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Star trek: Voyager 5.04a - Infinite regress

Stardate 52356.2 (-8 days)
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

Encountering the wreckage of a Borg vessel, Voyager picks up its vinculum, a piece of technology which attempts to re-assimilate Seven of nine (Jeri Ryan), causing personalities from other assimilated victims to possess her uncontrollably. Seven's only hope of survival lies with an being race intent on destroying Voyager...

Persons of interest

  • Kate Mulgrew .... Captain Kathryn Janeway
  • Robert Beltran .... Commander Chakotay
  • Roxann Dawson .... Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
  • Robert Duncan McNeill .... Lieutenant Tom Paris
  • Robert Picardo .... the Emergency Medical Hologram
  • Ethan Phillips .... Neelix
  • Tim Russ .... Lieutenant Tuvok
  • Jeri Ryan .... Seven of nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix 01
  • Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
  • Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
  • Scarlett Pomers .... Naomi Wildman
  • Neil Maffin .... Species 6339 representative Ven
  • Erica Mer .... Meryl
  • Robert J Doherty .... Screenwriter
  • Jimmy Diggs .... Screenwriter
  • David Livingston .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Schizo Seven (as if she was particularly sane to begin with).

Meet the Vinculum, the Borg equivalent of a Pentium III. It brings order to chaos, sifting the thoughts of the drones which make up its collective within a collective and blending them into the voice which strikes fear into the hearts of sentient beings in three quadrants.

"We are Borg. Prepare to be assimilated. Resistance is futile..."

A purely mechanical device, the vinculum is able to re-assimilate errant drones which might just happen to wander past in UFP starships. Seven of nine, being the only ex-Borg that happens to be on a nearby UFP starship, is re-connected to the collective before she can say "Resistance is not acceptable" (Telstra take note: four weeks to get a phone line is... unacceptable).

Just as the Borg Queen is one who is many, Seven is also one who is many (or should that be seven who are many?) Anyhoo, all the many who are inside the one (don't their needs outweigh the needs of the few, or the one?) decide it's playtime and come pouring out of the handy but not always friendly implants in Seven's head. "Hello, I'm a Klingon and I want to mate with B'Elanna Torres" (hoo child, that'd be some fanfic). "Hello, I'm a Ferengi and I want to buy your widescreen Astrometric Theatre System with surround sound and fully integrated cable modem internet connection..."

Once more, Jeri Ryan goes off, switching personalities like a couch potato changes channels. She's awesome. What an actor. Tim Russ also does a bang up job in initiating a mind meld with the overwhelmed Seven to give her the strength to find herself (shades of Kes). Vinculum cam is wild: inside the meld with Tuvok and Seven is chaos, anger, fear, desperation, torment. It's like a journey to the seven Hells (or is that Seven of the nine Hells?)

Species 6339's plan to destroy the Borg (talk about positive thinking!) with a techno-virus echoes Picard's plan to use Hugh's new-found individuality (see I, Borg), but has a much greater chance of succeeding. The races of the Delta Quadrant have had a much harder time of things than the UFP (just ask Arturis) and their desperation has lead to greater invention. Living with the all-assimilating Borg collective in your back yard is bound to make you nervous.

While the vinculum is something of a daemon ex machina (and doesn't look particularly Borg, either) this is still a damned good episode: funny, poignant, scary and violent. Definitely worth a watch.

Security censorship classification

PG (Low level violence, adult themes)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 8 April 1999

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Fetters, as in hand cuffs, manacles, chains, etc., from the Latin meaning bond, from vincire meaning bind.

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I wonder what would happen if the Borg tried to assimilate a Founder. Do Founders have cells to which nanoprobes can attach themselves? If so, could a founder simply adjust the cell so that the probe couldn't assimilate it? And the Great Link, is that a parallel to the collective unconscious of the Borg (no pun intended)? Which voice would speak the loudest, I wonder...

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Daemon ex machina

The normal expression is deus ex machina, meaning "god from a machine" (to a Trekkie: technobabble!). It is a formal plot device in Ancient Greek plays whence a god would descend from Heaven in thunder and lightning and bring order to chaos. The actor playing the god did the descending via the machina. Daemon is, as you would imagine, demon, so the phrase means demon from a machine (to a Trekkie: technobabble!). Demons bring chaos to the world, so there is great irony in the vinculum, a bringer of order, becoming a bringer of disorder. I certainly am clever, aren't I?

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