Star Trek 275: Thine Own Self

275. Thine Own Self

FORMULA: Pen Pals + The Paradise Syndrome + The Wrath of Khan

WHY WE LIKE IT: Data instigating the Renaissance on a planet.

WHY WE DON'T: Data gets stiffed on his promotion.

REVIEW: Though really a Data story, there's a strong Troi B-plot here that I'll address first. After her disastrous command performance in Disaster (nyuck, nyuck), and thanks to a catalytic school reunion and the good example put forth by Crusher since Descent, Troi decides to try for full commander. Her interplay with Riker is fun throughout, from the conversation in which he only speaks through his trombone to his not making it easy on her. Her frustrations are well played, and she incorrectly believes it's an engineering hurdle she has to jump. Once she figures out this Kobayashi Maru scenario - one exploiting both the weaknesses she exhibited in Disaster - she earns her rank.

It's a good subplot, and they're really treating Deanna right this season, but it's hard to believe personnel in the health sciences can just pass a test and be automatically promoted. Maybe it's because they can't make it to Captain, so don't interfere with the command structure of a ship? Maybe I only mention it because Data has been passed up for this promotion time and time again. And now he has to call the Counselor, "sir".

Ah well. It's still a good episode for the android. He's lost his memory, but not his inquisitive and logical mind, and it's great seeing him use the scientific method so ably in an early Renaissance culture. The irony is that his bringing radioactive material to the village is what's causing the mystery illness he is investigating. We know this, and it helps heighten the tension. After all, a witch hunt was inevitable. And despite our seeing it coming, the ending is still rather shocking. A nice image I also want to point out: Data looking up at the stars.

LESSON: "Congratulations, you just destroyed the Enterprise" must be the most prophetic sentence ever uttered in Star Trek.

REWATCHABILITY - High: More than a remake of Frankenstein, it builds the characters of both Data and Troi in different ways. Data by stripping him down to his core personality, Troi by making her overcome her own personality.


Anonymous said...

What especially bothered me about Troi's promotion is that her past exam performances and fallout, which basically proved her a narrow-minded technophobe with an inferiority complex, had no impact once she decided that the cardboard cut-out of her friend could die.

I mean, she shouted/whined about not knowing the difference between pipes and doors. You'd think that her record would now show that she needs all sorts of mental help and should never be allowed near a captain's chair or sharp objects.

Siskoid said...

Defence Exhibit A: John Harriman, Captain of the Enterprise-B.

Dan said...

I was always a little baffled that Data somehow managed to cure radiation poisoning using the proverbial "stone knives and bearskins." It's in-character, but still, given that we have no effective treatment for it today, inventing a cure with pre-industrial technology is pretty impressive.

Re: John Harriman: What do you expect when you put Cameron Frye in charge?

Siskoid said...

As opposed to Spock's temporal viewer in City on the Edge of Forever? ;)


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