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Recap / Star Trek: Voyager S3E25 S4E1 "Scorpion"

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The debut of Seven Of Nine.
A new enemy, capable of blasting the Borg to bits, is threatening to destroy the Collective and then overwhelm the Delta Quadrant. Janeway must form a dangerous alliance with the Borg, represented by the drone Seven of Nine, in order to have any hope of surviving this new threat.

This episode contains the following tropes:

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  • The 47 Society: Species 8472.
  • Aborted Arc: Janeway has created a holoprogram where she can interact with Leonardo da Vinci, and does so over several future episodes. This replaces the never-completed Gothic mystery where she plays a governess.
  • Absolute Xenophobe: Species 8472 are furious over the 'contamination' of Fluidic Space by outsiders (they are the only species that exists there) and are determined to annihilate all other life in the galaxy.
  • Achilles' Heel: The Borg gather information by assimilation. Unfortunately the cells of Species 8472 are too densely coded. Voyager's crew (who gather information by investigation) know more about the Species after a few hours than the Borg do after months of conflict.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Janeway shares a couple of quiet moments with Leonardo and Chakotay.
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  • A House Divided: Janeway finds herself at odds with her Number One, as Chakotay is fundamentally opposed to the alliance with the Borg on moral and practical grounds.
    Janeway: There are two wars going on. The one out there, and the one in here, and we're losing both of them.
  • Alien Invasion: Of the entire galaxy. Or at least according to Kes. However, Species 8472 are (extradimensional) alien invaders who are ironically invading the core territory of the Borg. Who are themselves alien invaders to the rest of the species in the galaxy and who actually invaded Fluidic Space first.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Species 8472 proves to be a lot more powerful than the Borg, and the attempt to invade Fluidic Space and assimilate them results in a devastating counterattack.
  • And I Must Scream: After being attacked by Species 8472, Kim is slowly Eaten Alive by alien cells...while he's fully conscious. The only reason he isn't screaming is because he's unable to.
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  • Another Dimension / Eldritch Location: Fluidic Space
  • Arm Cannon: Seven appears to have one, as she points her arm at Chakotay when he confronts her with a compression phaser rifle.
  • Badass Boast: Seven threatens to teleport 500 drones onto Voyager. "Do you believe you could offer sufficient resistance?" Janeway says simply that they'd die trying.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: The crew's introduction to Species 8472, which then proceeds to bitch-slap Harry.
  • Better the Devil You Know: The reason Janeway decides to side with the Borg rather than Species 8472.
  • Body Horror: Harry spends half the episode being eaten alive by a Species 8472 infection.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Janeway when quoting the reports of other Starfleet captains. Immediately after it, Chakotay comments that Ensign Hickman does a pretty good copy of her.
  • Call-Back
    • Janeway asks that the Borg chose a drone to act as a liaison, as with Locutus of Borg.
    • Word of God says the shot of Voyager flying through the Borg debris field is a deliberate homage to the Wolf 359 graveyard from the same episode.
    • Chakotay's inate distrust of the Borg comes from the events of "Unity", when he was implanted with a Borg neural transceiver that was later used to control him. Also the Doctor has been analysing the Borg corpse they recovered in that episode.
    • Janeway studies Captains Logs from the moment Q first hurled Enterprise into the Delta Quadrant, to the Battle of Wolf 359.
  • Captain Obvious: Seven contemptuously replies, "We are Borg" whenever she's asked a stupid question like "How did you get this classified Starfleet information?" or "Do you have a better idea?"
  • Captain's Log: At the end of the episode, Janeway writes hers with quill and parchment.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: The episode opens with a pair of Borg cubes doing their You Will Be Assimilated Resistance Is Futile thing, only to be Killed Mid-Sentence.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Janeway ponders how she's Lonely at the Top, having to make the decision over whether they should proceed at great risk, or give up and spend the rest of their lives in the Delta Quadrant. Chakotay assures her You Are Not Alone. Later when Chakotay won't support her alliance with the Borg, Janeway declares that she's alone after all.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The neural transceiver; the Borg attempt to use them on Janeway and Tuvok in order to link their thoughts to the Hive Mind. Chakotay later uses one to link his thoughts with Seven of Nine to distract her.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Once Species 8472 have been dealt with, Seven of Nine tries to assimilate Voyager.
