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Star trek: Voyager 6.01b - Survival instinct

Stardate around 45000 and 53049.2
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

Voyager is docked at a Markonian Outpost. Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) announces to the crew that the doors have been opened for anyone to visit. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Naomi (Scarlett Pomers) go to lunch together in the Mess Hall where they are surrounded by numerous alien visitors.

A man (Tim Kelleher as Four of nine) approaches Seven of Nine and puts his briefcase-sized container on a table. When Seven of Nine notices the Borg equipment, she bolts up. Suddenly, Seven of Nine begins to experience memory flashbacks from her past as a Borg.

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
  • Tim Kelleher .... Four of nine
  • Scarlett Pomers .... Naomi
  • Vaughn Armstrong .... Two of nine
  • Bertila Damas .... Three of nine
  • Jonathan Breck .... the dying Borg
  • Ron Moore .... Screenwriter
  • Terry Windell .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Not what you'd expect to see.

After all your Season Four and Five complaints about "here's another Seven episode", Voyager has gotten over it and presents a story which is based on Seven but in which she is not the major character. For once, the guest cast have as much to do as any of the permanent cast. Yay!

Survival instinct is a glimpse into the life of the Borg, not at the top of the food chain but at the bottom. There is no Queen, no Locutus, just a bunch of numerological adjuncts trying to live life as best they can. The scenes on Planet 1865 Alpha where the Unimatrix 01 drones crash are awesome (from an anthropological point of view). Consensus, command overrides, assimilation and dis-unity: what more could a Trekkie ask for?

Well, how about a bunch of xenophiles? As Chakotay says, "After all the Delta Quadrant xenophobes [they've] encountered it's good to see a few smiling faces". There's room here for a level of fun that Voyager has lacked since the first season. Tom and Harry can get into a surprise punch up in a bar and the Captain is more concerned about whether they kicked alien booty than breaches of Protocol. My favourite part is when they turn to see the Kinbori racquet. It's a set up but it's damned funny. In a way it's like being back on the Original USS Enterprise: real alcohol, cowboy diplomacy, free love et al. Likewise, Chakotay and Janeway are relaxed enough to do some light-hearted banter, a far cry from their passioned arguments of Equinox II. Maybe it's the hustle and bustle of a busy, well-lit ship in a safe haven - whatever, it's good to see this sort of thing again.

Is Survival instinct a good episode? No doubt about it. The cultural and ethical dilemma created when the Unimatrix 01 triad seek help from Seven is Star trek at its best: lots of bad solutions and not enough good ones. The guest Borg are all excellent in differentiating their various states (Borg drone, psycho-drone, triad drone and individual) while Scarlett and Jeri are developing an onscreen relationship that is not only human but honest. Sure, Naomi is a bright kid but she's no Wesley "throw me out the nearest airlock" Crusher.

It's funny, it's forthright and it's final. This is good Trek.

Security censorship classification

PG (Medium level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 11 February 2000

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