Star Trek: The Next Generation


3 stars.

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

Review Text

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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Comment Section

92 comments on this post


    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...

    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.

    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.

    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.

    "Shut up, Wesley"

    Classic! Wes is becoming more and more annoying by each episode.

    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....

    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!


    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...)

    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!

    a crazy device that can both cure and create facial tics?

    As for Picard, he's dumb as a bag of nickels would only prudent to at least consider the possibility that Wesley was right from the gitgo out of an abundance of caution.

    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*.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    CORRECTION: The reason for Data's abandonment was given in "Inheritance."

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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?

    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.

    "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?

    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.

    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.

    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.....

    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?

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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?

    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.

    @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.


    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.

    @Jason R.

    So, villains need clear backstory and motivation? I think The Dark Knight's Joker would disagree.


    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.


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    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.

    Decent episode - generally agree with Jammer's review but like others have posted, there are many plot holes.
    Not a fan of the "Shut up, Wesley" - don't think a captain should be talking like that to one of his crew. The general point is the adults are made to look stupid while Wesley clues into what's going on. No issue with Wesley's role in this episode.

    I thought what was cool was the children's drawings of the crystal entity and the foreboding it brings. Would like to have gotten more background on the crystal entity and what its link with Lore is -- does Lore just have a hatred for humanity somehow? Why?

    So much potential in this episode - the ending of just beaming Lore into space, I guess that's leaves the door open for future Lore appearances.

    Enjoyed watching this one but plenty of legit criticism from others in this thread. For me 2.5/4 stars.

    3 stars

    Very solid episode

    The lab was very well done with all sorts of neat gadgets and gizmos

    Lore was never as menacing or dangerous as here. The way he threatened Wesley or repeatedly kicked Data in the head or phasered Dr Crusher as she retreated or sealed Worf in turbo lift with him

    I liked Dr crusher standing up for Wesley and then going along with him to check if it was Data who was deactivated.

    The episode did a good job generating suspense and tension with the crystalline enity threat, the struggle between Data and Lore, Lore reveal of being up to no good etc

    More ageism! Wesley has always in the sane one and they all hate him for it, as does the fan base. That’s humanity in a nutshell. Lore and Q are correct: Humans are idiots. Narcissistic morons who make all of their own problems and drag others into it. Let’s talk about the Beverly stepping in to save Wes scene, isn’t she Star Fleet trained? FFS What a joke. This entire episode is one weak move after another. My favorite part is Worf getting beat, the guffaw it provides makes the cringefest worthwhile. I’m so disappointed in you Jammer, I came here expecting better.

    This episode is classic for several reasons:

    1. Lore
    2. 'Often Wrong' Soong
    3. Shut up Wesley

    Too bad Lore didn't turn Wesley into a torch. That I would pay to see.

    So this started out promising but falls apart as the show wears on. Plus, I just never took to Lore. And title of the show: "Datelore." Stupid.

    Count me in with the chorus who felt like the adults were really dumbed down so Wesley could look good. Again. Ugh.

    In some timeline, he was executed for violating that innocent flower bed on the Edo planet. I want to see that show.

    So, villains need clear backstory and motivation? I think The Dark Knight's Joker would disagree.

    Dark Knight and that whole trilogy are badly written garbage. So, yes, good fiction does require it.


    You haven’t explained why an academy-award winning film is “garbage” let alone why “good fiction” requires villains with clearly written backstories, so you haven’t provided anything to discuss.

    Though I’ll provide another example. The Mule in the Foundation novels has no clear backstory and no clear motive, yet it’s his very chaotic nature that the order-focused Seldon Plan is vulnerable to. Not all antagonists need an agenda, sometimes lacking reasoning is enough to catch a reasoning hero off guard.