  • Circling Monologue: Seven of Nine when delivering "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Cliffhanger: Janeway is in the midst of negotiating an alliance when a squadron of Species 8472 bioships attack and destroys a nearby Borg planet. Only one Borg cube survives the Earth-Shattering Kaboom and does a Hyperspeed Escape while tractoring Voyager behind it.
  • Clock Punk: The Arm of Hephaestos.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Voyager is clipped by a shot that we've seen can rip apart a Borg cube.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: The Doctor has to put Captain Janeway in an induced coma to treat her injuries. Her last orders are to keep the alliance going, but Chakotay quickly finds a pretext to break off the agreement. Afterwards he goes to Sickbay to apologise to an unconscious Janeway.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: It's established in this two-parter that the Borg have gotten so used to being able to forcibly assimilate anything they want that they no longer have the ability to conventionally analyse and counteract threats.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Species 8472 is winning their war against the Borg
  • Cute Monster Girl: Even full Borg assimilation can't hide Seven's great…implants. Apparently breasts are not irrelevant, despite the existence of Borg maturation chambers.
  • Dead Drone on Display: The crew find the severed arms and legs of Borg drones stacked in a pile.
  • Dead Man Switch: To stop the Borg from assimilating Voyager, all information on the nanoprobe weapon is stored in the Doctor's database where he can erase it by deleting his own program.
  • Deal with the Devil: Quoted by Janeway, when she decides to form an alliance with the Borg.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Chakotay's expression when face-to-face with the Borg in the cargo bay.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The crew find the remains of the fifteen Borg cubes that passed them by...and a single Species 8472 vessel.
  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: When Janeway starts asking Seven about her pre-assimilation past, Seven cuts her off. "Do not engage us in further irrelevant discourse."
  • Do You Trust Me?
    Janeway: Do you trust me, Chakotay?
    Chakotay: That isn't the issue.
    Janeway: Oh, but it is. Only yesterday you were saying that we'd face this together, that you'd be at my side.
    Janeway: I appreciate your insights, but the time for debate is over. I've made my decision.
  • Dramatic Drop: Kes drops a tray when she has a vision of Harry Kim screaming in agony.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: After Species 8472 retreats from the Delta Quadrant.
    Seven: The Borg have prevailed.
    Janeway: With a little help from us.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Leonardo tells Janeway of how he painted a portrait of a cardinal's nephew, making him look "far more heroic than nature ever intended," and was only paid with "the cardinal's eternal gratitude."
    Leonardo: In other words, signorina, less than nothing.
  • Dynamic Entry: Species 8472 introduces itself by smashing through a wall on what's left of a Borg cube, right before bitch-slapping Harry Kim.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Part 1 ends with Species 8472 blowing a Borg planet to smithereens with their converging stream Wave Motion Gun.
  • Enemy Mine: The alliance between Janeway and the Borg.
  • Establishing Character Moment: From the moment she's unplugged from her alcove, Seven of Nine shows herself notably different from the childlike Hugh or the monotone Locutus. Her first words are, "I speak for the Borg" whereas past drones referred to themselves a "we". Unlike in "I, Borg" where this change signified a Borg drone becoming deprogrammed, it shows the extent to which Seven willingly identifies herself with the Collective. She's so proud of her Borg nature and aggressive towards Janeway that the Hive Mind can be seen silently pulling her back into line on one occasion.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Species 8472, big time. It's not often that the Borg are afraid of anything.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: Clouds of green steam and the tight confines of the Borg vessel don't make things easy for the Away Team.
  • Facial Dialogue
    • When B'Elanna can't beam the Away Team off the bioship, Janeway gives her a Disapproving Look. B'Elanna quickly comes up with another option.
    • When Chakotay says that turning back doesn't mean giving up on their quest to get home, Janeway just gives a skeptical "Yeah, right!" look.
    • Lots of Meaningful Looks between crewmembers unwilling to openly question their superiors; first when Janeway proposes the alliance, then when Chakotay says he's putting an end to it.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Captain Janeway plans a temporary alliance with the Borg in order to combat Species 8472. When she asks for Chakotay's personal opinion, he relates the parable of "The Scorpion and The Frog", though with a fox in place of the frog. Oddly, the story as told is more tragic than the normal telling, with the scorpion apologizing for being unable to help its nature, when the Borg would consider such an apology irrelevant.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Chakotay gets the Gooey Look when he tells Captain Janeway You Are Not Alone in coping with The Chains of Commanding.
