Season 4 Episode 3
Original airdate: October 6, 1990
After an accident aboard the Enterprise leaves one of its children in danger, Data commandeers the ship and charts a course to an unknown destination.
My Brief Summary
Full disclosure/reminder to my future self, who is the only person who might even possibly care about this: I actually watched this episode two days ago, but circumstances prevented me from taking the time to write this review until now.
I’m a big Data fan, so I always like any episode that features him prominently. The only problem is, I actually find Brent Spiner’s acting as any character other than Data to be hammy and annoying. So this one is tough for me: Brent Spiner plays three roles in this episode: Data, his creator Dr. Noonien Soong, and Data’s “evil” twin, Lore.
The side story about the kid who’s about to die is kind of a weird distraction. I mean, given that the title of the episode is Brothers, we’re probably supposed to see parallels between their story — where a boy played a prank on his younger brother, which backfired and led the younger brother to eat a poisonous plant — and Data’s encounter with Lore, but honestly it’s lost on me. Mainly because I’m not inclined to give it much thought.
It’s always fascinating to learn more about Data’s origins though, and here we get the bulk of that exposition, through a meeting with his dying creator. A meeting prompted by Dr. Soong setting off a homing chip inside Data, which leads Data to craftily take over the Enterprise, and one which inadvertently also summons Lore, through his own homing chip. (Dr. Soong believed Lore to still be sitting, unassembled, on a shelf on an abandoned planet. Oops!)
The thing about this episode that really bothers me is the simple fact that Data is able to do all of the things he’s able to do in taking over the ship — simulating Picard’s voice, embedding an insanely complex security code in his command overrides, cutting life support on the bridge, among other things. It is painfully clear from this episode that Data is far too dangerous to be allowed to remain in Starfleet, even if he wasn’t in fact malfunctioning and he never intended to cause the damage he did.
Still, it was an enjoyable episode. (Another note to my future self: I only ran 2K on this day because I really should have taken a day off entirely, but I was trying to achieve an award on my Apple Watch’s Fitness app.)
After forcing everyone else to evacuate the bridge by cutting off life support, Data locks the rest of the crew — including Captain Picard — out of all ship controls by speaking in Picard’s voice, and issuing the most rapid-fire complex vocal string of digits ever heard on TV until Bender Bending Rodríguez.
Crewman Martinez shows up (again), but let’s talk about children on board the Enterprise. It still just does not make a damn bit of sense. So to that end, we have the randos Jake and Willie Potts, the brothers who make up the pointless side story in this episode.
Distance Rating: 2K
IMDb score: 7.8/10