123 – I, Borg

Grade: B+

I Borg (1992) on IMDb


While investigating the Argolis Cluster, the Enterprise comes across a wrecked ship. Dr Crusher, Worf and Riker beam down to the surface and find a single Borg drone, who needs medical attention. Picard then gets the idea to add a virus to this Borg so that he can infect and kill the rest of them.


This episode is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s certainly better than the last one. This is the first time we see the Borg in a long time, and the first part of the episode is pretty suspenseful. We’ve seen what the Borg can do, so just seeing a Borg on the surface of the moon is pretty suspenseful.

But then after that, the episode becomes an ethical debate. Personally, I usually like this kind of Star Trek episode – especially when it is done well. But after watching the opening act, I expected to see more of an action/thriller episode.

The ethical debate is pretty interesting, and it is done very well, in my opinion. In episodes like this, it’s important to give each side of the issue equal screen time and treatment. The writer did a great job with this. Both sides of the argument are presented intelligently. Voyager had several run-ins with the Borg, but not once did they have a debate like we see in I, Borg.

In some ways, Picard’s plan is very similar to Jeff Goldblum’s in Independence Day. They both wanted to introduce a virus into the aliens to destroy them. But the film version did not have anyone like Dr. Crusher to argue the opposite side of the issue – that this isn’t anything other than genocide. I’m a bit surprised in that Picard isn’t acting as “judge” in this story. But then again, nobody else in this series has been affected by the Borg as deeply and personally as Picard has. So it’s natural that he would want to take revenge on them.

Another interesting character is Guinan. She also has a lot of experience dealing with the Borg, and she knows personally what they’re capable of doing. Like Picard, she also has to deal with her vengeful feelings. Whoppi Goldberg does a very good job as she always does.

Having said that, it’s also not a perfect episode, by any means. Two scenes in particular struck me as rather contrived. First, when the Borg gets his name, and second, when Guinan and Picard are fencing. Both of them seemed unnatural, for some reason. Guinan communicates best through analogy and metaphor, so it’s not out of character for her to make the point to Picard that he should be careful in the way that she did. But the scene itself just didn’t seem natural to me. I would have preferred a more subtle approach. Likewise, when Hugh gets his name, it was just too predictable. And really, that could describe both scenes.

But those are my only complaints. Overall, this is a very good episode – and one of the best of this rather mediocre season.

Of Note

This is apparently Michael Piller’s favorite Star Trek episode. I like it also, but it’s certainly not my favorite one.