The Rewatch 184: Hero Worship

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.11 Hero Worship (1/6/1992)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
Joshua Harris (Timothy) – Harris is most known for his role as “Christopher Ewing” on Dallas prior to his appearance on Star Trek.  He currently runs his own production company 4th Wall Entertainment.

Harley Venton  (Hutchinson)-  Venton worked on Guiding Light in the early eighties, but most of his recent work has been on the stage.

Review:

This is interesting episode because of two things.  One it deals with grief and trauma, but it also deals with Data being faced with the idea of someone wanting to be just like him.

Timothy is found as the sole survivor of a ship destruction.  He’s in grief and shock and is having trouble, understandably, adjusting.  When Data is the one to save him from the ship, he clings to him as a safe haven, and later an example of how to get through the sadness.  If he’s an android he can’t feel anything can he?

Troi mentions enantiodromia, which is (according to Oxford Languages) “the tendency of things to change into their opposites, especially as a supposed governing principle of natural cycles and of psychological development”.  Which does seem to fit what they are going from.  She is using a principle developed by Carl Jung, one of the big names of early psychology.  If I am understanding the concept correctly Timothy is emulating Data as a way to contain his grief and shock, to eventually disperse it to correct himself again.

Having recently been through a shock myself (the sudden death of my grandfather) I guess I do find some commonality with Timothy.  Granted, it was not as violent and personally affecting for me, I was never in danger nor lived through something so traumatic.  But the idea of pushing away the grief and sadness is universal.  In Timothy’s case, he has decided that to avoid feeling sad, he has to feel nothing at all.  Just like Data, his hero.

Problem is, as we all know too well, humans can’t shut off their emotions like Data can shut off his chip. Timothy eventually has to face his own feelings, including guilt as he believes he is the reason for the destruction of the Vico, his parents ship.

I’m giving this episode a 4/5.  Its not necessarily an episode I would put in my top ten, but it’s a strong episode, with excellent acting from Brent Spiner and Joshua Harris.  I also like that Deanna is being shown to do actual psychology.  So much of TNG has ignored that part of her job that this season has been a great relief to see her do what she is supposed to be doing on the Enterprise.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Hilary J. Bader (Story) and Joe Menosky (Teleplay)
  • Directed by Patrick Stewart
  • Gene Roddenberry died during the filming of this episode.
  • This episode mentions the Breen.
  • Joe Menosky commented that he didn’t see why there would be a therapist and that it would “date” the episode. I disagree, but I am curious if he had a reason for why he thought it would date the episode more then the early 90s hairstyles and one-piece outfits.

Pros

  • Deanna gets to be seen doing her job and ont just an ornament of the bridge.
  • Character development for several characters including seeing them proficient at their profession and backstory.
  • We learn that the computer system has an accidental use protection, which is probably why Riker can sit on the consoles all the time and nothing gets blown up

Cons:

  • I find Picard ordering Data to make Timothy the best Android he could be to be a little odd.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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