Thoughts on “Seven and Shakespeare”

Written by  on April 17, 2000 

Thoughts by Thomas Lee

By Thomas Lee

A common theme woven throughout "Seven & Shakespeare" is the similarities between Seven and the "Equinox 5" (and Marla Gilmore in particular). Both came aboard Voyager under circumstances that would leave a cloud of suspicion over their heads—and despite that, in both cases, attempts were made to befriend them and integrate them into the crew as equals. Very similar beginnings—but, as this story makes clear, Seven and the "Equinox 5" reacted very differently to the hands of friendship offered to them… and that alone made a world of difference, as emphasized by Harry’s interaction with Marla Gilmore (who Jim Wright dubbed "The Anti-Seven" in his synopsis of "Equinox Part 1").

As Seven is witnessing the integration of the Equinox survivors into Voyager‘s crew, I think that she is beginning to realize just how generous the crew of Voyager, especially Harry Kim, had been to her—and how unworthy she had been of that generosity. By observing Harry’s interactions with Marla, Seven is now seeing, with an outsider’s perspective, a repeat of Harry’s interaction with HER—only this time, it is with someone who appreciates what he has to offer and reciprocates. From Seven’s description of Harry’s current reactions to her, I think it is clear that Harry regarded the events of "Someone to Watch Over Me" as a signal for his heart to cut its losses… and lo and behold, the universe proceeds to give him a "new and improved Seven of Nine"—Marla Gilmore—right down to, prior to becoming a Voyager crew member, knocking out a member of the senior staff (only this time, with no small degree of poetic justice, it is Seven herself who is the victim) in order to commit an act against the best interests of Voyager.

The selection of recreational holoprograms nicely symbolized what Harry had offered Seven as a companion, and what Seven had to settle for in her exclusive association with the Doctor and Naomi. It is amusingly ironic that, after repeatedly (and reflexively) deriding Harry’s efforts at sharing recreational holopograms with her as "irrelevant," Seven is now stuck with experiencing holoprograms she finds truly irrelevant due to her companionship with Naomi and the Doctor—while Harry goes off with Marla to run holoprograms whose relevance she now realizes that she would have understood and appreciated if she had ever bothered to consider them seriously. Indeed, it is clear that Harry selected the golf holoprogram precisely to suit Marla’s tastes and wants—in contrast, the Doctor simply imposed his choice on Seven (to be fair to the Doc, this is because Seven blindly accepts his advice/suggestions). I think she associates with Naomi and the Doctor because, among other reasons, they both feed her sense of superiority—Naomi looks up to her as an unquestionably superior being, and the Doctor, of course, reinforces her belief in her superiority as a technological being. But now, Seven is beginning to realize just how hollow that sense of superiority really is—and how inadequate as companions the Doctor and Naomi really are.

Nonetheless, "beginning to realize" is not the same as "realize"—as the ending paragraphs makes clear, Seven fails to make the connection between her casual mockery of Harry’s kindness, and the ceasing of his efforts to extend a hand of friendship that was almost invariably spit upon and slapped away. As her puzzlement at Harry’s reaction to seeing her shows, she is still ignorant of the significance of her past behavior on his actions. To quote Athena’s remark about Seven in "Someone to Watch Over Me," "She’s got a long way to go before she’s worthy of Harry." Not to mention, as she is realizing through her feelings toward the "Equinox 5," a lot of apologizing. But it’s a start.

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