|Index||5 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ST:TNG:152 - "Descent, Part I" (Stardate: 46982.1) - this is the 26th
and last episode of the 6th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
In this beginning of a 2-part episode, the Enterprise responds to a distress call from Ohniaka III, where the Enterprise confronts an ominous-looking alien vessel orbiting the planet. An Away Team to the planet though discover a group of Borg that are hostile but self-aware (calling themselves "I" not "we") - at the same time Data begins to experience emotions for the first time ever (more specifically rage).
Soon one of the Borg is captured while the Federation prepares for an invasion by the Borg again (lead by Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev - played again by Natalia Nogulich). And this Borg convinces Data to yearn for more emotions and that may lead to the betrayal of his crewmates.
What really is going on? What the Enterprise crew finds leads them to familiar figures from their past, with Dr. Crusher in command!
Trivia note: Data plays poker on the Holodeck with Isaac Newton (played by John Neville), Albert Einstein (played again by Jim Norton whom we last saw in "The Nth Degree"), and the real-life Stephen Hawking. Nechayev also questions what Picard did with Hugh in "I, Borg". Data also reveals that you need 2 senior officers to disable the Holodeck safety protocol. And, Picard mentions he was Locutus of Borg again.
The Enterprise is attacked by surprise by the Borg. However, the type
of attack and the Borg ship are very, very different from past
encounters. Their ship is NOT a cube and they show more initiative, the
Borg seem angry and their attack is quite different than previous Borg
attacks. Could the Enterprise's recent contact with 'Hugh' end up
strengthening the Borg and making them better when it comes to
Another plot in this one involves Data. During the attack, he smashes a Borg attacker to bits and realizes that, for the first time, he feels emotion--anger at the attacker. Later when he tries to replicate the attack in the holodeck and review his thoughts, he realizes that he also felt another feeling...pleasure! While all of this is normal in the circumstances, Data is puzzled. And, things get REAL puzzling when Borg meets one of the Borg and they run amok together. This is a two-part episode and you'll need to watch the next one to see how all this works out in the end.
I like this one mostly because of WHO is behind everything. This guy is a real jerk--and an enjoyable jerk he is!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode and it's sequel have been unfairly panned as "The
Destruction of The Borg" - In fact, this episode is a sequel to "I,
Borg" and also "Brothers". It was logical to pursue the stories of a
Borg named Hugh, and what had become of Lore after he swiped the
emotion-ship made for Data by Dr. Soong. We just never expected the two
to be intertwined in this season 6 cliffhanger and season 7 opener.
But this episode has one of best teasers of Next Generation: As Data plays cards with Sir Isaac Newton (The great John Neville), Dr Albert Einstein (a totally uncredited performance and reprise by Jim Norton, he had played Einstein across from "Broccoli" in "The Nth Degree"), and the great Stephen Hawking as himself, who you could tell was having so much fun, and even looked at the huge bucket of a Warp Drive after doing this "cameo" and stating famously "I'm Working on That".
The Borg in these episodes must be in fact the remnants of the Cube which Hugh had returned to. As we see, it is no longer a "Cube"- The Enterprise is confronted by a ship of huge proportions and ghastly, nightmarish design. But as we see here, it is still effective in being a threat to The Enterprise and The Federation by default. And something else - The Borg have a way to traverse galactic distances by what is called a "Trans-warp Conduit" - Explaining how the original Borg Cube which the Enterprise came into contact with 7,000 light-years away could show up at the Federation's Doorstep so quickly. But we also know they had been tooling around in the Romulan Neutral Zone, per season 1's "The Neutral Zone"
And so we see two things happening: The Borg are now acting more like Klingons, and they are naming themselves, and even taking vengeance for personal injury, and using battle tactics the Federation or even the Cardassians or Klingons would have used. And the second thing: Data has become angry, and when he kills a Borg with his bare hands even finds pleasure in the act of Murder.
But the entire confrontation was a setup from the start, to get The Enterprise and Data in particular involved. Why? A Borg named "Crosus" (Brian Cousins) ignores "Locutus" and takes special interest in Data- And pressing a button on his arm, is able to affect Data - Apparently with Emotions.
So it was no surprise to find that Lore was behind this somehow, what was Hugh Borg's involvement? Because we KNOW that he had something to do with this as well.
And so as Away Teams beam down to the surface of some Borg-Infested Planet, it's "Doctor's Orders" as Beverly Crusher is left on the Bridge to command The Enterprise. This was one of my main interests in this episode, and also the gorgeous Ensign Taitt who shows up in the conclusion.
The ending of the season with a narrative hook. Something is going on as Data experiences the emotion of anger, killing a Borg in an encounter and "enjoying it." Things progress when a group of Borg, acting outside the collective, board the ship. Upon a return to the planet, it is discovered that Data now is in a position of authority and his brother, Lore, is in command. The expression, "You just don't understand," is used over and over. Data is fixated on experiences more emotions and Lore has him where he wants him. The sociopathic android has not the least respect for anything but his own power and this episode leaves us with our guessing what will happen to the Enterprise and how the Borg issue will play out.
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