Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, June 6, 2016

ST:TNG Season One, Episode Fourteen "Datalore"

ST:TNG Season One, Episode Fourteen "Datalore"
Production Order: 14
Air Order: 13
Stardate: 41242.4
Original Air Date: January 18, 1988


So ThinkGeek has come out with a line of one-piece swimsuits that look like TNG uniforms, and everyone lost their shit. They ran out of Command and Science hella quick, but it appears that they're getting more in mid-June.
Pro-tip: do not pretend that you're going to call for a beam-up. You will bruise your boob.



*******

Picard's Log 41242.4: "Swingin' by Data's old neighborhood, so we're gonna check it out. We're supposed to be someplace else, but Data is all mysterious, and I can't pass up the opportunity to be a real-life Dixon Hill about it."

Picard and Riker talk briefly about Data not being on the bridge for this momentous occasion, and Picard says that Data said he wanted to be alone. He suggests that maybe this is a bigger moment for Data than they thought.
Nope. Dude is in his quarters, trying to teach himself how to sneeze.


And frankly, he needs more practice. He just kind of yells "Ahh...chooooooooo!"
Wes asks if Data has a cold, and they discuss the fact that colds no longer exist, because we have to be reminded of that every other episode. Also, did you know that Beverly's husband is dead? #TNGtruisms
Wes tells Data that they're approaching his home planet, and isn't that exciting? Data replies that he finds his homecoming and sneezing to be of equal importance.
Okay, weirdo.
Up on the bridge, Riker asks him if he wants to bring the E into orbit, and Data politely turns him down, which is also kind of strange, because I don't think I've ever heard Data turn down a superior officer's suggestion before. He's being kind of blase about going home. Is he hiding something from the E crew?
Is it Mom's Friendly Android Company?
Or maybe his parents are something embarrassing, like ATMs.
Is he secretly made from the exhumed body of some guy named Steve, who was then stuffed with electronic components? Wait, no. That's cyborgs.
Maybe the E crew, like myself, is trying to assign feelings to Data when he has none.


He tries to have a feeling when he sees the planet approaching on viewscreen, but instead they all get into a discussion about how Data has the memories of the 411 colonists who died on the planet. They ask him if he remembers farmland, and he says he does, but the scans show zero life-forms.
Picard says he wishes he could lead the away team, but then his first officer would pitch a fit, and Riker asks him how Starfleet would view it if he did let him go. See, these are the questions that an organization asks itself after some dumbass routinely gets his senior staff trapped on hostile planets week after week.
...and then all of the senior staff except for Picard, Troi and Crusher get onto the lift to beam down.



Riker's Log 4124.5: "Seriously. No life life here. Not even soil bacteria."

Somehow, Riker forgot to add the last digit of the date. It's okay, buddy. I bet you're still writing 2363 on your checks, aren't you?

Geordi does a scan and says that the soil was once rich farmland, like 20 or 30 years earlier. Data says that gels with the math, because he was found 26 years ago.
Wait, found? What?
Yep. Everything was already dead or dying, and a Starfleet ship found him. he also says he thinks he got the colonists' memories in a hurry, but he doesn't know why he has them. Whoa. Dude has no past, but he has the memories of some 400 dead people.
They get to the spot where the Tripoli crew found Data, and he doesn't remember anything before that.


Geordi's VISOR tells him that the rock face is a facade, and Data recalls that there's someplace back there where the colonists were going to hide, but they were afraid of being discovered, so they just gave him all of their memories. Geordi pushes a rock, and a door swings open. The door leads to caves, the cave leads to bunkers. The bunkers lead to a sweet lab. Data says he kind of remembers his functions being tested here.



Riker sees some drawings on the wall that he attributes to kids, but which were most likely made by one storyboard artist, especially given they all appear to be by the same hand, and that the names signed on the drawings are Josh, Josh M, Joe M and John B.
"Hey, can you, real quick, do some drawings for me? Like four of the same thing?"
"Like this?"
"That's pretty good, But you used foreshortening and perspective. Make it look like little kid drawings... no, go worse than that... worse... stick figures, dude. Make stick figures."
"Okay?"
"Yeah. Now sign your name at the bottom, but print it. Cool, that's good, Josh. No, don't sign the same name!"
"You said to sign them! Okay, look: I'll add an initial."
"Okay, that's greaaaa - you signed Josh again, dammit!"
"I'll make it say Joe. Look, I'll turn that S and H into a big E. And then - oops, almost signed Josh again. I'll make this one John, okay?"
"Fine. Good enough."


