104 – Silicon Avatar

Grade: B-

Silicon Avatar (1991) on IMDb


Riker, Data and Crusher are on a planet visiting some colonists. Suddenly, the Crystalline Entity appears out of nowhere and begins destroying the colony.


Yikes, what a disastrous opening scene. Riker’s flirtations are legendarily bad, and this one is really rough. OK, so it’s not so much what he says, but the cheesy way he says it. And what makes it all the worse is that it is with a character we’ve never met before and we never see again. It would have been a lot better if it had been with someone that we knew from before, because her death would have carried much more weight. And when Riker later has to deal with thoughts of revenge, we would understand why. Since we don’t know anything about this woman, and since it comes so early in the episode, we have no chance of building up any emotion when she dies. It would have been much better if she had died later in the episode. I also didn’t like it that Riker just abandoned the woman he was flirting with earlier. If he really cared about her, wouldn’t he have run after her to try to save her?

OK, so now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s no surprise that this isn’t my favorite episode. Most of it is fine, really, but I don’t find it very enjoyable to watch, nor did I care for the main guest character. She’s obviously motivated by feelings of revenge, and this story is a lot like Moby Dick. In First Contact, they did this kind of story in a much better way.

It seems Marina Sirtis gets less and less to do with each passing season. In one scene, tells Picard that he doesn’t need an empath to tell him how Dr. Marr feels. Then she says it anyway. Later in the episode, she says “something is very wrong”, when it was already obvious. It’s not the fault of the actress – I just don’t think the writers gave her much of a character. She has been typecast within her own series, if that’s possible. It’s definitely regrettable, if nothing else.

This episode also seems to suffer from the same ailment that plagues many other episodes – a guest star somehow has the ability to lock out computer controls, as if this is something everyone knows how to do. Then, everyone stands around waiting for her to unlock the controls, and they all act in shock when she doesn’t do it. There’s plenty of time to resolve the issue, but everyone just stands around watching. It’s annoying. In other episodes, it’s the transporters or the tractor beam or the holodeck that suddenly don’t work right when they’re needed most. These plot devices are just annoying. I wish the writers could have been more creative.

One other thing – the fact that Data and Lore are brothers seems to play a huge role in this episode – at least for the main guest character. She thinks somehow Data can communicate with the Crystalline Entity, but it doesn’t seem like he can. But in the episode with Lore, he was able to talk with it – not just send out wave patterns. It’s annoying that everyone acts like this is such a huge breakthrough, when they’ve actually seen Lore talking to him. For this, I have to rate the episode a little lower.

The general premise is good – that sometimes revenge can be a powerful motivation. But it’s not that great, either.

Of Note

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Data play the guitar like he does here. Also, at one point, Picard has his foot on his desk in his office before Riker walks in. I’m sure I’ve never seen that before.