Despite an episodic nature, there were a few episodes of The Next Generation that had long-running repercussions for the series. Many of those episodes involve the Borg. And one of those involved a young drone named Hugh.
Jimmy and Tom have some thoughts on his first appearance.
The Enterprise rescues a single Borg drone. What should they do with him?
jimmy: Become his buddy?
tomk: The alternate title was probably “I Love Hugh”.
jimmy: I guess they didn’t want to put a spoiler in the title.
Speaking of spoilers, the promo for this episode completely avoids mentioning the Hugh storyline. (Well, to a degree.) It mentions them finding the Borg landing party, and planting the “bomb” in the collective, but then the end is like “but are they falling into a Borg trap!!” And shows the Borg beaming in from the ending to join High. I’d almost say the promo was deceptive, but we know that can’t be the case.
tomk: Promos lie? And what about High?
Great, now I am rhyming. I promised myself no more gimmick chats after that metaphor mess.
jimmy: That looks like a typo, so I think you’re good.
tomk: Oh good. Have a bag of freshly popped popcorn.
jimmy: Perfect for watching this classic.
tomk: Hugh didn’t get any.
jimmy: He just needs energy.
tomk: A bit of coffee on a Monday morning works for most people.
jimmy: Pretty much the same thing. Minus the genocide.
tomk: It’s not genocide. It’s assimilation. There’s a difference.
jimmy: Fair enough. Tell Guinan.
tomk: She might be biased.
jimmy: I can’t imagine why.
tomk: Some people just don’t take well to the loss and total destruction of their entire civilization.
jimmy: Picard was much the same. As were Worf and Riker. The others were more like “yeah, let’s take him aboard and see what happens.”
And Troi did her usual bang up counseling job.
tomk: Geordi, meanwhile, keeps making mechanical and artificial friends.
jimmy: Geordi’s good at getting in the friend zone.
tomk: At least Hugh has some flesh and blood. Theoretically.
jimmy: Based on this, Seven of Nine is lucky she basically only ended up with a small ocular implant, hand enhancement and skin tight body suit.
tomk: Man, Geordi better not have a huge family that didn’t come out of a cloning vat when Picard season three starts.
jimmy: He was working at that Android factory that got destroyed…
tomk: He would have been better off at the iPhone factory.
jimmy: Somehow the 23rd century forget how to make smartphones.
tomk: They all got tricorders and comm badges and a Data.
tomk: Not everyone is on that Data plan.
tomk: It’s that or more Hugh puns.
jimmy: You do have a Hugh amount of them.
tomk: Hugh don’t know the half of it.
jimmy: Hugh are the master.
tomk: Yeah. This is getting silly.
Like how they expected us to believe it was really Whoopi and Sir Patrick fencing.
jimmy: It wasn’t?
tomk: Did you think it was?
jimmy: Whoopi would surprise me. Stewart wouldn’t.
tomk: That’s fair. Have a freshly baked cinnamon roll.
jimmy: Nice. Love cinnamon rolls.
tomk: Have two. Then try fencing against Captain Jake.
jimmy: Real or fake, Fencing Guinan knows how to make a point.
jimmy: Haha, I didn’t even mean to pun that.
tomk: Well, you did.
jimmy: Indeed. See, you let your guard down for one second…bam! Pun.
tomk: That’s the sort of carelessness that will get you assimilated.
jimmy: Or befriended.
tomk: Or beheaded.
jimmy: Trek doesn’t have a lot of beheadings. Just the occasional exploding head.
tomk: Well, I don’t know what they’re up to over on Discovery.
jimmy: True. Me neither.
tomk: And then there’s Trek After Hours.
jimmy: At first glance I thought that said “Troi After Hours”, but that’s a very different show.
tomk: That was after the amnesia episode when she and Ro were chatting.
tomk: You kept getting distracted during that chat. Said you’d check for that extra on the DVDs, you’d be back in a jiffy, but then you’d forget to check.
jimmy: Right! I’ll be back in a jiffy!
tomk: I’ll just wait here.
jimmy: I’m back. I forgot what I was supposed to be doing so I made us this Hugh-na fish sandwiches.
tomk: Ugh. Pass on the pun and the sandwich.
jimmy: Tough crowd. I suppose you would have left Hugh to die on that planet too?
tomk: I‘m not a monster.
