Datalore (TNG Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 12)

In “Datalore,” an encounter with Data’s more human-like “brother” showcases Brent Spiner’s acting talents and the optical FX crew’s mad split-screen skillz. While I enjoyed the plot twists and character bits as they happened, as a work of science fiction this episode offers little beyond popcorn “evil twin” fare.

The opening captain’s log lampshades an unprompted, random visit to Data’s home planet. The “Data practice sneezing” scene is silly, but the character development subtly allies Data’s desire to be human with Wesley’s desire to be respected by adults. The scene also accustoms us to the idea that Picard uses Wesley to deliver in-person messages, which kinda sorta helps explain why in this episode Wesley ends up where he needs to be to witness just enough to suspect Lore, but not enough to prove anything to the dumb-as-a-fencepost adults.