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Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episodes 74 & 75:

Boxed Sets and Science Fiction & Fantasy TV show

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The best Star Trek episode ever

  • Apr 29, 2001
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Since the original series came out, my favorite Start Trek episode has been "Mirror Mirror" where Kirk, Scott, Mccoy and Uhuru are accidentally beamed into a parallel universe where the Federation is an evil empire. However, that favorite has been replaced by this one. Not only do we meet a new villain, it is one with enormous power and quite different from humans.
To me, the most interesting thing about the Borg is that unlike the Klingons, Romulans and other threats, they actually resemble species found on Earth. Ant colonies have often been noted for their similarity to human societies. They wage war, take slaves, overrun territory and maintain a strict hierarchy. Some commentators have noted that while the individual generally does not live long, the colony itself could live for a very long time. The efficiency of the hive structure in maintaining the existence of the hive is also not something to be taken lightly. From the evolutionary perspective, humans really have not been on this planet that long, so we really do not have the history to predict our long term dominance. It may turn out that hive organisms have better prospects for long-term survival.
It is also a very plausible argument that any extraterrestrial society will more closely resemble the Borg structure than that of humans. The Klingons and Romulans are modeled after humans in their glorification of conflict. However, it is very hard to see how societies that wage so much internal war could possibly survive to travel space. Furthermore, the Klingon and Romulan empires would aggressively expand their influence, conquering and subjugating all they encountered. It seems difficult to conceive of circumstances where they both could simultaneously exist.
The main criticism of hive societies is that they reach a level of development and then stagnate there. That would not happen with a Borg society, as the ability to assimilate other species would continually add new knowledge and abilities to the collective, allowing it to evolve into a more capable organism. Furthermore, in this episode, the Borg show the ability to selectively improve themselves by performing the selective assimilation of a star ship captain. The capture of Picard shows an ability to reason that makes the Borg a more formidable foe than a simple collective consciousness could ever be.
Given the human propensity for individuality, it would appear difficult to determine how a Borg colony could arise. However, in a world of religious cults who kill themselves as part of their religion, it does not take a great leap of faith to envision of group of people choosing the Borg lifestyle if it were available. Which raises some interesting questions. How large would the hive have to be before it would have a plausible chance of taking over the Earth? Could it be made illegal for a human to convert to the Borg "religion?" Could the joining of a Borg cult be considered a suicide?
To me, the Borg are the most believable of all the nonhuman "species" in all the Star Trek series. Since any extra-terrestrials encountered by humans will more likely resemble the Borg than the Klingons, this battle between the Federation and its most dangerous enemy is loaded with profound and subtle subplots.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Part 1:Suspecting that the Borg are behind the recent disappearance of a Federation colony, Starfleet sends Lt. Commander Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy), a specialist in Borg matters, to theEnterprise. Alluring and ambitious, Shelby has more than the Borg on her mind--she wants to replace Riker (Jonathan Frakes), who has been offered command of his own starship. The Borg threaten to attack theEnterpriseunless Picard (Patrick Stewart) is surrendered to them. After Picard refuses, the Borg board the ship and abduct Picard. Under Riker's command, theEnterprisepursues the Borg who appear to be headed for Earth. After Shelby leads a thwarted rescue attempt, a Borg spokesperson contacts theEnterprise. The being identifies itself as Locutus, but the crew recognizes his true identity--Captain Jean-Luc Picard!

Part 2: After Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) has been captured by the Borg and transformed into one of them, Starfleet promotes Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) to Captain of the Enterprise. The Borg have now absorbed Picard's knowledge of the Federation, enabling them to decimate a Starfleet armada and continue on to Earth, where they intend to enslave humanity. Riker realizes the only hope is to tap into Picard's knowledge of the Borg and turn the tables. In a daring strategy, Riker has Picard kidnapped from the Borg ship and brought back to the Enterprise. Data (Brent Spiner) then wires into Picard's Borg side to try to implant a destructive computer command into the Borg ...

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Genre: Boxed Sets, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Paramount

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