Date: April 8, 2020
Season 3, Episode 26 and Season 4, Episode 1
Musical Accompaniment: Top Cello Covers of Popular Songs from 2018
Interstellar News: I’m going to treat this as one big episode, resistance to this change is futile. Nothing new happened in the credits for Season 4.
Troi: You mean you’re older, more experienced. A little more… seasoned.
Riker: Seasoned. That’s a horrible thing to say to a man.It’s so much better than her calling you an old man!
Data’s Not Really An Android: “Early bird? I believe Commander Shelby erred. There is no evidence of avifaunal or crawling vermicular lifeforms on Jouret IV.”
Riker: It’s not that simple. This was his crew. He wrote the book on this ship.
Guinan: And the Borg know everything he knows. It’s time to throw that book away. You must let him go, Riker. It’s the only way to beat him. The only way to save him. And that is now you chair, Captain.Guinan uses words instead of physicality to achieve a “Leroy Jethro Gibbs head slap”.
Worf’s One-Two Punch: “The Borg have neither honor nor courage. That is our greatest advantage.”
Quick Summary: The Enterprise investigates an attack on a colony that is on the very outer edge of Federation space, and it turns out to be the Borg (from “Q-Who?“). Commander Shelby beams aboard as she’s been leading up the task force on the Borg threat and she’s the most Slytherin of them all, gunning for Riker’s First Officer spot, thinking he will take commission of the Melbourne soon. The music gets super dramatic as the Enterprise goes off to intercept the Borg when Picard is singled out by name, and captured, in order to be the Borg’s ambassador to Earth, where the cube is heading. An away team beams over to the Borg cube in order to try to save Picard and knock them out of warp for a while, as the Enterprise cannot keep up. The team disables the ship for a bit, but Picard is found to have been altered and assimilated, and Riker is forced to fire on the cube.
Picard is now “Locutus of the Borg”, Riker is promoted to Captain, Shelby is made First Officer, and Starfleet is heading to intercept the Borg cube with 40 ships, because Riker did absolutely no damage to the cube. The Enterprise arrives at the battlefield later due to its repairs and it’s devastating, there are no signs of life. Riker hails the Borg cube to meet and “discuss terms of surrender” but Locutus does not believe him, so Riker separates the saucer section and sends Worf and Data in a shuttle craft so they can get onto the Borg ship and rescue Picard, which they are able to do. Dr. Crusher cannot figure out how to separate the man from the machine, but Data thinks he knows a way and hooks up their brains. Just as Data is about to explain who or what the root of all Borg is, Picard wakes up. As Riker is getting ready to slam the Enterprise into the Borg cube in the hopes of destroying it before it hits Earth, Data figures out a way to hack in and put the Borg to sleep via a regeneration cycle. Riker allows the Borg ship to self destruct and Picard is free from the influence of the Borg, for now.
My Thoughts and Impressions: Before I share my thoughts, I have to share a quick story. When I first started dating my now husband, he was shocked I had never seen Supernatural… so we started watching it. We would watch an episode or two at his apartment and then I would head to my house. I had no idea how long the season was or where we were in the season (we were watching on DVDs because the music is better, supposedly) so I said “one more episode and I’ve got to go home”. Well it was episode 22, the season 1 finale, and boy howdy is it a cliffhanger. While my jaw was still on the floor, he got up and turned off his Xbox and the TV and started to gather my things. I stared at him in disbelief that he thought I could just go home and not watch the season 2 premiere. It was late and I had to go, but it was the most evil thing he’s ever done to me in his life.
I tell you that story to tell you this one… he warned me about this set of episodes once he saw I was getting near the end of this season. Another dear friend also explained I would want to watch them back-to-back and that it was awful having to wait months for the conclusion episode back in the 1990’s. So I knew something was coming, but I didn’t realize it would be the Borg or that there would be the cliffhangiest of cliffhangers. I am so grateful that I had some warning about this and that I could just watch the next episode, because I think I would have exploded if I had to wait for the ending of the episode.
Right, my thoughts. Well, here they are. Part 1 was amazing and I was on the edge of my seat the entire episode. Part 2 was okay, but I think because it was so hard to top the perfection of Part 1. You have to come to a resolution and Riker is tricksy and ballsy, you have to give him some credit. I wasn’t fond of how Riker kept giving “side eye” to whoever was in the room after he finished telling Shelby off in Part 1. It read very much like he was telling the other men in the room “can you believe this bitch?”, but I was happy how their relationship changed by necessity and he was able to put his personal feelings aside because she was the right person for the job. As soon as Part 1 ended, the first words out of my mouth were “Boy, is Picard going to have a hell of a case of PTSD” because the counselor in me never sleeps.
Even with a year’s worth of preparation Starfleet is not at all prepared for the Borg and it takes Data and Picard working together to get something that stops them, but only for a moment. And let’s be honest, it’s all Q’s fault – that bastard, for even putting the Federation on the Borg’s radar. Where was he in all this? Now the Borg see themselves as a benevolent species just wanting to improve the quality of life, and it’s very much like Loki in The Avengers when he tells the people gathering around them he wants to free them from the burden of choice.
Also, as someone with a background in computer programming I was surprised at how much of what Data said made sense when he was babbling about the Borg and how they are interconnected. Of course there’s a root and parents and children, heck I still teach about this in college. Overall I was fine with how they concluded the episode, but it was a little too neat and clean. We see how Riker is ready for the captain’s chair, how Wesley is still super green but understands what it means to wear the uniform, how La Forge tries to be a miracle worker but really can only do so much, and how Worf tries so damn hard to be the best he can be. Part 1 is a perfect 10 and Part 2 left a little something to be desired, so it’s no higher than a 7.5.