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View Full Version : Star Trek:TNG "DataLore" (S1E13)


doom1701
09-10-2011, 07:46 PM
OAD 1/18/1988

This will be an interesting week, as we get introduced to three characters that show up a few more times later in the season. In this episode we get to meet Data's "brother".

I started watching this one already; I remember it much more fondly than I should, I think. Perhaps Brent Spiner's poorest acting on the series, especially the beginning. I think it might have been intentional--they probably wanted to separate Data and Lore as much as possible, so while Lore played more the "straight" data that we're used to with an evil twist, Data was turned into a terrible parody of himself.

This does open up the opportunity for the sequel episode "Brothers", which I remember as one of my favorites of the entire series. I hope it holds up when we get to it.

LoadStar
09-11-2011, 12:08 AM
Bad (or, perhaps I should say overused) idea done badly. The "evil twin brother" is such an overused TV trope, one that seemed to be particularly egregious during the 80's. Instead of the goatee, we get a twitch and ability to use contractions. The show eventually recovered and made good from this bad trope, including the aforementioned "Brothers" and "Descent Pt. 1 and 2."

I actually applaud Brent Spiner's commitment to the dual roles, and commend his ability to do it as well as he could given the abysmal writing on this episode. The writing in this episode was just painfully bad.

The pinnacle was Picard happily allowing "Data" to communicate with the Crystalline Entity, remarking first "You didn't say you could do that" but not the better question "How does my third in command suddenly have a magical way of communicating with this thing?" Then he blissfully goes along with what Wil Wheaton rightfully called the dumbest idea in the universe, beaming a living object out into space then blasting it with the phasers. Wait... what?

The part where Lore communicates with the Entity using the ship's standard communicator, of course, was soundly contracted later in "Silicon Avatar," where the Enterprise crew had to invent some way of communicating with it. Even though that came after this, and normally I'd argue what was set in canon shouldn't be contradicted, I actually feel that made far more sense than this did.

And of course, this finally summarized the hatred for Wesley into three words that will live on in infamy: "Shut up, Wesley!"

doom1701
09-11-2011, 02:49 PM
I'm starting this one fresh (started it the other day on my phone, figured I'd just go back to the beginning); already it's so cheesy it deserves some stream of consciousness razzing.

Ah-chooee! Brent Spiner, as a fan, let me apologize for giving this show any ratings early on, which forced this performance to be aired.

Is the notion of the colonists storing "memories" in Data ever addressed outside of this episode?

I want to riff on the hidden door in the styrofoam rocks, but it's realistic that the Tripoli didn't have Geordi the walking tricorder to tell them anything.

Riker sees drawings of people being killed and sucked into space, and the only thing he can think is "Hey, some proud parents must have put their kid's artwork in here." I can't remember if, later in the ep, it's ever addressed how the kids had time to get out their crayons, but there seems to be no other record of the Crystalline Entity.

"Noonian Soong was a very important scientist, of which we have no visual record. I'm sure you look nothing like him, Data..." (Yeah, this is actually a gripe about "Brothers").

Why does Riker always look into space when talking on his communicator?

It's a decent fake head; but did they have to put the giant hairdo on it?

I wonder if Data has plastic flashing along his shoulders and sides.

"I am most anxious to hear the chief engineer's opinion, Mr. Argyle...do you believe he can be made to function?" Who, the robot, or the chief engineer?

"Bringing it up here was the right thing to do, Number One." Because there's no chance of it going rogue.

There he goes with that proud parent line again. If Kaylee drew something with people that looked that scared, I'd be digging into it, not sticking it on the fridge.

No, it's not amusing, Data. But why do you need to be turned off? It's not like you are going to feel pain.

That's less a twitch, and more of an unseen hand slapping his face.

So we're not sure about this new android, but we let him on the bridge. And apparently he's stupid...or at least playing with them. So what point is there in him playing stupid?

The contraction thing has always bugged me. It's pretty simple logic. They really tied their hands behind their backs with that limitation (even though it was often ignored).