    Dark Knight and its sequel are the usual crypto-fascism and political strawmen; a billionaire with an arsenal of weapons engaging in wire-tapping, extrajudicial violence and illegal border-hopping extraditions whilst battling vaguely Oriental/Arabic villains and a conniving environmentalist woman. Our hero, when he's not embodying the White Man's Burden, possesses clean-energy technology but refuses to give it to civilians because "man is irresponsible". He also convinces a jewel thief to abandon her class-hate and join his cause. The alternative to his brand of justice is, of course, lawless chaos and barbarism. Indeed, Gotham literally turns into a giant soviet style wintery gulag when Batman is removed. ie - accept the inequities of Gotham, because the alternative is worse. It's the usual superhero fascism dressed up in slightly more "serious" decor.

    I don’t see how The Joker is vaguely Oriental/Arabic. Anyhow, you guys are taking this discussion way off topic just so you can bash Batman movies. At least try to stay on the topic of why or why not Lore works as a villain.

    The "Oriental/Arabic" comment was referring to Ra's al Ghul, the arch villain of Nolan's movies (whom Bane, and the environmentalist woman played by Marion Cotillard, work for) .

    Lore, as DLPB says, isn't that well written a character. It's a familiar evil double trope, done decently, but there's not much of interest behind the character and such cartoon villains are beneath Trek-at-its-best. Professor Moriarty seemed a better villain for Data; he was sympathetic, chillingly smart and able to instill real doubt in Data.

    "The "Oriental/Arabic" comment was referring to Ra's al Ghul, the arch villain of Nolan's movies (whom Bane, and the environmentalist woman played by Marion Cotillard, work for) ."

    Okay, but those characters aren't in The Dark Knight. The villains in that movie are The Joker and Two-Face.

    "Lore, as DLPB says, isn't that well written a character."

    Where did he say that? He just said The Dark Knight was garbage. For all we know, he likes Lore.

    "Professor Moriarty seemed a better villain for Data; he was sympathetic, chillingly smart and able to instill real doubt in Data."

    Maybe, but Data can have multiple adversaries without one diminshing the other.

    "It's a familiar evil double trope, done decently, but there's not much of interest behind the character and such cartoon villains are beneath Trek-at-its-best."

    Tropes aren't bad, even the well-trodden ones, what's important is execution. Data is after all, a very nuanced character representing some of the brighter aspects of humans. Thus, a character who sits on the other end of humanity's spectrum, representing the darker aspects of humanity is an interesting concept.

    Granted, this is a season one episode, so it's not one of Trek's best shows, but I think Lore is at least interesting in that he challenges Data's quest to become more human by cautioning some of the pitfalls that journey entails.

    I do like Lore. But I'd also say he wasn't well fleshed out. They didn't really want him to be really. He was a twisted, badly programmed nuisance, who was an antagonist for Data. I don't really read much more in than that.

    Plus, anyone who wants to turn Wesley Crusher into a torch can't be ALL bad.

    I'm not sure why so many 'really' crept in there :P

    As for why I think it's garbage, that would be off topic here, wouldn't it? Check for my review of it on imdb - DLPBurke

    Sadly, imdb have recently changed the GUI into a difficult monstrosity.

    The joker has no motivation other than "I'm evil". Logic is thrown out of the window to make the plot work and for the characters behave the way they do. The whole thing is badly written. Anything can happen at any time for any reason. It's dull, lazy writing. To quote myself:

    "In order to make the Joker a super villain, Nolan made everyone else a super moron."

    I don't have a particularly compelling reason for not enjoying the Lore episodes.

    I loved Brent Spiner as Data, but I don't like his presentation as Lore, for one thing.

    I think Lore just became tiresome as he continued to pop up time to time. I can't think of a single Lore episode that really drew me in, though as I continue watching these again one by one, I'll perhaps see one I like better.

    Call me sappy, but the best "Data's Family" episode was the one where he created a daughter.

    I watched this recently after all the discussion being had about Lore not being a good villain and I can understand the criticism this one gets. When Spiner lets loose and gives up his Data character he really goes to town. In this episode he really chews the scenery with his taunts and scheming as Lore. It's a little cheesy, even for a season one episode of TNG. Also the crew seems way too trusting of Lore, but maybe that's just because they like Data so much?