Data says he remembers that the lab belongs to Dr Soong, and everybody's like "Whoooaaa," because Dr Soong disappeared after he tried to create Asimov's positronic brain and failed hard. They guess he came to this planet to try again, and he clearly succeeded this time, because here's Data standing right in front of them. Query: if Data is as curious about his own beginnings as he seems to be, why did he not look up robotics history? Shouldn't he also know about Dr Soong already? Shouldn't this be an "a-ha" moment for him as well?
Tasha and Worf are sent out into the corridors to explore, and Riker, Data and Geordi check out the lab. They find body part molds, and Data tries on the face mold, which of course fits him perfectly.


It totally doesn't remind me at all of this creepiness:


You know what I'm realizing now?
Two things:
1. Data is one of those "comfort characters" for me. When I see him, I am put at ease. Characters like Data, Spock, and Remus Lupin are comfort characters to me. Like the mashed potatoes of fiction, as it were. I just feel better when they show up.
2. Data goes from "comforting" to "disturbing as hell" very easily. Small tweaks in his appearance or mannerisms make me want to run for the hills. Such as Data wearing that mold of his own face (wtf kind of serial killer shit is that?) or Q dressed as Data.

Yar calls in to say that there's room in those bunkers for hundreds of people, but there's no one there.

Geordi opens a wall panel and finds gold body parts. Data picks up the head. Is nobody else getting a "Cabin in the Woods" vibe from this?



Data says it's important for him to take the parts back to the ship to be reassembled, because he never thought he'd find another being like himself, and he's dying to know more about it. Riker agrees to beam the parts back to put the new guy together.

Gonna make a small complaint here: Yar and Worf beamed down because they were logistically important to the story. Can't just beam down into unknown territory with security. But then they're given almost no lines and sent off on a fool's errand. Again, it's logistically sound that they should be sent off to check out the corridors, but story-wise, why the hell were they even along? A pair of security yellows could have done the same job. Instead, we take along two characters who rarely get any screen time, and then they get less. Denise Crosby gets so little to work with, and Michael Dorn is in the make-up chair for hours each day, and what does it amount to? Practically nothing. Yar got one decent-sized part in a crappy episode, and Worf is this show's Nurse Chapel. He gets like, one line every episode. I'm really jonesing for the Worf-heavy episodes of the later seasons.

Picard's Log 41242.45: "The away team beamed down to a lifeless planet and came back with body parts. Seriously: is no one creeped out by this?"

You guys, look! I found the four missing from Riker's log! It was hiding in Picard's log the whole time!

A team of engineers and blue shirts work in sick bay to examine and assemble to new body. Data lurks in the corner, watching them. Crusher comes up to him, says he's wanted in the observation lounge.
For some reason, someone has turned the lights way the hell down in sick bay, making the glow from those body-part canisters cast looming shadows on the wall behind them.
Argyle, making his second and last appearance as chief engineer, awkwardly asks Data if he can have his help later if they need to compare construction.



Data goes to the observation lounge, where Riker, Geordi and Picard are talking. They then also proceed to very awkwardly ask him questions that shouldn't be awkward at all.
Repeat after me friends:
"Data, can we have your help if we can't figure out the construction of this new android?"
"We aren't certain how to move it from inert to sentient."
"Does it appear to be made the same way you were?"
Maybe the characters are feeling awkward in asking these questions because Data is their friend and they don't want to hurt his feelings in pointing out that he's a machine, but here's the thing - it's not a secret that they're hiding from him. He already knows. Also, dude does not have feelings. He aspires to them, but none are there yet. Be straight-forward.
Actually, you know what this reminds me of? That TOS episode "The Apple," where the E crew tries to discuss sex without actually saying it.
Picard gets tired of the run-around and tells Riker and Geordi to just say what they want to say, which is fortunate, because their hedging was really starting to bug me.

Also, the observation lounge table is magnificent. I want one.


