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Star Trek TNG - Season 4 - Episode 25

Star Trek TNG - 4x25 - In Theory

Originally Aired: 1991-6-3

Synopsis:
Data pursues romance with a crew member. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.03

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 28 4 7 21 8 31 19 24 13 13 15

Problems
None

Factoids
- This is the second episode to feature Data's pet cat Spot.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data reminding Jenna, as asked, why she broke up with Jeff.
- Data, Jenna, Keiko, and O'Brien joking around.
- Jenna: "I wish we were back there right now, you and I." Data: "The unidirectional nature of the time continuum makes that an unlikely possibility."
- Data analyzing the molecular compound of the drink Guinan offered.
- Data: "I require advice." Guinan: "Don't look at me." Data looks away! Haha
- Geordi returning Spot to Data.
- Data talking to Troi about pursuing a relationship with Jenna.
- Worf: "Klingons do not pursue relationships. They conquer that which they desire."
- Riker advising Data to jump right into the relationship.
- Picard to Data: "I would be delighted to offer any advice I can on understanding women. When I have some, I'll let you know."
- Data's androidal view of his relationship with Jenna.
- Worf: "I am puzzled, sir." Picard: "So am I, Mr. Worf." Worf: "The only detectable bio electric residuals are your own. You did not--" Picard: "No. I did not... Well. Perhaps we have a poltergeist?" Worf: "Sir?" Picard: "A mischievous spirit." Worf: "Sir." Picard: "Perhaps not."
- Data attempting to be warm and loving to Jenna.
- Data picking a fight with his girlfriend.
- Jenna: "What were you just thinking?" Data: "In that particular moment, I was reconfiguring the warp field parameters, analyzing the collective works of Charles Dickens, calculating the maximum pressure I can safely apply to your lips, considering a new food supplement for Spot..." Jenna: "I'm glad I was in there somewhere."
- Picard piloting the shuttle, guiding the ship out the nebula.

My Review
An entertaining, if a bit ridiculous Data episode. Data just tried too hard to emulate the behaviors associated with love. Furthermore I'm a bit dismayed at how the death of a crewmember in this episode is seemingly casually brushed aside. Nobody seemed really all that broken up about it. Just another dead redshirt. Not that this episode wasn't entertaining, because it really was. There's just a bit of room for improvement.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-09-02 at 8:32pm:
    - Whenever this episode shows a graphic of the distortions, it depicts them as static chunks moving through space. Yet, on the Enterprise, the distortions seem to appear and disappear randomly. If the chunks move through space retaining the same shape, their paths through the Enterprise should define a line. When a distortion hits the hull, there should be decompression of the closest room. As the distortion continues through the ship, the internal sensors should be able to track it until it exits. This isn't what happens on the Enterprise. The distortions phase in and out. But if the chunks phase in and out, this would completely nullify the value of putting a shuttle craft out in front of the Enterprise. A distortion could disappear as the shuttle passed through it and then reappear before the Enterprise arrived at that spot.
    - The crew members directly link the navigational controls of the ship to the shuttle. If they can directly link the navigational controls, can't they link the sensors also? Why not put an unmanned shuttle out in front? The Enterprise could display the shuttle's sensors on the main viewscreen and make course corrections for itself and the shuttle at the same time. In that way, if something happened to the shuttle, no lives would be lost. Instead, Picard places his life at risk.
    - As Data tries to please Jenna, he offers to organize her closets for her. He comments, "I have found that by grouping apparel, first by function, then by color - from light to dark - one can more easily find the desired choice." Considering that Data has never worn anything but a uniform on this series, this is a very funny statement. (Data did wear something besides a uniform in "The Most Toys" and "Brothers," but in both cases the clothing was forced on him.) Even for his last romantic dinner with Jenna he wears his uniform. Since Data has only one type and color of clothing in his closet, what did he mean when he claimed that he had discovered the best way to group apparel?
    - When the computer reports atmospheric decompression in the observation lounge, Worf claims that the sensors do not register a hull breach. Yet after life support is restored and the bridge crew enters the lounge, all the furniture is pushed against a window. Evidently a distortion passed through the lounge window, venting the atmosphere into space and causing the furniture to pile up. Sure sounds like a hull breach, doesn't it?
  • From Fred on 2008-01-06 at 11:33am:
    It turns out this is the first episode directed by Patrick Stewart... was he trying to out do the first episode Riker directed? (also a 'data episode') (how many others has Riker directed? I think it would be good to have the director/writer noted for each episode on your reviews.

    I've been reading your reviews as I watch through TNG for my first time. They've been interesting. It's been good to see your feelings and comments and the contrast of your rating with the 'public' rating. Also the more holistic view, relating TNG episodes to the rest of the Star Trek serieses, which I have seen only a little of. Thanks!
  • From Mike on 2008-03-14 at 11:34am:
    Thought this was a relatively weak episode... some comments:

    - Jenna was an extremely annoying person, I can see why she's been through some boyfriends!

    - Brent Spiner did a great job, but "android tinkers with romance" was really sort of a ridiculous plot

    - The death of that crewman totally freaked me out - very cool idea! I agree that I wish they wouldn't have blown her death off like they did, though.

    - Why did Picard fly the shuttle? Seemed sort of silly... he's not the best pilot (Riker or Data would've been better), and Riker was right in telling Picard he shouldn't be going.

    - I though the premise of the B Plot was pretty interesting, and would've made a more palatable "A" plot.
  • From JRPoole on 2008-07-01 at 5:44pm:
    I'm fond of this episode, though I can see why others are not. The subplot was a bit ridiculous, and Picard piloting the shuttle was, as someone mentioned above, beyond stupid. It was a classic Kirk move, and out of character for Picard.

    I'm a bit disappointed that the episode largely ignores the subject of sex in the relationship, although that could easily have gotten out of hand. As interesting as I find Data's attempts at romance, I'm glad (for once) that this is a reset button episode, as Jenna is extremely annoying.
  • From ChristopherA on 2012-07-11 at 9:48am:
    This episode is just OK for me. The concept of the relationship is good, and I generally liked the overall flow. I enjoyed the performance of Jenna as someone who wants a relationship with Data for not quite the right reason. And I liked the various different forms of advice given by each character to Data about dating. And the break-up at the end, with Data's reaction of total indifference, is really fitting to his character. The downside is that I didn't find it entertaining to watch Data act out his lengthy series of artificial "courtship" programs. And the plot about the distortions is forgettable (and, as others have noted, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and having Picard insist on piloting the shuttle is rather unnatural).
  • From Daniel on 2014-06-28 at 6:07am:
    This is one of my favorite episodes (I have dozens of favorites). I think Data's attempts at a "romantic program" seem a bit forced and fake. Certainly, by now, he should have a better grasp of human behavior.

    One item in this episode puzzles me; it is a technical/costuming glitch I noticed. In the scene where Data is on his "date" with Jenna, and he begins picking up clothes and humming a tune... When he turns away from the camera to walk into the other room, I noticed a big lump on his back. It looks like there is something under his shirt. Later in the scene, the lump is gone. Perhaps it was a stretched piece of fabric which later smoothed itself, or maybe it was a microphone under his shirt which was quickly removed during filming when they noticed it. Does anybody else see it, or am I imagining it?

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