2: The Best of Both Worlds (3.26, 4.01)

Synopsis: Riker hangs all of us on the Borg’s precipitous cliff.

Memory Alpha Summary: I am Locutus of Borg.  Resistance is futile.  Your life as it has been, is over.  From this time forward you will service…us.

Review:  “Mr. Worf….fire,” might be the greatest cliffhanger in TV history, though to be fair, I never watched Dallas.  I was ten years old when this episode aired and I remember it like it was yesterday.  The climactic music.  The banging drums.  Shelby’s stare.  Riker’s order.  Then “To Be Continued…”   I was so pissed, but in a good way, and I’ve never eagerly awaited an episode of TV in my life.  Many view the second half of the episode as a let down, but I felt it was tied up really damn well considering they had no idea how they were going to finish it when the first half was written.  Shelby’s a less slutty version of Riker that I wish would have made some future appearances.  She really adds to this episode.  So does Admiral Hansen, really, and it’s nice to see someone in Starfleet Command who actually thinks Picard is awesome.

Can’t find much to criticize here.  If anything, it’s perplexing that Picard isn’t present at the meeting the senior staff has while they’re inside the nebula.  I can never remember him skipping a strategy meeting before, and it seems like it’s there just so Riker and Shelby can have their standoff.   My biggest gripe is that in part one, they try to rescue Picard but a force field around Locutus prevents them.  In part two, the force field is suddenly gone.  Um…why?  Even one sentence of technobabble would have been preferable to leaving it alone.

Also, the poker game is a bit off.  When Wes bets with three jacks, Shelby calls.  Shelby knows she can’t beat him (with two pair), so the only way she can win is if Riker raises and knocks Wesley out.  Granted, Riker raising is commonplace, but if he folds or calls, she loses.  A huge raise was her best bet, especially if she was going to call Riker no matter what.

O’Brien has a lot of screen time, which automatically makes the episode better.

Love the look on Wesley’s face when Riker orders a collision course with the Borg ship.  Also like how he magically doesn’t have any answers to stop the Borg.

I can’t ignore how awesome the music is in this episode.  Just listening to it is chilling, as the trumpets and drums really set the tone for each tense scene.  The scene where the Enterprise comes across Wolf 359 is epic, and no action shots could have done it justice.  A lot of money was poured into this episode, and it likely helped keep the show on the air four more seasons.

9 thoughts on “2: The Best of Both Worlds (3.26, 4.01)”

  1. I remember watching this one last year and feeling like a little kid all over again. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end when Riker said ‘fire’, just the way they did the first time.

    As far as whole package goes, this episode brings it, and is probably unmatched. I agree with you regarding the second half, btw. No letdown for me at all. It maintains the tension all the way to the end.

  2. I felt it was tied up really damn well considering they had no idea how they were going to finish it when the first half was written.

    Eeg. Big writing no-no here. It’s never a safe idea to start writing something you don’t know how to finish – particularly if you actually have to shoot and air the first half. These things often end in tears.

    However, it sounds like they didn’t this time. Well, I suppose when you give yourself several months to write the thing, you ought to find some way to put it together.

    1. the writer, Michael Piller, had only signed a one-year contract and thought he wouldn’t be back the following season; thus, the ending wouldn’t be his problem. Then he signed another contract and had to figure it out for himself.

  3. I like “Inner Light” better, but it’s apples/oranges. I had “I am Locutus…of Borg” as my new mail sound for a while at work.

    Q: What does Jean Luc Picard use to handle his email?
    A: Locutus Notes

  4. I introduced some of my siblings to TNG over the Thanksgiving weekend. One of them wanted “action not on a ship” so I went with “Arsenal of Freedom.” Then I got to pick, and I picked this one. We ended with the cliff-hanger when they had to go to bed, and their reactions were perfect. They’re hooked.

    I watched the conclusion last night (a day later). After doing so, I disagree with your assessment here. The first half was brilliant. The second half was “meh.” I was really disappointed with about the first 2/3rds of the second half. I specifically noticed that the acting just wasn’t up to snuff, compared to the first half. Frakes, specifically, just wasn’t as sharp. It made a huge difference.

    Anyway, I’d rank it top 10 still, all told. That first half is brilliant, and ending of the 2nd half is excellent too.

    1. When I got my wife hooked on the show, I was hesitant to show her this episode without first introducing her to Q Who. But to do that, we had to watch Encounter at Farpoint, which is terrible. Thankfully, I got her hooked on Cause and Effect and The Inner Light so I had time to introduce the rest.

      1. Heh. I had that debate with my Mom, whose disks we were borrowing. She said I had to show ’em Q Who and Encounter at Farpoint first. I disagreed. I think it worked out.

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