A small team, including Seven of Nine and Doctor, is returning from a mission. Due to a transporter malfunction, Doctor’s emitter starts failing. B’Elanna takes the emitter to the science lab for repairs. Soon it is revealed that during the malfunction, Seven of Nine and Doctor’s patterns briefly merged. The emitter has gained some of her Borg nanoprobes and starts assimilating the ship’s equipment.
The crew discovers a borg maturation chamber with a rapidly growing Borg drone. This is the first time Seven sees something like this, as the Borg assimilate living beings and don’t reproduce. Jenway has yet another moral dilemma - as Doctor’s emitter is based on 29th-century tech, it would doom the galaxy if it fell in Borg’s hands. But, on the other hand, the drone has not connected with the collective and may learn human customs and ways. She goes with the latter, and Seven is tasked with teaching the new drone. It all goes well until the drone accidentally connects with the collective.
Voyager faces the Borg. Drone decides to help mankind. It transports to the Borg ship, takes over control, and flies into a nearby nebula. The Borg ship is destroyed.
The crew detects a life sign and finds One, as the drone named itself. It is imminently transported to sickbay but refuses treatment. Borg know of its existence and will pursue Voyager in order to assimilate One’s technology.
The episode ends with One’s passing away.
Whenever Borg shows, one can be assured that the episode will touch on the individual vs. collective dilemma. Is giving up one’s freedom in order to help a collective a good thing? Star Trek is often called “commies in space,” as Starfleet is already very much a collective. People don’t work for themselves but instead for the betterment of mankind. Even in DS9, when we see the earth that still has money, everyone still works for the greater good of society. But at the same time, people are free to pursue the betterment of themselves - primarily via art, but sometimes by trying to sleep with every species in the galaxy (hello Kirk!).
The Borg, however, takes the collective to the extreme. An individual only serves the Borg, so it has no needs and wants. They are drones. This is why Borg are scary as hell - they are anti-humanity.
As for the episode, it was ok. We’ve already seen a Borg drone emancipated (I, Borg from TNG and Seven of Nine from Voyager). As a whole, I was reminded of an episode of Startrek SG-1 where they encounter an ancient library just before it is destroyed. What ifs are much more interesting than what happened. What if One joined the crew? Its technology would strongly empower Voyager. It could even change the balance of power in the region. Maybe Jenway would change her haircut again? Perhaps they would be able to replicate some clothes for Seven that are not two sizes too small? We will never know as the next episode will return to a world without One. It won’t even be mentioned again.
It’s a shame, as One was cool.
Oh yeah, a lot better than last time. We have Doctor interacting with B’Elanna, which is always a treat. Very much a huge plus here!