Brothers (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 3) Awkward Android Family Reunion

Rewatching ST:TNG after taking a break for 20 years.

Data sees firsthand how he’s a chip off the old block, and almost gets emotional about a new chip on his shoulder (or thereabouts).

The B-plot about a brother-on-brother prank features children who are believably childish, in that they aren’t wise beyond their years, or prodigies, or fonts of innocence that melt a villain’s heart. In fact, they’re both a bit annoying.

The action sequences that pit Data against everyone else on the Enterprise are well done, particularly a budget-saving scene that has Riker climb up a ladder out of view and react to a zappy electrical sound. (“Great. Just great.”) But “cast member under alien influence” has been done before.

The A-plot features Brent Spiner as Data and also as Dr. Soong, creator of Data and his “brother” Lore. The split-screen special effects still hold up today, but it’s Spiner’s performance that made me want to spend more time with Soong.

The HD quality of the TNG remastered episodes makes it impossible to forget that Data is a human with gold makeup, and impossible not to notice that the heavy rubbery “old man” make-up on Dr. Soong means that the human character has a face that looks stiffer than an android’s.

In an era when most TV shows were one-and-done episodes, Brothers advances a Data story arc that will continue for decades, through the TNG movies and the current series Picard.