Part One of “The Best of Both Worlds” has probably the best cliffhanger in Star Trek history, and it was a long summer back in 1990 waiting for that resolution. Did Riker really blow up Picard? Sure, it seemed unlikely, but we didn’t know. The Internet wasn’t around with rumors spreading around the web at the speed of thought back then.
Anyway, the action-packed solution told us all we needed to know when it came out months later. Jimmy and Tom cover Part 2 below.
“The Best of Both Worlds Part 2”
The Borg continue their assault on the Federation.
jimmy: So I liked this episode, but I did find a few…gripes or annoyances seem too strong. We’ll just call them observations.
The fact that the Borg need an emissary at all to “negotiate” the “surrender” of Earth/The Federation still seems against type.
The way the Borg easily breezed through an armada of ships at Wolf 359 emphasizes how unlikely that the Enterprise on it’s own could continually avoid destruction. On a related note, the Borg just leave an incapacitated Enterprise and head off to Earth? Sure, they had captured Locutus, but was he really that valuable? Didn’t they already know all he knew?
With all the technology they’ve assimilated, is a tractor beam the only Borg weapon?
I thought the trick to put them to sleep with smart…but…after everything that had happened and the building up of Riker, I thought it was unfortunate that in the end it was still Picard who saved the day. Also, “the Borg are all asleep…and now the cube is going to blow up in about 30 seconds.” Um, what?
tomk: What? The Borg don’t adjust well to a change in their routine, everybody played a part in this one including O’Brien and Guinan, and Locutus was still hooked up to the hive mind even on the Enterprise.
jimmy: No doubt, but it was still “Picard to the rescue”.
tomk: Only after Data overpowered his Borg arm and got through to his mind. Troi confirmed it.
jimmy: I know, it’s all fine, and I feel like I’m Debbie Downering the episode, I just felt like Riker deserved the W. Especially after outmaneuvering Locutus earlier. Or maybe a better way to put it with that analogy would be for Riker to pitch a complete game instead of Picard coming in for the save in the 9th.
tomk: I saw it as a team effort. Riker did all the planning, true, but going into the Borg hive mind was Data’s idea. He and Worf had that exciting raid on the cube. Geordi kept the ship running. Beverly kept an eye on Picard’s body while Troi did the same for his mind. O’Brien did some really fast work on the transporter. Guinan offered some timely and sage advice. Ben Sisko avoided dying at Wolf 359. The ghost of Captain Kirk seduced the Borg Queen. One Captain Marvel shouted “Shazam!” in the Borg’s reactor room while another covered him. Watson spilled beer on the cube’s main control panel while Ryan uploaded the Hamilton soundtrack into the collective. Wesley…looked concerned when Riker ordered that collision. It was a group effort. The least Picard could do was suggest a single word.
jimmy: Locutus: “Sleep.”
Crusher: “He’s exhausted.”
Data: “If I could feel emotions I’d be rolling my eyes right now.”
tomk: Besides, Picard did become more Borg in this episode.
jimmy: And shed a little tear.
tomk: How poignant.
jimmy: More well done than Sarek’s tear.
tomk: Picard probably has more experience crying than the Vulcan.
jimmy: He also seemed to bounce back from assimilation pretty quickly. Get disconnected from the hive mind, is cracking jokes. Next scene he has a few bandages on his head but is mostly back to normal drinking tea in his ready room. Until he gets right sad.
tomk: He has to put on a show of strength when the others are around.
jimmy: Good interpretation.
tomk: We’ve all been there.
jimmy: At every Gabbing Geek board of directors meeting that Watson attends.
tomk: He’s been really cocky since he won that trolling contest for annoying the Pope.
jimmy: And we thought he was cocky before that.
tomk: But as far as this episode goes, I just really like the way this episode is put together. One of my favorite small moments is the view outside Worf’s window when he and Data take the shuttlecraft out into the firefight between the Enterprise‘s two sections and the cube.
jimmy: Oh yeah, very awesome. Complete with Data’s “Shuttlecraft leaving the Enterprise in exactly three seconds,” that took…exactly three seconds.
tomk: Data is very precise.
You know, when he’s not sedating Locutus or ripping the end of his arm off.
jimmy: That was a good scene, but I wondered why they just didn’t remove the whole gauntlet in the first place? It didn’t appear to be grafted on.
tomk: Well, not yet it wasn’t.
jimmy: Or even remove the end piece like Data eventually did? They had no problem stripping Locutus down to his underoos.
tomk: It sure did seem to pop off easily enough.
