Star Trek: Picard: Who Is Hugh?

Star Trek: Picard's third episode, "The End is the Beginning," debuted today on CBS All Access. The episode included the return of a fan-favorite character from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jonathan Del Arco reprises his role as Hugh, who is now the executive director of the Romulan reclamation project on the Borg artifact. He has a history with Picard dating back to Picard's time commanding the USS Enterprise-D. If you're having trouble remembering who Hugh is, we have the information here for you. be warned that this article contains mild SPOILERS for the Star Trek: Picard episode "The End is the Beginning."

Jonathan Del Arco originated the role of Hugh in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Five episode "I, Borg." In that episode, the Enterprise crew discovers a crashed Borg scout ship. Among the wreckage, they found a critically-injured Borg drone. They take the drone aboard the Enterprise, where Dr. Beverly Crusher tends to his injuries. Picard protests, but Crusher feels it is her duty to care for the drone.

Crusher's work was successful and the Borg regains consciousness but is no longer connected to the Borg collective's hive mind. The drone exhibits the capability for individual thought and is given the name Hugh.

Picard hatched a plan to use Hugh to destroy the Borg. He wanted to upload a virus into Hugh that would take the entire Borg Collective offline. Crusher vehemently opposed this plan, likening it to genocide. Picard and Guinan, who had both suffered trauma at the hands of the Borg, felt like it is a necessary evil at first. After spending some time with Hugh, Guinan comes to see the Borg more sympathetically and convinces Picard to reconsider the plan. Picard also spends some time with Hugh and comes to see him the same way. He decides not to go through with the plan.

Hugh instead returns to the Borg collective of his own volition. He plans to maintain his own individuality and wants to spread it throughout the collective. He was successful, but the newfound individuality disrupted the operation of his Borg cube. The collective cut the cube off from the hivemind. The cube was left adrift until Lore, Data's evil brother, discovered it. Lore gave them a leader to rally around and promised to remake them to be like him, a near-human android.

Hugh saw through Lore's lies and took a splinter group of drones underground on their new planet. When Lore captured Data and the Enterprise-D crew attempted a rescue, Hugh emerged from hiding and helped them succeed in their mission.

Years later, Hugh is now helping to free other former Borg from their assimilated state and readjust to life as individuals. This seems like a way of paying forward what the Enterprise crew did for him.

Ahead of Star Trek: Picard's premiere, spoke to Del Arco about Hugh's relationship with Picard in the time since Next Generation. "It's known that the Enterprise was my family because I was essentially born as an individual on the Enterprise, so you have all these sort of sibling figures and parental – obviously Picard's the parental figure to Hugh. And Hugh's relationship with the Federation has been an ongoing thing since we left him in that colony where he had separated from the Borg. So he has had a working relationship with a lot of the people from that world. Having said that, the reunion happens after not having seen him for a very long time, since we last saw 'Descent, Part 2,' so it was a really great moment for us to reconnect."


What do you think of Hugh's return in Star Trek: Picard? Let us know in the comments. New episodes of Star Trek: Picard become available to stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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