9/24/13

Star Trek: Asterisk "Data's Day"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S04E11
Air Date: January 7, 1991
Written by: Harold Apter and Ronald D Moore
Directed by: Ronald Wiemer

Premise
Data goes through a single one of his days on the Enterprise. Ya know, just a normal day with a wedding, dancing lessons, and interstellar espionage.

Recap
It's wedding day aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise! You may or may not know that Keiko is engaged to be married to Chief O'Brien. And O'Brien believes that deep space is a great place to raise a family, so they plan to get married and settle down on the Enterprise. Later, he'll decide it's not quite Deep Space enough, but we'll get to that later. For now, Keiko is getting cold feet. And Data, who is basically her maid of honor, is confused. See, this episode is all through his perspective. He's narrating the events as a letter to Commander Maddox, who, you will remember, tried to disassemble him to find out what's going on in his head. Well, now Maddox is getting to know what's going on in his head the same way he would with anyone else's head: through their writing. And Data is writing about... a wedding.

So, anyway, Keiko is getting cold feet, and she asked Data to go tell Miles about it. Data finds Miles in 10-Forward and says "Good news!" Data believes Keiko has discovered how to make herself happy, so he reports as such to O'Brien. She wants to cancel the wedding. O'Brien storms off in a huff, and Geordi, who's also there, tells Data he better let him tell that kind of "good news" next time. Meanwhile, the Enterprise picks up Ambassador T'Pel, a Vulcan, apparently. And Picard tells Data to escort her to her quarters, because who better to befriend a Vulcan than an android? She tells Data she wants to talk to the captain, so they go to his ready room, they talk for a while and find her to be a "charming woman," as Riker so sarcastically and ironically states.
Also, she was an outcast from The Coneheads.
T'Pel's mission is a secret and that puts everyone on edge because they're getting really close to the Neutral Zone and they shouldn't be passing so close to Romulan territory omg what are you doing, Picard, listening to T'Pel?? ...Meanwhile, there's still a wedding going on, so Data meets Geordi in the barber shop and calls him a "lunkhead" because apparently light jibes are things that friends do? Obviously, Data is still learning, but Geordi tells him he should get a gift, so while he shops with Worf, Worf says that humans dance at weddings, so then Data asks Dr. Crusher for some dance lessons and that's when we learn a very interesting fact: Dr. Crusher was once known as "The Dancing Doctor!"

Before dancing lessons, though, Picard asks Data to look up Romulan deployments along the Neutral Zone. He reports to Picard and T'Pel that they'll probably attack when confronted, but T'Pel still doesn't reveal the specifics of their mission. So Data goes off and we find that he owns a cat! He feeds Spot the cat, and O'Brien comes in and asks him to talk to Kieko again because clearly she wants to get married and is confused or scared. Data meets with her and tries to troubleshoot her coding errors, but she basically says she's not made of coding, so Data consults with Counselor Troi for a better hold on the situation.
Did Data change his name to "The Situation"?
They chat for a while and Data reveals the possibility that he might be married some day. But then he's pulled into another direction when T'Pel calls him to her quarters. She asks some intrusive security questions and Data basically proves to her that he has adequate security precautions. Which is weird... I mean... why would she need to know about the capability of the Enterprise's weapons and stuff? Data doesn't question it, he just wants to dance! He goes off to the holodeck where Crusher is waiting and they do an awesome jazz dance routine where Data eventually starts going faster and more talented than Beverly! Great! Now he's ready to dance at the wedding!

Whoa, whoa, whoa; Crusher stops him and says that jazz dance isn't appropriate for a wedding. So, she teaches him how to slow dance. He steps all over her toes before she allows him to look down for a few seconds to get the hang of it. Then she's called back to sickbay and Data generates a holographic dance partner. Going off Beverly's advice, he smiles while he dances. And he smiles widely. Like... unnaturally widely. HILARIOUSLY widely.
I mean look at that big, stupid grin.
Okay, so Data knows how to dance now. And they've pulled up to the Neutral Zone and hailed a Romulan. What could go wrong? Apparently, the "mission" involves T'Pel transporting to the Romulan ship, so she does, and she dies. WHAT?! There was a transporter malfunction and the Romulan calls back and says "Where is she?? Apparently, Starfleet isn't serious about making peace with the Romulans! I'm taking my ball and going home!" The Romulans turn away, Picard and Data investigate the transporter malfunction and discover that... SOMETHING'S NOT RIGHT. It looks like the Romulans took T'Pel prisoner and went home. So they rush off after the Romulans, hail them and discover.... T'Pel is a Romulan!

Turns out T'Pel was working both sides. She was a double agent; a spy; a turn-coat! She strung the Enterprise along for a fool! And other dated phrases. Well, now it's time for the Enterprise to turn tail and get on with the wedding. Data walks Keiko down the isle (after finding her behind a bush, as per Japanese tradition) and, after the ceremony, dances with her. He muses in his log that he doesn't understand a lot about human behavior, but he does understand the need to be loved. Later, he takes his place on the bridge and takes over for the night watch, concluding in his letter to Maddox that he believes being human is a state of mind, and that one day he believes he will achieve that.

Review
This was a pretty great episode for getting into Data's mind, but it was kind of fragmented. There were a lot of smaller stories going on that really had nothing to do with each other. And ya'll know my opinion on that kind of thing. It does, however, set up the O'Briens and they are very important to the rest of Trek. It's just really disappointing that the Enterprise pretty much loses the important part of this episode, which was the fact that T'Pel was a spy. They just had to turn around and go home; no justice served. Those frakkin' Romulans.