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Recap / Star Trek The Next Generation S 6 E 24 S 7 E 1 Descent

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Now here's a scary Villain Team-Up: Lore leading the Borg.
Two-part, season-ending-and-beginning sequel to the fifth season episode "I, Borg." Hugh is an abandoned Borg drone rescued from an icy planet. An opportunity to destroy the collective from within is passed up in favor of Hugh's emerging individuality; he is returned to the collective and re-assimilated. Or was he?

Part I:

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Data engages in a spirited game of poker, but not with his crewmates this time. Instead he plays with three geniuses from different eras of history, who each had a hand in humanity's advances with space exploration. Sir Isaac Newton, who came up with the theory of universal gravity; Albert Einstein, who came up with the modern theory of relativity; and Stephen Hawking, pioneer of quantum physics near black holes, are his holographic opponents. Sir Isaac seems a little full of himself, as he recounts the tale of the apple falling on his head as the most momentous day in the history of science. Data cannot help but point out the tale is apocryphal, to which Newton takes great offense. Einstein tries to return the group to the game, but math is apparently not his strong suit. Upon Newton's complaints about the uselessness of the game, Data replies that he was curious as to how three of history's greatest minds would interact in this setting. So far, he notes, it has proved to be "most illuminating." Einstein believes that Hawking is bluffing, but ever with the consummate poker face, Hawking comes out with four-of-a-kind sevens, as well as a bright smile. Just then, Red Alert is sounded. Data saves and ends the program and reports to the bridge.

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The strategically unimportant outpost at Ohniaka III is under attack. Orbiting the planet is an unknown ship that is not responding. It could be another victim, or the attackers; there is too much interference to tell. Riker summons Worf and Data to head down to the outpost to check if there are any survivors.

Beaming down with more security personnel, the two start a room-to-room search while stepping through numerous bodies slumped on consoles or sprawled on the ground, killed with a "forced plasma beam" (perhaps named such to oppose the PHASEd energy Rectification?) which, while used by the Ferengi, seems too brutal an attack for them. Data bypasses a door and opens it to reveal a Borg drone...with ranged weapons.

Riker dives just in time to avoid another group of forced plasma bolts, while Data, seemingly unseen by the Borg, puts it down with a phaser shot to the gut. Three more drones step out from a corner and TAKE COVER as they continue to fire their integral weapons. Suddenly, the unknown ship attacks the Enterprise with very strong Beam Spam. Data takes a few melee hits from a drone, but wrangles him down with his android strength. The Enterprise crew are confused, but what's even more strange is when a drone EXPRESSES RAGE over the death of a fellow drone.

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Riker stares nonplussed as the drone stays crouched behind his cover and tactically analyzes his opponents, while the second remaining drone makes the Red Shirt (of a different color) live up to her name. Worf takes one drone down, while yet another engages Data in hand-to-hand combat. They grapple, but Data flies into a rage as he orders the drone to stop repeatedly. Data finally shouts as he strangles the drone to death, throws it against the wall with all his might, and examines its dead face callously.

The covering drone notices the android at his bloody work and analyzes him, saying his rank and name, much to Riker's alarm. Riker asks how this drone could possibly know Data's identity. Moreover, he asks, how are they not mindless automatons? And for that matter, Data snapped. The remaining drone gets up and is beamed away along with the corpses of his compatriots, and the ship moves off.

Back on the Enterprise, Picard fires some torpedoes but is unable to hit the ship, as it vanishes with a curious effect. Frustrated, Picard orders the Enterprise to return to the planet to pick up his team.

Riker and Worf slowly approach Data, who can only offer this as explanation for his actions: "I got angry." Picard notes in his log that Data is understandably disturbed by his actions and sudden emotional display at the outpost and asks to be relieved of duty, but this means his incredible mind cannot be put to use explaining the ALLCAPS behavior of the Borg.

Riker makes a somewhat racist comparison to Klingons in how the Borg acted, but Worf sincerely takes no offense at it; he saw the behavior too and agrees with Riker's assessment. Riker and Worf also discuss the fact that a Borg referred to itself as 'I' and showed concern for a fallen comrade, calling him by name. Troi points out that the only Borg who ever HAD a name instead of a quantifying designation was Hugh, because they gave it to him. Crusher gives some blatantly obvious Foreshadowing, while Picard raises the question of the Borg they just encountered showing any interest in assimilation, but he concludes that, obviously, they were there to kill, and with extreme prejudice, an important distinction from the Borg they had repeatedly encountered previously, who would consider that wasteful. Picard surmises that if the Borg have a new objective other than acquiring cultures and technology, they and the Federation must know what it is. He issues orders to that end.

