(written from a Production point of view)
|VOY, Episode 4x17|
Production number: 185
First aired: 25 February 1998
|←||84th of 168 produced in VOY||→|
|←||84th of 168 released in VOY||→|
|←||507th of 728 released in all||→|
| Teleplay By|
Bryan Fuller & Lisa Klink
Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman
Jesús Salvador Treviño
Seven believes that a visiting weapons merchant assaulted her.
Captain Janeway is bargaining with Kovin, a self-interested Entharan trader, about the purchase of an isokinetic cannon. He agrees to help install it, for a fee. Despite misgivings about his attitude, Janeway agrees to have Seven of Nine work on the installation as well.
While working on it, Kovin pushes Seven out of the way. She takes offense and hits him. Kovin is unsurprisingly upset, but Seven is as well. While The Doctor is examining her, Seven has an anxiety attack. The Doctor, always eager to try out new programming, tries to uncover the cause of her distress.
After some prodding, she recalls an incident which took place on the Entharan planet. While she and Tom Paris were trying out some of Kovin's disruptors, Seven and Kovin went back to his lab to make modifications. When they got there, Kovin fired the disruptor on her. She awoke, restrained, on an examination table. Kovin and a female assistant examined her, extracted nanoprobes, injected them to another subject, and removed her memory of the incident.
The Doctor believes Seven's story completely. The rest of the crew is more hesitant (especially Tuvok) but is more sympathetic to Seven than Kovin, who responded somewhat haughtily to questioning. Kovin, though reluctant, agrees to let an Entharan magistrate assist in the examination.
The Doctor, Tuvok and the Entharan magistrate examine Kovin's laboratory in his presence. His guilt seems confirmed when they find regenerating nanoprobes. Kovin transports away, back to his ship. When Voyager tries to keep him from fleeing, Kovin disables their sensors with a photonic blast and enters warp. Voyager gives chase.
As Janeway and Tuvok discuss the situation, Tuvok believes that their investigation has been impartial, but Janeway admits that her misgivings about Kovin influenced her judgment. When experiments with nanoprobes show that the probes regenerate when fired on by Kovin's disruptor, Janeway, Tuvok, and The Doctor realize that Kovin is innocent. Seven believes Kovin is guilty and refuses to listen. When she asks The Doctor to tell them that she was attacked, he admits that her neurology is still a mystery to him, and she could've misinterpreted what really happened with her experiences with the Borg. Seven wants Kovin to be punished, and she will not settle for anything less.
When Voyager catches up with Kovin, they try to convince him that they've found proof of his innocence. He is convinced that it is a trap, and attacks Voyager. His weapons destabilize, and his ship is destroyed. Seven tries to come to terms with a new emotion: remorse.
Meanwhile, The Doctor feels extremely guilty over the part he played in Kovin's death, and asks Captain Janeway to delete the additional subroutines that he's programmed himself with over the years, believing that his desire to expand his programming has caused him to overstep his boundaries and step in where he wasn't required. However the Captain refuses, saying that everyone involved is responsible to some degree.
Voyager continues its journey home, with two of its crew sadder but wiser for their experiences.
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- Captain's log, stardate 51679.4. We've detected the warp signature from Kovin's ship and we're now in pursuit. In the meantime, Tuvok and I have been examining the tools from Kovin's lab.
- Chief medical officer's log, stardate 51658.2. I've spent the past three days being cross-examined by the Entharan authorities, but the matter is finally resolved.
"I do not feel perfect."
"What do you mean?"
"I am preoccupied by Kovin's death."
"Join the club. It's all I can think about."
"As a Borg, I was responsible for the destruction of countless millions and I felt nothing, but now I regret the destruction of this single being."
"It's called remorse, Seven. It comes into play when you make a mistake, and you feel guilt about what you've done. Another new emotion for you to experience."
"I do not enjoy this remorse any more than I enjoyed anger. Will the feeling subside?"
"Yes. But not quickly."
"I would rather not have to wait."
"I'm afraid you don't have much choice." [Pauses as he watches Seven leave] "But maybe I do."
- - Seven of Nine and The Doctor, in sickbay
"You've made your point, Mr. Kovin. I want the cannon."
- - Captain Janeway, to Kovin
"That guy is worse than a Ferengi!"
- - Tom Paris, on Kovin
- - B'Elanna Torres, to Seven after she punches Kovin in the face
"When I started helping you improve your social skills, I'm fairly certain I didn't include a boxing lesson."
- - The Doctor, to Seven of Nine
Story and Script
- This episode had the working title "Mnemonic". 
