The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Best of Both Worlds

The relentless and implacable force that is the Borg has set their sights on the Federation – and Starfleet has yet to find an effective defence. The Enterprise volunteers to be the first line of defence, but this may be just what the Borg want – as their first goal is to assimilate Captain Picard.

Although I had considered blogging this in two parts in order to discuss the cliffhanger, we actually ended up watching the full length blu-ray version. The Best of Both Worlds is acclaimed for being That Borg Story, not to mention the two-parter that laid the groundwork for the best film ever, Star Trek First Contact. But none of that tells you what I think of it.

Well, the good news is that, while it’s no First Contact, I like it. In the TNG days, the Borg are still an impressive and scary enemy, a foe who keeps on coming no matter how much you shoot at it – and in fact, the more you fight it, the better it gets at countering you. Worse yet, Captain Picard, the heart and soul of the Enterprise-D, is not only captured, but turned against the very Federation that he dedicates his life to protecting. These days, reintegrating Picard into humanity would be a season-long ongoing arc, but as it is, we’ll only get one follow-up episode to explore his emotional state.

The best of both seasons

  • Riker is offered a third shot at commanding his own starship, and again refuses in favour of remaining a main character on board the Enterprise. As it turns out, the ship he was offered gets destroyed at Wolf 359 anyway, so a lucky escape there.
  • This episode features Borg tactical specialist Commander Shelby, an ambitious young woman with designs on Riker’s job. Shelby would later feature heavily in the Star Trek New Frontier series of novels.
  • Even though there are a thousand people aboard the Enterprise, all the battle preparations are led by the handful of named characters we know. Shelby, Geordi and Wesley essentially do all the work themselves – not even top-level supervision of engineering teams, but actual getting their hands dirty doing modifications. I know some of those thousand people are civilians, but why isn’t every Starfleet officer on board helping out? This is an emergency situation here, there’s no time to be off duty or messing about on the holodeck!
  • It’s just as well that the Borg didn’t do anything permanent to Picard, like remove his cock in favour of a giant mechanical dildo.
  • Admiral Hanson says that the Enterprise’s encounter with the Borg in Q Who was 7000 light-years away. As we’ll later find out, the Borg can travel more swiftly than Federation ships by using transwarp corridors. Also, the ship attacking colonies along the Neutral Zone all the way back at the end of season one was meant to be a Borg ship, so it wasn’t even their first foray into Federation space (we’ll discount anyway mention of the events of Enterprise for now).
  • Dr Crusher is given a phaser and sent on an away mission – this might seem an odd thing for a medical officer to do, but given that she’s had bridge officer training and might have needed her medical expertise to rescue Picard, it’s not completely out of the question.
  • Having realised that the Borg have adapted to their normal phaser frequencies, Data has the frequencies of all phasers changed – to the same alternative frequency. It’s not until later on that the crew realise that the Borg will swiftly adapt to this new frequency, and so the phasers need to all be on different frequencies. Silly Data.
  • Troi is put in charge of evacuating the stardrive section. She’s ship’s counsellor – is there no one else with evacuation responsibilities? Does she have to do all the admin and people stuff because she’s a woman?
  • As we’ll find out in the pilot episode of DS9, Sisko’s wife Jennifer dies during the Battle of Wolf 359.

Summary – The Best of Both Worlds: “I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile.”

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