Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Data's Day"

3 stars

Air date: 1/7/1991
Teleplay by Harold Apter and Ronald D. Moore
Story by Harold Apter
Directed by Robert Wiemer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

In what proves to be a nice little device, "Data's Day" employs the conceit of Data writing a letter to Bruce Maddox (the guy who put Data's rights on trial in "The Measure of a Man") in order to supply us a first-person narration and a "day in the life" approach to observing everyone's favorite android. Data does not sleep, so the episode appropriately begins not with him waking up, but with him running the bridge's night shift just before everyone else clocks in.

The story's approach is structurally refreshing — and because it involves Data's bafflement over human emotions, it has an amusing whimsy. Sure, we've seen most of this before, but this time we get to experience more of it from Data's point of view. The story thrusts him into the middle of the upcoming wedding of Keiko and Miles O'Brien, and when Keiko has cold feet, she unwisely uses Data as the conduit for communicating this information to Miles. Unaware of the emotional fallout of a wedding being called off, Data delivers the message to Miles as if it's good news. Not a hilarious joke, but a whimsically effective one. Data's bafflement is offset by those, like Geordi, who take human nature for granted; Geordi assures Data that the wedding, inevitably, will go forward.

Worth the price of admission is a scene where Crusher teaches Data how to tap dance, which reveals the disparity between his technical abilities and his social understanding. He can match step for step the most complicated tap-dancing moves, but is at a loss as to where to look and when to smile while slow-dancing.

Amid the lighter elements is a mysterious plot involving Vulcan Ambassador T'Pel (Sierra Pecheur) and a rendezvous with a Romulan warbird onto which she is to beam for negotiations. When T'Pel is apparently killed in a transporter accident, it's Data's natural ability for logic that is able to discover that she was not, and that she's actually a Romulan spy returning home with information. (The ensuing standoff, for once, ends with the Enterprise retreating with empty hands.) While this more meaty plot seems at odds with the story's lighter tone, in the context of Data's observations and narration, it works. "Data's Day" is not groundbreaking, but it is pleasant.

Previous episode: The Loss
Next episode: The Wounded

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66 comments on this post

Fri, Mar 7, 2008, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
The end of "Data's Day" was another example of why I loved the Romulan arc. The showdowns were incredible, and in this case the Enterprise actually retreated due to being outnumbered.

It was a constant chess game between the two sides, with each trading the advantage (in "The Defector", there was the fantastic showdown, with Tomalak's chilling description of how we would display the Enterprise's broken hull in the Romulan Senate, only for him to be surrounded on all sides by Klingon Birds of Prey).

The episode also contained a classic line from Data:
"My hair does not require trimming, you lunkhead"
Fri, Jun 15, 2012, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
A nice change of pace episode, but it was quite a stretch that when Data asked Beverly to teach him to dance, that she would assume tap dancing of all things (especially since she is well aware that the O'Brien wedding is impending). Clearly it was wrriten as an excuse for Gates and Brent to show off.
Wed, Aug 29, 2012, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
I love Data's Day and the theme of learning, growing, exploring.

I think this is a great introductory episode to the world of Trek to a novice, too.
Tue, Nov 6, 2012, 1:15am (UTC -5)
Along with war, disease, and poverty, I hope by the 24th century we will have also eliminated tap dancing.
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 10:40am (UTC -5)
It's interesting to compare these kind of simple yet very compelling TNG stories to Voyager episodes. Here we have tiny references to past episodes that only diehard fans would care for and casual viewers would not notice (e.g. Bruce Maddox) - it doesn't necessarily matter to the plot but it's a nice way to reward loyal viewers. Also, it lays the groundwork for Drumhead. TNG was great for allowing arcs to build without doing serialization. You can enjoy each one individually without seeing the others but if you watch them all they weave together quite nicely. Finally, we have the interaction between the main characters and the re-occurring ones (e.g. O'Brien's). TPTB for Voyager seem to think this doesn't work and chose to eliminate references to previous stories even where such omissions were actually to the point of distraction; rarely allowed for story arcs (particularly after Season 2) and for an odd reason had almost no re-occurring characters (again, particularly after Season 2). The lack of re-occurring characters is an issue because it really distracts from the realism of the show when everyone else on the ship is merely an extra who doesn't speak or interact with the 7 main characters. Obviously TNG had its fair share of extras mindlessly manning bridge and engineering consoles, but obviously there were the handful of other TNG crew (Ro, O'Brien, Ogawa, Barclay) who are not central to the plot but through their interaction with the main characters help to make the starship seem like an actual place where people live and work.
Wed, Nov 6, 2013, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Data's grin during the final dancing scene alone gives this episode an extra star xD
Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 6:06am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode though the last words in it made me think of Data's death in Nemesis and wish there could have been another way for him to become more "human" than to die for his friends. :-(
Tue, Dec 24, 2013, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Four promotions is "an ordinary day"? That would have the entire ship getting promoted around once a year.
Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
"but it was quite a stretch that when Data asked Beverly to teach him to dance, that she would assume tap dancing of all things"

