The quality of this episode comes from good writing and solid direction, but it also benefits from great casting and Annie Wersching is deliciously sinister as the Borg Queen. The only way it seems to get the required information about the location of Guinan the all-important "watcher" is for Jurati to plug connect herself to the Queen, which you know, carries the risk of assimilation. And despite the absence of the more traditional method of assimilation, which usually involves having a couple of tubes unceremoniously inserted into your body, releasing a swarm of deadly nanoprobes that rebuild your body from the inside, this battle of wits set piece is written in a such way that still makes every minute enthralling.
Jurati runs scans of the Queen, and concludes that she was in there somewhere, showing Picard her communication center: she was trying to talk, but couldn't find a way to speak. Picard recalls that when he had been Locutus, the Borg rarely spoke audibly, but a thought would be shared instantly with the entire hive. Jurati realizes that she is talking, but because no one is connected to her, no one can hear her. She attempts to draw from the environmental controls to bring the Queen out of her recovery mode, and asks Picard if he had access to the Queen as part of the Collective. Picard admits he had an intense euphoria, but no sense of self. Jurati theorizes that as Locutus, Picard could fix her from inside, but he shuts that down: total assimilation took hours for a newcomer, but she would know his mind, as he had been assimilated himself, and she would take control of him in seconds. Jurati then volunteers herself, as the Queen did not know her. Picard refuses to allow it, but Jurati insists that she had to get in and restore power to both the Queen and La Sirena, and reminds him that he'd told them their efforts would fail without her. Picard again refuses.
As Musiker, Seven, and Rios stand on the transporter, Picard wishes them luck, before reminding them that they were there to find the Watcher, not interfere with time; all their choices had consequences. Picard beams them away, leaving him and Jurati with the Queen. Now it was Jurati's turn, as she sits down next to the Queen; Picard attaches an assimilation tubule to her neck, and Jurati goes almost comatose. Sitting across from her, Picard looks down at the neural readings, as the doctor slowly begins her work. 041b061a72