Follow TV Tropes


Fridge / Star Trek: First Contact

Go To

Fridge Brilliance

  • SF Debris pointed out that Picard's raving about not sacrificing the Enterprise-E could be in part justified because of his anger at losing the Enterprise-D in the the previous film, and lingering feelings of having lost the Stargazer before the events of TNG. Note that Picard has a look of utter horror on his face when he realizes the model he smashed in the cabinet with the gun is that of the Enterprise-D which is why his "Make them pay" rant goes off the deep end.
    • Another bit of Fridge Brilliance. Picard's refusal to pull back may not have been purely out of revenge. We know he could hear the Borg in his head sometimes. Who's to say they weren't still able to influence him, especially with the Borg Queen herself there. It's not that hard to believe they were giving little mental pokes to enhance feelings that were already there.
    • Also the fact that this would make it the third ship lost under Picard's command. Given the circumstances, it likely wouldn't be held against him, but even so. Third time is the charm.
  • There's a reason Geordi finally opted for prosthetics, which he refused in the main show. Lursa and Betor both exploited his visor to nearly destroy the ship. That probably made Geordi decide it was for the better for security purposes.
    • Or even Starfleet security told him if he didn't switch to the implants, he'd never be allowed to work on a starship again. After all, losing the flagship of the Federation to an out-of-date Bird of Prey probably resulted in someone upstairs getting really pissed. If he hadn't switched to the implants, he probably wouldn't have been allowed to remain Picard's pick for Chief Engineer on the Enterprise-E.
  • The Bozeman is mentioned as part of the fleet to engage the Borg, and even has Kelsey Grammer reprising his role as one of the voices among the radio-chatter during the battle. The Bozeman was the ship misplaced in time and thrown forward 90 years during the TNG episode "Cause and Effect", something similar to what happens to the Enterprise in this movie. Also, the ship itself is named after Bozeman, Montana, the very site of First Contact.
  • Advertisement:
  • Data's near-betrayal of the crew. He considered joining the Borg Queen for a fraction of a second, which, for an android, is nearly an eternity. What do you suppose ten years serving alongside his crewmates is then?
  • Cochrane confesses to Riker that he didn't build the warp drive because he wanted to travel in space or kick off a golden age of exploration, but because he wanted to make enough money to retire to some isolated tropical island full of naked women. In the original series episode "Metamorphosis", Cochrane was living (well, marooned) on an isolated planetoid, and winds up staying there with two females — the Companion and Commissioner Hedford — merged into one good-looking body. (No nudity in the script, but it's strongly implied there will be once Enterprise leaves.)
  • Starfleet's decision to keep Picard out of the battle with the Borg seems unjustified, but consider what happened back in the episode "I Borg". There, Picard had a chance to annihilate or at least cripple the Borg by introducing a Tyke Bomb, but grew a conscience and refused to do so. During the Federation's next encounter with the Borg, he is royally chewed out by Starfleet, in the person of Admiral Nechayev, for this decision. The admiralty may believe that Picard's mercy is a sign that the Borg still have some influence on him, and if so, that influence could be used to force Picard to turn Enterprise against Starfleet. Still doesn't explain why Riker can't assume command for a few hours, though.
    • Maybe because they also gambled that in that situation, no matter how illegally, Riker would defer to Picard for judgment. Given Riker's well-known respect for Picard, this is maybe not a totally unreasonable surmise, albeit one that's somewhat strained by Riker's equally well known success in saving the Federation the last time he took Enterprise into battle with the Borg.
    • Advertisement:
    • In addition to Starfleet concerned about Riker deferring to Picard's judgement, there is also the issue of Riker in the previous film losing the flagship of the Federation to an old Klingon Bird of Prey. Starfleet was concerned not only on Picard's ability to command but Riker's after that disastrous battle.
    • This could also serve an example of the increasing moral disconnect some observers perceive between Picard and Starfleet as the TNG era goes on. The decision not to use Hugh as a Borg Typhoid Mary is portrayed as the result of considerable moral effort on Picard's behalf, and ultimately swayed by his acknowledgement of Hugh as the individual in his own right which Hugh, separated from the Collective, has become.
