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DESCENT, part two / episode #1 of 7th season / Air Date: 9/20/93
written by René Echevarria; Directed by Alexander Singer
This continues from the cliffhanger ending of the first part of DESCENT, where-in we learned that this aberrant faction of the Borg is led by none other than Lore (also Brent Spiner, last seen in BROTHERS), the look-a-like android to Data. Lore has been sending signals into Data's computer brain to subvert him, so Data now behaves in a very similar fashion to Lore, joining him in his goal to take over the Federation or some such grand plan. Hugh (Jonathan del Arco, from I BORG), the 'lost boy Borg' & once-and-future friend to La Forge finally shows up and explains that his return to the collective did indeed affect the Borg.
Apparently, Hugh's influence spread to the collective like a virus; the simple, streamlined patterns of thought whch governed the Borg turned into messy chaotic thinking; Borg no longer thought alike and even in-fighting broke out. Lore came along and offered the Borg his own focus and leadership. The Borg jumped at the chance. But, Lore proved to be a faithless leader, experimenting on Borg which resulted in a kind of lobotomy for many of them. Hugh is now part of yet another new Borg faction which has deserted Lore.
This episode obviously took some of the more popular concepts/threats of the TNG series, like the Borg & Lore, and sought to combine them into ever-more thrilling directions. The thinking is simple: take the best of TNG and combine for presumably double the thrills and excitement. The strategy can't help but result in some entertaining TNG developments, but it falls far short of expectations. Obviously, this episode does not involve all the Borg, just a small section; so, how far did Hugh's influence go? One ship? We dunno. In any case, the developments here served only to degrade the Borg from their status as ultimate TNG villains to pathetic miscreants. They even blow a chance to show a scene of Hugh & La Forge reacquainting.
Likewise, Lore's intense plans fall apart for no real reason except that he starts to become sloppy and careless; his control over Data starts to waver for some reason and, at one point, Lore is ready to destroy his 'brother,' thereby sabotaging his own plans already at this early stage. Lore had already alienated much of his Borg allies so, by the 3rd act, it looked like he was doomed to failure
a while ago. One interesting deviation in this episode is that Crusher was left in command of the Enterprise-D for most of the story. She and some novice crew prove to be about as effective against a Borg ship as the regular crew. BoG's Score: 6 out of 10
TNG Trivia: much of the plot here hinged on an emotion chip that Data finally removes from Lore; this would be followed up on in the first TNG movie, Generations, though Data states at the end of this episode that the chip had been damaged.
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