ST:TNG 2.09 The Measure of a Man ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Images Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues into Season 2 with...

The Measure of a Man
Season 2, Episode 9

  • Data is requested to participate in an experiment by Commander Maddox to understand cybernetics more.  When Data denies the request via resignation from Starfleet, Maddox argues that Data is Starfleet property and can not refuse at which point Picard requests the local JAG office to hold proceedings to decide if Data is Starfleet property or not.
Character Focus:
  • Data is the obvious focus here as it's his life and choice in question with the trial  Although, strictly speaking he is talked about and featured a lot more than actually seeing/hearing him talk about himself which actually gives a bit of a meta-within-the-episode quality.
  • Both Picard and Riker iare very important as well, as they serve as the prosecution and the defense in the trial.  I was again impressed by Riker who you can see literally struggle with the thrill of the chase of the case balanced with the horror of possible being the one who condemns his own friend.
  • Commander Maddox, the Starfleet commander who makes the request and then order for Data to be subjected to the experiment.
What it's really about:
  • I think this one is really about the definition of and value of life, as well as the power of choice or in contrast the horror of non-choice.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I remembered this one very well, and remembered being impressed with the arguments and the fact that Riker does his best as the opposition.  I think I was watching a lot more law shows in the 80's though, I don't want any now!  I also mis-remembered this one until they showed Maddox, earlier in the episode they have the crew playing poker (I think for the first time) and so I remembered it as and different episode that had poker in it.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • I didn't realize that Louvois was running a JAG office - or what that acronym even meant!  I was so happy that they also said aloud "Judge Advocate General".  Did I mention I don't watch law shows?
  • They actually do some non-details in this one with back stories, both the Louvois/Picard relationship wasn't explored and neither was the precedent cast for the proceedings - which honestly I find pretty shocking, what other precedent would their be that would apply?
What feels different now, than then:
  • This is one that even though it's a good episode, it's a bit of a hard rewatch as not only do you know the outcome but because Maddox is so freaking rude to Data!
  • I forgot the overtones to slavery though, when Picard talks to Guinan she mentions what it would be like to have a 'race of disposable people' and I found that very disturbing.  
  • On first watch, I remember being a little put back when Louvois says something about how now one is saying what they are all thinking, that being "Does Data have a soul?", and I remembered thinking "That's not what I was thinking!", and still isn't!
What remained the same:
What I see differently:
  • I don't really see anything differently, I'm firmly in the 'everyone has the right to choose' boat.
Great Quotes:
  • "Overt sentimentality is not one of Captain Picard's failings. Trust me, I know." - Captain Louvois
  • "You are endowing Data with human characteristics because it looks human. But it is not. If it were a box on wheels, I would not be facing this opposition." - Commander Maddox
  • "Commander, continue your work. When you are ready, I will still be here. I find some of what you propose... intriguing." - Data
Left off at:
The ruling concludes with Data declared to have the right to choose, and he formally does to to Maddox with declining to participate in the experiment although encourages Maddox to continue to work.  Riker refrains from the celebration party, but Data reminds him that if he had not served as prosecutor there would have been no proceedings at all.

Images Source: TrekCore


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