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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 6 E 2 Survival Instinct

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Seven Of Nine's past comes back to haunt her. Well, okay, it always does, but this is a particularly unfortunate example.
While Voyager is docked at a space station, Seven of Nine comes across three former members of the Borg who are linked with each other and are now trying to become individuals again. Seven realizes that these three former Borgs were part of her unimatrix who had crash-landed on a planet together and were trying to send a beacon to the Borg to be rescued and reassimilated. As she and the three former Borgs try to find out why the three of them have been linked together even after they have been liberated from the collective, they soon discover that Seven was responsible for linking the three Borgs together when they were rediscovering their former lives before they became Borg and desired not to become integrated with them again. The Doctor tells Seven that he could remove the linkage between the three former Borgs, but they would only end up living no more than a month or so. Believing that a short time to experience freedom from the Borg and from each other is preferable to the other option of having them spend the rest of their lives reassimilated as Borg, and equating her situation of being liberated from the Borg to the Doctor's growth as an individual on board Voyager, Seven chooses the former option for the three former Borgs.

This episode provides examples of:

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  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Subverted as gifts are exchanged for their novelty and as tokens of friendship rather than any value they hold.
  • Alien Lunch: Inverted; the alien visitors are annoyed when Neelix announces that he's run out of pouches of Marsupial Surprise, so would they like some pizza?
  • The Assimilator: Seven of Nine, as she forcibly used her nanoprobes to reassmiliate the other three Borg drones on the planet they had crash-landed on.
  • Author Appeal: Ronald D. Moore never agreed with the decision to make Seven a babe; as he saw it, if the point of the character was to have a Borg on the ship, she should be a Borg. It's not surprising, then, that this episode, his only full writer credit on Voyager, has extensive flashbacks to Seven's time with the Borg, with the full Borg costume.
  • Bar Brawl: Happens offscreen. Janeway is neither surprised nor amused at Tom and Harry taking part in it.
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  • Binary Suns: The planet has binary moons.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The former drones will die within a month without their implants, but they've gotten back their individuality.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Tom tries telling Janeway he and Harry had gone over to the station looking to broaden their horizons.
    Janeway: Skip the recruiting speech; you were looking for a bar.
    • Seven snaps at B'Elanna that she has no feelings regarding her past as a drone. B'Elanna tells Seven that she might want to reconsider that.
  • Body Horror: The rogue drones become increasingly horrified as they realise what's been done to them, including the theft of an arm.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: After punishing Tom and Harry for getting into a Bar Brawl, Janeway congratulates them for winning.
  • Coming in Hot: The episode opens on a Borg sphere crashing on a planet.
  • Continuity Nod: In "One", Seven mentioned a time when she was disconnected from the Collective. This is apparently that time.
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  • Deliberately Cute Child: Naomi can make even the Borg Ice Queen relent. When Lansor fails to respond to her Cuteness Proximity, she gets miffed.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played Straight by P'Chan, whose people don't hold grudges. Lansor, as well. Not quite so much with Marika.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Naomi and Seven arrive in the mess hall and find it full of people and aliens. Naomi's quiet polite requests for people to make room are ignored...
    Seven of Nine: Stand aside! (everyone moves)
  • Fan Disservice: We get a shot panning from little Naomi, across a close-up of Seven of Nine's breasts to Seven's face. Not sure what message they were trying to send here...
  • Fighting from the Inside: After their link with the Collective is severed, the stranded drones in Seven's unimatrix find their old memories returning.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: The three former Borg drones, due to the mindlink given to them by Seven.
  • Flashback Cut: When Seven first sees the components from her unimatrix.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Chakotay struggles to carry an awkward and completely incomprehensible gift from the Kinbori delegation. "I don't know its name, only that it's used in one of their sacred games and it's very heavy."
  • Hive Mind: Seven created her own mini-Collective to prevent the Rogue Drones from leaving. As a result the drones were assimilated back into the Collective, yet were still linked to each other. As a result they retained a form of individuality and escaped the Collective, seeking out Seven to find out and fix what has happened to them.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: P'Chan, when he starts regaining his memories.
    "I...have a name...P'Chan, son of Dornar and Ansha."
  • Idiot Ball: How did no one, but especially Seven, not notice that Marika was a Bajoran... In the Delta Quadrant?
  • I Die Free: Seven eventually decides to have their mindlink surgically removed, courtesy of the Doctor. They don't have long to live as a result, but their last days are in peace.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Seven was briefly disconnected from the Hive a few years before "Scorpion". Unlike the rest of her Unimatrix (Two of Nine, Three of Nine, and Four of Nine), Seven was raised by the Borg since childhood and had no prior memories to recollect. When the others agreed to make a break for it before the Borg came to collect them, Seven forcibly re-assimilated them. The embittered ex-drones turn up again here in this episode.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Seven of Nine and her unimatrix actually consume the corpse of a dead Borg drone while they are stranded on a remote planet.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Tom and Harry get involved in a Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle involving some sort of racket-ball game that leads to a brawl.
    Janeway: Did you win?
    Harry: Yes, ma'am. We kicked their...rackets.
  • Living Is More Than Surviving: Chakotay, Seven, the Doctor, and the former drones agree that a month as individuals is better than a lifetime in the Collective.
  • Long List: Tuvok hands Janeway a PADD listing the criminal infractions and damages committed by their guests, and has to keep telling her to turn the page.
  • Must Make Amends: Seven getting the Doctor to remove their mindlink is this. Two of the former drones go in peace, and the other stays on the ship for a while, but, deconstructing this trope, she makes it known that she can't forgive Seven just like that.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Thanks to a Quote Mine, the trailer makes it look like Seven is saying "I will return to the Borg" when the line is actually "I will not return them to the Borg."
  • Noodle Implements: The multi-armed racket thing Chakotay is saddled with.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Hats and wigs are used to hide the distinctive Borg implants of the former drones.
  • Rogue Drone: Three of 'em.
  • Rule 34: The scene where Janeway gets grabbed by the prehensile plant led to several J/PP fanfics.
  • Sadistic Choice: Seven faces the choice of either liberating the three former Borg drones at the cost of their lives or letting them be reassimilated as Borg at the cost of their freedom.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    Janeway: Well as far as I'm concerned, opening the ship has been a fascinating experience and an unqualified success. I'm very pleased.
    Chakotay: Me too.
    Chakotay: (handing over Voyager souvenir) Tuvok. Please accept this token of our esteem.
    (Tuvok declines with a Disapproving Look and leaves.)
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Terrified of a life away from the Borg Collective, Seven reassimilates the other drones when they try to flee the Borg vessel coming to pick them up.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: One of the drones who ate the meat of a dead drone said, "It tastes similar to a bird I once ate."
  • Techno Babble: Ronald D. Moore wasn't impressed when this was added as Padding.
  • Thicker Than Water: Discussed by Janeway while helping Seven decide how far she's willing to go to help the ex-drones.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: All three ex-drones do this as one to Seven when their memories are restored.
  • When Trees Attack: Played for Laughs when Captain Janeway buys an alien plant without realising it's prehensile. "I went to water it and it GRABBED me!" — causing fans to quip that the plant was getting more action than Chakotay ever did.
  • You Are Number 6
    Three of Nine: I have a name. It's Marika. Marika Willkarah. Willkarah.
    Two of Nine: Hello, Marika Willkarah.
    Seven of Nine: Her designation is Three of Nine!
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Seven gets annoyed when Naomi uses Borg designations for alien races like she does.
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