Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 4, Episode 25

In Theory (1 Jun. 1991)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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When a female crew member is infatuated with Lieutenant Commander Data, he decides to give a romantic relationship a try. Also, the Enterprise finds itself having to maneuver through a dangerous nebula.



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Title: In Theory (01 Jun 1991)

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Episode cast overview:
Pamela Winslow ...


When the Enterprise enters the unchartered Mare Obscura ('dark sea') dark matter nebula, Data is in charge of scientific observations, together with young Dr. Lieutenant Jenna D'Sora, who shows a romantic interest in him. The human crew is clearly unable and/or reluctant to give Data reliable advice, and Troi warns him against trusting in literature on the subject, but since Riker says nothing beats true love Data decides to try 'running' a romantic program with her, yet method is madness in a human lover's eyes... Arrived at an M class planet's coordinates, the Enterprise finds it gone, inexplicably, while Worf fears disappearances and unexplained entries aboard constitute a major security risk. Indeed next strikes make victims among machines and crew, but according to Data all can result from proximity of so much dark matter causing gaps of space, which the ship phases' in and out of. The plan is to send an observational shuttle ahead, Picard decides to pilot it himself... Written by KGF Vissers

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24th century | See All (1) »




Release Date:

1 June 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This takes place in 2367. See more »


When Data and Lieutenant D'Sora are drinking the toast, both their grips on their glasses change between camera angles. See more »


Lt. Cmdr. Data: Darling, you remain as aesthetically pleasing as the first day we met. I believe I am the most fortunate sentient in this sector of the galaxy.
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Phantasms (1993) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Of Data and Dark Matter Nebulae.
15 November 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Michelle Scarabelli takes off the AlieNation "Newcomer" spots and appears as "Jenna", an eccentric crew-woman who becomes attached to Data like a tether.

It's very interesting to watch Data's process: of course he has to get everybody else's opinion before he acts. He gets great advice from Guinan and Riker.

When watching Data interact with the O'Briens in 10 forward, we see that even though he cannot participate in humor internally, he is finally able to understand how to make a joke and make it funny, even though he himself doesn't understand the joke or can actually laugh at it. That's what makes him the most humorous member of the crew, because what for for him is an innocent question can come off with hilarious results because of the way he asks it.

But this situation is a little bit more complicated than merely figuring out what humor is, this is in fact Data's first girlfriend, not counting his interaction with Tasha in season one.

In the meantime the ship is exploring a very interesting looking dark matter nebula. This provides the backdrop for Data's exploration of sex and relationships.

The two subjects counterbalance themselves in this episode. While Data's meanderings give us the humor, there is actual danger for the Enterprise that is not initially seen. Some bad things have to happen before they actually understand the level of danger they are in.

The two issues are resolved, not too well for Mr. Data. In theory, my theory: Data should not have created a subprogram to govern his relationship, he actually was doing fine without it. This is just another example of how Data's interpersonal experimentations fail with hilarious results, hilarious for us, Data of course has no feelings.

This is what he always says, but after Jenna leaves him, and he deletes the program, we are left with an image of Data picking up his cat Spot and holding it. That image says a lot. That although Data does not have feelings in the way humans have feelings, he does have some Positronic version of affection. He loves his cat, we know he loves his cat. I suppose Data has become "used to Spot's sensory input information".

Patrick Stewart "captained" this particular episode as well as Picard captains the Enterprise.

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