ST:TNG Treadmill Review #40: Brothers

Season 4 Episode 3
Original airdate: October 6, 1990

Netflix Synopsis

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.)

Memorable Moment

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.

Crew Rando

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

The fine line between magnanimous and pusillanimous

George W. BushI’m not sure which side of the line this very generous biography of George W. Bush from President Obama’s version of the official White House site is on, but I do know it’s close to the line.

To be fair, a collection of brief biographical essays on our 44 presidents, published on the official White House website, is not the place for political attacks. But at times this essay goes beyond generous, and in fact beyond belief. Forget the audacity of hope; I want an explanation for the audacity of the claim that Bush worked to “conserve our environment.” And, sorry, but I have to read between the lines of sentences like this one: “Because President Bush believed the strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens, he supported programs that encourage individuals to help their neighbors in need.” Translation: Bush mercilessly cut funding to government programs that help those who need it most.

But the Bush years are over. It’s time to look forward. I’m willing to keep looking forward, as long as someone else remembers to look backward, specifically into such things as who was responsible for the United States engaging in torture, and whether or not war crimes were committed.

Like I said, I’ll leave that to someone else (say, a special prosecutor appointed by the Obama Administration). Meanwhile, I’ll focus on more important things, like Martin Van Buren’s bitchin’ muttonchops. Why the hell haven’t those made a comeback?

Muttonchops Van Buren

Yet another new home page redesign

I’ve reorganized the home page yet again. If you’re looking at this page and the layout looks totally hosed, you either: a) need to clear your cache, or b) are using Internet Explorer 6.

I still need to test the site in Windows, so maybe there are some other “legitimate” errors on my part, and ultimately I do try to make the site look right in IE6 these days, but… well… that’s all. I’ll be testing the site in Windows within the next day or two and adjusting as needed.