(written from a Production point of view)
|"Descent, Part II"|
|TNG, Episode 7x01|
Production number: 40277-253
First aired: 20 September 1993
|←||152nd of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||152nd of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||279th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
|←||Arc: Descent (2 of 2)|
Picard tries to free Data from Lore's control; the Enterprise battles the Borg ship. (Season Premiere)
After Lore reveals himself to Jean-Luc Picard, Deanna Troi, and Geordi La Forge, the three are confronted by the fact that Data and Lore are now working together. Lore and Data tell Picard that the end of biological life is at hand and the age of completely artificial lifeforms has begun.
Dr. Beverly Crusher, now in command of the USS Enterprise-D with only a skeleton crew, is confronted with a bad situation when a ship that matches the configuration of the rogue Borg ship is detected closing on their location. Crusher orders the ship to red alert and tries to speed the recovery of the away teams on the planet. The new tactical officer, Taitt, shows obvious inexperience, having been posted there only six weeks prior. When the Borg ship is in firing range, Crusher waits at the last minute to raise shields. After the Borg fire on the Enterprise, Crusher returns fire with a pair of photon torpedoes, which do nothing. The ship however, rescues all but 47 of the crew from the surface before escaping the Borg attack. Commander Riker and Worf head off to find the captain's team, which is being led to a holding cell by Data and a Borg. They discuss with Data his newfound emotions, and Data responds by telling them how his journey towards being Human was "misguided" and that he now sees the true way that things should be. Data takes their combadges, and La Forge's VISOR before leaving. As he activates the force field around their cell, he states coldly, "I am not your puppet any more."
Lieutenant Barnaby relieves Taitt at tactical, but Crusher sends her to the science station to keep her on the bridge. She orders a probe readied with their log entries and releases it to transmit them to Starfleet. Meanwhile, Crusher and company ready a plan to drop out of warp in orbit of the planet and rescue the remaining crewmembers. Data brings La Forge's VISOR to Lore, who puts it on and jokingly asks, "How do I look?" Data, not understanding, is confused. They are interrupted by Crosis, who brings a disobedient Borg named Goval to Lore because he was not letting Crosis hear his thoughts. La Forge, in the meantime, has been conspiring with Picard and Troi to find a way around the carrier wave that Lore is using to broadcast his emotions to Data. His ethical subroutines could be rebooted, it seems, but in the middle of the conversation, Data enters and takes La Forge away for experimentation.
Riker and Worf are following the trail of the captain when they are cornered by some Borg, who take them to Hugh, leader of an underground group of Borg.
Hugh does not like the return of the crew of the Enterprise, who he blames for the current state of the rogue Borg. He explains how Lore promised clarity and purpose to the Borg that were not connected to the collective anymore, due to Hugh's experience with individuality. He shows Riker and Worf the results of the experiments that Lore is attempting on the Borg. However, he agrees to show Riker and Worf a way into the compound to save his friend, La Forge.
Troi, standing over the body of Picard, calls a Borg over to help her. When the Borg leans over to check out Picard, he pulls a cable on the Borg's neck. He steals the interlink transceiver while Troi takes the weapon from the Borg's arm to check the hall. There, she finds Data escorting La Forge back to the cell. Data takes the weapon and leaves with the Borg, but Picard has the transceiver that they can use to activate Data's ethical subroutines.
The Enterprise drops out of warp and transporter chief Salazar transports the last of the crew off of the surface, but informs the bridge that six people (Picard, Riker, Troi, Worf, La Forge, and an officer who had been killed by the Borg) still remain. Just as the Borg ship returns for a fight, Crusher orders shields up, but the Enterprise takes a hit which disables their warp drive. Retaliating with phasers, the Borg ship fires again which takes a toll on the shields. Crusher then orders the Enterprise into the nearby sun's corona.
Approaching the star, Crusher orders Barnaby to activate the metaphasic shielding, but he reminds her that the shield is still in an experimental stage. Once activated, it works; it lowers the radiation level and temperature of the hull while getting the Borg ship off their tail. The Borg take a position, letting them know that they will wait until they come out of the sun. Crusher wonders how long they can stay in the sun's corona.
Picard has finished modifications on the interlink transceiver, and places it near the force field, activating the pulse that will reset Data's subroutines. Meanwhile, Data is ready to irradiate La Forge's brain cells and begin construction of a positronic net to take the place of his biological brain. However, the pulse works, and at La Forge's coaxing, Data thinks of a false excuse to not destroy La Forge's brain yet.
Outside, Lore and Data are chatting regarding La Forge. Data then projects accountability towards his comrades, stating that if they die, he is responsible. Lore wonders if something is wrong with Data's systems, then begins to induce pain within Data. Under duress, Data asks for more emotions, which Lore gives. As soon as he leaves, Crosis emerges and Lore wonders if Data has the strength to help Lore in his plan.
Faced with only a few minutes of metaphasic shielding left, Taitt, having done her senior honors thesis on solar dynamics, thinks up a plan to create a solar eruption to destroy the Borg ship. Barnaby objects, reminding Taitt that this is not the Academy, and that comparing the two is a long way from actually trying it. Taitt assures him that she's got a targeting sequence lined up. Barnaby tells her if her calculations are off, the eruption could obliterate the Enterprise. Taitt bluntly reassures him. After firing phasers and using the tractor beam, the Borg ship is destroyed, to the surprise and delight of Barnaby. Taitt just gives him a sly grin. With the Borg ship destroyed, the Enterprise is free to orbit the planet again.
