The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Brothers

When Data takes over the bridge and diverts the Enterprise to an unknown star system, the crew find themselves unable to stop him. Data has been summoned by his creator, Dr Soong, but the signal has also lured in Data’s “brother”, Lore.

TNG season four keeps up the family theme in this episode, which sees Brent Spiner play three roles – not just Data and Lore, but also under heavy make-up as the ancient Dr Soong. Inevitable and slightly tiresome as the return of Lore is, Spiner’s acting makes this episode worth watching. We have Data, the dutiful and good son, who is nonetheless delighted to learn that he is not inferior to Lore; Lore, the slightly unhinged one, desperate for his father’s attention, and Soong himself, a man with a big enough ego to make two androids in his own image.

Life aboard the Enterprise

  • Since he’s an android, it’s probably difficult to prevent Data from taking over the Enterprise, but there must be steps that can be taken. We’ve known about the Picard voice imitation problem since Wesley’s toy in The Naked Now, so there should be extra authentication procedures, such as DNA, iris recognition or fingerprints. And why not stop lone officers from going off the rails by having more procedures where at least two officers have to give their authorisation?
  • Why don’t Worf and his security officers run to intercept Data instead of walking just slowly enough to get trapped by the forcefields? Or at least move to cut Data off, so that he’s trapped with no direct route to the transporter room.
  • The Potts brothers were allowed to remain on the Enterprise whilst their parents went on sabbatical, but there doesn’t seem to be any sort of consistent adult supervision for them – I certainly doubt Riker tucks them in at night. Aside from the fact that it seems a little odd that both parents would just abandon their kids for an extended period of time, is there no childcare aboard the Enterprise? There must be provision for children when their parents are on duty or away missions or such.
  • Jake Potts certainly pulled a stupid prank, but if there were such dangerous parasites on the planet, why weren’t they warned, or more carefully supervised? When Willie didn’t show up, why didn’t the Enterprise locate him and beam him back? And why did Riker have to be such an aggressive bully towards Jake aftewards?
  • If everyone in the 24th century is so emotionally enlightened, why do pranks still occur? Why is April Fool’s still a thing?
  • Sickbay forcefields seem like fragile things, why not have a physical quarantine barrier as well?
  • What’s the point of the battle bridge if Picard’s just going to have command transferred to Engineering?
  • Is there no massive switch or circuit breaker that can manually disconnect the engines?

Summary – Brothers: Starring Brent Spiner, Brent Spiner and Brent Spiner.

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