Tuesday, July 5, 2011

TNG Ep. 29: Elementary, Dear Data

It's rare that I actually hate an episode. Sure, I'll complain. I'll point out flaws - sometimes begrudgingly. But rare is the episode where I say "don't even bother." Don't watch it. It will only leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Summary: Stuff happens. Arg. Ok, ok. Geordi and Data decide to have a little Sherlock Holmes fun in the Holodeck, but Geordi accidentally gives the holodeck computer a dangerous challenge: design an antagonist capable of beating Data. To meet the challenge, the holodeck gives Moriarty sentience. Moriarty quickly discovers that Data et al come from another world. He accesses the holodeck controls himself, threatens the ship, and has to be confronted by Picard. Picard promises to save Moriarty's data patterns until such a time as he can be given a body.

Now, what do I hate about this episode? Oh, let me count the ways...

1st: I hate Data's Sherlock Holmes voice. And guess what he's speaking in for the first ten minutes? Right. I'm not saying it's bad acting, because this is Brent Spiner we're talking about, but I can't stand it.

2nd: It's ridiculous that the ship can create a self-aware entity, but all that shows on the monitors is a brief energy spike. Is it too much to ask that the lights dim for a moment, at least?

3rd: The resolution was too easy. Basically, Picard shows up and Moriarty gives up his evil ways on the vague promise that he might be made real someday. Maybe. This shows exactly what makes the episode boring: Moriarty isn't dangerous. He has crumpets with his captee for goodness sakes.

One thing I will give props for is the sense that Data had in getting the heck off of that holodeck. He realized quickly that things were strange, and he remembered that it was only a holodeck that he was on and that he had superiors to report to. Even more importantly, he stopped the Sherlock Holmes voice.

I think I can stop shuddering now...

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