The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Inheritance

When the Enterprise gets involved in helping the geologists of Atrea IV to reverse the solidification of their planet’s core, Data is surprised to discover that lead scientist Juliana Tainer was once married to his creator, Dr Soong. As Tainer shares memories of Data’s creation, he begins to bond with the closest person he will ever have to a mother.

My jaded, cynical eye tells me that an episode about yet another previously unmentioned family member is a sign of TNG being tired and past its best, but actually, I quite like this one. I could take or leave the B plot about the solidifying Atrean core, but Data episodes are always worthy, and the twist at the end of this one is decent enough – especially on first viewing.

Life in the 24th century

  • Although it’s not mentioned in this episode, apparently Atrea IV is meant to be a member of the Federation – hence why helping them does not go against the Prime Directive. Yes, of course helping them is the right thing to do, but we’ve seen the Prime Directive get in the way of that before.
  • Unlikely as it seems that no one could ever detect that Tainer was an android until Data came along, if we start getting into the science of Soong-type androids, we’d have to conclude that Data is impossible.
  • Data’s memories of his early development on Omicron III were wiped by Soong and Tainer, shortly before the Crystalline Entity attacked.
  • We learn that there were three prototype androids prior to Lore – one of these, B-4, appears in Star Trek Nemesis.
  • How is the replicator in Data’s quarters big enough to manufacture a viola?

Summary – Inheritance: Data’s previously unmentioned mother actually makes for a good episode.

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