Star Trek is set in a future where a Federation of planets across the galaxy are united by diversity, science, and the quest for greater knowledge and understanding - which almost demands that notions about race and sexuality evolve, as well. However, the socio-political realities of the television industry have not favored LGBTQ representation in Star Trek until recently - and one big disappointment long the way was the character of Seven of Nine. Jeri Ryan's reformed Borg drone was introduced to Star Trek: Voyager with a lot of fan hope and speculation that she would be gay, but that never panned out. However, with Seven of Nine's appearance in Star Trek: Picard, the showrunners are finally giving fans what they've long waited for!
Warning! Star Trek: Picard Episode 5 "Stardust City Rag" SPOILERS Follow!
Star Trek: Picard episode 5 "Stardust City Rag" sees Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his rag-tag crew go undercover on the casino planet of Freecloud to locate Bruce Maddox, the cybernetics and android scientist that created Data's twin "daughters" Dahj and Soji. Maddox is being held prisoner by "Bjayzl" (Necar Zadegan), a businesswoman who hacks up former Borg drones for cybernetic parts to sell on the black market.
After encountering Seven of Nine on the entry to Freecloud, Picard learns that her militia group the Fenris Rangers had some dark history with Bjayzl. That history involved Bjayzl infiltrating the Fenris Rangers and getting close to Seven of Nine - very close, as it turns out. While never spelled out, it's made very clear that Bjayzl and Seven were "intimate," and that's why Bjayzl's betrayal and murder of Icheb, Seven of Nine's close friend / surrogate son from Star Trek: Voyager.
When Picard learns of the real connection between Seven of Nine and Bjayzl, he talks Seven down from brutal revenge, opting to leave with Maddox instead. However, fans of Star Trek: Voyager know just how long and hard Seven of Nine's transition back into human connection (let alone romance) was; as soon as Picard is out of the way, Seven of Nine returns to face Bjayzl, and blasts her former lover into a fine red mist.
In the end, this was an exciting evolution of Seven of Nine's character from Star Trek: Voyager, as well as a much-needed course correction. Seven sexuality is now firmly set as bi-sexual, having had both male and female lovers. That's a big change from when Voyager was airing in the late '90s; at the time, producer Jeri Taylor actually admitted to TV Guide that they had dropped the ball with Seven of Nine as a potential LGBTQ character:
"The idea is something I'm absolutely sympathetic with, and I have tried several times to do it. But for various reasons there has been opposition, and it gradually became clear that this is a fight I could not win."
Consider one more battle in this fight now won.
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