Running an analysis on Data in engineering, Geordi can find nothing 'physically' wrong with him. They have an existential discussion on the nature of emotion. Geordi offers several examples of how he feels when he's angry, but finds it very difficult to do so without referencing another emotion. Geordi expresses the very justifiable concern that if this is truly an emotion that Data is feeling, then it would certainly be bad if anger was the only one he could feel...

Starfleet Admiral Nechayev, the one who attached Captain Edward Jellico to the Enterprise when Picard was captured by the Cardassians, has returned. She now heads a task force preparing for a Borg invasion, and assigns the Enterprise to a group along with two other ships. Nechayev takes Picard to task for letting Hugh go, and despite him explaining the need to respect Hugh's rights as an individual, orders him to take advantage of his next opportunity to destroy the Borg. He stiffly responds in the affirmative, and Nechayev, apparently satisfied, walks out.

Data is in a counseling session with Troi, and explains that he's tried to evoke an emotional response, even sexual arousal (a date with pale golden palms?), to no avail. Data, however, is ignoring the emotion that actually happened to him, anger, being afraid (well, as afraid as an android can be) of its negativity. But Troi points out that emotions aren't positive or negative in and of themselves; rather, it is what we do with those feelings that matters. Data reiterates Geordi's concern that anger and hatred may be the only emotions he is capable of, to which Troi replies that she doesn't believe Data would become a bad human, if he ever approaches humanity. But then Data reveals his own Fridge Horror. When he fought the Borg, he experienced another sensation: pleasure. To this Troi has no response, but only looks on, faintly disturbed.

Riker gets in full Red Alert mode, ordering the Enterprise to the New Berlin colony at maximum warp, only to find it was a false alarm, the third one today. Picard, annoyed, orders another copy of the ship recognition protocols to be sent along with the acknowledgment.

Picard studies sickbay security footage (actually a lightly edited clip from "I, Borg,") in which Crusher and Geordi realize that Hugh is a great name for the drone because of its similarity to the word "you". Riker comes in with Geordi's report on how the Borg ship escaped the Enterprise's pursuit back at Ohniaka III; an artificially created energy conduit could be anything, which provokes Picard to snap at Riker that he needs answers immediately. Riker delivers a rare Death Glare, apparently not used to being talked to like this from his friend. Picard expresses his guilt, after what Nechayev said. Hugh was in the ready room; Picard had the perfect opportunity to wipe out the most deadly adversary the Federation had ever known; he had the perfect reason and motive, but when he saw and got to know Hugh, he hesitated, and eventually relented against his foe, because Hugh showed such humanity. Riker says it was the moral thing to do, to which Picard points out that it was not the right thing to do.

Geordi comes upon Data in the holodeck with a Borg, trying to duplicate his emotional outburst (complete with characteristically flaccid orders of "stop"), but Data finds it impossible, despite the difficulty level of the simulation. Data even wants to disable the safety protocols, thinking that it was his being in mortal danger that triggered the response, but Geordi refuses to give his authorization, reasoning that he's not willing to risk his friend and colleague on a theory that may prove to be wrong. Data nearly concedes his point, and if Geordi had gone ahead and given his authorization, Data might have been killed by a hologram for nothing. Before the argument gets too deep, however, another Red Alert sounds.

This time, the MS 1 Colony is under attack, and Picard lampshades the Contrived Coincidence that the Enterprise has been the nearest ship to both Borg attacks so far. This time, the crew wants to be ready, but it seems as though the attack is over, and the Borg ship starts generating the subspace distortions it used to escape last time. The Enterprise gives chase, and is pulled inside the distortion. A brilliant, bright blue corridor greets the Enterprise crew, so bright the whole bridge is lit up.

The Enterprise drops out of the corridor into normal space, but the crew does not know where they are. What they do know is that the Borg are aware the Enterprise tagged along, and are closing in for the kill. They fire a green bolt at the Enterprise, and two drones immediately beam onto the bridge. They kill another red shirt before Worf takes them both down, but the Borg ship abandons them. This is another new tactic, though a diversionary one; the Borg usually don't abandon their dead without vaporizing them. But one drone is still alive.

