Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 6, Episode 26

Descent: Part 1 (19 Jun. 1993)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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After an encounter with the Borg, Data feels his first emotion when he gets angry with the Borg. Data then tries to find ways to recreate the situation in order to feel emotions again, ... See full summary »



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Title: Descent: Part 1 (19 Jun 1993)

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Episode cast overview:
Crosis (as Brian J. Cousins)
Stephen Hawking (as Professor Stephen Hawking)
Stephen James Carver ...


After an encounter with the Borg, Data feels his first emotion when he gets angry with the Borg. Data then tries to find ways to recreate the situation in order to feel emotions again, whilst the Enterprise investigates the Borg activity, and are bewildered as to why they feel emotions too. Written by The_Sandheaver

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

19 June 1993 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Borg building is the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Its more famous for playing the Command Centre in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993). See more »


After it is learned that Data and the Borg have escaped the brig and taken the shuttle without authorization, no one is sent to the brig to check on the guard that was there. See more »


[first lines]
Prof. Stephen Hawking: ...But then I said, "In that frame of reference, the perihelion of Mercury would have recessed in the opposite direction."
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: Voyager: Scorpion: Part 2 (1997) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Marred by poor writing
31 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is really a very poorly written episode. There are gaps in logic small and large which mar an otherwise decent story.

Let's start with the small stuff:

o Picard is put in command of a squadron of three starships. But except for one brief mention of notifying the other two ships about a false alarm, we never see nor hear from or about the other two ships. Why did they even bother putting that in the script?

o The Enterprise gets fired on by the Borg, then gets all damaged going through the space-subway-tunnel-thingy, Worf announces that the shields are down to some dangerously low level... but then a short time later, the ship is just fine, all that damage is just forgotten.

o Data leaves in the shuttle, and the Enterprise is a mere minute or two behind him. After they go through the space-subway-tunnel-thingy, it takes them another couple of minutes to find the shuttle. But when they actually land on the planet, they assess that the shuttle had been sitting there for three hours. How could Data have gotten there three hours ahead of them, when they were only about 5 minutes behind him? Huh?

o They find the shuttle in the middle of nowhere, cumbersomely distant from the actual building they eventually find Data and Lor in. Why on earth did they decide to park the shuttle *there* and walk all that way to the building? Huh?

OK, enough with the small change, let's move on to the Big Flaw. The big, fat, ridiculous flaw. The one that really drops the episode down to stinker level: the absolutely preposterous, ridiculously contrived way that Dr. Crusher ends up in command of the Enterprise.

They've traced Data to this planet, and conveniently can't scan the planet and have to go searching for Data on foot. So Picard orders down search parties. OK. But not just regular search parties, he's going to send practically *everyone* down to the planet, and leave just a skeletal crew on board. Let's say that again: in essentially a time of war, he's going to leave the flagship of the fleet with just a skeleton crew. Including virtually all the officers.

But even that is not enough, he *personally* is going to go down to the planet on the search. Huh? WHY???? What's so special about him that *he* needs to be on a simple search party mission? When he's *clearly* needed on the ship? He has sent himself and at least the next four people in the chain of command down on a simple search mission, leaving him to leave in command of the Federation's flagship... the ship's *doctor*???? Double Huh???? Why didn't he just send the doctor on the search mission instead? And how is it that, for the first time ever, Riker doesn't object? Not even a little bit?

And remember, it's not just his own ship he's abandoning, *he's still supposed to be in charge of the three ship squadron!* He's utterly abandoned *that* responsibility! What happens when one of those other ships calls in with something critical? What, *Crusher* is going to make a fleet-level command decision???? And all of this, this incredible risking of both his own ship and the Federation's very security is for the priority-taking reason of... locating and retrieving one lone officer???

OK, let's put this in perspective. Imagine that during the gulf war, the second officer of a U.S. aircraft carrier flew off in a plane during time of war, and went and landed on an island somewhere. The carrier tracks the plane to the island, and starts sending out landing parties to the island to find this guy. Now imagine that the captain of the aircraft carrier orders *everybody* except a skeleton crew, including all the top officers, to join the landing parties looking for the second officer. And then he himself also leaves the ship to join the search, and leaves the ship's chief medical officer, with no actual command experience, in command. Which means a United States aircraft carrier is basically just floating helplessly there off the shore of the island. Can you fathom that actually happening? Can you *imagine* what the court-martial trial would be like? Do you think that that captain would ever be permitted anywhere near a naval ship ever again?

And yet this is what we're supposed to swallow.

Oh! And just as an extra bonus stupidity: when Picard gets to the planet and leads his four-man scouting team, one of the members is *Geordi*. Geordi. One of the highest ranking officers on the ship. Why wasn't Geordi leading his own team???? Or better, why wasn't Picard sitting on the bridge, with Beverly in Georgi's team?

The answer, of course, is that a) they wanted to contrive a way for Beverly to be in command, and b) they wanted to contrive a way that when one of the search parties just happened to stumble onto Lor's hideout, that all the cool central characters would be there. Laudible aims, perhaps, but the laziest, sloppiest, poorest thinking went into achieving those aims.

This really represents some kind of nadir for the series.

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