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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ST:TNG:77 - "Brothers" (Stardate: 44085.7) - this is the 3rd episode of
the 4th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and one of my
favorites for the series.
The episode concerns Data, who suddenly has a program override, thereby commandeering the Enterprise, taking it to a distant planet. When he beams down (after encrypting the Bridge so no one can override his commands), he finally emerges from his override to see he's in the presence of his "father" Dr. Noonian Soong. The reason he called Data here is because he has a last gift for him - an emotion chip (which will not be integrated into him until Star Trek: Generations).
However, also beckoned by the signal Dr. Soong sent out is Lore (whom we last so in the 1st season episode "Datalore"). And of course, this is where things go wrong.
This episode marks Brent Spiner's strongest performance in the series (and perhaps the movies too) because he plays THREE characters - Data, Lore, Dr. Soong and manages to make each different and unique, thereby making US believe these 3 are interacting with each other. Brilliant to say the least.
Trivia note: Data still can't whistle the song from the pilot episode "Encounter At Farpoint".
Another episode designed to expand the universe of "The Next Generation." The episode begins with a tragic episode where a child has played a practical joke on his brother and put his life in danger. He has to get to a star base to get medical attention. While the Enterprise makes its way to the star base, Data suddenly goes out of control. He jams up all the systems on the Enterprise including creating force fields throughout the ship. He sends that ship at Warp 9 to some unknown destination. The crew can't do a thing and don't even know where they are. The access codes were compromised which puts a damper on almost everything. At some point, the ship comes to a stop and Data beams down to the surface. In a house on an unnamed planet is Data's creator, Dr. Soong (played by Spiner) who is the cause of all this deception. He has decided that before he dies, he will implant a tiny emotion chip in his creation. Unfortunately, who should show up but Data's "brother" Lore. He preceded Data and was a bit of a failure, having actually precipitated the "death" of Soong (or so people thought) by betraying him to the Crystalline entity. The action at the house is wonderfully engaging. Once again, an episode to set up future conflicts, but also to explain the whole story of Data and Lore.
This episode starts with a big shock. Without any warning or
explanation, Data commandeers the Enterprise. The crew is helpless to
stop him as he isolates them from control of the ship and they can only
wait to see where he takes them. Eventually, Data lands on a distant
planet--and finds his maker, Dr. Soong. Apparently, Dr. Soong had
activated a homing mechanism which forces him to return-- and with all
due haste. However, there's a bit of a surprise with this homecoming,
as soon Lor also arrives! There, the three talk about old times and
Data learns the truth about his creation.
All three major roles in the show are played by Brent Spiner--and they make up almost all the show. This is an interesting sort of experiment, though when I read the IMDb trivia, it indicated that they had considered Keye Luke for the role of Dr. Soong--and this would have been really interesting! Still, despite a teeny, tiny bit of overacting as Dr. Soong, Spiner did a nice job in this odd and demanding triple role. As for me, I am just happy that Lor returned, as he was a wonderful villain--and there's sure to be more of his evil shenanigans in upcoming episodes.
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