Oct 4, 2022, 4:58:53 PM10/4/22
Star Trek is filled with some of the best and most diverse alien races
and cultures in science fiction history. The show masterfully crafts
complex sociopolitical landscapes and a rich infrastructure of life
across the galaxy. The franchise is responsible for some of the most
iconic races, including the pointy eared Vulcans, and as well as the
slightly questionably Ferengi. There is one race, however, that takes
the crown, and for all the worst reasons. The Borg are a terrifying
race of powerful cybernetic hostages, but they do have one incredibly
The Next Generation introduced the Borg right at the start of the
series. They are made out to be at least one of the main villains of
the show, through an encounter orchestrated by the near omnipotent Q.
They continued to make appearances throughout Voyager, Deep Space 9,
and even into more of the modern iterations into the franchise such as
Picard. While never taking one specific form, with the occasional
exception of the Queen, they act as the main nemesis for Picard
himself. While their nature and powers have changed drastically since
their first introduction, there remains one strange, yet creepy
weakness present throughout their many appearances. They do not always
respond to the presence of intruders aboard their ship.
While this might sound fairly tame compared to all the other horrific
and scary things the Borg do, it constantly makes for some of the most
eerie scenes from the franchise. In several episodes, a Starfleet crew
beams aboard only to be ignored by an array of mindless drones walking
around like zombies. In the shows and movies, this peculiar behavior is
used to create a sense of unease. But it also skillfully explores a
leading Borg characteristic: they have such little regard for humans
they don’t even see them as a threat.
The Borg see very little worth in humans due to their own, twisted
Prime Directive. To them, the crew casually walking around their ship
is comparable to a fly buzzing around a house. Most of the time,
there's no point in killing it, as it’s not really bothering anyone.
The mysterious Borg were so powerful that they deemed it impossible
that they could be harmed, even by people aboard their ship. So if they
are not causing any havoc, then what’s the point in stopping them?
Scenes like these helped create an ominous feeling of dread for
audiences. There's a sense that, at any moment, these drones could
realize that the people on board their ship were a threat and swarm
their location, wiping them out without too much effort. The issue,
however, was that the Borg never seemed to learn from their mistakes.
More often than not, these seemingly irrelevant intruders aboard their
ship were causing much more harm than they realized. On multiple
occasions, these reconnaissance missions to a Borg cube led to the
discovery of information or technology that could, and would, be used
to defeat them. The plot point worked great for an eerie sense of
dread, but never stood up to the scrutiny of logic.
The Borg’s lack of logical processing and adaptation meant that
protagonists of the show did this multiple times. They gained unimpeded
access to a Borg ship, rummaged around, and then used whatever they
found to help destroy the seemingly invincible Borg. The Borg
themselves never adapted to stop this. They only ever responded when
the intruders showed physical ill intent, such as when they started
shooting things or killing Borg. This is not just a one-off, either. In
the episode “The Best of Both Worlds,” the crew of TNG boards a cube
and install a virus aboard, destroying the ship. They again do
something similar in “I, Borg” and “Descent Pt. 1 & 2.” They continue
to let intruders walk around their ships all the way up until First
Contact, the Frakes-directed movie that leans heavily on the creepy
The Borg are some of the best, and simultaneously the worst, Star Trek
villains. They had the potential to be great, and were for a while in
the early TNG days. But for many fans, the additions to the Borg in the
poorly reviewed Voyager and again in First Contact completely ruined
the character of these villains. They made them a lot scarier and more
visceral, but they seriously debuffed them. Thus, they became much
easier to defeat even by the fairly weak (in comparison) yet still
iconic USS Voyager. Writers perhaps leaned too heavily on the effective
creepy element of intruder non-interference. In doing so, they
accidentally opened up a plethora of Borg weaknesses and undermined
their destructive power.
Let's go Brandon!