He doesn’t make puns.
jimmy: It’s certainly an interesting situation though. It’s not like, say, capturing a Nazi in WWII. A person who could possibly be reasoned with. As far as they knew, this was an unthinking, unfeeling machine with a single purpose.
tomk: Or just part of an irredeemable monster. Like this guy:
jimmy: I wanna punch that guy too.
tomk: I got bad news for who you pulled in Secret Santa.
jimmy: I find it funny though how quick most are to dismiss the assimilated as beyond all hope…when Picard is right there. The shining star of being unassimilated. That includes Picard.
tomk: I find it funny Hugh still thinks Picard is Locutus.
jimmy: Really? That seems to always occur.
tomk: So, maybe Picard isn’t all that unassimilated.
jimmy: Or no one told the rest of the Borg.
tomk: How do you not tell a collective consciousness?
“Attention all units. There with be a surprise Assimilation Party for Drone 45 of 80 tomorrow. Do not inform this drone.”
“Um, I’m right here.”
jimmy: Heh. I’m sure the queen only tells them what they need to know.
tomk: Lousy queens. The only good ones sing “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
jimmy: The greatest rock band ever according to some.
tomk: Anyone we know?
jimmy: Probably not. Certainly not anyone that hasn’t watched Batman The Animated Series.
tomk: Got it. A weirdo.
tomk: I did find it noteworthy that Hugh has to work his way up through a hierarchy of Borg Haters to find acceptance.
jimmy: And then have to turn around and give up that acceptance and independence to save them all.
tomk: There was a lot of weak thinking there. First was the assumption the Borg would respect an asylum claim. Second was Hugh would keep his independent ideas once re-assimilated despite the fact the Borg routinely assimilate independent beings.
jimmy: Agreed about the asylum comment. That just seemed silly.
With the independent idea, maybe it’s different to insert them into someone already assimilated.
Maybe there are safeguards in place during assimilation that aren’t there afterwards because they wouldn’t expect they’d ever need them.
tomk: That’s possible. It’s not like the Borg seem to believe anyone can just quit the collective.
jimmy: Normally, probably not.
I don’t think the show addressed it, and I know it was just a scout ship, but what caused the ship to crash? Doesn’t seem like it would be mechanical failure, or pilot error.
tomk: The pilot was drunk.
jimmy: On what?
tomk: Love. His assimilated crush said she’d go to the Spring Formal with him. Quite frankly, the other drones were sick of hearing about it through the collective.
jimmy: Love. And beer. Did Captain Jake get assimilated and we missed it?
He got a medal for defeating the Borg, remember?
jimmy: Maybe the Borg pilot was partying with the Night Crew the night before.
tomk: Or maybe that eyepiece affected his vision and he didn’t see a asteroid or something.
jimmy: Asteroid would be my guess.
tomk: Well, there ya go. And Hugh had a touching story for all that I am sure won’t end in a bad way on Star Trek Picard.
jimmy: They’ve got a few decades before having to worry about that.
tomk: And I am sure such a development would not outrage that fan base or anything.
jimmy: Nah. Fans never get outraged and are completely understanding.
tomk: Exactly. Just ask any actress who played a female character in an action franchise. Or a Person of Color actor in the same franchise.
jimmy: Oh, those things are unreasonable asks of fandom.
tomk: I see. How depressing.
tomk: Well, Hugh was a good character. And for once, there’s a good reason he won’t still be hanging around.
jimmy: Yeah, having a Borg join the crew would just be dumb.
tomk: Maybe if it were a woman in something skin tight.
tomk: Well, it sure looks like Geordi’s ability to make friends with technology has helped out yet again. A Borg learned something.
jimmy: I think we all learned something, Tom.
tomk: What did you learn, Jimmy?
jimmy: Uh…careful what Hugh wish for, Hugh might just get it?
tomk: Ok, Jimmy. That’s the last straw. Now we gotta watch a Geordi episode.
jimmy: That wasn’t a Geordi episode?
tomk: This was a Borg episode.
jimmy: Is next one a Borg episode too?
Just Geordi, Ro, some Romulans. Maybe a ghost.
tomk: Ready to find out what that means?