The Rewatch 197: I, Borg.

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.23 I, Borg (5/10/1992)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh) –  You might have known him from the Closer as Dr. Morales.

Review:

  This is an interesting Borg episode, and considering Hugh apparently has several episodes under his “Arc” now, I figure it’s a pretty important Borg episode.   The Enterprise comes across a crash site of a Borg scout ship and find a single survivor.  Crusher manages to convince Picard and others to let her beam the Borg aboard the enterprise to receive emergency care.

This episode deals with a few different themes.  One of those themes was Prejudice.  In being around the Borg, separated from his compatriots, many characters in the series are forced to reevaluate their stance on the Borg. It reminds you that while the Borg are mentally linked, there are distinct individuals in that mind link.  These are people.  Remarkably all human like even though they’ve incorporated several species into their collective.

Picard and Guinan have the most to reevaluate.  Both are very anti-Borg due to their past experiences. Geordi inspires both to visit with Hugh, to see how *a* Borg is like, rather then the Borg.  Guinan finds her impression troubling and needed Picard to assure they were doing the right thing.  Picard decides to pretend to be Locutus and pressure Hugh into playing what he thought the role of the Borg was and is surprised when Hugh expresses individuality and disdain for the idea.

The second theme is the act of biowarfare.  They wanted to send the Borg (then known as Third of Five) back to his comrades with a virus that will disable the collective and effectively end the Borg.  The Borg are dependent on their cybernetic parts to survive, and when the virus takes them out, it will effectively kill them all.

Beverly is totally against it, against the loss of life. Will & Deanna are pragmatic about it. They don’t’ necessarily like or dislike it, but it seems to be the most likely to give them survival.  Picard, however, is for it to a high degree due to his experiences.  He feels he understands the Borg more then anyone else and doesn’t see a problem with destroying them.

Geordi and Beverly get to act as the voice of conscious to Guinan and Picard about their bigotry towards Borg in general.  Its hard not to understand them having it, given what we have seen from the Borg so far, but Hugh gives us a different insight into the Borg. He also paves the way for characters such as Seven of Nine from Voyager.

Hugh decides in the end to return to his collective to protect the enterprise (and Geordi in particular).  He gives Geordi a look at the end, as he’s beamed away, that suggests that he retains that spark of individualism that he has now been given exposure to.

Overall it is a good episode, and it develops some depth in characterization for all these characters.  It even gives character development to the Borg!  So I would definitely put this in my must watch list, especially if you are a fan of Borg episodes.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by  Rene Exhevarria
  • Directed by Robert Lederman
  • This episode’s story is continued later in season 6.

Pros

  •  Character development of several characters
  • We get to see Gunian as having character flaws.  She’s often shown as being the all-knowing ancient wisdom holding person for the show, but in this episode she still gets angry, she still has prejudices, and she still has to reevaluate her beliefs (which she does).
  • We get to see incite into the Borg.  We now know how they work with their cybernetics, that it is possible to wake the individual from the collective.

Cons:

  •  I’m not particularly fond of the ongoing “Picard decides to ignore that he’s not fully over the Borg attack” story thye have going on.  That he’s not over it is not the problem, and that’s probably one of the few times the mental health of a character is carried through out a show. But that they make a point of someone saying something to him and he denying it.  It just seems like they are trying to push too much into our faces that Picard still has lingering issues. Of course he has lingering issues, but does it always have to be directly confronted each time the Borg show up?

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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