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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old November 25 2013, 03:28 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"





What a way to start off Thanksgiving and Black Friday week with a story of an unthankful, murderous alien who steals valuable items at the expense of others.

Before I begin, this episode has two "behind the scenes" issues, one involving the cast, and the other involving the story which I'll cover later. The role for the thieving collector was originally meant to be played by David Rappaport, a short actor who some might remember played a role in Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" as Randall. When he was casted for the part, he had actually filmed several scenes in make up before he was caught attempting suicide, resulting his role going to Saul Rubinek. An unfortunate turn of events made all the more tragic when he successfully committed suicide two months later. Footage of his performance as Fajo can be seen on the Season 3 set.

The premise of "The Most Toys" is a pretty good one. We have an alien collector who is obsessed with collecting rare items, whether they be simple items like a lamp or a card, or living creatures. He successfully kidnaps Data and destroys his shuttle while on his way back to the Enterprise making it look like an accident. What follows is one of the creepiest episodes of Season 3.

Fajo is just... weird. I'd say that his treatment of Data as nothing more than an object would be mean, but he treats EVERYTHING like objects. The moment where he spills the uniform dissolving drink on Data is probably the most uncomfortable moment in Season 3. As Data's uniform dissolves, he actually expresses an interest in seeing Data walk around naked....



Frojo is just totally enamored in his own collection and is totally uncaring about the consequences it has on those around him. Forget about treating Data like a literal object, Fajo doesn't even fully comprehend the things he proclaims to know all about. The way he shows pride in owning a Varon-T disruptor, a weapon that he acknowledges causes a slow and painful death, shows complete and utter shock when he willingly uses it on Varria (Another bites the dust). Despite that shock, he still continues with his wretched ways by saying Varria can always be replaced. Which leads us to the other issue with the episode.
Fojo: Go ahead. Fire. If only you could feel rage over Varria's death. If only you could feel the need for revenge, then maybe you could fire. But you're just an android. You can't feel anything, can you? It's just another interesting intellectual puzzle for you. Another of life's curiosities.
Data: I cannot permit this to continue.
And Data raises the weapon, aims it at Fojo, and is beamed aboard the Enterprise. O'Brien reports that the disruptor was in a state of firing, and Data responds,
Data: Perhaps something occurred during transport, Commander.
And there's our executive meddling in action. The producers decided that Data cannot be looked at as someone who would kill someone, so we have this line that leaves us wondering if he was really going to do it. The problem with that change is that, well, THE SCENE WHERE DATA IS CLEARLY RAISING THE DISRUPTOR TO FIRE! Now, I get the executives not wanting Data to be a killer, but just look at what we're presented with here. Fojo just murdered Varria in the most gruesome way possible, washes off the shock and says that they'll just be another Varria and tells Data to go back to his display chair. This is an individual who has committed an atrocious act, will not submit to surrendering to Data at gun point and is insistent that Data will do nothing to truly stop him. He explains to Data that since he cannot feel, he cannot kill Fojo. Unofrtunately, this is the kind of situation where feeling isn't really needed to justify in killing Fojo. He will continue to kidnap and murder without remorse if he is allowed to continue, and will not surrender to the authorities. The best possible solution that will spare the galaxy this menace was for Data to kill him.

I just don't understand why the executives thought leaving it ambiguous was the best way to go since having Data possibly lying about it is something that doesn't really fit his character. I think what should have happened was that Data admit that he was going to use the weapon, but was thankful that he was stopped by the transporter since this means Fojo can be brought to justice without having to kill him. The episode could have ended on a much better note with Data telling Fojo that "feelings" had nothing to do with the logic that Fojo had presented him, that even an unfeeling android that Fojo felt was fit only for his collection knew that what he was doing was wrong and it had to be stopped. I wouldn't think low of Data for what he almost did, especially if Data was glad it didn't resort to killing Fojo in the end.

CONCLUSION:
I find this episode to be the better "captured crewman" episode of this season, as it fleshes out not only the captives, but also the captor. Saul Rubinek's depiction of Fojo is a perfect mixture of selfishness, arrogance and total naiveness. He's a despicable character, but one who isn't annoying to watch. The only thing that brings this episode down was the executive meddling at the end with Data about to kill Fojo. Yeah, killing people sucks, but this episode presented Data and it's audience with a situation where letting Fojo live would lead to either more kidnappings or murder of innocents.

STINGER:

Last edited by Jeyl; November 25 2013 at 04:00 PM.
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Old November 25 2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

That would be "Roger Maris".