      As Nechayev makes abundantly clear in "Descent", though, for Starfleet's admiralty this isn't even a question; the existential threat posed by the Borg not only outweighs, but dwarfs to insignificance, the value of any one individual life, especially that of a former drone who ended up deciding to return to the Collective anyway. She orders Picard to take any similar opportunity that might arise in future, and while it's never quite stated, the dressing-down carries heavy subtext to the effect that, were Picard in any other jot or tittle not the exemplary Starfleet captain, the discussion might well be taking place before the board of a general court-martial, if not shortly before a presumptory cashiering.
    • And, of course, as the events of the Battle of Sector 001 prove, Starfleet's decision to keep Picard away from the scene was unjustified. Just as in the Battle of Wolf 359, we see a Borg cube face off against a scratch fleet of every Starfleet ship that could get there in time, and just as in the Battle of Wolf 359, everything Starfleet can muster turns out not to be anywhere near enough. The difference, of course, is that this time, Picard and his headful of detailed knowledge about Borg vulnerabilities weigh in on the side of Starfleet; it's only when he contravenes his orders and takes Enterprise into the fight that any outcome besides another Borg walkover becomes possible at all. Had he stayed out in the Romulan Neutral Zone like a good little boy, Earth would have fallen, and — thanks to the concentration of strategic knowledge represented by Starfleet Headquarters — the Federation might well have gone with it.
      • Yes and no. It was unjustified in hindsight. No one knew that Picard could still hear the Borg and learn their secrets in real time - and even if they did, arguably that would be even more reason to keep him behind as that connection could potentially be two-way. And never forget the Ready Room scene. This is the Earl Grey sipping, Shakespeare-loving, philosophical, father-to-his-men Jean-Luc Picard yelling at the top of his lungs about revenge, smashing a cabinet with his gun, and declaring that a tactical retreat is not an option. This is a man who is every bit on the verge of breaking that Starfleet feared he would be.
  • Lily famously gives Picard a What the Hell, Hero? in this film for, among other things, not making the slightest attempt to save the life of one of his ensigns who had been taken by the Borg, instead gunning him down with a holographic Chicago typewriter and afterward showing not the slightest sign of remorse or dismay. Is this Lily tearing down a Picard driven mad with revenge, or simply a civilian from another culture and another time reacting to the seemingly callous way the 24th century Starfleet reacts to death in battle?
    • The rest of her rant was right, but this part was just her not understanding - there really was no way to save Lynch, and not killing him left him a threat to them. On the other hand, there's a difference between simply killing the assimilated ensign and smashing the corpse's skull to mush as Picard started to do before Lily intervened, and he had spent most of their peregrination through the half-assimilated ship handing her a long schtick on the Federation's "evolved sensibility" and what a toweringly high value it placed on human life — and Picard starts in on another verse of the same old tune when Lily starts to call him on the deadly hypocrisy he's showing. In light of all that, her mention of Lynch really is, or should be, the Armor-Piercing Question she intends it to be, and only a man as deeply mired in his desire for revenge as Picard at that moment would fail to recognize it as such.
  • Defiant is swiftly defeated in battle by the Borg, even though Sisko said of her class that it was specifically designed to fight them. However, he also said that Defiant was intended to be, not the only ship of her class, but the first in a new Federation battle fleet — a fleet of ships not only powerful in combat, but cheap and quick to build in large numbers, allowing a swarm assault (like what Starfleet does in the battle) to defeat the Borg with acceptable casualties.
    • In a (necessarily loose) comparison with modern naval hardware, if Enterprise is the equivalent of an Iowa-class battlewagon, the Defiant-class has no direct parallel, but lies somewhere between a frigate (which can cruise independently for a reasonable length of time) and a torpedo boat (which is fast and hard-hitting out of all proportion to its displacement).
    • Also, considering that we reach the battle after it's been going on for awhile, and that Defiant would probably have been on the front line the whole time, she's still one of the last ships standing.
