Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Episode 7 Kills Off A TNG Character

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 7

Star Trek: Picard killed off a fan favorite character from Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hugh Borg (Jonathan Del Arco). The CBS All-Access series about the twilight years of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) launched the Starfleet hero on a dangerous new mission involving evil Romulans plotting to eliminate Soji (Isa Briones), the synthetic daughter of the late Commander Data (Brent Spiner). But Star Trek: Picard's season 1 adventure also forced Jean-Luc to face the Borg once again, which led to his reunion with Hugh, who risked his life to help Picard.

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Hugh was a reclaimed Borg whose assimilation was reversed by the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D in the classic TNG episode "I, Borg". In fact, Picard ignored Starfleet's urging to use Hugh to wipe out the Borg Collective with a virus; instead, he allowed Hugh to return to the Borg with his individuality intact. In the TNG two-parter "Descent", the Enterprise-D crew helped Hugh fight Lore (Brent Spiner), Data's evil android brother, who had assumed leadership over the Borg cell Hugh belonged to. "Descent" was the last time Hugh was canonically seen in Star Trek until he reappeared on Star Trek: Picard decades later as one of the surprise TNG and Star Trek: Voyager cast members joining the new series. Now more human than ever, Hugh is the executive director of the Borg Reclamation Project aboard the Artifact, a Cube captured by the Romulans. Under Hugh's guidance, scientists from many worlds, including Dr. Soji Asha, worked to reclaim the XBs (former Borg) in the Artifact.

In fact, it was because of his prior relationship with Hugh that Jean-Luc Picard was able to board the Artifact in Star Trek: Picard episode 6, "The Impossible Box". Thanks to his touching reunion with Hugh, Picard was able to face his lingering trauma from his assimilation into Locutus of Borg. Further, Picard marveled at the scale with which Hugh's project was able to save the XBs and Jean-Luc finally saw the Borg as the victims they are instead of the cybernetic monsters he always feared. Unfortunately, by helping Picard and Soji escape the Artifact using the Borg Queen's spacial trajector in the Queen's Cell, Hugh sealed his own fate. In Star Trek: Picard episode 7, "Nepenthe", Hugh was murdered by Narissa (Peyton List), one of the leaders of the synthetic-hating Romulan sect called the Zhat Vash that is hunting Soji and the rumored "nest" of synthetics she hails from.

Hugh's tragic death plunges the XBs aboard the Artifact into mortal danger. The Borg Reclamation Project was a joint effort with the Romulans but the safety of the reclaimed Drones after the pointy-eared villains harvested their cybernetic parts for profit was always precarious. Hugh pledged to keep his fellow XBs safe and it was his influence as the Project's director, as well as his status as a Federation citizen protected by a treaty, that prevented harm coming to his fellow rescued Borg. However, Hugh was always well-aware that any former Borg ranks among the most despised people in the galaxy and, without Hugh, the XBs are now at the mercy of the Zhat Vash, who practice zero tolerance for any form of artificial life.

Narissa killed Hugh because she spied on him plotting with Elnor (Evan Evagora), who is Picard's Qowat Milat protector, to take the Artifact back from the Romulans. Luckily, the desperate Elnor found the Fenris Rangers' SOS pin that Jean-Luc left behind, which the heroic Romulan warrior nun used to summon Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) to his rescue. However, regardless of what happens to the Artifact next, Hugh's Star Trek journey has sadly come to an end. Trekkers not only mourn Hugh but lament that Star Trek: Picard didn't reunite him with his best friend, Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton) before his tragic death.

Star Trek: Picard streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.