Thursday, September 20, 2012

ST:TNG 1.13 Datalore ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Datalore
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 13

Story:

  • The Enterprise stops by the planet where Data was found, and although the colonists have disappeared the crew finds an series of android parts which when assembled create Lore, Data's brother.  
What it's really about:
  • It's clearly an introduction to the character of Lore, who is a lot more smooth with humans than Data.
  • We also get a fair amount of history to Data's origins and his choices and duration of stay with Starfleet so far.  
  • A big part of this episodes I feel is to show how easily Data could have been different, and less likeable, if he didn't have the characteristics that make him awkward and unusual.  It's also a way for the audience to really cheer along and support Data as he is, when seeing the contrast of a more 'human' version which they describe as including humans needs and ambition.
Character Focus:
  • Data and Lore are the clear focus, almost the entire episode is centred on the finding, constructing and introduction of Lore as well as how he betrays 'his brother' Data and tries to hand over the lifeforms on the Enterprise to the Crystalline Entity.
  • There is also a minor focus on Wesley, who appears to be the only one to strongly suspect that Lore poses in Data's role.  It's funny, because although there are many things I take for granted with the show (like Worf's ideas are always shot down), this episode made me think that Wesley way always be right, yet no one listens.  I'm going to keep an eye on this.

What I remembered about this episode:
  • Although I certainly remembered the whole introduction of Lore, what I mostly remember is the introduction of the Crystalline Entity!  I always thought it was one of the creepiest monster-y things in TNG.  It was just so big and weird and organic but felt non organic.  It totally freaked me out.  
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • I couldn't figure out why the heck they went down to the planet in the first place!  And was the disappearance of the colony before or after they found Data?  After feels logical, but why would they not have found Lore at that point as well?  Weird. 
  • Brent Spiner does an amazing job acting in this episode.  Sure we have the obvious ways to tell the 2 characters from another, but it's the interaction and reactions that are so good.  It feels completely natural. 
  • The is the second time where someone new asks about how helm control works; perhaps that's not a good thing to share as it seems to leads to folks wanting to take over the ship!
What feels different now, than then:
  • I really thought that the effects that they used to see the 1 actor-2 characters would feel dated, but they don't.  It feels clear when it's very 'centre of the screen' divide which one character on each that they are doing something to make this work, but I don't see it and I rarely feel it.  That's impressive.  It's like knowing you are watching a magic trick but still just marvelling at the bird that comes out of the hat.  I loved that. 
  • They spend a lot of time with putting together Lore and with almost whimsical musical that kinda screamed "Isn't this cool?".  I didn't find it that cool.
What remained the same:
  • It's so much fun to have episodes where you second guy and try and sort out the who's who when there is a duality thing going on.  It's weird, duality or duplicates often scare me and androids can totally put me over the edge, but somehow when you put them together it was awesome over scary.
What I see differently:
  • I loved the whole Sick Bay & Engineering working in harmony together.  That was cool.
  • It's a little weird to watch this one knowing snippets of things in future episodes, it made me feel like I didn't have to watch it too closely.
  • I was surprized Lore was introduced this early in the series, although it's a great way to learn more about and really get on Data's side, it still is very soon.
  • I adored Picard's 'lets get over this awkwardness of language and egg shell treading on if we are hurting anyone's feelings' speech (see actual quote below); he's such a great Captain: acknowledge the situation, provide a solutions and set the tone to more forward.  Awesome. 
Great Quotes:
  • "More than interested - fascinated. One might say, agog. But I also find sneezing interesting." - Data
  • "You'll feel uncomfortable about aspects of your duplicate, Data. We feel uncomfortable too, and for no logical reason. If it feels awkward to be reminded that Data is a machine, just remember that *we* are merely a different variety of machine - in our case, electrochemical in nature. " - Picard
  • "And you want to be as stupid as them, dear Brother?" - Lore
Left off at:
After the betrayal is revealed, there is a showdown between Wesley, Beverly, Lore and Data in a ...oh, I want to say cargo bay but I think they use a different term.  Lore is beamed off into space by Wesley after direction and diversion of Data and the Crystalline Entity leaves the area.   This is one of the few episodes so far that feels like it leaves a few doors open: Lore's off in space and the audience knows the awfulness of what he did with the Crystalline Entity and the colonists, but the Enterprise just seems like "And it's moved away - jolly good."  But will this be the last time we see it?

Odd side note, this is the first one I watched out of sequence after 1.11 Haven to 1.13 Datalore.  I didn't really mean to do that and it's a good thing this series isn't overly linear with the exception of a few arcs.

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Images Source: TrekCore 

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