114 "Datalore"

(airdate: January 18, 1988)

Story: Robert Lewin and Maurice Hurley

Teleplay: Robert Lewin and Gene Roddenberry

Director: Rob Bowman

Lore (uncredited): Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Argyle: Biff Yeager

Stardate: 41242.4

Captain's Log: The Enterprise arrives at Omicron Theta, where Data was discovered twenty-six years ago, to learn a bit more about Data's past. While examining the now-lifeless colony, the away team discovers a hidden underground facility, including a disassembled android that looks like Data. Upon reassembly, this android declares himself to be Data's brother, Lore. Lore states that he was made too perfect by their creator, Dr. Noonien Soong, and thus the colonists petitioned to have him dismantled and replaced by a less human version: Data. Before he was disassembled, however, Lore made contact with a space-faring crystalline lifeform, which fed on life forces and wiped out the colony on Omicron Theta. Now Lore intends to lead the Crystalline Entity to the Enterprise so that it can feast on them; to this end, he renders Data unconscious and swaps places with him. Wesley becomes suspicious, however, and convinces Dr. Crusher to examine "Lore", who's the real Data. Data confronts Lore while Lore is in a cargo bay, preparing to let the Crystalline Entity attack while the shields are down. Data and Lore spar, with Lore ultimately being beamed into space, while the Crystalline Entity retreats.

Whoops!: Riker's log is missing a number in the stardate ("4124.5" instead of, say, "41242.5") - and it appears to be out of numeric sequence with the other logs anyway. (Picard's next log is dated 41242.45, for instance, while the log after that is 41242.5, the same as this one seemingly is.) They go to all the trouble of establishing that Data doesn't use contractions while Lore does, and then at the very end Data uses one anyway ("Yes, sir, I'm fine"). And what's so difficult about contractions that Data can't use them properly? While their use isn't completely straightforward, they're also not particularly idiosyncratic and so should be easily learnable.
     Admittedly, Wesley doesn't go about expressing his concerns about "Data" in the proper way, but why doesn't Picard (or Riker) take him seriously? Wes knows Data reasonably well, and he's shown himself to be attentive and bright, so there doesn't seem to be a real reason to ignore him (or at least acknowledge that they have similar concerns), other than pique.
     It's perhaps a bit surprising that no one seems to have made the connection between Data and Dr. Soong before, given that Data is exactly what Soong was working on and that Soong disappeared rather than definitively died.

Classic Lines: Picard, admonishing Wes: "Shut up, Wesley!..." Dr. Crusher to Picard: "'Shut up, Wesley'?" Wesley: "And since I am finished here, sir, may I point out that-" Dr. Crusher: "Shut up, Wesley!"
     Lore to Wesley: "Are you prepared for the kind of death you've earned, little man?"

Technobabble: Quadratanium is used in android construction.

Casualty Report: Lore easily knocks out Worf, while Worf doesn't seem to even slow Lore down. Lore and Data have a big fight in the cargo bay that ends with Lore being beamed into space. Lore also injures Dr. Crusher's arm with a phaser blast.