But, they explained that Jay, when she reacts surprised at his request, he informs her that he found she was a champion tap dancer. So naturally she assumed he wanted to learn to tap dance.
Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
One thing that TNG writers loved to do was to try to make Data seem more human than he thinks he is. Basically, he will claim he can't access some part of humanity while everyone around him (and the viewers) believe otherwise. There were two instances of that in this episode, one of which works I think, and one that doesn't.

First, the one that doesn't. Riker orders him to do something or other at the science station regarding the Neutral Zone. Data's comments to Maddux mentions that it's a good thing he's not human, or else he would be distracted by uneasiness. Meanwhile, we see him looking back at Riker while nervously drumming his fingers. Huh? I can see Data unconsciously lying to himself, but that would be consciously lying. Surely he knows that he was not working for X number of seconds while he looked back? So why would he lie to Maddux? Even worse, why would he be drumming his fingers? There's no way that nervous tic would be built in to his programming; he must have added it himself. Which means he knows what he's doing, which means his protestations to the contrary are wrong. It simply is not a realistic interpretation of Data. I don't know if that was the director's idea or Spiner's or the writer's, but it should have been excised. The voiceover with Data actually working would have been fine.

Then later we have Data mentioning to Maddux that he wishes he had a "gut" in order to figure out what the Ambassador was doing by testing him. Now this one does work. There's no magic organ in the gut that gives you a gut feeling; it's our ability to form conclusions based on limited data and our willingness to believe in those conclusions. And those are abilities Data does have, or at least can have. He obviously formed the conclusion, at least hypothetical, that the ambassador had ulterior motives for those questions. And he has the ability to investigate that further. It is his own self-doubt that is stopping him (which we see in Peak Performance and Defector as two other examples). His desire for a gut feeling is understandable, but a typical self-doubting human also wishes they had a gut feling about stuff. So in this instance, he did no have sufficient cause to investigate further, and so he held back. But he still did have a "gut feeling" whether he knew it or not.

As for the story as a whole, it was very wel done. The three plots (Data's letter, the wedding, and the Romulan) were all pulled off well, providing both humor and drama as appropriate. And the format of the story allowed both the humor and the drama to be included without feeling like one cheapens the other. Overall, a very nice change of pace that provides for a very enjoyable hour.
Sat, May 24, 2014, 11:44am (UTC -5)
I don't look to TNG for these kinds of moments, but I see that no one is mentioning the overdone cleavage shot while Data is running things by counselor Troi. Sometimes I wonder if sometimes some camera man or director is trying to be funny.

I enjoyed this episode, not because of the cleavage shot. I did find it a little unbelievable that after all this time with humans Data would still think that announcing that the wedding was cancelled would cheer up Chief O'Brien. But I think that a serviceable 2 1/2 stars is warranted. Not ground-breaking, just enjoyable.
Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 2:44am (UTC -5)
Data's comment about the glass swan not reminding him of Worf had me laughing out loud.
Sun, Jul 5, 2015, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Everybody always talks about how the episode "Lower Decks" is one of the best of TNG. I, respectfully, disagree. "Data's Day" is a much better example of such a story. In both stories, we're not given the entire picture of what's going on. However, unlike in the later episode, this one focuses on a character who is much more enjoyable to spend time with and who has already been developed enough to merit an entire episode from his point-of-view.

