C.E. Evans wrote:
I think in general, the more you know about a Trek enemy, the less scary they become. As a monolithic, seemingly unstoppable force of nature that couldn't be remotely reasoned with, I think the Borg were scary as hell in "Q, Who?". They were running the Enterprise down and only divine intervention literally saved her.
The moment you start to talk to the Borg and have a civilized conversation with them about their wants and desires, it's over. It could be said that the "de-fanging" of the Borg began with "Best of Both Worlds" when the Borg suddenly needed Picard to be their spokesman for the assimilation of the Human race. From that point on, the Borg ceased to be a true group entity as Picard was clearly an individual among them as "the Borg King" in that story. In that regard, a Borg Queen might have been inevitable at some point no matter what as a female version of Locutus.
The Borg were more or less originally written as a race of space zombies--and zombies don't have a leader. They simply come at you either individually or in a mob. Having them take on a hive-like command structure with a designated leader, makes them not too unlike other Trek villians, IMO. The Borg Queen becomes essentially another moustache-twirling nemesis and the Borg drones her fairly easily felled foot soldiers...
I totally agree with you, that the Borg were certainly at their most frightening conceptually in "Q, Who?", and that they have been on the decline ever since. Like you, I much preferred the Borg as a bunch of techno-zombies with no leader. Personalizing the Borg, giving them a spokesperson who can converse and be negotiated with, ultimately dilutes the purity of the original concept. (This is certainly not a mistake unique to Star Trek and the Borg. Almost the exact the same thing was done was done to the Replicators in Stargate; they were really cool as long as they were basically just an unstoppable infestation of mechanical termites, but were completely ruined with the introduction of the Human-form Replicators.) I too wish that the writers had never come up with the idea of the Borg having a Queen, but unfortunately they did, and so, like it or not, we are stuck with her. The best we can do now is to minimize the damage by finding a way to redefine her, not as a leader in any conventional sense, but rather as a kind of control mechanism, a programming hold-over that echoes the origins of the Borg more than it defines their present state.
Ignoring why the Borg would require a mouth piece for a second. Had the Borg Queen truly been nothing more than a mouth piece (like Locutus was), I would not have been as annoyed at the concept. But the Queen we see is obviously much more than a mouth piece. She was looking for a partner basically to help her rule the Collective. Gone was the will of the Collective and it was replaced by the will of the Borg Queen.
As a result of having the Queen, the Borg lost their singular collective mind of "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile" and replaced it with "You will be assimilated. After the Queen gets what she wants, and when we get around to it."
Think about it, don't you think the Borg could have easily overwhelm the crew and assimilate all of E-E if the Queen had not been hell bent on finding a mate?
You are right that the Queen is far more then just a simple mouthpiece like Locutus was. But as I postulated in my original post, I see the Queen as representing the “Will of the State,” and as such her function in the Collective is to maintain order and to insure that the ideologies of the original Borg are preserved and adhered to. This would, under normal circumstances, be predominately an internal function, that would go completely unseen outside of the Collective; and even within the Collective itself, her presence and influence would not necessarily be conspicuous. (Think of some object in your house that you have walked by a thousand times. On some level, you know it’s there, it’s in plain sight, but you never even think about it unless something about it changes to draw you attention to it.) Seven of Nine, for instance, seemed genuinely surprised and confused by the Queen’s existence when they first met (Voy : Dark Frontier) or at the very least by the Queen’s behavior towards her; as she put it, “The Borg have changed as well. I expected re-assimilation, not conversation.” So if the Queen’s role is normally subtle and covert, then why the sudden paradigm change? Perhaps it’s because humans represent a different kind of threat to the Collective then it is use to facing, not a tactical or technological threat, but an ideological threat. Perhaps it is our deep-seeded sense of individuality and our love of freedom and self-determination that could potentially damage the Collective in a way no weapon ever could. (How wonderfully Star Trek is that!) Perhaps it is for just this type of threat for which the Queen exists to protect against, and that therefore is why she has taken such an obsessive interest in humanity. She knows it is no longer enough to simply assimilate humanity. Human’s individuality has become like a disease to the Collective, but to cure that disease she must first understand it before she can subvert it. Again I see so many parallels between the Borg Queen’s methodology and arguments and those of O’Brian in “1984”, that it’s almost frightening how similar they are.