Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991): S05E04 – Silicon Avatar


Introduction

“Silicon Avatar” is the 104th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is the fourth episode of the fifth season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, after the Crystalline Entity – which years earlier killed the colonists of Omicron Theta – attacks another colony, Picard joins forces with scientist Kila Marr to hunt it down. Marr has been searching for the entity for years, ever since it destroyed her son. But Picard’s determination to find a peaceful way to stop the creature’s onslaught of humanity is at odds with Marr’s obsession with revenge.

Outline

Commander Riker, Data, and Doctor Crusher are visiting the Melona IV colony, when the Crystalline Entity appears and begins tearing up the planetary surface. Although the rapid evacuation is mostly successful, two of the colonists (including one in whom Riker expressed a possible romantic interest) die in the onslaught.

The Enterprise sets out in pursuit of the Entity, with the help of Kila Marr, who is a xenobiologist and expert on the creature. Marr does not trust Data, as she is aware that Data’s brother Lore has assisted the Entity in the past. Captain Picard hopes to challenge this perception by having Data work closely with Doctor Marr.

Soon Marr reveals the source of her prejudice: her 16-year-old son was killed by the Entity at Omicron Theta, which was also Data’s homeworld. Over time she comes to understand that Data and Lore are quite different androids. Picard tells Marr that he does not intend to kill the Entity without first attempting to communicate with it. Marr is sceptical of this approach, but she and Data work out a method for talking to the Entity. During their research, Marr discovers Data is programmed with the memories and experiences of the Omicron Theta colony, including those of her dead son. Data tells her about how much her son admired her work as a scientist. At Marr’s request, Data reads extracts from her son’s journals, in the teenager’s voice. Marr tells Data that as long as he functions, her son is alive.

The Enterprise locates the Entity and begins sending a series of graviton pulses toward it. The creature responds, and emits a signal pattern which is a clear sign of intelligence. Picard is elated at a potential first contact, but Marr alters the pulse to emit gravitons with a rapidly increasing amplitude, and locks the programme so it cannot be stopped. The amplitude reaches a level of resonance where the Entity is shattered. Marr addresses Data as though he is her son, telling him that she destroyed the entity for him.

Having finally taken her long-awaited revenge, but sacrificing her career in the process, Marr is near collapse. A disgusted Picard has Data escort Marr back to her quarters, where he informs her that her son would not have approved of her destroying the Entity.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Cliff Bole.
  • Writer(s): Lawrence V. Conley.
  • Release Date: 14 October 1991.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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