The Borg just don’t build arms like they used to.
jimmy: Falling asleep makes them blow up, so they’ve got other priorities.
tomk: Look, that one guy lost consciousness and faceplanted on the self-destruct button.
jimmy: I’m sure the next time we see Shelby, she’ll have examined the wreckage and will have all the answers we need.
tomk: Yes. The next time the Borg return, Shelby will have new stuff to take them out inside of five seconds.
jimmy: Speaking of, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the deflector dish plan didn’t work. Besides the fact that there wouldn’t be any more of the show. The Borg knowing exactly what the Enterprise was planning should have occurred to someone.
tomk: Well, like Admiral God, they were really thinking Picard wouldn’t give everything away at first.
jimmy: Fair enough.
tomk: But the Borg, they have ways of making people talk.
jimmy: Yeah. Brain suckers.
tomk: Those lousy Borg!
Still, they got what they deserved in the end.
jimmy: I mean, they had to blow the cube up. Asleep or not you couldn’t have that ship on the edge of Earth where an errant alarm clock could wake them up.
tomk: Eh, just shove it into the sun.
jimmy: So they can assimilate the sun?!?!
tomk: They can assimilate a superhot ball of gas?
jimmy: They assimilated Watson, that’s pretty close.
tomk: They tried to assimilate Watson and then changed their collective minds.
jimmy: I can’t blame them.
And I know we see the Enterprise juxtaposed against planets all the time, but to see the Borg cube as a little speck next to Earth really emphasizes how big the planet actually is.
tomk: What? You wanted the Enterprise to fight Unicron instead?
jimmy: Are we going to start talking about ill-advised Trek crossovers again?
tomk: Not this time, no.
jimmy: You mentioned Sisko surviving Wolf 359. Where in the TNG timeline did DS9 start? Obviously later than this as O’Brien is still around.
tomk: Maybe around season six or seven. There are some minor plot points that cross paths with both shows.
jimmy: I was wondering about that. I know Picard had a cameo in the DS9 pilot, but I don’t remember any of the Trek shows having a full blown crossover.
tomk: Plus, O’Brien gets married and has a kid before he leaves the Enterprise.
jimmy: He obviously takes his love life advice from Worf and not Geordi.
tomk: No actual crossover. More like stuff like the Maquis comes up on TNG, DS9, and especially Voyager.
Oh, who would take dating advice from Geordi? Wesley even knows better.
And Wes doesn’t know how to play poker, but that was in Part 1.
jimmy: His role in this one was “look sad like you just realized you’re a punk kid and are about to die”.
tomk: Someone had to fill that role. Plus, it would save the Federation from more of #EvilWesley’s experiments.
jimmy: Wesley needs to work on a disable a Borg cube experiment. (Though the nanites had some potential.)
tomk: Sure. If they had a month or so to prepare. And Wesley lost nanites before.
jimmy: They’ve got time to prepare now. I don’t think the Borg are showing up again next week.
tomk: That’s just what the Borg want you to think.
Those lousy Borg!
jimmy: What was the stat? They appear like 9 times overall or something?
tomk: They appear when they want to appear.
jimmy: It seems like it should be more than that. Probably because they were the focus of a movie and plenty of episodes in the other series, notably Voyager and lately Picard. They are just memorable in general unlike many of the aliens of the week they encounter.
tomk: Take that, Pakleds!
tomk: Those dumb scavenger guys who captured Geordi when Picard went for his heart surgery. Also known as the first race the Borg took one look at and said, “Hard pass.”
“You will be assimilated. Resistance is…aw, to hell with these guys. Let’s move onto the next planet.”
tomk: PAKLED: We’re smart.
BORG: Sure you are. Oh look. There’s some Klingons. Let’s assimilate them instead.
tomk: So, Jimmy, you said these two were your favorite episodes of the entire series. Does that mean it’s all downhill from there?
jimmy: I don’t remember the episodes well enough to say that.
And they can still be my favorites without everything else being crap. And on re-watch, maybe my mind will change after 30 years.
tomk: I see. That’s a very wise attitude. For that, the Pakleds will not be coming to visit.
jimmy: That’s smart.
tomk: We’re not Pakleds.
Well, you saw the best of both worlds, a world so dull the Borg went to sleep, and came out the other side after a great build-up in part one and a legitimately exciting conclusion in part two. Did you have anything else to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: Not really. It still holds up after all these years and lays the groundwork for my favorite Trek film. But, that’s a discussion for another day.
tomk: Well, someone had to like the one where Tom Hardy was Picard’s clone.
jimmy: How did I know that joke was coming?
tomk: Tom Hardly got namedropped in another chat?
jimmy: That guy is everywhere today.
tomk: He’s right behind you.
jimmy: Sure, Tom. Like I’m going to fall for that one. Again.
tomk: I was talking to Tom Hardy.
Hardy was looking for the Moose.
jimmy: Why don’t we put all this Tom Hardy talk behind us and move on with season 4 and Picard as captain and Riker as Number One, the way it was meant to be?
tomk: That sounds fine with me. Maybe we need an episode where people visit their families.
jimmy: Well, they are right next door to Earth.
tomk: Might as well see who has the most embarrassing parents then.