Countdown to “Star Trek: Picard”: Reconsidering “Unimatrix Zero” [OPINION]
We’ve made it to the final “episode“of our “Countdown to Star Trek: Picard“: our recommending viewing before the premiere of the CBS All Access series on January 23rd. Since Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg became less ominous and more vulnerable by the time of Voyager. Most of the stories provided more depth into the Collective with the introduction of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). While reluctantly freed after having gotten accustomed to life as a Borg, Seven eventually embraced her individuality.
“Star Trek: Voyager” Season Six – “Unimatrix Zero”
Many of the episodes surrounding the Borg in Voyager didn’t break new ground. Species 8742 was self-contained within the series as they existed in the Delta Quadrant. There are some nuances since she’s a Borg member of the crew. Since Star Trek: Picard involves former Borg, the episode I pick from Voyager is the season six cliffhanger “Unimatrix Zero.”
Going into the final season, Seven discovers a hidden sanctuary within the Collective that allows a few to roam free subconsciously. Despite Captain Kathryn Janeway’s (Kate Mulgrew) plot to introduce a backdoor crippling pathogen through Unimatrix Zero, the episode offers a window of the lives of the beings before assimilation.
When it comes to fiction, it’s easy to dismiss the enemy – especially when they all share the same face. The Borg all share similar characteristics when assimilated. In Unimatrix Zero, the audiences get to see them before the Collective enslaved them to do their bidding. As Star Trek fans, we grew accustomed to those externally trying to understand humanity.
Trying to Understand Humanity Existentially
Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in TOS is a mixed-race human/Vulcan tries to understand his human side while choosing to live life as a Vulcan. Data (Brent Spiner) in TNG is an android who aspires to be more like his organic peers. Seven, once assimilated as a child, tries to relearn how to be human as an adult woman.
The line between embracing identity is one of the most common themes in the Star Trek franchise. In Picard, we see three former Borg in Picard, Seven and Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco) and how they coped with life since their time in the Collective with the help of Starfleet. From the previews, we know Picard has to carry on his journey without the support of the Federation. Despite her time in Starfleet, Seven blames the Federation on what’s transpired since leaving Voyager. We don’t know much about Hugh, except he may lead a group of liberated Borg perhaps better than when he did in the TNG episode “Descent”.
When it comes to the Romulans, it’s hard to justify Trek canon after what has been done to them in the events of Nemesis (2002) and Star Trek (2009). A once proud warrior race is reduced to nothing. All that remains is perhaps millions of displaced refugees.
There’s our list of recommended “further reading” before Star Trek: Picard. – premiering on CBS All Accees on January 23.
About Tom Chang
I'm a gamer, sci-fi and fantasy fan. film and TV snob. I love to write and read the classics. Anything you want to talk about, I'm here to entertain or at least pretend to be interested.