- Originally, the episode's story – as pitched by Andrew Shepard Price and Mark Gaberman – involved an alien computer dissecting Seven of Nine (similar to the plot of Demon Seed) to create an army of drones that it intended to use for galactic conquest. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)
- Although the story changed considerably from the original pitch, the writing staff of Star Trek: Voyager composed the plot's final version by essentially weaving the initial story idea together with a theme that comments on false memory syndrome. Staff writer Bryan Fuller remarked, "That's kind of what we had to fall back on for this one." Regarding false memories, he commented, "We hear so much about how they can essentially ruin peoples' lives, how well-respected and credited doctors have been completely dethroned, how teachers and parents have been humiliated." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)
- Before co-writing this episode's teleplay and joining Voyager's writing staff, both Bryan Fuller and Lisa Klink had attended the Star Trek Writer's Workshop at the Grand Slam convention in Pasadena, California and had made small contributions to the writing of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. They literally wrote every other scene of this episode, sharing the same anxieties as each other over the script. "I initially had my concerns," Fuller explained, "because we were trying to distinguish it from a TV movie about date rape [....] We [...] removed the sexual elements." Fuller believed that the turning point for the story's development was the addition of The Doctor to the plot. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)
- The episode's final draft script was submitted on 7 November 1997. 
Cast and Characters
- Analyzing The Doctor's actions in this episode, Bryan Fuller remarked, "He's dragging Seven into her frustration, and essentially filling the role of the psychologist who's manipulating the patient–not with malevolence, but because he sincerely thinks that something happened. But he goes about solving the mystery in such a haphazard way that only chaos can ensue." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)
- In agreement with Bryan Fuller's interpretation of the plot, Robert Picardo remarked on the character arc that his regular role of The Doctor undergoes in this episode: "[He] completely loses his self-confidence in a way I don't think we've seen thus far. It was actually kind of touching [....] It's really quite touching, because it's basically the enthusiasm of someone really trying to help out, and really trying to be more than he's supposed to be, in a crisis situation." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 86) Picardo also described the request that The Doctor makes at the end of this episode as "quite dramatic." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)
- Ethan Phillips (Neelix) does not appear in this episode.
- Director Jesús Salvador Treviño was presented with the difficulty of creating an unusual look for certain sequences of this episode. "For me, the challenge was in conveying the flashback moments," the director explained, "and making them succinct and different enough that we would get a sense of how different this perspective is to [Seven of Nine] and whether it's real or not." To help create the desired effect, Treviño filmed the flashback sequences at eight frames per second, rather than the usual twenty-four frames per second. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue 119, p. 68)
- In one of the flashback scenes, Kovin's assistant is armed with a rifle reused from the earlier fourth season installment "Waking Moments". (Delta Quadrant, p. 226)
- The interior cockpit of Kovin's ship was, evidently, a reuse of the cockpit from the timeship Aeon, which appears in the third season two-parter "Future's End" and "Future's End, Part II".
- Ultimately, Bryan Fuller believed that he and Lisa Klink had successfully differentiated this episode from a television movie about date rape, and that the decision to remove the sexual aspects from the script had been made "wisely". He said, "I think it succeeded [...] and I think it's a solid episode." An element of the episode that Fuller especially liked was that it showed The Doctor was not infallible. "That's the great part of the story, that he screwed up," the writer opined. Nonetheless, Fuller also cited this episode as probably being his least favorite from those he wrote for Voyager's fourth season and related, "I found myself distanced from it. I'm always disappointed in a story when it turns out not to have happened, and it's based on some sort of illusion or memory wackiness." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #18)
- Contrastingly, Jesús Salvador Treviño liked the vagueness of this episode's conclusion. "I thought that was very daring for the Voyager writers," Treviño remarked. "That was really nice the way they left it totally open-ended. We don't know whether it really did happen or if it didn't; we have our suspicions and the clues are placed either way." (Star Trek: Communicator, issue 119, p. 68)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.2 million homes, and a 7% share.  One of the installment's initial audience members was Robert Picardo himself. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 86)
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 101)
- Star Trek Monthly scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars. (Star Trek Monthly issue 43, p. 57)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 227) gives this installment a rating of 5 out of 10.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 4.9, catalogue number VHR 4630, 7 September 1998.
- As part of the VOY Season 4 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
adrenaline; Amanin; assimilation tubules; astrometric chart; Betazed; bio-ablation pump; blood pressure; Borg; Borg Collective; boxing; brig; chromoelectric force field; combadge; compression rifle; counselor; dermal regenerator; diagnostic bed; disruptor; dizziness; duratanium; electro-dynamic probe; emitter matrix; engram; Entharan; Entharan colony; Ferengi; field generator; hippocampus; Hirogen; isokinetic cannon; isolinear buffer circuit; isolinear processing chip; Jungian; Entharan starship; magistrate; metagenic pulse; medical tricorder; memory reconstruction; micro-caliper; monofilament stimulator; monotanium; nanoprobes; oscillator; photonic emitter; photonic pulse; power cell; power grid; premaxilla; Raven, USS; red alert; scattering field; target buoy; terawatt; terawatt powered particle beam rifle; therapist; thermal guidance sensor; thoron
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