68 – Scorpion, Part 1

Grade: B+

Scorpion (1997) on IMDb


Two Borg cubes appear on screen and are suddenly destroyed by some kind of energy weapon. Meanwhile, Janeway is wasting time on the Holodeck, conversing with Leonardo DaVinci. Voyager’s crew then suddenly discovers they’re entering Borg space. And yet they may have a safe passage through their space where there are no Borg planets. They intend to go through this area to the other side of Borg territory.


Well, we knew it wouldn’t be too much longer after we first saw the Borg before they’d make a full episode about them. In this installment, the Borg are threatened by some other alien species that is even more powerful than they are. It’s a pretty scary thought that there are aliens that can destroy Borg cubes and can resist assimilation.

Most people will probably like the battle scenes and the tension the most. Both of those aspects of this episode are done extremely well Рespecially for this particular series which has rarely risen above the mundane and clich̩. The scenes when Kim, Tuvok and Chakotay are wandering around the Borg Cube are quite creepy and unsettling.

For me, however, the very best parts of this episode take place when Chakotay and Janeway are discussing strategy and the Captain’s decisions. Though we really haven’t seen very much of this in this series so far, Chakotay has apparently become Janeway’s most trusted advisor. In today’s episode, Chakotay expresses his disagreement with her decision, and backs it up by correctly pointing out that if he always agreed with her, he wouldn’t be doing his job very well. I think it says a lot about Janeway’s character that she not only becomes offended and insulted by his refusal to simply back down and go along with her decision, but she also runs off to the Holodeck to get support from a computer representation of Leonardo DaVinci. Janeway is not a captain that I would want to work for. She would much rather talk to computer simulations of real people than deal with dissenting opinions. I wonder how Janeway ever became a captain in Starfleet without being able to handle differences of opinion.

Regardless of what I would have done in Janeway’s position or what I think of Chakotay’s ideas, I still believe this is a really great episode. As of right now, this moves up to #4 on my list of Voyager episodes. Time will tell where exactly this ends up, but the grade will stay the same at a B+. These character-defining scenes really make the difference here.

But even though there were a lot of really great scenes in this episode, and even though there is a great deal of material to like here, I still think it could have been a little bit better. For one thing, it bothers me that we’re only 3 years into this supposedly 70-year long trip back to Earth, and here we are meeting up with the Borg. Remember, these aliens are actually close enough to the Alpha Quadrant to have had a lot of contact with the Federation over the past several years. If the galaxy really is as big as Star Trek wants us to think it is, then the Borg empire stretches out over almost the entire Delta Quadrant. How could an empire that large even function? How could it be possible for the Borg to have a single “hive mind” for an empire that stretches 60,000 light years? OK, so maybe I’m nit-picking here, but I actually believe the reason the Borg are here is because Voyager just wasn’t getting the ratings the producers wanted it to have. Adding the Borg (and artificially-enhanced Seven of Nine) was a completely inorganic and unrealistic plot development, designed to distract most viewers from the fact that there really is no storyline here in this series. Sorry, I don’t mean to be harsh on this series, but that’s how it appears to me.

In my opinion, it would have been better if the producers could have held off for a couple more years before bringing the Borg into the picture, or at least if they had found a way to get Voyager a lot closer to home first before giving us Borg episodes. But then, that would have negated the need to be in the Delta Quadrant in the first place. After all, the Borg were all over the place in the Next Generation, and it seemed as if Voyager was supposed to give us new adventures, new aliens and new storylines. Oh, wait, I think I just made my own point again.

Of Note

I wasn’t that impressed by the CGI aliens, actually. Maybe I was more impressed when I first saw this episode 15+ years ago. I did think they looked much more realistic than the macroviruses, which were a joke even back when that episode was first shown on TV.

The two-part episode “Year of Hell” was supposed to be the season finale for this season, but when they decided to replace Kes with Seven, they switched up the order of the episodes. Honestly, I wish they had kept to their original plan.

Last thing: In this episode, Tuvok says the Breen use organic ships. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that before, but it was an interesting note.