He points out that they're uncomfortable admitting to the fact that Data is a machine, but also reminds them that humans are machines "of an electro-chemical nature." They agree that this is sensible, and move on. Data is curious as to why he was created to look human. I have no idea why he's never posed this question to anyone, in the 26 years of consciousness that he can rightly remember. I'm pretty sure most people could have given him a guess, which Geordi does now: "Because people are more comfortable with robots that approximate humans."
Riker switches over to the drawings that they found in the lab, and he's sticking by his "proud parents" explanation as to why they were there.
Data is paged back to sick bay.
There, he very quietly shows Crusher where to press in the middle of his back to turn him on and off. He also has an "android alarm clock" which times how long he is unconscious.
I feel like the next two lines should be reversed to make more sense.
Crusher: "I won't tell anyone. You have my word."
Data: "If you had an off switch, would you tell anyone?"
Either way, Data has a point. Hell no, you wouldn't tell anyone you had an off switch.


Argyle approaches and from their discussion, the plan is to open up Data, mess around inside of him, do the same stuff to the other android, then close both back up. The chief seems concerned that using soldering tools might hurt Data, but Data assures him otherwise. It's kind of nice that his friends and coworkers are concerned for his safety and feelings, even if a lot of it is unwarranted from Data's point of view. It's human nature.

Dear TNG,
Thank for actually using science to show What Little Datas Are Made Of...



...instead of strapping Data and the other android's parts onto a playground merry-go-round and spinning it real fast.


After closing up, Picard and Riker pop in for a visit. Data is up and running again, but the other android is still just lying there. Picard wonders which one was built first.
New android opens his eyes and says, "He was built first, but they decided he was imperfect, so they made me to replace him."
He says his name is Lore, and smiles at them like a creepy doll you stumbled upon in your grandmother's attic one afternoon.
Strange music! Commercial break!


Data talks to Picard in his ready room, and there's some dancing around of chosen words. Picard doesn't like that Lore referred to Data as "imperfect."
"Naw, it's cool," says Data. "He might have just meant that he has skills that I don't."
Picard keeps calling Lore "it," and Data asks if he should be placed into that category as well. That's about as salty as Data gets, you guys. He says it in that quiet, concerned, straight-forward voice that makes his shipmates sit up straight, like he slapped them.
"No, you're right. Lore is a he, and you are a he," Picard back-peddles. "Um, so hey. You guys are pretty close to being brothers or something..."
"If you're asking who I'm loyal to, it's you and Starfleet," Data answers.
"Cool, thanks."


Data exits the ready room to find Lore, now dressed in an Ops work uniform, sitting at the con while the bridge crew explain to him how to steer the ship. Worf is put off by Lore, as he gives Riker the side-eye. Riker then recites a mathematical formula, which Lore automatically begins to finish, but then trails off with "something, something, I once overheard someone talking about that..." and pretending like he doesn't math at all.
You're an android, motherfucker. Nobody's gonna buy that you don't math.
Data's pretty pissed that Lore is in his seat... well, as pissed Data gets, which is not at all. "You don't have clearance to be on the bridge."
Wesley smilingly tells Lore that the ship has a lot of rules that he'll have to learn. Lore cheerfully says he's happy to please humans. He calls Data "brother." Data seems mildly disturbed that Lore seems so eager to please.


Data walks Lore to his quarters.
"So, that math question totally tricked you into giving away that you're smarter than you pretend to be," remarks Data.
"Yeah, I didn't peg Riker for being that clever," Lore answers. "In the future, I'll be more careful."
Say fucking what? What's that sound you hear? Is it your Crazy Person Alarm? Because mine is going off full-blast. Bitch has another personality!
Lore wants people to believe that he's dumb and subservient to humans. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, computes hypotenuses like a duck...
"Also, you seem to think of Wes as being a little kid, but he's hella smarter than you think," adds Data.
Lore humbly thanks him for the information, then drops this shit on him:


Data is left standing in the corridor with his best WTF? face.
They enter his quarters, and Data sits at the computer console to look up Dr Noonien Soong. Lore makes a joke about the doctor being referred to as "Often Wrong" Soong, then says it all turned out okay because their "father" ended up creating them, which proved that he had been right all along.
He then asks Data when he can expect to get a Starfleet uniform of the same rank. Data replies that he earned his after nearly twenty years of hard work.
Lore scoffs, saying that system is designed for lesser beings, and that they are superior, so they should just get to skip to the end. He peters on the edge of being... racist? I don't know what to call it when an android talks shit about humans.
Data confronts Lore about lying to the others over who was created first, and Lore goes into some exposition about how he lived with the colonists, but they became jealous of his capabilities, and asked Soong to make a "less perfect" android.
He points out that he can use contractions, and Data cannot. Then this suave motherfucker tries to gaslight Data.
"You know I'm going to the captain with all of this, right?" asks Data.
Yaaasss, bitch. Yaaaasss. Do not take shit from Lore.



