The Borg are making a comeback in Star Trek: Picard season 2 – but is their intention to join the Federation actually genuine? Star Trek: Picard season 2’s dramatic opener proves you can take the Borg out of Jean-Luc, but you can’t take Jean-Luc out of the Borg, with the Collective once again coming for Patrick Stewart’s Starfleet veteran. Now commanding the Stargazer, Captain Rios stumbles across a bright green spatial anomaly broadcasting a plea to join the Federation, and a request to negotiate specifically with Jean-Luc Picard. Once the man himself arrives, however, our mystery caller is revealed to be the Borg.
The Borg Queen forcibly beams onto the Stargazer’s deck and begins commandeering the assembled fleet of Starfleet starships. Desperate, Picard engages self-destruct protocols, but Q intervenes before any outcome is revealed. Given their status as perennial Star Trek villains, it’s natural to assume the Borg are attacking with ill-intent in Star Trek: Picard season 2’s premiere. Their request to join the Federation was just a ruse to lure Picard into battle – part of the Borg Queen’s plan to assimilate an entire armada. A Borg never changes its nanoprobes.
But what if the Borg weren’t attacking in Star Trek: Picard season 2’s hectic battle? Is there a chance, however slim, that the Borg’s request for Federation aid was authentic, and the firefight that followed a result of poor diplomacy, rather than plain old Borg aggression?
Star Trek: Picard’s Borg Battle Isn’t Very Borg-y
Whatever the Borg’s intentions in Star Trek: Picard season 2, their actions are certainly unusual. For starters, the brazen deception of masquerading as a friendly species isn’t exactly a traditional Borg tactic. So direct is their nature, Borg typically do their victims the courtesy of announcing assimilation is imminent before drilling into their skulls. Using smoke and mirrors to launch a surprise attack on Starfleet is suspiciously un-Borg-like, and although Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine believes her former oppressors have simply updated their tactics, it’s possible the Borg weren’t lying – they genuinely want a Federation application form.
How the ensuing interaction plays out supports this hypothesis. Although the Borg Queen beams onto Stargazer’s bridge without permission, she come alone, rather than bringing drone soldiers along for backup. Elsewhere in Star Trek, we’ve seen Borg squads invade Starfleet vessels in numbers, so the Borg Queen’s lone arrival (uninvited as it might’ve been) raises another flag of suspicion. Next, the Borg Queen begins connecting to Stargazer’s assimilated technology, using the ship as an interface to control every single unit of Starfleet’s welcoming committee. This is interpreted as an act of aggression by the Stargazer crew, and instigates a firefight. Sure, forcibly beaming aboard an enemy vessel and hijacking their computer systems is not the best way to make friends, but it’s worth noting how the Borg Queen doesn’t actually cause any real harm.
Maybe the Borg Queen intended to seize Starfleet’s Armada, then hand back control as proof her people aren’t looking to fight. This would explain her line, “We wish for peace, but first we require… power.” Putting a gun to Starfleet’s head just to prove she won’t pull the trigger is a… bold… method of diplomacy, but negotiating peace isn’t familiar territory for the Borg – it stands to reason they’d be clumsy, heavy-handed, and uncooperative.
Arguably the most convincing evidence comes during the battle between the Borg Queen and Stargazer’s trigger-happy crew. Once the Borg have revealed themselves and beamed down, it’s Seven of Nine who fires the first shot, encouraging the rest of Rios’ crew while their captain’s ceasefire falls on deaf ears. Even more curious is how the Borg Queen’s own shots are only stunning Starfleet officers – something Seven realizes upon examining an unconscious crew member. In narrative terms, there must be a reason Star Trek: Picard slips this detail into the script. A subtle hint the Borg’s intentions really aren’t aggressive?
Why The Borg Want To Join Star Trek’s Federation Now
Assuming the theory holds, why would the Borg – a species renowned as ruthless purveyors of death, destruction and subjugation – want a Federation membership mug at this point in Star Trek‘s timeline?
Importantly, the Borg are no longer the villainous powerhouse Picard faced back in The Next Generation. As Agnes Jurati points out, the Borg have been “effectively decimated,” and while Seven of Nine predicts their dwindling influence could prompt a strategic U-turn, such a miserable fall from grace could just as easily prompt a truce. Previously, the Borg were all about achieving peace through forced assimilation, bringing all species under one collective hive mind. Now the Borg are a shadow of their former selves, they’ve maybe abandoned that prime directive, and decided the best hope for survival isn’t assimilation of the Federation, but assimilation into the Federation. It would be a truce born of cold, hard logic, rather than any kind of remorse on the Borg’s part… but a truce nonetheless.
The timing of the Borg’s request might have something to do with Star Trek: Picard season 1’s finale. Rebelling against his own employers, Jean-Luc Picard fought valiantly for Synth rights, giving his life so the Federation would finally consider Synths a sentient species. He even became one of them after his organic body gave out. From the Borg’s perspective, they would’ve seen their old pal Locutus championing cyber folk just like them. Maybe the reason these Borg wouldn’t negotiate with anyone other than Picard is because of his unique background as both the former Locutus, and a Synth sympathizer.
The Borg Queen in Star Trek: Picard season 2 doesn’t necessarily represent the entire race either. We already know Borg are capable of reverting to their human selves when severed from the Collective – Hugh and Seven are both proof of that. Maybe this Queen leads an offshoot of Borg who have splintered from their own kind. Subtitles refer to the voice as “Legion” too – possibly another hint that this particular Borg crew are a spinoff from the Collective.
Is Star Trek: Picard Season 2 All About Peace With The Borg?
“The road not taken” is our overarching theme in Star Trek: Picard season 2, and that motto carries several connotations. The parallel timeline where Q sends Picard represents a road not taken from the 21st century, while refusing the pursuit of love is Picard’s personal “road not taken.” But is Star Trek: Picard‘s true missed opportunity a one-off chance for peace between the Borg and Federation, here and now aboard the Stargazer?
When Picard, Rios, Seven and Jurati discuss their next move after the Borg arrive, Jean-Luc warns, “That out there could be the very point at which history turns.” His poetic words conjure images of the Kelvin’s destruction – a pivotal moment that completely alters Star Trek‘s future, one way or another. In the reality we see play out, Starfleet fires upon the Queen, Picard initiates the self-destruct, and no one ever discovers the Borg’s true intentions. Q’s “trial” in Star Trek: Picard season 2 could be designed to give Jean-Luc a second chance at the same scenario. Perhaps the lessons Picard and friends learn in this alternate timeline are a precursor to Q sending “Mon Capitaine” back to the exact same moment, when the Borg Queen first beamed aboard the Stargazer. This time, Seven doesn’t fire, Picard doesn’t hit self-destruct, and the first tentative steps toward Borg peace are taken. Given how Q was the character to introduce the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s rather fitting he be the one to broker peace… in his own unique way.
More: Star Trek’s Borg Queen Finally Beating Picard Shows A Federation Weakness
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