Last week’s episode of Star Trek: Picard was a mix of uplifting nostalgia and heartbreak. On the one hand, the installment – titled “Nepenethe” – brought back Riker and Troi for the first time since 2002. On the other, it killed off another beloved TNG character. And if you’re reading this, you probably know that I’m referring to heroic ex-Borg Hugh.
Previously introduced in episode 6, where he reunited with his old friend Jean-Luc, Hugh was killed by a blade thrown by Romulun spy Narissa in episode 7. The death has hit fans hard, too, as across his TNG episodes and Picard appearances, Hugh had proven himself as a noble soul who didn’t deserve this kind of ending.
While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Michael Chabon addressed the death and noted that the decision was a tough one. Having been the one to pen Hugh’s final scene himself, Chabon noted that “it felt very sad to write it.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning scribe revealed that the character wasn’t initially part of the season’s scope, but as the plot evolved, Hugh became a key presence – which meant he had to die.
“So once we sort of committed to a big part of our season being about the lives of former Borg – Ex Bs, as we call them – and exploring how their lives are traumatized [from that experience], how they have or have not dealt with that trauma, and how they remain these objects of fear and hatred even though they were victimized by the Borg, to put Hugh in the center of that lead to what felt like a dramatic way to service the character’s end.”
As viewers will know, the world of Picard is a tough place for XBs. Episode 6 also revealed that another ex-Borg, Icheb, who had appeared on Voyager, had also met a brutal fate prior to the events of the series. His surrogate mother Seven of Nine could be about to have some tragedy befall her in this week’s episode 8 as well. The promo for the outing seems to show her being re-assimilated by the Borg, but surely they wouldn’t write out three classic characters three weeks in a row. Right? Right?!
Star Trek: Picard 1×08 “Broken Pieces” arrives on CBS All Access this Thursday.