Date: March 14, 2020
Season 2, Episode 6
Setting the Stage: I watched this episode via Netflix, along with 3 others today. I only have the time to write about this one before we head out to celebrate my cousin’s 30th birthday. Well she’s really my husband’s cousin’s wife – but I like her so I claim her as family. It was just me and the fur children today as husband and his brother were at an all-day concealed carry class, though two friends stopped by and we had a great chat about The Next Generation and how it was an integral part of their growing up. Ah Star Trek bringing people together. I am back to listening to the Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace soundtrack by the London Symphony Orchestra while I write today.
I wrote about 3/4ths of this post before heading out and then have been exhausted all day. Sorry for the late post.
Data: You mentioned your impending death, Grandpa. May I say you face it with remarkable courage and stoicism.
Graves: That is because I am an incredible man, possessing an iron will and nerves of steel. Two traits that helped me become the genius I am today as well as the lady killer I was in days gone by.
Data: You condone homicide, sir?
Graves: It’s an expression, Data. It means I was once as beautiful as I am smart.Data being confused by the ways we use the English language. Same Data, same.
Graves (as Data): Data is dead.
Picard: No. He must not be lost. He’s not simply an android. He’s a life form, entirely unique.
Graves (as Data): Data is not human! He is…
Picard: He is different, yes. But that does not make him expendable, or any less significant. No being is so important that he can usurp the rights of another. Now set him free!Picard’s unflappable backing of Data warms my heart.
The Enterprise is en route to answer a distress call from Dr. Ira Graves, the smartest man in the world – or something like that. Data is having a – mid-life crisis? – and adds a beard that both Troi and La Forge are in stitches over. On the way to Graves, the Constantinople also emits a distress call so Data, Troi, Worf, and Dr. Selar do a near warp beam over so that Dr. Pulaski can supervise the larger catastrophe. Graves and his assistant, Kareen, meet them but Graves is irritable and awful and just the worst. Unfortunately he’s also dying of Darnay’s disease which is terminal and in its final stage. Graves also has a strange sense of humor and demands Data calls him “Grandpa” as Graves taught Dr. Soong all he knew. He does all this while whistling the Wizard of Oz’s tune “If I Only Had A Brain” (or is it heart), which is funny because Data has trouble whistling as per “Farpoint”. Data lets slip he has an off switch and I have a bad feeling about this.
Just a few minutes later Data comes out and says Graves is dead and gone. It’s clear that Graves transferred his consciousness into Data and more so when he begins to whistle going into one of the turbo lifts. Graves as Data gets super jealous over Picard showing Kareen around the bridge. La Forge runs a diagnostic and cannot find anything “wrong” with Data, but Troi thinks its his mental health – and she is not wrong. Graves as Data confesses to Kareen around the same time as Picard figures out what has happened. As Picard tries to convince Graves to let Data go, he is bitch slapped and passes out. When Picard comes to, he finds Data on the floor and it looks like Graves put himself in the computer as he originally intended and Data is back to his usual self.
This was quite the emotional roller coaster of an episode. There’s a dude in trouble, but he’s old and misogynistic. There’s a vessel in trouble, oh no! Old dude wants Data to call him Grandpa, awwww, but then he takes advantage of Data and tries to coerce his young assistant into living forever with him – no so awwwww. Brent Spiner does an amazing job showing off his acting range and even helping me feel the smallest bit sorry for Graves in regard only to Kareen. Too often people choose not to love because of some arbitrary social reason, like an age gap or some such, and it’s easy to see they both wanted to explore a different type of relationship and regret not having done so. I also think it’s powerful that Graves is the one that realizes what he’s done and makes the ultimate sacrifice, after he’s uploaded himself to the computer that is, in order to not hurt anyone else. He realized it was his time after all and no one can be immortal. Sure Picard makes a great speech, Kareen is horrified, and Troi figures out the problem is in the brain and not the body… but none of that matters as Graves is the man who needs to make the decision. I give this episode 9 cases of hand sanitizer, as we’re all going to need it in the next coming days.