Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990) – Transfigurations, and The Best of Both Worlds Part I

Captain’s log: stardate 43957.2

Rene Echevarria penned the penultimate episode of Season 3, which first aired on 4 June, 1990.

A wounded survivor is located on a planet, during the medical emergency, Geordi (LeVar Burton) is connected with the being, referred to as John Doe (Mark La Mura) and an energy discharge has a bit of an effect on him. He has increased confidence, feels great, and may, finally, get lucky in love.

A Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) works on Doe, she discovers that he has amnesia, and has no idea where he’s from or who he is, but we do know that she is developing feelings for him. They also learn that he has the ability to heal others.

Data (Brent Spiner) and Geordi adapt part of the crashed ship’s material to plot its course and discover where it came from, and hint at who John truly is. But what happens when someone comes looking for him, levelling accusations at the alien.

The odd bit of continuity in this episode is Geordi’s pursuit of Christy Henshaw (Julie Warner) – she rejected his advances earlier in the season, but now seems interested… We also get our first introduction to O’Brien’s (Colm Meaney) love of kayaking.

Not the strongest episode, considering the stories that bracket it, but still strong storytelling in the Trek universe that outshines most of Season 1 and 2.

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Captain’s log: stardate 43989.1

Airing on 18 June, 1990 (and so many fans know exactly where they were when this episode aired) and The Next Generation became a phenomenon.

Written by Michael Piller, the episode brought back the cybernetic beings, the Borg after they were first introduced in the previous season. It also brought the first season finale cliffhanger into play in the Star Trek Universe.

Picard, Riker (jonathan Frakes) and the rest of the crew are a little troubled when they are warned of the arrival of the Borg along the edge of Federation space.  They are personally bothered by the arrival of Lieutenant Commander Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy) who is gunning for Riker’s post.

That brings into mind whether or not the First Officer has become too comfortable aboard the Enterprise.

But no one has time to mull that over, as the Borg arrive on the scene, and are able to make off with one of the Federation’s most valuable resources, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, converting him into a mouthpiece for the Borg, a being named Locutus.

This brings the episode to a stunning climax. When they Enterprise crew is unable to rescue their captain, they go ahead with their plan of using the starship’s deflector dish as a weapon, and fire it.

I was personally floored when the screen went back and said To Be Continued…

Piller crafted the perfect ending for the season, a season which was the strongest to date, and showed the series really finding its feet, its characters, and telling Star Trek stories that finally convinced some of the most stubborn Original Series fans that The Next Generation was a worthy successor to the Trek title.

Let me tell you, September was so far away that summer!!!

The Human Adventure continues Thursday… (so much shorter a wait!).

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