``The Best of Both Worlds, Part II''
Stardate: 44001.4
Rating: *****

Edited Length: 45:26
U.S. Airdate: October 7, 1990
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [12.3/2]

This Episode was Nominated for Emmy(s)!

Guest Stars
Elizabeth Dennehy: [Lt. Commander Shelby]
George Murdock: [Admiral J.P. Hanson]
Colm Meaney: [O'Brien]

and Special Guest Star
Whoopi Goldberg: Guinan

Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Producer: David Livingston
Producer: Lee Sheldon
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written By: Michael Piller
Directed By: Cliff Bole

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Story Editor: Ronald D. Moore
Executive Story Editor: Joe Menosky

Todd Merrill: Gleason


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Extended Synopsis (by Tim Lynch) ------------------------------------

After a brief recap of part one, we see the weapon charge up, and fire. It hits dead-on-and nothing happens to the Borg ship. After the Enterprise is forced to cease fire before the engines burn out, the surprised bridge crew is informed by Locutus that everything Picard ever knew is now part of the Borg: "Your resistance is hopeless...Number One."

Stardate 44001.4: The Borg resume course, with the Enterprise powerless to pursue: as expected, their main deflector is out, as are shields and the reactor core. It's going to be 8-12 hours for repair, as they tell Admiral Hanson.

Riker, however, reassures Hanson that, even if late, the Enterprise will be at Wolf-359. Hanson tells them that they bought the Federation valuable time: they've got 40 starships massed, the Klingons are sending ships, and they even considered opening communications with the Romulans. Hanson bristles when Shelby says Picard is working with the Borg, and says to all concerned that Picard, their captain and his longtime friend, is a casualty of war. He field- promotes Riker to Captain, and wishes everyone good luck.

After a brief shot of Picard being altered further on the ship (having a prosthetic Borglike claw being inserted over his right hand, and having his coloration paled to that of the others), we see Riker (now with 4 pips on his uniform) talking to Worf about strategy, primarily the question of fighting against someone who knows you better than you do.

They arrive in Engineering, where Geordi, Shelby and others are working on repairs. The deflector's back up, and the reactor core is almost working, but auxiliary generators keep going down: there's probably 2-3 hours left of work. Riker commends Shelby for her away team duty, and says he wants her to keep him on his toes. When she remarks that that's usually the duty of a first officer, he tells her she has a lot to learn: "almost as much as I had to learn when I came on board as Captain Picard's first officer, which he remarked on when I told him what a pain in the neck you were."

Hanson calls from Wolf-359, and says the battle does not go well-then communications are abruptly severed. As the repaired Enterprise heads for Wolf-359, Riker tells Data, Worf, and everyone else that he needs them where they are, and somewhat reluctantly makes Shelby his first. The senior crew discuss possibilities: the heavy graviton beam won't do enough, newly destructive Nanites (!!) would take too long to engineer (2-3 weeks), and all the newly adapted phasers (adapted to be random with every shot) will do is slow them down.

Riker arrives in Picard's ready room and asks the empty chair, "What would you do?" Guinan suddenly barges in, saying she's just "used to having the Captain's ear", and reports to Riker: morale is very bad-everyone's expecting to die tomorrow, and only Riker can turn it around. She says that he must do something very difficult: let go of Picard. (When he argues that he tried to kill Picard yesterday, she claims that he was trying to kill "that thing on the Borg ship", not Picard.) She tells him that her relationship with Picard goes beyond friendship and family, and she's prepared to let him go. He must as well-there's only room for one Captain, and he's it.

The Enterprise arrives at Wolf-359, where it finds the fleet-in pieces. Starship wreckage is everywhere, with no life signs anywhere. Shelby (now with three full pips on her uniform, by the way) mentions three dead ships by name: the Tolstoi, the Kyushu-and the Melbourne. They find traces of the Borg's trail and follow. He orders Shelby to prepare to separate the saucer, remarking that he's counting on Picard having been briefed on that tactic, and then tells Data and Worf he has a special mission for them.

Locutus sees the Enterprise approaching on the Borg viewscreen (also cubical, and rotating!), and hears "Captain William T. Riker of the starship Enterprise" hailing. Locutus demands an unconditional surrender, and dismisses Riker's wish to talk terms as a deception, until Riker points out that Picard trusted him implicitly and that he's never lied to Picard. He then simply terms it irrelevant. (The sensors, meanwhile, manage to pinpoint Locutus's position to within 30 meters, but the Borg EM field has been adapted to prevent the main transporter from working.) When Riker asks for time, Locutus says it's not necessary, and threatens them with destruction if they intervene.

Riker says that Locutus had better take his best shot, and all hell breaks loose. Communications are scrambled (code Riker-1), the saucer separates, and the stardrive opens fire. The Borg, ignoring the saucer, try to lock onto the stardrive with the tractor beam. The stardrive evades (with maneuvers Riker-alpha and Riker- beta), and Riker signals Shelby (commanding the saucer) to commence her attack. She does so, launching antimatter charges, which seem to confuse Locutus a bit. Meanwhile, Data and Worf launch their shuttle, cutting their engines when it looks like the power's been sensed, and penetrate the EM field. Once inside the field, they beam in close to Locutus, subdue the few Borg near him, stun him, beam back to the shuttle, leave the Borg field, and are beamed off milliseconds before the Borg destroy the shuttle.

