honor ritual. Instead, as B’Elanna’s day gets increasingly worse, she lashes out at Tom. She finds a friend in Neelix, who offers catharsis to her when she needs it. And then, when she’s far from her home on Voyager, when her Terrible, horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day turns into The Actual Worst, she is faced with her own mortality. Now, this is a super old romance trope, and I don’t care. When it appears in fanfic, I EAT IT RIGHT UP. It’s that whole thing of bringing characters close to their death and having them confess their love for one another, and yet? While this technically qualifies for it, it still doesn’t feel the same. Why?
Because it’s all tied into B’Elanna’s perception of herself. For her whole life, she’s struggled with her humanity. (Ah, the parallels between her and Seven of Nine. SO GREAT.) She believes that she has been a coward. For running from her heritage. From trying to avoid being hurt, both in her career and her personal life. And for knowing the truth about her feelings for Tom but being too scared to admit them out loud.
EXCEPT SHE DOES AND THEY HOLD ONE ANOTHER IN THE VAST BLACK EXPANSE OF SPACE AND FALL ASLEEP IN ONE ANOTHER’S ARM. There’s nothing quite as romantic as DEATH, y’all. And goddamn, season 4 of this show is off to such a great start!
The video for “Day of Honor” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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