This reminds me of something I meant to mention in the Dixon Hill episode--they really should have given Data a USB port. Having to absorb information from the ship's computer by reading it seems like an annoying waste of time.

Haven't these people ever seen a movie about an evil twin (or seemingly a half dozen episodes of TOS)? Data wouldn't argue at all with being confined to quarters until they figured out what truly happened to "Lore".

Why doesn't the ship have sensors that work as well as Geordi's visor? Sure, having Geordi on an away team makes sense--but do they really need to send him to a window every time they encounter something in space?

Picard seems oddly pissed of at Wesley. Considering they are just next to an entity that apparently killed everyone on a colony, I'd be more apprehensive than Picard is being.

Heh, the line.

Wes is being unfair? This has been the poorest example of security I've ever seen, and Wes is unfair?

Just shoot him!

Hold it, Engineer Argyle was played by a guy named "Biff?" OK, I've got to take a break to giggle uncontrollably.

It seems like Brent Spiner's over the top Data went away earlier in the episode. Probably because Lore started turning more and more evil, so Data didn't have to be nearly as dorky. And the general story was fine--there will always be evil twin stories, so I'm not opposed to the device being used. It was the other elements of this story--the stupidity of the officers in not suspecting Lore while he posed as Data, nobody going to check on Data (in Lore's outfit), perhaps placing him the brig or at least examining him, and the 15 year old having to be the sole voice of reason in the second half of the episode.

This certainly wasn't the worst I've ever seen, but it could have been so much better.

LoadStar
09-11-2011, 06:24 PM
Is the notion of the colonists storing "memories" in Data ever addressed outside of this episode?

Yes, it is addressed again (and a somewhat central plot point) in the episode "Silicon Avatar."

DougF
09-12-2011, 11:40 AM
Wow, a bit worse than I remember. It does have some importance, though, as the launching point for stories that are continuted in the episodes mentioned above along with "Birthright" and "Inheritance". It even stretches beyond that into Spiner's appearance on "Enterprise" as Arik Soong. Take away all that and this is a pretty forgettable episode, though.

That Don Guy
09-12-2011, 12:13 PM
There's a spoiler because it involves something from the movies...
Didn't they retcon Lore in the last movie, and pretty much replace him with yet another "older brother" named "B-4"? (I call it a retcon because you would think somebody would have mentioned Lore at least once in the movie once they found him.)

LoadStar
09-12-2011, 12:25 PM
There's a spoiler because it involves something from the movies...
Didn't they retcon Lore in the last movie, and pretty much replace him with yet another "older brother" named "B-4"? (I call it a retcon because you would think somebody would have mentioned Lore at least once in the movie once they found him.)

B-4 was a Romulan clone of Data, IIRC. He wasn't as advanced as Data or Lore, resulting in him being sort of an "idiot step-brother" of Data.

Lore was permanently destroyed by the movies, IIRC; I think that happened at the end of Descent Pt. II. The only thing they saved was Dr. Soong's emotion chip (from "Brothers") which they installed into Data in "Generations."

Magister
10-06-2011, 12:37 PM
Wesley was not done well in this episode. He didn't share his observations with Riker, just said 'I DON'T TRUST HIM.' Ugh... Otherwise, this was one of my favorites as a kid.

NoThru22
10-06-2011, 02:17 PM
B-4 was a Romulan clone of Data, IIRC. He wasn't as advanced as Data or Lore, resulting in him being sort of an "idiot step-brother" of Data.

Lore was permanently destroyed by the movies, IIRC; I think that happened at the end of Descent Pt. II. The only thing they saved was Dr. Soong's emotion chip (from "Brothers") which they installed into Data in "Generations."
By the horrible logic of Nemesis, B-4 was actually an earlier prototype than Data or Lore and Lore is somewhat referenced when Picard says something about Soong's whimsical names. The insinuation was that B-4 had been captured (or found) by the Romulans and reprogrammed, but he was still a genuine Soong-bot.