Star Trek 184: Brothers

184. Brothers

FORMULA: Datalore + The Schizoid Man + Coming of Age

WHY WE LIKE IT: The return of Lore. How Data takes over the Enterprise.

WHY WE DON'T: A bit of a talkie after that. The obvious subplot with the kids.

REVIEW: Brothers is really in two parts. The first is this really cool sequence in which Data is possessed and takes over the Enterprise. This is great for his character, but not so good for the rest of the crew, who seem unable to think of anything that would stop Data. The battle bridge and shuttlecraft are only two of the solutions they simply forget about here. And while Data is rightly superhuman in Brothers, it seems like the ship itself is much too vulnerable to take-over. Should you really be able to fake Picard's voice, for example?

The second part of the show is about Dr. Soong. He's not only alive, but has recalled Data to give him an emotion chip. Well, we sort of know he can't get it in the end, but Lore arriving on the scene to take it away is a nice surprise. Brent Spiner plays all three roles here, and he really gives Lore a more sympathetic side as the evil android refuses to believe his father is dying. Lore is too unstable to remain a nice guy, however, and he'll destroy everything before too long. Spiner is unrecognizable as Soong, and you almost have to wonder why they had to go through all that trouble if you couldn't tell it was him. Still, once you realize this, you can't help but applaud the technical work. I did feel like there wasn't much happening in this section though. Perhaps I was spoiled by the action and simply found the second half of the show to just plod along, but Spiner does good work in all three roles, and we do learn a good deal about Data's origins.

Speaking of plodding, there's also this whole subplot about two fighting brothers aboard ship, and one of them somehow getting deathly ill thanks to the other's prank. It's by-the-numbers TNG family fare, something for Beverly and Troi to do, but not much else. The moral that "brothers forgive" opens the door for future Lore episodes (to Data's detriment), and seems to be the dramatic purpose of the subplot. But it otherwise feels quite irrelevant.

LESSON: Never trust Wesley to beam an evil android out into space ENERGY ONLY!

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Very close to High, as this is an important (and even at times cool) Data episode, but it flounders a little with the pacing and humdrum subplot.

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