Add to that some rather enjoyable character development for O'Brien, the introduction of Keiko and Spot, excellent scenes that use the rest of the main cast and their personalities well and the rather shocking twist at the end (which leaves the good guys outclassed by the Romulans) and you have a wonderfully enjoyable episode.

It's not ground-breaking or classic by any means, but definitely a pleasant offering.

Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
This was just what I needed: a fun, light, well-acted episode with surprisingly smart and hilarious details. Nothing too serious or heavy-handed. After watching some earlier TNG I was relieved there was no stiffness and bad acting to be found here.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Indeed a refreshing change of pace, a (for the most part) small scale look at a day in the life of the Enterprise through the eyes of Data. It takes an amusing and whimsical look at Data's efforts to understand human behaviour - the rictus grin he employs when told to smile is worth the price of admission alone. It's filled with insights into what is going on every day on the ship that we never really see - such as Riker's joke telling on the bridge.

However, the main sub-plot with the Romulans seems slightly superfluous, and was presumably added to give a lightweight episode some more gravitas. But while this is not entirely convincing, it does lead to a conclusion that Picard cannot resolve, which is rare enough.

With welcome introduction to Keiko (and indeed Spot), this is a little gem. 3 stars.
Fri, Nov 13, 2015, 9:28am (UTC -5)
I always liked this episode. Light and fluffy doesn't always correspond to good episodes, you need a decent story to go with it. And this had one. :) Now, some little notes:

Geordi had a nice line in this one: "Next time, maybe I should deliver the good news." Also in this scene, I liked how Brent used his face to convey happiness. He brightened his smile, lifted up his hairline, had an android twinkle in his eyes... He tried to make it look like Data was making them feel at ease, because this was, after all, 'good news'. Little touches by Brent always made Data a favorite of mine.

Yes, the smile while dancing made the episode. But why wouldn't Data have just gone to the holodeck in the first place, and ask for 'dance partner'? Then he'd give the paramaters to the computer (wedding dances, traditional) and go from there. Ah... because we needed Crusher to tell him to smile, so we could have the great shot after she left. :)

Lastly, it was good to show the different shifts on the ship. I'd always figured Picard was first shift, Riker was second, and Data was third. If it's first shift, Picard is in the big chair, Riker is sleeping or relaxing, and Data is doing whatever it is Data does (see Data's Day (Oh, wait, this IS Data's Day)). It is alluded to in other episodes, where they call Picard to the bridge or Riker is in bed, but so many times, they are just cruising along talking about nothing in particular and they are all on the bridge. Nope. Although Data could do multiple shifts, but they want to treat him like everyone else it seems, unless it's an emergency.

Enjoy the day everyone... RT
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
I love this episode so very much. (Not just because of the hilarious "grin" when Data is dancing) I love it because of the way Data tackles emotional situations. He's so adorably ignorant in the importance of matters, he actually makes us look at cold feet in a positive light. (another example, Yar's death) I would definitely make this a four star-rating, and recommend this to all Data fans.
Thu, Apr 14, 2016, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
This is a great continuity nod to "Measure of a Man", and I like how Data kept could his word to Maddox despite the crushing blow that trial may have had.

What works well about this show is that it actually handles some big events such as a ship wedding with an officer and a Romulan espionage plot, keeping the whole thing very grounded in Data's observations.

