Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 162 (Inheritance)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Data’s family seemed to grow in small steps over the course of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the first season, we met his evil twin brother, Lore. Dr. Soong, who created Data and Lore was also mentioned, but we didn’t get to see him until a few seasons later. Now, in the seventh season, we find out that Data had a ‘mother’ of sorts. While trying to help a planet with a core that’s turning solid, Juliana Tainer comes on the Enterprise. She seems surprised that Data doesn’t recognize her. When she tells Data who she is, he seems surprised.

In all of the previous episodes that dealt with Data and his family, there was no mention of her. Data’s memories of that time had been wiped and neither Dr. Soong nor Lore seemed compelled to tell Data about her. It’s because of this that Data is a little suspicious of her claim. He can’t find a marriage certificate, but she and Soong did book passage together to and from the planet where she claims that they were married. Eventually, he has to decide to simply take her word for it.

Not all is as it seems, though. Data has reasons to suspect that she’s an android. His suspicions are proven correct when they beam down to the planet together. She falls and part of her arm falls off. She’s knocked unconscious, but Data is able to get her back to the Enterprise. While looking insode of her, Chief Engineer La Forge finds a chip that contains an explanation from Dr. Soong. Juliana doesn’t know what she is. Soong feels that if she were to know this, she wouldn’t be able to enjoy life to the fullest.

Data has a choice to make: he can either respect Soong’s wishes and not tell her or he can tell her and possibly ruin what’s left of her life. He decides to not tell Juliana, knowing that he would only tell her for person reasons. It simply wouldn’t be fair. When she awakens, Data tells Juliana that she simply broke her arm. Juliana leaves the ship as if nothing is wrong.

This is another one of those episodes that has a few problems. This one has the advantage of being well written, but I find it hard to believe that Juliana had gone this long without being ‘discovered’. It took Data to figure her out. You’d think that someone would have at least suspected. Her body was capable of putting out a false image capable of fooling instruments. However, there are several empathic species. I can’t believe that she either never came in contact with them or that no empath ever suspected anything.

There’s also the issue of the chip. When Data talks to the image of Dr. Soong, Dr. Soong says that Juliana left him. If she left him, how would the chip be updated? It’s possible that the chip could be updated remotely, Dr. Soong foresaw the possibility or that the chip was somehow self-updating.

Overall, I’d say that this episode gets four stars. Both problems were minor problems in my opinion. The acting was good and the overall story was written well. Someone who has never seen The Next Generation probably won’t be able to follow this episode as well as someone who watches regularly. However, it is still enjoyable.

IMDb page

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