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

In Theory (1 Jun. 1991)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 864 users  
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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:
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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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Release Date:

1 June 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first episode to be directed by Patrick Stewart, the second cast member after Jonathan Frakes to direct an episode (who has directed 2 others by this point in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)). See more »


When Data and Lt. D'Sora are touching each other's glass, it makes a ringing sound. However, in that instance (= camera angle), they are both holding their glasses at the bowl rather than at the stem. A glass held that way would not be able to make that typical ringing sound at all, at best, a dulled version of it. See more »


Lt. Jenna D'Sora: Data... sometimes people blindly make the same mistake again and again.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Are you currently experiencing this phenomenon?
Lt. Jenna D'Sora: I didn't see it until today. I got out of a relationship with an unemotional man. And I got right back into another one - with... with a man who's... absolutely incapable of emotion.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Hm... There does appear to be a recurring motif.
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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

An impossible situation in every way.
20 November 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

At the beginning of the episode, Jenna D'Sora is being consoled by Data concerning a recent relationship. Data is quite kind and thoughtful- -so much so that slowly D'Sora is starting to fall in love with him. This is really impossible, since Data is NOT human and feelings are something he simply cannot possess. However, Data is game and tries to act out the part of a lover--mostly by copying things he's read. In the end, it's finally obvious to even D'Sora that the relationship is impossible and cannot be.

At the same time, there is the requisite secondary plot. An overabundance of dark matter in the part of space they are in is causing portions of the ship to phase in and out. So, it's up to the Captain to pilot them through this part of space. Unfortunately, this plot is brief, underdeveloped and rather unnecessary.

All in all, an inconsequential episode. Not bad...but certainly weak compared to the rest of the series.

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