It hard to respect slavery. I never have bought into the "collective" thing, the majority of the Borg are slaves, pure and simple. If they actually were a collective, think of it this way, if you went to a penitentiary and told the prisoners that they were in change now, that their collective were completely running things, the first thing they would do is free themselves.
And so would the Borg majority, certainly the newly assimilated. The fact that he accepted the whole collective BS, shows Picard having one of his idle-minded periods.
I can understand where you are coming from. Considering how things ended up playing out, your analysis is pretty spot on. However, if TPTB could have/would have portrayed the Borg in the way that they were originally conceived, it would have been brilliant.
In concept, the Borg were supposed to be insectoid, going hand in hand with a true worker/drone collective/hive mind. By Q Who
they knew they didn't have the budget to convincingly bring the Borg to the screen as insectoid, so instead, we got what we got. Fortunately TPTB held true to the ideal of the hive mind operating as one, and just how menacing the prospect of going up against it is.
is one of my favorites, I must admit that it did a lot to deflate the idea that the Borg were this unstoppable menace. Why would the "ultimate user" need a talking head. There wasn't going to be negotiation when they got to earth. Why would the need a former human to help to 'facilitate' the assimilation of earth. (Trust me, I know the answers for both in universe and real world.
Contrary to what some others think, I didn't feel that I Borg
completely diminished the overwhelming threat that had been the Borg. It held true to the idea that the drone, as long as it was in contact with the collective, was controlled by the collective. However, it did introduce the possibility for individuality. Not good.
really didn't do anything one way or the other. It just expanded on the idea that Borg could become individuals. Like I said, not good.
The nail in the coffin for the Borg being the ultimate Trek villain came as a result of my favorite TNG movie, First Contact
. I get that most hives do have a queen but, no matter how enjoyable it was to watch, the execution of how the queen was portrayed sealed the deal for the rest of Trek. If she would have be portrayed as the embodiment of the Borg's ruthlessness and cleverness, that would have been one thing. But by having her be a overly horned up seductress, just set the tone from that point on.
If the Borg are ever re-introduced, much in line with what Temis
said, the best bet would be to return to the original concept and stick to it.