The Ensigns of Command
Season 3 Episode 2
Original airdate: September 30, 1989
After a century of silence, the Enterprise receives a message from the Sheliac (sic) system informing them that they have discovered a human colony.
My Brief Review
This is a pretty solid episode. No annoying characters (although Gosheven, the imperious leader of the colonists, walks the line), few glaring flaws in the script, and it even ties in the cold open in a cohesive way. I believe this is also the first time we see Data playing violin.
That said, it wasn’t exactly an exciting episode. The Sheliak species is interesting though — I enjoy it whenever Star Trek takes the time to conceive of an alien species that is radically different from humans. It makes for a far more interesting episode on a philosophical level, as it explores the nature of humanity. This episode does that in several ways, with the colonists trying to decide what gives their existence meaning, Data tries to express himself creatively, and Picard tries to negotiate with a species that sees humans as little more than an infestation.
I have a soft spot for Data, and he’s the star of this episode. I always remember the wrap-up moment at the end of the episode, where Data is speaking with Picard in the ready room, discussing a recording of Data’s string quartet performance from the cold open. Data explains that he was not playing with “feeling” — merely recreating the techniques of two famous violinists. Picard points out that the two violinists play in very different styles, so Data was creating something new and original by successfully combining them.
So… uh… an argument that mashups constitute a new work? (Asking for a friend.)
The other two members of Data’s string quartet (plus O’Brien).
Distance Rating: 4K
IMDb score: 7.5/10