Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ST:TNG 5.04 Silicon Avatar ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

The Crystalline Entity is back in a Data-ish episode of 5.04 Silicon Avatar.

Images Source: TrekCore

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

Silicon Avatar
Season 5, Episode 4

Story:
  • While an away team is checking in on the colonization of Melona IV, the planet is attacked by The Crystalline Entity. To help with the issue, Doctor Marr comes aboard The Enterprise as the foremost expert on the entity.
    Character Focus:
    • Doctor Marr would have to be the strongest focus her, she has dedicated her scientific career on the Crystalline Entity, and was strongly affected by that fact her son was killed on after it killed her son Renny on Omicron Theta/
    • Of the main crew, Data is the focus as he works with Doctor Marr closely on investigating the aftermath of the attack. And as a sidenote, I have to mention how impressed I am with Brent Spiner in this episode and Season 5 so far, he looks pretty freaking awesome - keeping an almost singular, un-aged look for 5 seasons is no small feat. In fact, I think he might even look a bit better! I've noticed that in the past few eps, so good on him!
    • We also have the Crystalline Entity itself as a character, which I almost didn't include because it scares the heck out of me! But in this episode there is some light shed on it to think of it not as a monster, but rather a being that is feeding. It just happens to feed by killing every living thing on planets, including Omicron Theta where Data originated. We first saw the Crystalline Entity way back in Season 1 in 1.13 Datalore.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember being totally scared by the Crystalline Entity! Holy smokes, that thing is so scary!!! Retrospectively I feel about badly about thinking of it just as a monster though, as Picard points out it could just be feeding like whales do on cuttlefish.


    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • There is a beautiful, brief moment that shows Picard in his ready room with his foot up on the desk which he gracefully moves away by the time Riker enters so that Riker would never know it was there. Such a small thing, and not overstated, I loved it.
    • I felt there were some odd inconsistency in this one, or maybe it's the difference between now and then. For example, Data holds the memories of all the people from Omicron Theta including Doctor Marr's son Renny. Why has she never sought out the information, either from an emotional need (which see in the episode) or a scientific one (which is more logical). Did that happen recently? Or in 1.13 Datalore? It just wasn't sitting right with me. Then, there is alos the 'new' idea of communicating with the Crystalline Entity, yet we *know* that Lore did. How could this be 'new' if was done a few years ago. It's possible Marr hated Lore and Data so much that she didn't want to 'use' any tactic they originated, but it still feels pretty thin.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • I had a really hard time with Doctor Marr being so mean to Data, and it poses an odd question that just because he doesn't have feelings is it okay for her to treat him horribly? And even more than that, she gets miffy when it doesn't cause a reaction.
    • After all the brouhaha about having Ensign Ro welcome to stay on the ship in the last episode, she's not even IN this one and we have yet another new person piloting the ship.
    • I was absolutely shocked when Doctor Marr sent the transmission to the Crystalline Entity with the intention of killing it, and did so without remorse. I was a little confused about her character, I felt that there were many signs that she wasn't that stable (excitement over concern on talking to the survivors, being overly mean to Data, the idea of killing it was clear in her mind, etc), but thing kept going ahead until it was too late.
    What remained the same:
    • The Crystalline Entity is pretty awesome, and very pretty. Although it's also still very scary.
    • I have no clue what the title of the episode means (and apparently this was something that worked in favor of the episode)!
    What I see differently:
    • This might be one of the few, or few so far, episodes where they build up a character a fair amount and then they die right in the episode as they do with Carmen Davila, who Riker flirts with at the beginning of the episode on the planet that gets decimated by the Crystalline Entity.
    • This one is pretty harsh. A planet gets destroyed, two people are killed, Doctor Marr is viciously mean to Data and then uses him to get a look back at her son, she KILLS the entity and than Data 'doesn't help her' by saying her son would be sad that she ruined her career. Holy smokes, they could have thrown in a random conga-line scene to cheer up the place! Or, it the series/season could be taking a different direction.
    Great Quotes:
    • "Lieutenant Worf, I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful sight." - Riker
    • "Doctor, the sperm whale on Earth devours millions of cuttlefish as it roams the oceans. It is not evil, it is feeding. The same may be true of the Entity." - Picard
    • "What do you propose? We track it down, greet it warmly, and ask it if it would mind terribly not ravaging any more planets?" - Doctor Marr
    Left off at:
    Doctor Marr locks in a signal that instead of communicating, harms the Crystalline Entity and ultimately kills it. She seeks solace in Data who she refers to by her sons name, but he retorts back the truths that she destroyed her career which would make her son not happy, but sad.


    Images Source: TrekCore

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