    However, the episode overall is good. Soong's laboratory looks pretty damn cool. The steam pouring out of Lore's containment unit was a nice touch, and the whole investigation had a nice eerie air to it like stumbling upon Dr. Frankenstein's lab of the future. Like Jammer mentioned, the reference to Asimov was great. It's funny how people nitpick DISC for throwing in pop icons from our era, but if you really think about it, it seems odd that Tasha would be familiar with 20th-century science fiction (In fact, everyone on the away team knew about Asimov, practically implying his books were required reading at the Academy).

    This one's also funny. We get two "Shut up, Wesley!"s, both of which were timed perfect. I'm giving this one 3 stars. It's very cheesy but also an instant classic showcasing much of Data's history and introducing both Lore and the Crystalline Entity.

    It takes a special kind of story to make a creature that eats entire worlds as being sympathetic in comparison to Lore. The entity is barely a malevolent presence and is just hungry, whereas Lore is the actual 'evil' being.

    I enjoyed this one.

    Anybody else notice that in the blue ray version Data's eyes are way more green in season 1 than the rest?

    And after beaming Lore into space, how come they didn't try to retrieve him? Or pursue the Crystalline Entity? "Our computer cores are due for a refit!" Ah, that explains it... hahaha.

    Let Wesley sit on the bridge but don't listen to him, even though he has saved your bacon numerous times. Other than that, a nice introduction to Lore lore.

    How utterly obnoxious that people would criticise Wesley, who was perfectly correct and the only one who showed any brains, in favour of the crew who were being utterly stupid. I mean, among everything else, just calling the first officer Riker is grossly out of character and rather disrespectful.

    This was an extremely ham-fisted episode and it was weird to see early Data, as he is very different to the Data from season 3 onwards.

    At the end of the episode Picard asks Data, "Are you alright?". Data responds, "I'm fine". Was this use of a contraction intended or just a massive mistake after an episode hinging on the differences between Lore and Data. Unfortunately I think it was the latter.

    Also, Wesley is annoying as hell. Even more so on rewatches. Feels like they trying ram him down our throats, every season one episode.

    Small point but I think this episode could have paid some homage to "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" in recognizing Dr. Roger Korby's work with androids. Korby worked on creating androids out of human beings -- Soong's work took a different approach and he's talked about here as the foremost scientist and developing the positronic brain.

    At this stage of TNG, there seemed to be the effects of TOS lingering -- familiar production crew etc. -- so would have been nice (for me) to get a TOS reference in here.

    Small point but I think this episode could have paid some homage to "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" in recognizing Dr. Roger Korby's work with androids. Korby worked on creating androids out of human beings -- Soong's work took a different approach and he's glorified here with developing the positronic brain.

    At this stage of TNG, there seemed to be the effects of TOS lingering -- familiar production crew etc. -- so would have been nice (for me) to get a TOS reference in here.

    I liked this one. It highlighted Data who I think is one of the best parts of TNG. I liked the stories with Lore, the mystery of his origins and Dr Soong. I had forgotten about that element of TNG until seeing this episode. Lore needling Data was just like a real life brother. We even got to get to know Data a little more. I enjoyed his trust and relationship with the Doctor and the iconic line about his off switch. Another iconic line was the dual Shut Up Wesley lines. I note that Data was loyal to Starfleet whereas Odo in DS9 was not. I think of them as kindred outsiders in both series. A low point in the episode was the lame fighting abilities in the cargo bay. Are they not trained in defense and hand to hand combat?

    Wesley wasn't completely annoying in this episode. But again why is he given such important tasks like keeping an eye on Data?

    Lots of issues in this episode, but I could have given it at least a passing grade if not for Wesley Saving The Day again.

    Apparently Wil Wheaton gets constantly cyber bullied with “Shut up, Wesley” spam on all the social media he’s part of and he has written extensively asking people to stop.