Library Computer: Omicron Theta is a reddish-orange-and-brown class M planet with two moons, located in a remote star system. Once home to an Earth science colony, Omicron Theta is now a virtually lifeless world, with no (living) vegetation and insects, and barely any soil bacteria. [Riker's log says there's no soil bacteria, but Geordi describes the soil as "almost" completely lifeless, so there might be a smattering of something around.] Omicron Theta was also the birthplace of Lt. Cmdr. Data, who was discovered lying on a carved rock in the hollow of a rock wall twenty-six years earlier by the crew of the cruiser Tripoli. The Tripoli landing party were responding to a signal device which led them to where Data was laying unconscious. Although the colony was once home to at least 411 colonists, Data was the only individual the Tripoli found - although he had no memories of what had happened to the colonists, other than a vague sense of a hurried transfer of their memories into his mind. [They don't say explicitly he was the only survivor, but there wouldn't be much mystery if one of the other colonists had survived, would there? That said, we know at least one colonist - Dr. Noonien Soong - did in fact survive ("Brothers").]
     Unnoticed by the Tripoli landing party (but discovered by Geordi) was a concealed doorway that led into a spacious underground facility. It was large enough to hold hundreds of people, although when the Enterprise team found it no one was living there. There was also a laboratory with various pieces of equipment [like that spinning light tube thing from Star Trek II], as well as plastic molds for android parts, child artwork depicting people running away from a spiky sphere in the sky, and a deconstructed but complete android, one that looked identical to Data. The latter was taken back to the Enterprise for reassembly, in an effort to learn what happened to the colonists on Omicron Theta.
     With the help of Data, the Enterprise engineers were able to reconstruct this android, who called himself Lore and described himself as Data's brother. Lore stated that he had been constructed before Data by Dr. Noonien Soong while on Omicron Theta, but that Soong had made him "so completely human" that the colonists became envious, and thus petitioned that Lore be disassembled in favor of a less perfect version, i.e., Data. Lore, despite being older, does seem more human than Data, capable of using contractions, exhibiting emotions, understanding humor, and easily engaging in deceptions, including pretending to be Data. He seems dismissive of humans, and consequently he underestimates their intelligence at times. He initially has a facial tic [which appears to engage when he's lying], but he's able to remove it with the help of a special handtool. At the end of events here, Lore is beamed into space by Data. [He'll be back in season 4, in the episode "Brothers".]
     Before Lore was disassembled on Omicron Theta, he was able to make contact with a space-faring crystalline entity that fed on all life force, and he showed it the way to the colony. This Crystal Entity [as Lore keeps calling it here, but compare with "Silicon Avatar", where it's called the Crystalline Entity] was a complex, snowflake-like crystal lifeform, appearing roughly spherical in size and white-purple; physically, it dwarfed the Enterprise. The Crystal Entity couldn't penetrate the Enterprise's shields, but it could move incredibly fast through space. Geordi reported the entire electromagnetic spectrum "playing" inside it, although he couldn't determine the purpose of this. The Crystal Entity attacked Omicron Theta, draining the life from everything on the planet - not only the colonists, but the vegetation and insects as well. The colonists became aware that the Crystal Entity was coming and had enough time to download their memories into Data's brain - although Data's recollection of these memories seemed somewhat indistinct, as it was their knowledge they provided to Data rather than their entire life experiences. The Crystal Entity was lured to the Enterprise by Lore so that it could feed on the Enterprise crewmembers, but when Lore was beamed into space the Entity retreated.
     Dr. Noonien Soong [that's how it's spelled in the script, but see "Brothers" et seq., where it will become Noonian] was Earth's foremost robotics expert. He worked on "Asimov's dream of a positronic brain" [this refers to author Isaac Asimov, who coined the term "positronic brain" for robots in his stories - although he's just using a then-recently-discovered particle as a buzzword, rather than because of some scientific principle], but his initial results ended in complete failure, leading to the nickname "Often Wrong" Soong. After his failure, he disappeared, traveling to Omicron Theta under an assumed name, where he continued his work, eventually successfully creating both Lore and Data [as well as a few other androids, as seen in later episodes and movies].
     Data and Lore both possess positronic brains, while quadratanium is used in their construction. Data states that fine-grained quadratanium and micro-miniature tools are relatively standard objects to repair androids such as himself, although the fact that Lore has obtained them is cause for suspicion. Data has an "off switch" at the small of his back, with small protrusions that determine how long he is switched off for. The engineers aboard the Enterprise don't really understand how Data is put together. Data is incapable of sneezing, while human language occasionally gives him difficulties (including regarding the use of contractions). His first memories are of waking and seeing the Tripoli crew. Data spent four years at Starfleet Academy, followed by three as an ensign, and ten to twelve years "on varied space duty in the lieutenant grades". [If Data was discovered 26 years ago, that suggests it took seven to nine years before he joined Starfleet.] He is capable of being knocked unconscious with a substance ingested orally. [This might be the quadratanium Lore obtained, though we have no way of knowing for certain.] Data's quarters include a large curved wall painted blue [which might suggest they're on the edge of the saucer, except the door is on the same wall], with a large computer desk near the door.
     The Enterprise is currently overdue for a computer refit. [This might be meant to tie in with the upcoming episode "11001001", although there's an episode in between this and that.]

Final Analysis: "How sad, dear brother. You make me wish I were an only child." The "evil twin" plot may be a bit of a cliché, but they pull it off with great élan here. Brent Spiner does an excellent job of not only playing both Data and Lore but also easily differentiating between the two, playing up Lore's more nefarious qualities while contrasting them with Data's innocence. Definitely one of the more memorable first season episodes.

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