The Best of Both Worlds

Remember the Borg? They’re like the neighborhood association. They just want to raise the quality of life for all species. Did you have other plans? Locutus of Borg (formerly Captain Jean Luc Picard) makes it clear that resistance is futile. Battle ensues at Wolf 359 to stop the Borg, also a futile maneuver. Can the Enterprise save humanity and Picard? Find out when we put The Best of Both Worlds – Parts 1 and 2 – in the Mission Log.

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  • Mike Parker

    Yes, please!

  • JusenkyoGuide

    Here we go!

    • this episode felt like a movie. So good, intense, action, musical score…new territory…war, death, casualties….

      • JusenkyoGuide


        I will say (still half way through the podcast) I liked Part 2 more than Part 1. Sacrilege, I know. The drama was more intense, and I thought the acting was better in a way. Jonathan Frakes especially in trying to capture Riker having to BE captain and give up Picard.

        Also, yes, Picard in that final scene, knowing that this will haunt him.

        • It’s reasonable. Especially for the fireworks anti-matter show! I recall thinking WHOA! When I saw the previews of the episode. “they ain’t never done that!!” Yeehaw! Also Battle Bridge is a good reason too. Wayyyyy to rare. Series finale shoulda shown it in real time. Let me check. Lol

  • CmdrR

    Didn’t win Powerball, but got The Best of Both Worlds I & II. WINNING!!

  • CmdrR

    The Borg and the Federation were both terrified to learn the real danger of Wolf 359!

    • Hehe … bet there’s not too many that get this one. I do. I loved Outer Limits.

      • CmdrR

        Sometimes, I just have to go for the deep cut. This OL ep scared the pee outta me when I was little.

    • Also love The Outer Limits. Add it to the list of future podcasts?

      • CmdrR

        Great. At least do the one where Shatner meets the evil palm tree while flying… The Vulcan! (Nimoy has a bit part in a really awful episode as well.)

      • Please! And don’t forget the ’80’s Outer Limits, which also had some killer eps. And do it before Kojak and Moonlighting. I may not live that long 🙂
        So here’s food for thought: which Outer Limits episode (the original series) is the equivalent of “Spock’s Brain” for Trek?

        • Don’t worry – we’re not doing Kojak but rather “Kolchak” which ran fewer episodes. 🙂

          • Aaagh! I can’t believe I did that. Yes, Kolchak. 🙂

          • But you didn’t answer the “Spock’s Brain of OL” question. My biggest eye-roller: “It Crawled Out of the Woodwork”.

          • Have to admit my knowledge of OL is not as encyclopedic, but I do think “The Galaxy Being” was just incredibly dull, but if you’re going for the Spock’s Brain kind of combination of camp and bad science then “The Mice.”

          • “The Galaxy Being” was one of the best OL’s… ahead of its time for TV SF.

        • I’d say the OL episode, “The Brain of Colonel Barham is the most similar to “Spock’s Brain.” ^_^

  • George Murdock, “Admiral Hanson” RIP 2012 age 81

  • “Lt Cmdr Shelby” Elizabeth Dennehy

    • Muthsarah

      She looks amazing!

  • 1. in 1990 in San Diego, you could get XETV Ch 6 on FM radio audio also on 87.7FM. I knew this episode would be awesome, so I pumped it up! The Borg depth charges hitting while Picard and Guinan chat BOOMED! and scared me!!
    2. in retrospect, I fantasize “What IF?”- they held this for Season 5 or 6 finale?? S3 coulda been Klingon civil war, S4 Data’s head..then THIS MASTERPIECE!! I would have had Picard on convalescent leave for at least 10 episodes. Let Riker be captain. then promote him off the show…drastic I know…or at least let Commander Riker be in charge for half the season…the whole turning down commands/promotions is just too unrealistic…even a spin off show w Riker is what I thought of back in 1990,
    3. I thought Shelby would have been cool to see again on DS9. With her own ship as XO or CO. Hell they updated us on “Vash”?? ugh…..even the Ferengi from “The Price”, but not this awesome character….
    4. June 18, 1990!?!? my 18th birthday! let me check my journals! lol
    5. Worf sounded like a baby…”He is a Borg!!”
    6. Wolf 359, I remember my astronomy class in college finding out it is a REAL STAR!
    7. when Borg board ship and snatch Picard, where were the conn and ops people? they did nothing!! lol- step up!! always have to remember, Data is scene in engineering and couldn’t help…
    8. USS Lalo, mentioned in “We’ll Always Have Paris”- after Edourad Lalo French composer?
    9. Locutus means spoken? oh yeah! thanks!
    10. nice touch on Borging your computer voice for podcast!
    11. so sad we don’t see the Battle Bridge more often…geez, 7 years…
    12. the musical score..was excellent! I bought the CD at Comicon the next year…
    13. this episode felt like a movie! just wish the after effects of assimilation were explored more at least 2-3 more times in the show….sigh
    14. talk of the end of the Roman Empire was deep..makes you think of our place in history…turn the page…