In a holding cell, Crusher stabilizes the drone and awakens him to his protests; she and Worf get out before he wakes up completely. Picard asks what his designation is; he doesn't have one, but he has a name: Crosis, given to him by "the One", a being prophesied to destroy the Federation. Picard is unused to this new individuality and destructive nature exhibited by the Borg, and inquires further about the One, even as Crosis attempts to breach the force field to no avail. Crosis ignores Picard's questions, and instead rattles off the most efficient ways to kill the two species he sees before him. Picard takes another approach, once again assuming the role of Locutus as he did with Hugh and ordering the drone to answer him; Crosis No Sells. Picard orders Crusher to do an autopsy on the killed drone while he orders Data to monitor Crosis see if Crosis is calling home.

When they are alone, Crosis starts talking to Data, in a very Just Between You and Me fashion, saying he can be assimilated instead of destroyed. He then starts to exhibit a disturbing level of control over Data's emotions, grilling him on his newfound feelings. (Behind him, the brig officer fails to hear or notice that Crosis seems to be inciting Data to defect.) Data ostensibly remains an ethical being, however, and points out it would be unethical to feel pleasure over another being's death. But the fact remains; he did feel it. Crosis notices the 'conscience' that Data's creator, Dr. Soong, gave him didn't seem to be working when he felt that grisly pleasure. Data's fear seems to grow as he makes an excuse to ask Crosis to step away, to which Crosis refuses. Crosis realizes that for Data, to feel that surge of pleasure was a very potent experience, and that Data would do ANYTHING to feel that way again, even kill. Data states his ethical programming again, but his resolve seems weaker, a fact Crosis picks up on. He presses further, asking if Data has a friend; Data mentions Geordi. Crosis asks if Data would kill his friend if it meant having that pleasure again. Both of them exhibit slight Slasher Smiles as Data admits: "YES, I WOULD".

Geordi reveals to the crew that the Borg are using transwarp conduits that can make a traversing vessel up to 20 times faster than emergency warp speed; Picard asks if the tachyon pulse used to open them could be duplicated. Suddenly, Worf reports that a shuttlecraft has departed, holding Data and Crosis. Attempts to Tractor Beam the shuttle back fail, as the tractor beam has been disabled and command overrides are not functioning. The shuttle vanishes into transwarp just like the larger Borg ship.

Geordi sets up some Applied Phlebotinum so the Enterprise can open the conduit with a tachyon pulse and follow Data and Crosis. Another Red Alert sounds, and the Enterprise makes a transwarp jump of its own, traversing 65 light years in ten seconds. The shuttle's energy signature leads to a planet, and (eventually) a sizable part of the Enterprise crew beam down to organize a search, given Data and Crosis have a head start of three hours. Picard and Geordi themselves join the search parties, leaving Crusher in command of a skeleton crew on board. Picard gives orders for Crusher to turn the Enterprise back to Earth if she is attacked.

The search teams gather in the middle of nowhere, where the shuttle apparently touched down, and start spreading out. In an almost Behind the Black scenario, Troi spots a large building in a valley below them. The team starts moving towards it, and make their way inside.

The first thing they see is a strange claw- or torch-like symbol on the floor, and tapestries bearing the same. Picard realizes that a dampening field has been cast over the building, and the away team decides to make their way outside to contact the others. But before the away team can do much, a horde of Borg descend upon them and surround them. The red (actually yellow) shirt aims at one, but is taken down by another, before a loud, commanding voice suddenly echoes, "STOP!" Picard, Troi and Geordi turn to see Data, apparently clad in black. Troi feels overwhelming hatred as she says, "That's not Data..."

The golden imp in black grins devilishly as he says, "You should listen to her, Captain. She's way ahead of you." Picard realizes in horror, "Lore!"

And he's not alone; Data, still in his Starfleet uniform, stands beside him, and grins to match his brother, as he declares, "The Sons of Soong have joined together... and together, we will destroy the Federation."

To Be Continued...

Part 2:

Data has become capable of emotions, due to Lore reprogramming the emotion chip that he stole to broadcast its effect over distance (this much is obvious, but is not stated until later). Determined to control the situation, Lore demands that he be the one to tell the ''Enterprise'' crew the situation, not Data. It becomes obvious that Lore is in command of these Borg, a splinter faction created when the crew sent Hugh back to the Collective. Lore has also found his true calling. Without any sense of connection or emotion to his former comrades, Data leads them away to a holding cell.