But Data is a nice guy, and doesn't suspect that Lore is a fucking asshole. So when Lore politely asks if he can use the computer to learn more about the ship, Data says, "Sure! Also, will you tell the captain about the colony?"
"Why the fuck not?" laughs Lore.
Data leaves to go on duty.
And Lore starts reading at that super-fast pace that Data does.
Last week, reader Mark brought up the question of why Data reads rather than downloading information into his brain, which would be quicker and easier. I thought about it and decided that, even though I don't think the answer is ever given directly, it wouldn't be that far of a stretch to assume that Soong designed Data and Lore to read over popping open a USB port because reading would make them seem more human in nature.

Picard's Log 41242.5: "Lore gave us some info on what happened to the colony: that crystal thing from the kids' drawings is some kind of huge entity that eats all living things, feeding off their energy. Lore was left alone because he was in pieces in the lab. And Data was left alone because he had not been switched on."

Riker asks Picard if that crystal thing might be real. Picard says that there are vast reaches of space where Starfleet hasn't been, so it's possible that they just haven't encountered it yet.


Yar tells Data that Lore left his quarters a while ago to look at some micro-tools, and Data replies that that seems innocuous enough, because those kids of tools were used in their construction, so the human equivalent would be a person going looking for antiseptic. Nevertheless, he decides to check it out. When Crusher questions his motives, Picard comes to Data's defense, saying that a good officer keeps an eye on his guests. After he leaves, Yar steps forward and asks, as security chief, how much Picard trusts Data now. The whole bridge crew turns to look at her like, "Damn, gurl!"
"Completely," says Picard loudly. "Also, that was a totes legit security question."

Lore has gone back to Datas quarters. He pours two glasses of champagne, and is anyone really shocked when he dumps a date-rape drug into one of those glasses and offers it to Data, who comes in a moment later?
Lore spouts some crap about how learning to be more human means observing their customs and how humans toast with champagne at special occasions, blah, blah, blah. Data drinks it because he's trusting, and after he hits the floor, Lore exposits that he was the one who set the crystalline entity on the colony, and won't the entity be pleased when he feeds it everyone on the E?


On the bridge, Worf tells Riker that he sees Data transmitting something. Riker doesn't think  it's anything, but asks Wes to go check on Data, anyway.
Lore is in Data's quarters, dressed in Data's uniform and sending a message to the Crystalline Entity, telling it that he can identified as "the machine Data." He ends the message just as Wes walks in and sees Data on the floor, dressed in Lore's work uniform.
"WTF?" he asks.
"Lore attacked me," Lore says smoothly. "I had to subdue him."
Lore has this weird facial tic that occurs sometimes, and it happens now.
Wes frowns at him.
"I've been practicing his facial tic," he covers. "Lore got angry when he realized that we have been tracking his movements."
"Ummm, okaaay," says Wes. "But maybe don't imitate Lore. If you had used a contraction, I would have thought that you were him." He leaves to report back in on the situation, but his expression leaves little doubt as to his suspicions.


Lore then uses a tool to fix his facial tic, and gives one to Data instead.

Crusher approaches Wes at the conn. "How did Data say he took out Lore again?"
Wes shrugs. "He said he switched him off."
When Lore enters the bridge a moment later, Crusher confronts him: "Hey, you told me that your off button was a freaking secret."
Way to keep that secret, Crusher.
"Oh, um, I decided to come clean about that, because I trust the bridge crew," Lore lies.
Worf and Yar report that something's headed their way, and the Crystalline Entity rolls up on them hella fast.
Lore whispers that it's beautiful and Wes gives him some serious side-eye.


Ooh, early CGI!