  • now…you got me thinking! Riker not evolving…there is no pay system for Starfleet. In a future where food, shelter, money is not as big a driving force to work. Would people get lazy? It is arguable that is happening now. Why should I work hard if I can get welfare? etc…dang you Mission Log Podcast!! you got my brain contemplating too many social issues!!!

  • McParadigm

    Disappointed once again that you barely touch on the most allegoric (and, to me, interesting) aspect of the Borg.

    Star Trek’s undercurrent warning that ‘technology can expand our horizons, but it is our humanity that makes us worthy of the journey’ is better represented by the early Borg than any other Star Trek character or story, precisely because they have given up one side in favor of the other.

    For a show that played about as close to “pure” science fiction as you can get on mainstream TV, the anti-‘technology over humanity’ message they repeatedly tell is a huge part of Star Trek’s underlying philosophy.

    Admittedly, both the metaphoric aspect of the Borg and their near-perfect nightmare villain qualities (unstoppable, undebatable, unwavering) were both diluted by either future episodes or the movie. But I would have liked to hear you discuss this in some depth.

    • Well that seems to be an undercurrent that hits in more than a few episodes, and not just the Borg stories. We’ve talked about it before in Mission Log, and we’ll definitely talk about it again. Looking at this episode on its own, we didn’t necessarily see that as a “theme” for this story. It is a big part of what makes the Borg so scary, but we didn’t feel like it was a central message to BOBW.

      • Pancho planet

        Touching on the Borg, how come they don’t assimilate aliens races that are not humanoid shaped?
        A Horta Borg would have been the bomb. Still there has to be some insectoid type alien warping around in space for the Borg to assimilate.
        Just saying …

  • Lou Dalmaso

    One of my favorite bits is the “sucks to be you” look Riker gives Shelby when she tells him “you’re in my way”. Another one is the “Everyone is so concerned about my next career move” line. I can see why Riker would rather be the Number One on the flagship than the Captain of a lesser ship

    • I think the premise of Riker turning down one or two commands to be XO of the flagship was plausible..but really Starfleet shouldn’t be asking, they should be TELLING. That’s why they are called orders. The rebuilding of the fleet and loss of life could have been worked in such a way that would require Riker to stay w the Enterprise since there just weren’t that many ships left (if they had reported many more than 39 had been destroyed….) but anyway- like I posted, I wanted Riker promoted, Picard on sick leave…and then Riker and Troi get married and go the Titan…oh well…..

  • Wildride

    “Data was available. I took him. We came.” – Shelby

  • Wildride

    “Sleep — Sleep, Data.”

  • Wildride

    “Actuate!” – Riker, probably, instead of make it so. 😉

    • “git it” Commander Kurn’s “Execute!”- Jellico’s “Get it done..” I’d use “make ship GO now…!!” lol

  • Durakken

    This was a terrible episode terms of dialog and specifics.
    Almost every time something is said it is repeated right after in some way. “We should do X.” “I’m going to do X”

    Picard saying that Riker used to be X… is completely dumb. That was less than 2 years ago and no he really hasn’t changed at all.

    Riker is completely out of line in this episode, on just about everything he says. Firstly is that he is not Shelby’s CO and Shelby is outside of that chain of command. She answers to the Admiral and the Captain, being that it is his ship. Riker doesn’t give the indication that he will bring her view to the captain and she was brought on specifically to advise the Captain. He’s out of line saying that she should go through him in either case, just more so due to that fact. He’s rude, again out of line, and dumb when he shuts her down during the tech meeting which he shouldn’t even be at (which is offensive to Geordi and Data), more over he’s just wrong in his argument there. She is not part of the standard crew and as such her working longer with Data will not effect the crew efficiency.

