When Voyager encounters a damaged Hirogen ship, they rescue its surviving crewmember – and inadvertently end up taking aboard his prey as well. The Hirogen were hunting a member of Species 8472, who is now angry, wounded, and loose aboard Voyager. Can Janeway and the crew handle both an angry Hirogen desperate to finish his hunt, and his highly dangerous prey?
Voyager is caught between a rock and a hard place in this episode, which brings back two adversaries and pits them against each other. In the blue corner we have a member of Species 8472, who spends half the episode being an Alien/Predator-esque monster, before becoming a more sympathetic “it’s dying and it just wants to go home” character. In the red corner, we have a Hirogen hunter, who is willing to let Voyager go on its way, just as long as Janeway lets him kill his prey. Of course, Janeway isn’t willing to condone the slaughter of a not-really-defenceless being just to make her life easier – but Seven of Nine has other ideas.
Seven’s pragmatic solution means that Voyager escapes unscathed by the end of the episode, but it also builds on what will become a key thread throughout the show – her relationship with Janeway. Many episodes will feature Janeway encouraging Seven to explore her humanity, or to debate a moral dilemma. Here, Seven defies Starfleet morality in favour of a questionable action that will at least keep the crew safe, and naturally gets reprimanded for it. For Seven, who in may ways is still a child, coming up so harshly against a boundary angers and confuses her. If Janeway wants her to act like an individual and not just blindly do what she’s told, then why is she in trouble for doing her own thing? From a contemporary perspective, Seven is like those people who claim their freedoms are being trampled on if they aren’t allowed to act in a racist or homophobic manner. Janeway is violating her right to free speech, man! Seven still has much to learn about nuance and compromise.
Points of Note
- One from the last episode – Tuvok’s wife and children apparently went to pray for him at a Vulcan shrine. Prayer hardly seems logical.
- Since Kes is gone, Species 8472 has to telepathically communicate with Tuvok instead.
- Wasn’t the battle between the Borg and Species 8472 ten thousand light years away from Voyager’s current location? How did this one alien get all the way out here?
- Although Janeway insists that it’s wrong to sacrifice a life, she did of course kill Tuvix in order to save Tuvok and Neelix.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 11
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 7
Number of times the entire crew gets kicked off the ship: 2
Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 2
Summary – Prey: Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.