My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E2 The Gift.
It’s interesting to see Seven adamantly determined to return to the Collective. This might have built some suspense, but everyone knew Jeri Ryan was joining the cast and Jennifer Lien was leaving. If not, the credits give it away.
(Directed by Anson Williams?! Potsie Webber? IMDB says yes.)
This episode has two parallel threads. Kes’ waxing mental powers, and Seven’s waning Borgness. In particular, Kes’ arc couldn’t be explored until she was leaving the show. Too powerful, she’d obviate the rest of the crew. She’d either solve everything or they’d need some contrivance as to why she couldn’t. Instead, we get a contrivance that gets Kes off the ship, thick with mysticism & technobabble, but still somewhat entertaining.
Meanwhile, Seven is made more human against her will and the show explores the grey area between consent and competence. It walks that line fairly well. It’s a powerful scene when Seven starts to process her individuality and starts using singular pronouns.
The visuals are a nice touch as well. We can see Seven becoming more human, not just with the removal of the Borg tech but through subtler things like changes in skin tone. The two threads weave together. As one character becomes more a part of the crew, the other less. As one comes into herself the other loses her identity. One has choices the other has none.
It’s a bookkeeping episode that does what it needs to do, namely manage the cast changes, but it’s better than that. This is a well-thought-out episode that is ultimately pretty satisfying. I’m glad Kes didn’t just disappear to Mandyville.