Seven’s Renaissance

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When Seven of Nine returned during season one of Star Trek Picard there was a collective cheer across the fandom.  It isn’t every day that a beloved legacy character gets to return in a new series.  Of course, Mr. Worf (aka Michael Dorn) has set a high bar for his numerous television series and movie appearances, but having Seven as a part of Star Trek Picard was different.  In Picard, we were presented with a version of Seven that had changed.  This was a Seven we needed to not only learn about, but one that we needed to get to know again.

There were, of course, very familiar things about Seven.  The familiar implants and exoskeleton were still there to remind us of her time as an assimilated part of the Borg collective.  There was also the unique head tilt, the visibly clenched jaw, and the stoic stance with hands locked behind her back which were all classic Seven mannerisms.  Also, still very present was the signature raised brow of Seven’s ocular implant that always expressed what went unsaid. Despite the familiarities, we were presented with a character that had grown and evolved since we had last seen her on the bridge of Voyager, stunned along with the rest of the crew that they had finally reached home.

As we learn, Earth and Star Fleet weren’t that kind to Seven and she moved on to forge her own path. As a Fenris Ranger, Seven could play by her own rule book.  Something that aligned with the Seven we knew from Voyager.  However, this Fenris Ranger Seven was out to protect those in need and to provide hope where there was none.  An ethos surely formed from her time spent with her Voyager family and that was now foundational to her personality. Seven always carried a certain level of bravado, and as a Ranger that level of confidence certainly helped her gain some infamy across the quadrant. But Seven was also very independent, rogue and carrying a fair amount of self-sacrifice at this point.  Which, when combined, often placed Seven, and those close to her, in danger.

Seven eventually began seeing the recklessness with which she was living her life and even seemed to be letting done some of her guards.  The infamous locking of hands with Raffi Musiker during Star Trek Picard’s season one finale not only showcased that Seven was willing to trust others, but that she was also open to sharing her life romantically.  This moment with Raffi also firmly identified Seven as queer.

Seven has always been keenly aware of the need to find balance between the mechanics and organics of living as an ex-Borg drone. During season two of Star Trek Picard, Seven spends time without her Borg implants thanks to the handy work of Q. Even toward the end of Voyager Seven was exploring what life would be like without the outward visibility of her Borg implants. Knowing that she was still struggling with self-acceptance somehow made Seven more human than she even realized. 

We also were able to witness Seven leaning further into personal relationships. When Seven kissed Raffi during Season two of Star Trek Picard we were seeing a vulnerability that had not been a part of Seven’s playbook in the past. Intimacy had previously been more of a task rather than an emotional expression for her. The romantic relationships Seven explored on Voyager were explorative much like a first date and we certainly know that Seven had relationships between Voyager’s arrival home and her beaming on board the La Sirena. The kiss with Raffi stands out for the character as a moment of self-acceptance and a willingness to unconditionally trust another person.

It was during season three of Star Trek Picard that Seven faces the ultimate obstacle – balance.  Now a Commander with Starfleet, Seven is under the command of a curmudgeonly Captain that insists on deadnaming her rather than calling her by her chosen name.  Seven was not only struggling to find a balance between doing the right thing while still following the guiding principles of the Federation, but also facing personal defeat by being called Commander Hansen by her superior officer.  What we witness during season three of Star Trek Picard is Seven finally finding a balance that allows her to follow her instincts, earn the respect of her crew and find a place where she can not only be accepted for all of who she is but, more importantly, she can accept herself. Of course, it wouldn’t be Star Trek without Seven playing a role in saving the galaxy and being promoted to Captain – the first canonically queer Captain in Star Trek!

If Seven’s time on Voyager is viewed as a rebirth, then her time on Picard was a Renaissance. The struggle for acceptance, perfection, trust, career, and relationships are all fundamental human characteristics.  And, like all humans, Seven needed to find a path to realize that the search for all these things can sometimes take a lifetime.

We cannot talk about the growth and evolution of Seven without acknowledging the one person who knows her best, Jeri Ryan.  Jeri’s performances as Seven left us with numerous highlights across her four years on Voyager, but to bring Seven back after 20+ years and present Seven as someone who has experienced life for all its good and bad yet is still willing to fight for the best in humanity is unprecedented. During the three seasons of Star Trek Picard Jeri gave us a complex character filled with nuances and just enough expression to let us clearly know that we were seeing a character that had changed and was still evolving but was still familiar. Thank you somehow doesn’t seem like enough, but nonetheless thank you Jeri for bringing Seven back to our screens.

It is impossible to predict what lies ahead for our beloved Captain Seven of the Starship Enterprise-G, but should her story continue, we should be prepared for an adventure only Seven can take us on.

Go Boldly & LLAP

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Jodi

I like to read and write. I like to listen to and play music. I dream of living near the ocean and traveling to outer space. Laughter makes me happy.

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