Geordi runs off to check it out, and reports back that it's just some huge fucking crystal, and he can't make heads or tails of it. Yar says that it isn't answering their hails.
Picard asks Lore if he can go ask Lore about it.
"Maybe," says the faux-Data.
Wes is over this shit, and recommends that Picard not let him roam the ship. When Picard goes to reprimand him for being rude to a superior officer, Lore smooths things over by saying Wes is just being a good little cadet, and that he can come watch Lore interrogate Data.
Wes gets a Sassy Moment: "Not if I have a choice."
Riker is super-pissed at Wes, because he's training Wes, and this shit makes him look bad. He barks at Wes that he will also go along, to make sure the ensign is being respectful.
Weigh in now, friends: does Riker suspect Lore also, or does he think that Wes is just being a douche-bag to Data?
He points Wes to the lift like a parent pointing a naughty kid to a time-out chair.


Lore takes Wes and Riker back to Data's quarters, where Data is still unconscious on the floor. Now watch this bullshit unfold:
"See how he still has his facial tic, even though he is knocked out? Stand back, he may become violent if he senses that you are nearby."
Lore flips Data's off switch repeatedly, making it look like Data is having some kind of seizure. But because the thing is in Data's back, his torso is hiding the fact that Lore is playing with the switch.
"Lore, it is Data. I need to ask you some questions."
He tells Wes and Riker that "Lore" senses them, and that he cannot control the other android, so they should leave, and he'll record everything that "Lore" says. After they're gone, Lore kicks the unconscious Data in the head a few times, exposing some circuitry. Not for any reason, though. He's just a dick.


Riker and Wes return to the bridge, and Riker gives a description of what happened.
"Dude," interrupts Wes, "I totally think that was Data and the floor, and Lore trying to trick us all!"
Picard starts to yell at Wes, but then the crystal moves in for the kill and brushes against the shields.
Lore comes back to the bridge. "I can talk to it!"
"Since when?" demands Picard. But he lets Lore open a channel anyway.
"Hey, crystal," announces lore. "This is Data. Back the fuck off. These humans are powerful."
The crystal backs up, and everyone is awed by Data's fantastic powers.
"I think we should fly away fast," suggests Lore. "Then we can beam a large tree into space and blast it apart, so the crystal knows we mean business."
He calls Will "Riker" rather than "Commander" which is weird, but Lore doesn't know that.
"Make it so," says Picard.
Lore is confused.
"Fucking do it," Picard repeats.
Seriously, how was he confused by that? It's pretty straight-forward.
Picard frowns as Lore gets on the lift.



Wes tries to argue his point again.
"Shut up, Wesley!" barks Picard.
He sends Yar after Lore to watch what he does.
Crusher attempts to light into Picard for yelling at her kid. He brushes her off.
Wes tries again, and this time Crusher tells him to shut up.
WES STANDS UP FOR HIMSELF.
"Everything I've said would have been taken seriously if said by an adult officer!"
Fuck yeah, it would have!
Crusher actually rolls her eyes!
He asks to return to his quarters, and Picard not only grants it, but tells Crusher to go with him.
"You're putting me off the bridge?" she demands.
Whoa, shit. Picard tells her quietly that he wants her to watch her kid in all of this mess.



Worf and a pair of security yellows stalk down the corridors as red alert blares. Worf enters the lift and sees Lore is there, but Lore yells, "Emergency close!" before the yellows can hop on board. Lore quickly disarms Worf and taunts him. Worf takes a swing, but YOU CAN'T BEAT UP A FREAKING ANDROID. Instead, Lore beats the shit out of Worf. That sucks. Worf finally got some screen time, and he got his ass handed to him.


Wes talks Crusher into going back to Data's quarters and switching him back on. She protests, and he sarcastically suggests that she tell him to shut up again. She replies that he's being "very unfair."
In what fucking way is he being unfair? Because his ass noticed something that no one else did?
Crusher flips the switch. Data sits bolt upright, and they explain the situation. He says he will rectify things.


Lore is down in the cargo bay, talking to the crystal through a panel, which replies back in a weird sound that I can only describe as being "crystal-like," which doesn't make any freaking sense. He tells the crystal that he will beam a tree out into space, and in order to do that, the deflector shields will have to go down, leaving the crystal plenty of time to swoop in and take the crew. 
Data, Wes and Crusher sneak into the cargo bay. Crusher has a phaser hidden in her coat. She steps behind some cargo. 
Lore turns when Data steps into view.
Data has a Sassy Moment: "Ohhh, Brother. You make me wish I was an only child."
That is... weird, and oddly emotive for Data, but whatever.
Lore sees Wes lurking near the door and tells him that he's about to die. Crusher steps out with her phaser in hand and threatens him for threatening her kid. Lore pushes Data into Crusher, swiping the phaser. Then he promises to torture Wes to death if she doesn't leave the cargo bay. Data promises to keep Wes safe, and Crusher backs out.
But then that lousy asshole shoots her as she reaches the door. She runs off with her arm on fire.