    When he “promotes” Shelby, he’s wrong again because she is not assigned to the Enterprise nor does he have that authority to promote her in either case because you can’t promote to ranks equal to your own. Riker is captain of the Enterprise but he is not of the captain rank.
    It is the captain’s perogative to assign XO, but he’s wrong with regard to passing up Data since, again, his statement is that he needs people where they are at… but Data is just sorta at that station and all that stuff he does at that station has nothing to do with the XO position. The other senior officers you wouldn’t want to move around at that moment and you’d want someone to temp hold the XO position which applies to everyone but Troi and Crusher, both of which have more important duties that clash with the XO position that it would be inapropriate for them to serve as XO.

    Troi, if I remember right is equivalent rank of Commander
    Crusher, if I remember right is equivalent rank of Lieutenant Commander.
    This is because medical officers have equiv ranks to LtC coming in and become Cmd when they pass the Bridge Officer Exam.


    The Military rank thing in this episode is annoying as it makes the presumption that the rank follows the position rather than the rank follows the person. So that when someone is the captain their rank is Captain, when they are second officer it’s Commander, when they’re head of a division they are LtC… which is weird.


    Ramming at Warp Speed… It’s actually an extremely interesting thing and is the basis of weaponry in the sci-fi universe i made. Basically, the warp bubble goes around the ship and is isolated from the rest of space. But more importantly is “what happens at the field border” and that is in front space is collapsing and in back is space expanding so anything in front of the ship is in that collapsing space and then being pulled back either into the ship or around the ship.

    So if you ram a ship with warp that has no defense against it… the ship is torn apart while your ship, depending on how it works in your universe, might be completely left undamaged.

    If you ram them and they have some defense against it the ships will stop assuming they have no forward motion from impulse cuz the warp field would collapse… if they have impulse drive active then they ram regularly.

    • per wiki it says Deanna Troi is a commander O-5 like Dr Crusher. But it’s hard to say earlier in the show because of her not wearing the standard uniform. I will check “Encounter at Farpoint”…. there are physicians who are lieutenants on US Navy vessels so the rank of medical people can’t always match the line officers, but that’s just been my experience. I really wish they had more enlisted. I did like Troi’s shutdown of Riker when he wanted to go on the Away team. Gave him a taste of his own medicine. Ramming at warp speed sounds messy. I imagine some sort of singularity drama a la ST:TMP, but who knows…? I think Riker could promote in times of disaster and war, like Red Squadron during the Dominion War?

      • Muthsarah

        Troi is a Lieutenant Commander for most of the series. She undergoes the Commander’s exam during, I think (I could totally look it up in the time it takes me to type this parentheses’d bit, but I’m reasonably confident/apathetic that I’m correct, so I won’t….actually look it up) “Thine Own Self”.

        I don’t know if there is a strict pecking order of Lt. Commanders (since we have three, along with Data and Crusher), but Data is the second officer, I think has been established at this point, so he’d be the default choice. Shelby’s a wild card, but I guess it’s captain’s prerogative to pick her over Data. Besides, Data’s better at ops, and Crusher in Sick Bay. Shelby’s best as an advisor, given that this is a Borg threat and preparing for a Borg threat is her speciality.

        • Durakken

          I thought I remembered it was Crusher that does the Commander’s exam (either way the existance of such a thing shows that Riker does not have that power)

          If I remember right there are 2 technical orders of hierarchy…
          Picard > Riker > Data > Crusher? > LaForge > Warf > Troi.. but I’m not sure of that. It’s based on I know Crusher(or Troi) was in charge when LaForge was on board meaning she outranks him, and I know at some point there was a talk between Warf and LaForge, but I can’t remember which way it went or if his position was caused by Data choosing Warf as 1st officer and then left or something like that, but it is usually the opposite hierachy. Troi herself, as far as I don’t recall her ever being in charge unless she was the one who passed the Commander’s exam and if that’s the case she’s only a WO which has a rank equivalent, but holds no chain of command authority (same thing would apply to crusher, but she is Starfleet medical rather than just Medical so blah)…Anyways… the other ranking is a bit different…

          Picard is on top and has command of everyone.
          Riker is XO and has command of most stations, however… Data is of equal authority as Operations, which handles… well pretty much the entire ship other than personel placement and it could be said that he hold a higher position of authority due to being the conduit with which the civilians communicate with the captain and he’s in charge of running all the… operations… of the ship. This is why he’s in engineering all the time as well, because he must discuss with LaForge the various tasks LaForge is to accomplish.

