Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Picard: What TNG Borg Episodes To Watch

The Borg were the most iconic villains from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and they figure to feature heavily in the upcoming Star Trek: Picard. The cybernetic zombies pushed Captain Picard and the crew of the USS Enterprise to the brink of destruction more often than any other adversary, and they were perhaps the only threat that could rattle Picard's steely moral resolve.

The Borg's ultimate goal was a sort of universal conquest, in which they would assimilate all of the universe's cultures and populations into their own, obliterating all in their wake. More often than not, Jean-Luc Picard was at the forefront of the battles to stop them, and they were the cause of some of his greatest personal failings.

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We know Star Trek: Voyager's reformed Borg drone Seven of Nine and TNG'sbenevolent drone Hugh will be returning for Star Trek: Picard, but it's unclear what role the Borg play almost two decades after they were last featured in a Star Trek production. The trailers for Picard suggest some sort of antagonistic relationship with the Romulans, whose ships circle a broken Borg cube and are seemingly holding Borg drones prisoner. Will Picard have to come to the rescue of his old foes for his final mission? It's too soon to tell exactly how it will all play out, but to understand where the Borg go from here, one needs to examine their origins and most important episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

"Q Who"

The Borg's first appearance initially came in this Q-centric episode of TNG's second season. After being drummed out of the Q continuum, Q demands to be made an officer aboard the Enterprise. When Picard refuses, Q propels the Enterprise thousands of light years away into the Delta Quadrant to prove that Picard and his crew aren't ready for the threats that await them in deep space. They're almost immediately met by a Borg cube, which easily overpowers the Enterprise, cutting holes in its hull and sending drones to analyze its technical capabilities.

Picard attempts to communicate and make peace with the Borg, but the cybernetic drones are uninterested. The Enterprise bartender Guinan warns Picard of the Borg's lethality, as they wiped out her home planet a century earlier. Just when it seems the Enterprise will be destroyed, Q returns and forces Picard to admit humanity is unprepared to take on such ferocious enemies. His point made, Q returns the Enterprise to its rightful place in the Alpha Quadrant, but the damage had already been done — the Borg were coming.

"The Best Of Both Worlds"

Despite spending the better part of a year preparing for a Borg invasion, Starfleet finds itself completely overwhelmed by a single menacing cube. Once it enters Federation space, the Enterprise and her crew attempt to thwart the Borg vessel, only to be easily defeated. Worse yet, Picard himself is kidnapped and assimilated into the collective as Locutus, the Borg spokesman for the imminent assimilation of Earth. Acting Captain Riker has to use every bit of cunning at his disposal to fend off the Borg, rescue Picard, and overcome a kind of silly midlife crisis.

Along the way, Starfleet suffered one of its most devastating defeats at the Battle of Wolf 359, which saw dozens of ships destroyed and thousands of lives lost, including futureStar Trek: Deep Space NineCommander Benjamin Sisko's wife. The events of the Battle of Wolf 359 would haunt Picard for the rest of his life.

Despite the Federation's victory, "The Best Of Both Worlds" would leave a lasting impression on both Picard and Star Trek as a whole. Not only did it introduce the idea that the Borg assimilate other races, it was the beginning of Picard's deeply personal, traumatic relationship with the undead robots. Picard would never fully recover from his assimilation, often lashing out violently and illogically when faced with the Borg again. They would remain the one consistent chink in Picard's empathetic, intellectual armor.

"I, Borg"

"I, Borg" was a turning point for the Borg. When the Enterprise responds to a distress call, they're shocked to find a Borg scout ship with one survivor, who Dr. Crusher brings aboard to Captain Picard's protests. As the doctor and Geordi LaForge nurse the Borg — who they name Hugh — back to health, they realize he's beginning to display attributes of an individual life form again, much to everyone's surprise.

This creates a moral dilemma for Picard and Starfleet, who had planned to use Hugh, the Borg drone, as a weapon to eradicate the Borg collective. After refusing to meet with Hugh or acknowledge his individuality, Picard eventually gives in and admits Hugh deserves to choose his own fate. Knowing the Borg would never stop looking for him, he ultimately decides to return to the collective, with the hope that his individuality might somehow persevere.

Hugh was something of a test run for Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine, who will be appearing in Star Trek: Picard. Hugh is also returning for Picard, suggesting that the new show will take a more sympathetic view of the Borg than Picard-centric stories have in the past.


This two-parter opens with an explosive firefight between Riker, Worf, and Data against an unusual group of Borg drones, whom display emotions and call each other by given names. Most curious of all, the emotionless Data finds himself overcome with murderous rage while defending himself against one of the drones, his first ever feeling. Data's strange behavior continues in the presence of one of the Borg drones the Enterprise took prisoner; he's eventually freed by Data, who takes him to a remote planet.

Later in the episode, viewers learn that the android was being manipulated by his twin brother, Data's evil android Lore. When Hugh rejoined the collective, his individuality spread throughout the Borg, but most were not as happy to be individuals. Several drones were unable to cope with their new reality, and either severely malfunctioned or simply shut themselves down. Lore attempted to use the vulnerable Borg as his own personal army before being thwarted by the Enterprise crew and Hugh, who emerged as the leader of the newly liberated Borg.

Star Trek: First Contact

Despite the small steps forward seen in the later seasons of The Next Generation, the Borg were back to their destructive selves by the time of Star Trek: First Contact, the second (and best) film featuring the TNG cast. After the Enterprise once again stops a Borg invasion of Earth, they're forced to follow a group of survivors back to the late 21st century, just before humanity makes first contact with an alien species.

While Riker and Geordi spend their time making sure Zefram Cochrane makes his fateful warp flight, Picard remains on the Enterprise, which is slowly being overrun by Borg drones. As the walls close in, Picard's trauma transforms into violent hysteria, as he lashes out and takes unwise risks in an effort to finally wipe out his most lethal enemy. First Contact also introduces the Borg Queen, a representative of the collective similar to Picard's time as Locutus. Picard eventually defeats the Borg, but he comes closer to embracing the darkness than he ever had before, and the events of the Star Trek film clearly continued to haunt him for years to come.