Jake and Willie Potts are like any brothers: practical jokes and hurt feelings followed by forgiveness. Data and Lore are like brothers too: built-in homing device, colonist murder, identity theft, patricide, stealing an emotion chip. So – forgiveness too? This week “Brothers” goes into the Mission Log.

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  • 1. when they drop out of warp…there seems to be an audible shift in noise from the engines/slight shift when they punch warp 9 right? How can Riker’s statement “The only way we knew we’d come out of warp, was by looking out a window….” inconsistent!
    2. who would leave their kids on a starship for sabbatical ?!?! mayyyybe there was an unseen crewman who assumed responsibility to watch kids and they got out of hand? sigh- another example of how silly a concept it is to have families on board…too many variables
    3. When Data cut life support and everyone was about to evacuate the bridge was he standing at a turbo lift? I don’t seem to recall there being a turbo lift to the left of conn?
    4. Why would Data need the computer to show him the best route to transporter room? Shouldn’t he already know…?
    5. Why should the localize command functions ability be restricted to Captain Picard only? If Picard is killed in a ship wide “Disaster” Riker and Data or LaForge wouldn’t be authorized to do this? fail…
    6. Soong seemed disappointed Data didn’t become a cyberneticist, Data should have mentioned Lal ….

    • Tim

      1. You could say Riker was just being glib.
      2. More important than kids on a ship is leaving around anything poisonous that kids can get into. That is a far more clumsy plot device.
      3. I think (without re-watching) that Data is by the Ready Room.
      4. Maybe Data was detecting where the security measures had been instituted or was finding the path with least living resistance, to reduce loss of life.
      5. No idea.
      6. Yes, odd that Soong doesn’t know and Data doesn’t say.

      Overall this is a good acting episode for Spiner and a pretty bad episode, to me, everywhere else. Manufactured conflict, illogical resolution (seriously, Soong can’t tell them apart? Give me a break). A very sub-par episode.

      • thanks for the feedback! I really enjoyed the episode but disliked how Soong just showed up and died. The trust for Lore, when Soong should have known better, and Data obviously dropping his guard for Lore to sucker punch him? Data, shame on you!! I felt there should have been some repercussions to Data’s malfunction…how could you completely trust this guy. I always felt Data should have been an ensign. It would have explained his lack of knowledge for so many things. The fact that he is already a Lt Cmdr makes it seem implausible he does not know sooooo many quirky idioms and human idiosyncrasies .

    • Durakken

      1. Yes and no. There is a shift with all operations with the warp drive… gear heads can detect it. The average person cannot… Either way there should be other ways to detect these things such as things like “turbulance” which we see existing as you push the thresholds of what you ship is designed for.

      2. If the Enterprise is their home, which it probably is, lots of people.

      3. Yes there is. It’s an area that isn’t ever shown that i can recalle but there is a turbolift to the right of conn, through the doors that leads to the captain’s Office.

      4. This is actually one of those things that are really rather interesting to think about that I forgot to bring up a few episodes back with the mutation into christ character… Data talks to the computer and asks it to do things that he can do in his head during the map scene. Maybe it is a little bit for show or maybe it’s a bit of aknowledgement that the ship computer is superior.

      5. There are probably protocols that trigger in those cases. You don’t need that particular person to have access at that moment as long as you have a way to create a release for when that happens.

      • 3. I think the captain’s office is to the left of OPS (Data’s station) isn’t it? perspective is from sitting in command chair. On command chair’s left, is captains office and 1 turbo left. On command chairs right, to right of conn, is there a turbo lift? I thought no…but….

        • Durakken

          Yes, meant Ops…but the Turbolift is still right of Con too cuz it’s Ops is right of Con and the turbolift is right of Ops…

          • I think we are looking at the bridge a little differently. My perspective is sitting in the command chair. Data ops is on my left, Wesley at conn on my right. To Wesleys right I never felt/noticed there was a turbolift on his right and forward.

          • Durakken

            There isn’t a turbolift there. It’s on the opposite side. The turbolift is closest to where Data sits.

          • Yes I agree. But in the episode, it sorta looked like Data was implied to be right in front of a turbo lift and about to enter to fool Picard…? That was my impression….

      • Thanks!!!

  • “Data”, “Lore”, “Dr. Noonien Soong” Brent Spiner

  • Can anyone identify this guy? pic is from S3 E1 “Evolution”…random Asian security guy…since there is not that many pics to post for this episode. Thanks to any who can help….

