Spoilers Seriously though...what was the point of the Borg subplot?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Picard' started by eschaton, May 23, 2020.

  1. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No. Elnor was directly instructed by Picard to remain on La Sirena with Rios, Jurati, and Raffi. He refused the order, and transported over to save Picard's life. This is understandable, because he views Picard as the (absent) father he never had, and has sworn a vow to his cause.

    However, he then abandons Picard at the end of The Impossible Box. Oh, he claims that he's defending Picard's exit, but Hugh says he has things covered, and Picard explicitly asks Elnor to come along. At best one could argue he's staying behind to stop Hugh from having to sacrifice himself shutting down the gate. But Elnor could have easily just waited and dispatched the next group of guards, then jumped through as Hugh shut down the gate.

    In the end Elnor stays behind because the needs of the plot require one main cast member to stay on the Artifact, and for whatever reason, the writers decided on it being him. In staying behind however they kinda wrecked his character. I mean, he's only really been with the main cast on camera for Freecloud - so maybe a week or two tops? And he already leaves Picard behind?
     
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  2. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    He's a hothead (He did what he thought was the right thing -- when Picard didn't come out, he went in after him).

    Things didn't turn out very well afterwards.
     
  3. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not quite accurate - there were no Artifact scenes in Stardust City Rag.

    Going through the episodes.
    1. Brief teaser at the end that introduced Soji and Narek. I guess it's needed to get their name in the credits for the week?

    2. Soji and Narek hook up. Soji meets the black trill female scientist we never see again, which serves as our more formal introduction to how the Artifact works (though none of it ends up mattering in the longer run). We see Soji speaking to the xB in their own language. Narissa calls in to Narek in her "Rizzo" disguise.

    3. Soji meets up with Hugh. We get the intriguing scenes with the "disordered" Romulan xBs. Then more Soji/Narek drama, and another tedious Narek/Narissa scene.

    4. Brief scene with Soji watching a video of pre-Borg Ramdha. More Soji/Narek scenes, including sliding shoeless down the corridor. Another Narek/Narissa scene which is completely redundant with what came before. The scenes this week really added nothing to the plot at all, and could have been excised entirely.

    5. As noted, a total absence.

    6. Basically everything took place on the Artifact, other than some scenes on La Sirena, and it worked really well.

    7. Narissa being evil, killing xBs in front of Hugh. Elnor comes up to Hugh and - despite La Sirena offering a rescue and a way back to Picard - decides to stay on The Artifact. Hugh gets murdered in front of Elnor. Then later, Elnor finds the ranger fob, and activates it. Basically it's the absolute minimum number of scenes needed to move the plot along here.

    8. The first Artifact scene is Narissa over her aunt Ramdha - probably the most effective Narissa scene because it shows there's a layer to her beyond "evil." Elnor fights and gets captured, but Seven shows up and saves his ass. There's a number of later scenes - all of which involve the cat-and-mouse between Narissa and her forces and Seven and Elnor. The episode probably has the most Artifact content after the sixth, though it comes across as more generic action shlock which serves as a counterpoint to the heavy emotional stuff happening on La Sirena.

    9. One small set of scenes near the beginning of the episode where they go to the crashed Artifact, and find Seven, Elnor, and a handful of surviving xBs.

    10. One of the first scenes shows Elnor and Seven talking on the cube (no xBs in sight) with Narek skulking in the background, and later running into Narissa with more pointless sibling drama. After this, the only remaining use for the Artifact is a backdrop for the catfight between Narissa and Seven.
    Looking at it this way - almost scene for scene, a lot of issues jump out.
    • Once they establish Soji and Narek are hooking up, they don't do anything to really covey a sense of movement in the relationship until Narek's betrayal of her in the sixth episode. They could have shown them together just once, and it would have been as effective.
    • Every single Narek/Narissa scene is identical. She is always condescending and oddly flirty, he's always defensive and uncomfortable. Their sibling relationship is entirely static across the season, which is why the show grinds to a halt whenever they are on screen together. It would have been much better if Narek ...well...grew a pair over the course of the season.
    • Narissa's other scenes aren't much better, because other than the single time she gets to talk to her unconscious aunt, she's just pure evil (and campy as all hell), which makes all the interactions that she has with Elnor/Hugh/Seven in the later episodes come across so badly.
     
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  4. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree with this. But Seven's introduction wasn't really related to the Artifact per se, and she could have been used even without it being featured. Hugh is a more complicated question, but that could have easily been left to the second season.

    I never got the idea that the xBs were hated because they were partially synthetic. There are other augmented races like the Bynars after all. I presumed it was just because they came very close to assimilating the entirety of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. I mean, surviving groups of Jem'Hadar would probably be looked at in much the same way.
     
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  5. lawman

    lawman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    On the one hand, I agree that including the Cube and the XBorgs in this season made sense thematically and character-wise, for the reasons others have described—e.g., the parallels with synths, the element of Picard facing his old demons.

