Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Enterprise

"Regeneration"

***1/2

Air date: 5/7/2003
Written by Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"As I recall, Cochrane was famous for his imaginative stories. He was also known to be frequently intoxicated." — T'Pol, debunking crazy theories

In brief: A deviously clever premise, with the best-executed action of the season.

I can't help myself. I like the Borg too much to frown on "Regeneration," recycled as some of it may be. And although I will say that Enterprise is doing itself few favors by reaching into the obvious Trekkian bag of tricks like this, I will also say that the way the writers handle the plot for "Regeneration" is too clever to dismiss. Let's just hope that after this the creators have gotten the Borg out of their systems and can move on.

The way the Borg are brought into this series' time frame is some sort of simplistic genius. It simultaneously makes perfect sense ... and is colossally absurd. I love it. The premise is the kind of thing the fans would come up with, and you'd expect the professionals would dismiss it on their belief that the general audience would be too confused by the continuity references. It's good to see the writers going forward with this sort of ingenious, reckless abandon. Well, this time, anyway.

The idea is this: A human research team inside the Arctic Circle on Earth finds buried in the ice the wreckage of the Borg sphere that was destroyed in Star Trek: First Contact and has been preserved there for the last century. How a crash site so large has gone undetected for the last 100 years is a question best left unasked. Naturally, the researchers have no idea what they've found, because they've never heard of the Borg, let alone seen one. To the researchers, these are unknown humanoid corpses filled with cybernetic implants. I laughed at an exchange where one researcher urges caution and suggests re-freezing the bodies to halt the resumed activity within their nanotechnology:

Researcher A: "There's no reason to assume they're hostile."
Researcher B: "They don't exactly look friendly."
Researcher A: "Keep them here for now; we'll see what happens."

It's funny precisely because we know what they do not — that these are Borg, for crying out loud — and Researcher A, who does not heed the monster movie rule of taking adequate precautions, is obviously going to be the first Dead Meat. Or, rather, Assimilated Meat.

One may be tempted to question the latitude the writers permit themselves here by alleging that the Borg wreckage, blown up by the Enterprise-E a century ago, could've crashed to the surface of the Earth without being incinerated ... AND that intact Borg corpses could be so conveniently preserved. I'm not here to argue against whatever convenient fates protected the Borg wreckage; stranger things have happened on Star Trek. Besides, this simply makes too much sense on its terms for me to quibble over. This is a franchise tie-in that allows the Borg onto this series in the only acceptable way.

Crucial to the impact of "Regeneration" is the way it plays the story straight, like a mystery, as if no one has heard of the Borg — which, come to think of it, they haven't. The story employs a device that's been used on this series before, sometimes unsuccessfully, which is that of something being new to the characters in the story but not new to us in the audience. We've seen the Borg many, many times, and the question is whether this particular encounter — the first encounter by these characters in this time frame — will be effective. I'm reminded of the unsuccessful "Sleeping Dogs," where the Enterprise crew got their first glimpse of the inside of a Klingon vessel. In that case, it was not enough that the Klingon ship was new to them, because the story itself was not interesting.

But here, with the Borg, the writers pull it off. A big part of this is because of the clever tie-in with First Contact and the details shown in the researchers' discovery. The rest of it lies in our curiosity of how far the Borg will get and what they will do now that they've essentially been allowed out of their ice prison. The story is able to conjure a nice sense of dread.

The first act is a refreshing change of pace, taking place entirely on Earth and featuring an array of guest actors. The snowy research facility gives this typically enclosed series some much-needed breathing room. It's nice to get a sense that there's Starfleet activity outside the crew of the Enterprise. Once the Borg are loose, they assimilate the research team and escape the planet in the team's transport vessel. Conveniently, they are headed in the direction of the Enterprise. The only remaining question is how they come so close to the Enterprise so quickly. By now, you'd think the Enterprise would be many months away from Earth, even at maximum warp.

Starfleet orders Captain Archer to pursue the vessel, investigate the threat, and retrieve the kidnapped research team, if possible. What ensues is all action and nuts-and-bolts plotting — chases and firefights (inside and outside both the Enterprise and the Borgified transport ship), and struggles to avoid being injected with invasive nanoprobes, which seem to facilitate the Borg assimilation process to the point that it might as well be a really, really, really bad virus you absolutely don't want to get.

The crew must contend with two Tarkaleans that they attempted to rescue from attack by the Borg-hijacked transport; the Tarkaleans of course have already begun the transformation and then try to begin assimilating the Enterprise. Meanwhile, Phlox is infected by nanoprobes and must race to find a cure for himself before he becomes another one of these cybernetic beings. Reed works on upgrading the phase pistols to pack more punch. And some people get blown out into space.

Basically, if you're looking for meaningful or subtle character interaction, this is not the place to find it (save perhaps a very brief moment between Hoshi and Phlox).

The simple fact is, this is one of Enterprise's most engaging action episodes to date; it's a superior hardware show. This story moves forward at a relentless pace. There is scarcely a dull moment. Some of the material may be quite familiar (we know how the Borg operate when trying to take control of a ship, and such action here is straight from the Borg Assimilation Handbook), but that's okay, because the plot flow and David Livingston's direction is dead-on. Brian Tyler's music score is terrific. The overall sense of the episode is: The Enterprise crew has a problem, and they need to address it, RIGHT NOW. There's a sense of urgency that never lets up or releases our attention.