          From that split we can see the problem with assigning “authority” because XO controls the personel, but Ops controls the ship… Technically the XO has very little command after assigning people to a station or a mission… Data on the other hand tells that station what to do… which is another weird thing because Ops controls communications, but the XO is the one that would run away missions…

          Anyways… once you get past that, authority again branches.

          LaForge, Crusher, Warf, “Chief Scientist”. are all equal in authority. Warf doesn’t have authority over LaForge even if Warf were higher rank. They are in two different branches of the heirarchy at the same level… likewise an ensign, like Westley can’t be ordered by LaForge to do anything in point of fact, because Westley doesn’t fall under LaForge’s command. Courteously Westley however is expected to unless he has good reason not to (I’ll have to check this as there is a video by someone who talks about this in the military)… like wise there is situational authority and domain authority where LaForge outranks Warf in engineering or in engineering matters, but Warf outranks LaForge in security and tactical matters.

          So… yeah… heirarchy in the Federation and military is complex…

          As far as promotion… No Riker has no authority to promote her in a permanent manner. He does however have the ability to give her a temporary field promotion which holds generally the duration of the mission (or until the officer above says so) and then reverts to original rank. All promotions to be made permanent have to go through some paperwork and checkwork back at headquarters… even if there are guaranteed rank promotions which some military services have.

          Another thing to note is that a field promotion never outranks someone with that actual rank (within the chain of command) so if Crusher (or Troi) were actually a Commissioned Commander she would be fully in their rights to say “uhhh no, they are not the XO, I am” though I have no idea how that would play out cuz there are all sorts of issues with it.

          • in the real world though a line officer of lesser rank, would take over before any medical officer would. TNG always suffered from the lack of variety in rank, enlisted and mid level types, at least those that could actually do anything, like speak and do jobs…it’s just odd and unrealistic for a ship of 1000 people. I recall in “Sarek” in the transporter room, some honor guard of red shirts, and one was quite a bit older…just makes you wonder about the color coding, command is rather narrow, but of course it’s an older guy who is on screen just as a favor or dream come true scenario.

          • Durakken

            Was Working on a concept that had me thinking about the branches… They don’t make sense in ST.

            They should divided as such

            Ops -> Command or Engineering
            Arms -> Security or Ground Forces
            Science -> Medical or various science fields

            Instead they have
            Engineering & Security
            Science -> medical and other fields

        • Durakken

          Just looked it up… Troi took it in “Thine Own Self” like you said.
          Crusher took the exam 2 years previous to her assignment on the Enterprise.

          So, indeed, at this point when Picard is captured she is the ranking officer in almost every way. Riker should neither have been made captain nor should he have promoted Shelby.

          The only good argument for Crusher not being made Captain is the fact that she would been out of the loop at that current moment to a large degree and then not being made XO simply because it clashed with why she was there.

  • Wildride

    A couple of things:

    The First Officer of the flagship is an important position as a launching pad for new hotshot captains. Riker staying put deprives Starfleet of a valuable resource. If this were a real military, he’d have been moved on or out. Being only quasi-military, though, I guess they have more leeway. Really, though, most of these officers would have been promoted on or away in the timeframe of the series. That’s just one of the concessions to real world TV concerns.

    Similarly, one of the knocks on this episode, part two specifically, is we do have to hit the reset button a bit to get back to a steady state for the weekly series. The reset button in question clearly labeled “Sleep”. They go so far in building tension that they have to wrap things up in a neat package in the last few minutes (as they often do). Putting them to sleep is kinda neat, but having them blow up smacks too much of convenient plot contrivance.

    Having the follow-up episode, however, at least establishes that the characterization moments won’t be forgotten so easily, so that balances it a bit.

