Saga of the Jasonite

The continuing adventures of that eternal man of mystery…

Review of Episode 84: Data’s Day

Data and the Dancing Doctor

Data and the Dancing Doctor

Plot Synopsis: Data records a day in his life for Commander Bruce Maddox, including observations on Chief O’Brien’s wedding, and the mystery of a Vulcan ambassador who apparently dies in a transporter accident.

Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser sets up what promises to be a unique experience: Data’s running interior monologue on his experiences throughout a typical day, which he will send to Dr. Maddox whom we recall from The Measure of a Man. In this case, he is asked to tell Chief O’Brien that his fiancée has canceled their wedding. Things don’t go as he anticipated. Subplot A is about the wedding, subplot B is about a Vulcan ambassador being transported to a Romulan ship. Both subplots are contained in Data’s ‘a day in the life’ narrative. This is a lighter episode overall, as we learn about a day in the Enterprise through Data’s eyes. Subplot B concludes on a darker note as the “Vulcan” turns out to be a Romulan spy who gets away.

Favorite Scenes: The scene where Beverly teaches Data to dance is one of the most memorable of the episode. Makes me smile every time. I actually do like the ending also, where we learn the Romulans have out-foxed us. Makes those guys people you just love to hate. A nice line of Data’s occurs before he asks Beverly to check something regarding the Vulcan ambassador’s death:

Data:  I could be chasing an untamed ornithoid without cause.

Beverly, *trying to translate*: A wild goose chase??

I can't help but include this. I'd be smiling too buddy

I can’t help but include this. I’d be smiling too buddy

Use of Cast/Characters: Most of the crew are background characters in this episode, particularly Riker. Troi gets a scene, Geordi gets a scene, Worf gets a scene and Picard does too, but no character development takes place. Beverly gets a bit more than the others, as we learn about her dancing background. This is Data’s episode, and it’s enjoyable to watch Brent’s acting as he repeatedly wrongly predicts others’ emotional reactions and is puzzled by it. Data also gets a cat, Spot, which we will see as a returning character all the way through to the TNG films. I think episodes like this highlight Data’s own humanity as he tries to understand and emulate others. Something else to think about: he’s composing a log entry to help out a guy who wanted to disassemble him in a previous episode! Colm Meaney does his usual good job, O’Brien gets a ton of development as he marries Keiko, a character who will return 7 more times in TNG and more than twice that many in DS9. Rosalind Chao, who portrayed Keiko, does a believable job here as a botanist who has cold feet about her upcoming wedding. Sierra Pecheur portrays T’Pel/Selok, but doesn’t really impress.

Blu Ray Version: Several very minor errors were fixed. Gorgeous transfer, nothing special to note.

Dirty Romulans...

Dirty Romulans…

Nitpicks: Hmm. For the night watch on the bridge, why do they dim the lights? Who are they trying to protect from bright lights? Also, if something happens on the night watch wouldn’t you want to be able to see everything on the bridge clearly? I like the idea, but thinking practically it would be a mistake. Finally, look at the picture above of the Romulan bridge, what the heck is a plasma globe doing in the background? It’s a recognizable toy, gimme a break!

Overall Impression: This is a unique episode in Star Trek history. As far as I know, no other episode has a running first-person account from a character and I really enjoyed it. This might be the first episode in sci-fi history that is just about daily life aboard a starship. It humanizes the characters and provides more of a sense of grounded reality which I like, and the fact that it’s rather humorously told through an android’s eyes is all the better. The Enterprise crew being outmaneuvered by the Romulans is also a nice touch, highlighting their craftiness. It’s not an outstanding episode, but it is a good one. I rate this episode 3.5 out of 5 stars.

O'Brien and Keiko get married

O’Brien and Keiko get married

Behind the Scenes/Trivia: This is where we learn that Data is officially the ‘second officer’ on the Enterprise, which is how he begins his log entries. This episode takes place on the 1550th day since the Enterprise was commissioned, which works out to about 4 years and 3 months. This is also the episode that introduces Spot, Data’s cat. Gates McFadden not only choreographed the dance scene with Data, she was also the choreographer for the films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal (as Cheryl McFadden). Gates did her own dancing, Brent also did most of his.

This episode introduces us to several new locations on the Enterprise, including the arboretum, the barbershop, the nursery and the replicating center. I’m convinced the idea for a main character that has a running inner monologue comes from M*A*S*H, when Hawkeye or Radar or someone would be writing home.  Finally, for those interested in the final fate of Spot as well as some behind the scenes info directly from Brent Spiner, watch this clip.

Missable/Unmissable? It’s missable, but an enjoyable episode and one I do recommend. The next one is about the same.

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