David Livingston, known for sometimes pushing the envelope of cinematography in episodes like DS9's "Crossover" and Voyager's "Distant Origin," again does so here, with a camera that is not content to sit idly during the action. I liked the results. While I found I was aware of the director's hand at times, the shots are fresh and interesting and add to the episode's aggressive tone when the Borg are on the offensive.

There's also one novel nugget of information that explicitly references this story's First Contact connection, but without letting the characters in on the joke: Archer finds an archived speech (one that was later recanted) where Zefram Cochrane had talked of cybernetic beings trying to prevent his warp flight, and humans from the future who had stopped them. T'Pol's response that Cochrane was known for his "imaginative stories" and frequent drinking is perfect. Nice touch.

The plot itself manages to make sense and hold together believably on its terms. (Although, the ease by which the Borg can assimilate people and technology with their magical nanoprobes makes you wonder why they didn't just start marching around Earth and infecting as many people as they could find.) After the crew is able to destroy the threat and Phlox cures himself by irradiating all the nanoprobes (afterward, John Billingsley is excellent depicting a very fatigued man who looks like he's really just been bombarded with radiation), the crew discovers that the aliens sent a homing signal aimed deep into the Delta Quadrant — where presumably they came from. It's apparently the precursor to an invasion ... but it will take the signal 200 years to reach that area of space. But by the 24th century, they will know where we are...

I enjoyed this ending. It raises some continuity questions, yes, but it still works on a couple different levels. On level one is the conveyed sense of ominous dread when Archer gains this knowledge. On level two is the ironic humor; it made me laugh out loud because we have so much more information than the characters. The invasion Archer is worried about has essentially already happened — it happened 100 years ago and 200 years from now, basically simultaneously. He's worried about it, but we can simply laugh in retrospect.

To look at the facts, I presume this explains why the Borg became interested in our area of space to begin with. Of course, TNG's "Q Who" already had answered the question of why the Borg headed for Earth, but "Regeneration" might explain why the Borg were already on our doorstep in "Q Who" and why they were scooping up remote outposts along the Romulan neutral zone in "The Neutral Zone," as opposed to still being in the Delta Quadrant (their origin as established from Voyager's third season on). There's probably some fudging here, and I'm certain that not everyone watching is going to buy into this (I'm not sure even I do), but I found the attempts to tie things together here to be enjoyable.

What's important, though, is that the episode works on both levels — as an hour of action in its own right as well as something that assembles these various franchise fragments. That it does; "Regeneration" contains more pure entertainment than most of this season's episodes of Enterprise. My one qualm is the implied sense that the creators had to fall back on the franchise's most reliable villains in order to get there.

So, then, how to account for the fact that these unknown alien aggressors will still be unknown in the 24th century when they begin their invasion against the Federation? I have an explanation. It's quite simple, really: When the TNG crew first encountered the Borg in "Q Who," that was before they followed the Borg sphere back in time to Earth and destroyed it, a full century before its wreckage would be found in the Arctic Circle. So, you see, none of this had happened yet when the TNG crew first encountered the Borg. Of course they wouldn't have heard the stories of a possible invasion of cybernetic beings. Those stories didn't exist. Yet.

Smile, wink, nod.

Next week: Two episodes, one night — Enterprise's original intended captain (hmmm) and T'Pol in heat (hmph).

Previous episode: Cogenitor
Next episode: First Flight

Season Index

41 comments on this review

Katie - Wed, Feb 27, 2008 - 12:31am (USA Central)
This was my first experience with Enterprise, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. I love self-referential Trek as much as the next person, but I prefer homage (a la "Trials and Tribble-ations" to blatant rip-off. Not only does the suggestion that 22nd-century humans could fend off 24th-century Borg strain my credulity, but the parting revelation (the Borg are coming!) was a pretty cheap shot--the subtext here is that Enterprise is trying to fit itself into a canon in which it clearly does not belong.
Jason - Mon, Mar 10, 2008 - 3:13am (USA Central)
Katie was right on the bat with her comment. This entire episode was completely completely in violation of Trek continuity, especially "Q Who", where humanity had its first contact with the Borg. If Zefram Cochrane had made such comments and the Enterprise had encountered these Borg, Picard should have known about them too. The Enterprise had potential, but covering the Borg was such a pathetic ratings ploy.
robgnow - Fri, Jul 11, 2008 - 7:09pm (USA Central)
Whether you like this episode or not is a matter of taste, but I have to point out that there is no continuity mistake here. At least according to one theory, even if we could go back in time and alter the past, those effects would not be perceived until after the moment that the person making the changes returned to a point after he/she left to make those changes. Picard could not have read anything about Archer's encounter with the Borg because it hadn't happened yet (as Jammer states)... he couldn't perceive that the Borg were in the past until after it happened, the Enterprise-E went back in time and stopped the invasion and then returned to the "present" after the Enterprise-E first left. Only then would Archer's encounter with the Borg become "history" and suddenly be a part of the Federation's and Star Fleet's records.
Which is part of why I hate stories dependent on temporal mechanics... it gets so confusing and the ST writers often don't plot things out logically, anyway. However, in this case, there's no reason that the Borg meeting 22nd Century Earth violates 24th Century continuity in this story.
Alex1939 - Mon, Jan 5, 2009 - 1:52pm (USA Central)
It takes a little imagination, but I prefer to look at it as the information became "lost" or "buried" over time.