    Janeway: Three years ago, I didn't even know your name. Today I can't imagine a day without you.
  • Flesh Versus Steel: The Organic Technology of Species 8472 vs. the cybernetic technology of the Borg.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Courtesy of Leonardo, when his machine breaks: "Que cazzo?"note 
  • Foreshadowing
    • The crew dubs the apparently safe way through Borg space the "Northwest Passage." Naming something after a passage that didn't exist and yet hundreds of people died trying to find should make it clear that this path isn't exactly safe.
    • Leonardo declares he will build a flying machine, which finally takes wing in "Concerning Flight".
    • Kes' mental powers will increase even further in the following episode, "The Gift".
  • The Gadfly: Harry returns to the bridge after all the alien cells devouring his body have been destroyed. B'Elanna tells Harry he still has a tendril up his nose.
  • Gallows Humor
    EMH: Don't worry, I'll delete myself at the first sign of trouble. Well, maybe not the first sign.
  • Hard-Work Montage: The crew preparing to enter Borg space.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: About the only thing anyone can do against Species 8472 until the nanoprobe-infused torpedoes are completed.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Chakotay accesses Seven's childhood memories.
  • Implied Death Threat
    Chakotay: Look, I'll honor the original agreement, but I'm not turning this ship around. It's too dangerous.
    Seven: Denying our request is also dangerous.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: As soon as 8472 withdraws, Seven tries to assimilate Voyager. Fortunately, Janeway and Chakotay are prepared.
  • Infinite Supplies: A group of fans who kept count of the number of torpedoes the ship fires discovered that, based on the 38 torpedoes they were stated to have in the pilot, this is where they should have run out.
  • Irony: The Borg also considered the Enemy Mine agreement unworkable, due to humanity's natural divisiveness.
  • It's What I Do
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The Borg cubes from the opening are destroyed while delivering their "Resistance Is Futile" line to Species 8472.
    "We are the Borg. Existence as you know it has ended. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is—" (BOOOOOOOOOM)
  • The Lancer: Chakotay fills this role for Janeway as much in this episode as any other.
  • Large Ham: The Leonardo da Vinci hologram, as played by John Rhys-Davies.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: The Away Team has only three people, so while Harry is busy downloading data from a Borg distribution node, Chakotay and Tuvok go to investigate the bioship's interior. Harry starts to hear creepy alien roars as the pilot becomes aware of their presence, but Harry isn't attacked until after the Away Team join up again, so this trope is just used to increase the suspense.
  • Living Ship: The bioships used by Species 8472.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Right after the briefing on the upcoming passage through Borg Space.
  • Male Gaze: The final shot of "Scorpion, Part Two", with pre-catsuit Seven lying on the biobed while the camera tracks across her prominent Borg implants. We also get a lingering shot of Kes' tush in her blue velvet Future Spandex.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": This episode has two in quick succession. First, Voyager encounters FIFTEEN Borg cubes. Just one of them managed to destroy 39 ships and kill 11,000 people at Wolf 359, and here Voyager comes across a fleet of them. And they pass by without bothering to assimilate or destroy Voyager. A little later, Voyager runs across those same fifteen cubes... as a debris field. Oh, Crap really doesn't begin to cover it.
  • Mirror Scare: Kes sees an alien reflected in a LCARS panel, but it's all in her head as Species 8472 are accessing her memories to find out about Voyager.
  • Noodle Incident: When studying up on the Borg, Janeway quotes Captain Amasov of the USS Endeavor who previously encountered/fought the Borg. The details of this are never made clear, but given that established canon states that 39 of 40 Federation ships were destroyed at the Battle of Wolf 359, his ship may have been the survivor.
  • No-Sell:
    • Borg weapons prove useless against Species 8472 until Voyager comes up with modified nanoprobes.
    • On the disabled Borg Cube, the away team finds a Borg drone trying to assimilate part of a Bioship's hull over and over again without success.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Seven of Nine's addition to the cast.
  • Not So Stoic: Tuvok shows a brief moment of fear when the Borg try to attach neural doodads to him and Janeway. Given what usually follows, this is perfectly understandable.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Near the beginning of the two-parter, Voyager encounters FIFTEEN Borg Cubes closing in behind them...who proceed to more or less IGNORE the starship belonging to one of their primary assimilation targets.
    • Chakotay doesn't respond to the Doctor's Gallows Humor and snaps at B'Elanna, showing just how unhappy he is at being anywhere near the Borg.
