Star Trek: Enterprise season 2 featured an appearance by The Borg. Here’s how the controversial episode retconned The Next Generation’s history.
Star Trek: Enterprise season 2 featured “Regeneration, “a Borg episode that was both a sequel to Star Trek: First Contact and retconned Star Trek: The Next Generation history. Despite Enterprise being set 200 years before TNG, Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) and the crew of the NX-01 had already encountered the Ferengi without learning the name of the alien race. This was the case with the Borg as well since Archer also never learned the name the cybernetic beings called themselves, thus preserving TNG‘s timeline.
Star Trek: First Contact saw the Borg attack Earth’s past in order to assimilate the future; Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the USS Enterprise-E chased a Borg Sphere back in time to April 5, 2063, the day of humanity’s First Contact with the Vulcans. The Enterprise destroyed the Borg Sphere but the starship was invaded by the Borg and their leader, the Borg Queen (Alice Krige). Meanwhile, Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) led a team to ensure that Zephram Cochrane’s (James Cromwell) pivotal first warp flight happened to preserve the timeline. After the Borg were defeated and First Contact took place as history records, Picard and the Enterprise warped back to the 24th century. Trekkers assumed that Picard and his crew responsibly destroyed all incriminating anachronisms, but Star Trek: Enterprise revealed that wasn’t the case.
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In “Regeneration,” the remnants of the Borg Sphere were discovered in the Arctic 90 years after Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg who survived reactivated and assimilated the research scientists investigating the mysterious cyborgs. Captain Archer was alerted by Starfleet when the Borg retrofitted a starship and left Earth for the Delta Quadrant. The Enterprise intercepted the Borg, who had attacked a Tarkalean freighter. After bringing the assimilated Tarkaleans aboard, Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) was infected by Borg nanites as the Borg ran amok aboard the Enterprise. While Archer and his crew were able to rid their ship of the Borg and destroy the Tarkalean freighter – and Dr. Phlox managed to avoid total assimilation – the cybernetic beings still managed to send a signal to the Delta Quadrant altering the recipients of Earth’s location. However, given the distance to the Delta Quadrant, Archer and T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) speculated that the message wouldn’t arrive for 200 years.
While the Borg appearing on Enterprise in a sequel to Star Trek: First Contact was a noteworthy event, it was also controversial and frustrated Trekkers due to the ways it retconned TNG. “Regeneration” not only meant that Picard left the Borg on Earth in First Contact but Star Trek: Enterprise also created a predestination paradox. Now, the Borg who were left on Earth for 90 years became the reason why the Borg arrived in the Alpha Quadrant in the 24th century to attack Earth in the first place.
The fact that Archer never learned The Borg’s name as the episode danced around the cyborgs actually stating that they were “The Borg” also irked some Trekkers. Further, Archer showed T’Pol a clip of Zephram Cochrane giving a commencement speech at Princeton University 89 years earlier; Cochrane went on a rant about “cybernetic creatures from the future who intended to enslave the human race” despite the fact that he never saw or encountered the Borg during Star Trek: First Contact. The fact that Cochrane knew about the Borg means that someone on Picard’s ship blurted out information about the future and violated the Prime Directive.
Had Star Trek: Enterprise not been canceled, an idea proposed for season 5 would have brought back Alice Krige, who played the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact. It would have been revealed that Krige was one of the human scientists the Borg assimilated, which would have been the origin of the Borg Queen and explained the special fascination The Borg have with Earth, humanity, and Captain Picard.
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