Considering the Xindi attack that was about to come, and other major events of Enterprise history... it's conceivable to me that this one encounter with "cybernetic" beings may not be common knowledge 200+ years later during TNG events.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Sun, Mar 22, 2009 - 11:25pm (USA Central)
I think this episode conveyed the idea that the writers had no respect for the timeline! Big turn off for me but the final nail in the coffin would be the finale!
Daniel Lebovic - Thu, May 21, 2009 - 5:18pm (USA Central)
I must dissent from what these posters have to say.

In First Contact, the Borg Sphere arrives (as it travels backwards in time) on Earth BEFORE the Enterprise does. What (as the story itself tells us) is the pivotal event that the Borg seek to change, and is therefore, the event, if they are thwarted in their attempt to change it, that will allow the "proper" timeline to resume? The making of first contact. They are thwarted in this effort (they are unable to destroy the Phoenix, or kill Zefram Cochrane). But, the damage they DID inflict on Earth (i.e. the firing that led Lily to cry, "It's the ECON" DID really "happen" - that event was not a "it never really happened because the Borg were ultimately thwarted" event. It happened beacuse the Enterprise could and did, necessarily, restore history, once (and only once) it actually entered the 21st Century. (Contrast this with Star Trek XI, where the timeline was altered FROM THE FIRST FRAME OF THE FILM). Jammer's final paragraph (the one before "Smile, wink, nod") is completely accurate (just as is Spock's like in Star Trek XI, "The reason you aren't familiar with transwarp beaming, Mr. Scott, is that you've yet to come up with the equation for it." At the end of First Contact the ship is restored to the post-TNG episode era. "Q-Who" however, was DURING that era, so how could the characters in that episode have knowlege that history had been restored (i.e. that a force known as the Borg tried to invade Earth but failed) when, as of the stardate of that episode, the invasion (which began after Q-Who) had not yet occurred?
I mean, not to be disrespectful to anyone, but I think there's a clear answer (given how Star Trek treats time-travel stories and the implications of time travel - and it treats the implications consistently across episodes, shows and movies) as to whether any continuity was violated. I happen to think that the answer is "yes," and am not sure why others think "no." Also, remember the final shot of "Time's Arrow, Part II?" If I remember correctly, it was of Data's severed head.
Kev - Tue, Sep 15, 2009 - 5:36am (USA Central)
Borg continuity was already "violated" by Voyager, with the idea that Sevens parents knew about the borg some 20 years earlier (so earlier than the encounter in Q-Who at system J25).

Its time to realise that what happens on TNG isn't set in stone. What happens off screen can be jsut as important as what happens on it. Just because Picard and the enterprise hadn't heard of the Borg doesnt mean that Starfleet, or Section 31, or Starfleet intellegence, or Stafleet Science, or Starfleet Xenobiology hadn't heard of them.

Its likely, as Alex above said, that the information was buried/lost/forgotten etc over the centuries, or its just as possible that the information about he Borg was Classified by Starfleet, or buried by Section 31, or something else entirely.

The Hansens as scientists may well have had access to this information for their research, but decided to make their lifes work about finding the Borg and studying them. This doesnt mean that everyone in starfleet would know about them. It's probably on a need to know basis. And why would even the Federation flagship need to know? As far as the people in Starfleet who control this inforamtion are concerned, the Bord are no threat, they are far away in the Delta Quadrant.
Joe - Tue, Feb 9, 2010 - 3:22pm (USA Central)
Another possible reason that Picard and his crew didn't know about the Borg despite Archer's encounter (and, no doubt, written reports about the events), is because it was just one of many adventures Archer reported on. If Picard or his crew had looked closer at old Starfleet records during the "Q Who" episode, they might have read about the "cybernetic organisms" that seem like the ones they were now fighting in the 24th century. In other words, the continuity can work even if you don't contort yourself with ideas like, "Picard and the Borg hadn't altered the past yet, so those past events hadn't happened yet."
James - Mon, Feb 22, 2010 - 11:00pm (USA Central)
I agree with Joe and Alex. If you notice, not once in the entire episode is the word "Borg" mentioned. With nothing better to label them except "cybernetic beings" (or whatever), the reports could've just faded into obscurity and took on an Area 51-style mystique with 22nd century conspiracy theorists, or something. Not the kind of thing that a 24th century crew would need to worry about usually. Makes enough sense to work if you want to avoid timeline headaches. :p
sweezely - Mon, Jul 5, 2010 - 8:35am (USA Central)
I find it hard to believe that people don't like this episode just because they can't understand the continuity. This episode is a brilliant example of following up on a previous story AND filling in a few continuity holes yet still being a great standalone story (something which the fourth season, for all it tried, never quite managed).

