Star Trek: Picard Assimilation – Time-Travel Battles | Comic Years
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Star Trek: Picard Assimilation – Time-Travel Battles With The Borg Queen

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BY March 24, 2022

The Borg are the greatest villains that any Star Trek series ever produced, purely for their overwhelming abilities and purity of purpose. They exist to consume. Yet, they are sentient beings, making the problem posed in the Star Trek: Picard season 2 premiere so perfectly Trek. What if the Borg wanted or needed to join the Federation to survive? Could coexistence be something that is even possible? So, this week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard, called Assimilation, is both ominous and intriguing. Annie Wersching plays the Borg Queen, well half of her, and evokes the character as interpreted by Alice Krige and Susanna Thompson. Yet, this Borg Queen of the future is more emotive and sinister with Picard and his crew. She might just be the most interesting character in the show this season. Also, as revealed in the Star Trek: Picard trailer, time-travel happens and it’s thanks to the Borg Queen.

Co-creators of 12 Monkeys, Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas joined the show after season 1 (along with other veterans of the series). And, as was once said on that show, “No plan survives contact with the past.” Our heroes are fumbling around in the past trying to figure out what John De Lancie’s Q changed in the past that turned their reality into a “xenophobic nightmare.” As per usual, a Star Trek show is offering us a warning about what our own future might look like if we make the wrong choices. Interestingly enough, in the Star Trek timeline the early 21st century is not a great time for the world. Things go really wrong before the Federation arises. Perhaps Star Trek: Picard is going back in time in Assimilation, to once more try to drive home the morals we’ve been getting since the Original Series.

Spoilers to follow

In Star Trek: Picard Assimilation Becomes a Two-Way Street

Despite the prevalence of time-travel in the Star Trek universe, Picard makes it not so easy. Original Series-era time-travel, it seems, was only made possible because of the genius of Spock. (Though the Enterprise D also traveled through time quite a bit.) Either way, the conceit is that in order to travel with any accuracy they need the Borg Queen’s help. Given a chance to explain her actions in the first episode, she instead goes right into a diabolical villain mode. Like Picard and the rest of our series crew, she remembers him destroying the ship with her on it.

Star Trek: Picard Assimilation Time-Travel Borg Queen Image by Trae Patton via Paramount+

With the history of the Borg in the Star Trek universe, one might think that Picard is the one facing assimilation in this episode. However, it’s actually Alison Pill’s Dr. Agnes Jurati on the hotseat. In order to try to find the information they need from the Borg Queen, she whips up some sci-fi magic and joins minds with her. There is some cool voice-swapping and villainous banter, but Jurati gets the “win” her character needed. Still, the Borg Queen is patient and, even more terrifyingly, she’s impressed. It sounds like she’d really like to add Jurati’s distinctiveness to their own.

The real question is if the Borg Queen is actually our antagonist. An actor like Wersching can play cold and evil but also nurturing and likeable. She bridged the two nicely on Marvel’s Runaways, the teen drama on Hulu from Marvel Television.  If anyone can make the Borg Queen emotive and sinister at the same time, it’s her. There’s a part of me as a viewer that hopes she and the storytellers are able to pull of an arc that makes me sympathize with and even root for (a little) the leader of Trek’s greatest villains.

How Much Time-Travel Will Be in Star Trek: Picard Season 2?

Star Trek: Picard Assimilation Time-Travel Borg Queen Image by Trae Patton via Paramount+

In Star Trek, detours into the past (or future) are usually one-offs. They go to a place, do a thing, and go home. This may be the case here, but I suspect that there is more time-travel in store for Star Trek: Picard in season 2. I often mention the connection between the story producers on this series and !2 Monkeys because it’s relevant. One thing that show did brilliantly is weave together a narrative across multiple timelines and time-loops that fit together perfectly. Things could get complex.

I think Assimilation suggests that facilitating more time-travel is the Borg Queen’s role in Star Trek: Picard season 2. A surprising move in the episode was the apparent death of Elnor, the Romulan warrior-monk turned Federation officer played by Evan Evagora. Michelle Hurd’s Raffi took this very hard. It’s not inconceivable that she tries to do some double time-travel shenanigans and save his life. She could either approach the Borg Queen who senses an opportunity, or the Queen could tempt her as a way to further sow discord. Either way, it means like many classic time-travelers in stories: they end up causing the very problem they are there to stop.

Whether we go on time romps throughout history or get a straightforward Star Trek time-travel caper, I am very happy with Star Trek: Picard season 2 so far. For me it has that ephemeral but vital quality: it feels like Star Trek.

New episodes of Picard debut Thursdays on Paramount+.

What do you think? Do you think the Borg Queen is helping them time-travel to re-assimilate Picard (and everyone else)? Will she end up as foe or friend? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured image by Trae Patton (no relation) via Paramount+

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.

   

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