Date: May 5, 2020
Season 5, Episodes 23 and 23
Musical Accompaniment: The Princess Bride soundtrack
Interstellar News: Today was better.
Favorite Quote from “Imaginary Friend”:
Data’s Not Really An Android: “Given the selections, I prefer FGC-47.”
“Imaginary Friend” begins with a session Troi is having with Clara, a new child on the ship, who has an imaginary friend named Isabella. The Enterprise is surveying a cluster when a beam of light begins to travel through the ship (a la “The Child“), goes through Clara’s head, and makes Isabella come to life. Isabella is super creepy and is able to hide from adults, though there’s an interesting run-in with Worf outside of engineering that makes me think he has a softer spot for children now that he’s a father.
Troi is concerned that Clara is doing inappropriate things and blaming Isabella, when in reality it really is Isabella that’s doing them. Troi takes Clara to a ceramics class and Isabella gets mad she was left behind, so she is mean to Alexander. La Forge is trying to figure out what is going on in the nebula and Isabella tells Clara that others like her are coming and everyone on the ship is going to die. Troi tried to help Clara go to sleep and is attacked by Isabella, and suddenly the ship is being drained. Isabella and Picard have a chat and Isabella stops her friends from continuing to attack the ship.
So Clara is adorable, that’s a plus. Isabella is creepy and then all of a sudden changes her murderous tune because Picard hugged a child, please give me a break. There are some cute little scenes like when Data tells La Forge and Sutter they aren’t the naming geniuses they think they are, or Guinan and Clara at the bar. Even the Crusher/Ogawa scene was cute, but ultimately nothing comes of any of these things because there are glowing balls of energy beings attacking the ship and that’s kind of boring. This episode was just blah, 4 blahs from me… blah, blah, blah, blah!
Favorite Quote from “I, Borg”:
Borg: You will be assimilated.
La Forge: Yes, but before that happens, could we ask you a few questions?The snark-o-meter just spiked there, La Forge.
“I, Borg” has the Enterprise surveying a cluster to see if it is a good place for a colony when they encounter a distress beacon on one of the moons. Dr. Crusher, Riker, and Worf beam down and fine four dead and one mostly dead Borg, who Picard finally allows aboard but only in containment. Troi tries to get Picard to talk to him but he puts on a brave face. Picard gets this really far away look on his face and thinks about infecting the entire Borg collective, we’re talking about eradicating the race, and I am concerned. Dr. Crusher is the only voice of reason, I mean it’s really like using the boy as terrorists do with child bombers.
Picard and Guinan fence and she is NOT happy about the Borg being on board. La Forge and Worf go in to allow the Borg to power up and find his designation is “Third of Five”, but they nickname him “Hugh” and give him some tests. Hugh asks very perceptive questions and now La Forge has second thoughts about infecting the Borg. La Forge gives Guinan some sass and I am all for it, especially when she goes to talk to Hugh and he is not like she expected. La Forge gives Hugh a pronoun lesson and helps explain why humanoids are different. La Forge and Data create the “total systems failure” infection and Picard is cold as ice when La Forge explains his second guessing of the mission. Guinan comes to see Picard to make sure Picard is absolutely sure and she brings up good points, including telling him to talk to Hugh if he’s going to use the boy.
Hugh addresses Picard as Locutus and Picard decides to play the interaction as Locutus and finds that Hugh is not as Borg as he used to be. Now that the “kill all the Borg” plan is borked, they need another plan and maybe, just maybe, the notion of individuality would spread. They give Hugh a choice and although Hugh wants to stay with La Forge, he ultimately decides going back to the crash site is the only way to not cause any issues, so La Forge accompanies him and sends him off just in time for the other Borg to bring him home.
I absolutely side with Crusher, what in the universe was everyone else thinking? Did Picard even ask Starfleet, or did he just decide to get rid of a whole race on his own? Why was Troi all like “down with the Borg”, she’s supposed to be the ship’s counselor… she’s supposed to realize this is totally Picard’s PTSD talking. I do love how everyone on the ship was prejudiced against the Borg at first and slowly started to come around. Crusher only saw “Hugh” as a patient in need and possibly an innocent bystander, but she never sugarcoats the fact that Picard’s plan is genocide. When you think about how the Borg assimilate civilizations that means all of the current Borg were once people and, as we find out, can maybe revert back to themselves after a time away from the collective. Picard did it, even though he was only plugged in for a short time.
La Forge is the one to make the deepest connection because he’s the lovable engineering nerd guy who can’t help but be sarcastic and caring. Guinan eventually comes around too, and her hatred is so much deeper, which is why it is so impactful to Picard. Picard’s turn around to compassion is the craziest because he sells the PTSD from the first mention of a Borg survivor, to the look he gets when he’s devising the plan, to his decision to interrogate Hugh as Locutus, to the softened look he gets when Hugh refuses to participate in assimilation. It’s a believable arch in each character that appearances can be deceiving and you should never judge a Borg by its prosthetic eye, or something like that. 9 cheers for Hugh!