The Rewatch 174: In Theory

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.25 In theory (06/3/91)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Michelle Scarabelli (Jenna D’Sora) Scarabelli is most known for her role on Alien Nation.  She has more recently been seen on Supernatural.

Pamela Winslow (Ensign McKnight) – Winslow is a repeat guest actor, playing the second of the three episodes she is seen as McKnight.

Review:

This episode is not one of my favorites.  I almost considered skipping it, but I’m trying my best not to skip any  (I think I’ve skipped 4 so far) from now on.

There are many things I have in my head about Data and his characterization.  I do see him as a representation of someone with autism, but also have seen him as someone who is grey asexual.  Essentially, he can be interested, but most of the time is not.  So, reading the summery that Data got a girlfriend was a bit weird.  Then I had to realize that I sort of point out his emotional attachment to Tasha Yar and their bit of romance, so I’d be calling myself a hypocrite for not accepting he could find the same situation with someone else.

So I’m going to watch this episode and give it another chance.

I think I would have liked this better if it had just stayed with Data being a good friend and keeping Jenna from making the same romantic decisions she had regretted in the past.  Maybe even play match maker to hilarious degrees.

But instead we have her deciding to slowly use Data as her emotional rebound from her relationship and Data scrambling to figure what is going on.  He reprograms himself to fit the mold of what he thinks a person in a couple should be.

Unfortunately for Jenna, he doesn’t really live up to her expectations.  What she took as caring, was Data making a fair assessment and trying to be a good friend.  I do feel bad for her in the end. 

This also reminds me of the Issac plot line where he dates the Doctor on Orville. Isaac is a bit more successful but in the end, I think that the same problem comes up. One character is forced to change who they are to benefit someone else who does not necessarily have to make any changes themselves.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written Joe Menosky and Ronald D. Moore
  • Directed by Patrick Stewart (His first episode in the series, and he’s only the second member of the cast to direct on this series)
  • Not a well-received episode.  The writers loved their Data plot but hated the restrictions the A-B plot of TNG’s style gave them.  Audiences were a bit confuddled by the whole thing.

Pros

  •  Data is a good friend.  He supports Jenna, and tries to lift her spirits without completely ignoring her rightful assessment of herself.   Its also nice to see Data be a friend to someone outside the main crew
  •  

Cons:

  • I’m trying to remind myself that this is the 90s, and the idea of having different levels of sexual interest/romantic interest was not as much a public thing as it is now.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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