162 – Inheritance

Grade: B+

Inheritance (1993) on IMDb


The people of Atrea 4 ask the Enterprise to help them re-liquefy the magma in the core of their planet. Two scientists who happen to be husband and wife are on board the ship, and the woman claims to be Data’s mother.


This episode is pretty good, and the best part of it seems to be the acting – particularly the actress playing Data’s mother. Brent Spiner also does very well, as he usually does. The rest of the crew have very little screen time, so most of the episode rests on the shoulders of Spiner and Fionnula Flanagan.

It gets off to a bit of a rough start. After all, I’m not smart enough to know if it would even be possible for the Enterprise to re-liquefy a planet’s core, but it sounds completely preposterous. I’m not sure how much energy would be needed to heat up a solid core and re-liquefy it, but I’m sure it would take a whole lot more than the entire ship can produce.

Something else that just sounded ridiculous was when they said one of the pockets of magma was only 2 kilometers from the core of the planet. That’s really, really close to the target area. In fact, it’s less than 1.3 miles. Most people could walk that far in 45 minutes or less. Unless this is an extremely small planet (about the size of an asteroid), the Enterprise would have to shoot plasma for about 3,000 kilometers. Two more km aren’t going to make much of a difference. Couldn’t they just move the ship a tiny bit closer to the planet? Oh well.

One other plot hole happens when Data accesses a hologram of his creator, who apparently left a computer chip inside Data’s mother’s head. Data is able to access the hologram on the chip using the holodeck. During the conversation, Data asks his creator what happened after he created her as an android. He said that she eventually left him because he never told her how much he cared about her. OK, stop right there. How could the hologram have access to this information?

For the hologram to know the answer to this, the events would have happened in this order:

  1. Dr. Soong creates Mrs. Soong
  2. Mrs. Soong leaves him
  3. Dr. Soong creates the hologram, including the information that she left him
  4. Dr. Soong records the hologram on the chip
  5. Dr. Soong implants the chip inside Mrs. Soong’s head

Hmm. Maybe he used sub-space bluetooth to remotely upload the hologram into her head.

Really, when Data asked him this question, the hologram should have said, “I don’t have this information. Why don’t you ask her?” Then Data could have had a conversation with his mother, asking why she left and she could have said, “he was always more interested in his work than in me” or something like that. Then Data could have said, “I believe he really loved you” and then she could have said her line about when two people who really love each other have a child, etc. Then there would be no plot hole, and I would have rated this higher.

So I obviously was not thrilled by the mistakes in this episode. But luckily, this can be overlooked simply because of the acting and the storyline. It’s very interesting to hear more about Data’s background and about this character who obviously cares a lot for Data.

Near the end of the episode, Data struggles with an ethical dilemma. It’s interesting to see him go through this, and we’ll see Riker have to go through a dilemma of his own in a couple of episodes. So it’s a very strong character-driven show and one that I enjoyed very much. Just don’t watch this instead of studying for your physics exam.

Of Note

Captain Picard almost isn’t in this episode at all. In fact, I can only remember seeing him in a couple of scenes. It goes by fast enough that if you blink, you may almost miss him.