Writing over at StarTrek.com, Ellen Hill takes a look at Seven of Nine's new outfit in Star Trek Picard and looks back out outfits past, which had caused problems for Ellen.
But, my aversion to Seven’s costuming was a small part of the greater experience, and I wasn’t willing to give up on the show that I had grown to love so much. It was too important to me. So, I compartmentalized, and life went on. As I matured, so too did the ways that I engaged with the media around me (including Voyager). I left behind teenage awkwardness and grew into my twenties. Along the way, I read some Laura Mulvey, learned about the concept of the male gaze, and finally had the vocabulary to understand why the catsuit had always bothered me. It wasn’t simply that it was so incongruous among the rest of the cast’s costuming. It was that it was presented at face value, and never discussed or addressed within the framework of the show itself. Seven exerting agency over her physical presentation would have fit seamlessly into her character arc of rediscovering her identity, and would have added a compelling dimension to her series-long story. But, this facet of her character was left unexplored — seemingly to justify the objectification of a beautiful actress.
On future rewatches — with a slightly more experienced eye, a practiced habit of compartmentalization, and the understanding that the show and its choices were very much a product of the mid-nineties — I found that I adored Seven. She resisted simplicity in ways I found extremely narratively satisfying. I loved her for her sharpness and her arrogance, and for the surprising ways that those traits gave way, over time, to warmth and compassion. I would not have been nearly as forgiving of this character were it not for Jeri Ryan’s wonderfully nuanced and disciplined performance. I only wish I had recognized it sooner.
Which brings us to two months ago: I was scrolling through Twitter, waiting for a coffee, when my timeline lit up. The new Picard trailer had just dropped at San Diego Comic Con. I stepped out of line, too excited to watch it to wait. About halfway through, a familiar voice caused my brain to momentarily short circuit. I burst into delighted laughter. Seven was back! In the brief second she appeared, my mind skipped off in dozens of different directions — but the main one, right at the forefront: Is she wearing a sweater?