    ( Oh, and just for fun: http://users.synapse.net/robr/40.html )

    • Durakken

      After realizing that Crusher has been Commander longer than Riker and noone has said word one to her… I think the reason people are pushing him is much more due to his career path is that of “Command” and staying as an XO doesn’t really make sense in that regard…. but there are many a military man that reaches Sargeant and loves it so stays there rather than progressing into being an officer or whatever… It’s likely that they just didn’t know anything about military ranks or think much about separating the branches out into something that made sense, otherwise Riker likely would have been a Sargeant, not a Commander, and rank much lower overall.

    • ugh, I really thought there should have been some starships holding the Earth down Alamo style at the end….the Mars Defense Perimeter was just such a let down….the reset button, should not have been pushed. They should have had 2-3 episodes around Earth, assessing the damage, connecting w old friends…more pain in healing Picard.

      • Like Babylon 5’s “Battle of the Line”. THAT was a grand last-stand defending earth. Fortunately for them, the Minbari abruptly surrendered. Probably not likely for the Borg.

    • how easy could it have been to have the Borg cube in orbit of Earth w small explosions going on indicating ships fire/explosions…at least give the impression Starfleet Command was doing something…Mars Defense Perimeter…sigh…3 ships…lol

  • Troy Brooks

    There’s one thing I always wanted to happen different.
    How do we know that Picard had the idea to put the Borg to “sleep”?
    He just says “tired”, I would have loved it if afterwords someone would have congratulated Picard for suggesting to put them in regeneration mode and have him respond “I just meant that I was exhausted”

    • does he say “tired”? I think he just says “sleep” and Crusher says “he’s exhausted”….

  • mc900

    70 – 70,000 light years away.

  • Scott Newland

    This episode, I feel, is significant mainly for the drama of the cliffhanger ending, and the fact that it involves the Borg. Riker’s questioning of his position and his apparent contentment is another excellent aspect. But Part 1, at least (I haven’t rewatched Part 2 yet), suffers from a certain lack of urgency at times. Example: Toward the end, the rescue party is shooting Borg drones and when their shields repel the phase fire, several Borg shuffle threateningly toward the Enterprise team, but when Crusher sees Picard, suddenly the Borg are no longer approaching and are even standing still while Worf tries to get to Picard. Then, back on the Enterprise, the team SLOWLY walks onto the bridge. Even Locutus takes about 10 seconds to go from back where he was to the point where he speaks. I don’t know: is it something in the editing? It just felt flat at times. Having said that, I agree that Riker’s final words are chilling and the episode as a whole is quite good. Just not great… sorry.

    • the cliffhanger was such a game changer, really set the bar high, really I think nothing else rivaled it. Seemed like TNG peaked too early imo regarding season finales. Riker’s final words…hmmm oh of part one, I get it… I guess we have to assume Worf killed a few Borg off screen?

      • Muthsarah

        Indeed. In last week’s comment section, I posited that TNG had by this point reached its creative peak, and that thenceforth they mostly coasted on Season Three’s innovations and accomplishments. Re-using the same score, keeping the outfits (Troi notwithstanding), the lighting, the basic types of shots, and rolling with the characters as they had been defined by this point. Every season from here on also ends with a two-parter “grande finale”. And none of them (not even “All Good Things”) hold up to “The Best of Both Worlds”. But that they kept trying, every year, without fail, just shows how much of an impression this season left. They all knew they nailed it. From now on, they’re mostly just copying. Which is good and all. For three more years.

        Also, BoBW Part I > Part II, so another point to Season Three. 😀

        • they were unable to match this, because they didn’t risk enough w killing off characters…oh well….

  • Kristian Marie Kbot McKee

    After the losses we’ve had these past couple weeks in entertainment, and the ridiculous time I’ve been having at work, it was awesome to see an episode of mission log that is so long. Finishing this night at work the right way. Listening to you guys and finishing invoices….♡

    • I find this podcast to be my midweek treat. I listen to it at work and make LOTS of comments (from work..heee heee) I am glad you find it as enjoyable as me! hang in there buddy.

    • Thank you, Kristian – yes, a rough week for many, but I’m glad we could offer some entertainment 🙂

  • BOBW was originally apart of this VHS / Laserdisc Collection

  • Battle of Wolf 359 fan animation


    • Ad for when Both Episodes were shown together on the Big Screen

      • I remember that!! I wanted to catch that, but never figured out the system..was it Fathom Events? weird thing how they show UFC, operas or Star Trek at movie theaters..funny!

