Yesterday, we took a look at what went on behind the scenes during the making of the Best Of Both Worlds Part 1. Today, we’ll conclude this look by diving into Part 2, here on Fact Of The Day.


There was a great anticipation during the three month hiatus between seasons. The fans wanted to know Picard’s fate and the production team hbad to work extra hard to keep the secrets hidden.[4] I imagine it was a little bit easier back then before the Internet. Fan anticipation was so great that a fake script was written and circulated, where Picard assimilation was just a trick concocted by Q[4]

Advertisement

When it came to writing the second half of this story, the team had no idea where to go. According to Rick Berman “When we finished the first half, we had no idea what the second half would be.” [2]. Because Michael Piller was not expecting to return for the fourth season because of his contract situation, and because he preferred to not plan to far ahead, he wanted until his contract was signed before even beginning to write the script in late July of 1990. [1][2]. He struggled to come up with a solution to the situation the crew had been left in at the end of S3. On Jan 22nd, 2002 he discussed the challenges. “I had created an unsolvable problem. And to be honest with you, as I started writing the second part of the cliffhanger – that was supposed to resolve the story – I just didn’t know what it was going to be, that was ultimately going to beat them.” [11] Brannon Braga has joined the writing team while Piller was struggling. “I walked into the Hart building [on the Paramount lot] in the morning and Michael was rewriting ‘Best of Both Worlds, Part II’,” Braga remembered. “He introduced himself and said ‘I’m trying to figure out how to beat the Borg. I have no idea how to do it.’”[12]

Piller wanted to have the Borg be defeated by an act of ingenuity, not brute strength. The idea of using their interdependence against them came to him only two days before filming was to begin. He credits the characters for helping him realize this. “I didn’t discover it until the characters did [....] I try to believe in Zen writing; I actually like to stand back as a writer and let the characters speak and listen to them and I’ll sort of like take notes, while they’re talking. Well, that’s what happened in ‘Best of Both Worlds, Part II.’ We got to the scene where they had to solve the problem. Time was running out, there was only ten minutes left in the show. And, um, finally, they came up with the answer that the Borg’s strength was also their weakness, that their... interdependence was their strength, and interdependence could lead to their defeat. And I was just... I can remember the smile on my face when I heard that. I said, ‘Oh, that is cool!’ And that’s how we ended it.[11]. He didn’t like that Part Two was bound by the promises of Part One, mainly the battles. “Part Two had to deliver the goods promised by Part One [....] It has to have the battles and all the stuff I don’t like writing.”[2].

Advertisement

Because of budget it would be impossible to show the Battle Of Wolf 359. Piller decided to feature the aftermath of the battle, to showcase the sheer destructive power of a single Borg cube and focus on the reactions of the Enterprise bridge officers to such a display of carnage [4]

This episode focused on several of the female characters, more so than other episodes. Dr. Crusher discovers the Borg’s fatal flaw and Troi was realizes that Picard is trying to fight the Borg programming. Michael Piller was determined that from Season Four onward there would be a focus on the lesser seen characters, such as Troi, who he wanted to “make some critical contributions to the solutions or problems.”[1] [2]


Although the story only took place over a few days, because of the hiatus, the second part had a few differences than the first. The most notable were the bridge lighting and the hairstyles of Jonathan Frankes and Gates McFadden. Because of all the pre-production work done for Part One, getting setup to film Part Two was a lot easier, despite the extra secrecy. The Borg ship set had laid dormant on Paramount Stage 16 over the summer and it’s availability meant less pressure on the construction crew. The battle bridge had to be heavily remodeled as the pieces of the earlier battle bridge set were being used for Star Trek movies. The battle bridge set used had been used for a variety of other functions, such as a as a courtroom and a geology lab in Season 2’s “The Measure Of A Man” and “Pen Pals”, respectively, as well as the USS Enterprise-C bridge in Season 3’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, before going on to be redressed as an alien pirate ship in Season 7’s “Gambit, Parts I and II”. [4] The updated battle bridge set was one of a mere few Enterprise-D sets to feature actual video monitor screens in its control consoles, rather than simple backlit graphics. The bridge from which Admiral Hanson contacts the Enterprise at the end of Part One was in fact another reuse of the battle bridge from this episode, the only difference is a red alert graphic [4] The flashing Borg hand tool that can be seen being used a Borg standing over the newly assimilated Picard was a medical tool for use by Dr. McCoy in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. This was one of many episodes the prop was reused in because the property masters liked it’s shape.[4] To create the Locutus costume, Costume Designer Robert Blackman worked closely with Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore. Michael had made the suit’s face pieces from life castings of Patrick Stewart. [4] on November 15th 2001, Michael recalled “With Patrick when he was Borgified, he had a lot of skin showing, which we had to make up. He never got fully Borgified, so he wasn’t really totally white or had to have, like, the Borg helmet on. Patrick mainly had individual little pieces that were glued on in different parts of his face and then the flesh around it was starting to decay or Borgify in different areas. But it meant wearing a robe and having to sit in a chair for a while.”[15]


