Retrospect (Star Trek: Voyager)
|Star Trek: Voyager episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Jesús Salvador Treviño|
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Cinematography by||Marvin V. Rush|
|Original air date||February 25, 1998|
In this episode, Voyager's Doctor helps Seven of Nine interpret repressed memories, leading to an accusation of assault against an alien arms dealer.
Captain Janeway bargains with Kovin, a self-centered Entharan trader, about the purchase of an isokinetic cannon. Kovin agrees to install it, for a gratuity or fee. While Janeway has concerns about his attitude, Janeway agrees to have Seven of Nine work with him on the installation of the device as well on Voyager. During this work, Kovin pushes Seven out of his way and Seven angrily reacts by striking him.
In a subsequent medical examination conducted by the Doctor, Seven is overcome by distress. The Doctor is convinced Seven is repressing some form of memory experience and tells Captain Janeway so.
Under hypnosis by the Doctor, Seven recalls a traumatic repressed memory. In her mind, she sees the same trader, Kovin, with whom Voyager made the transaction recently. She remembers him forcefully removing Borg technology from her body—while on a Voyager mission with ship's helmsman Tom Paris—on the Entharan planet to test some of Kovin's disruptors. In essence, Seven says that she was violated by the aforementioned trader—Kovin.
Seven then recounts to the ship's holographic Doctor the events in her mind of how she remembers her violation. It begins with a weapons test where Lt. Paris was using a new energy assault rifle for Voyager defenses on the Entharan planet, when Seven went with Kovin to do some remodulating. At Kovin's workshop, she scans the device, but he turns the weapon on her and fires—which incapacitates her. Seven then remembers a female lab assistant, and the extraction of her Borg parts. Then she goes on to detail her assimilation tubules being removed of nanoprobes, tested the probes on another person in the lab which assimilated him, and other internal components. Afterwards, she can only recall Kovin telling her the weapon overloaded and burned her hand — which Seven now believes to be a lie.
The Doctor is strongly sympathetic to Seven's allegations and decides to inform Captain Janeway, who wants first to corroborate the story.
As they review the events, everything appears to coincide with what Seven said.
While Tom Paris confirms Seven was alone with Kovin for 2 hours while on the Entharan planet, he observes that Seven seemed completely normal when she returned to him. The Doctor defends Seven's memories as facts as they are very recent, but Voyager's Tactical Officer, Tuvok argues that memories are often unreliable keeping in mind her hallucinations from previous events.
Voyager heads back to confront Kovin, who denies ever having assaulted Seven and believes this is either Seven's payback for disagreeing on component procedures or a negotiating tactic. Janeway directly asks Kovin if he took Borg technology from Seven and he denies it. Kovin confirms he and Seven were alone in his private Entharan lab testing a weapon for 2 long hours only because Seven demanded 'absolute' accuracy or perfection for the device.
The weapon overloaded and slightly burnt Seven's hands because its settings were a little high and Kovin states he personally treated Seven's slightly burnt hand with a dermal regenerator. When Janeway requests to see the lab for more investigating, Kovin protests citing the fact that the Entharan state authorities are totally dependent on international trade and are not interested in justice; they would prosecute any ordinary Entharan remotely caught in an investigation with a foreign third party to preserve their international trading privileges.
However, after more pressure by Janeway, he reluctantly allows it. Tuvok and the Doctor proceed to enter his private lab along with an Entharan magistrate. There are no medical laboratory beds in Kovin's lab—as Kovin notes since his lab is a weapons testing facility—but evidence mounts against him when the Doctor finds regenerating Borg nanoprobes on tables in Kovin's lab and Kovin's own people decide there is sufficient evidence to issue a warrant for his arrest. Still proclaiming his innocence, Kovin flees to his ship and escapes.
