Mark Watches ‘Voyager’: S06E26 – Unimatrix Zero, Part I

In the twenty-sixth and final episode of the sixth season of Voyager, Janeway comes up with her most ambitious plan yet. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

“Ambitious” really is the only word I can think of that properly conveys the scope of this plan, y’all. It’s also something that feels appropriate because… well, what can you do with the Borg from this point on? For the most part, they have not played the same part in Star Trek as they once have. You could argue that they’re one of the biggest antagonists in Voyager, but after their last appearance, I wasn’t sure if we’d see them in any significant way. Sure, there was “Collective,” but did the Borg even know that four of their own were liberated? I figured that the use of the transwarp coil thing (I KNOW WORDS) meant that Voyager had put a huge distance between themselves and the bulk of the Borg. That’s not quite true, given that the Borg are still spread all over the quadrant.

Regardless, it meant that Janeway igniting a possible civil war amidst the Borg WASN’T EVEN A THEORY IN MY MIND. Early in the video for “Unimatrix Zero, Part I,” I wondered how Voyager would get involved with this beyond the obvious. They could assist Seven in protecting Unimatrix so that certain Borg drones would have access to it, but it still didn’t feel big enough. (And certainly not important enough for a season finale.) So leave it up to eternal Slytherin Janeway to come up with a way to use this unique phenomenon to a greater advantage. For a long while, Janeway has believed that liberation of Borg drones was a reality, and Seven is clear evidence of that. Unimatrix Zero is further evidence that even in their “natural” state, Borg drones can still experience some form of individuality. Due to a rare recessive gene, Unimatrix Zero exists, but only while drones are regenerating or in maturation chambers. Janeway’s plan, however, is to pull this individuality into the real world. Why?

BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO CREATE AN HONEST-TO-GODS REVOLUTION IN THE WORLD OF THE BORG. The act of creating a bunch of drones who are aware of their individuality when they are conscious is a huge deal, and the sheer potential excites me. (Which makes me think that there might be multiple episodes in season seven regarding a Borg civil war.) I say that because HERE ARE THE THINGS THAT HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED.

  • Seven remembered her past in Unimatrix Zero. Not all of it, mind you, but enough to piece together that she had experimented with individuality long before Voyager showed up. Not only that, but she had a romance with another drone! Like, think about what this means for all these drones. How many of them were able to cope with their predicament through this thing? How many of them developed friendships and romances over the years?
  • THE MIND BRIDGE THAT TUVOK DID WAS AMAZING AND I DON’T CARE IF THE WRITERS PULLED IT OUT OF NOWHERE. Y’all, Janeway got to go into Unimatrix Zero, which is why she felt it was important enough to not only save the place, but use it for other means. This most likely would not have happened if Tuvok had not provided her with the means to see this world.
  • This whole arc means more of Susannah Thompson as the Borg Queen, and that is always a good thing. The cat-and-mouse game that she’s going to play with Janeway… oh my god. It has begun already, and what we see here is so creepy and terrifying. SHE IS SUCH A GREAT VILLAIN.

But I keep coming back to the potential. It’s what makes this worthy of being a cliffhanger instead of just a ploy for the end of the season. As Janeway began to execute her plan to infiltrate the Borg cube, I had this quiet doubt building in me. It seemed so obvious. Not only that, but as I watched them board the cube, I felt like Janeway had seriously misjudged her ability. She couldn’t actually think she’d get past all those Borg and then get past all the security measures AND get off the ship unscathed, right? I started to worry: was the show writing her as foolish and reckless just to bring us to that awful cliffhanger?

However, there’s an incredible moment that almost slipped by me in that final sequence. Right after the Doctor says that the lifesigns of the three away team members are failing, Chakotay remarks that the plan is working. AND THEN VOYAGER BOLTS AND LEAVES THEM BEHIND. It was then that I realized that Janeway wanted the Borg Queen to believe that she was messing up. Why?

So that the next part of her plan would work.

I’ll save most of the theorizing for Monday’s prediction post, but that final scene was both horrifying and thrilling. It was so disturbing to see B’Elanna, Tuvok, and Janeway as Borg drones, but they all willingly got assimilated. THEY’RE GONNA TAKE DOWN THE BORG NEXT SEASON, AREN’T THEY? Oh, this was such a great choice, and I cannot wait to see the execution of this plan.

The video for “Unimatrix Zero, Part I” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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