Also, although Data is obviously on stage in this episode, we get to see sides of other main characters we don't usually see such as Crusher and her dancing and even Worf going shopping for wedding gifts. It's also nice to see more of O'Brien, as he'll be a pivotal character in next week's "The Wounded".
Sat, May 14, 2016, 12:54am (UTC -5)
Nice episode. I have to give it three stars. As a few commentors mentioned the dance scene between Dr. Crusher and Data was worth the price of admission.
And the fact that you were getting a look at humanity through Data's eyes was a nice perspective.
However, judging by all the comments once again I do have a rather unique take on this episode. There is a rather obvious joke here that no one seems to have gotten. At least no one has commented on it. Including Jammer.
Ok, one of the plot devices was an impending wedding between Keiko and O'Brian. And another plot was the fact that the Enterprise unwittingly delivers a Romulan spy to her brothers in arms. And what was the name of the Romulan ship? The Devoras. A word that sounds almost identical to the word divorce. Get the joke now? A wedding is taking place but always looming in the background is the threat of the Devoras. (Divorce.)
Come on guys. Please tell me I'm not the only fan on the planet that got this little joke.
Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Just a nit-picky comment, but I can't resist. After T'Pel asks Riker and Data to leave the ready room so she can speak with Picard alone Riker sarcastically comments "Charming woman." I've seen this episode a few times, but this was the first time I picked up on the fact that Data mistakenly categorizes Riker's comment as ironic, instead of sarcastic. A "human" error? Perhaps.
Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 12:52pm (UTC -5)

Now, I'm no expert, but a quick google search tells me that Irony is saying something but meaning the opposite. Sarcasm is, apparently, when something is said with a similar effect, but also with intention to harm.

Now, since Riker said "Charming woman" whilst out of earshot of T'Pel, I believe his remark IS classified as irony.
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
@Nolan. Thanks for the clarification. I guess it's my own personal interpretations of the words. I tend to only think of situations as ironic (as the situation applies), but I definitely see where you're coming from.
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 7:11pm (UTC -5)

Yeah, Irony is confusing, there are so many classifications and mis-uses of it that it's meaning is rather muddled.

There's this type of irony, which I guess is verbal irony?

Then there's the irony as used in writing and the like, such as dramatic, tragic and situational irony, where different pieces of information are known to different characters (or the audience) but not each other.

So yes, irony is confusing. As it should be befitting it's literary effects. That it is what it describes however, is NOT ironic, merely coincidence, which is not what Irony is.

Heck, I never paid that much attention in English class, why do I care so much now? :-P
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 7:16pm (UTC -5)

It further occurs to me that you may have already known all that, and yet I must confess by looking it up and typing it out, I actually helped my understanding of irony to be better.
Thu, Sep 8, 2016, 11:11am (UTC -5)
I noticed it too, but I'm still not sure it was on purpose.

My favorite part of this episode (besides Data's creepy smile) is when Data says there's only a 17% chance Picard will follow protocol and not pursue the Romulan ship, and a moment later he's proven right. There's something thrilling about that moment, and it makes you just love the captain.
Thu, Sep 8, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)
One last thing: That other customer in the barber's room needs a lot more than a haircut. I hope that's what her species is supposed to look like, if not she's really let herself go!
Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
One thing that didn't make sense in this episode was why Data had to ask Crusher for dancing lessons. He could have gone to the holodeck and asked for a program to give him the best dance teacher in the world. Why interrupt Crusher's busy schedule for such a trivial thing?
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 25, 2016, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
@ David,

One thing we've seen repeatedly for Data is that when he researches some aspect of humanity on his own time he comes out with a technically accurate but incomplete sense of what that thing is about. He'll spot some aspect of it - for instance, the rhythm and footwork - while neglecting to realize some even more critical aspect to dancing with a partner, such as for example the feelings of the person you're with, the social element to it, the very fact of how it 'feels' to hold another person in your arms, and so forth. Crusher would be just the person to let Data in on what the *really* important thing to examine is. Once she gives him some preliminary explanation, sure, he can go off alone and explore the footwork. But the human element is what he's always failing to understand, and I think by this point in the series he's aware enough of his blind spot to know to go to a human before going to the computer. I would actually call it progress that he goes straight to Crusher for this.

As a complete aside, though, we can recognize that this is the perfect opportunity for the writers to show off the fact that Gates is a dancer. It's always nice to allow the actors to show off side talents, such as when they can sing, dance, or play an instrument. So even *if* there was no reason to have a dancing scene in the show, we could allow a little poetic indulgence to give Crusher a moment to show her stuff.
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
The spy thing is an interesting inverse of the episode where Troi has to smuggle some rebels to Romulus.