    On the other hand, I agree that the actual execution of the XBorg (sub)plot fell considerably short of its potential, expecially in the back half of the season, in many of the ways Eschaton describes.

    Basically, the writing staff seems to have been juggling three balls all season long, and although the balls made a nicely matched set, they just got to be a little too much to handle toward the end. Maybe it all could have played out more effectively if the season were 12 episodes long instead of 10.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  6. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What about the "Borg Ritual"?
     
  7. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Most stupid scene of the franchise
     
  8. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's another theoretical:

    In The Impossible Box, when Soji finally activates, she kills Narek (we know Narek is no longer needed at this point because Narissa says the "two red moons" was good enough information to kill Soji). Then, as Picard, Soji, and Elnor escape, from the Artifact, Hugh stays behind and sacrifices himself. This means no Artifact scenes in the remainder of the season, and they'd have to find some other excuse to bring back Seven for the finale.

    Would anything of value be lost from the narrative at that point? Anything at all? Hell, I'd argue that it would be more impactful, because Hugh's sacrifice would be immediately known to Picard, who will have yet another death on his hands, instead of his dying in front of Elnor, who he barely knew.
     
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  9. JoseNoodles

    JoseNoodles Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The scene with Seven in the Queen's chamber implied to me that we will have to deal with a Borg Queen Seven in the future. I don't know if that thread will actually be picked up, but I saw the groundwork being laid. If that does become the case, she has a bunch of XBs on the crashed cube she use, and maybe do something with the androids too...
     
  10. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    She had a chance to go back to the Borg in "Dark Frontier" (VOY). She walked away.

    Seven is not stupid. Becoming Borg Queen (again) would mean placing the very people she loves (including Raffi) in danger. Besides, it took everything she had to be Borg Queen for a few minutes.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  11. JoseNoodles

    JoseNoodles Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't mean that she intentionally wants to be Queen, I mean that she is going to be possessed by the Queen's consciousness. Doesn't she say something like "I'm not done with Annika yet" when she's connected to the chamber. It's obviously not Seven's whose talking.
     
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  12. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Exact line: "Annika still has work to do."

    It's one reason Seven left.
     
  13. JoseNoodles

    JoseNoodles Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    But who was saying it? I don't think Seven would refer to herself in the third-person, much less her old name. I interpreted it as some sinister force, the Queen or the Collective itself speaking, saying they have something planned for her.
     
  14. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Collective spoke through Seven.

    Seven is not the same person that she was on Voyager.

    The Borg may well want Picard's upgraded positronic brain. We could very well be looking at a civil war within the Borg (xBs vs. the Old Guard "Resistance Is Futile" faction).

    Picard would sacrifice himself before allowing the Borg to assimilate him again (he's already dead). It would make a fitting ending to the series if he were to sacrifice himself for Sirena in a similar manner that Data sacrificed himself for Picard (the series began as a sequel to Star Trek: Nemesis).
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  15. JoseNoodles

    JoseNoodles Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Really? I always thought she was an embittered member of a (right-wing?) paramilitary group. :rolleyes:

    I don't know how interested the Borg are in positronics. In BoBW, Data was going to be obsolete in the new order. In First Contact, he was the Queen's squeeze, but he was mostly a pawn to get Picard.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  16. Danja

    Danja Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's no longer Seven's battle to fight (Copellius now has diplomatic relations with the Federation and is now under the protection of Starfleet).
     
  17. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think they should've made Picard's seasons as long as Discovery's. The best I can figure is the smaller episode count made Patrick Stewart more willing to join.
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I have no idea how you could look at that wonderful, wonderful scene with Narek and Soji "roller blading" barefoot down the Artifact corridor and think that's not worth keeping. It was such an emotionally important scene to their journeys.
     
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  19. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Commodore Commodore

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    I have to agree on this one.

    An abandoned Borg cube in Romulan space after the Super Nova, where The Fed is helping to administer a Rehabilitation program for XBs in the aftermath of an evacuation crises. I'm not sure on the exact time sequences.

    Something like this needs to be introduced step by step in order for at least some viewers to ingest it all.

    Some viewers will take to the idea right away, but other viewers are going to have a harder time digesting all of that, especially with all the other story lines going.

    I liked Seven of Nine's appearance and her newer attitude. I also liked Hugh and Picard's reunion, and Hugh Elnor's cliffhanger standoff against the Romulans.

    But the Borg subplot has an awkward feel and brings up a lot of questions.
     
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  20. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    If the entire season focused on the Borg cube it could have made a lot more sense and wouldn’t even need a major battle. Just firmly focus on characterization with Picard, Hugh, and 7, their different perspectives on what it meant to be a drone, what it means to be human, and how they live their lives.

    It doesn’t even need to be about the Romulans but keeping the cube in Romulan space is interesting because we could see aspects of the Unification movement, or Federation openness fighting with its own fears, versus Romulan paranoia over de-assimilation and desire to take advantage of the ex drones.

    Picard could still have PTSD over being on the cube and seeing not yet un-assimilated ex drones. Instead of taking up one episode his growth could be over several.