Date: April 11, 2020
Season 4, Episodes 3 and 4
Musical Accompaniment: Ambient Worlds presents: Slytherin Common Room music
Interstellar News: Today was hard and I apologize in advance if my writing is “off”.
Favorite Quote from “Brothers”:
Data: Do you believe that we are in some ways alike, sir?
Soong: Yes, in many ways, I’d like to believe.
Data: Then it is alright for you to die, because I will remain alive. You know that I cannot grieve for you, sir.
Soong: You will, in your own way. Goodbye. Goodbye, Data.
Data: Goodbye, Father.Before this is all over, too many will die. Do not forget them and do not let anyone tell you there is a “right” way to grieve.
“Brothers” begins with a prank gone wrong by one of the children on the ship and his brother now desperately needs to get to the nearest star base for medical treatment. Unfortunately, Data begins to act strangely and hijacks the Enterprise only to beam down to find that his creator, Dr. Soong, is alive but not well. Turns out Soong implanted a homing beacon and activated it because he’s now dying and wanted to give Data emotions before he passed. Lore, however, interrupts as the beacon summoned him as well. Lore displays anger, jealously, fear, and a plethora of other emotions and eventually deceives Soong, who implants the chip meant for Data into Lore (thinking it was Data).
The bridge crew eventually gets control back of the Enterprise and Worf, Riker, and La Forge beam down only to find that Lore is gone, Data was turned off, and Soong is greatly hurt. They make their way back to the ship, get to the star base just in the nick of time, and the two human brothers have now forgiven each other and all is well in the world.
I absolutely loved all of Brent Spiner’s bits of acting in this. There is Data who uses every bit of his positronic brain to lock out the rest of the crew from his one mission, Data who is reactivated and whose first thought is of Starfleet and his duty, and Data who is losing his creator and brother, again. Then there is that of Dr. Soong who is old, inquisitive, and trying to right the wrongs of his past. Finally we have Lore who displays every emotion on the “feelings wheel” and proves he really does have a screw loose or wire crossed somewhere. The rest of the crew tries to deal with the fallout of Data’s takeover and it’s a good team effort, I sense their urgency at fixing the problem and Picard’s annoyance is palpable.
There’s a good callback to “Measure of a Man” as Riker knows how to turn Data back on, too. However there are no consequences for Data and no one seems to talk about the real security issue of Data being able to be hijacked. There’s also no real reason why Soong should have believed Lore-dressed-as-Data to be Data, as he should have made sure they were both in the room first. I mean, give one of them a different eye color or something. It was mostly a typical “evil twin” story with a sad beginning, a meh middle, and a somewhat happy ending because the kid didn’t die. For all of Spiner’s wonderful acting, the rest of the story didn’t do much for me, and it’s the “eye roll” emoji, the 6th on my list of frequently used emojis.
Favorite Quote from “Suddenly Human”:
Jono: Why do you take orders from a female?
Worf: Doctor Crusher. She is my superior officer.
Jono: Among my people, a female can never outrank a man.
Worf: You are human, and among humans, females can achieve anything the males can.Worf has just cemented himself as my favorite Klingon feminist.
“Suddenly Human” has the Enterprise answering the distress call of a Talarian vessel with four Talarian teenage boys and one human boy aboard, all who have been hurt. The human, eventually found out to be named Jono, only responds to Picard as the Talarians are very patriarchal. Turns out “Jono” was named Jeremiah at birth, is the grandson of Starfleet’s Admiral Rossa, and was taken by Captain Endar of the Talarians after his parents were killed. The “abuse” Dr. Crusher thinks happened to Jono is explained away by Endar’s “boys will be boys” comment and Endar insists he loves the child as his own and Jono should be returned to him immediately. Jono, however, is at the age where he can choose his own path… so we all wait.
Jono begins to remember things from his childhood and eventually opens up to Picard and others on the crew. He remembers his parents, listens to his grandmother, plays racquetball with Picard, and even shares a banana split with Wesley. Jono, however, wakes up in the middle of the night and stabs Picard. Jono thought he was betraying his adoptive father and was ready to die, but Picard understands that Jono is old enough to choose and sends him back to the only home he’s every known.
I wanted this episode to be SO GOOD, and it wasn’t. They got the adoptive parent thing down, someone who cares for a child that was not born of them as if they were… check. They completely missed the opportunity for Troi to counsel Picard in the ways of parenting, she just pushed and didn’t really offer any advice. They did get it right in the end, however, that it’s really up to the boy who is at the age where he can choose. So often people think they know what is best for someone else and they never ask what said person really wants. The same goes for children, but they’re usually pretty good about making up their minds. If they had presented it as “we’re going to show you what our society is like and that way you can make an informed decision” that would have been much better than what actually happened. Seeing Wesley get ice cream in his face and Picard laughing out loud was totally worth it, but the wailing really killed this episode for me. I also wish that Endar would have invited Admiral Rossa to come out to meet her grandson, or that Jono would have expressed interest in meeting his bad ass grandmother. So many missed chances at greatness here, so only 5 scoops of ice cream for Wesley.