The Rewatch 106: Elementary, Dear Data

Series: Star Trek The Next Generation
Episode: 2.03 Elementary, Dear Data (12-05-88)
Rating:   5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/3

Notable Guest Stars:
Daniel Davis – James Moriarty.  Forever Niles Crane to me.
Alan Shearman – Lestrade. He does alot of voice work in the last couple of decades, including Trollhunters, Missing Link and World of Warcraft.
Anne Elizabeth Ramsay – Clancy. She had a role in the TV Show Mad About You.

Review:

 One of Data’s ongoing themes is his love of Sherlock Holmes.  Picard started this back in season 1 when he mentioned the fictional detective (although Star Trek has implied that in their universe, Holmes was a real person and a ancestor of Amanda Grayson and therefore Spock).  Data used his style to help solve a mystery, and got hooked on the stories.

In this episode, he convinces Geordi to join him in the holodeck where they are to solve a mystery.  The Only problem is that Data has them all memorized and skips to the end.  Geordi is not at all happy with this.

Then Katherine Pulaski gets involved.  This is the third episode where she seems to have a disregard and bigotry against Data.  I didn’t recall it being this often, and I hope it goes away soon.  I find this sours my view of her.  She basically goads Geordi into making a holodeck story that has a advisory that is capable of defeating Data.  Mostly because she doesn’t think Data could handle that.  Which I find is a bit horrible.

She ends up captured by Moriarty, who because of Geordi’s word choice has become sentient and taken over the Holodeck.  There are several problems with this.  The first being:  WHY ARE THE BRIDGE CONTROLS CONNECTED TO THE HOLODECK!?  Having an auxiliary control room is one thing, but I don’t see how they should be connected so much that the computer takes commands like that from the holodeck.  Also I would think some commands should be under a voice print.  Thankfully that is the case for the self-destruct.  Or at least is now.

On another note, the idea of a holographic character being self-aware provides a step towards the EMH on Voyager.  And according to Memory Alpha, the EMH was inspired by the idea of Moriearty from this episode and season 6’s Ship in a Bottle.  So we will revisit this character in about four more seasons.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Brain Alan Lane
  • Directed by Rob Bowman
  •  According to rumors, Maurice Hurley wanted to keep the originally scripted ending where Picard lies and allows Moriearty to leave the holodeck, but Gene Roddenberry nixed the idea, stating that it made Picard look cruel.  I have to agree with Roddenberry on this one. Dude just wants to live and is giving everything back peacefully.

Pros:

  •  Data and Holmes is usually always a good time.  And Brent Spiner happens to remind me a lot of the original actor, Basil Rathbone, in appearance.
  •  I like the idea that Geordi builds models of old ships in his spare time.

Cons:

  •  Pulaski’s continuing dismissal of Data.

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