Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992): S06E08 – A Fistful of Data


Introduction

“A Fistful of Datas” is the 134th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the eighth episode of the sixth season, which premiered in the United States on 09 November 1992.

Its title is a play on the title of the Sergio Leone “Spaghetti Western” film A Fistful of Dollars.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Worf, his son Alexander Rozhenko, and Deanna Troi are trapped in the holodeck where the characters resemble Data and have his superior abilities.

This episode features a scene with “Data in Drag” and also has numerous comedy elements. It has been noted as a fun and comical episode, and praised for its use of the holodeck.

Outline

The Enterprise has arrived 2 days early for a rendezvous with a supply ship, USS Biko, and thus the crew spend the time to pursue personal activities. Data and La Forge propose to Captain Picard to attempt to set up systems that would allow them to use Data’s processing abilities to run critical systems in the case of main computer failure, and he allows them to proceed.

Meanwhile, Worf reluctantly joins his son Alexander in a holodeck adventure set in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota, in the American Old West, later joined by Deanna Troi. The three play the role of lawmen in Deadwood, where Eli Hollander, the “Butcher of Bozeman”, is wanted. Worf tries to use his Starfleet tactics to end the episode quickly, but Alexander insists that he play along with the scenario. They capture Eli, learning that his father Frank is a sly and powerful man.

As Data and La Forge work on the interface, a brief energy surge occurs. The ship’s systems react strangely, specifically around elements of Data’s logs and records. Data also takes up stereotypical Wild West mannerisms and vernacular, unaware.

In the holodeck, Frank, who appears exactly like Data captures Alexander, demanding the release of his son Eli. Worf gets into a gun battle and is wounded, and he and Troi find that the holodeck safety protocols are off and they cannot end the program. They realise Alexander could be in trouble and the only assured way is to play out the story. Further, Troi observes that Eli now possesses skills comparable to Data’s. As more of the holodeck characters take on Data’s appearance, Worf works to create a personal shield as protection, knowing he would not be victorious against characters that all have Data’s skills.

Data and La Forge determine that the power surge causes segments of the main computer and Data’s processes to swap memories, and they start a memory purge to restore both to normal operation.

On the holodeck, Worf and Troi successfully defeat Frank and his gang, and recover Alexander. They believe the story is now over, but the holodeck does not yet respond. Only after Miss Annie, one of the dancers from the local tavern and also now looking like Data, thanks Worf for his bravery and throws herself into Worf’s arms, does the story end, allowing the three to leave safely. Data and the ship’s computer are restored to normal, and Worf promises to join Alexander on the holodeck for another adventure in Deadwood. As a final nod to the Western genre where heroes are often seen riding off into the sunset, the episode concludes with the Enterprise flying toward and seemingly into a star that is half obscured by a nearby planet.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Patrick Stewart.
  • Writer(s): Robert Hewitt Wolfe.
  • Release Date: 09 November 1992.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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