S6 & S7 Descent
Descent is the season six finale and the season seven premiere two parter and deals with Data, the Borg and Lore returns just to spice things up a little. So the episode kicks off with Data playing poker with some historical figures on the holodeck including Mr Stephen Hawking, a nice fun scene but then a distress call reveals all an outpost full of dead Starfleet personnel and then the Borg make their appearance resulting in Data killing one and experiencing a very definite emotion. As Starfleet mobilises for a potential Borg invasion Data tries to recreate the emotion and he describes it a mix of fear and pleasure. Another attack results in the capture of a drone who convinces Data to free him and together they flee the Enterprise but the ship is able to track the shuttle through the energy vortex which is being used to outperform standard warp travel and reveal the base of operations.
It turns out that Lore had met up with the Borg who had been directly affected by the individuality imposed on Hugh (I, Borg) and had filled in a very obvious gap in their collective and by extension giving him an almost unstoppable killing machine army to aide in his desire to rid the galaxy of those pesky biologic lifeforms. La Forge, Troi and Picard are captured and Data begins to experiment on Geordie which gives us some good dialogue between the two "friends" but it still requires a technological approach to make a wedge between the two brothers. Meanwhile Crusher is in charge of the Enterprise and is in battle with the Borg ship, she does a pretty good job but as always it requires quite a bit of luck and good fortune. Riker and Worf are captured by Hugh and the cast offs from Lore's experiments but eventually everything comes together and when push comes to shove Data (with a little help) turns on his brother and after the battle takes away the emotion chip that had been built for him an co-opted by Lore.
I wasn't a huge fan of Descent when I originally watched it and while I could appreciate the work of Brent in the two roles Lore was never a plus point of the show for me. That said this wasn't a terrible episode to use as a two parter season cliffhanger but it pales a little compared to some examples of the tv story telling "keep 'em interested" ideals. I thought it was a little amusing that everyone was in standard uniform when on the planet, this was a covert mission and well too many times you had to just live with it to allow the episode to continue. It was interesting to see Crusher in command and supported by officers other than the main cast, Alex Datcher as Ensign Zandra Taitt was excellent and worked well with higher ranked Lieutenant Barnaby ( James Horan ) who later was the mysterious figure within the temporal cold war. It was also fun to see Benito Martinez down in the transporter room, he's more familiar to me on The Shield, Saving Grace and Sons of Anarchy. One last bit of trivia, Jonathan Del Arco who played Hugh is now a recurring character on The Closer and now Major Crimes, it's always fun to recognise actors who have moved up their professional ladder in the years since a guest spot on a scifi show many moons ago:)
Rating 5 & 5