Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 23

I, Borg

Aired Unknown May 11, 1992 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
205 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 45854.2

An injured Borg is discovered and brought back to the Enterprise where he is 'repaired' by Dr. Crusher and befriended by Geordi, who names him "Hugh." Soon, Hugh starts showing signs of individuality while Picard must choose between destroying him along with the Collective, or returning him to the Collective intact as an "individual"."moreless

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Superb piece of television that challenges the viewer

    This fabulous ensemble piece takes advantage of the rich characters the show has developed and their history with the Borg. The structure of the episode is beautifully designed, giving the adolescent alien a series of individual, intimate scenes with several of our beloved crewmembers and building the tension by having him work his way up the TNG character food chain with each successive meeting. What makes this episode work so well is that each scene (gem after gem) isn't really about the Borg at all; the injured alien is there to simply hold a figurative mirror, allowing each character he encounters to discover more about his or herself as they interact. Because of the lofty status and morality of Guinan and Picard, it's especially meaningful to see them confront their own prejudices - and consider that they might be wrong. Wonderfully written and featuring amazing acting, "I, Borg" is a superb piece of television that raises some powerful questions and asks us to examine our own feelings about the Federation's greatest enemy.moreless
  • Wonderfully told yet terribly flawed. What should have been one of the better episodes of TNG turned into a bit if an unfortunate disappointment.

    First, the good. As another reviewer put it, the episode has a wonderful "human touch". As each of the characters begin to understand Hugh's individuality, they begin to understand something more about their own. All of this is excellent. The crew of the Enterprise's interactions with Hugh are beautiful. The morals learned are great. The acting was great, Jonathan Del Arco did a wonderful job as Hugh. Based on this there really is no reason that this episode should have been anything less than a 10/10. Sadly it is,

    Now on to the bad. You know, when you're writing a science fiction show and you create an alien race, like the Borg, it's generally a good idea to remember how you created them (how they work, how they functioned, etc.). Apparently the writers of this episode all got mass amnesia because if there was a fact about the Borg to get wrong, they got it wrong. Here are perhaps the two most glaring errors/flaws:

    1. If a Borg becomes separated from his/her ship, they are not automatically disconnected from the collective, unless they are purposefully unconnected from the collective like 7 of 9 in Voyager, or if the Borg is damaged and can't receive the signals (Consider Star Trek: First Contact in which a group of Borg beam to the Enterprise after their ship is destroyed. They are all still connected to the collective). Hugh clearly wasn't connected to the collective. I'm willing to look pass this a flaw to an extent because the exact science of the Borg wasn't made clear (or at least clearer) until Voyager. And there is a lot we don't know, so it is conceivable that there is a logical reason Hugh was disconnected from the collective. What it boils down to is that the reason needed to be explained. 2. This is the biggest one that ultimately almost single-handedly derails the entire episode. Didn't we just a season before see this episode called "The Best of Both Worlds" in which a lone Borg became separated from the collective? I speak of course of Captain Picard. What happened to him once he was separated from the Collective? As I recall Dr. Crusher operated on him, removing all of his implants, returning him to his human form. See the problem yet? No one so much as even suggests this for Hugh. They all know that Hugh is not Borg but some other race trapped beneath the implants. We go through this wonderful discovery of the self and of the individual, only to arrive at the end, to see that the moral choice that was made by the crew was in fact the wrong one. The moral thing to do would to have been to remove Hugh's implants, returning him to his natural state. The decision not to, to not even consider this as a possibility, makes no sense at all. Also consider that once Picard was returned to his natural human state no Borg came after him so that can't be a counter argument. As I mentioned, this mistake is particularly harmful because it makes the ending of the episode make virtually no sense at all.

    This is still a recommendable episode. It is certainly a good one. It's just a pity that the writers didn't pay a little more attention to what they were doing. Remove the mistakes and you have a great episode. With them, it's an 8/10 at the highest.moreless
  • One of my top ten episodes. A frighteningly apt story in today's war on terror.

    Star Trek: The Next Generation was never afraid to tackle various issues and was often very thought provoking.