  • Organic Technology: What excited the Borg about Species 8472 in the first place.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Species 8472 to Voyager and the Borg. To think that the Borg themselves used to be this trope!
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Species 8472 bio-ships take this Up to Eleven and then some. One such ship is much smaller than Voyager, yet can destroy a Borg cube within two shots, and nine of them can annihilate a planet.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: When Voyager encounters the armada of Borg cubes, they can't do a Hyperspeed Escape as the subspace turbulence from all those transwarp-powered cubes is collapsing their warp field.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: The aliens tap into Kes' mind via her psychic powers.
  • Power Pincers: Two drones with a large mechanical pincer in place of one hand clamp them around Janeway and Tuvok's necks so they can be implanted with a neural transceiver.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Subverted; Leonardo suggests that 'Catarina' accompany him to a church and they pray for guidance. Janeway politely turns down the offer, but then has a Eureka Moment: What if she made a Deal with the Devil instead?
  • Ramming Always Works: When a Species 8472 bioship is pursuing them, the Borg Cube escorting Voyager turns around to ram the bioship, destroying both ships but protecting the weapon being developed on Voyager.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: And The Reason The Collective Do Not.
    Seven: When your Captain first approached us, we suspected that an agreement with humans would prove impossible to maintain. You are erratic, conflicted, disorganised. Every decision is debated, every action questioned. Every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony, cohesion... greatness. It will be your undoing.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Not so much in the case of Species 8472.
    Doctor: Resistance, in this case, is far from futile.
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: The so-called Northwest Passage is a risky corridor through Borg territory that the Borg avoid due to its quantum singularities. Turns out this wormhole activity is the conduit for an invasion force.
  • Roar Before Beating: While working alone on the Borg data node, Harry starts to hear strange alien cries.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: With the improvements in CGI, the producers decides to have an alien that wasn't a Man in a Rubber Suit or the usual Rubber-Forehead Aliens, and created Species 8472.
  • Rule of Three: The Doctor successfully treats Harry then Janeway, boasting to Chakotay; "I'm two for two!" By the end of the episode he's fixed up Chakotay as well.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: In this case, No Sense of Velocity — the fifteen cubes destroyed by species 8472 in the first part of the episode are found to be about 5.2 light years from Voyager's position. Captain Janeway orders to lay in a course to their position at warp two. According to Memory Alpha, warp two is around 8-10 times the speed of light. Traveling 5.2 light years at that speed would have taken about six months.
  • Seer: Kes has flashes of events to come; she even passes out at one point.
  • Shutting Up Now: Chakotay enters Sickbay to find Captain Janeway on her feet, Death Glare cranked Up to Eleven. The Doctor is happily burbling about another example of his medical brilliance when he notes the sudden rise in tension and quickly deactivates himself.
  • Spin Attack: A Borg cube spins to fire a continuous volley from all sides.
  • Starfish Alien: The tripedal Species 8472.
  • Suicide Attack: A Borg cube flies into the path of a pursuing 8472 warship to protect Voyager.
  • Take a Third Option: The Voyager crew has two choices: fly through the Borg-Species 8472 warzone and risk certain death or assimilation, or turn around and give up any hope of returning to Earth. A talk with Holo!daVinci gives Janeway a third option: make a Deal with the Devil.
  • Taking the Bullet: The Borg cube takes an attack from 8472 that's meant for Voyager before ramming the bioship.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted—Janeway is in the middle of delivering her proposal to the Borg when Species 8472 launches a Hyperspeed Ambush.
  • Technobabble
    B'elanna: Perhaps I can [beam Chakotay, Tuvok and Kim] out if I get a skeletal lock on them...
    Janeway: A "skeletal lock"?
    B'Elanna: You know, lock on to the mineral concentration in their bones.
    Janeway: (beat) I didn't know you could do that.
    B'Elanna: I...came up with it just now.
  • Telepathy: Species 8472 can communicate with Kes telepathically.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Leonardo ponders the shadows reflected on the wall of his study. One of them gives Janeway her Eureka Moment.
  • That Man Is Dead
    Janeway: You're human, aren't you?
    Seven: This body was assimilated 18 years ago. It ceased to be human at that time.
  • That's an Order!: When Harry is being eaten alive by the 8472 cells.