The Borg are a few surviving stragglers of the Borg Sphere that travelled back in time in First Contact. They escape the ice and go on their merry way, interacting enough to make a good story but not so much that it explicitly goes against everything that has happened before. They don't say their name (IIRC, they never identified themselves in Q Who either) and they don't leave any trace of themselves behind for study. This gives ample scope to allow for Picard and co. not knowing anything about the Borg, nor there being any record of them. The only record Picard may know of is that of a powerful race using cybernetic enhancements being stranded on Earth and then escaping. As Phlox reminds the viewer, the Bynars used cybernetic enhancements, and it's reasonable to assume that they aren't the only known species who do.

It also explains away two continutity issues: how the Hansens knew about the Borg, and how come the cube in Q Who was so far out of regular Borg space. When the Hansens left, all they had to go on were "rumor and sensor echoes". Considering how little evidence of the Borg was left during the episode and the fact they never identified themselves, rumours and sensor echoes would be all that was left. The Hansens would have been aware of the term "Borg" from the El Aurians, but remember, the El Aurians are a race of listeners, not speakers. As for the cube being so close to Earth during the early episodes of TNG (not only Q Who but also The Neutral Zone), again we're given the reason why. They sent themselves a message to come snooping around. In a way, it also helps explain a bit about First Contact. Why pick that time to go back to as opposed to some earlier time? Because they knew they'd have to go back to then, get frozen and thawed so they could send the message to themselves in the first place.

So yeah.
RussS - Tue, Nov 9, 2010 - 2:32am (USA Central)
Holy smokes! Two very good episodes in a row. Almost makes up for Archer's genocide and general wreaking of havoc otherwise.

Just when I though I would have to accept Enterprise as a low-key, low quality show. On the other hand, as a TOS and I-IV fan I never watched NG or any other trek. Comments suggest continuity problems. But for me, big whoop.

The Borg are scary. The idea a coming invasion in a few hundred years is super scary. Great trek. Almost makes me want to watch som NG.

This series is actually worth watching!

Regarding DS9 (which I havn't seen) can somebody tell me how a space station sitting motionless in the middle of nowhere constitutes a good settting for trek?
Matrix - Thu, Dec 2, 2010 - 8:47pm (USA Central)
Nice review as always Jammer! I only got around to watching the ep this week and was quite impressed. I'd heard a lot of negative things by people on other websites and had stood clear but this was a great action-adventure-mystery episode with some really outstanding music. The slow assimilation worked for me as a fan of the original Borg from TNG and I thought John Billingsley was great in giving a real sense of fear about what was happening to him. The continuity issues didn't worry me, as you could say it's a timeloop or alternate timeline or the timey wimey ball but it just good fun whatever way. All in all it was a good episode!
Eric Dugdale - Tue, Jul 5, 2011 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
"Regarding DS9 (which I havn't seen) can somebody tell me how a space station sitting motionless in the middle of nowhere constitutes a good settting for trek?"

Because it's not just about the space station. It's about the Alpha Quadrant as a whole. And because the cast is no worse than any other cast in Trek, providing good characters to return to.

I mean, it's not like you actually get a sense of adventure and discovery from most TNG episodes...right?
Tony Marenno - Fri, Aug 5, 2011 - 7:26am (USA Central)
Actually the first contact with the Borg was not in "Q Who" but in "Star Trek The Motion Picture"
Darren - Sun, Aug 14, 2011 - 8:13pm (USA Central)
Recycled, sure, but I thought it worked overall. The Borg had become over-used by Voyager; as they became de-mystified, they lost thet air of invincibility that made them such terrifying villains. Here, I felt that sense of dread again, much as I'd felt it in TNG and First Contact.

We can debate inconsistencies and possible breaches of cannon with any time travel episode. I was generally captivated by the pace of the action, pleased with Archer's decisiveness, thought Billingsley had some of his most affecting moments as he grapples with his mortality and sense of duty. Based on comments, I'm not holding out hope that this series reaches the heights of TNG or DS9. Still, two solid episodes in a row.
Jay - Sun, Sep 18, 2011 - 2:10pm (USA Central)
even subspace messages take two centuries to reach the Delta Quadrant?
Bob - Tue, Oct 11, 2011 - 4:37pm (USA Central)
Good points all around.

One thing I was interested in going in that I think the show stayed true with is that the Borg are somewhat limited by the primitive state of 22nd Century technology. On the Enterprise E, with replicators everywhere, they can do a lot right away. But on the transport, or even the first Enterprise, it takes awhile to accomplish anything.

I see them as being a little spoiled by the endless access to new technologies (and worker bees).
Jasper - Mon, Nov 7, 2011 - 6:36pm (USA Central)
I want to add to what Bob was saying. As he is mentioning.

Basically, I loved the episode, but was afraid that the ending would ruin it all. After all, This was going to have to be a victory over the Borg - by an enterprise that are underwhelming compared to the Klingons, Romulans, Vulcan's and just about everyone else.

