13 – Datalore

Grade: C-

Datalore (1988) on IMDb


The Enterprise travels to Omnicron-Theta to visit the home planet of Commander Data. They’re surprised to find out that the entire planet has been completely destroyed, and nothing is alive. Not even soil bacteria have survived. Several members of the crew beam down to the surface to investigate.


This fairly-famous episode is yet another example of the weaker ones in the first season. The script is probably its weakest point – and especially at the end of the show. Note how after all the craziness is over, Picard and Riker then have a short conversation about the nature of humans and robots. Ugh. And here’s another example. Riker points out the obvious that Data and Lore are identical, and then Picard has to say “You think so, really?” Duh, they’re played by the same actor. Of course they’re identical, but the writing is awful. Maybe instead Picard should have pointed out some differences between the two. Besides, the fact that they are identical plays a huge role in how this episode ends. If Picard didn’t think they were identical in the middle of the episode, he should have also been able to tell them apart at the end of the episode when Lore was impersonating Data. But no, it has to be Wesley Crusher who figures this out.

Later in the episode, Lore pretends to be Data and warns Riker and Wesley that the other android could become dangerous if he senses their presence in the room. Yet no explanation is ever given as to why this is the case. Riker is simply too willing to accept this nonsense, and he repeats it back to Picard. Riker should not have been this gullible, and it’s not consistent with his character later in the series. It’s just an example of really weak writing.

If there is one good thing about this episode, it’s Brent Spiner’s acting. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to stay in character when playing two different roles at the same time. Somehow, he’s able to pull it off. But it’s not all great. I hate the opening scene when Data is practicing sneezing. That’s just really stupid.

Finally, the soundtrack in this episode is awful, just like it is in the episode called “Too Short a Season.” It just sounds cheap, though I will admit it’s better here than it was there.

Of Note

I really like it that the writers of this episode pay homage to Isaac Asimov and his concept of a positronic brain used in robotics.

During this episode, it is said that Data can’t use contractions, and yet his final line is “I’m fine.” Oops.