      • Notice that as the Borg cube explodes, at least one Federation vessel is destroyed while failing to Outrun the Fireball. Meanwhile Defiant, dead in space very near the center of that explosion, survives intact enough to be repaired and returned to service. "Tough little ship" indeed!
      • Not really at the center of the explosion; after the Defiant was disabled, the Borg cube kept on plowing directly towards Earth. Most likely there was plenty of distance from the cube to the Defiant when the cube exploded.
  • Picard's refusal to blow up the Enterprise might not be just because of his hatred of the Borg. He took to heart Kirk's warning that he'd always miss starship command once he left it, and (especially given his advancing age) he had no real reason to imagine that, should he lose a second Enterprise, Starfleet would entrust to him a third one.
    • Too, the wound left by the loss of his last command is still raw, as can be seen by his reaction to smashing the display cabinet. It's no accident that the camera lingers on the Galaxy-class model he accidentally wrecked in doing so, and then on his reaction to seeing it fall apart in front of him.
    • And actually, even without that, it's not just because he hates the Borg. If it was just about his hatred he'd probably be willing to destroy Enterprise, just to be reasonably sure he'd kill them all. Watch his rant again. He's very clear on the point that the Borg have taken a great deal from the Federation and specifically from him, and in all his bitterness over his losses and his desire for revenge, to surrender Enterprise to them, even with the scuttle charges armed to go off moments afterward, is more than he can bear.
  • At first glance, the Borg Queen's attempt to "seduce Data to the Dark Side" seems trite and clichéd, the sort of thing you get from a lazy screenwriter in a hurry. Further examination, though, reveals it to be an exceedingly sensible course of action. Data can't be tortured; he has no sense of pain. He can't be subverted, at least not quickly enough to matter; the Borg are shown to make the attempt (drilling into the side of his head!), and had they succeeded, he'd have given them everything they wanted halfway through the second act. And, like any of Picard's crew, he is fiercely loyal, not susceptible to any ordinary kind of bribery or extortion. How, then, to suborn him?
    By means of an extraordinary kind of bribery: by giving Data what he's always wanted most: an intimate understanding of what it means to be human, specifically what it means to have a human's physical senses — something which the Borg, with their unparalleled expertise in integrating organic and synthetic systems, and a conveniently available source of raw materials, are uniquely well placed to provide. It's no wonder that Data is, however briefly, tempted by the offer, especially since he has no reason to imagine such an opportunity will ever come his way again.
  • In First Contact, Many fans have commented on the absurdity of Data gaining an almost Terminator level of bullet resistance to a hail of machine gun fire when in the series, he nearly suffered critical damage from an arrow. But in a similar way to Geordi replacing his VISOR due to the half dozen times it was used against him, Data was genre savvy enough to retrofit himself with steel plating. If you look at everything he has sustained over the years, it is incredible to think he didn't take this decision earlier. In addition to the arrow incident, there was the time he was nearly destroyed by a pre-warp civilization he had accidentally irradiated, the time he was nearly destroyed by a colony he was trying to evacuate, the time an insane art-collector kidnapped him and repeatedly threatened him with with a disruptor... it would also explain why he displayed such never before seen agility against the Son'a officers trying to attack him at the start of Insurrection... Data had replaced his slower and weaker original legs with some capable of falling thirty feet (an accomplishment Geordi doubted he could achieve in the first series of TNG when faced with a far shorter drop).
    • This would also explain why Data acts as an inflation device in Insurrection, despite having previously sunk to the bottom of a lake in "Descent, Part II."
  • Many fans have also commented how Defiant, a ship designed to fight Borg, was missing every Deep Space Nine regular except for Worf, despite the fact that Sisko was probably itching for some payback for the death of his wife. But actually if you check the stardates, Sisko's current activity was pursuing the Maquis traitor Eddington throughout the Badlands, which not only removed him from the fight, but a large part of his senior staff also. One of the rare occasions that the Star Trek script writers actually did their continuity homework ...
