Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 26

The Best Of Both Worlds (1)

Aired Unknown Jun 18, 1990 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
339 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 43989.1 A Starfleet expert on the Borg, Lt. Cmdr. Shelby, is assigned to the Enterprise to investigate the disappearance of a Federation colony.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

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  • "Mr. Worf… Fire."

    This tense, tightly written episode has it all: memorable moments, great guest stars, amazing special effects, a great score, and the most amazing finish to any Trek episode ever. Writer Michael Piller and director Cliff Bole deserve special credit. Each scene is perfectly written and executed, ratcheting up the tension and building up the story like a symphony.

    While the focal point of "Best of Both Worlds" is Picard, it's actually a Will Riker episode. Thanks to the addition of spitfire Lieutenant Shelby (expertly played by Elizabeth Dennehy), Jonathan Frakes (Riker) is able to take his character to places Number One has never been before. But like the best Star Trek films, the episode finds something for all the regulars to do, and uses each of their characters well. Throw in guest appearances by Guinan (Whoopie Goldberg) and Admiral Hanson (played by George "God" Murdock) and you've got arguably Star Trek's finest hour.moreless
  • Quite possibly the best episode in the history of ANY program...

    This is the episode that blew away the world. It was written, produced, and performed with such tension, adrenaline, and shock unlike anything ever seen before in the Star Trek franchise. Only in key scenes of perhaps Dallas, and Twin Peaks, can you compare the cliff-hanger shock at its end.

    For me, this is the episode that made me shelve all my criticisms and comparisons of "The Next Generation" to the classic "Star Trek". I've been an unfaltering fan since this one aired that spring, and the following summer was abuzz with conversations with friends about its possible outcome.

    I like this episode better than any Star Trek movie. I'm sure there are lots who'll agree with that.moreless
  • The third season ends with the crew of USS Enterprise preparing to go into battle against the Borg. Riker soon learns that in addition to the Borg, he has the ambitous Lt. Commander Shelby to contend with.moreless

    No doubt the best episode of "Star Trek: The Next Genaration." Everything works in this episode. From the terrific suspense, the amazing thrills and the excellent acting by the top notch cast, this episode is almost guaranteed to entertain. As spectacular as the special effects are and menacing a villan as The Borg are, there is something else that makes this episode the best of the series. The fantastic and very well written scenes between Johnathan Frakes and Elizabeth Dennehy. They both give excellent performaces (The best of the series for Frakes.) which stand the test of time. Series classic.moreless
  • An epic episode.

    One of the best Star Trek episodes and two parters of all time. Talk about cliff hangers, this was a special one that was totally fitting to lead into the following season. It was a terrific episode to leave you waiting until season 4 and had dire situations. I thought that everything was well written and it was a well acted show. My favorite part of this episode would have to be the very end where Captain Picard approaches the viewing screen as a new member of the collection, named the Borg. It was chilling and a fresh angle that never was used before. This was a great episode and an all time classic. Thank you.moreless
  • A classic whose reputation among fans is well-deserved.

    In many ways, this is a better "movie" than of the 4 TNG films that appeared in theatres. Michael Piller, who wrote this episode, did an expert job - primarily in part 1 - of introducing many different ideas in 45 minutes and weaving them all together. The away team on the decimated planet, Shelby and Riker's sparring, the low-key conversation between Picard and Guinan, and the stunning conclusion - it's tough to believe how much they managed to pack in!

    It's tough to find anything to criticize in this episode. Probably the best two-parter in the history of TNG, though Chain of Command from season 6 comes close.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

Elizabeth Dennehy

Elizabeth Dennehy

Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Shelby

Guest Star

George Murdock

George Murdock

Admiral J. P. Hanson

Guest Star

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg


Recurring Role

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Miles O'Brien

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • When the Enterprise was forced out of the nebula that they were hiding from the Borg in, why didn't they exit on the opposite side? Since the Borg could not scan the interior of the nebula, they may not have immediately known they escaped, giving them more lead time.

    • The second Borg drone beams onto the bridge next to the emergency turbolift. He does not move, except when fighting off Riker and Worf. However, when he beams off, he is next to the alcove adjoining the ready room.