The saucer has sustained impulse damage, and the Borg power back up and leave, heading for Earth again, as the Enterprise reconnects and pursues. Meanwhile, Bev studies Locutus, whose DNA is apparently being rewritten near all the implants. Riker, hoping the Picard/Borg link goes both ways, has Bev wake Locutus, who calls the stratagem ill-advised and futile (saying "Picard never would have approved" of risking all for one man), but says he means no harm, and will simply continue to speak for the Borg as they head for Earth.

Data finds that Locutus is linked into the Borg consciousness via a transporter-like subspace field. It's jammable, but would probably cause Locutus to self-destruct just as the damaged Borg did when they were cut off (the severing being what was done whenever Borg had bits taken off them). Until that link is down, however, Bev cannot "separate the man from the machine." Data then decides to try to access the machine. After Locutus says the Borg merely wish to improve the "quality of life" for all species, and says they will all become one with the Borg (except for Data, who will be obsolete), Bev knocks him out and Data takes him to his (Data's) lab. Meanwhile, Shelby reports that the Borg have entered sector 001, as we see the Borg swing by Saturn.

Planetary defenses are up and functioning, but aren't expected to do much good. Worse yet, the Borg are only 27 minutes away from Earth at current speed, and the Enterprise is at least 42 minutes away from intercept. Meanwhile, Data tries to establish a neural link between himself and Locutus, with Bev checking Picard's vital signs, O'Brien monitoring Data's stats, and Troi scanning for any sign of Picard's consciousness. As the first stage of the 3-stage link is established, no important progress is made (as the Mars perimeter is swept aside with no effort). The second stage is equally unrewarding, but the final link hits the jackpot: as both systems run a little wild, Data links into the Borg consciousness, where he mentions his discoveries: although the Borg have subcommands relative to the three main functions (defense, communication and navigation), they all have root commands. As he's about to go into details, though, Locutus revives, knocks out a security guard, and almost deactivates the link, until Data grapples with him and rips off the tool-portion of his right- hand prosthetic.

Bev picks up increased neural activity, and Deanna finds that, despite no real success on Data's part, Picard's consciousness is starting to revive. The Borg, meanwhile, have stopped (clearly they're paying attention to this), and move to intercept the Enterprise, just as Data and Bev figure out the Achilles heel: they cannot cut the link to Locutus, any more than we could cut off a leg and survive. Riker orders Data to plant a command in the Borg consciousness to disarm, but Data cannot (either to disarm or to power down), as all high-level commands are protected. The Borg lock on to the Enterprise, and weapons do no good.

Riker orders a collision course and warp power, but Data asks him to stand by, as Picard (not Locutus) says "sleep" to Data, who takes it as a suggestion. As Data acts on this, the Borg cutter breaks through the outer hull, and is about to break through the inner...when suddenly, it stops and sits dormant. Worf finds the weapons have powered down, and the EM field is nonexistent. When Riker asks what happened, Data tells him that he put the Borg into regeneration mode-in effect, he put them to sleep.

Worf and Shelby beam over to check, and confirm that, but also find that the malfunction has triggered a self-destruct. Despite Bev's warning that the ship's destruction might be very dangerous to Picard, and Data's thoughts of further study, Riker lets the destruct go on, and they steer clear as the Borg ship goes up in smoke. The destruction shakes Picard up a little, but frees him, and despite the granddaddy of all headaches, he feels "almost human." When Riker asks him how much he remembers, he replies, "Everything-including some brilliantly unorthodox strategy from a former first officer of mine."

Some time later, Picard has been disconnected from all the prosthetics (though his head's still bandaged), and the Enterprise still has 5-6 weeks of repairs due at Earth Station McKinley. The door rings to the ready room, and both Picard and Riker say, "Come." It's Shelby, who's about to leave to take over the task force that's going to rebuild the fleet. When she says that Riker should have his pick of commands, he says "with all due respect, Commander... sir...my career plans are my own business, and no one else's." She leaves, as does Riker. Picard picks up his tea, but stops as he's about to drink, puts the tea down, and stares out his window, as the Enterprise sweeps majestically past Earth.

Highlight Listing:
"The Best of Both Worlds, PT. II" (Season Premiere). Riker must choose between saving Picard and saving humanity when the Borg use the kidnapped captain as part of their plan to destroy Earth.
Advertising Headline:
Note to stations: We have supplied pre-produced ad slicks for this season premiere episode.
TV log listing:
Will Riker allow Picard to die?/Season Premiere! STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
Operation SNAFU
As the Borg Ship is shown warping towards the Saturn, the lighting on the planet is from the right, and the Borg ship arrives on the screen from the right, which would indicate that the ship is coming from the same direction as the sun... kind of a round-about way to get to the Earth, eh? (UV)

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Andrew Tong

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