However, as it turned out, there was the fact that they were limited by the time's technology. Heck, these Borg would have been far more scary had they had shields, but they didn't.
Moreover, they seemed to act like they would have if they had had shields to prevent humans beaming over. I like the idea that even though the Borg are very good at adapting to threats physically, they aren't so good at adapting their strategy. That actually matches what we have seen elsewhere - it isn't often that the Borg stray from their known strategies. And especially not when they are disconnected from the collective.

That is to say, following TNG and Voyager sources on the matter, they were probably forming a mini-collective with just the seven of them. Must have been pretty disorienting to them!
That makes for another disadvantage for the Borg which justifies the Enterprise crew besting them as well as woud give them another reason not to be straying from their normal tactics even though they missed important technology for that (shields!)

Simply a really good solution to the matter, in my eyes.

As for the other issue many people have with this episode, the continuity, I don't have much of an issue with it, really. I am following the theory that that the knowledge was lost in time. Or, at least, obscured enough not to be identified at the time of "Q Who?"
However, I would like to say that time travel theories can be valid as well. I would also like to contest the claim that time travel is consistent in Star Trek - heck, there's not a place were it is done less consistently. In a brief note to make that claim not entirely without proof backing it up, I would like to request anyone who thinks differently to compare Voyager's "Time and Again" with the same series' two-parter "Future's End", which obviously use two different different temporal mechanics.
chris - Thu, Nov 10, 2011 - 2:13am (USA Central)
Two decent episodes in a row!!! IMO, that was the best Enterprise episode so far! Looking forward to watch more soon :)
Nathan - Sun, Nov 20, 2011 - 5:41pm (USA Central)
While you're wanking about continuity, how about the fact that quadrants in TOS were small chunks of the galaxy, much like sectors, yet here they speak of the Delta Quadrant? This episode gets a negative rating from me just for that. I'd rather watch A Night in Sickbay. At least they don't make any continuity errors there, like having Porthos be Spot's great^23-grandfather.

In all seriousness, it's very conceivable that the info was just filed away and forgotten about. I mean, surely it's less unlikely than all knowledge of a popular "franchise" like Star Trek being forgotten by the 22nd century.
aether12 - Fri, May 18, 2012 - 8:24am (USA Central)
The continuity issues didn’t bother me in the slightest. Speaking as a long-term Dr. Who fan (classic series), continuity-wise this is a drop in the ocean. Try to make sense of Dalek history/the Valeyard/Romana’s regeneration/insert your choice of mind-boggling looped self-contradiction here, then try & sew the whole 26 years + NAs/MAs/EDAs/PDAs/Audios/DWM Comic Strips etc into one coherent piece. Next to that, this is a minute wrinkle. Trek canon/continuity is a whole ton more consistent & smooth, helped no doubt by Paramount’s statement that only the TV episodes/movies count as canon (I think I read that somewhere?).

For the episode itself, I’ve always thought it was the best use of the Borg:

1. The FX are the best used on a Borg episode, in some ways better than First Contact
2. The Borg benefit from being seen afresh for the audience through the virgin eyes of a pre-Q Who? crew; this gives them back some of their mystique/fascination, somewhat like the scenes with Seven’s parents in The Raven & Dark Frontier (the best parts of those episodes)
3. There’s no damn Borg Queen to detract from the aggressive hegemonizing swarm vibe. In dramatic terms the Daleks needed Davros for exposition but the Borg just didn’t need the Queen. In this episode they don’t have a single line except the usual ship-to-ship hail (from memory) & it only enhances their threat level as relentless & implacable (ok it helps that the audience know what they’re all about so exposition isn’t needed)
4. These Borg are at a disadvantage; stranded far from the Collective, without a Cube & there’s only a couple of them. This instantly does away with all the scripting problems around our heroes defeating an invincible foe with a damp squib dues ex machina. They get stronger & their numbers grow throughout the episode, and they only get wasted at the last minute by conventional means rather than a magic wand, and the script emphasises that they’re regenerating their ship as they are destroyed – i.e. you get to have it both ways, they’re hard as nails but not invulnerable & they get busted with conventional weaponry only in the nick of time.
5. The direction is top notch
6. The body horror element of assimilation gets a work-out in both visual & script terms

The writers pulled off a clever trick in using the tired old Borg in a new way to great effect. Probably it was the last trick in the box for them though, can’t see how you could go anywhere else with them in future.

P.S. Traditionally speaking, Classic Who fans have always had a bad grudge against Trek (Tat Wood & Lawrence Miles’ About Time books have a fair few anti-Trek jibes). I’ve never understood why, and as a British SF fan I love both Who & Trek.
TMLS - Sat, May 26, 2012 - 5:37pm (USA Central)
Having all kinds of personal issues when this was first aired that meant I didn't see this when first aired, I've just watched it for the first time during a complete DVD watch. Luckily I stumbled on Jammer's reviews after looking to see how other fans were taking the episode thanks to a lack of critique on ST:E on Memory Alpha.

I'm surprised by a lot of the comments above - did nobody see Back to the Future 2? Doc Brown's blackboard description of a timeline spearing off into an alternate one perfectly explains this for me, and fits in with what Jammer's said.

The ST:TNG crew meet the Borg for the first time fot humanity in Q Who, and later at the second battle over Earth head back into the past. At this point, the timeline splinters off from the "Prime" timeline of ST:TNG - the Borg have interfered with Earth, regardless of the final outcome.

