Throwback Thursday: Star Trek TNG’s Elementary, Dear Data (Season 2, Ep 4)
On this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re checking out Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Elementary, Dear Data from season two.
We open up this week’s episode with a Next Generation episode featuring Data and Geordi La Forge playing in the holodeck as Sherlock Holmes (Data) and Dr. Watson (Georgie) respectively. Data is apparently the biggest Sherlock fan in the 24th Century. So they’re going to roleplay a Sherlock Holmes story. So that’s what we’re in for. Data already knows the answer to the mystery, and instead of playing out the whole story, Data solves it in mere seconds. Upset, Geordie leaves and attempts to explain to Data the fun of not knowing the results. Discussing events, they run into Dr. Katherine Pulaski who berates Geordi for attempting to treat Data like a person. The duo then challenges Pulaski to a showdown, where Data will attempt to solve an original Holmes mystery.
It’s mostly an episode designed to showcase the depth of the holodeck’s capabilities.
Right off the bat, we get Professor Moriarty being made smarter by the Enterprise’s holodeck computer, meaning he’s going to be a nuisance beyond the holodeck. After solving a murder and looking for a missing Pulaski, they find Moriarty who knows things are wrong and has somehow executed the override protocol.
Data, Geordi, and the crew meet up to try and figure out how to solve the issue at hand. Because Moriarty was given the ability to beat Data in a Holmes-type mystery, he’s been able to take control of the ship. He’s also aware of who the captain is, specifically naming Jean-Luc Picard. Picard, Data, and Worf go into the holodeck to deal with Moriarty and one can’t help but feel bad that Geordie got sidelined.
Eventually, they run into Moriarty, who simply wants to live beyond the program. After revealing to him that holograms can’t live beyond the holodeck, they promise Moriarty that one day, when they can find a way to do just that, they’ll bring Moriarty back. Moriarty concedes and returns to the ship over to the crew.
Let’s go to the scores.
Acting: Regardless of who’s on screen, the actors all nail their roles. Even Moriarty, who seems so out of place at first as a Star Trek villain.
Writing: The wording of the script and the general premise is a bit confusing and a bit disappointing. Also, to switch from Geordi and Data, to Picard and Data felt unnecessary.
Design: The Next Generation series is usually well done, and that was on full display in this episode. The garb, the design of the London-set, and everything else just worked.
Special Effects: This episode was made in the ’80s, and to see how well things blend 30-odd years later is super impressive.
Enjoyability: The episode tackled a huge concept; what does it mean to be a living being and it felt very heavy-handed. The script for this could’ve been a lot better to help drive the point forward more.
Overall: 21/25 (84%)
An enjoyable episode but it can be a bit much with regards to the dialogue.