|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
ST:TNG:162 - "Inheritance" (Stardate: 47410.2) - this is the 10th
episode of the 7th and last season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
When the Enterprise travels to the planet Atrea to help two scientists who are trying to avert an upcoming natural disaster, it turns out one of them is Juliana Tainer, who was once married to Data's creator, Dr. Noonien Soong. This makes her in essence, Data's "mother".
However, Data soon wonders why he has no memory of her and why she would never attempt to contact him. Soon, Data notices stranger things about his "mother", things that are all too familiar for him.
Trivia note: we see Dr. Soong again, this time as a middle-aged man (he was a young man in "Birthright" and an old man in "Brothers"). Lore and the Crystalline Entity are mentioned again here too, and we also see a painting of Data's "daughter", Lal. We also find out that Data ages (he has an aging program).
AND, Juliana mentions that there were 3 android prototypes before Lore (perhaps B4 from Star Trek: Nemesis was one of them).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This great episode is a great performance by the equally great Fionnula
Flanagan as Dr. Juliana O'Donnell/Soong/Trayner.
As first, Data has reservations accepting her as his de-facto "Mother" but quickly finds a connection to her. He works well with her and he plays well with her, Spiner and Flanagan bounce off each other with Robotic Precision.
But Data discovers that the connection is more Positronic than Organic, Dr. Juliana Trayner is a little too fast when working with computers and even more so when playing music with him. This gives Data the false impression that she is also a Soong-Type Android, like he is.
But she is not quite the same - For one thing, she is not as sturdy as he is, and is damaged when Data pushes her off one of the many rock faces we see in Next Generation.
For all intents and purposes, she is the same person as the one she was built to replace, and even possibly an improvement on Data himself - She has emotions, she fools Medical Scanners into thinking she is Human, she has sweat glands, breathes, has tear ducts, and ages like any other "real" person. This episode also reveals that Data was built to "age" as well.
And, finally, Data knows beyond a doubt that he is no longer Unique in the universe. But he cannot share this discovery with Dr Trayner. Embedded in her Positronic brain is a holographic chip which Dr. Noonian Soong had put there in case anyone discovers her true nature - Particularly Data. And so this episode is the fourth and final "Data" episode, and the last TNG appearance of "Dr Noonian Often-Wrong Soong". It bookends Data's History with solid answers, now we know why and how he was left on a slab to be discovered by Starfleet on Omicron Theta- At least the reason the Juliana-Android stated. In Reality, the human version of her had been injured fatally by the Crystalline Entity.
Fionnula Flanagan is one of my favourite actresses, and I was pleased to see her here, and later in Deep Space Nine. I had seen her in all kinds of 80's television, but this was one of the best parts she had ever played. One of the best 7th season Next Gen Episodes.
On a visit to Altrea IV, the Enterprise encounters a scientist who
tells them she is Dr. Soong's wife and, in effect, Data's mommy! Not
surprisingly, most of the episode involves Data and Dr. Juliana Soong
getting to know each other and Juliana filling in blanks that Data was
missing regarding his creation and Dr. Soong. She also talks about Lore
and mentions that there were other android projects. However, as they
continue to get to know each other, Data notices some
inconsistencies--making him wonder exactly WHO she really is.
This is a decent episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"--as are most Data episodes. While it's not nearly as much fun or exciting as the Lore episodes, it is interesting and well worth seeing.
I liked that this episode kept me engaged. It could have been maudlin, or it could have been the story of a couple of con-artists. As it is, Data begins to accept his "mother" as worthy of that name. It seems, on the surface, that this woman was married to Dr. Soong privately, away from her parents. This secrecy is necessary to the plot. She was there at Data's inception, and even had to make a harsh decision to leave him to his fate in a crisis. She has always regretted this. There is a subplot where his mother and her current mate are trying to stabilize underground links on the planet. She seems to be smarter than her son when it comes to this technology. She also has an outstanding musical talent and plays a really difficult piece with Data. This episode is nicely played out and quite acceptable in the canon. It appears that the producers of the show decided to make this season about personal turmoil and inner awareness. This is certainly a positive.
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