Star Trek Needs To Finally Kill The Borg

With the Borg's final (yeah, right) destruction in the Star Trek: Picard finale, we argue that this needs to finally be the end.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

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Star Trek: Picard‘s finale “The Last Generation” gives us the definitive defeat of the Borg… again. In light of what promises to be their inevitable return, I beg any present or future Star Trek creators who stumble upon this op-ed to consider keeping the drones and their Queen inert in the cruel gases of Jupiter for two reasons: Patrick Stewart’s Picard has taken his final bow, and because constantly being served the “final” defeat of this iconic villain is getting really old.

It wouldn’t be true to say Jean-Luc Picard is the only fan-favorite Star Trek character whose story is largely informed by his confrontations with the Borg — Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks) could certainly say the same — but his decades-long conflict with the Collective has certainly proven the most compelling.

Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), and the assimilated Picard (Patrick Stewart) in “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

They were so compelling it’s almost laughable that — as good as the final season proved to be — Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas thought it might be a surprise that the Borg were the real villains. They factor largely into Picard‘s first season and they’re one of the chief villains in Season 2. The Enterprise-D might have needed to wait until Season 3 to fight a Borg Cube in Picard, but Trek’s favorite cybernetic zombie horde have loomed over every corner of the revival series since day one.

Without Picard — without his trauma and the darkest urges the villains always bring out of him — and without the Borg Queen’s fascination with Picard that she refuses to acknowledge, Star Trek’s Borg aren’t as interesting and just can’t be as fun.

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Locutus (Patrick Stewart) and the Borg Queen (Alice Krige) in Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

By my count, this marks the third supposed final, total, ultimate, conclusive, complete, definitive, etc. end of the Borg, and I think it’s about time this truly closes the book on the Night of the Transwarping Dead. The first death of the Borg Queen in 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact seemed to mean their annihilation, but of course the folks trying to make their way home in Star Trek: Voyager needed to both clash with them and recruit one of them (Seven of Nine).

Then there was Star Trek: Voyager‘s series finale, “Endgame,” which again seemed to mean the end of the entire Borg collective when the future version of Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) sacrificed herself to infect them with a fatal neurolytic pathogen. Twenty years later, Picard needed more story, and the Borg returned.

The Borg Queen dies in “The Last Generation,” the Star Trek: Picard series finale

Now with much better visual effects than Star Trek enjoyed in the nineties or early aughts, the Borg go boom again in Picard‘s final season on Paramount+ and really, guys, this needs to be it.

Sure, Trek antagonists like the Q Continuum, the Dominion, Gorn, Romulans, Ferengi, Klingons, and more have made repeat appearances, but what’s been different has always been the nature of those conflicts. There has never been an episode or film in which any of the antagonists mentioned above have been depicted as being delivered a final defeat by the heroes. Meanwhile, now three of Star Trek’s biggest and most popular stories have sought to come off as the ultimate end of the Borg.

Why does Star Trek treat the Borg differently than races like the Klingons or the Romulans? That brings up some intriguing questions all on its own, but setting them aside for now, the fact is that the franchise has treated them differently. If Trek continues to keep resurrecting them like Sarah Michelle Gellar in a vampire series, eventually it’s just going to weaken the integrity of the franchise and render the Borg dull and irritating.

We should not be without gratitude. Star Trek’s Borg have given us decades of fun, scary violence, and fictional technological innovations like “hey so why can’t starships just be boxes?” But it’s time to pull the plug and, more importantly, keep it out.

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