      • It was amazing – so cool to see these on the big screen.

  • arosenheim

    I haven’t listened to your podcast yet. When i do, I’m sure I’ll have much more to share.

    BUT….my quick and dirty review of this episode (and really all of Season 3). This was just as good as I remember it. Two hour episodes like this is WHY we, as fans, get so upset about shitty movies. They prove themselves capable of outstanding craftsmanship week after week and then fall flat on the big screen.

    Re-watching Season 3 has been a delight and a fantastic reminder of why Picard is my captain and Enterprise-D is my ship.

    • Yes…Nemesis..Insurrection…ugh…I wish BOBW was the finale for S5 or 6

      • Muthsarah

        Be happy with what we all got. While the other season finales were hit and miss, we got one more or less perfect.

  • FeltLuke

    No talk (here in the boards) about Shelby being a main character in the Star Trek: New Frontier novel series by Peter David? C’mon guys! She gets to be a captain!

    Seriously though, it is an incredible book series, so much that I personally think of it as cannon, and smile every time a character is on TNG that will eventually join the crew of the Excalibur. Shelby gets some great character development, including backstory.

    • we mentioned it on the FB thread…yes, I used to read the backs of those books just to get an idea of what was going on…Waldenbooks…

    • I recall Dr Selar did as well…yet another character that could have been fleshed out in TNG, just a shame the creators had fear of royalty paying for any minor 2nd or 3rd tier characters…really makes the show seem like the ship is filled w mutes w lots of shocked expressions doing mindless button mashing….

  • nikkolya

    Did anyone else notice the look Shelby gives Riker around the 20:19 mark in Part I when she says “The nutation modulation has them confused” and Riker shoots her down with “They have the ability to analyze and adapt, Commander”? Total murder face and Picard’s obliviousness to the whole thing makes it even better.

    • just Riker getting petty and insecure…..

  • Brian Fleshman

    Im really interested to see how they handle Picards PTSD in future episodes. I could imagine being connected to a massive hivemind and having intrusive probes be placed and then removed from your body has to really mess with your head.

    • this must be new territory to you? I don’t want to spoil anything….

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Much more to come 🙂

    • Brian Fleshman

      Actually yeah. I had a passing interest in Star Trek when i was younger but there was already 4 series and with the books and movies and video games, it really felt like i was standing on the edge of the universe with nowhere to start. Then I see a new podcast called Mission Log starting up and their 30 year mission to watch every Trek ever just spoke to me. I’ve been watching along every week since they started and its been such a journey!

      • Welcome, Brian – and I hope for ALL our sakes that our mission doesn’t last 30 years! 🙂

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    I remember watching this as a kid. The tension, and having to wait until next season was so strong.

    • I just graduated high school and it was on my bday! waited all summer for the conclusion as I started college. Good stuff. The best cinematic show of the series. I wish it was held off till S5 or 6 though. Made me feel like the show peaked too early…sigh

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        There are still some great episodes ahead. 😉

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Watched again, my biggest complaint is Locutus just wandering around the Enterprise.

    Seriously, just start assimilating the crew.

    • Muthsarah

      I don’t know if the Borg are meant to all be interchangeable. They’re a hive mind, yes, but they might still have been built with specialization in mind. Locutus was unique, being the Borg ambassador-of-sorts. Perhaps there was no good reason to give him the same equipment as all the others, assuming all others have the same equipment too.

      Assimilation may only be possible for drones. Who themselves may be the specialized “reproduction” Borg. That is the classic definition of what a “drone” is – the “male” Borg. With other Borg meant to be workers or soldiers (and “female”). Regardless of the physical sex of the pre-assimilated. They were originally intended to be insectoid, after all.

      Which…maybe would make Locutus female? As Borg go, at least.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        True, I may be clouding my reference by future episodes/movies.

        Still, even if he does not assimilate, he could be doing some major damage. The Borg had no issue destroying all the rest of the fleet.

  • Bruce Aguilar

    There’s one thing that’s always bothered me with this story. That the Borg cube explodes after all the drones have gone to sleep is obviously just a way to have a big explosion at the end. The story explanation is as transparent as a freshly cleaned window.