The Next Generation
Disc No :
First Aired :
18 Jan 1988
Okay, we can only speculate about how the Soong type androids are programmed but I've always presumed that they must take in input, process it, and then determine the appropriate output. So if you ask Data how he is, he may decide that the best way to respond is to perform a systems check and report on his functional status. But given that, how is it possible for Lore to say something accidentally, without meaning to? When Riker starts to state Pythagoras' theorem Lore begins to complete it and then thinks better of it. Can his program really run away with itself like that without him being aware of it?
Also regarding that scene, Data points out that Lore shouldn't be on the bridge. But Riker is standing right there! So either Riker never thought to chuck him off the bridge, in which case bad screw up on his part! Or alternatively, Riker has chosen to allow Lore onto the bridge despite orders, in which case why is Data correcting his superior officer?
Picard sends Wesley to check on Data and Lore. So when Wesley later reports back that there's something wrong, why doesn't Picard want to listen to him? Did he just give him the job to get him out from underfoot or something?
Riker gives the Stardate as 4124.5, dropping a digit before the decimal point.
Great Moment :
When Lore is on the transporter pad he fires his phaser. Just at that instant Data activates the transporter, and the phaser beam is actually transported out along with Lore!
Body Count :
Zero, though Crusher is burned.
This is the episode in which we discover that Data has an external off switch.
Originally Lore was going to be a female android who would be a love interest for Data. Brent Spiner suggested that the idea of an evil twin be used instead.
Marina Sirtis is not in this episode.
The Enterprise visits Omicron Theta, the planet on which Lieutenant Commander Data was discovered 28 years ago. An entire Earth colony vanished without trace from the planet at the time, a mystery which has never been solved. Riker leads a team down to the site of the Data's discovery. Gerodi realises that a rockface at the site is man made, and discovers a hidden door leading to a large laboratory. One wall has images of a strange crystalline shape, something Data does not recognise although he believes it represents something dangerous. He remembers little of the lab, though he knows that a "Dr. Noonien Soong" worked there. Geordi recognises the name as one of Earth's greatest robotics scientists. Soong had unsuccessfully attempted to create a positronic brain; in the aftermath of his failure he had left mainstream science behind, emigrating to Omicron Theta to continue his work.
Searching the lab, the away team locate a storage area containing a disassembled android apparently identical to Data. They bring the parts back to the Enterprise-D to be assembled.
Chief Engineer Argyle confirms that the android is identical to Data, and examines some of Data's internal mechanisms to find how to assemble it. Data shows Dr. Crusher his "off switch" to facilitate the inspection, pledging her to keep it a secret.
The android is successfully assembled. It becomes active as Picard wonders which of the two was built first, claiming that Data was and that it was built as a replacement for the earlier, imperfect model. It names itself as "Lore".
Picard meets with Data in his ready room, asking him where his loyalties lie now that he has a brother of sorts. Data assures him that his loyalties still lie with Starfleet. On the bridge Lore is learning some details of the Enterprise's operation, but a trick question by Riker prompts him to reveal that he actually knows far more than he is letting on.
Alone with Data, Lore boasts of how easily he handles Human beings. Lore is dismissive of Humans' calling his creator "Often Wrong Soong". He admits that he was actually the first Android built, claiming that the colonists became envious of him and asked Soong to build a "less perfect" model. Data departs, asking Lore to report to Picard concerning the fate of the colonists.
Lore's report reveals that the colony was destroyed by a giant crystalline entity which feeds on organic matter - the androids only survived since they do not have organic parts. Picard sends Data to check up on Lore; after he leaves Yar asks him if they can still trust Data. Although publically recognising that the question is a proper one from the head of security, Picard replies that he trusts Data completely.
In Data's quarters, Lore incapacitates his brother with a pill mixed into some champagne. When Data collapses Lore reveals that he was able to communicate with the crystalline entity and encouraged it to attack the colony. He sends a subspace message to the entity, telling it to meet up with the starship. Lore switches roles with Data, although his impersonation does not impress Wesley.
Lore continues to impersonate Data, with Wesley's complaints being largely ignored. On the bridge Lore suggests beaming a living object like a tree into space and blasting it with the phasers as a demonstration of their firepower to discourage attack by the entity. Picard agrees and Lore heads down to a cargo bay to perform the task. He tells the entity that it will be able to attack when the ship lowers shields for transport.
Crusher and Wesley go to Data's quarters, finging the android still incapacitated. Crusher switches him on and they go to the cargo bay. Lore easily grabs Crusher's phaser from her and threatens Wesley with it to force her to leave, then shoots her in the arm as she reaches the door, burning her arm badly. Data attacks him and the two fight. Data throws his brother onto a transporter pad; as Lore fires the phaser Wesley beams him out into space. Without its inside man, the Crystalline entity departs the area.
An interesting idea, this one is let down somewhat in the execution. Mostly, you wonder how it is than anybody ever trusts Lore or buys into his impersonation. Picard and the other senior officers basically act very stupidly, most likely in order that Wesley can look smarter than they are. It's a classic sign of bad writing, trying to make a character look clever by making everybody else more stupid. I know it can be quite hard to write a genius character, especially one who is meant to be more intelligent than the writer is themselves, but that's no excuse!
Lore is an interesting idea, and the character was good enough to reappear several times before his ultimate demise. The crystalline entity is also an interesting "villain" which would be more fully explored in "Silicon Avatar", though that episode contradicts this one in that it makes everybody very surprised at the discovery that the creature is sentient - surely Lore's communication with it here proves that beyond any doubt?