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Old February 11 2013, 02:58 PM   #1
Jeyl's Avatar
Location: Asheville, NC
Episode of the week: 2x03 "Elementary, Dear Data

"Elementary, Dear Data"

Season 2 was off to a bad start with "The Child", but managed to bring itself back up on it's feet with "Where Silence has Lease". A weird way of putting it since that episode was technically a bottleshow, a term used for episodes that take place solely on the ship. Things are looking up for Season 2 and it continues that stride with "Elementary, Dear Data". An episode both visual in it's tale and grand in it's premise. On it's own, a pretty good TNG episode that offers us the first true glimpse of the Data/Geordi relationship that would continue throughout the rest of the series and four movies. Granted this wasn't the best episode about the two, but there will be better ones.

And when I say this isn't one of the pair's better episode, it unfortunately all falls on the writing for Geordi's character. His behavior is just so uncalled for that I just wanted to reach into the screen and smack the heck out of him. Here's why. Data is able to solve all of these Sherlock Holme's mysteries with relative ease, even to the point where he solves them before the mystery has a chance to begin. Granted that's a bit of a let down, but the way Geordi treats it is like.... well, it's like he just stumbled into a group meeting where everyone talks about how blind people have no reason to live. Seriously, he shuts the program off, ignores Data's concern, leaves and actually complains to Data about something Data DOESN'T FULLY COMPREHEND. Geordi is the Chief Engineer and this is how he treats technology that can actually talk back? No wonder the Enterprise D was so screwed under his watch. Now if Data was insistent on running the programs this way and ignored Geordie's advice on letting them play out naturally, I would understand his frustration a bit more. But here? This is their first time doing this sort of thing. There is no reason why Geordi cannot simply tell Data in a friendly manner why he isn't enjoying it.

Which brings me to another point. How can anyone not enjoy Data playing Sherlock Holmes even if he's solving every big mystery by knowing all the details? As an Android who wants to better understand humans, he really looks into the role and actually seems to be enjoying it. His vocal tone is always in character and his apparent pride in solving the case brings about a sense of satisfaction that we seldom see Data experience. And while I may have read plenty of good books in my time, even I will admit that I've never read a Sherlock Holme's story. The last thing I would do is walk out on someone just because he was doing it differently, and if I wanted to see the story play out naturally, I would tell Data in a way he would certainly understand.

Which brings me to my third point. Why go out of your way to create an opponent to fight data when you could simply ask him to withold certain details while the program is running? I mean, how hard is it for an Android to simply 'forget' about Sherlock Holme's mysteries, but not the character?

But than again, we wouldn't have had the awesome and wonderful guest star in probably all of season 2, Daniel Davis as Moriarty. His manners are catchy, his demeanor is threatening and his charm is catchy even I find it irresistible. If only everyone involved with the episode realized that Sherlock Holmes wasn't in the public domain and were willing to spend a 'usage fee', we could have seen a lot more of these Sherlock and Moriarty episodes. I'm just thankful we were able to get at least one more episode with Moriarty in the form of that wonderful episode "Ship in a bottle" four years later.

The only other thing I want to touch upon is what our good friend Maurice Hurley thought of the episode. In the original ending, Picard actually tricked Moriarty into thinking that he couldn't leave the holodeck when in fact he could. Gene cut the ending because he didn't want Picard to come off as deceitful and for once I think this played out a lot better than what Maurice thought it would. After all, this exact same thing would happen in the sequel episode "Ship in a Bottle" and thankfully with much better writing. It's not a deceit to make the villain come off as a loser like how this episode would have ended, but a deceit into giving Moriarty what he actually wanted even though it was all Picard could do for him.

I for one was hoping Moriarty would make a return appearance in a future episode like Voyager where the technology to allow a hologram to exist outside of the holodeck was now a reality. Would have been cool to see him banter along side the doctor as well.

DATA: Then may I say your perturbation becomes you, Inspector Lestrade, whilst simultaneously affording me yet again the opportunity to serve Queen and country.
LAFORGE: Data, Holmes really talked like that?
DATA: Absolutely.
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