Back on the Enterprise, Crusher, as Acting Captain, tasks Ensign Taitt, newly assigned to the Enterprise, with modifying the ship's sensors to cut through the electromagnetic interference preventing them from aiding in the search for Data; Taitt does the job well. Riker calls in just as she brings her modifications online. Unfortunately, the mods aren't nearly strong enough to find anyone on Picard's team; all that interference takes time to cut through. This doesn't rule out any other possible explanations for the interference, however...

Suddenly, a Borg ship bears down on the Enterprise, chasing her away, but Crusher beams several rescue parties up back before she has to obey her orders and take the Enterprise out of the solar system. Riker and Worf choose to stay behind as the Borg ship opens fire; the Enterprise returns (ineffective) fire and gets away from the planet. The transporter chief says they left 47 crew members behind.

Riker laments to Worf that it will be a few days before Starfleet can get ships to the planet; until then, they and the rescue parties are on their own.

Data leads Geordi, Troi, and Picard to a holding cell, and tells them he realizes now that his time has been wasted aboard the Enterprise, and that his place is by his brother's side, effecting the bleak future he envisions. As he rips the communicators from their chests, Troi notes she's only felt anger and hatred from Data, to which he replies those are the only ones that matter. Data removes Geordi's VISOR, leaving him blinded with his milky white pupils. As he leaves, he parrots what Lore said, with a modification: "I am not your puppet anymore."

Against orders, Crusher decides to return to the planet, but sends their log entries in a buoy back through the transwarp conduit to be safe. Lieutenant Barnaby relieves Taitt at Tactical; they work together to come up with a plan to beam up as many people as they can before the Borg detect them, using the planet as a barrier to detection; that might buy them the crucial seconds. A bit of snarking later, and the beaming begins, as Riker and Worf do their best to find their people.

While inside the splinter faction's temple, Data hands the VISOR to Lore, who jokes around with it; Data is not amused, as he did pull the appliance off his friend who needs it to see. But Lore needs Geordi's implants, which interface with his brain and are visible when the VISOR is off, to run a horrific experiment, one which has resulted in many dead or debilitated Borg. Lore thinks that using humans might protect the Borg from further injury, and Data agrees.

Just then, Crosis brings in a drone who has disconnected from him and seems very fearful, doubting the cause; for all the evil Lore has done, the Starfleet officers might expect him to kill this wayward drone, but he instead gives a Rousing Speech, which seems to work.

Geordi reveals he could see that Lore had indeed modified the emotion chip to broadcast its effect, and the carrier wave that emitted from Lore was as clear as day, so Geordi's VISOR had to go. For that to work, though, Data's ethical program had to be deactivated, Call-Back something Crosis had done earlier. Geordi has come up with a way to reboot the program and bring "our" Data back, but how to do it is the problem. Data barges in and takes Geordi away, to Picard and Troi's unsuccessful entreaties.

Riker and Worf, in searching for the temple, come across a group of Borg walking around outside. They conceal themselves and let the drones pass, then survey their surroundings. They succeed in finding the temple, but the Borg capture them and lead them into caves, where they find an angry, embittered Hugh.

Hugh asks, "Hasn't the crew of the Enterprise caused enough damage already?" He explains how the heroes broke the Borg by giving Hugh his sense of individuality; it did, indeed, pass to others, and a splinter faction formed, confused and non-functional without the purity of thought that only their Hive Mind provided. They sought escape from the Collective and fled to the planet, led by Hugh. The Borg splinter faction were extremely vulnerable when Lore found them. He promised them the control they so needed, and told them he beleived they should strive to become more perfect beings. After a while, it became clear to everyone that Lore didn't know what he was doing, and driven by his ambition and lack of respect for life, began his insane experiments; Lore wanted to remove the biological components of the drones and make them wholly artificial. As Hugh shows Worf and Riker, his efforts were unsuccessful. As this was the result of his contact with them, Hugh doesn't particularly welcome the Starfleet officers.

Riker insists he won't cause any more trouble for Hugh and his faction; he just wants to get his people back. Hugh asks about his friend, Geordi, and learns he's likely being held captive inside Lore's compound; Hugh cannot help them at the risk of being discovered, but he can show Riker and Worf a way in.