The discussion about irony reminds me of conversations I've had with British people. They seem curiously obsessed with irony and act oddly superior about Americans being relatively literal minded.
Sun, Mar 26, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
You are not sure if the joke about the Devoras was on purpose? Come on, these people are professional writers. Something like that didn't just happen by accident. It was totally on purpose. Just to see if people are paying attention.
Tue, Apr 18, 2017, 6:09am (UTC -5)
One overlooked scene was the bit about Data wishing he had a 'gut feeling' about T'Pel's suspicious questions about the Enterprise's defenses. The irony was his very questioning did indeed mean his 'gut' was trying to tell him something.

Mendak was one of the best Romulan foils for Picard, his voice & body language deliberately held unemotionally tight with just enough of a whiff of threat & sarcasm. Also great to see Picard knowing when to retreat, a great sign of a captain.

Great episode.
Thu, May 25, 2017, 9:01pm (UTC -5)
The Romulon's were reallllllly good in tricking Picard into thinking he was responsible for a death by transporter. THIS ONE IS ANOTHER ONE THAT MAKES SO DARN MAD!!!!!!! What are the Romulon's always doing in the Neutral Zone anyway? Hey! Looking for a fight with the Federation and trying to kill humans.

This ep is one that proves Miles and Keiko should never have married. If I had been carry on the way she did, I NEVER would gotten married EVER.

And Data writing to that god awful Maddox that wanted to pull him apart in THE MEASURE OF A MAN.......well, Data will never understand how to be human because he can't run from danger.
Mon, May 29, 2017, 8:14am (UTC -5)
I wonder who first use the 'letter to whomever' format as a framing device for TV episodes. I always trace it back to Hawkeye's letters to his father in the early seasons of M*A*S*H*, but perhaps there is some earlier antecedent I'm not thinking of. Trek would use this device again, as late as Enterprise, with Phlox's letters to his human colleague.

It all works reasonably well, and manages to avoid being corny, though it strays close now and then. At at least one point Data seems to casually mention some pretty high security Starfleet matters to his pal, but perhaps this was edited out, or he simply never ended up sending it.

One of the comparatively rare times when Trek manages to combine comedy (or at least something approaching it) and drama in a single episode fairly successfully.
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Toward the end of Data and Troi's discussion you can see a fly (bluebottle) flying in front of the camera. I had to do a doubletake to make sure I wasn't crazy, but this is the first time I've caught such a thing on Trek!
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
I wish Trek did more casual episodes like this, where the characters simply walk about and do mundane activities. The episode with the Binars in season 1 had a first act similar to Data's Day, in which Riker simply chills out and roams the Enterprise's rooms and corridors.

Jammer gives this episode 3 stars, but I'd bump it to 4 (for its sheer novelty value). This episode, with its narration and relaxed pace, also seems to have influenced Enterprise's "Dear Doctor".
Wed, Mar 7, 2018, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Pleasant but not groundbreaking-I would agree.
I liked the relatively soapy aspects of the episode but hard to think of Data planning on getting married someday since we all now know he has a looming date with destruction in Nemesis.
Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Data's Day remains one of my favorite STTNG episodes. Regarding the dance sequence on the holodeck: Am I the only one who remembers that Data chose a sexy blonde dance partner after Dr. Crusher left the scene - or did I dream it?
Sun, Mar 25, 2018, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
3.5 - charming, refreshing and sincere. I love low-key episodes Trek like this where not much happens and we just spend time with the characters; DS9's Explorers was similar. The script slightly overplays both Data's naivete and the last-minute calling-off of the wedding, and it's overly obvious that T'Pel is a Romulan spy, but quibbles aside, it's the performances, characters and atmosphere that really make this one work.
Cody B
Sun, May 6, 2018, 1:34am (UTC -5)
I’m a sucker for these “light hearted” type episodes. Probably why I love holodeck episodes. Episodes like this give the chance to explore the characters which is what makes any show good. The more you feel like you know the characters the more invested you become and it makes the show more realistic or personal. Light hearted episodes also have more opportunity for comedy since there is no heavy drama to worry about. This is one of season four’s better episodes. I’d give it 3.5
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Sat, Jun 9, 2018, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Love this episode. Great character moments, and they managed to expand the Romulan world a tiny bit more to boot.