Captain Janeway and Tuvok pursue Kovin's ship whilst continuing the investigation into the alleged assault, and find it is likely that the evidence has been misinterpreted after Tuvok arranges a test where he removes a small slice of Seven's skin which contains her Borg nanoprobes and exposes it to compounds which Tuvok and the Doctor commonly found in Kovin's lab—a product of his weapons testing.
The Borg nanopobes regenerate naturally thus confirming Kovin's story, to the Doctor's amazement. The Doctor is forced to admit he knows little about Borg-human biology and Seven must have been reliving a memory from her time with the Borg, in which parts were applied to and removed from her routinely.
The Doctor also tells Seven that since she was in Kovin's lab for 2 hours and exposed to the testing of Kovin's weapons there, any objects which she touched such as tables or chairs could be expected to contain some of her Borg regenerating nanoprobes. Hence, the evidence of the nanoprobes in Kovin's laboratory was not evidence of Kovin's guilt in Seven's allegations.
However, Seven stubbornly refuses to accept the evidence and responds by stating it was the Doctor who said she was violated—and should feel anger at this incident. When the Voyager crew follows the trader to explain that they know he is innocent, he panics believing it is a trap and, in his haste to destroy Voyager, his ship's weapons overload and he is killed. Seven then realizes that the Doctor, Captain Janeway and Tuvok were likely correct and she has experienced a false memory from her traumatic time with the Borg.
Seven learns a bit more about being human by experiencing human remorse—as she tells the Doctor—and the Doctor also agonizes over the result of his hypnosis of Seven. He asks Captain Janeway to delete the algorithms which have been driving him to expand beyond his original programming in order to improve himself. This impulse inspired him to add the subroutines to act as a psychologist. The Doctor admits to underestimating the complexities of this field of profession.
Captain Janeway refuses, saying his growth as a result of those strivings have been beneficial to his service to the crew and one cannot simply delete away a mistake. She notes that they all bear responsibility for Kovin's death and they all can learn from the experience, herself included.
Jamahl Epsicokhan of Jammers Reviews writes concerning the season 4 Voyager episode "Retrospect":
"I don't necessarily want to go on record saying that Seven of Nine is the best thing that has ever happened to Voyager, but I definitely think the character has been very good for the writing staff....This week's Seven story, "Retrospect," finally begins to analyze the character's emotions, something I've been long awaiting. It accomplishes this with a fairly standard plot device that benefits from an interesting twist: namely the fact that, for once, the Voyager crew is on the wrong side of a judgment call. Their intentions are good in rallying around Seven in her apparent hour of need, but they make some mistakes which leads to some ugly results."
Fan reactions to "Retrospect" were mixed. IMDb awards the episode a rating of 7.0, and Voyager fan voting site Geos ranks it as the fourth worst in Season 4. Many fans praised the episode's undertones related to consequences for those accused by victims with false memories.  Others expressed outrage at the analogy to sexual assault,  
Staff writer Bryan Fuller commented:
We hear so much about how [false memories] can essentially ruin peoples’ lives, how well-respected and credited doctors have been completely dethroned, how teachers and parents have been humiliated. ... I found myself distanced from [this episode.] I'm always disappointed in a story when it turns out not to have happened, and it's based on some sort of illusion or memory wackiness.
Fuller also stated in an interview for The Official Star Trek Voyager Magazine that that he and co-writer Lisa Klink had successfully differentiated this episode from a television movie about date rape, and that the decision to remove the sexual aspects from the script had been made "wisely".
- Jamahl Epsicokhan. "Star Trek Voyager: "Retrospect"". JammersReviews.com. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- ""Star Trek: Voyager" Retrospect (TV Episode 1998) - IMDb". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "GEOS - Star Trek Voyager Season Four". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "[VOY] Jammer's Review: "Retrospect"". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "Star Trek Retrospect: Season 4 Episode". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "The Trek Nation - Retrospect". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "The Coffee Nebula Board Archive: Voyager - Retrospect". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "Issue #18". The Official Star Trek Voyager Magazine.