4 comments on “Elementary Dear Data

  1. I’ll blame this one on Binar software practices and Starfleet using voiceprints as passwords. We see Worf and Riker become aware of the holodeck’s power drain, but we don’t see their reaction to it; I don’t think anything that could be construed as poor training happens onscreen. Generally though, in other episodes, I’d agree that the crew come off as incompetent in unnecessary and easily corrected ways. …I’m not sure where I want to draw the line between lazy/rushed/incomplete writing (“the language of television”) and the reality of TNG continuity.

    Wow, the holodeck tries to seduce *everyone*, doesn’t it. Minuet of course, Moriarty as a platonic fascination for Data (and *three days* of crumpets for Pulaski), Worf’s calisthenics, Geordi and holoBrahms, nevermind Luxwana and that bartender. Even Barclay’s ingénues could’ve started with a liberal interpretation of ambiguous commands.

    TNG skynet counter +1. I forget how high that goes. Three, at least.

    I bet Geordi’s tirade about puzzles vs memorization is why he doesn’t join Data’s Shakespearean sessions later on.

    I want to point out that the third crime Data solves–the red herring where you say Geordi gets thrown under the bus–is the only one to be composed of totally novel components, and therefore the only one to properly answer Pulaski’s challenge. I like that Data loses interest in that simple challenge the same time the episode does; although, since Pulaski and Data predicated the challenge on “the value of losing” (and something about understanding how innocents become villains), which both Data and Moriarty demonstrate in the climax, I don’t think the plot thread was entirely dropped.

    I enjoy this episode as a more sophisticated iteration on TOS’ “I am great, you are great” Daystrom. Bit of a shame we don’t get a USS Moriarty class with Mariposan rapid-cloning berths for the Borg or Dominion wars.

    • Huh. I hadn’t thought about the holodeck as the romantic aggressor. It’s worth some thinking.

      I like the innocent/villain thing you mentioned. I can see it, I just don’t think it was built by the story. It’s a good way to look at it though.

      In our Star Trek FATE RPG–take a shot–a ship with holo-emitters and no life support was definitely something I had penciled in for Season 3. Cloning isn’t even something limited to Mariposians; in DS9’s “Man of the People,” a guy clones himself and it isn’t even a thing. Clones and medical stasis are just things in Star Trek and no one gives a shit.

      The Arcturians are a (technically) beta-canon race who are members of the Federation and clone warriors. I always headcanoned they and the Zackdorn (and some others) just opted out of the Dominion War because it was so preventable. Maybe I’m parsing canon to suit my own tastes though.

      I am definitely doing that.

  2. Just now realized that my holodeck concept aligns with Bender dating the Planet Express Ship.

    With how the initial conversation between Data and Pulaski goes, I think the episode was trying to build up the innocent/villain thing, even if it wasn’t ultimately successful. Maybe the original ending carried it better.

    Holo-emitters and no life support in season three, eh? You and Enterprise both–no, wait. ENT waited until season four. (But still, Enterprise: take another shot.)

    I could buy antipathy for clones and indifference to stasis as bona fide outgrowths of Federation culture. A disregard for personal longevity would tie into the principle that passing through crucibles is what gives life value, which in turn ties into the Prime Directive becoming an almost xenocidal policy of non-interference. (A history of evil transporter clones might also color things a bit.)

    I don’t know, man. Given the weirdness of Trek fleet numbers and travel speeds, the logistics of any given race even trying to participate seems like awfully squishy ground to me.

    • The travel speeds I accept as part of the drama, but the squishy fleet numbers are unforgivable. Expect me to pry estimated fleet sizes out of Derek following “Best of Both Worlds,” “Redemption,” and quarterly in DS9. Imma just drink as they spiral upwards.

      I may have actually stolen the idea from the Romulan drone ship. I watched all of ENT’s Shran episodes for our Andorian player. Probably when I was brainstorming the Jyhad-esque “what if we take every tech in this setting to its logical conclusion?”

      I mention Jim Kirk being–in Magic: the Gathering terms–all five colors. TNG is very White/Blue, which I see as something of a flaw. It’s kinda Green though when it’s giving limp “everyone has to die and that’s okay” speeches (between annual episodes where they never ever let go of Tasha Yar). Letting races die in crucibles is totally White. It all fits together though. That White with a bit of survival of the fittest Green, which maybe underlies some good old American social darwinism.

      Unrelated gripe; I don’t feel like their commitment to anything in the Green/Black/Red slice of the color pie ever gets deeper than a quick justification of “sometimes you have to be X” instead of a real balanced view of Federation culture.

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