I love the ending, where Data talks about wanting to grow, change and become more than he is today.
Tue, Jun 12, 2018, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Nice, refreshing change of pace episode. Thought it was quite charming to start off but then the Data discovering human experience thing wore off a bit and while the Romulan spy plot is quite different in tone, observing it through Data's monologue (poker analogy for Picard etc.) made it work.

What's great to see is a day in the life of the Enterprise crew -- interesting to hear about all the things that were going on through Data's monologue. Monologues tend to work quite well on Trek.

Definitely a nice act was Crusher teaching Data to dance and the android's grin. The 2 clearly have some talent and I didn't mind spending a couple of minutes witnessing it.

As for the Keiko/O'Brien wedding -- just another example for Data to witness some unusual human emotions and behaviors. Keiko's cold feet is a good start to her generally annoying appearances on TNG and DS9. The teaser for the episode got off to a good start with Data conveying to O'Brien that the wedding's off. Of course there is plenty of Data putting humans in awkward situations when he doesn't understand some of the human aspects.

The Romulans at this stage are interesting foes -- very devious and capable. They score a win over Picard here. More to come on this whole reunification thing...

When the wedding's back on I believe Picard starts off with the same line as Kirk in "Balance of Terror" before he pronounces O'Brien and Keiko as husband and wife.

Good enough for 3 stars for "Data's Day" -- cool that it was tied to "The Measure of a Man" with Data's monologue to Maddox (guess they're on good terms). Whether or not Data does truly portray an emotionless android perfectly is up for debate but in many ways he does it well, although there may be the little slip here and there where he reacts more humanly. "Learning" about humanity through Data's eyes -- a tried and tested aspect of sci-fi/Trek.
Tue, Jul 10, 2018, 11:13am (UTC -5)
That pig woman in the barber show, ugh!

And is this the only time in Trek there has been a barber/salon scene? I've been through VOY, DS9, ENT and now TNG, and don't remember anyone getting a haircut.

Riker being Riker, chatting up a "pretty" woman, trying to flatter and seduce the redhead on the bridge with his war story...
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Friggin' A'. The flagship of the Federation has a barber shop. Good grief.
Thu, Oct 11, 2018, 3:38am (UTC -5)
3 stars

A slight episode. It’s decent. Doesn’t hold a lot of replay value.

I did enjoy seeing more areas of the ship like the salon and replimat

The joking around with Geordi was a nice scene
Data’s discussion about marriage and one day possibly getting married himself was a good one. The dancing scene was fair. The T’Pel plot was not very interesting until her “death” and the ensuing investigation. The cold feet before marriage is very well worn and didn’t do much for me.
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 8:47pm (UTC -5)

Loved this one! It combined two of my favourite elements: Data and A Day in the Life.

I don't hate Keiko as much as some over on the DS9 board. I said why in my review on the very last episode.
Sun, May 12, 2019, 8:36am (UTC -5)
I love this episode and would give it three and three quarter stars. I like that we get a real sense of life lived on board. Lots of nice touches as well that show how well the writers and actors know the characters by now.

My favourite scene is Worf and Data shopping for wedding gifts. Wonder if Worf ended up getting the swan!

What the hell was T'pel wearing on her head when trying to trick Data into giving her info?! It was like a Vulcan pixie hood with special cut outs for the ears. Hilarious!
Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
I like Data, I like the O'Briens, I like Beverly dancing. . . what's not to like.

A fun episode that explores what it means to be friends, and to be human.

As you can tell if your reading these on the comment stream, I was home from work today and did a binge watch.

This was my fave of the day. Just fun.

