ST:TNG 5.23 I, Borg~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

The Enterprise finds a near death borg drone who becomes self aware in 5.23 I, Borg.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

I, Borg
Season 5, Episode 23

  • The Enterprise finds a young, injured Borg on a planet whom which they heal only to have Picard plan on sending it back to the collective with a virus to infect them. Things get morally blurry when the drone starts to become self-aware and the crew starts to become attached to him.
    Character Focus:
    • The Borg drone, know initially as Third of Five and then as Hugh is the focus of the episode, as not only does gain self-awareness, but also starts to form friendships and the crew starts to understand The Borg through him.
    • Both Beverly and Geordi are key here, as they are the ones that work with Hugh to both heal him as also prepare the virus for him to carry back to the collective. They are also the ones who quite unintentionally teach him how to be self-aware and then voice the reason when they wonder if sending him on an errand of destruction, including his own.
    • Although not in the limelight, it's also a look into a different and darker side of Picard, who comes up with the plan of sending Hugh back with the virus and sending a subtle but strong message to the Borg. He also is very distanced in an unnerving way.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember Hugh, and the whole "I'm Beverly, he's Geordi and" leading them to say name him Hugh.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • I found it rather disturbing to see Picard all detached and not seeing Hugh as an individual, and being okay with modifying him to destroy others. I also forgot that Picard poses as Locutus to try and 'turn' Hugh on the crew.
    • I'm trying to remember what stage computers were at when this episode came out, because the idea that they discuss of sending a program through Hugh to the collective is pretty abstract and you can tell it feels new, where as seeing it now understanding the concept is very common place.
    • There is an interesting question in this episode on whether or not they are at war with the Borg, because no formal lines of communications have every been opened but The Borg attack them at any encounter. What constitutes a war? How is The Federation suppose to act? Is defense okay but not proactive action? And even the idea here isn't quite proactive, it's more of an opportunity seen and (almost) taken.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • It's hard to see this one with new eyes and/or even talk about themes it brings up without discussing other parts in the series(es), so I'm keeping mum on this one.
    • Ah, Geordi... always the friend to people he meets. I find that sometimes he fills the role of 'always the bridesmaid, never the bride' kind of vibe in the show. So close to some many things, but never quite the focus.
    What remained the same:
    • It's amazing how quickly people start to connect and share and encourage others to learn, and to become friends, as both Beverly and Geordi do with Hugh.
    What I see differently:
    • This is another episode this season where I've been surprized they don't have Troi interact more with the focus character, as we is getting in touch with himself and they are questioning and exploring his new nature. If they want to find out more, why not have Troi talk to him? They do have her try and connect with and talk to Picard, who is not hearing any of it, so perhaps that was all we were going to get there.
    • Seeing Beverly and Geordi work together on Hugh reminded me of how they are such an interesting action-team of medical and engineering expertise, and they often are the ones who 'fix' things, most often in the series that is when something is wrong with Data.
    Great Quotes:
    • "Kill it now. Make it appear that it died in the crash. Leave no evidence that we were ever here." - Worf
    • "You felt sorry for me. Look what it got you." - Guinan
    • "If you are going to use this person to destroy his race, you should at least look him in the eye once, before you do it. Because I am not sure he is still a Borg." - Guinan
    Left off at:
    When Hugh's self-awareness turns the tide on the ship using him to destroy the Borg, Picard offers him the option of amnesty and not being returned to the site where the collective could find him. Hugh decides against the offer, because it would put people in danger who do not want to be assimilated, and therefore he is returned to where The Enterprise found him and the Borg to arrive to take him back to the collective.

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    Images Source: TrekCore


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