The Borg are Star Trek’s most enduring and frightening villains because what the Borg actually want doesn’t inherently scan as evil. As Picard’s Borg Queen, Alison Pill, told Inverse back in April 2022, “Many of the goals of the Borg Queen don’t sound so bad.”
Now, in Star Trek: Prodigy’s newest episode, “Let Sleeping Borgs Lie,” the crew of the USS Protostar learns exactly what that means. Spoilers ahead.
“The Borg are inherently scary,” Sung Shin tells Inverse. “But part of the vision for this episode was to make the Borg cube very wide and spacious.”
Because Prodigy takes place in 2383, we’re close to the timeline of some flashbacks in Picard Season 1. In Picard, a derelict Borg cube disabled by a botched assimilation of a Romulan ship becomes known as “the Artifact” by 2399. Now, Prodigy is introducing a Borg cube that looks and feels very similar to the Artifact.
Are they the same cube? Shin dodges the question of whether this cube was the one we saw in Picard, but the timeline certainly fits. And over on Twitter, Prodigy writer and producer Aaron J. Waltke didn’t rule it out. Here’s what he said in response to a fan’s question about the connection:
“Newly built Borg invasion cube is functionally hobbled by Janeway’s neurolytic pathogen. Borg cube goes dormant. Still hobbled Borg cube is awakened by a Medusan. Cube moves on, tries to rebuild a new collective. Borg cube tries to assimilate the wrong Romulan ship. Maybe…”
How Prodigy’s Borg Cube Connects Voyager and Picard
The “neurolytic pathogen” Waltke mentions is how Admiral Janeway defeated the Borg in the Voyager finale “Endgame.” The idea that it rendered this Borg cube dormant seems to be why the Borg are sleeping in Prodigy’s “Let Sleeping Borgs Lie.” The Medusan who wakes up the Borg is, of course, Zero. Finally, the allusion to the Borg cube trying to assimilate the wrong Romulan ship is a reference to the backstory of Picard Season 1, which was revealed in the episode “Broken Pieces.”
The key to all of this is Zero, the non-corporeal hero of Prodigy who’s nearly assimilated in “Let Sleeping Borgs Lie.” This is the first time we’ve seen the Borg try to assimilate an alien that doesn’t have a body, but director Sung Shin says Zero isn’t assimilated by the Borg collective because of their other collective.
“They yearn to be part of something,” Shin says. “But Zero’s connection to the kids is greater. And that’s what allows them to break free of the Borg.”
Love and friendship being enough to break free of the Borg might not sound like it fits the canon, and yet that’s exactly how the TNG crew was able to de-Borg Jean-Luc Picard in “The Best of Both Worlds Part II.” Plus, if this is the same Borg cube from Picard Season 1, we know it was disabled by the overwhelming grief of a Romulan named Ramdha. That would mean this Borg cube was broken by strong emotions twice.
If they are the same ship, the crew of the USS Protostar is partially responsible for the events of Picard Season 1. And so, in a roundabout way, they saved the entire galaxy. Again.
Star Trek: Prodigy streams on Parmaount+