The Borg. One of the biggest and most fearsome threats to not only the Enterprise crew but to the galaxy itself. But, just how did the Enterprise and the Borg meet? Who was responsible and why? Find out in the episode that first aired on May 8,1989, Q Who?
The Enterprise is thrown into uncharted space by Q who wants to prove that they are not ready for some of the beings they will encounter. In doing so, the Enterprise encounters The Borg, a biologically and technologically blended society who only wants to consume all they see.
After a run-in with Ensign Gomez, Picard encounter’s Q on a shuttlecraft as he had previously promised Picard that he would not ‘trouble the Enterprise’.
Q gets Picard to agree to a discussion aboard the Enterprise and immediately transports them to Ten-Forward where Guinan is not happy with his surprise visit. Q then proposes that he join the crew as he has been kicked out of the Q-continuum. Picard asks just what Q would do aboard the ship, Q offers his services and claims he will even renounce his powers to be a part of the crew.
Picard declines the offer and Q tells him that they are not ready for what is to come. Q takes the challenge and decides to show Picard that they are not ready for what is to come. He then sweeps the ship and her crew into a faraway galaxy where they are over two years away from the closest Starbase.
Despite Guinan’s warning to head back home immediately, Picard chooses to take advantage of their situation and explore the area. They soon come to an M-class planet where every city has been scooped out of the ground similar to the events of the first season episode The Neutral Zone.
Soon a large cube ship appears and they encounter…The Borg!
Picard asks Guinan to give her input on this ship and she explains that the Borg were responsible for the near extinction of her people. She warns Picard that these aliens will destroy them if they are not careful. Soon one of the Borg beams aboard and begins to explore engineering. They are unable to stop these visitors from analysing the ship and when they depart, Picard consults with Guinan about this new threat.
Guinan tells them that this is one species that you can not reason with, that you can not negotiate with and that will stop at nothing to assimilate the Enterprise. She tells him to prepare for battle and that it will not be pretty.
The Borg lock on to the Enterprise and begins to drain the ship of its energy. Soon the Borg ship slices into the saucer and begins to remove parts of the ship losing 18 crew members in the process. The Enterprise retaliates and manages to put a stop to the attack.
Picard hold a meeting with the senior staff and Q appears telling them that this race, the Borg, can not be stopped. That they are the ultimate users and will only end up destroying the ship. Again, despite Guinan’s protests, Picard sends an away team to the Borg ship for an exploratory mission.
Riker, Worf and Data beam aboard the ship and discover that the alien crew is still alive, despite the damage done, but they are in a form of stasis. As they travel through the ship they discover the Borg Maturation chambers where the Borg assimilate infants.
They soon discover that the Borg vessel can regenerate and Picard commands the away team back. As soon as they return, they reverse course and attempt to outrun the Borg vessel. Q appears and tells Picard that, no matter what he does, the Borg will chase them down and consume them.
After realizing that they are in over their heads, Picard tells Q that they are indeed out of their league. In doing so, Q sweeps them back home and tells him that that was but one of the many horrible enemies that they will face. That space, is indeed, not for the timid.
On their way back to a starbase for repairs, Picard talks with Guinan about the Borg. She tells him that this encounter was far too soon and now that the Borg know about the Federation, they will be coming to seek out more. Picard acknowledges that maybe Q did a good thing by giving them a shock of what is to come.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
This is the beginning of some of the best STNG stories of the series. To those watching it for the first time, this looked like it could have been a one off episode as the last ‘long term threat’ was vastly ignored. They would be so very wrong as it would only be one more season before these beings returned and in numbers. The Borg would soon become the boogieman of Star Trek and would haunt every series that followed.
This singe episode sets off events like no other and The Borg would become one of the most recognizable races in all of Star Trek lore.
John De Lancie and Whoopi Goldberg are marvelous together on screen and you really get a sense of history between them. We don’t learn too much more about their rivalry until the next season in Deja Q.
I love the Borg and would actually assimilate any duplicate figures in my Star Trek figure collection from Playmates Toys. This would become some of my first kitbashes for action figures as I would add on electronic components to the figures and actually melt in parts and pieces to them.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We learn that Guinan is over 200 years old as Q references that they had an encounter over 2 centuries prior.
We see that the Borg have babies, this is later explained that these babies were being assimilated and the Borg do not have children of their own.
We meet Ensign Gomez who will actually show back up in the next episode. In her first encounter with Picard, the young ensign has a run-in he would never forget.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Samaritan Snare
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Late To The Game 7/13/2019 (originally published 4/4/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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