After returning from a cybernetics conference to the Enterprise, Data creates his own "child," much to the chagrin of his captain, and without regards to the ramifications with Starfleet.



(created by), (as Rene Echevarria)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Ballard
Diane Moser ...
Ten Forward Crew
Hayne Bayle ...
Ten Forward Crew
Maria Leone ...
Ten Forward Crew


After a visit to a cybernetics conference on an asteroid belt, Data returns and presents the human crew to the android Lal, which he considers his- child. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is appalled, to Data's utter surprise, that life was created without prior permission of any kind. Meanwhile Lal is allowed to choose, advised by Data and Troi, its own gender and racial appearance- human female. Data and others find educating and refining her software fascinating, but she makes progress no-one anticipated. Admiral Anthony Haftel comes to investigate, is impressed but wants this unique specimen removed from her 'parent', which proves no lesser drama then in a human family... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

10 March 1990 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The painting Data shows to Lal in his quarters is Tableau I by Piet Mondrian. It can be seen on an easel in his quarters in the episodes "A Matter of Time", "Hero Worship" and Silicon Avatar. See more »


Data teaches Lal how to blink, but earlier when Data and Wesley are discussing Lal she is already visibly blinking. See more »


Lal: I watch them, and I can do the things they do, but I will never feel the emotions. I'll never know love.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: It is a limitation we must learn to accept, Lal.
Lal: Then why do you still try to emulate humans? What purpose does it serve except to remind you that you are incomplete?
Lt. Cmdr. Data: I have asked myself that many times, as I have struggled to be more human. Until I realized, it is the struggle itself that is most important. We must strive to be more than we are, Lal. It does not matter that we will never ...
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Inheritance (1993) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Data becomes a bit like Dr. Frankenstein...
16 November 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Data's newest attempt at being human is a doozy. Now, to make his life more human, Data has decided to have a child! Of course he cannot procreate in the traditional sense, so he builds an android child! And, since it's an android, he allows it to choose its own gender and appearance. While this girl, Lal, looks more human than Data, she turns out to be amazingly slow compared to her 'father'. She cannot pick up on social queues as well, is clumsy and seems, at times, kind of stupid. Because of this, a bigoted Admiral is now pushing to have Lal raised by someone other than Data--and to be raised apart from Data. The WHY of this never really makes any sense--especially in light of an earlier episode which established Data's legal status as a sentient being. And, it makes little sense in light of the Federation's supposed attitude of tolerance and niceness--and this explains why I dropped the score just a bit.

As I mentioned above, in some ways this show is a bit like the story of Frankenstein--with Data creating a being like the doctor. However, unlike the irresponsible doctor, Data tries very hard to be a good father and not abandon her to some Federation jerk. Overall, this is a very good episode...and one that might surprise you with how sadly it ends. You might just want to have a box of Kleenex handy.

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