    • During this episode and in Part Two Shelby's pips on her collar change from two full and one open, to three full, to two full and one open again.

    • When Riker asks if they're at the right spot, O'Brien says that they're in the center of the colony. That would put them in the crater, not on the edge.

    • During a senior staff briefing with Admiral Hanson on subspace discussing the loss of Capt. Picard, Hanson dresses down Shelby and refers to her as "Lieutenant" in a fit of pique. As a Lt. Commander, she should have been called "Commander", if not her full title. A Lieutenant is a completely different rank.

    • Trivia: This is not the first time the Enterprise investigated the mysterious and total disappearance of a colony, "as if it were scooped away." In season one's "The Neutral Zone", they and the Romulans were investigating a similar phenomenon.

    • Why wasn't Data on the bridge when Picard was abducted? The Enterprise was being fired upon and trying to out-run the Borg cube. Data's expertise proved invaluable during the initial encounter and would certainly have been useful on the bridge this time as well, or was he told to stay with Geordi and work on the deflector no matter what?

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Picard: I wonder if the Emperor Honorius watching the Visigoths coming over the Seventh Hill truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is just another page in history, isn't it? Will this be the end of our civilization - a turn of the page?
      Guinan: This isn't the end.
      Picard: You say that with remarkable assuredness.
      Guinan: With experience. When the Borg destroyed my world, my people were scattered throughout the universe - we survived, as will humanity survive. As long as there is a handful of you to keep the spirit alive, you will prevail--even if it takes a millennium.

    • Picard: It's something of a tradition, Guinan, captain touring the ship before a battle.
      Guinan: Before a hopeless battle, if I remember the tradition correctly.
      Picard: Not necessarily. Nelson toured the H.M.S. Victory before Trafalgar.
      Guinan: Yes, but Nelson never returned from Trafalgar, did he?
      Picard: No, but the battle was won.

    • Admiral Hanson: This is the third time we've pulled out the captain's chair for Riker. He just won't sit down.

    • Lt. Commander Shelby: (to Riker) If you cannot make the big decisions, Commander, I suggest you make room for someone who can.

    • Shelby: Frankly, sir, you're in my way.
      Riker: Really? How terrible for you.

    • Borg: Captain Jean-Luc Picard, you lead the strongest ship of the Federation fleet. You speak for your people.
      Picard: I have nothing to say to you! And I will resist you with my last ounce of strength!
      Borg: Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and techonological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.
      Picard: Impossible! My culture is based on freedom and self-determination!
      Borg: Freedom is irrelevant. Self-determination is irrelevant. You must comply.
      Picard: We would rather die.
      Borg: Death is irrelevant. Your archaic cultures are authority-driven. To facilitate our introduction into your societies, it has been decided that a human voice will speak for us in all communications. You have been chosen to be that voice.

    • Borg: Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Starship Enterprise, registry NCC-1701-D, you will lower your shields and prepare to transport yourself aboard our vessel. If you do not cooperate we will destroy your ship.
      Picard: You have committed acts of aggression against the United Federation of Planets. If you do not withdraw immediately...
      Borg: You will surrender yourself or we will destroy your ship.

    • Riker: You do an end run around me again, and I'll snap you back so hard you'll think you were a first year cadet again!

    • Locutus: I am Locutus... of Borg. Resistance is hopeless. Your life as it has been... is over. From this point forward you will service... us.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The fact the episode was a cliffhanger was hidden during the episode title. It was simply known as "The Best of Both Worlds".

    • This is the first season finale for The Next Generation (as well as for all the series) to end with a cliffhanger.

    • The first "official" two-parter. "Encounter At Farpoint" was a feature-length pilot.

    • One of the original ideas for this episode was that both Picard and Data were assimilated by the Borg. The idea of Data being assimilated would be dropped until Star Trek: First Contact.


    • Capt. Picard as Locutus: I am Locutus of Borg.
      In Latin, the root of "Locutus" means "to speak" or "to tell." In essence, he is simply saying "I am the speaker of Borg."