    This episode deals with prisoners of war, genocide, acts of terrorism and personal demons and prejudices.

    The different reactions to Hugh are diverse to say the least; Beverley wants to help as a Doctor, Geordi is intrigued as an Engineer, Jean-Luc is cautious as a strategist and Guinan is fearful as a victim.

    Star Trek often tells tales as timeless allegories and this one s no exception. The concept of taking an individual, brainwashing him and sending him into a place to cause mass destruction is something we are all too aware of in today's society. Isn't it weird how in this case, we can see the other side of the story because the 'brainwashers' are supposed to be the heroes?!

    Apart from the obvious ethics the story throws into the air, the episode is told brilliantly. I know some fans are not keen on this episode because they say it makes the Borg less frightening, but I think thy are missing the point. It shows that in war, no one is truly innocent and any lengths will be gone to in order to win.moreless
  • Picard sends an away team to investigate a wreckage of a small craft. When the away team reaches the wreckage site, they discover a young Borg. The young Borg is injured Dr Krusher insists on saving the individual Borg’s life.moreless

    Picard sends an away team to investigate a wreckage of a small craft. When the away team reaches the wreckage site, they discover a young Borg. The young Borg is injured Dr Krusher insists on saving the individual Borg’s life. Picard recommends leaving the Borg alone but Dr. Krusher insists on saving its life. The young Borg is beamed aboard the “Enterprise” to a detention cell. The young Borg regains consciousness. It is starved. Geordi feeds It energy. It begins to call itself “Hugh”. How is that for assimilating? And to think Picard suggested Krusher to leave it alone.moreless
  • Hugh are you, Hugh - Hugh, Hugh - Hugh!!!

    This is the episode that begins the Borg civil war. Its well made, logical in its execution and an ok Borg episode. It doesnt have any action however. That comes strictly in the form of interactions between the crew and the Borg. The screenplay and script is all very convincing and you will find it hard to not empathize with the child-like Borg.

    The way each of the crew deal with their feelings is a good source of interplay providing a vital measure of emotion conflict, otherwise there would be little to the story except expositional narration.

    That said, the cycle of absolutes demonstrated by Picard holds the thrill of the journey from the start to end of the episode. The poignant scene played out by Picard and the Borg in the ready-room is one of the best one-on-one scenes of the entire show.

    What makes this episode PIVOTAL is that it essentially marks the beginning of the end for the Borg. For this reason it should not be missed!moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Riker tells Dr Crusher over the comm to join him in the transporter room with a medical away team. However, when they beam down to the planet, the away team consists only of Riker, Crusher, and Worf.

    • Geordi, while reading his tricorder, explained to Captain Picard that Hugh was sending a homing beacon and a second subspace beacon. He then explains that their dampening field was blocking both signals. If the signals were being blocked, how can he read these signals on his tricorder?

    • Hugh's dramatic "I will not!" statement to Picard would have been more shocking had he not already referred to himself in the singular, when he asks Geordi "Do I have a name?". He should have said "Do we have a name?". This cannot be a case of him beginning to develop his individuality because he subsequently uses "we" numerous times when referring to himself.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • 3rd of 5: We are Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
      Geordi: Look around, pal, you're hardly in a position to make any demands.

    • Beverly: When I look at my patient, I don't see a collective consciousness, I don't see a hive. I see a living, breathing boy who has been hurt and who needs our help.

    • Dr. Crusher: My name is Beverly, his name is Geordi and you... you...
      Geordi: No, wait a minute... Hugh!
      Hugh: We are Hugh.

    • 3rd of 5: (after being "fed" by Geordi) Why do you do this?
      Geordi: I'm just a nice guy at heart. You feeling better?
      3rd of 5: You are not Borg.
      Geordi: That's right, and I hope to stay that way.
      3rd of 5: You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
      Geordi: That's gratitude for you.

    • 3rd of 5: We must return to the collective.
      Geordi: Who's "we"?
      3rd of 5: We... are Borg.
      Geordi: Yeah, but there's only one of you.

  • NOTES (1)