During the shoot, staffers were asked to keep details to themselves and not even tell friends or family members. [4]. Elizabeth Dennehy found that by the time filming time for Part Two came, she had gotten more used to the technobabble “I actually had much less to do in the second one than the first. I had the show on tape so I watched it quite a few times before we went back. The hard thing was remaining the same weight between the first and the second one.” [2] When filming began LeVar Burton was in the hospital for emergency surgery. His scenes were filmed after most of the shooting had been completed. This is why his scenes are close ups and not shots with other characters. Colm Meany took some of his dialogue and that is why O’Brien is involved with restoring Picard. [13]. Art Supervisor Michael Okuda had a funny situation where he was working on battle damage to one of the ship models for the aftermath of Wolf 359 scene. Patrick Stewart came in to make a copy in the full Borg costume and asked Michael what he was doing. He held up the ship to Patrick and jokingly said “Look what you did!”.[14][16]. To depict Mars, the production team used a modle of the planet used for the documentary Cosmos:A Personal Voyage[4]


The episode had gone on to become one of the most popular episodes of the series, however Michael Piller and director Cliff Bole have said they felt Part Two was a letdown after a strong Part 1[1]. Cliff Bole stated “I enjoyed doing those two shows more than anything I’ve ever done. They turned out really well. The Borg is like a Klingon. You can do anything you want with them. They’re fun and real expensive to play with. The two episodes do go together, and I wouldn’t put it past Paramount to do that in the foreign markets.” Referring to this episode in particular, Bole commented, “It was also an attempt to do big and fast.” [2]. Piller felt that “The goods” promised by Part One were “not as interesting”. He continued “If you look at it as a two hour movie, it’s really quite effective. As an episode by itself, I don’t think Part Two really has a lot of character stuff.” He was however quite pleased with how the Borg threat was dealt with. [2]. He felt that it had a lasting impact on Picard. “It was a show in which Picard became more human than ever before. He was the indestructible captain, untouchable, above all risk and danger, and suddenly, in this two-parter, he is a man who’s been raped by the Borg and has to deal emotionally with huge consequences. You see the first needle going into his forehead, and a single tear rolling down his cheek. And after that, Picard was more complex, never the same; he was a far more interesting character after that.”[11]. The episode won two Emmy Awards. It won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series and was also nominated for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series and Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects. [17]. Entertainment Weekly ranked the episode as a two parter the #2 on thier list of the top 10 episodes to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Star Trek TNG.[18] Empire Magazine had it as #37 of the 50 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time. [19]. I think we can all agree that this is good tv. I want to thank everyone who read this far, and like Part One, know there is a lot more interesting stuff in the article I didn’t use. I will see you all on the next Fact Of The Day.

Advertisement

Sponsored

Fact Of The Day is the daily column where RobGronkowski’sPartyBusDriver shares some random tidbit of science fiction, fantasy or horror knowledge. If there is a show or movie you would like to see done, leave a note in the comments below. You can see the full archive of past columns here.


1 . (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)

2. (Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)

3. Starlog issue #159, p. 42

4. Star Trek: Fan Collective - Borg text commentary

Advertisement

5. Mission Overview, TNG Season 3 DVD special features

6. Mission Overview, TNG Season 3 DVD special features)

Advertisement

7. New Life and New Civilizations, TNG Season 4 DVD special features

8 Star Trek: The Next Generation 365

Advertisement

9. Chronicles from the Final Frontier, TNG Season 4 DVD special features)

10 AOL chat, 1997

11. Mission Overview, TNG Season 4 DVD special feature

Advertisement

12. Cinefantastique, Vol. 25 No. 6/Vol. 26 No. 1, p. 86

13. http://www.trekdoc.com/trivia.htm

Advertisement

14.http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/okuda…

15. Departmental Briefing: Production, TNG Season 4 DVD special features

Advertisement

16.New Life and New Civilizations, TNG Season 4 DVD special features

17. Inside the Star Trek Archives, TNG Season 4 DVD special feature

18. http://www.ew.com/article/2007/0…

Advertisement

19. http://www.empireonline.com/50greatesttv/d…