    Rob Bowman's direction is really special in a couple scenes: consider the subtle trick shot in which Data and Lore exchange the same glass of wine. The sequence in the sick bay, in which engineers slowly assemble Lore - lit with moody blacks and blues - is also wonderfully atmospheric.

    Roddenberry's influence on the script is also good: Data gets decent backstory, and we're introduced to a sinister Crystalline Entity, a giant being which roams about like some kind of terrifying Moby Dick.

    We also get a neat scene in which a phaser fires mid-transportation, the beam freezing and dissipating as the transporter "field" is energized.

    The big negative, as others have mentioned, is Wesley Crusher. His "save the day" subplot is more terrible than usual, as it requires several of the adult characters to act stupidly, and out of character, to accommodate it.

    As I make my way through TNG season 1, I'm surprised how fun it is. It's like TOS season 4, with beige carpets.

    @Trent, yeah, I like this one.

    The Wesley thing really sucks in terms of making everyone else look bad. I wonder though if it makes a certain amount of sense that Wesley is the one who figures out the problem because the Data/Lore conflict is close to home - - it's about how Data/Lore are orphans, weirdo geniuses in a world that does not understand them and where their father is dead, who can choose to deal with it either by excelling or by becoming destructive. Data is deliberately kept in a childlike state by being denied the traits that Lore has that made him evil, and it's only by integrating them on some level that Data can actually grow up. The show takes years before hinting that there is much anger behind Wesley's aw shucks demeanour, and then the results are mixed (The First Duty is good, Journey's End is bad) but I like the idea that maybe Wesley sees through Lore because he gets the impulse to just run with intellectual superiority, isolation, and people telling him to shut up with destruction. The ep opens with Wesley wondering why Data isn't more interested in learning where he came from, and maybe the answer the episode presents is that maybe Data doesn't entirely want to know what skeletons are buried there, but is programmed to be too naive ("less perfect"), unable to even sneeze properly so that no humans could be afraid of him, to understand why yet. How long until Wesley really stops dancing to his dead father's programming? The parallel between Wesley and Data is not really explored but it maybe makes sense of giving Wesley such an improbably big role in this ep at other characters' expense.

    (Even the infamous drugs PSA scene with Tasha in Symbiosis plays better if you imagine Wesley does on some level get the appeal of a chemical escape from emotional pain but needs to work hard to publicly suppress it. The golly gee Wesley is a necessary adaptation when actually being a boy genius who can take over the ship in his sleep would quickly be recognized as a threat.)

    Could have been a great episode if only the Wesley business had been handled differently. The whole "Wesley knows best" thing, that seems to surface in every other episode gets so tiresome. It's particularly awful in this one, because the portrayal of the clueless bridge officers vs the hyper-observant Wesley rings so false.

    I think the dismissive way they treat Wes is meant to parallel the "not quite human" way they were treating the androids -what it means to be fully human and all that - but it just doesn't work.

    The rest of the show was quite good; Spiner was great, wonderful character development for Data, and the story was interesting.

    No better than average overall though, when you factor in Wesley Wunderkind.


    I remember reading that Data is supposed to be childlike, so I think the idea here is that Wesley, as a child, connects to Data on that level. After all, they're both very talented and brilliant people who are still learning how to behave in the real world, especially socially. The thing about Lore is, he doesn't have any of Data's naiveté. Lore's "the ultimate android"; he already gets how human beings work and more importantly, how adults think. Moreover he knows how to take advantage of that. So, I think the plot makes sense on that level, that Wesley would pick up on Data suddenly not acting like his naïve childlike self earlier than the adults - and the story is a good one for Wesley to a degree.

    Of course, Wil Wheaton was terribly cloying in the first season - kind of like the Sheldon Cooper we're supposed to love just because the author really, really wants us to love him. So I can see why people are chaffed. I try to look out for his good moments though, I think at least 50% of his episodes or subplots are great stories.

