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The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard season 3, “Võx,” apparently revealed that the story’s villain was the Borg Queen (Alice Krige). But who exactly is (or are) the Borg Queen(s)? As the ultimate antagonist of both Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), the Borg Queen casts a long shadow over the Franchise. However, she appears far less often than the Borg in general. This overview of the Borg Queen has assimilated spoilers for all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the movie Star Trek: First Contact, the entirety of Star Trek: Voyager, and through season 3 episode 9 of Picard.

First Contact

The Borg first appeared in TNG season 2’s “Q Who.” This episode sees Q (John de Lancie) return to the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. When Q decides Picard is too arrogant, he moves the Enterprise across space. This leads to first contact with the Borg. Ultimately, the Enterprise is unable to stand against the Borg, and Picard must beg Q for mercy. While Q delivers this mercy, he reminds Picard how unprepared humanity is before he departs.

Brent Spiner as Data and Alice Krige as the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact. Part of Data's face has had human skin grafted onto it.

The android and the Queen.

The Borg appeared several more times on TNG, including in “The Best of Both Worlds,” which saw Picard assimilated into a Borg and renamed “Locutus.” However, the Borg Queen herself was introduced in 1996’s First Contact. In this unforgettable debut, the character was played by Krige. Her scene-stealing entrance, which shows off her exposed metallic spinal cord as she is lowered into her body, is an all-time great sci-fi cinematic moment. 

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As an antagonist, the Borg Queen is most interested in one of Picard’s crewmembers: Data (Brent Spiner). Over the course of the movie, she grafts organic skin onto him, granting him new physical sensations. This plays into this Borg Queen’s seductive style.

"I, Excretus" Epi#208 -- Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimler and Alice Krige as the Borg Queen on the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS.

Is this what Jack’s up to after the events of Picard episode 9? Photo: PARAMOUNT+ ©2021 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved

A holographic recreation of this Borg Queen also appeared in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2. In “I, Excretus,” Ensign Bradward Boimler (Jack Quaid) became hyper-fixated on achieving a perfect score in the Holo-Drill “Borg Encounter.” While he did achieve a 100% score, a subsequent need to keep the simulation running lest the U.S.S. Cerritos crew be decommissioned led to his holo-assimilation by Krige’s Queen.

Voyager

A different Borg Queen appeared in a pair of Voyager stories. In season 5’s feature-length episode “Dark Frontier,” and the two-part season 6 finale/season 7 premiere, “Unimatrix Zero,” the royal antagonist was played by Susanna Thompson. This version of the Borg Queen possesses a different demeanor than the First Contact Queen. An articulate strategist, she appears to be a dark foil for Janeway.

In “Unimatrix Zero,” Janeway, Tuvok (Tim Russ) and B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) are partially assimilated by this Queen. However, they are able to avoid full assimilation thanks to a neuroinhibitor administered by The Doctor (Robert Picardo). Nevertheless, this might explain why the Changeling in “Dominion” knew details about Tuvok’s personal history with Seven. Information about Tuvok’s history might have been shared offscreen by their clandestine Borg allies.

Both Thompson’s Borg Queen and Janeway have an interest in Seven of Nine.

However, Krige’s Borg Queen did appear on Voyager as well, in the two-part series finale, “Endgame.” In these episodes, an older version of Janeway from the future traveled back in time. The older Janeway proposes a plan to utilize the Borg’s transwarp hub in order to return Voyager to Earth much sooner than it arrived in her timeline.

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To facilitate this goal, she brings special anti-Borg shielding and weaponry back from the future. Voyager is subsequently upgraded with this tech, which proves integral in the success of the plan. However, in order to allow Voyager to travel through the conduit, the elder Janeway must sacrifice herself. In doing so, she infects the Borg with a pathogen she had been carrying in her bloodstream in anticipation of her eventual assimilation.

Picard

A third version of the Borg Queen played a significant role in Picard season 2. Played by Annie Wersching, this Borg Queen originated in the dark parallel timeline created after the 2024 mission to Titan undertaken by astronaut Renée Picard (Penelope Mitchell) was sabotaged. In this season, it is confirmed that the Borg Queen possesses a “trans-temporal awareness” that “bridges into adjacent timelines” and realities.

Pictured: Annie Wersching as the Borg Queen of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: PICARD. She is hanging from wires in front of the La Sirena's core. Also, her body ends mid-torso!

The Borg Queen assimilates La Sirena. Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Picard and his crew relied on this Borg Queen in order to travel back in time and fix the broken timeline. However, she subsequently assimilated/merged with Doctor Anges Jurati (Alison Pill). In Picard season 2 episode 9, “Hide and Seek,” this new Borg Queen made a deal. She saved the life of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) in exchange for the La Sirena. She then boarded La Sirena and warped away from twenty-first-century Earth.

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The Jurati Collective returned in the season premiere and season finale of Picard season 2. In these episodes, the Jurati Collective Borg Queen boarded the U.S.S. Stargazer. From this location, she was able to synchronize the fleet in order to prevent disastrous consequences related to an unexplained tear in the fabric of space-time that occurred near the heart of Federation Space.

According to Tweets by season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas, the Jurati Collective remain preoccupied with watchtower duty and will not appear in this season. In Picard season 3’s “No Win Scenario,” then-Captain of the U.S.S. Titan-A Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) distinguishes between the Jurati Collective and the “real Borg,” remarking that they should forget that “weird shit” on the Stargazer.

“The Last Generation”

In the Picard season 3 episode “Võx,” a Borg Cube is waiting behind the red door. This is followed by the revelation that the voice that has been whispering to Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) belongs to Krige’s Borg Queen. The communication is possible because of a genetic alteration implanted in Picard during his assimilation in TNG‘s “The Best of Both Worlds,” later inherited by Jack.

Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut as Sydney La Forge, Jin Maley as Ensign Esmar and Mica Burton as Ensign Alandra La Forge in "Vox" Episode 309, Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+.

Assimilated ensigns?! Photo Credit: Trae Patton/Paramount+. ©2021 Viacom, International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This genetic alteration explains why Picard could sometimes hear Borg voices (as in First Contact). Assimilation made him into a transceiver. However, Jack has a genetic code that sends messages in addition to receiving them. Meanwhile, Picard’s “receiver” genetic code alteration was added to everyone in Starfleet via transporter. In crewmembers with brains that hadn’t finished developing (those 25 years and younger), this code manifests as a “primer” for assimilation. This explains not only why Jack can hear the voice of the Borg Queen, but also how he can “control” some of those around him, like Sidney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) and Matthew Arliss Mura (Joseph Lee). 

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Unfortunately, over the course of “Võx,” Jack travels to coordinates he is given by the Borg Queen’s voice. There, a Borg Cube emerges from the transwarp conduit. Once Jack boards the Cube, a device remotely assimilates the youngest members of Starfleet. While voiced by Krige, the Borg Queen Body Double in “Võx” is played by Jane Edwina Seymour.

How will the Borg Queen’s plan play out in Picard season 3 episode 10, “The Last Generation”? Can Jack and the Titan-A crewmembers avoid permanent assimilation? The answers will arrive (possibly via transwarp conduit) on Thursday, April 20, 2023.

New episodes of Picard season 3 are available for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursdays.

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