A Fistful of Datas (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 8) Worf Trapped in Western Simulation

Rewatching ST:TNG

Silly Gagh-Western finds Worf trapped on the holodeck with gunslinging copies of Data.

When the crew gets a few unexpected days of downtime. Picard practices his flute and Crusher casts a play. After running out of excuses, Worf finds himself wearing a sheriff’s badge and moseying into a holo-saloon, at the request of his young son.

Alexander is initially annoyed that Worf finishes the story too easily, so he orders the computer to make it harder to win.

LaForge, who a couple weeks ago sparked an invasion from hostile subspace aliens when he tweaked the scanners, decides to open up Data’s head and hook it up directly to the ship’s computer, because what could possibly go wrong? The two bros enjoy their bonding time (“You’re not just another electronic system.” “Thank you, Geordi. Nor are you just another biological organism.”) and then of course things start going wrong. Picard’s music program plays the wrong track, Data’s cat poetry replaces Crusher’s playscript, and the Old West characters in the holodeck story start getting replaced by copies of Data.

Because the holodeck still hasn’t been equipped with a big internally-accessible “off” button, Worf can’t shut off the program. For reasons nobody explains, Worf can’t communicate off the holodeck, and apparently nobody on the rest of the ship thinks to check on him.

Troi, who for the purposes of this story has acquired a lifelong love of tales from “the Ancient West,” notices that the copies of Data seem to have android reflexes, so when the villain sets up a meeting, she surmises that Worf is in trouble.

I confess this is not one of my favorite episodes, but I chuckled when the real Data starts a droidsplaining session with “Ah reckon.” I was amused by Troi’s role-playing, and by the father-son bonding. And of course it was a treat to see more evidence of Spiner’s acting range in his multiple character roles.

A final shot of the Enterprise-D heading off into a sunset is a nice touch, with a few bars of a genre-appropriate adaptation of the familiar series music.