Star Trek: Voyager (1997): S03E17 – Unity


Introduction

“Unity” is the 17th episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, the 59th episode overall.

It marked the first major appearance of the Borg in Voyager, which was kicked off with a teaser ending in the prior episode “Blood Fever” (S03E16).

In this episode, while on an away mission, Chakotay is taken in by a group of former Borg who seek help from the crew of Voyager to reactivate their neural link. The ex-Borg force Chakotay to reactivate a Borg cube (a large Borg spaceship), but, in their new-found “Co-operative”, the ex-Borg make the cube self-destruct, saving Voyager.

Biller was influenced by the story of the Tower of Babel in writing the episode, and also considered the dissolution of the Soviet Union to be an influence. The crew re-used the make-up and costumes of the Borg designed for the film Star Trek: First Contact, but sets were not re-used. A new fully computer generated Borg cube was created for “Unity”, and the storyline of the episode was intended as a hint to those in the later two-part episode “Scorpion” (S03E26 and S04E01). According to Nielsen ratings, it received a 5.4/8 percent share of the audience on first broadcast. “Unity” was received positively by critics, with praise directed at McNeill’s direction as well as Biller’s plot.

Outline

Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran) and Ensign Kaplan (Susan Patterson) hear a distress call while scouting ahead for Voyager in a shuttlecraft. They land the vessel but come under fire from hostile aliens, killing Kaplan and injuring Chakotay. He wakes in a room with a woman called Riley Frazier (Lori Hallier). She informs him that she is part of a group of survivors on the planet from a variety of races. There are other groups nearby, including those that attacked him. She calls her group a “Co-operative”. Meanwhile, the USS Voyager discovers a derelict Borg cube and Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) decides that an investigation is required in order to learn more about the Borg’s technology.

An away team boards the cube, discovering that either an accident or another species disabled the vessel. They take a Borg drone back onto Voyager, where the Doctor (Robert Picardo) accidentally revives it. After being told by Frazier to remain where he is, Chakotay breaks out of his room where he sees that all the people around him on the alien planet possess Borg implant technology in their bodies. Frazier explains that an electro-kinetic storm broke their link with the Borg hive mind. Instead, the separated drones settled on a nearby planet. Chakotay’s health gets worse, and the ex-Borg offer to connect him to a joint mind to heal his injuries, and he reluctantly accepts. Once part of the hive mind, he sees a montage of their memories. After Voyager arrives, Frazier and her group want Janeway to re-activate the neuroelectric generator on the damaged cube to extend a new joint mind across the entire planet.

Chakotay pleads their case, but Janeway decides not to help them. As Chakotay returns to Voyager on board a shuttle, the Co-operative use their telepathic link to force him to travel to the Borg cube with Voyager in pursuit. Both Chakotay and an away team board the cube, and despite a firefight, he manages to reactivate the generator. This creates the new joint mind as expected, but also activates the cube, which begins powering up to attack Voyager. Chakotay and the away team are beamed back to Voyager as the Co-operative trigger the cube’s self-destruct before it can endanger the Federation ship. The planet’s inhabitants thank Voyager, but as a result of their actions, Chakotay later questions the morality of the Co-operative’s motives with Janeway, as it connected many of the former Borg together in a new hive mind without consulting them.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Robert Duncan McNeill.
  • Writer(s): Kenneth Biller.
  • Release Date: 12 February 1997.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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