Star Trek Fan Collective: Borg (Some Spoilage May Occur)

There's a series of these out there - this one is a collection of the most "important" Borg episodes of the various Star Trek series. I thought I'd take a look at them and report on what I find.

I always liked the Borg as enemies, similar as they are to those other favorites of mine, the Cybermen. I thought they got a bit overused, particularly during the Voyager years, where I felt they made the transition from "An enemy so deadly that one of their ships was a threat to all of the Federation" to "A bunch of feebs who were regularly being outwitted in the heart of their own territory by Mrs. Columbo".

Anyway, I'll go through the collection story by story, and see what I can see.

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The first story is from Enterprise, and it's called "Regeneration". I lost interest in Enterprise pretty quickly, but when I heard about this episode, I went out of my way to watch it. I watched it again before work this morning. As it turns out, it's sort of a sequel to Star Trek: First Contact and provides a plausible reason for Borg to be on Earth during Archer's time frame.

Things I liked: The opening scenes are very derivative of a favorite movie of mine, The Thing from Another World, with an Arctic expedition finding aliens frozen in the ice. The tie-ins with First Contact were nicely done, too.

Things that bugged me a little: The main thing was the way this episode effectively creates the question: "How come when Picard and Company encountered the Borg, nobody - particularly Data, the Computer That Walked Like a Man - made any connection to this incident?" It's true, Archer and company never heard the name "Borg" , but there were plenty of audio and visual records made that surely would've gotten socked away into a "Keep an eye for these guys" file. Maybe in the ensuing centuries the records were lost or suppressed? I seem to recall that there was an on-going plot thread of a "Time War" of sorts during Enterprise, maybe this affected it, somehow.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode, and thought it was pretty well done.
The next story is from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and is called "Q Who". Q was another character that I thought got overused a bit - nothing against John De Lancie, I think he did very well in the part. My theory of Q is that much of his behavior is an act - that is, he behaves the way he does because he's trying to evoke a particular response from Picard. In other words, he plays the "Trickster" but has a serious interest in humanity's development. Q and Guinan are revealed to have a "history", but it's not explored here.

Interestingly, in the extras there's talk of how the creatures from a previous episode, "Conspiracy" - sort of stop-motion scorpions that had infiltrated Starfleet - were meant to be the big villains, before it was decided to go with the Cybermen Borg, instead. Smart move, I think.

The presence of some mysterious force had been hinted at in a previous episode, "The Neutral Zone", but the Borg themselves were first seen in "Q Who". It's interesting stuff - the "Borg babies" manage to be goofy and creepy at the same time.

At the end of the episode, Guinan and Picard are talking - Guinan says that Q caused humanity to encounter the Borg sooner than they should have. I wonder. If the power that stripped the bases along the Neutral Zone was the Borg, then they already knew about humanity. In a back-handed way, Q might be said to have done the Federation a favor, having given them an idea of what the Borg were like, so that they might have a little time to prepare for a threat that was already on its way.

As for how this episode ties into "Regeneration"....I guess one could argue that Q thrust the Enterprise into contact with the Borg in such a hurry that they never had time to do the research that might've turned up Archer's account of his encounter with them. Maybe later, someone sifting through old records realized that these were the same folks that the original Enterprise had met.

It's interesting to think about it from a Borg point of view....

Sometime in the 24th Century (before the events of "The Neutral Zone"), the Borg received a ( probably somewhat garbled and degraded) two hundred year old message, purporting to be from Borg drones, but originating from a sector of space which the Collective knew that they had never visited in that time period (and possibly not at all up to that point). Intrigued, the Borg send a ship to the Alpha Quadrant to collect intel on and samples of the local life forms and technology. The ship strips Federation and Romulan border outposts, returning to Borgspace with info on the UFP and the Romulan Empire, which they process for future reference. It may be that at this time, the Borg had no plans for the immediate "assimilation" of the Federation - they might have been planning to hold it off for "when we get around to it". Then comes the events of "Q Who" - a Borg cube discovers the presence of a Federation vessel a vast distance from where it should be, without explanation. (The Borg don't seem to be aware of Q's presence.) They sample the vessel's technology, but it seems to contain nothing too different from what they took from along the Neutral Zone. The vessel escapes, and seemingly vanishes from in front of them. This apparent undetectable advance in Federation technology - again assuming they don't know of Q's presence - interests them , and they move up their plans to attack Federation. So I guess you could say that Q's actions do bring the Federation's conflict with the Borg sooner. On the other hand, if the Borg had attacked an unprepared Federation some time later, it could have gone worse for them.

At any rate, we then have the events of "The Best of Both Worlds" - of which more later - and then eventually those of Star Trek - First Contact, when the Borg travel back to the 21st Century, and a few end up frozen in the Arctic ice, to be revived in the 22nd Century, and survive long enough to send the signal that started the whole business in the first place...
Last night I watched both parts of "The Best of Both Worlds", which was the season-ending cliff-hanger for the third season of Star Trek - The Next Generation. This was my first exposure to such, and it was quite well done. I remember when I first heard Riker say "Mister Worf - fire", then saw the awful words "To be continued". I was on tenterhooks all summer, waiting to find out how it would all be resolved. In the end, the wrap-up wasn't quite as good as the set-up had been, but it was still quite good. Gosh, I'd forgotten how obnoxious Commander Shelby was. Although, with the passage of time, one does question Riker turning down promotion over and over again.

