By Monita Mohan
Somehow, they've returned.
Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard Season 3, Episode 9.We thought we knew who the real villains of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 were, but in Episode 9, “Vōx,” showrunner Terry Matalas and team flip the lid and reveal who’s really been behind the imminent attack on Starfleet—the Borg. Yep, the bane of Jean-Luc Picard’s (Sir Patrick Stewart) existence is back and, worse, they’ve been closer than he thought all this while.
When Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) opens the red door that’s been a barrier in Jack Crusher’s (Ed Speelers) mind, she sees something horrifying—a giant Borg cube. But Jack has never even met the Borg, let alone been assimilated, so what’s his connection to them? It all goes back to Locutus. The Borg, it seems, was playing the long con. They had a plan when they first turned Picard into Locutus, and that plan comes to shocking and terrifying fruition by the end of the episode when the Borg have well and truly taken over Starfleet. Only the former crew of the Enterprise-D are left (hopefully not just them) to defeat the Borg.
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Locutus Changed Picard in More Ways Than He Knew
Back in Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds,” Picard was assimilated by the Borg to become Locutus of Borg — his name meant he was acting as a mouthpiece for the Borg. Once Picard was liberated, he thought he was finally free of the Borg, but it turns out he was not. Picard has, over the course of films and especially on Star Trek: Picard struggled with the trauma of being assimilated and has often heard the Borg in his mind.
In The Next Generation's finale, Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) examined Picard and found a structural defect in his brain that could possibly be Irumodic Syndrome, a neurological disease that causes delusions and death. Later, doctors confirmed this diagnosis. In this season of Star Trek: Picard, Beverly discovered that Jack had the same syndrome, except it turns out neither actually has the disease — the symptoms are caused by a Borg experiment. When Picard was assimilated, the Borg introduced new organic technology that laid dormant in his body but then was passed on to his progeny, Jack Crusher.
All drones are genetically modified, so their organic bodies can interact with their cybernetic systems. When Picard was assimilated, the Borg adapted a whole new kind of genetic code, which was not detected decades ago, when humanity’s knowledge of the Borg was nascent, at best. When Picard died in the finale of Season 1, his mind was transferred to a synthetic body thanks to Alton Soong (Brent Spiner). Soong eventually discovered the anomaly in Picard’s organic body as being something other than the cause of Irumodic Syndrome. But Picard’s body was soon stolen by the Changelings, and Soong couldn’t continue his examinations. So, what did the Borg do to Picard that has now left all of Starfleet at their mercy?
The altered genetic code in Picard made him a receiver for the Borg. The code that was passed on to Jack makes him a transmitter. That’s the reason Jack has the ability to control other people’s minds — it’s one of the ways the Borg operates when sending orders to drones. This might also explain some of Jack’s own thinking, such as his wish to end wars and bigotry by making people hear each other and ‘act in one mind together.’ But how could Jack enter people’s minds if they weren’t already assimilated? Beverly finds the terrifying answer during the episode.
Frontier Day and Starfleet’s Version of the Hive
The Changelings were sent to retrieve Picard’s body so that they could specifically remove parts of his parietal lobe—the part that was supposedly defective from Irumodic Syndrome. They used his genetic material to embed into transporter architecture so that everyone using transporters in Starfleet would be coded with the material. But it only works on those younger than 25 because their prefrontal cortex isn’t fully formed. None of this, of course, would be a problem if Starfleet, in their infinite stupidity, didn’t come up with a plan so stupendously bad that they kind of deserve to be taken over by the Borg.
As it is, in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Frontier Day, Starfleet has ordered every single one of their ships to congregate in one place, but then to top it all, Admiral Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy) announces that Starfleet has created a new advancement, Fleet Formation, a "synchronous technology" that controls every single ship in the fleet so they can "act as one." Starfleet has now effectively created its own version of the Hive, and it’s not long before this plan backfires in epic fashion. Or is this the impact of the Changelings? We saw the havoc they wreaked when they infiltrated bureaucratic bodies in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Thanks to the Changelings infiltrating every level of Starfleet, they’ve implemented parts of Picard’s Borg DNA in all of Starfleet’s transporter systems. As Beverly discovers, part of the transporter architecture recognizes commonalities in different species, the Changelings have now added Picard’s DNA as a common piece of biology throughout Starfleet, effectively assimilating everyone who’s used a transporter into a new version of the Borg. And it takes just one moment to activate the new Borg. How are they activated? Well, that’s down to Jack Crusher’s impulsiveness. Countless people died for this man to live, and he thanks them by running straight into the arms of the enemy, aka the Borg.
But, hang on a second, how are the Borg here? Voyager destroyed the Hive in the Delta quadrant in the Star Trek: Voyager finale, “Endgame,” around 10 years before the events of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 take place. Looks like parts of the Hive, including the queen, survived among the debris and have been rebuilding themselves in secret. The voice that Jack has been hearing in his head all his life is the voice of the Borg Queen (voiced by Alice Krige). He follows the Queen’s voice to a nebula and is sucked into a transwarp conduit which leads him to the remnants of the Borg. The Queen controls Jack, so he can’t kill her, a handy failsafe, and then he gets hooked into the Hive mind. The entire season has been about protecting Jack from the bad guys to prevent exactly what happens in Episode 9. Well, too late now.
Once Jack is assimilated, he becomes the vōx, or the voice of the Borg, activating the younger generation of Starfleet officers, including the Titan’s Bridge crew and Geordi La Forge’s (LeVar Burton) daughters, Sidney (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) and Alandra (Mica Burton). And, with the entire fleet under one singular command, the Borg commandeer every ship in Starfleet. They are now one step away from reaching their final frontier, assimilating Earth.
It’s unsurprising that the Borg will bookend Picard’s story. Throughout Star Trek: Picard, we’ve felt the impact the Borg has had on Picard. But how will the Enterprise-D crew overthrow this nemesis? And will we ever find out what happened to Tuvok (Tim Russ)? You can’t introduce a beloved Voyager character as a captive of the Changelings and then leave us hanging. While we’re saving Earth, can someone save Tuvok?
The series finale of Star Trek: Picard premieres next Thursday on Paramount+.
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Alice Krige plays The Borg Queen in Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard."Why are the Borg decimated in Picard? ›
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|Species||Human (2305–2399), Synthetic Human (since 2399)|
|Family||Maurice Picard (father) Yvette Gessard (mother) Robert Picard (brother) Jack Crusher (son)|
|Relatives||Marie Picard (sister-in-law) René Picard (nephew) Adele (aunt)|
Shinzon of Remus
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|Created by||Maurice Hurley|
|Base of operations||Delta Quadrant|
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Species 5618 - Human - Alpha Quadrant
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Wouldn't Assimilate - The Ferengi
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The Borg Were Originally Going To Be Insectoids
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