Back on the planet, Data returns with La Forge and then takes Picard, who begins to confuse Data by activating portions of his ethical subroutines. Lore enters, and as part of a ceremony, orders Data to kill Picard. The ethical subroutine has been activated, and Data tells Lore that that would be wrong. Beneath the surface, Riker and Worf use the environmental conduits to get to the central room, and then attack at a key point in the events when Lore was about to kill Data. Hugh tackles Lore, preventing him from killing Data.
Lore escapes from the room, and Data follows. As Lore tries to coerce Data into leaving the planet with him, Data shoots and proceeds to deactivate his brother, whose last words are, "I love you, brother."
Picard, Riker, and Worf thank Hugh and welcome Data back to normal functioning. Picard hints that even though Hugh is unsure of their future, perhaps these Borg have a good individual leader for the future.
Back on the ship, La Forge enters Data's quarters and tells him that he will return to duty soon. Data is relieved at this, and shows Geordi the damaged emotion chip retrieved from Lore's body. He is about to destroy it with a phaser, because his friendship with La Forge is more important to him than emotions, and emotions are what caused him to harm his friend. La Forge stops him and says that perhaps someday they will be able to use the emotion chip. After all, it is Data's lifelong dream to have emotions, and, as La Forge concludes, "I wouldn't be very much of a friend if I let you give up on a life-long dream now, would I? Maybe some day, when you're ready."
"The reign of biological life-forms is coming to an end. You, Picard, and those like you, are obsolete!"
- - Lore
"I now realize that my life aboard the Enterprise was a waste. My quest to become Human, misguided. An evolutionary step in the wrong direction .... I am not your puppet anymore!"
- - Data, under Lore's influence
"What's your name?"
"I don't think I've seen you before."
"I was just posted here six weeks ago."
"Well, Taitt, I bet you never thought you'd be serving as Tactical Officer after only six weeks."
"No, Sir - I sure didn't!"
- - Crusher (as Acting Captain) and Taitt
"Establish a frequency shift firing pattern and return fire!"
- - Crusher and Taitt, during battle with the Borg
"If her calculations are off that eruption could encompass us!"
"Well I'll just have to make sure my calculations are accurate - Lieutenant!"
- - Barnaby and Taitt
"Yes please, I want more!"
- - Data about emotions
"Lore. I must deactivate you now."
"Without me, you will never feel emotions again."
"I know. But you leave me no other choice."
"I ... love you ... brother."
- - Data and Lore, having their final conversation
Story and production
- In an early draft, Barclay was to be on the bridge as part of the skeleton crew. Due to availability and cost issues, Ensign Taitt was written to take his place. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- The Rogue Borg compound was the Brandeis-Bardin Campus, American Jewish University, which was also used as Camp Khitomer in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- Interiors of the compound were a narrow three-wall set that was multiplied optically, along with the Borg extras. These were left standing over hiatus, but the caverns were built for this episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- The terminal that Lore is working at just prior to his deactivation is the same prop as the theta-band wave emitter in "Chain of Command, Part I".
- The first draft of the script had Data kill Lore in self-defense in a phaser battle, but Michael Piller suggested a less overt means. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Several costumes and props from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including costume parts for Michael Reilly Burke. 
- First UK airdate: 10 January 1996
- There are 47 crew members left on the planet after Dr. Crusher takes the Enterprise out of orbit.
- Beverly's support for the experimental metaphasic shielding technology was the focus of "Suspicions". In that episode, James Horan, who plays Lieutenant Barnaby in this episode, played Jo'Bril, an alien trying to disprove the functionality of the shield.
- Lore's final scene is similar to the deactivation of the HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Jonathan Del Arco reprises his role as Hugh from the TNG's fifth season episode "I Borg". However, he shares no screen time with Geordi, with whom he had the closest relationship in the earlier episode, although their friendship is mentioned.
- At the end of the season, it is implied that Data would eventually begin to use the emotion chip, as shown in the alternate future timeline of "All Good Things..." in which he remarks that his housekeeper makes him laugh. The emotion chip was next seen in Star Trek Generations, where it became fused into Data's neural net, forcing him to learn to deal with having emotions on a permanent basis. He eventually gains the ability to deactivate, and later remove, the chip completely in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. The design of the emotion chip seen here is different than the one seen in Star Trek Generations.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 77, catalogue number VHR 2739, 7 March 1994.
- As part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek: The Next Generation - Borg Box: 5 December 1994.
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Full Length TV Movies: Volume 8, catalogue number VHR 4108, 24 April 1995.
- As part of the US VHS collection Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Data Collection: 19 August 1997.
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection.
- In feature-length form, as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies collection.
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Borg collection.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data / Lore
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Pam Blackwell as Borg
- Steven Boz as
- Carl David Burks as
- Tracee Lee Cocco as
- Debra Dilley as Borg
- Gary Hunter as Borg
- Marianne Lewis as operations division officer
- Debbie Marsh as command division ensign
- Rad Milo as operations division ensign
- Joe Murphy as Borg
- Joyce Robinson as Gates
- Richard Sarstedt as command division ensign
- Adrian Tafoya as Borg
- Rogan Wilde as Borg
- Unknown performers as
- Brian J. Williams as stunt double for Brent Spiner
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Brian Cousins
Stand-ins and photo double
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Unknown actor - photo double for Brent Spiner
Borg ship; carrier wave; Devala Lake; dizziness; emergency buoy; emotion chip; Federation; kedion pulse; metaphasic shield; red alert; Soong, Noonian; neural shock; particle beam; solar dynamics; solar fusion eruption; Starfleet Academy; tricorder; VISOR
- Descent at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Descent (Star Trek: The Next Generation) at Wikipedia
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