70 – The Gift

Grade: B-

The Gift (1997) on IMDb


Voyager continues on its trajectory toward the Alpha Quadrant, with portions of its hull still using Borg technology. Seven of Nine remains in cargo bay 2, in her regeneration cycle. The Doctor revives her, and Janeway wants to make her human again. Meanwhile, Kes is rapidly developing telekinetic abilities.


Like many Voyager episodes, this one is a mixed bag: some parts are OK – perhaps even great – but other parts are much less than that. Several ideas and concepts in The Gift have been done before, but then there are a few new ideas and concepts at work here as well.

Back in 1990, there was a TNG episode in which Chad Allen portrayed a human boy who had been taken by some anti-human aliens and raised as one of them. When Captain Picard found out about his human heritage, he tried to forcefully bring him back to his human family. That episode and this one have some scenes that are virtually identical. But there’s one difference – Picard actually allowed the human boy to be returned to his adoptive family. Janeway forces Seven of Nine to join Voyager and to work toward being human again.

There is a really great scene in this episode when Seven calls Janeway a hypocrite because she really doesn’t want to allow Seven to make her own decisions. She really doesn’t want to allow Seven to decide for herself if she wants to be human again. Personally, I think Janeway is acting more like a Borg than just about anyone else we’ve ever seen, and I’m glad the writers had the guts to point this out. This isn’t the first time I’ve had the feeling that Janeway’s philosophy is “everyone will be better off when they do exactly what I say,” but at least they said it this time.

Meanwhile, Kes is inexplicably going through some kind of transformation and developing some kind of ESP. Her transformation is extreme and abrupt. We saw very few signs of this, and almost nothing since “Cold Fire” which was two seasons before. As is common with this series, life-altering events usually take place in a matter of minutes. I guess the writers don’t understand how real life works. Most decisions and changes take time to implement – not just a few seconds of dialogue.

I rated this one lower than I wanted to because ultimately, the storyline is just too predictable. It didn’t surprise me at all when Kes left the ship – it didn’t surprise me when Seven of Nine was forced to stay on the ship – and it didn’t surprise me at all when Seven of Nine’s uniform left nothing to the imagination. This is, after all, Brannon Braga’s series, and he is nothing if not predictable. And if you’ve read enough of my reviews, you could predict that I don’t like predictable stories.

Of Note

This is Jennifer Lien’s final episode as a regular cast member. Interestingly, the episode “Cold Fire” was also written as a possible jumping-off point for the character, but she ultimately stayed with the series for two more seasons after that.