Good one!
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
For those confused about the definition of irony - ask Alanis Morrisette. Wait - don't.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
I never thought the HD remaster made the sets or costumes look bad like many people suggested. Sure there's a few things here and there that could be better, but it's never taken me out of the moment. That said, the HD footage does make stunt doubles very apparent. In the holodeck scene, someone who's very obviously not Brent Spiner is dancing, generally in the wide shots. The other most obvious ones in the series that I can think of are the "compromised" Admiral Quinn beating up Riker in Conspiracy, and Michael Dorn's stunt double getting hit over the back with a chair in A Fistfull of Datas in a needlessly close-up shot of his face. There's certainly others, but these three always stood out to me. Oh, and one HD fail that did stick out to me is in All Good Things where Geordi is waking up future Picard from one of his naps, and you can see the adhesive mesh of his fake beard.
James G
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 7:17am (UTC -5)
I like this one. Any episode that's prominently Data-themed is necessarily a good one. The Romulan espionage story is clever, though very understated here.

This one does highlight a flaw in the very idea of Data, though. He's very often shown to be curious about things, not understanding ideas that are simple and everyday to humans, and always having to ask. In this one, his people skills are so lamentably awful that he cheerfully tells O'Brien that his wife-to-be has called off their marriage, assuming he'll be happy about it because it's what she wants.

And yet we're supposed to accept that this synthetic person with limited empathy with and understanding of humans is a senior officer to hundreds of personnel aboard the Enterprise, and occasionally in charge of the whole ship.
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 5:01am (UTC -5)
@James G

If I remember the first logs correctly I think this episode he's messing about with an experimental program to try and better figure out emotions? He seems to have much less common sense this episode than usual probably because he's still having to test and tweak it
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 12:13am (UTC -5)
This is one of my favorite episodes in all of TNG, and probably Star Trek.
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
This is more than just a day in the life of Data, all the most significant human life events happen on this “day”, there is a:

Divorce (alluded to in the romulans ships name Devoras)
Death (apparent death of Ambassador Tpel)
Peter G.
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Wow nice catch on "Devoras"!! Holy cow!
Sat, Mar 6, 2021, 11:18am (UTC -5)
@JerJer, there's one or two other barber scenes in TNG, with another Bolian "Mot" doing the haircuts.
Thu, Mar 25, 2021, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
On things that strikes me is that this is the only (or one of the few) episodes where you relise that there are crew shifts.
Sun, May 9, 2021, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Very fun episode not just for the premise but for the break from the usual method of story telling employed on TNG. Plus Data has yet to ever be a character I didn't enjoy.

I also really enjoy how at least one later episode references events from this one. I wouldn't have minded if TNG did that more often but maybe too much more and they would have been overdoing it.
Mon, May 31, 2021, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Why does the ship have a “night shift”? What is “night” in space? And why does it require the bridge lights to be dimmed? Presumably there is still space stuff to do during “night shift” that requires being able to see the console, no?
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Jun 1, 2021, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
Since the consoles are backlit they're actually more readable in darker ambient conditions. That's why in some of the movies, Voyager, and the alternate "Yesterday's Enterprise" ship, the bridge is darkened during red alert. Beyond that though, it's not "night" so much as secondary/tertiary shift. Depending whether it's before "Chain of Command" or after, they have either three or four shifts per day (eight or six hours each, respectively). There's only one captain, one first officer, one chief medical officer, etc., and they can't be on duty 24/7, so they need to have some lesser down-time shifts.
Fri, Aug 27, 2021, 2:15am (UTC -5)
I absolutely love this episode! A day in the life of the Enterprise from the point of view of an android… there was so much to enjoy: from the brilliantly funny dancing scene with Crusher, to the moments of confusion arising from the difference between the predicted reactions of O’Brien and Keiko and the actuality.

Moments of note:

- in the barbershop - as well as Data ‘s attempt at banter! - we got a glimpse of aliens aboard that we don’t usually see. I know the blue barber is seen again, but there was also a customer that was very different from humans who never reappears?

- continuity error: there were at least 2 occasions that crewmen (Data and Crusher) responded to communicator summons without first tapping their badge.

- sad that we have already lost Wesley’s replacement, Ensign (or Lieutenant?) Allenby.

- with Data’s fascination with marriage and his conversation with Troi about it, it was amusing that the Romulan ship was called The Divorce, though I’m sure it wasn’t spelled that way!

- I noticed that Data’s ridiculous grin when learning to slow-dance, was cured by the time of the actual wedding. Who taught him that?

