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TNG 5-04

TNG 5x04
"Silicon Avatar"

Original airdate: 10/14/1991
Rewatch date: 3/30/2012

The Enterprise, with the aid of a former resident of the Omicron Theta colony, attempts to track down the Crystalline Entity after an attack on a Federation outpost.

Spoiler-free notes:

Stupid interstellar snowflake, messing with Riker's game like that! Carmen was mere hours from pantslessness.

In the four years since we first saw the crystalline entity (in "Datalore"), you'd think the visual effects would have gotten an upgrade. Alas, it's still an embarrasingly bad bit of CG.

It's easy to think of Dr. Marr as another anti-android racist like Commander Hobson (from "Redemption II"), but her reaction to the situation is perfectly understandable, especially when you consider what an amazing coincidence it is that Data just happened to be at the site of the Crystalline Entity's attack and that he just happened to survive it.

Data looks surprised when Dr. Marr tells him that her son was at Omicron Theta, but shouldn't he have already known that?

The scene between Picard and Riker, in which Picard implies that Riker might be emotionally compromised because of Carmen's death, contains some good writing. Both characters are trying to maintain a professional, rational attitude, but in so doing, they are coming across as cold to one another. When Riker walks away, Picard looks as though he recognizes this and regrets that he doesn't know what to do about it.

The scene right after that is the one in which Dr. Marr asks Data all about her son's life, learns about his girlfriend, and has Data read one of her son's letters in his voice. It's probably the best moment in the episode.

Do they have no records of how Lore communicated with the entity?

I wonder if anybody bothers to decipher the entity's attempts to communicate.

The way Data explains to Dr. Marr that her son wouldn't be happy with what she's done is harsh.

This episode has a lot in common with the previous one, "Ensign Ro," because both deal with the Enterprise looking for someone (or something) with the help of a guest star after a deadly attack on a Federation outpost.

This isn't a bad episode, but it could have been better. Dr. Marr is a fascinating character, and exploring Data's memories from Omicron Theta is good (Data is the "Silicon Avatar" in the title, after all). However, the episode takes too long to get anywhere and the crystalline entity is a pretty weak villain to return to. On top of that, the central coincidence of why Data just happens to be there when the entity attacks is never properly explained, making the writing sloppy and unfinished.

TNG 5x03
"Ensign Ro"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 5x05
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