Star Trek Just Rebooted Borg Canon In the Most Hilarious Way Possible
One line in Picard subtly changes how we should feel about recent Borg history.
Will the real Borg please stand up? Throughout all of Star Trek history, the Borg reign supreme as the most iconic adversary of Starfleet. This hive-mind collective has captured imaginations since their introduction in the 1988 Next Generation episode “Q Who,” and solidified their place as some of the best sci-fi villains ever in “The Best of Both Worlds,” the film First Contact and throughout Voyager. But how many versions of the Borg are there in the Trek timeline? A quick — and hilarious — line in the new Picard episode “No Win Scenario,” has the answer.
Here’s how Captain Shaw’s diss about the “other” Borg, subtly reboots the new Borg canon to match the old Borg canon. Spoilers ahead.
One of the greatest scenes in Picard Season 3, Episode 4, is the moment when we learn that Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) has beef with Jean-Luc because his old ship, the USS Constance, was destroyed when Borg decimated Starfleet at Wolf 359. This iconic battle happened mostly off-screen in “The Best of Both Worlds,” when Picard was assimilated by the Borg and turned into Locutus. Later, we saw much more of the battle in the Deep Space Nine series premiere, which resulted in Sisko (Avery Brooks) disliking Jean-Luc for much the same reason as Shaw does in Picard.
Prior to Sisko in 1993, the audience tended to side with Jean-Luc; it wasn’t his fault that Borg brainwashed him. But, in-universe, not everyone in Starfleet would see it that way. Now, Shaw’s pain is raw and real, which gives another layer to his previous flippancy with Picard and Riker in the season premiere, not to mention his bias against Seven of Nine, another former Borg.
How Picard Season 3 brings back the old Borg
But, within Shaw’s tirade about Jean-Luc’s Borg days, is a hilarious quip that actually does quite a bit of retcon for the status quo of the Borg. Shaw says, “Forget about all that weird sh*t on the Stargazer. The real Borg are still out there.”
To be clear Shaw is not talking bout Jean-Luc’s time on the Stargazer with the deceased, older Jack Crusher. He’s talking about the newer, USS Stargazer, introduced in Picard Season 2. The “weird sh*t” he’s referencing is the ending of Picard Season 2, in which it was revealed that a new Borg Queen was actually Dr. Jurati (Alison Pill), who came into existence because of a time paradox. In the episode “Farewell,” this nicer version of the Borg collective assisted Starfleet in averting a massive galaxy-threatening event. But now, according to Shaw, we shouldn’t think that Jurati’s nicer Borg has replaced the original Borg, at all.
And even before this episode aired, showrunner Terry Matalas backs up this idea. Responding to fan questions on Twitter, Matalas said: “The Jurati Collective does not play a part this season [Season 3] and the real Borg I imagine are still licking their wounds from the Star Trek: Voyager finale in the Delta Quadrant.”
In the context of “No Win Scenario,” it’s possible some fans might miss the relevance of Shaw’s comment. Because young Jack (Ed Speleers) and Picard are talking about the much older version of the Stargazer, Shaw shifting to talking about the much new Stargazer might be misunderstood the first time around.
But, make no mistake. Shaw is correct, the real Borg are still out there. Whether that means that we’ll see them in Picard Season 3 is unclear. But, for the hypothetical future of the Trek canon in the 25th century, fans should be aware, resistance is still probably very futile.
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 airs new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+.