Data takes the momentary distraction to wrestle the phaser out of Lore's hand and they go over into a stack of cargo containers. They play Donkey Kong.


Data shouts to Wes to turn on the transporter, and he manages to toss Lore onto the pad. Lore stands and aims the phaser at Data, but Wes hits the Energize button, and beams Lore the fuck into space.


The cargo bay doors open, and Picard rushes in with Crusher, Riker and Yar. Crusher crushes Wes in a hug. Picard tells her to go to sick bay, now that she knows Wes is safe. She's ditched her coat, but there's a hole in her uniform, and big ol' burn there.
Wes reports that Lore is gone for good, and Yar sees on the panel viewscreen that the crystal is moving off, away from them.
Picard asks Data if he is alright. Data answers in the affirmative, and his face twitches.
"Get rid of that twitch, put on a uniform, and get your ass back to the bridge." Picard spots Wes. "You too. Tell them what happened, and that everything is fine now."
Okay, I guess that was his way of saying, "Sorry I wouldn't listen, and you were right the whole time"?
Picard watches the crystal thing move away from the ship. He and Riker are the last ones to leave. As they head for the door, Picard asks, "Have you ever wondered if Data is more human or less human than we want?"


"Fucking agreed," replies Picard.


Man, the episodes that I don't like feel like a slog. They seem to take forever to watch initially, and forever to review. I thought for quite some time about why I don't like this episode. Data is one of my favorite characters, and this episode features him heavily, so why is it such a chore to watch? 
In trying to determine why, I talked to my friend DM about this episode. He was pretty sure that the issue was that Gene Rod had a hand in writing this episode, and historically, I have disliked Gene's episodes the most. I admitted that it makes me guilty to admit that the creator created episodes that I don't like, but we reached the conclusion that Gene was fantastic world-builder... but not the best story-teller. Gene was a "bigger picture guy," but the episodes he worked on personally either didn't make sense, had huge plot-holes, or were heavy-handed. I also don't feel great admitting that I disliked the last episode that he worked on before he died in October of 1991.
But when I really, really thought about it, it wasn't Gene's involvement. He shared writing credits for this episode with three other people, so maybe it was someone else's contribution?
No, my problem lies with Lore. 
I fucking hate Lore.
Yeah, I know. "You're supposed to hate Lore. He's the villain."
But there are a lot of villains that I really like, some more than the protagonist. I like a villain that's unapologetically evil, but it should be tempered with a sense of humor, preferably dry. Lore has a dark sense of humor, but it doesn't quite reach me. I don't find his jokes funny. He finds them funny.
Then I thought maybe it was because Lore was an "old-fashioned" villain. There was this viewing of "Much Ado About Nothing" where there was commentary offered up afterward, and they talked about how Prince John was just kind of a dick for no reason. Well, Shakespeare could get away with a motive-less villain in a comedy because too much motive would weigh the play down and make it less funny. But the commentary made another really good point: we now expect more of our villains. They can't just be guys who tie girls to train tracks and twiddle mustaches. They need to have a compelling reason for this shit, a backstory that points out where they went wrong. Lore didn't seem to have this. The most he had was complaining that the colonists were "jealous" of him. Had he developed a deep hatred of humans because some colonists didn't like him? Was that the reason why he gave them up to the Crystalline Entity?
But that didn't make any sense, either. What was he getting out of his relationship with the crystal? He was just feeding it snacks for no reason.
So I mulled it over. I watched the episode again, carefully, trying to figure it out.
And then it hit me: Lore is a sociopath. His motives are as simple as control and destruction. He doesn't need some deep psychological hurt to drive him to do shitty things to other people. He is a shitty person, so he does shitty things. The colonists weren't jealous - they had figured out his game and demanded that Soong take him apart for their own sanity. But before he's able to do that, Lore gets revenge by feeding them all to some alien.
This is why I hate Lore. It's because I fucking hate sociopaths, and I think they all deserve to have their sorry asses beamed out into space.
In all, this episode isn't awful. Sure, the evil twin thing is a bit soap opera-y, but I think Data's origins are kind of cool.

