Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 7 Episode 1

Descent (2)

Aired Unknown Sep 20, 1993 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: 47025.4 Data abducts Picard, Troi and Geordi and holds them prisoners of the Borg, while he derives pleasure from being evil. Dr. Crusher is left in command of the Enterprise as it comes under attack from a Borg vessel.

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  • Disappointing

    Featuring three plot lines and a different tone than Part I, "Descent Part II" isn't a particularly good or bad (or noteworthy) episode. The A story, with Data, Geordi, and Picard, is about Data's path back to morality (thanks in part to "MacGyver" Picard, who sure knows how to jury rig a kedion pulse!) Unfortunately, Lore's control over Data (with "drug dealer" parallels) and the Borg dealing with emotions are issues that are all but buried, and Data's return to the path of righteousness is not nearly as interesting as his descent into darkness. (And the Borg suffer a blow when Picard shows us that all you have to do is pull out a hose and they break down like an old car.)

    The B story, which sort of comes out of nowhere, is about Doctor Crusher commanding the Enterprise. It's predictable but mildly entertaining. Unfortunately it takes time away from the C story, which features Riker and Worf in their attempt to rescue Picard and company.

    It's disappointing, but watchable, conclusion.moreless
  • Sucks to be Hugh.

    Well, today's Villain of the Week are a group of people who used to be Borg. Even though they're not part of the collective anymore and therefore not really Borg, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck...

    These pseudo-Borg (complete with upside-down Borg Logo flags) want to become fully technological beings, like their mentor, Lore. Exactly how this would perfect them was kinda glossed over in the episode, but nevermind.

    As it turns out, the cause of all this trouble was Hugh, who (like any typical adolescent) blames everyone except himself for the current situation - when he chose to rejoin the Collective at the end of "I, Borg" and it 'infected' all the other Drones on his ship with a sense of individuality.

    Perhaps it was this artificially installed self-realisation that caused none of the former Drones to remember their lives pre-assimilation or perhaps a plot development that hadn't been written yet (which doesn't explain why Locutus remembered being Jean-Luc Picard after he was seperated from the Collective) but it seemed to be a pretty big plot device to allow Lore to take control of this group of no-longer Borg and manipulate them for his own plans.moreless
  • The conclusion to Series 6 finale with the Borg/Data storyline.

    This was disappointing finish to the previous episode. Most of the storylines in this episode were not fleshed out and as a result the story seemed vague and disjointed.

    First there was Picard, Trio and Geordi - captured by Lore and Data - and soon to be experimented on. A credible explanation for the experiments was lacking. Then there were Borgs with emotion - interesting idea but not explored at all. Lore's control of Data was another interesting idea that could have done with more writing. Then Hugh suddenly becomes involved - then decides not to help - and all of sudden does help Riker and Worf. Most of this storyline was left to the imagination. And then there was Beverly left in charge with novices - but performing brillantly. Again, this would have been more credible if she was surrounded by more experienced crew. If she can be such a great captain - why do we need Picard and the rest?moreless
  • Appropriately enough, season 7 begins on a so-so note.

    "Descent" is the weakest of TNG's season-ending/beginning two-parters, and appropriately enough it kicks off a very uneven 7th season.

    There are a mishmash of ideas here, all of which are pretty underdeveloped. Why should we care about Lore now that the novelty of "evil Data" has worn off? Why do we care about individualistic evil Borg instead of communalistic evil Borg? Why is Hugh so annoying?

    This episode does have a few redeeming moments. Overall, despite a ton of talking, it has its share of excitement. It's kind of fun to see Crusher commanding the Enterprise - she exudes authority, unlike Troi in "Disaster", though I'm not sure we really needed to endure the "young shy ensign makes good" cliche. And the ending between Geordi and Data is a nice, tender note to wrap things.

