Star Trek: The Next Generation/Recap/S3/E26 S4 E1 The Best of Both Worlds
The Enterprise responds to a colony's distress call, finding a hole in the ground when they arrive (an inverted Colony Drop?). They identify that this hole is identical to holes made near the Romulan Neutral Zone and the Star System J-25, so it appears that the Borg has finally taken an active interest in the Federation and has begun an invasion. In response to this, Admiral Hanson assigns Lieutenant-Commander Shelby, leader of a dedicated anti-Borg taskforce, to the Enterprise, recommending to Picard that he assign her as First Officer as Riker has been offered a Captain's Chair on the USS Melbourne.
Shelby rubs Riker up the wrong way as they analyse the remains of the colony and try to devise anti-Borg tactics. She acts boldly, sometimes circumventing the chain of command to enact her ideas. It doesn't help that everyone seems to go to her for suggestions, even though it was Riker that was actually aboard a Borg vessel. And worst of all, she beats his bluff in a poker game. Commenting on her style to Picard, Picard muses that this reminds him of how Riker was before the beard, and recommends to Riker that he takes the Melbourne job. Riker talks with Troi about this, considering whether he's become too comfortable, too "safe" aboard the Enterprise.
Eventually the Borg Cube is sighted nearby and the Enterprise intercepts it, hoping to keep it occupied while Starfleet assembles The Cavalry. The Borg surprise everyone by contradicting Q's previous statements and demanding Picard surrenders himself. Despite Modulating Shield Nutation and firing Phasers on a higher EM band, the Cube is unaffected, so the Enterprise flees into a nearby nebula that looks suspiciously like the Mutara Nebula. Inside the nebula a plan is devised to modify the Deflector Array into a Wave Motion Gun. During this latest brainstorming session Riker and Shelby clash yet again, and Shelby spells it out for Riker: What's happening with the Borg is far more important than his own insecurities, and she's not going to let him stop her trying her best.
Picard tours the ship as it makes repairs and preperations, eventually discussing with Guinan about how this could be considered a pivotal moment in Federation history. Then the ship shakes; the Borg are deploying Space Depth Charges to flush out the Enterprise. Flushed out they are, and after some Borg beam aboard and swat Worf to one side, they capture Picard and bring him aboard the cube, which now heads directly for Earth with the Enterprise in pursuit. Aboard the Cube Picard refuses to say anything but the Borg has ways of making him talk...
Riker prepares a boarding party to rescue Picard and knock the Cube out of warp, as the jury rigged deflector can only be fired out of Warp. He plans to lead it, but Troi points out that since he is now in command, his place is on the bridge, so he has to defer to Shelby yet again. Aboard the Cube the drones decide the party is Somebody Else's Problem until they shoot the Upside Down Warp Pyramid Thingy. Modified phasers keep the drones at bay until they see Picard. Yay! Wait...why is he dressed in black with metal on his face?
A forcefield means the party can't reach Picard, so they beam back to the Enterprise. The deflector array is ready to fire, but Picard is till on the Cube, and it won't stay out of Warp for long. Before we can dwell on this, the Enterprise is hailed...by Picard.
Riker: Mister Worf...fire!
The Cube then continues on its course for Earth. After all, it's not like they'd want to assimilate the most powerful ship in the fleet or anything. Enterprise contacts Admiral Hanson, who agrees with Riker's decision and grants him a field promotion to Captain of the Enterprise. He's assembling a fleet to intercept the Cube at Wolf 359, and Riker orders that the Enterprise rendevous with them.
Riker muses in what is now his ready room about the situation, when Guinan comes in. Despite his proving that he can still be bold and make the big choices, he's now living in Picard's shadow, comparing his own style with what Picard would do. Guinan calls him out on this: Despite her own friendship with Picard, she urges him to forge his own path. It's his ship, his room, his chair, and so he should be able to make his own decisions. With this pep talk over, Riker continues his Character Development by assigning Shelby as First Officer, and continuing to brainstorm anti-Borg Strategies, but not before receiving a hail from Hanson, saying the battle is not going well. The Enterprise arrives at Wolf 359 to discover it's become a Derelict Graveyard. Picard's knowledge of Starfleet technology and tactics allowed the Borg to wipe out the fleet, and even The Sisko couldn't prevent it. Among the lost ships was the Melbourne, the ship Riker was offered command of.
The Enterprise catches up to the Cube once again and hails them. Riker attempts to offer terms of negotiation, but Locutus suspects that this is a deception. He is correct as the Saucer and Star Drive seperate and engage the cube. However the real deception is that Worf and Data sneak aboard the Cube during the fight, capture Locutus and bring him aboard the Enterprise. Despite attempts to reach Picard, he's still firmly part of the Borg Collective and decides to taunt Riker with his own self-doubt. Riker doesn't fall for it, so they opt for a new plan: Data will engage in a little Hollywood Hacking, using Locutus' connection to the Borg to access the Cube's systems.
As this happens, the Cube has arrived over Earth, so the Enterprise engages in a Last Stand battle. Data attempts to disable the Borg's weapons and power systems, but they're too heavily protected. Riker dips into the fountain of Character Development one more time and orders Wesley to ram the Cube to save the Earth. However Data's influence has revealed that Picard was in there somewhere, as he now suggests sleep. Data orders the Cube's drones to begin a regeneration cycle, and it shuts down. A feedback loop is created, and the Cube overloads and is destroyed.
Picard is now fully freed from the Collective, and Doctor Crusher is able to remove all the Borg Implants without any problems. Riker announces he'll have to decide what he's going to do, but by the next episode he'll trip over the Reset Button and lose a pip in the process. Shelby is already leaving, joining a taskforce to rebuild and expand the lost fleet. After this harrowing experience, Picard looks out his office window and drinks some tea. Meanwhile, the newly-widowed First Officer of the USS Saratoga starts thinking about building a new ship so this never happens again...