“The Most Toys” is a great episode but…

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Draconarius King, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. Draconarius King

    Draconarius King Ensign Red Shirt

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    Data deciding to kill and retaining his lawful neutral purity is a great example of bulimia. Regurgitated cake really doesn’t go down well when paired acid reflux.
     
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  2. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Like the end of "Datalore" where they consciously chose to have Data use a contraction as an insipid and stupid in-joke, I got the impression the end of "Toys" with Data full of it and outright lied to Riker was for the same cause and reason. Or maybe not, "Datalore" was a poorly written script they wanted to ensure could be that much worse (but elevated by great music and acting), "Toys" felt like a highly polished and clever script and maybe was trying too hard with the "Data becomes human" routine?
     
  3. Draconarius King

    Draconarius King Ensign Red Shirt

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    It seems so counterintuitive though doesn’t it? Data has personal growth than they scrap it so that the next episode can follow the same algorithm. Remember that one time he laughed just so that we the audience could feel really good. The scene was like heroin, it was fantastic! But alas nothing came of it because Data can’t be permitted to be human or the essence of his character would be lost. Ironically it’s not completely the fault of the writers, they kind of cornered themselves in the very beginning. A charming android that wants to be human but can never be human without losing his charm… Honestly a fascinating conundrum.
     
  4. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    I posted some thoughts on this several a few years ago.
    I agree with @Qonundrum that they were making Data more human, having him choose a laconic six-word statement instead of a long-winded explanation typical of Data. It also underscored how serious it was to Data.

    I suspect the real-world explanation is the writers, producers, and actors couldn't agree if having Data kill someone horrifically was too much for his character and the show, so they left it ambiguous. I liked the result, though, where I imagine Data conveying most of what I imagined Data thinking in the quoted message above in very few words.
     
  5. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    In the end, Data was stopped by the transporter beam, and the monster who kidnapped him and brutally killed the woman who helped him was allowed a long and comfortable life in a penal colony.

    I can see the simple android logic in deciding that the galaxy was a better place without such a man.
     
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  6. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    We can only hope he landed on a less nice pénal colony. Wasn't that place for the criminally insane people with the deadly atmosphere in TOS a Federation Penal Colony?
     
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  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yup. And supposedly people who ended up there were returned to the society quite promptly, nicely cured - or then redirected to Elba II, the final destination for the incurable. Of which there were a grand total of four out of the Federation trillions!

    Every criminal is insane by (Dr. Adams') definition. The System cures them, quite successfully at that: Harry Mudd never repeated an offense! Or lost his ability to dream up new ones, which is even better advertising for the System.

    (One wonders - was Fajo subject to UFP law, or perhaps citizen of some foreign power?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Saul Rubinek totally knocked this one out of the park. One of TNG's best guest stars.

    No disrespect to the memory of David Rappaport, of course, but IMHO this ep would not have worked with anyone other than Rubinek.

    (Side note: I know there are pictures, but is there any actual footage of Rappaport playing Kivas Fajo?)
     
  9. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    Don't we say that because we only saw the episode with Rubinek? (the clips with Rappaport came out so many years later and are on YT)

    Same as how Mulgrew was the "only" Janeway, but if it had been Bujold the whole time (without the knowledge of Mulgrew), we would be saying the same about her.
     
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  10. TIM Thomason

    TIM Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  11. Pikirk_Janesisko

    Pikirk_Janesisko Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I personally don't agree. I like the episode, but I think that it would improve from a better perfomance. All of the ideas and the script is great, but Rubinek's performance is what throws me off a bit. I wish they got another actor. Had he played Fajo a bit more menancing it would've been better, but instead he plays him very over the top. It's hard to take Fajo seriously.

    With all due respect to David Rappaport, I don't think he was a better choice either, but from what I see from his scenes he brought more of what I was looking for. That's just my opinion, other than that it's a great character study for Data.
     
