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When Locutus is detained in the science room, and Data hooks himself up to him, and Locutus tries to fight Data and everyone in that room as a result (he fights because Data managed to hack himself into the Collective).

After Data breaks Locutus's metallic arm, Picard somehow breaks free. But how?

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The episode script indicates that Data was largely successful in infiltrating the Borg shared consciousness (via Picard's own neural link to the Borg machinery in his brain). When he did so, he triggered Picard to 'reach out', allowing Picard to make regain some measure of individuality.

BEVERLY: Data, I'm picking up increased neural activity in Captain Picard... localized in the prefrontal and parietal lobes...

...

And it is only by sheer force of will, the power of the man, that Picard is able to reach through the control of the Borg consciousness... and whisper this word...

You may wish to note that it's explicitly stated in First Contact (the film, not the TNG episode) that Picard's assimilation was unique. The Borg Queen didn't want just another puppet drone, she was looking for him to maintain an individual personality, albeit pliant. Had his assimilation been standard and complete, it's likely that Data and Picard would have been unsuccessful in allowing him to regain his individual consciousness in the time allotted.

PICARD: You're lying. You wanted more than just another Borg drone. You wanted a human being with a mind of his own, who could bridge the gulf between humanity and the Borg. You wanted a counterpart, but I resisted. I fought you.

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  • interesting. I will say, on an unrelated note, my problem is that "First Contact" made it seem that the Borg were telepathic and while it didn't necessarily start the whole Borg Queen who runs the entire Borg (to be fair she only was on the Enterprise for the disconnected Borg), it set the seeds for all other kinda nonsense that wasn't true to the Borg. The Borg were purely robotic, cyborg and mechanical (with a conscience and sentience at that) before "First Contact." Picard was implied to be purely cured with his only damage being psychological. "First Contact" changed that. – Rob Jackson Jul 16 '20 at 23:44
  • @RobJackson The Borg were not "purely robotic" before the film, nor did they have a conscience. – T.J.L. Jul 17 '20 at 13:45
  • Who removed my "Thanks, bro" comment SMH – Rob Jackson Jul 17 '20 at 15:51
  • @RobJackson - Comments with "thanks" in them are often flagged as noise – Valorum Jul 17 '20 at 16:09
  • I've always found that improvised nonsense in First Contact, about some sort of triumphant battle of wills with the Borg Queen, quite hard to reconcile with Picard's previous recounting of events, in TNG: "Family": "You don't know, Robert. You don't know. They took everything I was. They used me to kill and to destroy, and I couldn't stop them. I should have been able to stop them! I tried. I tried so hard, but I wasn't strong enough. I wasn't good enough. I should have been able to stop them. I should! I should!" – Iota Jul 20 '20 at 16:07

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