WARNING: Here are the rest of the spoilers. Only one chance this time.
Welcome back to those of you who made it through.
What to say? The long wait is over. First, a bit of smugness:
Hee-hee. I got a lot of it right. I insisted that really was Picard. I knew
the weapon wouldn't work (though to be honest, so did most of the net), and I
said right from the start that Picard's link to the Borg would play a major
role. Yee-Haa!! :-) Okay, smugness off.
I think Paramount must have at least one link to the net themselves, 'cos they
thought of many things we'd brought up over the last few months. Let's see,
there was a reference to antimatter (which hopefully should settle THAT argument
once and for all), a mention of possibly using the Nanites against the Borg,
and best of all, NO superbeings coming to the rescue!!!
More interestingly, I think they actually managed to defeat the Borg in a way
no one here had thought of (though I'll admit I didn't read all of the tens
of thousands of messages that came 'round), at least not exactly. Well done.
By the way, they passed one definite test tonight. When the Borg were about to
self-destruct, and letting them live was mentioned, I worried for an instant or
three that they were gonna go that route. I didn't need to worry so much. I
suspect they put that scene in deliberately to show us "Uh-uh...even we realize
that there are some enemies you do NOT leave hanging around." After all, they
could have just made the self-destruct completely unstoppable if they didn't
want us to infer something.
They deliberately managed to AVOID revealing whether there are any more Borg
out there as well. Picard's pause at the end could be just his memories of his
last Earl Grey with his old, now late, friend, or they could be the realization
that this might not be it. My own hunch is that there are others, from one
interesting thought: why would the Borg ship be self-destructing when beaten,
if not to protect the core element, just as in the case of individual Borg? If
that's all there were, the only explanations would be random error or ego, and I
don't like either.
I also particularly liked the way Riker managed to get Locutus back on board the
Enterprise. Everything about that just clicked right on target. I was on the
edge of my seat for that whole segment. (Actually, by the time the teaser had
ended, I was already OFF my seat and on the floor, but you get the idea. :-) )
My synopsis fell a little short there in capturing how well everything flowed.
See it for yourself.
Let's talk about the other resolution, namely that of Riker's career. This
was left a little open-ended for my purposes, I think deliberately so. I
suspect this is something they may be dealing with in the long term, over the
next several episodes, particularly since the Enterprise won't be going anywhere
for a while. It's probably important to note that even after Picard was
restored, Riker STILL had the four pips. Like it or not, he's a captain now.
I'm happy with the temporary out (with much of the 'Fleet gone, there are NO
ships around for him to take), but I'd like to see a little more reference to
exactly what's going to happen next time there is.
Characterization? What can be said? I thought that, despite minor flaws in
other parts of the episode (which I'll go into in a minute), characterization
was spot-on picture perfect. Part 1 finally made me think Riker had the makings
of a good captain; part 2 proved it, right down to his quick-thinking strategies
(which, just as they've always been, were unorthodox). The scene between
Guinan and Riker took my breath away, and Mike Piller definitely managed to
give Shelby a little more warmth here than she had in part 1. Patrick Stewart
did a wonderful job speaking in a rarely-seen cold, menacing voice, and was a
very convincing (not to mention chilling) Locutus. Many of the other regulars
didn't have a lot of air-time, so couldn't shine as much as Stewart and Frakes
(though I'll be the first to commend Spiner's performance, particularly in the
last act), but all turned in good performances (even McFadden and Sirtis, the
two obvious weak links, though I've never loathed McFadden as much as some).
Excellently written and acted. Splendid.
In this one case, by the way, I considered Riker most of Kirk's good points
without his bad ones. Hearing "Captain William T. Riker..." brought back some
misty memories to me, anyway.
I've got a few minor quibbles. First, a technical one: I'm tired of seeing
Saturn as the boundary of the Terran system. Can't we see Pluto and Charon once
in a while? (Granted, it's not as flashy, but I'd manage.) Second, exactly
how far out from Earth were they when the Borg went boom? Close enough to be a
worry, I'd have thought. I don't think they were more than a few light-minutes
away, and Zeus knows with a ship that big, I'd want to be a little further
clear. Just a thought. See? Both minor.
Now, a few random thoughts:
1) (Thanks to my friend Gina Goff, occasionally on Usenet, for putting this in
my head.) We know Picard and Guinan's relationship goes way, way back, and runs
very deep. Considering how old she is...maybe she was his nanny? 'Twould
certainly explain how she was used to having his ear. :-)
2) I absolutely LOVED the Borg viewscreen, as well as the deflector firing.
3) I neglected to mention in the synop that one of the engineers mentioned as
testing the newly restored deflector was Barclay. Someone's having fun...
4) GIVE O'BRIEN A FIRST NAME!!!!!!! (Sorry...it's been months since I've
written that, though. ;-) )
5) This one's actually a major plot point for future consideration. With the
Federation fleet in tatters, *I* think the Romulans might consider the time
ripe for a little offensive of their own. If they don't handle this angle, I'll
be mildly distressed to say the least.
Well, that's about all I can think of. Suffice it to say I was VERY impressed,
though part 1 did beat part 2, and the first half of 2 beat the second half.
Now, I guess you want some numbers, huh?
Plot: 9. I'm reserving the 10 until I see if they wrap up Riker properly in
the next few weeks, and to see if they deal with (5) above. Otherwise,
a splendid resolution to what many considered an unresolvable plot.
Plot Handling: 9, for the same reasons as above.
Characterization: 10. This one ain't getting any better.
Technical: 9.5. A speck off for the Saturn boundary, but all the broken ships
were a delight (er...sort of, anyway) to see, and the new ships in the
defense perimeter looked great.
TOTAL: 37.5/4 ===> 9.4. Very, very nice work.
Picard returns home after his ordeal, only to find a nasty older brother. It
looks like they end up in a fistfight, with Jean-Luc throwing the first punch!
To quote Zaphod Beeblebrox, "Neat."
I must say, it's good to be back. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get
some sleep. :-)
Tim Lynch (Cornell's first Astronomy B.A.; one of many Caltech grad students)
"Your resistance is hopeless, _Number One_."
It's much easier for non-star gazers to identify with. Seeing bluish-green
Neptune or Uranus (hope the colors are right) or a dank-looking Pluto, might
not give the impression that action is taking place in our solar system.
Although this should be obvious from the story (which I haven't seen yet).
Just about everyone knows the rings of Saturn. They could have shown several
planets though, since they're flying pretty fast (maybe the planets aren't
aligned right at this time. Quick somebody figure it out).