The Borg Were The Best Star Trek Villains – Until They Weren’t

The Borg were so terrifying in “Q Who” that the writers of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” would have to bring them back eventually. “Q Who” ended with the implication that the Borg, while thousands of lightyears away, were going to be traveling to get the Enterprise and complete its job of assimilation. The specter of the Borg hung over the series for a while. Then, at the end of the show’s third season, audiences were treated to “The Best of Both Worlds” (June 18 and September 24, 1990), perhaps the show’s most famous installment. In the cliffhanger two-part episode, Picard was kidnapped and assimilated by the Borg. His knowledge was siphoned out of his brain, and the Borg used it to attack Earth. Captain Riker (Jonathan Frakes) underwent a career crisis as a result, having to take command of the Enterprise. Thousands of lives were lost before Picard could be rescued and the Borg stopped. 

After that, it seemed like the show was done with the Borg. The unstoppable threat had been stopped, but many died and Picard was forever traumatized. In the show’s following episode, “Family,” Picard admitted to his brother that the Borg hurt him more deeply than anyone can imagine. Picard broke down, something he rarely did. It seems that the trauma lingered. 

But the writers couldn’t stay away from the Borg, and in many ways, it’s been downhill ever since. With every new reappearance of the famed “Star Trek” villains came a twist in their ethos, an alteration or expansion of what was known before. And each new twist made the Borg less threatening.

Yes, I am an old Trekkie shaking his fist at a cloud, but one could argue that the Borg were never more threatening than they were 33 years ago.

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