Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1, Episode 12

Datalore (16 Jan. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 829 users  
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The Enterprise visits the planet where Data was created and discovers another android like him, but when he's assembled, he's not EXACTLY like him.

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Title: Datalore (16 Jan 1988)

Datalore (16 Jan 1988) on IMDb 7.7/10

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The Enterprise visits Data's planet, Omicron Theta, to see if they can learn more about his somewhat unknown beginnings. The entire population of the planet died of unknown reasons many years previously with Data being found just around that time. Although they find no one alive, they do find a huge underground complex and, surprisingly, a disassembled version of Data. They re-build him and once activated, he introduces himself as Lor, an earlier and, he claims, a superior version of Data. He claims he was disassembled because he was so human-like that he frightened the local population. In fact, he knows far more than he is letting on and has the ability to call upon a crystalline entity of great destructive power, the very power that destroyed the planet and killed all of its inhabitants. All he has to do is find a way to impersonate Data. Written by garykmcd

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16 January 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The title is a compilation of two characters' names, Data and his "brother' Lore. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the episode, Picard announces the stardate as 41242.4. After the opening credits, Riker uses a stardate of 4124.5, leaving out a digit. See more »

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Lt. Commander Data: [after discovering the disassembled Lore] Could this be another me? Or possibly my brother?
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References Star Trek: The Enemy Within (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Abdulla Bulbul Amir
Written by Percy French
Performed by Brent Spiner
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User Reviews

Android Wars: The Revenge of Lore
14 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Picard decides to make a quick stop at Omicron Theta, the planet where Data was first found, to explore the mysterious origins of Data. Data, however, is just as interested in learning to sneeze as he is about investigating his potential home world. The 'away team' finds very few signs of life on the planet, but Geordi notices a hidden door that leads to a secret cybernetics lab.

The main twist of "Datalore" (Episode 12, Season 1, Air Date 01/18/88, Star-date 41242.4) concerns the discovery of Data's evil twin android or 'brother', named Lore, found in the lab where Data was made. Then it nicely weaves together Lore's future plans and his immediate desire to feed the Enterprise crew to a giant crystalline entity.

Lore dismisses Data's climb as an officer and history at Star Fleet Academy as 'a system designed to compensate for limited human ability' and as a sign of Data's sheepish commitment to think like a mere human.

In contrast Lore mentions his ultimate goal of assimilating the knowledge of 'thousands or millions of humans' or the knowledge of 'hundreds of millions of lifeforms of every kind' into his positronic brain. He wants to maximize his potential! His quest is just like the goal of the Borg, so this could be argued to be the first 'Borg'-themed episode (though no Borg are in it).

Lore knocks out Data with a devious trick in order to call the crystalline entity into action against the Enterprise. Lore then pretends to be Data, but Wesley seems to notice and Picard notices too when Lore fails to understand Picard's recurring phrase 'make it so'. There were other signs too, such as "Lore" (acting as Data) accidentally blabbing about the existence of android 'shut off' switches -- which is supposed to be a secret.

Here are more of my favorite gems:

(1) I love the initial exploration of Dr. Noonien Soong's cybernetics lab. We get an excellent back story to Soong and it sets a cool 'lab experiment' ambiance throughout the episode. Soong is close to a mad scientist type character, which is fully true in the failed creation of Lore (the rejected first successful attempt at making a positronic brain). Lore is not to be trusted and seems sarcastic as he comments about the colonists fear of his all-too-human characteristics, but perhaps the colonists actually saw him exhibiting some of the enjoyably devilish human qualities like deceit!

Soong had failed several times to make a 'positronic brain', a term coined by Isaac Asimov (explicitly referred to in the episode, and it's true). Lore's nickname for him is 'often wrong' (a joke Data fails to get). Dr. Soong had promised many advancements on the positronic brain, but he failed to deliver most of them. Most in the scientific community thought he gave up on the possibility of its success. But Soong went to a far off colony (Omicron Theta) to continue his work in a secret underground lab.

This back story seems like something right out of a Michael Crichton novel, with the exception of scale. Crichton's novel 'Jurassic Park' gave the private and elusive scientists many more resources through business backing. The episode seems to underestimate the scale of resources needed to create an android, and it fails to comment on the specialization of technical skills. It also has the chief engineer of Enterprise put Lore back together again, but perhaps it's simple to figure out such connections by comparison and contrast to Data.

And on re-watching parts of the episode, I wondered whether the colonizers could have helped Dr. Soong create Lore/Data. Data says the 'principle interest' of the colony was 'science'.

(2) Picard and his crew discuss the possible reasons behind the creation of androids: to make humans feel more comfortable around machines and to allow scientists to prove they could create a machine that wasn't pathetically clumsy.

(3) Picard assures his officers that it's fine to openly discuss the awkward machine nature of Data/Lore. Picard makes the argument that humans are a kind of electrochemical machine, so it's acceptable to refer to Data/Lore as machines of a different sort. This comes back in a major way in Season 2's 'Measure of a Man' episode.

(4) We hear that Data was given the memories of 411 fellow colonists. But Data only has their knowledge. He lacks certain types of experiences and other 'basic human information', such as using contractions, understanding sneezing and emotions (such as knowing how the word 'sweet' applies in the phrase 'home sweet home'), whistling ('Encounter at Farpoint'), succeeding with humor (especially in 'Code of Honor'), defeating finger traps ('The Last Outpost'), or understanding social interactions and petty bickering (especially in 'Haven').

(5) Lore bests Data in many human traits. Lore can use contractions and he understands humor. Yes, he is much more 'human' in the broad range of human qualities than poor Data, who worries if there's even a chance he might be interpreted as boasting ('The Naked Now').

For example, Lore (a) engages in deception to make humans feel comfortable around him (pretending to not quite remember a simple deduction from the Pythagorean theorem, and lying about being built first), (b) he masters sinister backstabbing and conspiracy for mass murder (communicating with the crystalline entity to help entice it consume all the colonists on Omicron Theta in revenge for their rejection of him), and (c) he has grand goals for assimilating massive amounts of knowledge (like the Borg).

I think Data is one of the greatest of all Star Trek creations (right there with Kirk/Picard, the Vulcans, the Klingons, and the Borg), and he constantly gives this series fertile creative material. Brent Spiner's acting (as Data/Lore) was top notch in every way. That guy has an extreme devotion to the character. It never ceases to amaze me how faithful he tries to remain to the character's android heritage!


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