Geordi is tied into a stretcher-like device, and unable to move. It lifts and tilts upward, revealing Data behind it. He callously mimics Picard's voice, giving Geordi false hope of escape, before saying "Too late!" maliciously, adding that Lore's helped him work on his humor. Geordi does not think much of it; Data just shrugs. He uses a beam on Geordi's implants, which turns out to be a local anesthetic. Data's apparently going to use Geordi's head as a pin cushion; he ''does so'', calmly explaining he will try to replace Geordi's brain with an artificial one, effectively lobotomizing his best friend.

Data callously ignores Geordi's requests to stop and attempts to warn him that Lore is controlling him, but continues with his work, implanting nano-cortical fibers in through Geordi's implants to match the one in his forehead. In the event Geordi doesn't make it, Data says he still has Troi and Picard to operate on. Data moves Geordi to another room.

Troi pulls a Batman Gambit on a gullible drone, claiming Picard has escaped into the force field and gone into neural shock, and threatening it with the possibility of Lore's punishment. The drone lowers the force field; Picard 'revives' instantly and yanks out one of the drone's interface cables, electrocuting it. Troi checks the corridor in preparation for an escape, but it is unfortunately cut short. Data brings Geordi back at just that moment, threatening to break his neck if they do not drop the weapon they absconded with.

In the confusion, Picard manages to steal and hide part of the dead drone's transceiver, and asks Geordi if it could be modified to send out the Techno Babble he mentioned earlier to reset Data. Geordi agrees; though blind, he can still talk Picard through the applied phlebotinum required to do so.

Back on the Enterprise, Crusher and the skeleton crew are still trying to nail down the location of the Borg ship and approach the planet as stealthily as possible to rescue the search team. The Borg ship attacks while the shields are down, knocking out the warp drive. The Enterprise holds her own, though, until the Borg escape again. But the Enterprise can't outrun the Borg, so Crusher plots a course directly into the sun.

Crusher decides to use the murdered Ferengi scientist Reyga's invention, metaphasic shielding, to protect them from the sun's radiation, which works, though she does not know how long it can hold.

Picard finishes his modifications of the transceiver, and sends out the kedion pulse with the aid of the force field; its effects almost come too late, but Data somehow realizes that what he is doing is wrong, and stops just before the final act which would lobotomize his friend. He makes an excuse that somehow Geordi should be able to see right through, and goes to see his brother.

At first Data mechanically rattles off a status report to Lore, but then starts to mention that he's responsible if the humans die, as they came looking for him; Lore notices this, and with an adjustment under his fingernail, cuts off the flow of emotions. Data immediately gasps as though in deep distress, but Lore gives them back. Data states this is not the behavior of a brother: "I just hope this helps to clarify things for you."

After Data leaves Lore, both clearly disturbed, the latter commiserates with a passing Crosis that he is afraid his brother has lost the faith and doesn't want to be a part of the great future Lore has planned.

The metaphasic shielding is falling apart. The Enterprise has to leave the sun's corona soon; once they do, they'll be at the mercy of the Borg. Taitt suggests using a particle beam to cause a solar flare that would destroy the Borg ship, but it must be accurate or it would also destroy the Enterprise. Taitt makes use of an Ironic Echo to put the grumbling Barnaby in his place. Fortunately, it works, and the Enterprise speeds back to the planet.

Data comes to retrieve Picard, and brings him to the main chamber. Picard tells him that removing the fibers from Geordi may be possible, but Data still parrots his brother's line, that it is for the greater good. Picard asks Data to see if his ethical program is functioning yet. It is. What Lore has told him is conflicting with what to Data is his "conscience," but Data cannot express or process that just yet.

Riker and Worf plot with Hugh to infiltrate the compound. As they move to execute, Hugh wishes them luck. Riker glares at Hugh resentfully. Hugh looks on somewhat guiltily.

Lore comes in and announces that Picard is to assist in a very important ceremony. The 'ceremony' turns out to be an ultimatum for Data to prove his loyalty to the cause: kill Picard. Data raises his weapon as Picard gazes at Data; finally, he lowers it, saying it would be wrong. Lore decides to murder his own brother in punishment; suddenly, with a Big "NO!", Hugh, Riker and Worf burst in, stopping what would have been a Fratricide and taking out several of Lore's drones. Those aligned with Hugh attack their brethren too, while Lore, seething, runs away. Data, with a very set expression, gives chase...