This is one of my favorite episodes from season three. Saul Rubinek really steals the show here.
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Old November 25 2013, 03:46 PM   #3
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

Liked the episode. Enjoyed the back and forth with Data and Fajo. The ending was just stupid though. Data's either a killer or a liar. Way to go.
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Old November 25 2013, 03:59 PM   #4
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

BillJ wrote: View Post
That would be "Roger Maris".
Bah. Chrissie's transcript site is not the best source for proper spelling. I knew I should have checked with other sources.
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Old November 25 2013, 08:34 PM   #5
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

Rubinek was great, and I was familiar with his work before he showed up in this. And Brent Spiner firmly believed Data pulled the trigger.
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Old November 25 2013, 08:57 PM   #6
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

^ Yeah, that is what I figured and what I firmly believe we were meant to believe.
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Old November 25 2013, 11:59 PM   #7
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

The thing is we know how Data thinks and operates, settng aside extreme circumstances where he was not operating on his own free will or beinv manipulared Data is 100% by the book. If he fired the disruptor it stands to reason it was the only viable, and "legal" option.
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Old November 26 2013, 12:06 AM   #8
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

Data definitely pulled the trigger. Just like with The Ensigns of Command and Redemption 2, Data will react strongly when needed. In Ensigns, he needed to react with violence and destruction because diplomacy was not working. In Redemption 2, he needed to be a hard-ass because the commander was being insubordinate. And in The Most Toys, Fajo's death was the only way to solve the problem, and it was Data's only opportunity.
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Old November 26 2013, 04:46 AM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

Definitely one of my favorites because of the creepy vibe. Dennis McCarthy should be noted too for his use of unsettling music, like when the Enterprise takes off and we close in on an unconscious Data. I also like the ending where it appears that Data is gloating to Fajo, he likely isn't, but the way Spiner delivers that line "I'm only an android" has a lot going behind it. As for Data lying, I always thought of this as a moment of him growing as an android, maybe he wasn't comfortable telling others that he was ready to kill in cold blood and since he was beamed away before that could ever happen he figured it wasn't important that anyone else should know. At least, that's how I interpret it. I do kind of wish Data had grown more throughout the rest of the series, though I understand Piller didn't want to change him too much so that him being unable to grasp humanity was always constant (hence the emotion chip not ever being brought up again until GENERATIONS).
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Old November 27 2013, 01:05 PM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

MakeshiftPython wrote: View Post
(hence the emotion chip not ever being brought up again until GENERATIONS).
It was brought up again, in Descent. It wasn't brought up before that because Lore had stolen it. It wasn't brought up after that because Data didn't feel ready to use it.
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Old November 27 2013, 02:32 PM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

The situation was a dilemma for the Three Laws of Robotics which were part of Data's programming: 1) A robot cannot harm a human or through inaction allow a human to come to harm 2) A robot must obey all orders from humans except those that would conflict with the first law 3) A robot cannot allow itself to be harmed except in cases that would violate the first or second laws. Perhaps he was able to rationalize his way out of the dilemma because Fajo wasn't human.
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Old November 27 2013, 03:44 PM   #12
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

Data is definitely not Three Laws compatible. Every time he picks up a phaser and shoots someone he's breaking the first law, and every time he ignores an order from anyone he breaks the second.
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Old November 27 2013, 04:48 PM   #13
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

I loved the episode and the "open" ending. Did he or did he not shoot? Better to have the observer try to figure it out versus spoon feeding us the answer.
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Old November 27 2013, 06:14 PM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

Chensams wrote: View Post
I loved the episode and the "open" ending. Did he or did he not shoot? Better to have the observer try to figure it out versus spoon feeding us the answer.
But then one of those options paints Data as a liar, which is against his character. Even if it were someone like Picard or Riker who did and said the same thing, I'd have a problem with it. Whatever they do, own up to it.
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Old November 27 2013, 06:15 PM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x22 "The Most Toys"

It honestly never occurred to me that Data didn't shoot. I thought that was the whole point. Honestly, the idea of Data killing Fajo never bothered me. We're talking about Data here, Mr. Millions Of Calculations Per Second. After devoting all that brainpower to finding a way out of his predicament, he concluded there was no other way out. I'm pretty confident he was right. Him lying about it did bother me, though. Seems way out of character.
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Last edited by AgentCoop; November 27 2013 at 10:31 PM. Reason: clarity
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