    Perhaps it has to do with S1-2's weirdo music or other factors allowing episodes to be quite different from each other, but this is one of the only TNG episodes to actually capture that feeling of strangeness when exploring Soong's lab. Or at least I remember it that way. Usually when the crew explores a ship or technological site they approach it with the engineering attitude of "ok how do we interface with this", but very seldom on this show is the venturing into unknown portrayed as creepy or nervous. TOS did more of that, I think, and I would call that a plus in this one.


    Great points, agree that it makes sense for Wes to relate to Data (and vice versa), and for Wes to notice discrepancies.

    What bothers me about Wesley Boy Wonder isn't that Wesley is exceptionally smart and observant, that's fine. I don't mind Wes, or that he's a mega-genius. What I mind is that, in these eps, the adults are usually unbelievably and artificially dumbed down . I get exasperated with the portrayal of the adults, not with Wes.

    @Peter G

    It's funny you should mention the music as they explored the Soong lab. I almost never notice any of the music. But I did notice that. It stood out - agree it was a plus.

    I too was highly disturbed by the Facial Tic Transfer Wand as it just comes completely out of nowhere with absolutely zero explanation

    Biggest pet peeve I've had with Trek, starting with TOS is this. Why does the Captain allow any Joe Blow or alien full access to the ships computer archives? In Space Seed, Kirk gave Khan access to the ships schematics, which he used to take over the ship. Likewise, Picard gives Lore the same level access which he also uses to to his advantage in knowing when the Entity can destroy the ship. There were other aliens who did the same. "Captain, do you mind if I look into your computer to gain a tactical advantage over you"? Sure, go for it.

    Of course other aliens who know nothing about the ship, knows how to reprogram the ISO chips to shut down or block systems. I'm guessing all the info is on the internet.

    And Lore has been taken apart and reassembled so many times, you would think his screws were worn out. How about vaporizing him once and for all? Well they did transport him into space, but somehow he came back to to come after the Enterprise again, even though they were a few hundred light years from where they last dissembled him. An exploration ship that seems to backtrack to areas they explored before.

    I love that it was the dim Packleds who pick Lore up, which makes total sense knowing that they "Look for things." They must have thought Lore would "Make them strong."

    Which leads me to wondering what happened to the poor Packleds. I'm guessing Lore took over their ship after disposing of his benefactors, and used said ship to travel to and from Soong's beacon planet. I'd love to see a novelized version of the events between Datalore and Brothers.

    It's too bad that the only nuance we see in Lore onscreen is a small note in Brothers where he learns Soong is dying.

    I loved the scene where Lore is reassembled. It felt like classic science fiction and had an element of wonder.

    The callback to Chief Argyle was neat. But didn't he have a Scottish accent before? Was this deemed too much like Scotty? Then why bring him back and even name drop him as Argyle? I was happy to see him, regardless. I'm not certain, but I think one of the blonde engineers might have been the Chief in The Naked Now, or at least an acknowledgement that she was still one of the Chiefs (we were told there were more than one in season one, so this would be a surprising point of continuity).

    Last note: when Wesley is told to go check on Data/Lore he is visibly pleased, there is a random at Tactical who beams to see Wes' youthful enthusiasm. Have we seen this bridge officer before? He had an incredible smile.

    Seems very odd to me that Picard and the rest of the senior staff thought it was perfectly fine to leave who they thought was Lore laying there on the floor like he was just a broken toy.

    3 stars? This is one of the worst scripts of the entire series...and even with that, it could be argued that no single episode in season 1 is a 3 star affair.

    I could maybe see 11001001 or Symbiosis getting 3 stars, but everything else is impossibly painful to watch.

    Your bias toward nostalgia shines painfully through with your ratings for these season 1 eps, when you consider some of the lower ratings you've given Disco eps, or even Picard eps.

    Really, you have to be thirsting hard for TOS energy to like anything from season 1.

    As mentioned above, Asimov must be required reading in the academy since it's on the tip of everybody's tongue. That even came across as subtly good writing.

    I guess they created a blooper later when Spiner plays Soong, because definitely SOMEBODY would have noticed.

    There is some good stuff here but it's hard to see three stars simply because they made all the adults idiots. Even on a Season One curve, 2 seems the most at best.

