This week’s episode, Datalore, is a popular episode. According to GEOS, it is the second-highest rated episode of the season, a little behind Conspiracy and far ahead of the third-place dead heat between Where No One Has Gone Before, The Big Goodbye, and The Neutral Zone. IMDB also has it #2 behind Conspiracy. This is one episode on which I differ sharply from the crowd. Everyone other than Wesley comes across as a colossal idiot. When Wesley voices his fear that “Data” is actually Lore, Picard and Riker become furious with him for sharing his concern, and Picard is in the process of firing him for it when he is interrupted. No one considers the possibility that he may be right or makes a meaningful effort to check, despite the android’s suspicious behavior. If Wesley had more presence of mind he might challenge the android with a question that Data can answer but Lore cannot, but given the way Picard is acting it is likely he would berate Wesley for asking it and tell “Data” not to answer. (Incidentally, the stardates in Season One are all over the place and put Datalore before Where No One Has Gone Before. If Wesley loses his commission here, his stint as a bridge officer ends literally before it begins.) The Crystal Entity attacks and it is a powerful attack, but the shields hold. After failing to penetrate the shields and receiving a threat from “Data,” it halts the attack. Then “Data” suggests demonstrating the ship’s power by beaming out a tree to zap, which will require lowering the shields. No one sees a problem with this plan. Nitpick: “Data” says, “I can beam up some living pattern,” but it was established earlier in the episode that there has been nothing alive on the planet for decades. Anyway, considering the vast size and power of both the Enterprise-D and the Crystal Entity, would vaporizing a tree be intimidating? The TOS 1701 could easily vaporize a tree. (Even NX-01 could vaporize a tree, but that ship hadn’t yet been conceived when this episode was made.) The conflict is decided by an unnecessary fist fight in the cargo bay. The cargo bay transporter controls can be overridden from the bridge. Beverly and Data can call the bridge and report what is transpiring so that the bridge crew can shut down everything in the cargo bay. Perhaps Beverly and Data do that off camera and Picard treats them the way he treats Wesley. Worf, despite a very small role in the episode, manages to find time for his own moment of facepalm-inspiring stupidity. When challenged by Lore, he punches him in the face! As one would expect, this has no effect on Lore. If not for Lore absorbing the blow so graciously Worf’s hand would be shattered. Tapping his combadge would be infinitely more helpful than punching an android. How is it that no security officers arrive at the cargo bay until after Data and Wesley save the day? The security officers who were accompanying Lore and Worf when they got shut out of the turbolift could not have been delayed more than a minute or so by that trick. Even being a mere 60 seconds behind Lore would be difficult to explain, given that they know his destination and should be able to get some colleagues there ahead of him. Evidently, contacting security to dispatch a team from a location closer to the cargo bay is another thing no one thought of. Either that, or they did contact security and Tasha was in the process of dispatching more officers when Picard told her not to bother. Best line of the episode: “And you want to be as stupid as them, dear brother?” That line sums up the episode perfectly. Most popular line of the episode: “Shut up, Wesley!” Twice. Most obnoxious line of the episode: A tie between almost everything anybody says to Wesley, including “shut up.” Worst line of the episode: “Yes, sir. I’m fine.” It is Data’s second contraction in the episode after “I’ve been most anxious to hear the Chief Engineer’s opinion.” The resolution is inexcusable. What appears to happen, and is apparently confirmed in Brothers in Season Four, is that Wesley beams Lore into space and the Enterprise just leaves him drifting out there. What can justify such cruelty? Once the threat has been neutralized and the Crystal Entity has departed, why not beam Lore back aboard, perhaps into the brig? Desperate fanwank: I like to imagine that the Crystal Entity picks him up and carries him away before deciding he is useless and dropping him far from the Enterprise, but there is nothing in this or subsequent episodes to suggest anything like that. What is depicted in the episode is just beaming him into space and washing their hands of him. Fittingly for the episode, Lore’s defeat can (arguably) be attributed to his own positronic brain fart. He is wearing a combadge. When Data shouts “Wesley, the transporter!” Lore should reopen the channel with the Crystal Entity, which apparently he has closed but should not have. With an open channel, when Data shouts, “Wesley, now!” Lore could shout, “Crystal, now!” and take the place of the tree, bringing his plan to fruition. The threat of that would force Data and Wesley to abandon their strategy. Possible fanwank: We can speculate that Wesley beams Lore to a position between the ship’s hull and shields, eliminating the need to lower the shields. An uncomfortable problem with this theory is that it rules out the possibility of the Crystal Entity carrying Lore away or the Enterprise being unable to find him, establishing his fate as the result of cruelty for the sake of cruelty. Possible fanwank #2: Lore reasons that he does not want his plan to succeed if Data and Wesley succeed in beaming him into space. If he ends up outside the ship with nobody left alive on the inside, he has no plan for getting back inside or communicating with the Crystal Entity. (His combadge will not help him in the silent vacuum of space.) He assumes that if he spares the crew he will be brought back aboard and not left drifting in space. He does not anticipate Picard’s evil rivaling his own. If you think about it, the first fanwank almost has to be the case. With the exception of Lore, no one on the Enterprise has any way of knowing that the Crystal Entity needs somebody on the ship to tell it when the shields are dropping. For all they know, it can detect the shields dropping and react on its own. They would not drop the shields for transport if the attacker were, e.g., a Romulan warbird. (They do drop shields for transport while facing a Romulan warbird in The Enemy, fully aware that it gives the Romulans an opportunity to destroy them. Picard gambles that the Romulans will choose not to, and the gamble pays off.) Unless the boy genius has contracted the stupidity plague that has infected everybody else in the episode, there is no way he lowers the shields for transport. Sheesh. For an episode I dislike, I sure wrote a long post.