Lore tries to tempt Data with memories that the emotion chip also contains, and that he'll give Data if they go away together, but when Lore sees that his offers do not faze Data, he tries to cripple Data by taking away his emotions again. Data appears to cower and weaken, but Lore's weapon has no effect, as when Lore turns it on Data, he deflects it on his brother, debilitating him; then, regretfully, Data deactivates the rogue android, his brother. Lore's last words, as he winds down HAL 9000-style, are "I... love you... brother..." and Data simply replies, "Goodbye, Lore." He regards the now-insensate hunk of polymer and circuits impassively.

Data returns to the main chamber, where Riker, Worf and Picard discuss the fact that Geordi and Troi have beamed up, the dampening field having been lifted; he informs Picard dispassionately that Lore must be disassembled, while Riker asks Hugh what made him change his mind about helping them rescue his friends. Hugh responds that perhaps his time on the Enterprise had changed him more than he realized, and he is very fond of Geordi, anyway. Hugh asserts that the Borg here have no leader now, with Lore gone and them being pariahs from the Collective, but Picard says that they already have a perfect candidate in Hugh. Perhaps in time, Hugh muses, they will learn to work as a group and as individuals. Picard wishes Hugh and the rogue Borg luck, and they depart as friends.

As Geordi recovers, he visits Data (and Spot). Data is contemplating the emotion chip he removed from his brother. It no longer functions, but he may find a way to repair it in the future. He decides that emotions are toxic to him and the emotion chip is better off destroyed, but Geordi talks him down from this action, saying that when he's ready, he will have friends who can help him take those dangerous but exciting next steps towards humanity.

And the Adventure Continues into the seventh season...

Tropes featured:

