And now the conclusion. The first few moments of Part II was going to be the most telling. How things play out will decide whether or not those who worked on TNG will stay, or go. With the firing of the deflector array, the answer becomes clear. Worf: The Borg ship is undamaged. Everyone is back, we're still here and we've got a story to finish. Michael Pillar chose to come back and write for TNG and continue this episode where it left off. Not an easy task considering that we're working off of a cliff hanger that amazed all those who watched it, so living up to expectations was probably more of a strain than part I was. While Part II is regarded as the weaker of the two episodes, it's still an amazing ride. In fact, I regard Part II to be the more important than part I given how this is the episode where everything changes. Literally. So after the Borg resume their course to Earth, Riker and the senior staff have a meeting with admiral Hanson in the briefing room. Turns out that attempting to stop the Borg wasn't much of a waste after all since Hanson was able to gather 40 Starfleet ships at Wolf 359 to prepare an all out attack on the Borg cube when it arrives. The thought of the Klingons sending warships makes him so optimistic that he considers calling the Romulans for help (maybe mentioning that the Borg were the ones who attacked their outposts might help?). On the subject of Picard beign assimilated, Hanson gives a very nice history on how he knew Picard as a freshman and how, despite being assimilated and now assisting the Borg, believes that Picard would never assist them willingly, even enforcing that point on the crew. It's a nice little scene and it shows that despite knowing that if their attack works it would destroy Picard, they know that stopping the Borg is the highest priority. And like so many hiccups, we end this scene with Riker and Worf in the turbolift discussing tactics in fighting an assimilated Picard. Worf: The Borg have neither honor nor courage. That is our greatest advantage. That's great Worf. Last time we saw you on the Borg Cube, you walked right into one of their forcefields that completely knocked you on your rear. Unless honor and courage gives you some tangible advantage over the Borg, you might want to broaden your perspective. After a nice scene with Guinan telling Riker how to cope with his new responsibilities and dealing with Picard, we finally come to what is rightfully regarded as the 9/11 of the Star Trek franchise. The battle (or in this case the aftermath) of Wolf 359. It's a very morbid scene showing dozens of destroyed Federation ships that are still burning and sparkling with electrical charges, giving the impression that the battle was quick and devastating. Shelby calls out the names of the ships she can recognize, including the Melbourne. The ship that Riker was offered the captain's chair to. With the Borg not far away Riker sets up a daring plan to capture Locutus, use him again the Borg and hopefully bring Picard back. What follows is a pretty spectacular action sequence that we haven't seen in Star Trek up up to this point. The Saucer Section separates and we see both ships fight against the Borg! Plus Data and Worf sneak onto the Borg ship, capture Picard and beam back onto the Enterprise. The new HD version of this episode even sports some nicely done improvements like actually seeing the shuttlecraft power down. With Locutus onboard and Data dissecting him, the Borg become aware of what is happening and halt their approach to Earth to destroy the Enterprise. What follows is what many consider to be a victory via technobabble, and in some ways it's true. Personally, I think the method of defeating the Borg the way it's done here is appropriate. It comes after they've exhausted all their options and the solution is brought to them in a vague manner to which the crew have to figure out what it means. And sure, the Borg sleeping themselves to death is kind of silly, but the episode was obviously running out of time and no Star Trek show would ever a three-parter. So the Borg are destroyed, Picard is no longer a part of their collective and the Enterprise is seen safely orbiting the Earth. We than cut to the weakest part of the two-parter. This freaking ready room scene. Never mind the fact that Picard seems to have recovered WAY too quickly to be back in uniform and at his desk, but everyone is taking the complete destruciton of Wolf 359 like it was something that can easily be replaced. The way Shelby says with a satisfied smile that the fleet should be back up within the year just feels wrong. All those thousands of dead men women and children? They can be replaced, no problem! It's also the last scene of Shelby in all of Star Trek, and it's not even a good one. After complimenting Riker in saying how in saving Starfleet that he could get any command he wants, he pretty much tells her that his career is his own darn business and that's that. About the only thing that makes this scene work is Picard's sudden quiet realization on how the Borg, thanks to him came so close to destroying the Earth that he now looks over. Earth may have been saved, but things are about to change. CONCLUSION: A great follow up to a classic episode. Best of Both Worlds introduced TNG to a story that would have real lasting effects on the franchise as a whole. In "Q Who", Picard and the crew of the Enterprise saw first hand how dangerous the unknown can be and how ill-equipped they were to deal with it. In "The Best of Both Worlds", the entire Federation experienced the same thing and stood what looked like mere feet away from losing it all. As SFDebris put it, the Federation had just narrowly defeated an enemy that wanted their ships, their technology, their knowledge and even their very souls. And to make premise worse, the Borg believed they were doing you a favor. P.S. Looks like I've finally caught up with trek core so I'm going to hold out before I put up the banner and stinger. Not a bad episode to end the year, no? Happy New Years everyone!