When Seven of Nine starts gathering data on mating rituals, the Doctor steps in to suggest that she might like to get some firsthand experience. The Doctor prepares a series of lessons to help Seven navigate human courtship rituals, but will she be ready to take a date to the reception for a visiting alien ambassador? Meanwhile, Neelix finds the task of entertaining said ambassador to be more than a little challenging.
If you’re not heterosexual, then episodes like this one can often be a bit painful to watch. Yes, this aired back in the nineties, and perhaps we can’t expect too much of it, but even so, that doesn’t make it a fun experience.
The bare bones of the story is a My Fair Lady parallel, in which The Doctor takes the brash and direct Seven of Nine and tries to mould her into a ‘proper lady’ – only to fall in love with her along the way. Standard stuff, for sure, but one that’s littered with problems. Yes, Seven triggers the whole thing when she starts gathering data on romance, but from that point onwards, she’s almost railroaded into The Doctor’s curriculum. First, she’s told that romance is an inevitability, even though she says she has no interest in a relationship – it’s the ‘normal’ thing to do, so by god she’s going to have to do it. Having discounted the possibility that Seven might be asexual, she is then of course given but a single option for expressing her sexuality – a monogamous heterosexual relationship with one of the men on board. From there, the story progresses along standard lines, with some entirely predictable twists and turns along the way.
The B story, which features Neelix dealing with an ambassador keen to indulge himself, adds little to the episode. In essence, it’s just an inferior remake of TNG’s Liaisons.
Points of Note
- It is now known that Species 8472 has five distinct sexes. Presumably this was discovered after the events of In the Flesh.
- This episode features the brief return of the Chez Sandrine hologram.
- If Seven’s nanoprobes can assimilate synthethol and counteract its effects, why is Seven herself so susceptible to synthehol?
- Hasperat, the popular Bajoran foodstuff featured in TNG and DS9, makes an appearance here.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 15
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 9
Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3
Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 4
Summary – Someone to Watch Over Me: In which Seven learns to date.