    That's not a minor issue either.

    "there is a random at Tactical who beams to see Wes' youthful enthusiasm."

    Yes, and according to IMDb, he was the first actor after Stewart to appear onscreen in Encounter at Farpoint.

    He also appears in the Webster-TNG crossover.

    Yeah, it was a very nice touch that he smiled at Wesley's behavior. That was one of the most authentic portrayals of a human in the first season.

    Don’t get me wrong - I do like Data and many of the episodes he stars in. I just find the whole concept of a conscious machine to be utterly absurd, despite the line in the episode making out that humans are simply a different kind of machine. Data was obviously conceived as a character that would replace Spock, but IMO another Vulcan would have been preferable.

    As to this episode, I thought the first half was good, but from the point where Lore gave Data the “poisoned” champagne and we suddenly got the “evil machine” , it just rapidly deteriorated and became stupid in a cliched way. As for Wesley, the Boy Wonder was his usual irritating self, but on this occasion I sympathised with his seeing the obvious but being slapped down by irritatingly obtuse adults.

    The first half deserves 3 stars but the second less than 2, so perhaps 2 stars in all?

    Footnote: I’d forgotten Lore appeared in Series 1. I thought it was much later.

    Another note: surely technology capable of creating a conscious android would have found giving it natural skin and eye tones simplicity itself? Yeah yeah, I know it was done purely to remind viewers we were watching an android but even so...

    Spiner asked Roddenberry the same question once and Roddenberry said "What makes you think his skin isn't better?". Interesting.

    There's a practical reason for giving Data weird eye and skin color: to make it obvious he's an android to avert the "uncanny valley" effect. It Data looked completely human but had his strange mannerisms, it could be quite disconcerting.

    Though that's not really supported by this episode, given that Lore was created first and was intended to behave quite human.

    Just watched this gripping episode now. I finally understand why the viewers hate Wesley - he makes his superior officers look a bunch of twonks.

    Sfdebris got this one right— it’s quite good until the act 4 shipwide lobotomy.

    The episode was moving along well until the last third when the script suddenly demands that eveyone not named Wesley Crusher becomes either stupid, unreasonable or both.

    By this stage it was evidently clear that, acting-wise, this entire show was being carried by Stewart and Spiner. Some of the others help - Burton and especially Dorn do a great job with the criminally meagre material they’re given - but otherwise everyone else is just forgettable. So it’s hardly surprising to see Data centre-stage here.

    I think Lore is a pretty run-of-the-mill villain here, but the evil twin idea has a nice twist when it’s an Android. The standout scene is where Lore first impersonates Data, to Wesley. Spiner does an amazing job of portraying someone doing a good, but not perfect, impression of Data. For me this scene makes the episode worthwhile.

    Other than that it’s OK at best. I was puzzled by the initial reveal of Lore’s dismembered form, where we get just a glimpse before cutting to everyone’s reactions. The fake head that Data holds is terrible too, utterly unconvincing!

    The more times I see this episode, the more bizarre the script and performances get. For example the bridge scene where Lore is sitting at the conn as Wesley and other crew members explain the finer points of navigation to him. Wesley's line, "you will find that there are many rules on starships that must be learned..." is delivered in such a way that you'd be forgiven for thinking the actor was on barbiturates or something. He sounds dazed, almost hypnotised. Really odd choice to keep in the episode as most directors would have insisted on the actor re-doing the line. I guess this episode took a long time to film as it was so I can understand why they felt they couldn't reshoot flubbed dialogue.

    @ P'kard,

    I think you'd be surprised how many directors do *not* take any pains to try to get good performances out of their actors. In fact my basic assumption on a TV set would be that the director is chiefly concerned that everything technically functions how it's supposed to, and in the case of TNG, that the lines are spoken word-perfect. Especially in the 80's and 90's, you'd have to look to a film set to see directors focusing closely on actors reactions and making sure the scenes are 'real'. TV was largely procedural, including in the performances.

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