Star Trek: How Picard's Ex-Borg Fit Into the Franchise's History of Tragic Characters

Star Trek: Picard explores the Star Trek universe after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. This includes revisiting the Borg after the events of Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Voyager. Most of the Borg story has taken place on "the Artifact," a dormant Borg cube abandoned in the former neutral zone between Federation and Romulan space. Here, Hugh led the Borg reclamation project, trying to de-assimilate Borg drones a reacclimate them to living as individuals outside of the Borg collective's hive mind. The results of this process are mixed and some fans wonder what the message behind the story is, especially after the tragic events on the Artifact in the episode "Nepenthe." Showrunner Michael Chabon explained his point of view while answering a fan's question via Instagram.

"'No message," Chabon says. "Tragic' is not a synonym for "sad" or "dark." It's a way of understanding life, of the gap between our intentions and our outcomes, between the limitlessness of our aspirations and the inevitability of our falling short over the long term — and therefore the corresponding sweetness of even the most short-lived and smallest victories. In Star Trek terms, Spock — forever seeking to reconcile his human and Vulcan heritage, his capacity for love and his abhorrence of its illogic — is a deeply tragic figure. Worf, Seven, Sisko in many ways, the Tasha Yar of 'Yesterday's Enterprise', arguably Khan… Star Trek has always found room to reflect this 'tragic sense of life.'"

This seems to be the new perspective on the Borg that Picard stars Jeri Ryan and Jonathan Del Arco hinted at ahead of the show's premiere. “Let’s just say that since we got our hands on the Borg… you could say that 20 years ago we changed the Borg, in a way, because we became individuals,” Del Arco told ComicBook.com. “That sense of individuality that was introduced has had an effect throughout Borg-dom, the Borg kingdom as it were. There are elements of the Borg that I assume remain intact, as we knew them, as a threat. Our own version of that, where we’re at, is a very different social, economic even, standing in the universe.”

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Ryan adds, “You’re going to see a very different facet of the Borg, I think, in Picard. You’re going to feel a lot more empathy, I think, for the Borg in Picard than you may have before."

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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