    • It's also quite possible that Starfleet opted to do to Sisko what they did with Picard - declare his 'emotional integrity' compromised because of what he lost at Wolf 359 and not allow him to join the fight.
    • Being busy hunting Eddington would also explain why Chief O'Brien wasn't there. Too bad he didn't at least get a cameo, though.
      • Other than that O'Brien has a family, and sending him to the battle likely meant he would die?
    • Wasn't the Defiant an integral part of that search of the Badlands? Although they might just have prioritized fixing the ship quickly and sending it back to DS9.
  • May also count as a Shout-Out, but the song "Ooby Dooby" by Roy Orbison that Cochrane plays on the jukebox is also featured prominently in the pilot episode of Quantum Leap. And you might say that the primary mission of this film is to set right what the Borg made go wrong.
  • In the trailer, Data recites the Borg catchphrase, "Resisitance is futile," but pronounces it more like "feutal" than "fewtile". Not only did this hint to the audience that Data didn't join the collective, it's a Meaningful Echo of when Polaski mispronounced Data's name in a similar fashion on the show. Data didn't simply mock the Borg, he emphasized that they were never compatible.
  • When Crusher announces that everyone on the away team needs to be innoculated against the theta radiation that has affected Lily, she immediately administers said innoculation to Picard and herself, but noticeably doesn't give it to Data. Since he's an android, he's naturally immune to radiation and doesn't need the innoculation.

Fridge Horror

  • The severity of post-World War III conditions is subtly underlined by the fact that there was no U.S. government response to a Borg sphere dropping into low-orbit and opening fire on Montana! No military forces came to investigate and no contact with anybody outside of the Bozeman village occurred. Likewise, the simple fact that a nuclear missile was sitting, seemingly abandoned, in its silo where a bunch of people could start converting it into a manned spacecraft suggests that the government and military were no longer in a position to track their assets. This is reinforced in that they were able to actually launch the Phoenix seemingly without having to deal with any civilian or military authorities overseeing rocket launches. There was basically no well-organized government left!
  • Speaking of the gift of flesh with which the Borg Queen tries to suborn Data: Considering the Borg's attitude toward Human Resources, and the patchwork appearance of Data's new skin, you can easily tell that stuff didn't come from a sickbay replicator. That's Data's former crewmates he's wearing.
    • Which, of course, draws the reader's unwilling and horrified mind inexorably to the next thought,
The Borg Queen's effort at subversion revolves entirely around sensuality. We see her give Data a whole range of new and intense sensations by means of stolen flesh. We also see her appeal, in a rare departure for the TNG canon, to Data's sexuality, perhaps the most basically sensual aspect of his personality, yet one he's had almost no opportunity to explore.
Beyond simple juxtaposition, the film does nothing to suggest any sort of association between the two axes of the Queen's approach to Data. But consider: Many of the assimilated Enterprise crewmembers were male, a trait of no use to the Collective because Borg reproduction occurs by one of two means, either in vitro (as seen in "Q Who?") or by assimilation. There is thus absolutely no reason to assume that the only sort of tissue in the Borg's organic scrap heap would be skin.
On the one hand, that's quite probably the most horrible surmise that can possibly be drawn from anything which has ever been shown to occur in the Star Trek canon; in terms of sheer hideousness it makes mere Borg assimilation look like a garden party.
On the other, though, it makes Data's decision to turn down the Queen's offer in favor of his loyalty to his captain and crewmates all the more poignant, given the extent of the temptation with which he was faced.
  • This also has another level of Fridge Horror. Data begins his time in Borg custody immune to both pain and Borg interference with his brain. When the Borg Queen grafts flesh onto him, she demonstrates that he can feel it. She also activates his emotion chip against his will, implying the Borg are making progress in hacking him, just as she said they would. When the chip activates, Data's surprise gives way almost immediately to dread: she's literally just told him she can seduce or torture him in his immediate future, or take a little longer and subvert him outright.
  • Combined with Nothing Is Scarier, there are few things in recent cinematic history as terrifying as hearing the audio pickup of thousands of terrified men and women ready to fight...and then hear the famous, horrifying litany that made the Borg truly fearsome...followed by discipline giving way in ''mere seconds'' to panicked screaming.