The ST:TNG we've seen is not from this same splinter that ST:E is on - it's the same way that the reboot movie can exist without just jettisoning the original TV shows completely, they exist at the same time just seperately on a different splinter (on that occasion Nero's destruction of the Kelvin forcing Starfleet to increase their development speed giving us the "improved" 1701 (with no bloody "A", "B", "C" or "D" to quote someone at another time;) )

I think it's perfectly straightforward, you just can't tink linearly.
Cloudane - Fri, Jun 1, 2012 - 6:23pm (USA Central)
I found it believable enough. And like Janeway, I'm not even going to TRY and understand the temporal mechanics of it and the paradoxes and everything - it just IS.

However, the whole thing had me questioning "Why?" - I do love that there was a good explanation for them being there, and as an action episode in general I can't argue with the analysis of it being... well, excellent. But the be-all and end-all was that "hurr, we gotta do Borg". In that respect it was pointless, and after Voyager I've seen enough of them. It's worse than Doctor Who and his soddin' Daleks. Pleeeeease can we let them rest nao? (In before they appear in the next reboot movie)

I know why they were after the Tarkaleans first though - they assimilated Arthur Dent, and ended up on a mission to find the perfect cup of tea.
CeeBee - Thu, Aug 30, 2012 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
I liked the way the writers tried to close the loop with First Contact and Q Who. If the story is well thought out, minor continuity errors or time travel paradoxes (or real problems) are of less importance. I found it a well paced episode with a cute premise.
Zane314 - Fri, Sep 7, 2012 - 8:48pm (USA Central)
What can I say, I think Jammer missed this by 1/2 star. It was 4 stars in my book! Great episode despite reintroducing the Borg. I don't mind the timeline stuff; I've kind of gotten used to jump suited, ridge nosed aliens that speak English and lots of timeline games in Star Trek. And I think the writers worked hard to make the puzzle pieces fit together like Jammer noted. Plus the opening with the guest stars was excellent, it reminded me of 50's black and white b-movies but was perfectly executed. And the music, pacing, effects, everything after act 1 with the ENT crew was so well done, it felt like a cinematic experience. And much to my surprise, they made the Borg threat come alive again, very impressive after all the Borging I've experienced over the years. Episodes like this make me glad I'm finally skipping through Enterprise looking for the cream after years of avoiding it.
Elphaba - Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - 8:19pm (USA Central)
It's a fun episode, but it's main problem for me isn't the continuity violation. It's the fact that the 22nd century crew can fight off the Borg when at Wolf 359 the massive Starfleet fleet was destroyed by one cube in the 24th century. It's disrespectful to Best of Both Worlds, Emissary, and Ben and Jake Sisko.
karatasiospa - Tue, Dec 4, 2012 - 2:50pm (USA Central)
the argument that there is no continuity problem is wrong. Yes Picard and the enerprise traveled to the past after Q who but since they traveled to a past before Q who then they altered the timeline because cochrane now knew about the borg. And since cochrane lived before picard his remarks about the borg should be known to picard especially after the events in this episode. THE CRUCIAL POINT HERE IS THAT THE TIMELINE WAS ALTERED. So the only way to save continuity is to accept that all these events were somehow forgotten, burried in some forgotten starfleet report.
holoyo - Tue, Dec 11, 2012 - 7:43pm (USA Central)
i don't think the issue here is about continuity (which i think they saved pretty well) but the concept of time travel itself in star trek. You can have loop time travel or alternate time travel but not both. For example, the new movie:
-Nero comes back in time, does his thing and creates a new time-line different than the original (alternate time-line)

Regenerations/First Contact:
-Borg travel back in time in order to call themselves so the can travel back in time in order to... (loop-hole time-line)

One thing should never be with the other in the same fictional universe, it's either one way or the other; and it shows a lack of coherence (understandable in a show that's been running for half a century, but still a mistake)

You could say (like a post above) that this IS an alternate time-line (so in this new time-line whenever picard encountered the borg -if he even did- he would be aware of them) but the writers clearly try to stablish a loop element.

another example:
·time's arrow - loop (data's head was already there).
·Past tense - alternate (sisko's face wasn't already in the picture, he came back to an slightly alternate future).
John the younger - Tue, Dec 18, 2012 - 2:36am (USA Central)
I agree that this episode contains good action and has a clever premise that is well executed.

The last quarter unfolds a bit too much like 'Shockwave, Part II' where convenient scenarios must play out in order to allow our heros to win the day.. but otherwise it flows along nicely.

Continuity? Whatever. There wasn't much continuity from 'Q Who' to 'First Contact' regarding the Borg so I don't care much about it here.

But I do feel that the Borg are one of those enemies that need to be used very sparingly. Not Enterprise's fault but Voyager killed the Borg for me.

3-3.5 (probably the series' 3rd or 4th best episode to this point)
NCC-1701-Z - Tue, Jan 8, 2013 - 11:22pm (USA Central)
First ep of Enterprise I've seen (recommended by a friend). The verdict?

