This marks the beginning of the end for Star Trek the Next Generation. For 152 episodes and 7 years this series ran on television launching what would become a massive resurgence of Star Trek as never seen before or since. This, the start of the final season, begins with the second half of one of the most remembered cliffhangers of the series, second only to The Best of Both Worlds. So, without further adieu, originally airing on September 20,1993 this is Descent Part II.
Thank you for journeying with me so far, trust me, we have a lot more to cover!
Stardate 47025.4 Descent Part II
Picard, Troi and Laforge are captured by Lore and his army of Borg. With Data compromised by his brother, it appears that all is lost.
and now the conclusion…
Lore reveals that he stumbled across the Borg that were infected by Hugh and decided to give them a purpose. His intent is to take over the Federation and end the reign of Biological lifeforms.
With Doctor Crusher in command of the Enterprise with only a skeleton crew, she manages to keep things running. Soon the Borg ship arrives and Beverly pulls much of the away team back before the Borg attack. Riker and Worf stay behind to find Picard and his team. As they are being attacked, Beverly is forced to leave 47 members of the crew behind on the planet to get the ship and crew back to Federation space. Now abandoned on the planet, Riker must find a way to rescue their missing crew-members and survive.
Data takes his friends com badges and Geordi’s VISOR, stating that he is no longer their puppet. Data takes the VISOR to Lore where he learns that Lore plans to experiment on La Forge despite his past failures in his experimentation on the Borg. La Forge believes that Lore is controlling Data through a carrier wave that allows Lore to transmit signals to Data. They determine that, if they can transmit a Kedion pulse, they may be able to reset Data’s ethical subroutines. Before they are able to act on it, La Forge is taken away by Data.
Meanwhile on the surface, Riker and his team are captured by a group of Borg who are being led by Hugh. It appears that Hugh is attempting to lead a revolution against Lore. Hugh explains how Lore took over the Borg, it appears that Lore arrived just as the Borg began to fall apart with their new found individuality. Hugh agrees to help them find a way into Lore’s compound, when he finds out that his friend, Geordi, has been captured.
Data begins to work on La Forge and explains that they will destroy Geordi’s cognitive functions and replace his brain with a neural net. Although it may kill Geordi, Data does not seem to care. As Data is working on La Forge, Picard and Troi try to escape, only to be caught by Data returning La Forge to his cell. Picard manages to palm a piece of one of the Borg and their plan to reset Data is well underway.
Crusher returns to the planet to rescue the remaining crew and manages to beam back everyone but Worf, Riker, Data, Picard , Troi and La Forge. The Borg ship attacks and damages the warp engines. Crusher decides to use the Metaphasic Shielding (from the episode Suspicions) and flies the Enterprise into a nearby sun. The Borg ship follows but does not pursue them into the star. On the recommendation of one of the Ensigns, they manage to destroy the Borg vessel using the sun to create a solar eruption.
Picard activates the signal and hopes for the best. As Data experiments on Geordi he suddenly stops and indicates that he needs more time to determine some anomalies he has detected. After leaving, Data confronts Lore about the experiments and it soon becomes clear that Lore is controlling Data by using emotions as a drug. After their encounter, Lore isn’t sure about the loyalty of his brother any longer.
Data takes Picard from his cell and they are intercepted by Lore who asks Data to kill Picard. Just when it looks like he will, Data refuses to comply leading Lore to announce that he will kill Data. Just as Lore is about to do the deed, Hugh saves Data leading Riker and Worf to join in the fight to save their friends. Lore slips away and Data follows behind. Data finds Lore attempting to escape and Data ends up incapacitating Lore and shuts him down…permanently.
As the Enterprise returns to Federation space Data discusses the emotion chip with La Forge. It appears that the chip has been damaged beyond repair when Data killed Lore but he had it removed from Lore’s body before Lore was dismantled. Just as Data is about to destroy the chip, La Gorge stops him, indicating that one day, Data may be ready for what the chip has for him.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a terrific start to the final season of Star Trek The Next Generation. We get everything in this one, intrigue, action, suspense and even emotion. Bringing back an event that transpired three seasons prior, we finally get to find out what happened to Lore and his theft of the emotion chip that was intended for Data. Not only that, but this episode also managed to combine two of the best story-lines from the series with the stories of Hugh and Lore wrapping up in one fantastic premiere.
To start off with, Brent Spiner was fantastic through and through. His portrayal as Lore has never left us wanting and to see Data get his first genuine encounter with emotions was truly…frightening. Yes, Lore was only feeding him anger and joy, a frightful combination, but to see Data transform into a malevolent android was truly intense. We even got a sense of regret in the end when he was attempting to make amends with Geordi for torturing him. I mean, it wasn’t entirely Data’s fault, was it?
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Although Hugh remains behind to lead the wayward Borg knowing that he can not return to the collective we never see nor hear from him again.
We see the emotion chip again, but for some reason it changes size and shape pretty drastically.
This episode marks the last time we ever see Lore.
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Late To The Game 8/2/2020 (Originally published 12/19/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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