    Janeway: Fight it, Harry. That's an order.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Seven's first suggestion for a nanorpobe-weapon is a delivery system capable of scattering the reprogrammed nanites over several star systems. Janeway talks her down to a small arsenal of anti-ship weapons that will prove a point without resorting to mass murder.
  • Think Happy Thoughts: What Janeway tells herself when Voyager is scanned by the Borg armada.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: When the Borg assimilate one of the cargo bays, Chakotay threatens to depressurise the entire deck if they try anything. He carries out his threat after the Borg take control of the deflector dish to break them into Fluidic Space. Everyone is ejected except for Seven of Nine.
  • Title Drop: In Part 1, when Chakotay recounts the tale of "The Scorpion and the Fox" (a variation of "The Farmer and the Viper") to warn Janeway of the dangers of allying with the Borg. Then in Part 2, when Janeway and Chakotay initiate their plan to cut off Seven from the collective.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!
    Janeway: What's your designation?
    Seven: Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One. But you may call me Seven of Nine.
  • Two-Part Episode: The third on this show.
  • Two Roads Before You: Janeway phrases her dilemma in exactly these terms when talking it over with Leonardo.
  • Ultimate Lifeform: Species 8472. So ultimate that they (and their Organic Technology) are the only remaining species in their home universe. Incredibly physically dangerous, telepathic, proof against assimilation, their cells, individually, have such a strong immune system that they act as contagious cancer, and have technology that can smash the Borg.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    Janeway: Bridge to Chakotay: Scorpion.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Leonardo doesn't notice "Katerine" is wearing a Starfleet uniform or talking on the communicator. It appears the program has been upgraded since "Persistence of Vision" so the holographic characters don't register anything unusual (this is confirmed in "Spirit Folk").
  • Villain Ball / Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Turns out the war started when the Borg tried to invade Fluidic Space.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Species 8472 can combine the output of nine ships into one single wave of destruction — which even looks like a wave.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Species 8472 show they can blow up entire planets. Not to be outdone, the Borg want to go one better.
    Seven: A multikinetic neutronic mine. Five million isoton yield.
    Tuvok: An explosion that size could affect an entire star system.
    Seven: Correct. The shock wave will disperse the nanoprobes over a radius of five light years.
  • Wham Shot: Possibly Voyager's best-ever teaser; it's two Borg cubes getting blown the hell up with just a few concentrated blasts.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: The Northwest Passage was a non-existent shortcut through the North Polar region, so it's no surprise when their shortcut turns out to be a false hope as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Janeway suddenly seems to forget that the Borg are considered the single greatest threat to the Federation. Officially. By Starfleet Command!
    Chakotay: How much is our safety worth?
    Janeway: What do you mean?
    Chakotay: We'd be giving an advantage to a race guilty of murdering billions. We'd be helping the Borg assimilate yet another species just to get ourselves back home. It's wrong!
    Janeway: Tell that to Harry Kim. He's barely alive thanks to that species. Maybe helping to assimilate them isn't such a bad idea. We could be doing the Delta Quadrant a favour.
    Chakotay: I don't think you really believe that. I think you're struggling to justify your plan, because your desire to get this crew home is blinding you to other options. I know you, Kathryn. Sometimes you don't know when to step back.
  • The Worf Effect: Once a single Borg cube was regarded as a threat to the entire Federation. The episode opens with two such cubes giving their Resistance Is Futile spiel, until they're destroyed in seconds by an unseen force.
  • Workaholic: Janeway turns down a suggestion from Chakotay that they get some much-needed food because she's cramming all information in the Starfleet files on the Borg. Later when he points out she hasn't slept in two days, Janeway just dismisses Chakotay and stays up all night pondering how to get them out of their predicament.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: When Seven of Nine disapproves of Janeway's plan, she asks if Seven has a better one.
    Seven: We are Borg.
    Tuvok: I'll take that as a "yes."
  • You Are in Command Now: When Janeway is injured during a Species 8472 attack, she leaves Chakotay in command and tells him to keep the alliance going. It doesn't quite go as she wanted it to.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: When Chakotay interfaces with Seven of Nine, he uses her human name.
    "Listen to your human side...to yourself...the little girl...Seven of Nine! Annika!"
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The moment Seven of Nine receives confirmation that Species 8472 is defeated, she attempts to assimilate Voyager.
  • You Talk Too Much: Seven of Nine says something to that effect to Janeway.
    Janeway: I'm curious, what was your name bef—
    Seven: Do not engage us in further irrelevant discourse.

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