How a bargaining ploy may have caused Trek's best cliffhanger ever

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Apr 23, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

Is “The Best of Both Worlds” one of the best <i>Star Trek</i> (and TV) cliffhangers in television history? Jonathan Frakes believes it so.

Just to refresh everyone’s memories, “The Best of Both Worlds” was Next Gen’s season-three finale and season-four premiere. The storyline saw Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) get assimilated by the Borg collective and become Locutus of Borg, and had Cmdr. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) assume command of the U.S.S. Enterprise and launch a massive assault on both the Borg and his former captain as they invaded Federation space.

The sight of Picard on the Enterprise’s viewscreen as Locutus was one that definitely brought chills down millions of people’s spines back on June 18, 1990.

Not even Number One himself, actor-director Jonathan Frakes, knew how the story would play out. When Frakes was asked if he did know how "things were going to resolve between season three and season four," he told the Huffington Post:

No, we were left hanging out to dry. We were wondering if Patrick Stewart was in the middle of negations and they were using that as a tactic to renegotiate his contract by stressing that he might not come back. And I think it was that seriousness of the story that made for such a brilliant cliffhangers. I think it is one of the greatest cliffhangers in television history.

Do you guys agree that “The Best of Both Worlds” is one of the best, most brilliant Star Trek and TV cliffhangers ever? A bit like the “Who shot J.R.?” episode this side of sci-fi?

(via The Huffington Post)