- I know we see Keiko again but I can’t remember if it’s during TNG, or DS9.

I’m almost tempted to give 4 stars, but I thought the B story - while good - might have been better suited to a different episode? Even so, 3.5 stars at least.
Mon, Nov 8, 2021, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Shouldn't the built-in safeties prevent someone from "breaking two ribs during a holodeck exercise"?
Thu, Feb 3, 2022, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
@SkepticalMI (2014)

"Meanwhile, we see [Data] looking back at Riker while nervously drumming his fingers."

I find it distracting at best and annoying at worst when bridge characters turn around and look when something that has nothing to do with them is happening. For example, in "Sarek," Riker and Picard are yelling at each other, and Wesley Crusher — who is supposed to be DRIVING THE GODDAMN SHIP — turns around and looks at them. So does the woman sitting next to him (in the "Sulu" seat). I don’t know anything about military or kinda-sorta-military protocol, but I find it hard to believe that an actual soldier or sailor or other service-person would do that, or could get away with it if they did.
Peter G.
Fri, Feb 4, 2022, 9:46am (UTC -5)
@ navamske,

"So does the woman sitting next to him (in the "Sulu" seat)."

That's OPS. The job O'Brien has on DS9 is what Data does on TNG, other than when he's doing a million other things too. I guess it pays not to sleep. Actually come to think of it I do that too...
Tue, Jan 24, 2023, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Funniest part of the whole episode:

Crusher and Data dance, Data's eyes on her feet.

Crusher: 'Look up, Data.'

Data looks up at the ceiling.
Sun, May 14, 2023, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
How have I never seen this episode?
*Looks at screen cap of Beverly and Data tap-dancing*
That's probably why. But I've heard really good things about this episode, so I'll try it tonight.
Peter G.
Sat, Jun 17, 2023, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
Always watching episodes out of order, I hadn't realized how many things Data's Day introduces. We get our first meeting with Keiko, our first encounter with Mot the barber, I believe our first glimpse of Spot (the latter two aren't named), an expanded role for 'Chief' O'Brien (still wearing Lt pips), as well as a furthering of the Romulan intrigue arc that started with Reunion. We even get a 2nd meta story involving a cast member with talents, which began with Patrick Stewart in Shakespeare scenes and now allowing McFadden to use her dancing and choreography background in an episode. The episode itself acts as a long-form callback to Measure of a Man, so all in all it's one of the most packed-in worldbuilding episodes of TNG, almost to the extent Journey to Babel was, and with nods to continuity.

The writing for this episode not only balances all of the above but contains some exquisite comedic elements that are understated and effective. Data and Worf glancing at each other when Data mentions that the swan doesn't remind him of Worf, or Geordi telling Data he ought to be the one to deliver the 'good news' next time are comedy gold. They are practically intellectual slapstick, as the pies in the face are delivered through looks and sarcasm. That, while still keeping the tension of a political intrigue prominently in the background is quite a feat. I think this may be one of the more impressive episodes TNG has ever produced, even while delivering it up as light entertainment. Not a single scene is wasted, and all play into different angles of "Data's day", which I used to understand as meaning "this day is his", but I realize now actually means it's just him cataloguing a random day for Cdr Maddox, and this is it.

I would also like to point out that since I always watch episodes out of order, it can be easy to forget that this episode precedes The Drumhead by half a season. It might have been more effective if The Drumhead had come much sooner in airdates after this one, because Satie's vehemence is actually much more understandable when you realize that the Romulans basically had a spy living incognito as a Vulcan Federation ambassador *for years*. The fact that she didn't get some defense info from Data is trivial; the breach of security here is catastrophic. I could well imagine that the Federation would be ultra-paranoid at this point about other spies. That's why the McCarthy angle in Drumhead is a bit wrong-headed: they actually do need intense security procedures if the Romulans can pull off this kind of long-con. The fact that Satie went off the rails seems to be off-topic from whether someone like her was needed. Seeing what the Romulans accomplished here, I'm thinking some serious housecleaning was in order. In light of that, finding out that an actual Romulan was secretly working in Starfleet is actually quite concerning and worth serious scrutiny.

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