Red deaths: 0
Gold deaths: 0
Blue deaths: 0
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 2. And he totally DID tell them to go fuck themselves!
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
Sassy Wes Moments: 2
Sassy Data Moment: 1
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: Tough to say, as this whole episode was about Data being an android
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: No Troi this week

Fun Facts:

- We finally settled the "Data and using contractions" debate, which turned out to be more like Spock smiling in the first pilot episode of TOS, where an important characterization was not added until after the fact. It turns out that the contractions thing was not a rule until this episode, when the writers needed more subtle ways to tell Lore and Data apart. One was the facial tic, and the other was the thing with the contractions. For the first thirteen episodes, this was not an issue, and Data frequently used contractions. But here, they made it canon that Data has not reached a level of "development" where he can use contractions correctly. As it turned out, this was a big enough question that Brent Spiner stopped production in the middle of filming, and had a meeting with Gene and the writers on the bridge set to determine the situation once and for all.
- Initially, Lore was proposed as being a female android, and was supposed to be a love interest for Data. Brent Spiner suggested the evil twin trope instead.
- An early script had Riker falling for a female officer named Minuet, who turns out to be an android.
- Data and Lore were played by four people: Brent Spiner, a stunt double, and two photo doubles.



- This is the first mention of Asimov's Laws of Robotics, something the showrunners wanted in their new series.
- Due to some scheduling difficulties, this episode was swapped with "The Big Goodbye," and "11001001." Because of special effects, and wanting to get them right, "Datalore" was granted an extra day of filming. Rob Bowman was meant to direct "The Big Goodbye" but was held up by filming of "Datalore." Continuity mentions in each episode received changes. "11001001" was supposed to have taken place before "The Big Goodbye" and events in that storyline were supposed to have caused the malfunction to the holodeck, but because that story had not yet taken place, it was determined that Jaradans had scanned the ship and caused the malfunction. Picard mentions in the last scene of "Datalore" that the ship is due for a computer refit, which then takes place during "11001001."

*******

Lipton makes everything, you guys. Like, every flavor and every kind of leaf. That doesn't necessarily mean it's good, but they pretty much make every kind of tea you can think of, so if there's something you want, they probably make it.
I was doing regular grocery shopping the other day when I came upon a display of BriskMate* canned tea. I've been kind of suspicious of mates since I found out how much caffeine they have, and my first discovery of it happened later at night. It makes sense that I got no sleep that night, as it turns out that caffeine has a half-life of six hours. As in, if you have an iced coffee drink at noon, by six pm, the caffeine loses half it's power. It's still full-strength until 6 pm. That's some crazy shit.
The BriskMate came in three flavors, and I picked up one can, flipping it over to read the ingredients. 
Sucralose. Gross. I hate fake sugars because they taste awful and make me feel bad later. But sucralose was listed fairly far down in the ingredients, and the main sugar listed was HFCS. HFCS isn't great either, but it doesn't make me feel like crap and it tastes a damn sight better.
In the end, I grabbed one of each with the attitude of "Meh, it's inexpensive."
The first one I tried was the Dragonfruit. I have no idea why companies make things that are dragonfruit-flavored. Have you ever had dragonfruit? It's just kind of sweet. It doesn't really have much of a taste.
This stuff tasted like fruit juice, but not a specific one like grape or apple. Like a general fruit juice. The leaf base turned out to be green, and it was lightly detectable under the juice flavor. But it mostly tasted like juice. 
And that caffeine? Your average can of cola contains forty or so mgs of caffeine, and this mate, which comes in the size of a can of Arizona tea, contains 50 mgs, so not too much more. Coffee can have 100-200 mgs, depending on what you drink and how much.
There wasn't any kind of "on switch" that got flipped after drinking this tea, but I felt pleasantly alert all day. And I couldn't taste the sucralose under the fruit juice flavor.
tl:dr: it's not terrible, and if you drink it early enough you won't be awake all night.

*Mah-tay. I'm too lazy to re-discover how to get my keyboard to do the accents over the letters. so now you know - I drank a mah-tay, not a mate.







Gracie, Charlotte, Petunia, 6 weeks




5 comments:

  1. I gotta wonder why senior officers are often sent on away missions. Really, you're gonna send the security chief for security? The chief medical officer to treat any potential wounded in the field? The "main shift" navigator or whatever Data is (okay, I understand in this episode but not usually)? Hell, even the first officer leading an away mission seems a bit too high up. Yeah, Riker might not have much to do on the bridge while Picard's there, but...I dunno.

