‘In Theory’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘In Theory’ is probably another one of my favourite episodes from Season 4 of ‘Star Trek: TNG’. This is essentially a love story for Data, which I found sweet and enlightening whilst I was watching this.

This episode also happens to be the directorial debut of Patrick Stewart who plays Captain Picard in the series. Since Jonathan Frakes started directing, a trend of actors becoming directors began here.

The story focuses on Data’s friendship with Michele Scarabelli as Jenna D’Sora. This friendship soon turns into a love affair. This got me intrigued. I wondered how they could do it with Data’s character.

Data’s a character without feeling or emotion. He’s friendly enough and he does have some attention to Jenna as she’s feeling low down and gives her words of encouragement. Is this enough?

Jenna shares with Data that she just split up with her boyfriend Jeff. Data comforts her since he seems to be looking out for her as her friend. This ignites romantic feelings from Jenna before Data.

I liked that scene during a chamber concert in Ten Forward when Jenna criticises her music playing. Data however reassures her that she did rather well, encouraging her to keep on practising her skills.

I also enjoyed that scene where Data and Jenna are with Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien and Rosalind Chao as his wife Keiko. It’s a nice scene where they laugh and joke together. Data even makes a joke.

Later on in the torpedo bay, Jenna gradually shares more feelings with Data before she gives him a ‘passionate’ kiss – first on the cheek; then on the lips. It gets Data intrigued about Jenna altogether.

Data first seeks out the advice of his friends on what he should do about him and Jenna. This starts with him seeing Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan in Ten Forward. Then Data sees Geordi in his quarters.

Some say that this episode is a rehash of ‘The Dauphin’ from Season 2 and I can understand why that is. The plot of Data seeking advice from friends is similar to what Wesley did with his first love affair.

As well as Guinan and Geordi, Data sees Deanna; Worf and Riker. He does try to see Picard but he tells him if he has any advice he will let him know. Amazing how the word spreads with Data isn’t it?

Eventually however, Data pursues his new-found romantic relationship with Jenna as he visits her in her quarters with a bunch of flowers. It does feel awkward at first, but soon they do kiss each other.

Whilst all this happening, the Enterprise is visiting a dark nebula as the crew have sending probes in to collect data. Strange things go on for the Enterprise crew, as they draw nearer to a Class M planet.

The strange things begin when Beverly (who only appears in one scene of this episode) finds one of her hypo-sprays fallen to the floor. It also occurs when Data’s cat, Spot, wanders off about the ship.

It becomes clear that things are awry when Picard enters his ready room and finds his belongings scattered across the floor. He asks Worf to come in with a tricorder and even he cannot explain this.

Data’s romance with Jenna continues, as it gets a little awkward when she visits him in his quarters. Data has a lot to learn about romance, especially when he’s supposed to be attentive towards Jenna.

In his quarters, Data paints away as Jenna gives him a special gift. She tells him to carry on painting and he does which gets her a little annoyed. I like how this is played out since it’s sweetly performed.

Sometimes Data tries too hard, especially when he visits Jenna in her quarters. Data’s over-the-top romantic ‘charms’ soon turn into an argument with Jenna that’s too artificial even for her to handle.

As the strange occurrences aboard the Enterprise continue, Picard soon pilots a shuttle to help the Enterprise find a way out of the dark matter nebula. It gets a little tricky, but thankfully it works out.

The episode ends with Jenna visiting Data in his quarters, before telling him that she can’t continue her romance with him as he is unfeeling. I like how well-written and well-performed this is handled.

‘In Theory’ is a great little episode in the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ series. Brent Spiner’s performance as Data is brilliant. I like how his romance with Jenna plays out and it is superbly directed by Patrick Stewart.

‘In Theory’ (TNG) rating – 9/10

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