  • Air-Vent Passageway
    Worf: We can use the environmental control ducts to get into the compound. They should lead us to the detention area.
  • Anachronism Stew: The word "science" didn't acquire its modern meaning until the 19th century. Someone of Newton's era would have used the term "natural philosophy" to refer to what's now called science. Of course, it's easily possible that the holographic Newton picked up more modern terminology from his interactions with the others, and "most momentous day in the history of natural philosophy" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
  • And I Must Scream: The Borg drones that Lore tried to turn into completely synthetic lifeforms.
  • Answer Cut: With Picard sending most of the crew (including himself) to the surface to look for Data, Geordi asks him who will command the Enterprise. Cut to Doctor Crusher being given the big chair.
  • Artistic License – History: An in-universe example. The person in charge of programming Albert Einstein's holographic counterpart apparently fell for the anecdotal misconception that Einstein was bad at math, which is quite laughable when you consider he was one of history's most influential physicists. In reality, Einstein was actually an exceptional mathematician. This rumor was actually started while he was still alive, and Einstein even commented on the original article himself.
    Einstein: I never failed in mathematics… Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.
    • Also Lampshaded when Newton recounts the apple story and Data mentions that it's "generally considered apocryphal."
  • As Himself: Stephen Hawking is, to date, the only person to appear as himself in a Star Trek production, playing his holographic counterpart.
  • Bait-and-Switch: It's initially assumed that Hugh is the leader of these individualistic, aggressive Borg. The audience doesn't discover that Lore is involved until the Cliffhanger.
  • Cain and Abel: Lore announces that he's going to kill his brother in a noble sacrifice (yeah, right). He gets shot and deactivated by Data instead.
  • Call-Back:
  • Casting Gag: A minor in-show example: the Enterprise is forced to hide within a star's corona by using an experimental shield. The lieutenant at Tactical doesn't think that the shield will work, but is proven wrong. The actor played a different character in a previous episode who tried to make it appear that the shield didn't work.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Lore's control of the Borg resembles a cult leader, or a dictator seizing power after the collapse of the previous regime, when people are drawn to any voice that promises order and security.
    • And speaking of dictators, the rogue Borg have red-and-white flags with a black symbol in the center. That doesn't conjure up certain historical imagery, does it?
    • Lore keeping Data on his side by supplying him emotions and threatening to cut him off if he doesn't behave is reminiscent of an abuser controlling an addict's supply of drugs.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: The platonic version from Lore as he's deactivated.
  • Easily Forgiven: Geordi completely forgives Data for what he did, and in fact when Data plans to destroy the emotion chip out of shame he encourages him not to, saying he wouldn't be a very good friend if he let him destroy his dream.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Data is disturbed by the anger he experienced fighting the Borg drone, and in the end, feels so ashamed by his behavior that he contemplates destroying the emotion chip.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Troi: That's not Data.
    Picard: What?
    Lore: You should listen to her, Captain. She's way ahead of you.
    Picard: Lore!
  • Eye Lights Out: Lore's pupils shrink when he's deactivated.
  • From Bad to Worse: After Lore reveals he's the true mastermind, he shows off his new partner: Data.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Picard and Troi try to trick a Borg drone by making him think Picard injured himself. They almost escape until Data comes back with Geordi.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Much of Part 2 sees Picard, Troi, and Geordi trying to reason with Data and warn him that Lore's manipulating him.
  • Ironic Echo: Taitt points out that Barnaby's calculations, if wrong, would bring them crashing into the planet's atmosphere, and Barnaby says, "Well then I'll just have to make sure my calculations are correct, Ensign." Later on in the episode, when Taitt figures out how to use a solar fusion eruption to destroy the Borg ship, Barnaby points out that the flare could destroy them as well. Taitt snaps back, "Well then I'll just have to make sure my calculations are correct, Lieutenant."
  • Meaningful Echo: In the first part, Troi tells Data that there are no good or bad emotions, rather what one does with them. In the second part, Troi tries to point out that Lore is only giving Data the negative emotion of fear, to which Data reminds her of what she told him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: During the procedure, Geordi tells Data he might not be able to forgive himself for what he's doing. The ending shows he was right.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: A recurring theme.
    • This situation is the result of the crew not using Hugh to destroy the Collective as originally planned. Picard gets grief from his superiors for passing up the opportunity, and he acknowledges how he could've spared the Federation from "a mortal threat." Lore even goes as far as to say that his actions were simply cleaning up the crew's mess.
    • Conversely, Picard's plan to infect the Borg with Hugh's individuality worked, at least for the one cube, and it caused chaos and mass death, eventually allowing Lore to take control of the vulnerable ex-Borg. Hugh calls Riker and Picard out on this.
  • Noodle Incident: Geordi discusses Data trying to swim, only to sink to the bottom.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Hawking's reaction when Newton mentions that apple.
    "Not the apple story again."
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The Borg are acting like individuals, and they're fighting to kill instead of assimilate. Their tactics are noticeably different, with Will noting that fighting them felt more like fighting Klingons than Borg.
    • Data as well, as he violently strangles a Borg and slams it into a wall, feeling anger as he did so.
  • Orphaned Punchline: How the episode starts, delivered by Stephen Hawking himself.
    Hawking: ...but then I said, in that frame of reference, the perihelion of Mercury would have precessed in the opposite direction.
    Einstein: [laughing] Zat is a great story!
    Newton: Do not patronize me, sir! I invented physics!
  • Poisonous Captive: Crosis helps corrupt Data while in the brig.
  • Resistance Is Futile: Inverted. Hugh has retained the impulse to resist from his time on the Enterprise, as he is leading a resistance cell against Lore and is protective of the wounded Borg in his care.
  • Red Shirt: One killed on Ohniaka III, one on The Bridge when the Borg beam onto the Enterprise, and one in the Borg temple.
  • Rogue Drone: A whole bunch of 'em, thanks to Hugh's influence. Deconstructed, however, in that they had no idea how to handle their freedom, allowing Lore to take advantage of them with empty promises.
  • Shoot Your Mate: Lore tries to test Data's loyalty by making him shoot Picard.
  • Sick Captive Scam: Picard pretends to have injured himself on the Force-Field Door to trick the Borg guarding him and Troi into entering the cell. It works, and Picard kills him and steals components from him.
  • Stock Footage: The matte painting depicting Ohniaka III is a reuse of the Darwin Research Station painting from "Unnatural Selection".
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A solar fusion eruption does very well in this regard.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: The only option to Crusher and the remaining crew of the Enterprise, when they turn to a coronal mass ejection to rid the system of a menacing Borg ship.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Geordi recalls a Noodle Incident where Data sank to the bottom of a lake and had to walk back to shore.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The decision to send Hugh back to the Borg has adverse consequences; Nechayev chews out Picard, while Hugh tells off Riker.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Hugh wonders if the former Borg will ever be able to form a community now that they are leaderless, and Picard points out that they do have a leader in Hugh. Hugh seems reluctant to accept this role but when we meet him decades later in Star Trek: Picard he has become the Executive Director of the Borg Reclamation Project and has dedicated his life to helping former Borg.
  • You Are in Command Now: Every other main crewmember goes looking for Data, leaving Dr. Crusher in command with a skeleton crew. A later episode, Thine Own Self provides an explanation about how a medical officer can actually command a Federation ship.
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