Nov. 26: No Win Scenario


“Dealing with the Devil/Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” by Jay Chattaway

How’s this for a no-win scenario: a situation so dire that you must make a pact with who you think is your most lethal enemy because you have just discovered that you both have a common foe out there who is worse. This is the exact situation Captain Janeway finds herself in at the end of “Scorpion.”

Janeway’s agreement with the Borg against Species 8472 was a massive turning point for the franchise, ultimately bringing Seven of Nine to the crew. At the time, the fans had been anticipating Voyager‘s arrival to Borg Space, and hints of the Borg’s presence had been dropped in multiple episodes leading to the conclusion of Season 3.

Jay Chattaway’s score for the two-parter “Scorpion” is some of his best work in the franchise. His theme for Species 8472 in particular is a stand-out and is instantly recognizable1It’s a shame that Dennis McCarthy completely ignored it when scoring “Prey” later in Season 4.

The conclusion of Part 1 sees Captain Janeway aboard the Borg vessel trying to negotiate an agreement between the two, emphasizing that Species 8472 is a threat to them both. Chattaway’s Borg theme combines the requisite synthesizer textures with a Holst-inspired melody2Ok, maybe more than inspired—it’s almost a direct lift from “Mars: The Bringer of War”, and he adds in his signature six-note “suspense” motif for good measure.

When a group of Species 8472 bio-ships attack, their theme kicks in as the negotiations are cut short out of necessity. The cue builds as the Species 8472 ships destroy the nearby assimilated planet and all of the Borg cubes except for the one with Janeway aboard. With Voyager in tow, the cube warps away as the orchestra plays one last thunderous rendition of the Species 8472 theme, concluding my favorite cliffhanger cue since Ron Jones’s (in)famous conclusion to “The Best of Both Worlds”

“Dealing with the Devil/Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” by Jay Chattaway

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