The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Datalore

When the Enterprise visits Data’s home planet, they are surprised to find the parts of a second android, physically identical to Data. Upon rebuilding him, this second android awakens and identifies himself as Lore, but whilst Lore initially seems even more curious and eager to please than Data, there may be more sinister elements to his personality.

I had actually forgotten that Data’s evil brother showed up so early in TNG – so much so that I double checked my DVDs to make sure I hadn’t mixed up the cases with some other season. But no, this episode is meant to be here, and whilst I inwardly groaned at having to deal with Lore so soon, it was a reasonable effort. It’s good to finally have some backstory on Data – I’d forgotten how little we’re supposed to know about him at this point – even if the whole “suddenly no one believes or trusts Wesley” actually made me feel sympathethic for the boy genius for once. And in here of all places, the infamous “shut up, Wesley” episode!

Data and Lore

  • Data was discovered 26 years previously on the planet Omicron Theta, lying in a field, the human colonists having all been murdered. Although he had the colonist’s memories uploaded into his mind, he still had to learn pretty much everything from scratch. Although his goal is to become more like humans, until this episode he has little clue about his creator or why he even came to exist in the first place.

    Data has an off switch on the side of his body. Crusher is entrusted with this secret and told not to pass it on, but Riker will use it in The Measure of a Man.

  • Lore is Data’s older “brother” – unlike Data, he can use contractions, be deceptive and experience emotions. He disdains humans and was actually the one who summoned the entity that destroyed the Omicron Theta colony. Although he is beamed into space in this episode (after something of a Donkey Kong barrel throwing match with Data), I think we all know that this won’t be the last we see of him.

Things to consider

  • I’m the first to admit that Wesley is annoying, but even so he has proven to be correct on previous occasions, and also to be respectful and friendly towards Data. So why did no one believe him or wonder about his strange behaviour when he started claiming ‘Data’ was actually Lore? Did they put it down to him being a moody teenager?
  • Although it’s a big thing that Data never uses contractions, he has actually slipped up and used them in a couple of previous episodes, including Encounter at Farpoint. Maybe he has deliberately programmed himself not to use contractions to give him something to talk about at parties.
  • Biometric identification is all very well until someone identical to you shows up – why doesn’t the Enterprise have some kind of additional password-based authentication to stop Lore from identifying himself to the computer as Data? This would also be important for stopping duplicates like Tom Riker.
  • Crusher takes a phaser hit to the arm, but gets away with just having her lab coat catch fire.
  • Chief Engineer Argyle shows up again – he’s not dead and/or forgotten like all those other chiefs and assistant chiefs!
  • Data is apparently susceptible to at least some kinds of drugs, as Lore is able to spike his drink. I guess he did fall prey to the mutated Psi 2000 virus.
  • The Crystalline Entity basically gives up and goes away once it no longer has Lore to feed it the Enterprise crew – how convenient.
  • Yar looks very happy when helping to assemble Lore – perhaps she got a look at his penis and remembered her night with Data.

Summary – Datalore: “Shut up, Wesley!”

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