    But in the end - nothing ventured, nothing gained, and nothing worth remembering.moreless
  • This is my FAVORITE episode. Very exciting. Bad Data. His dark side is totally brought out in this episode as he betrays his crewmates. They beseech him, beg him to change his ways, but he is adamant. He will not listen to their pleas.moreless

    Very insightful and I have never looked at Data the same again!

    He has wanted emotions his whole life and thinks he has finally fulfilled his lifelong dream. He is willing to give up his career, his friends for this! He is passionate, adamant for this. He pursues this, until he realizes that he is in fact controlled by an outside force, Lore. When he does, he comes back to himself again.

    Again, very insightful and powerful.

    I have developed my crush on Data because of this episode. I had one before, but this episode clinched it. "Bad" Data was exciting and scintilatining, to say the least!moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • At the end of the episode, Geordi walks into Data's quarters on the Enterprise, and, after pleasantries are exchanged, Geordi asks about the tiny "emotion chip" which Data is holding, after having removed it from Lore's presumably disassembled body. Data says that the chip is damaged and no longer functions, and prepares to disintegrate it using his phaser. If it doesn't work, why bother disintegrating it? Wouldn't the phaser fire trigger a security alarm, as it did in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as well as in other Next Generation episodes? Alternately, Data could have simply thrown it out in whatever passes for futuristic garbage pails or snapped the chip in two or more pieces.

    • Toward the end of the episode, Lore runs to his inner sanctum, presumably to plot an escape, when Data rushes in, gun in hand. Lore turns to look at Data, and says, "You should be careful with that, brother . . . you could hurt someone." However, Data's weapon is pointed down to the ground, not at Lore.

    • Geordi has been given the first of a series of brain-disintegrating "probes" which stick out of his head. Upon being returned to the prison cell, Geordi is put on a table, clearly uncomfortable, when the alleged empath, Troi, asks, "Are you in pain?" She can sense emotions from Data, the android, but not the human Geordi? Prior episodes made it clear that "strong-willed" beings can't be read by Betazoids, but Geordi wears his emotions on his sleeve, so she shouldn't have had any such difficulties.

    • Troi shouldn't sense anything from Data at all, emotions or not. Her abilities are a low level form of telepathy (a cut down version of a full betazoid). In "Tin Man," Elbran stated that he could not read Data at all. This is coming from probably the most powerful Betazoid in existence. If Elbran couldn't read Data's thoughts which are nothing more than computer equations, then a far less powerful Troi certainly shouldn't be able to sense his emotions which would also be nothing more than mere computer equations as well.

    • If Lore is a sentient being, then shouldn't he get a trial before being deactivated? And didn't Picard say in "Justice" that the Federation did not believe in capital punishment?

    • When Data and Lore talk on the veranda in the bright daylight, the shadows are all messed up. Data's shadows point to the right while Lore's point to the left.

    • They fire a particle beam to excite the star and destroy the Borg ship. Although previous episodes have established the paricle beam is emitted from the tractor array, here we see an exterior shot seeing it come from the forward phaser section.

    • In "I Borg" the Enterprise hid in a star's chromosphere with ease. Here they make a big deal out of hiding in a star's corona, which is further from a star's core (and thus less dangerous) then the chromosphere.

    • The emotion chip looks substantially different from what we saw of it in "Brothers" - there it was a metal sphere and here it is a flat disk with a wedge cut out of it.

    • When Data and Lore are talking outside, Data visibly squints in the sunlight. This despite the fact that Data's eyes allow him to stare directly into bright lights without flinching (see "Timescape" for one example).

    • In the first part of this episode, Deanna told Data that emotions are neither positive or negative. However here she says all she is sensing from Data are negative emotions.

    • Response: Although the Borg function as a Collective, not every Borg in the universe is linked at all times. Hugh caused pandemonium when he returned to his ship, but because of the disorientation, those Borg never returned to cause mayhem in the full Collective.

  • QUOTES (2)

  • NOTES (4)


  • 10:00 pm