    I suppose the practical reason is it'd be boring to see a bunch of nobodies on away teams. We want to see the main characters.

    But, yeah, Worf and Yar barely have anything to do. I was sad that Crosby left, because I like Tasha, but I understand her reason. Still, it was only the first season. They had a "revolving door of writers". Some scripts were written before the actors were cast. Tasha was also sometimes "Macha" and even "Tanya" in at least one script ("Where None Have Gone Before"). I'm sure, once the second season started, and Troi was dumped (she was kept on only because Crosby left), they would have understood Tasha better and given her more interesting things to do. Hell, I brought her back in a fanfic and made her a Section 31 operative/spy (perhaps a bit too willingly).

    So...who brought Lore up to the bridge in the first place?

    Have you ever seen the "Mega Man" cartoon series from the mid-1990s? Protoman has a lot of similarities to Lore. He was the prototype robot, he turned evil, and he kept calling Mega Man "brother".

    It took Data nearly twenty years to become a lieutenant-commander? Let's see. Let's say, after the circa six years of initial study, he spends four years at Starfleet Academy. That leaves around 16 years for a mothershitting android to be promoted three times.

    Granted, maaaybe Data got promoted a while ago and then decided to stay at his current rank, because it'd be awkward to have two commanders on the bridge (although that could seemingly be resolved by Riker being in the command division AND first officer).

    But then you gotta wonder why Data isn't a first officer yet. Considering this is way before "The Measure of a Man", where Data's rights were established, maybe Starfleet wasn't willing to put him in a position of command yet, even if it was under a flesh-and-blood captain.

    Wes talks about "Data" not using contractions, but, from that quote that you gave from Lore, he said "I've."

    Heh, I read through the end of the review and didn't realize Troi wasn't in this episode until you pointed it out.

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  2. I like how Lore can't suss out the meaning of "make it so", but he does know the lifts have a verbal "emergency close" command, because the latter would have been in his reading. Lore got to read an incredibly detailed TNG Technical Manual. I'm jealous.

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  3. This episode focused on two androids and a crystal, so it's easy to see why Troi wasn't included, but it's nice to think that the terrible way Wesley's objections were managed would have been handled better if the counselor had been around.

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  4. Regarding Data's rank: In addition to the likely bigotry Data faced, it's easy to imagine him getting promoted slowly for other reasons. Data is technically competent, of course, but he lacks a degree of ambition, and frankly he doubts himself a lot. Think of Picard's alternate career trajectory in "Tapestry" where the only change is a greater sense of caution about his actions.

    One of the developments we'll see in Data's character is his growing confidence in his own instincts and at leading others.

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  5. So for Data's longer, slow path to promotion: the paraphrased quote from him is, "If you earn this uniform the way I did..." and then lists four years at the Academy, three as ensign, and twelve as lieutenant, so yeah, almost twenty. I think Bunny makes two good points here: even though Data's shipmates like him enough to be uncomfortable thinking of him as a machine, others are not so kind, as future characters of the show will show him quite a lot of prejudice. Someone may have passed him over for promotion based on that. The thought that he lacks ambition is also valid. Guys like Riker and Kirk rose through the ranks quickly because of acts of heroism and crap, while guys like Data will probably sit it out and wait for their turn to come up. It's also telling that Data is Ops rather than Command. He's much like Spock in "The Galileo Seven": he'll take command if need be, but he isn't going to seek it out. Ops and Science don't often move up to captain ranks, though it's not unheard of.
    I'm going to offer up a third theory, and that is that Data has time to take the slow path, so why not? He's an android, presumably immortal, and has nothing but time, so he can afford to hang out in a lower rank and observe the human life around him. He probably joined Starfleet to see the universe and study humans beyond what he was getting prior to that, so his career is mostly based on gathering information, rather than a drive to reach a certain rank.
    However, nearly twenty years may actually be the right timeline. At fifteen, Wes has not yet joined the Academy, but will apply soon. Yeoman Tina Lawton from TOS' "Charlie X" has already been assigned to a ship by seventeen. So we know the Academy can take them young. If someone begins his or her training at the Academy at 16, then nearly twenty years later would make them mid-to-late thirties, and most of the captains we see are in their forties or fifties.

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