Star Trek 211: Silicon Avatar

211. Silicon Avatar

FORMULA: Datalore + The Doomsday Weapon + Redemption II

WHY WE LIKE IT: The eye-popping attack by the Crystalline Entity.

WHY WE DON'T: Data doing voices and the melodrama.

REVIEW: We've been riding on a high for too long, and something had to give. Silicon Avatar starts off with a bang, with the Entity looking glorious and destroying an entire planet (great effects!). Killing Riker's dame-du-jour is just an extra shock as it seems like her guest spot should have lasted longer (it's Susan Diol, better known to geeks as Al's first wife on Quantum Leap).

But in the aftermath comes Dr. Kila Marr, a thoroughly unpleasant character who hijacks the episode as well as the Enterprise's systems. She starts off as a sort of robophobe, not unlike Hobson from Redemption II, but for more personal reasons. If you don't like the characters we like, we don't like you, Dr. Marr. That's strike one. Then she takes an interest in Data, but has him dig his brain for memories of her dead son...

Ok, let's talk about that for a second: Data has apparently been programmed not only with an entire colony's personal journals, but also with their actual memories. This is hard to take because 1) we've never heard of it before; 2) as a colonist, I wouldn't have wanted anyone NEAR my most intimate thoughts; and 3) all that human experience, and Data is still largely clueless about humanity. Now back to our regularly scheduled review...

So Dr. Marr has Data read some of her son's letters using the dead kid's voice, which is at once creepy and pathetic. It just comes out of left field to ramp up the melodrama. Using Data and making me feel icky inside? That's strike two. And for her finale, she destroys the Entity just as they were actually communicating with it and Picard was getting his groove-on. STRIKE THREE!

Really, I found the character strident and annoying, and would much rather have had the debate come from Riker (which it did). The episode's direction telegraphs his objections subtly, as Troi notices his mood from afar. All done in looks, I enjoyed that. Troi doesn't do much in Silicon Avatar, but she's worth watching.

LESSON: In the future, blogging will be accomplished by uploading yourself into an android brain.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Not terrible, no, it's got some great effects and good acting from the regulars, but the melodrama is cranked up too high for its own good.


Brian said...

Actually it was mentioned back in Datalore that Data has the memories of 411 people so it's not something we haven't heard of before.

Siskoid said...

It sounded more figurative than literal in Datalore. As realized here, it's questionable.


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