I liked it. A lot. The in-jokes to First Contact (Phlox: "Do not let them touch you", Reed joking about using holographic bullets on the Borg), the pacing, effects - pretty decent. A little too convenient at times (For instance, why do the Tarkelean drones adapt instantly while the drones on the transport lose about ten or so before finally adapting? Also, how conveeeeenient that those drones survived the explosion and fell to Earth relatively intact...) requiring Treknobabble explanations a bit more than I like, but I could still bring myself to suspend disbelief.

Probably my fave part was the beginning. I was laughing silently to myself while the researchers were talking about the Borg. They might as well have all been wearing red shirts. The fact that they all get assimilated is no surprise, but it's the fact that we, the viewers, can see it coming and they can't, which just makes it so effective.

Now if only Enterprise can be this excellent without having to fall back on old Trek villains...

Overall, excellent ep. I agree with the 3.5 star rating.
auralgami - Wed, Jan 9, 2013 - 2:50pm (USA Central)
This episode is kind of fun if you turn off your brain. I normally despise episodes like that. Maybe it's because it was a decent, non-boring Enterprise episode and the pace and visuals were overall very good.

But please? Let's even take continuity off the table. We've got Magic Borg here, who can seemingly fabricate everything out of nothing. In TNG, newly minted Borg got their prostheses from surgery. Here, random metal parts start appearing, bubbling up from under the skin. Are nanoprobes now mini-replicators too? I guess that's consistent, since they seemed to do everything but Seven's dry cleaning.

T'Pol said the transport gained in mass 3% from the last time they saw it (which was *after* it was done with the Tarkalean ship). Where did they get the mass? Space junk? Stellar debris? Did they assimilate Harry Potter so they could use his magic wand?

While the two assimilated Tarkaleans are running amok on Enterprise, nobody thinks of using the transporter? The Borg adapt quickly to the initial phasers. Then when Malcolm SuperSizes them (in what, ten minutes? by upping the energy?) they drop like flies, then adapt, then drop some more, then adapt again? What? They're a hive mind. Why would some adapt to the phasers while the rest sit there going "Derp. Those phasers killed the last five Borg. Maybe I'll get lucky."

We've seen this kind of convenience before, even in Borg episodes, but never so blatant. Also, even granting that these Borg are perhaps not as advanced as the ones in TNG, it pretty much makes hash of what we know about them. In Q Who, when TNG meet the Borg, they get a couple of shots *maybe*, then the Borg adapt. The TNG crew had to mix it up furiously just to survive. Here, Malcolm does *one thing* and they can *beat* the Borg. Already in this show, in just one episode, they're implacable when we want a good scare, then braindead pushovers when we need to save the day. Some consistency would be nice.

Worst of all, the Borg board Enterprise and stay together and do...nothing. What was the purpose of walking through a bunch of corridors? "Have you told this corridor that Resistance Is Futile (tm)? Right, then. Off to the next one!" Then they inexplicably beam off, when they should have known that Enterprise had its weapons back.

Wouldn't it have made more sense to board the ship, go off in four or more separate directions, and assimilate as many people as possible? Why leave, when all you need is a foothold on Enterprise and then you have both ships? Or, as Jammer pointed out, why leave Earth in the first place? These are the stupidest Borg since Descent.

This episode smacks of *convenience*. Everything is quite convenient, from the number of Borg Reed and Archer are able to shoot to MagicBorg technology that appears out of thin air to how everything was able to be neatly wrapped up.

It works, in a way, but it's also very sloppy and lazy. And that's the kind of thing that tends to take great ideas (like the Borg) and make them boring and toothless. I'd much rather see Our Heroes win because they're smart, clever, and resourceful than because a bunch of contrivances made it so.
Sintek - Sat, May 25, 2013 - 11:15am (USA Central)
When Borg show up it's a good indication the writers are out of ideas. There's a reason Voyager used them so much and DS9 not at all.
Jay - Sat, Jun 1, 2013 - 8:08pm (USA Central)
@ Sintek...Well, since the Borg had been established in TNG to have their origins in the DQ, it would have been absurd for Voyager not to have them.
Duge - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 8:50pm (USA Central)
Though not a huge fan of ENT (actually, my wife and I had only seen the pilot before this episode), I really enjoyed this episode, particularly since it was connected to First Contact, which is one of my favorite ST movies. The story actually felt a LOT like FC in a lot of respects, including the creepy atmosphere, action, and the feeling of dread that pervades the episode. Not since FC have the Borg felt so menacing, even more so (I would argue) than they were in some of the early TNG episodes, maybe even more so because of the pre-TOS technology. Like FC, this felt almost like a suspense/horror movie as characters are being hunted by the Borg and threatened with assimilation via their nanoprobes. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the episode though I pretty much suspected that the Enterprise crew would be o.k. I'd say that Earth got rather lucky given that the Borg survivors from First Contact could have potentially achieved their initial objective of assimilating Earth had they stayed on Earth and kept assimilating people left and right. They also might have taken Enterprise had they not left during the ship-to-ship encounter (my only guess is that they were summoned back to the ship to crew it and/or repair it prior to its destruction). However, the ingenuity of the crew, as well as Archer's realization that the science team ultimately could not be rescued, saved the day in a way that seemed plausible and didn't involve some huge contrivance or deus ex machina.
Nancy - Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - 12:49pm (USA Central)
In terms of suspense, this was the best episode so far. Yes, there were plot holes, but I couldn't look away wondering how they were going to handle the Borg threat.

