Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990): S04E03 – Brothers


Introduction

“Brothers” is the 77th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the third episode of the fourth season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Commander Data (Brent Spiner) aborts an emergency mission and hijacks the Enterprise in response to a homing command from his “father”.

Outline

A misguided prank between two young brothers exposes the younger of them to a toxic parasite that cannot be treated aboard the USS Enterprise, but Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) is able to stabilize his condition in a controlled environment in Sickbay while the ship sets out for a starbase that can cure the boy. As Commander Data (Brent Spiner) escorts the older brother to visit his sibling, he suddenly stops and returns to the bridge where, unseen by the crew, he sets a new course for the ship and triggers a life support alarm, causing the evacuation of the bridge to be ordered.

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) orders Data to transfer the controls to Engineering while the rest of the bridge crew evacuates, but Data instead mimics Picard’s voice and locks down control of the ship with a complex access code, preventing any interference with his actions. The crew discover Data’s lock-down and manually disable the transporter’s site-to-site function to prevent Data from easily moving about the ship. Once the Enterprise is in orbit about the planet Terlina III, Data creates a programmed sequence of force fields to allow him to move from the bridge to the nearest transporter room without being stopped by security, and then beams down to the planet, leaving the Enterprise still under his lock-down. Picard orders his crew to attempt to override Data’s lock-down of the ship, while Dr. Crusher attempts to keep the infected boy stabilised.

Data finds himself in the home of his creator, Dr. Noonien Soong (Brent Spiner). Soong states that he called Data to him using a form of automatic recall and makes a manual adjustment on Data to return him to normal. As they talk, they are joined by Lore (Brent Spiner), inadvertently also drawn by the same recall that Data received, since Soong assumed that Lore was still disassembled. Lore expresses resentment towards his creator and starts to leave, but stops when Soong tells both of his creations that he is dying and wishes to give Data an “emotion chip” he has created. Soong decides to rest before implanting the chip, leaving Data and Lore to talk. When he returns, he proceeds to implant the chip but discovers too late that Lore had managed to deactivate Data and switch clothing with him, so that he now possesses the emotion chip. Soong tries to warn Lore the chip is not meant for him, but Lore instead injures Soong and transports off the planet.

The crew of the Enterprise find a way to beam down an away team to the planet, where they discover the dying Soong and the deactivated Data. After Data is reactivated, he cannot recall any of what he did on the Enterprise to arrive at this planet, until Soong reveals to him where he can find that information stored in his memory files. Data apologises to Soong that he will not be able to grieve for his loss, but Soong tells him he will find a way. After Soong states that he wishes to die on the planet, the Enterprise leaves and returns to its course to the medical facility, where the sick boy is successfully treated. Data observes the brothers at play after forgiving each other for the accident, contemplating his own relationship with Lore.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Rob Bowman.
  • Writer(s): Rick Berman.
  • Release Date: 08 October 1990.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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