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  12. Dr. Kravaal

    Dr. Kravaal Vice Admiral Admiral

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    David’s portrayal made me think Fajo had had everything taken from him…where Saul portrayed him as rotten from the start. Data would not have shot at David’s Fajo in my mind
     
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  13. TIM Thomason

    TIM Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's really hard to judge the Rappaport versions, for me, for a couple of reasons. First, I'm used to Rubinek, so another actor saying his lines feels wrong and less impactful (it doesn't help that I can't find clips without Rubinek's Fajo interspersed). Second, the Rappaport clips lack the proper context (background sounds, music, proper post-production film editing) and look almost like dress rehearsal stuff. He's doing good work, but it just seems amateurish otherwise.

    It's clear that both Rappaport and Rubinek had different takes on the character. One is menacing outwardly and inwardly. One is a little flamboyant, goofy, but has that flippant edge to him. The lines are nearly identical, but a few last minute changes or improvs fortify their takes on the character.

    I think Fajo would forever be remembered as this truly menacing adversary if Rappaport had played him. And if, in some weird timeline, we saw Rubinek's cutting room floor take on Fajo next to Rappaport's studio polished version, most everyone would be criticizing Rubinek for not understanding the character and making him less serious.
     
  14. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    Even on their own, it's hard to put the Rubinek scenes out of one's mind since we've all probably seen the aired episode a dozen times.

    Bridge Scene:


    Cargo Bay scene:


    Brig scene:
     
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  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I think the colorful, goofy but only superficially charming show Fajo actually worked well for it. He is pretty clearly a lot like the narcissistic psychopaths of the real world. Childish and selfish with absolutely not regard for the lives of those around him. I actually felt it was a memorable villain performance for how different it was from others like the Cardassians.

    I can imagine the Fajo of the show being considered harmless by the Federation and I can imagine him terrifying and murdering people.

    They are, in the words of Granny Weatherwax, "just things."

    Yes, the clips we have of the other actor are quite well done and menacing but that's not the take of the show version. Show Fajo is NOT menacing so there's initially confusion about his adjutant/mistress being clearly terrified of him and it all comes together when he murders her.

    I liken it to Voyager's Nightmare Clown.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021
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  16. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    Why did Fajo keep saying that Data wouldn't shoot him because he was android. It almost seemed like Fajo had a death wish and was doing suicide by cop. That's what I thought the Klingon was doing with Warf in Heart of Glory when Warf said "put down the phaser" and the Klingon said "You are no Klingon!" The scene with Fajo seems similar. He knows Data aspires to be human, yet he says Data won't shoot because he's only an Android, not human. It sounds like goading Data to shoot.
     
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  17. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Data had already stated he was programmed never to harm anyone. Fajo didn't realize Data could override his programming.
     
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  18. Laughing Dragon

    Laughing Dragon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I had no problem at all with Data's lie at the end. It just showed he temporarily knew what it was like to be human. And the darkness that can comes with it. I felt nothing for Fajo. He was creep and a thief, murderer and a kidnapper. Data did not even know Star Fleet would be able to imprison him. For all he knew he would just do what he did again. They just arrived due to Geordi and sheer luck.
     
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  19. cgervasi

    cgervasi Commander Red Shirt

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    Data's laconic explanation implied something more might be going on. You could tell from the reaction show of Riker and O'Brien that they didn't buy it.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yet Fajo was not unaware of the fact that Data was a Starfleet officer, i.e. somebody who had sworn an oath to kill when so ordered. Data's record, if available to Fajo, would show him at least that Data had readily aided and abetted in the destruction of a number of supposedly crewed threat vessels, not to mention the whole rigamarole of "Ensigns of Command" where Data masterfully bullies himself to victory with acts and threats of harm. Fajo really should have known that Data is both a fluent liar and a trained and practicing killer.

    OTOH, there's no obligation for Fajo to let slip that he knows. Pretending to believe the opposite will actually serve him well: Data may then choose to base his clever escape plot on having the ability to surprise Fajo there, automatically leading to failure!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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