  • So the Enterprise-E is said to have roughly 800 crew aboard, not to mention the survivors they pick up from the Defiant (including Worf) in the opening battle. By the time Picard finally gives the order to abandon ship, it has been mentioned that the Borg "just took decks 5 and 6", leaving only four decks under the crew's control out of 24 or 26 (both numbers are given in the film). Even if Geordi brought dozens or maybe hundreds of engineering crew down to Earth to help repair the Phoenix overnight, and even if we saw scores of lifeboats leave in the evacuation, how many hundreds of crew members died or were assimilated at the hands of the Borg? Worse still, how many did it take before Picard realized the futility of staying to fight? Granted, plenty of the Borg victims were probably able to be rescued and surgically freed of their implants afterwards much as Picard was, but by the end of the film it would appear that the majority of the crew of the Enterprise are either dead or incapacitated, while the ship probably needs a long stay in drydock just to clean up the mess that the Borg left behind.
    • Also, psychological trauma of having been a Borg. And having to be a doctor removing the implants. And the Borg who got killed in engineering. And the people, if any, who were converted years ago and aren't from the Enterprise, currently far from everything they knew. And the ones that couldn't be saved by removing the implants because they make up so much of their body. And...
      • Who says any of the Borged crew members survived? The death of the Queen is accompanied by every visible drone also collapsing in a shower of sparks and convulsions. Borg are known to have built-in self destruct mechanisms that kick in when they are severed from the Collective. The only characters successfully liberated have been freed very carefully under controlled conditions.
      • Yeah, probably by this point, after the events of Generations and First Contact, there aren't that many of the old Enterprise-D crew left at all.
      • According to the novel Section 31: Rogue, the Enterprise lost nearly two hundred — one-quarter of her crew. Including those who were assimilated and then died with the queen.
  • Crossing with Fridge Logic: The Temporal Investigators who interview Picard about this had better not have heart conditions.
  • The part where Picard gets his eye poked out. Does this mean that as we've watched him in post-"Best of Both Worlds" Next Generation and Generations, he had a replacement eye the whole time?
    • I always saw that as being part of the nightmare. Those who have traumatic experiences often have nightmares based on their memories, which feature events that did not actually happen.
    • Dr Pulaski tells Geordi in season 2's Loud as a Whisper (Best of Both Worlds is season 3 through 4) that she could replace his VISOR with the (at the time) primitive ocular implants, or she could just go all the way and give him a pair of lab-grown human eyes. If the Borg did blind Picard, Dr Crusher probably did the latter which would have been mostly painless and trivial given their level of medical science. The above explanation about it being a nightmare seems more likely though, as Picard's face implants went around his eye not over his eye unlike Hugh or Seven of Nine for example.
  • Everyone gave grief to the writers about why Picard didn't replicate physical guns (which Star Trek: Deep Space Nine proved Starfleet possessed at least replicator files for) when the phasers were fully adapted to. After all, he was able to shoot up two drones on the holodeck without the shields deflecting anything. However, notice that the second drone took MANY more hits before going down. Borg are perfectly capable of adapting to traditional gunfire, except it just ricochets off the armor plating instead of producing a green flash.
    • Which could also count as Fridge Horror if anyone is standing too close: struck down by stray bullets.
  • During the melee outside Engineering, a crew member tries to knock a Borg drone down with his phaser rifle. Said drone uses its mechanical arm to hit the crew member, knocking him to the floor, where the other drones step over him without bothering to stop and assimilate him. That's right, drones are not above beating people to death when the opportunity presents itself.
  • The Borg Queen doesn't resemble any Starfleet Officer, she looks exactly like Picard remembered her. This first introduces the idea that she is a 'pure' Borg, if such a thing existed, and that other races are 'assimilated' Borg. Secondly, consider: they were on the Enterprise this time, and she was being put together in her introduction scene. It's likely they build her body each time from the salvaged parts of recent assimilations. Walking corpse, indeed.

Example of: