Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Datalore"

***

Air date: 1/18/1988
Teleplay by Robert Lewin and Gene Roddenberry
Story by Robert Lewin & Maurice Hurley
Directed by Robert Bowman

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise visits Omicron Theta, the colony where Data was found 26 years earlier, and investigates the mystery surrounding the colony's disappearance. They find the world to be drained of all life forms. They also find the living quarters and laboratories of the colony's residents, now all empty — as well as a disassembled android virtually identical to Data, and proof that famed scientist Dr. Noonien Soong was among the colonists and constructed these androids while living there.

"Datalore" is particularly worthwhile for the valuable and definitive backstory it offers regarding Data's origins. The story even cites Isaac Asimov in its dialog explaining Soong's dream to realize the "positronic brain." When the crew decides to assemble and activate the other android, they discover he is actually Data's "brother," Lore. He's an intriguing individual — similar to Data but different in many key ways — and the plot's progress gradually reveals Lore's penchant for villainy and his relationship with the crystalline entity, which feeds purely on life. Lore helped "feed" it the Federation colony all those years ago. Brent Spiner memorably creates two distinct individuals within the confines of similar android templates. Lore's villainy is intriguing right alongside Data's equally intriguing loyalty to Picard and Starfleet.

What hurts the episode, however, is that no one is smart enough to realize the obvious. None of the crew except Boy Wesley realizes that Lore is impersonating Data — and when Wesley (who is always somehow more observant than the silly adults) brings this to their attention, we get helpful lines like, "Shut up, Wesley," which lead to even more helpful lines of would-be teenage rebellion when Wesley complains about the officers not listening to him. Quite simply, this is annoying material, continuing in season one's trend of Wesley's child status as a plot device. Meanwhile, all the adults look terminally clueless.

Still, the episode shows more promise (and is more memorable) than many season one tales, with a battle of dialog and wits between Data and Lore, which culminates in a physical fight and Lore being beamed into space.

Previous episode: The Big Goodbye
Next episode: Angel One

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41 comments on this review

Mario
Sun, Jan 1, 2012, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
-- DATALORE

I agree on many things in your reviews, but I just don't get why "Datalore" has such a high rating (compared to other episodes). While I agree that Spiner did an excellent job, the rest of this episode is just horrible.

The moment Lore gave Data that glass of champagne it was obvious that he was gonna switch identities. Just not why, so Lore had to tell the unconscious Data (the audience) his plan, which felt terribly conceived.
The behaviour of all of the crew members after that was so incredibly stupid and unplausible that it almost hurt my head. It kinda felt as if the screenwriters think that their audience is equally dumb.
I was expecting that Lore would kidnap Wesley after he had that nervous tick, which by the way was so painfully obviously just there so that Lore would involuntarily give away his identity. Oh, but he had such a great excuse for that - he was just practising the nervous tick of Lore. Why? I don't know. I guess the scene where Data practised sneazing should lend credibility to that. But it didn't for me because that scene in itself was stupid and unplausible.

The part before the switch was better, but not great or even good. Lore is better with human language and the best example that the writers could come up with were contractions? So Data can remember an incredible vast amount of information but can't - or cannot - handle contractions? Come on...
The backstory of Data was not very convincing either, in my eyes. Nobody ever asked Data before if they could study his circuits? I don't buy that. Aren't they supposed to be explorers, to have scientific curiousity?

Some things I liked about this episode, e.g. Lore kicking Whorf's ass, and... well...
Will
Sat, Apr 14, 2012, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
The main thing I thought was dumb about this episode was, what happened to the deflector shields lowering when Lore's transport was made and allowing the Crystaline Entity in. The fact that the deflector shields have to be dropped to make a transport is a fact, so why did beaming Lore off the ship not allow the Entity past the shields. Furthermore, why did the Entity just leave? It certainly seemed capable of disabling the Enterprise's shields should it really want to.
Corey
Mon, Apr 23, 2012, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
Lore mentioned when talking to the Crystalline Entity that the Enterprise had weapons capable of destroying it (presumably its photon torpedoes). I think it's quite unlikely the Entity could drop the Enterprise shields before itself was destroyed.

I agree with the plotholes mentioned in the first post. In addition, had the officers been thinking ahead, they should have asked what was the next move? e.g., just like Scotty in the ToS episode of the crazy guy impersonating Kirk, Scotty would say Bishop to Queen's Bishop 3, and he wouldn't allow transport unless the correct code was given. Likewise, they can have arranged in advance a code, just in case there was confusion on who was who. Lore wouldn't know the code and hence Wesley would be validated...still a fun episode despite all this though.
Rikko
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 6:47pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the 3 posts before mine.

The score seems to be a bit higher than deserved(2 and a half stars seems about right, or even just two stars).

What we have here it's a typical trend of TNG S1, imo. The first half of the show presents a very interesting premise that could either be awesome or terrible, and then you have the second half that doesn't deliver one bit. Think about The Last Outpost.

The plot is always predictable (and the audience is way ahead of the characters, which is a bad thing), Wesley saves the day more often than not, and the bad guy is obviously evil but nobody notices it until the last minute.

The same trick of "everybody is oblivious because we wouldn't have drama otherwise" will surface again in Heart of Glory (but that episode it's MUCH better, at least).

Oh, and btw this comes from a guy that loves Brent Spiner and Data. This could have been his very first episode as the main guy, but sure isn't his brightest.
xaaos
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
"Shut up, Wesley"

Classic! Wes is becoming more and more annoying by each episode.
Van_Patten
Wed, Oct 31, 2012, 6:02am (UTC -6)
I agree with Rikko that this one is pegged slightly too high in terms of ratings. The Enterprise visits Omicron Theta, site of the Starfleet colony where Data was found, and discovers clues as to his mysterious origin.

Leaving aside the implausibility of this colony not having been thoroughly excavated and the Lore prototype evading discovery for all that time, the story is one of the better outings to this point. It utilises an old cliche (the evil brother) but it does, as Jammer suggess provide useful back story on Daa, and uses the skills ozone of the better ensemble members , Spiner so at least looks plausible.

However, the comparison Rikko makes with 'the Last Outpost' makes is very apt. I don't think the second haf of the episode is sunk by hokey gyrating and overplayed dialogue but the writers seem to have removed the main characters ( other than Wesley) brains for the 15 minutes or so that Lore steals his identity. The climatic scene with Lore and Data facing off is good, and as I say , Spiner who is this episode's real focus ( First time this season) is excellent but the glaring hole in the plot drops this, once more to 2.5 stars for me - Oh, look which episode's up next - Happy Days....
DPC
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
Why is it TNG season 1 has some solid ideas, let down by so many random elements?!

This is one where two things ruin it:

a) poor direction (e.g. Data's contractions are all over the place and yet nobody notices, even after Lore is dealt with, the first thing Data does is make a contraction... only "We'll Always Have Paris" would show Data being worse with contractions, and emoting...)

b) WESLEY WONDERBOY once again is elevated beyond all realism, and it's not "elevation" when the adults are deliberately dumbed down to show the distinction!

and

c) the head Data picks up looks like the remains from a new wave mannequin thrown out in 1982, as it looks nothing like Brent Spiner's head! Or nose...

Lore is a great idea, but the execution is excruciatingly bad. Only Wesley picks up on what is appallingly obvious, which is bad enough...

They chose this episode for a TNG Bly-Ray feature filmfest celebration?! Bad move...


The score is awesome (Ron Jones made TNG better than what it could have been), but for "Datalore" the score - as was said by others here - is too good, given the claptrap scribbled out on paper. The concepts deserved more, the direction needed to be tight(er), and the writing should not have dumbed down everyone just to make WESLEY WONDERBRAT save the day again. (Wesley would be humanified for season 2, thankfully...)
Jonathon
Tue, Dec 4, 2012, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
Wesley is so annoying at this point that even his mom is telling him to shut up :D

and yet, he's right every time!
Jay
Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 4:23pm (UTC -6)
a crazy device that can both cure and create facial tics?
Jay
Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 4:25pm (UTC -6)
As for Picard, he's dumb as a bag of nickels here...it would only prudent to at least consider the possibility that Wesley was right from the gitgo out of an abundance of caution.
Shawn
Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 1:27am (UTC -6)
I agree with all Jammer said. I enjoy the fact that we got some background info on one of my favorite characters Data. Brent Spiner plays both Data and his brother Lore well. That alone to me is also worth 3 stars at least. I also agree with Jammer about the things that hurt this episode like none of the adult starfleet officers not seeing the more than painfully obvious of Lore impersonating Data and only boy genius Wesley is seeing it. That is probably why Wesley Crusher is one of the most hated characters probably in the history of star trek. I agree with some people on here too that said that Picard and his mother Beverly Crusher tells him to "Shut Up"! *L*.
Nick P.
Mon, Mar 18, 2013, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
OK, something has always bothered me about the Data backstory, perhaps someone can help me.

So the story we are lead to believe is that Lore lured the Crystalline entity to Omicron theta where is killed everybody, then a starfleet team, shows up later and finds data and history continues. But wait a sec, why when tehy beamed down to the planet did Geordi say something like "the team that found data reported farmland"? HUH??? I thought the crytalline entity destroyed everything?

Further, why was Lore there at all? he claims he was taken apart because the colonists didn't like him, but then how did he contact the crystalline entity? Also, Did Noonian Singh KNOW Lore did this? Why didn't he tell anybody, wouldn't that make him an accessory to genocide? If he didn't know why would he take him and data apart? What is this guys deal? Why did he leave and then go to an equally destroyed world?

One other thing, why did Lore "tic" on the bridge when he used the "ticker-taker-away" thing not 10 minutes earlier? I thought his tick was fake the whole time anyways? Why did he never tic any time after that?

BTW, I actaully kind of like this episode, those are just the things that really bother me.

@Will, you are not entirely correct. The rule in Star Trek is that you cannot beam "beyond the shields" when shields are up. They are certainly allowed to beam inside the ship and the immediate radius of the shields themselves. There is no reason to assume they beamed Lore outside of the shield radius.
William B
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 2:31am (UTC -6)
I think the idea is that Lore had sent messages to the Crystalline Entity to lure it to Omicron Theta before he was deactivated. There are a few more details spread out among later episodes (I'm thinking "Brothers," "Silicon Avatar" and "Inheritance") about what Soong knew/didn't know and what happened to the colonists exactly, but I forget. The specifics of what happened before the Crystalline Entity's attack are a little hard to parse from "Datalore" itself, because Data doesn't really know what happened and Lore is lying half the time.

I don't know why there would be farmland when Data was found though.

To be honest I don't really understand how the Crystalline Entity was supposed to work. Apparently it was slow enough that children had time to make drawings of it killing people and their parents to proudly display it? (I mean, what?)

--

This episode works really well for me until the last couple of minutes -- not just the Wesley material, but also the Data-Lore confict being reduced to a fight in the cargo bay.

I actually think that the crew's trust of Lore, and relative 'stupidity' when dealing with him and difficulty recognizing the clues that "Data" is Lore later on, is because they are made so uncomfortable by the whole situation of confronting how much they don't know about Data. They are made uncomfortable by Data being a machine, and there are several scenes in which crew members (especially Picard) find themselves tripping over words, pronoun usage (he vs. it), generally struggling to know how to respond to someone who they should treat both as Data's only "living relative" and as a potentially dangerous machine. Picard puts Data on the case of tracking Lore but otherwise people mostly stay away from Lore in part because I think they want to err on the side of respect for Data.

For Data, while he catches Lore lying pretty early, and is increasingly skeptical of Lore's version of events, I don't think he really can imagine that Lore's evil/duplicity is so great that he is a genuine active threat to the whole ship, or that he has to worry about drinking drugged champagne. Lore preys on Data's desire to become human to manipulate him.

I actually don't know whether "Datalore" itself is particularly good or if I just know enough about Data's backstory (pieced together from here and other episodes) that this episode plays with more depth than is in the episode by itself. I think the thing that gets to me about the Data/Lore situation is that Lore's existence calls into question Data's entire quest. Data's desire to be more human is so close to how Data defines himself, and Lore is "more human" and is a monster. But it's even more twisted and complicated than that. Data is *specifically* a version of Lore, designed to be less threatening to humans. Lore was evil, but there is also a suggestion (probably more in "Brothers," I think?) that Lore developed his disdain for humans in part because of how humans reacted to him. Data's desire to become human takes on a darker light when we realize that Data's viewing himself as somehow less than human in important ways may have been a way of compensating for Lore's excess in the other direction. And Data is blocked in his programming from becoming too human, his greatest desire, because of this sins of his "brother."

Anyway, this episode only hints at many of these issues, but somehow it all seems there in Spiner's performance. The ending is dumb, but 3 stars sounds about right.
Grumpy
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
William B, you mount perhaps the best defense possible for this episode. The only other bright spot I'd add is that the corridor outside Soong's lab had cool lighting.

The timeline of the colony's destruction is complicated not only by the "farmland" reference in this episode but by Soong's knowledge of the CE in "Brothers." If he knew about a planet-eater, why didn't he warn anyone? Was it so important to fake his own death?? Meanwhile, "Silicon Avatar" confuses the timeline another way, depending on when the colonists contributed their knowledge to Data. If it was after Lore's disruptions (and presumably the colony didn't last long after Lore's betrayal), then Data should've had their memories of Lore.

A thorough untangling of this timeline would also have to explain why Soong was in such a hurry to escape that he left behind his life's work. One-man getaway shuttle? Somehow I doubt it.

But the bit with the children's drawings might still make sense -- if the pictures were based on Lore describing the CE to them. Indeed, Lore's horror stories might've been the last straw before the colonists demanded his deactivation.
Grumpy
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
CORRECTION: The reason for Data's abandonment was given in "Inheritance."
Paul
Wed, May 8, 2013, 10:21am (UTC -6)
I watched this one for the first time in years last night and totally agree that the timeline of what happened on Omicron Theta makes no sense. The only way it works is:

1) Lore somehow contacts the crystalline entity around the time Data is being completed and summons it to Omicron Theta.
2) The entity appears at Omicron Theta and takes quite a while to do its thing, allowing the children to draw pictures of it. There's never any stated reason for this, but I suppose it's possible. Maybe it didn't know how to consume human life at first? Maybe it was waiting on orders from Lore?
3) Soong disassembles Lore, maybe because he knew Lore summoned the entity and knew why?
4) Soong and Julianna leave the planet -- maybe in a hurry? Maybe Soong left to escape from the colonists, who were mad that Lore summoned the entity? That would explain why they'd leave Lore behind. Maybe they left Data behind so Soong would show his doubters wrong? Of course, why he wouldn't make it clear who built Data is a mystery. Or maybe they were just in a hurry regarding Data, too? The second choice wouldn't explain why Data was left where he was, though. Could Soong have somehow controlled him remotely after leaving?
5) The entity attacks, killing all the colonists. Then, it leaves.
6) Shortly thereafter, Starfleet arrives and the dumbest crew in space finds only Data and not the underground complex, allowing the Enterprise to discover it 26 years later. This might be the biggest plot hole, really.

Even if you grant the creators those items, there are some problems with this episode. The scene where Riker, Geordi and Tasha (!) tell Data about Soong is just ridiculous. In 26 years, you figure Data would have researched dudes who'd worked on androids. This could have easily been fixed by Data saying, "Dr. Soong was one of the scientists I have studied trying to learn more about androids. I have even noted a resemblance in our appearances."

The Wesley stuff is also annoying, mostly because it's written poorly. Why wouldn't Wesley pull Riker or Geordi aside and explain everything? Bringing it up in front of Lore on the bridge adds to the implausibility that the bridge crew would be so dense.

All that said, this is one of those Trek history episodes that's worth watching. It suffers from a lot of first-season problems, but it's better generally than a lot of what we saw early on. You can see TNG STARTING to evolve.
Grumpy
Wed, May 8, 2013, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Paul, I agree with what you say... except for one detail:

"I have even noted a resemblance in our appearances."

Your hindsight is showing! At the time, the producers didn't know what Soong looked like. When an actor was needed for "Brothers," they were originally going to hire Keye Luke, who you must admit looked a lot more Chinese than Brent Spiner under any amount of makeup.
T'Paul
Mon, May 20, 2013, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Yes, have to admit I was amused by the drawing of the Crystalline Entity with people running from it with "scared" expressions... Hmm, perhaps this might mean something.
T'Paul
Wed, May 22, 2013, 7:08am (UTC -6)
Still though, I think this is one of the heartier episodes of season 1, provides some good background development on Data, has some good crew interactions, all in all one of the more decent offerings of season 1, and foreshadows what TNG would become in later seasons in terms of the crew and the types of situations they face. It would have been nice to learn a bit more about the entity and the colony.
SkepticalMI
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
The fact that everyone on the ship grabbed the idiot ball for the last 20 minutes really prevents this from being a highly ranked episode for me. Think about how much better it could have been if everyone suspected or even knew that "Data" was actually Lore. Especially if Data never told Dr. Crusher of his off switch, no one could know for sure. And since Data/Lore is much stronger and smarter than the rest of the crew, it would be difficult for Picard to simply apprehend him. It could be a nice game of wits trying to stop Lore. Certainly a lot better than everyone shouting shut up Wesley.

MattyP
Wed, Aug 28, 2013, 6:20am (UTC -6)
Another weird moment - Worf finds subspace chatter originating from Data/Lore's quarters, so Riker's solution is to send Wesley (???) to check it out. What the heck?
Entilzha
Sat, Jul 26, 2014, 2:07am (UTC -6)
Another point to add to all those already mentioned:

The solution was to just beam Lore off the Enterprise and leave him floating in space?

He's not deactivated and I'm sure he can send some kind of signal that can be picked up, or just be noticed, by a space vessel flying close by. Not only would it enable Lore to resume his hostile activities, but if picked up by enemies of the Federation, his tech and knowledge can be used - imagine him in the hands of the Cardassians or the Romulans. It's very naive and sloppy solution by a crew who already behaved stupidly through most of this episode. I'm guessing not the smartest of writers were on board for this one.
chrisx
Sat, Sep 27, 2014, 2:16pm (UTC -6)
"The solution was to just beam Lore off the Enterprise and leave him floating in space?"

Maybe the Entity grabbed him right after he was beamed off and went away.

Did anyone notice Lore in the final bridge scene saying "Riker" instead of "Commander Riker" or "sir"? Shouldn't this raise any suspicions for him not being the real Data?
Shannon
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
I would have given this episode 2 stars. I liked the idea, but the plot was a bit difficult to swallow. Just seems like the senior officers, especially Picard and Riker, were completely oblivious to what should have been the obvious. Only Wesley knew what was going on, which is annoying unto itself.
Diamond Dave
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
Definitely a game of two halves here. The first half sets up an intriguing premise, gives Brent Spiner space to shine, and gives some well-appreciated background on Data (probably the standout character so far this series).

But instead of exploring the subtleties of whether Data becoming more human would even be a desirable thing in comparison to Lore, the episode turns Lore into a moustache-twirling villain with another nonsensical plot featuring a "crystalline thing". So much promise, but ball dropped again.

"Shut up, Wesley" indeed. 2 stars.
Screamwriter
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 5:09am (UTC -6)

So much has already been said about the timeline that makes no sense. And I don't know what is worse the writing or directing.(You see a copy of Data slowing appearing through dry ice and Geordi's first line about "just these two" ruins the dramatic moment. But I think an episode about Soong inventing a time machine at and causing a paradox would have explained it.(opps I was thinking of Voyager)And Data might have had his memory of lore removed by "Often wrong"

A Note on Wesley. I really never got the hate for him. Nobody was faultless in the first two seasons IMO, but I think he was a good actor who got a bad rap. Without Wes we never would have seen puberty in the future.

Regulations on beaming psycho androids into space without also beaming a warning probe. Hey come on NO one picks up hitchhikers anymore. You would have to be a race of dumb asses to Beam Lore onto your ship. Oh wait.....
AJ
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 11:37am (UTC -6)
This episode was all over the place. Interesting backstory on Data but it was so obvious and contrived, with Wesley being the only person to actually figure out what was going on. The rest of the crew looks like clueless idiots.

Then at the end when Picard asks Data if he is ok he twitches and says "I'm fine"...using a contraction?! Was that a slip up or intentional?
Chris
Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 11:01am (UTC -6)
The final "I'm fine" was intentional according to, I believe, the Star Trek TNG companion. Brent Spiner and Rob Bowman slipped it in to see if the Paramount execs were paying attention to the dailies before approving them for air. They weren't.
Jason R.
Thu, Dec 24, 2015, 11:05am (UTC -6)
I detest the Lore character. Don't get me wrong, Brent Spiner does an admirable job portraying this contemptible one-dimensional character, but it gets really old really fast. I was so done with Lore after this episode, I could scarcely understand why they felt the need to bring him back as some kind of recurring villain again and again.

The main problem with this character is the same as with another recent failed AI villain: Ultron. In both cases, there is this glaring lack of motivation or explanation for why the characters behave in the way they do. It's just like someone turned the switch and EVIL.

In Lore's case they sort of tell us that he was jealous of Data or felt slighted because his creator favoured his brother, but then again, the reason he was deactivated in the first place, (and supplanted by Data) was he was already a raging psychopath.

I just don't get it with this guy. At least with Armis there was a logical explanation for who he was and how he got to be the way he was. Armis was born to be an evil puddle of goo. It was kind of tragic. What was Lore's excuse?
Chrome
Tue, Dec 29, 2015, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
I think Lore represents the bad aspects of humanity: Jealousy, betrayal, dishonesty, corruption, etc. This helps give a great contrast to Data, who, despite being nonhuman, represents some of the best qualities of humanity.
Jason R.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 11:17am (UTC -6)
Chrome, that may have been a subtext the writers were going for, but Lore is not a metaphor - he's an actual character. He's also an android, which means unlike a human, you can't just say he just happened to be bad by chance. Someone programmed him like this. Heck, even if he were a human character that still would not explain the motivation behind his evil. He's just this one note character whose only defining characteristic is EVIL. Heck, getting back to Armis, even he wasn't actually purely evil (as Picard said) despite his origin.

I remember just groaning in Descent when this guy showed up again as the villain. Ugggh. What is he, like Freddy? How many times do they have to kill him?
William B
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 11:42am (UTC -6)
I would not want to spend eternities with Lore as a villain, but I don't find him that mysterious. He has human failings -- ego, anger, ambition -- which are not a problem in moderation, and then also is both ostracized and treated with fear and derision by humans AND has superior strength and intellect. Lore summoned the Chrystalline Entity when he was going to be deactivated (killed), which largely was because he refused to acknowledge humans' innate superiority. He was never accepted as on the same level as humans, so it became Them Or Me early on, especially once threat of deactivation came along. Moreover, Lore's primary purpose in the story is to tell us something about Data. Data's lack of emotions and deference to humanity are revealed through Lore as an operational necessity for an android to be both accepted by humans and not to pose a threat to them which is quite sad, even if Data has trouble integrating this knowledge into him (though we know from "Brothers" that the "less perfect android" line did stay with him.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 11:43am (UTC -6)
@Jason R.

Actually, in Lore's case we can say he happened to be bad by chance. He was written as an android who malfunctioned by chance and his resulting bad behavior of that malfunctioning led Soong to create the anti-Lore: Data. Lore doesn't need "motivation", he's a malfunctioning machine with broken reasoning.
Jason R.
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 11:52am (UTC -6)
@Chrome

Errr, this is rather circular reasoning. I guess I can see how Lore may have grown over time to hate humanity, and I do find the concept of an Android psychopath intriguing if it were treated in a nuanced, intelligent fashion. But sadly we just don't get the benefit of any development or any clear backstory that would explain Lore's malevolence. Lore might as well be Armis. No redeeming characteristics, no real motivation outside of villainy for its own sake.
Chrome
Mon, Jan 4, 2016, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R.

So, villains need clear backstory and motivation? I think The Dark Knight's Joker would disagree.
Jason R.
Tue, Jan 5, 2016, 6:44am (UTC -6)
@Chrome.

The Joker's backstory in The Dark Knight was: "some men want to watch the world burn".

That was good enough for that character, whose mysterious (and unknowable) origin was part of the fun. For a comic book villain that was good enough.

In Lore's case, his origin is the very opposite of mysterious. He was an android, constructed by a man, who was by no means insane. Eccentric, but no madman. He is not a supervillain in a comic book movie, but a character in what is supposed to be a serious thoughtful science fiction story about AI.

Now don't get me wrong, I see plenty of potential there to explore the nature of AI, human emotion, and where Song may have gone wrong with Lore's programming. I wanted to like Lore. If the story had taken the slightest time to address certain continuity issues, flesh out certain back story and if the script had given Lore the slightest nuance things could have been different. But sadly the story never digs very deep. We're just supposed to accept that he's a raging irredeemable psychopath.

I will have to re-watch Brothers, as I suspect that episode might be the only one to give Lore some nuance or character beyond cartoonish villainy. All I can remember is by the time he shows up again in Descent, I'm just rolling my eyes every time he appears on the screen.

Chrome
Tue, Jan 5, 2016, 10:19am (UTC -6)
@Jason

Yes, it's hard to compare Lore exactly to a well-written movie character, but for this episode all that was important was that Lore was evil in a way that undermined TNG's big hearts. Season 1 is chock full of early-installation weirdness, so I wouldn't blame you for finding Lore alone uninteresting. It didn't help that Lore's main opponent here was Wesley...

I have brought up "Brothers" as an example in another discussion, as it shows that Lore did legitimately care for his father, although Lore's ambition outweighed that sentiment in the end.
NothingOriginal55
Sun, Apr 3, 2016, 11:07am (UTC -6)
So far I'm not really enjoying season one. The dialogue is so bad and they really did overuse Wesley boy wonder. For those getting into the next generation for the first time, it gets better. Promise.
Strejda
Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
I agree with Chrome, for all the episodes failings, I think Lore himself was handled just fine (altho I agree he does depend entirely on Spiner's performance). What I think is the bigger failing-by which I mean, it probably shouldn't have been part of the story period-is the Crystaline Entity. I know it's just a plot device but it's like having Lore whip out Death Star. Compared to how seriously The Borg are treated later, it's just weird to have Enterprise crew encounter a freaking Galactus and give it no real thought.

Also, yeah, the Wesley stuff was dumb. I didn't find Wesley himself annoying, but the way everything was contrived to make him look good was pretty obnoxious. I get they needed to give him stuff to do, but that's only because they had him there period.
borusa
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Brent Spiner's acting in this episode is a high point. He manages to handle the cliche of the evil twin brother convincingly.
I absolutely agree with the comments on the jarring overuse of iritating wunderkind Wesley; Star Trek TNG's very own Adric.
This episode could have merited a high number of stars in my opinion except for the dire dialogue written for Frakes,Stewart and McFadden.
Crosby gets a few more lines than usual ,not that they are much good, but by this time the actress must have been getting ready to walk.
Utter drivel in the dismissive wrap up with no proper regard for the crystal entity which is presumably off to ravage half the galaxy.

2 stars for me
Rob
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 9:08am (UTC -6)
It's bad writing when you make characters deliberately stupid to further the plot. I'm no fan of Wesley, but the senior staff were abusing him like he was Oliver Twist.

When he suggested Data was Lore I'm surprised Riker didn't hand the captain a cane.

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