The suspense largely came from the underestimation of the Borg by everyone from the researchers to Archer, who continues to believe he can rescue the research team long after we know they're a "lost cause." I kept waiting to see when they were going to learn the hard way, and the writers cleverly threw in some red herrings to keep it from being predictable. For instance, I was sure that Phlox was going to turn on Hoshi as she obliviously took her sweet time feeding his plants, but it didn't happen. Then, I wondered if he would attack Archer after he called him down to sick bay, but instead he gave him the fatal injection to administer if all else fails.

Highly entertaining episode, and one of the very few I've truly enjoyed so far.
Shane - Thu, May 15, 2014 - 7:49pm (USA Central)
Makes the Enterprise-E crew look even more stupid. Leaving all that Borg wreckage on 21st century Earth. Oy vey
David H - Fri, May 16, 2014 - 12:08am (USA Central)
On the Season 2 blu-ray, there's a commentary track from John Billingsley and his wife, who is also in this episode. It's one of the funniest things you'll ever listen to.
John G - Tue, May 20, 2014 - 7:13am (USA Central)
@auralgami: I was also perplexed by why the Borg on the transport were so easily dispatched, but the ones on the Enterprise weren't. Then it occurred to me — Reed and the others quickly upgraded "as many [phasers] as we can", that is, the upgraded phase pistols could take out more Borg than the vanilla kind. Presumably Reed and Archer took along some of the souped-up phase pistols, while the others still only had the "holographic bullet" type (lulz) and thus the Borg were able to adapt to them more quickly.
John G - Tue, May 20, 2014 - 7:22am (USA Central)
Also, as far as continuity goes, I think it's fairly simple and straightforward. The Borg ship was left over from “First Contact”, as remarked upon by Cochrane in his speech. As T’Pol notes, no one took his story seriously and at no time did the name “Borg” ever crop up, just “cybernetic beings”, of which there could be many different races (some of which may even be benevolent).

Granted, having some Borg drones survive the crash is implausible, but not impossible, and they *were* shown having substantial damage — missing arms and such. Possibly they were slowly regenerating all that time, only to have it accelerated by being placed in a warmer location.

As to why the TNG crew would be unaware of the Borg in spite of these events, like others said it’s entirely possible. Again, the NX-01 crew would have had no name for the beings they met, just “cybernetic beings”, and this would have been one mission amongst many, many others. Unless the TNG crew had perfect memories of all events in Starfleet history, it’s no surprise that they were unaware of what had happened, and even if they were aware of it, there’s nothing to necessarily make the connection that the “being” of the NX-01 crew are one and the same as the Borg that the TNG met. It’s actually a very nice way to tie up the loose strands of the story and get the Borg into the NX-01 series, hopefully without overdoing it later, and adds a nice note of foreboding at the end. All in all I very much enjoyed this episode, far more than the first half of this season. I agree with the rating, would even give it four out of four.
PJ - Tue, Jun 3, 2014 - 9:23pm (USA Central)
To those saying this episode conflicts with continuity, it could be argued that the events of First Contact changed the timeline thus allowing this episode to fit into the new continuity.
Jose B - Wed, Jul 2, 2014 - 5:27pm (USA Central)
Okay I know I am really late here but I just can't help myself...I noticed that no one really addresses the real "elephant in the room" on "Regeneration"

I watched this episode when it originally aired and own the DVD and I have said from the very beginning...WHAT WERE THESE BORG DOING THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

ST:FC My favorite quote is as follows: "I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And *I* will make them pay for what they've done!

So as we all know the crew of Enterprise E defeat the Borg and Picard tells Data to charge the deflector and they go home (They have a time machine which I will discuss later)

So the big question again is why are there Borg on Earth for that science team to find?

Picard risked 1701-E to stop them from going into Earth's past...They killed the queen, they launched the Phoenix and assured and even darn near witnessed First Contact.

The debris was near the poles and was not picked up by scans? Data knows how to get around the magnetic issues with scanners and poles...Remember we need to keep the Borg out of Earth's past or all the risk and DEATH of 1701-E crew will be in vain.

1701-E had a time machine...That means that the pending arrival of the Vulcans was not an issue. They had all the time in the world to make sure not one single drone was left on Earth.

At one point 1701-E launched her escape pods. They had to retrieve them at some point. Not sure how they do that- Transporters, shuttles either way it is not a quick thing to do so again they had time to do that and no time to make sure they cleaned up debris from the dead sphere?

Speaking of the sphere, usually things falling in the Arctic like that get DEEPER...That one scientist tripped on a Borg foot! This Borg had been there for 100 years. I guess the debris was in a glacier and over time became uncovered...

Oh yeah, the debris field makes no sense either. The Sphere was blown to bits and somehow all that debris came down in a small area. When Shuttle Columbia broke up there was debris field Roughly 250 miles long and 40 miles wide There is no way the Borg debris would be in such a tight arrangement.

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