This was probably the zenith of the Borg, they were never quite such an "unstoppable" threat, again.
Last night, I watched the Next Generation episode "I Borg", in which Picard and company take in a stray Borg who has been run over by a London bus in a space ship crash. The rest of the episode revolves around the Enterprise crew debating whether or not it would be ethical to use the Borg, whom they have nicknamed "Hugh", as a weapon to destroy the Borg by showing him one of those "magic eye" pictures.

It's an OK episode - fun to watch, although I find the logic of it doesn't bear too close a scrutiny. Of course, that's ture of alot of these episodes.
Next up was the Next Generation episodes, "Descent", parts One and Two,.which is proabalby the lamest Borg story to date, reducing them to stooges for Lore, Data's evil twin. I never liked Lore as a character - for me, the "evil twin" story is way overused. And really, there's no reason for the Borg to be here as opposed to anyone else, unless it's just a chance for the production company to amortize the expense of the Borg costumes. Lore might just as easily have built an army of loyal androids.

On the subject of Doctor Soong - between Data, Lore and B4 from Star Trek: Nemesis, it appears that Soong kept building the same android over and over again, and then leaving them lying around places. Most untidy.
Next up were the Star Trek: Voyager episodes "Scorpion", parts One and Two. The pre-credits scene of episode one is one of my favorite scenes in the series, with the Borg spouting their usual "assimilation" rhetoric, only to have the swerve of an unknown enemy casually wiping them out. I'm a sucker for "enemies teaming up to fight a greater menace" storylines, in this case the newly-introduced Species 8472. I'm a little sketchy about the notion of "fluidic space" - shouldn't it leak every time they open up a gateway to "our" universe?

I thought the scenes of tension between Janeway and Chakotay were nicely done.

Part Two introduced us to Large of Bre Seven of Nine, who would replace the departing Kes.
The first episode of Deep Space 9 showed the big battle from the second part of "The Best of Both Worlds" from Sisko's perspective.
Luke Blanchard said:
The first episode of Deep Space 9 showed the big battle from the second part of "The Best of Both Worlds" from Sisko's perspective.

Yes, that's right. For whatever reason, the Borg were never used again in DS9, although the Defiant, a ship introduced in the series, was seen in the Borg battle in Star Trek: First Contact.
Next up is the Voyager episode "Drone", in which a transporter accident (Aside: Yes, another transporter accident - it's a wonder anyone uses the damned thing) causes some of Seven's Borg nanoprobes to mingle with the Doctor's mobile holo-emitter, leading to the creation of a Borg drone which contain the 29th Century technology of the emitter, thus making the drone super-advanced. Seven and the crew attempt to teach the drone about how great it is to be an individual before the Collective can assimilate it and all that swell future technology. Eventually, of course, there is a confrontation with a Borg ship, and the drone nobly sacrifices itself to save the ship.

There's nothing wrong with this episode, I suppose, but I'm not too wild about it. It's a little too "by the numbers" - this has elements of a dozen previous Trek episodes - we've seen all this before.
Watched the Voyager episode "Dark Frontier", which was 90 minutes long, and featured a confrontation between Seven and the Borg Queen - here played by Susanna Thompson - and an exploration into Seven's pre-assimilation childhood. This feature something I always thought they should try - that is, beaming a photon torpedo to the interior of a Brog ship while there shield wer emomentarily dow, and blowing them up from the inside. It's a good enough story, with some interesting mind-games between Seven and the Queen.
Next was "Unimatrix Zero", parts one and two, in which it is discovered that a handful of Borg drones have developed the knack to escape into a sort of "dreamland" while they are "regenerating" (i.e., "sleeping") and the Borg Queen doesn't like that, and Jabeway and company get called in to the rescue. As part of a plan, Janeway, Tuvok and Torres allow themselves to be "assimilated". I have to say, Mulgrew makes one really dyspeptic-looking Borg. It's an OK story, but the Borg have really come down in the world by this point.
The final sotry in the collection was "Endgame", the double-length final episode of Voyager, in which Janeway from thirty years in the future comes back in time to help shorten Voyager's trip home, only to have run-in with both the Borg Queen (Here played by Alice Krige from Star Trek: First Contact, I guess Susanna Thompson was unavailable) and present-day Janeway, who doesn't seem to like her older self much. Dwight Schultz is in this as well, reprising his role as Reg Barclay. Really, you'd think that by the end, the Borg would've just picked Voyager up and carried it home, just to be rid of them.

All in all, it was an interssting bunch of stories. They never really topped "The Best of Both Worlds" for a Borg story, though.

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