  • Durakken

    Few things…
    You said that “Data and Lore aren’t brothers” which is interesting, because they aren’t just not brothers… Data was created by Soong, but never met him. Lore met him. It could be that Data and Lore are the exact same but Lore being raised by Soong made him as he is where as Data being raised by Starfleet is why he is what he is.


    Data could have taken a shuttle, but they go back and forth between Shuttles having warp capability.


    There is an interesting discussion missed here about just how terrible Soong did is or if it was ok for him to do what he did. We have the issue of “An artists has the right to change the picture they paint, even if it is, say, the Mona Lisa” combined with the utter horror that is having your body taken and used agaisnt your will and you just can’t do anything about it.


    The Force Field thing… I’m pretty sure there is the fail safe of they can’t come on if there is something occupying that space, based on it being a field and you’re creating a link between 2 points… but not sure.


    That password would be so easy to decript >.> Just a random series of numbers is pretty easy to break. The only reason that it might be hard to decrypt is the biometric aspect of it… that is to say, for them to get through it they’d have to have Picard, or a Picard voice synthesizer, sit there and say every password possible which would be hilarious.


    The Wesley Crusher stuff from the last episode would have fit better in this episode and it would have flowed much better with Data’s later stories where Soong leaves messages for Data in various places.


    I would really like to know the limits of Replicator tech, because it seems that it doesn’t have the capability of manufacturing anything below a certain limit, such as microcircuitry and cells, but can strangely manipulate matter into various foods and create phasers and such which must have micro circuitry…


    Off topic an throw away line in Voyager brings some enlightment about the Holodeck… The Doctor says “make sure the patients don’t use those” refering to holographic klenex. This indicates that whatever it is that is making the holograms doesn’t also have some cleaning type thing built in which one might think they’d try to figure out, but this conjures thoughts of, who cleans the holodeck then? Or is it just caked in all sorts of disgusting things and no pay attention to it.

    • good point about the replicator. I think they would have to be classified. I think DS9 had mentioned certain, “industrial” grade replicators for Bajor. A shipment of some sort. Seems like if you had a replicator, you could replicate Data, phasers, dilithium, latinum….yeah, definitely needs limits. I think foodstuffs should still not taste as good as “real” food. That would be a good limit. Also finely detailed circuitry should not be so easy to replicate.

  • CmdrR

    Love the ep. It redeems the clichéd shallowness of ‘Data/Lore.’ But, WOW, that Dr. Soong make-up. Yikes, it looks like a pterodactyl relieved himself on the good doctor’s noggin. When I first saw this ep, I wondered what species Soong was supposed to be. It’s to Spiner’s credit that I/we didn’t laugh all through his performance.
    Oh, and by the way:

    • man…I wish I could walk through that ship!

    • I can see the car, duck and airplane…lol

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        So much fun looking at those diagrams.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Agreed, bad stuff.

      I wonder if it was an after thought, because that makeup was BAD.

  • Wildride

    Best thing about that password is that the computer was barely listening and, according to the readout, only managed an approximation of what Data actually said. But, apparently, the computer was OK with it when it released control.

  • Wildride

    “I am a plain dealing villain.” – Don Jon

  • Back in 1990 and still now this episode makes me think of my schizophrenic brother. He of course was jealous and could not understand many things in our family. He would get off his meds and he could not stay at home because he was destructive and would threaten to kill us, or burn the house down, randomly and unpredictably would grab the steering wheel of someone else driving. Anyway, an interesting viewpoint would be the mental health aspect. Not the main idea I’m sure, but an alternate perspective of course. Some people do get discarded, the homeless, addicted and mentally ill. Lore’s next return seemed really unsatisfying imo return, but we won’t mention that…yet. Brothers forgive? hmmmm under ideal circumstances yes, but there are times when you just have to cut ties in the interest of self preservation. I do visit him sometimes, but it’s a sad dead end…..empty well.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Sorry to hear about your brother.

      Ya, this story makes Lore a bit sympathetic. It does not excuse his actions, but also explains a bit of his reactions.

      • Thanks Dave, I guess the story at least gives insight on Lore, but man he is so shifty, it’s hard to be trusting! On to “Suddenly Human”!

  • Troy Brooks

    I still stand by my head canon that the “emotion chip” is nothing but a placebo that Dr Soong was going to put into Data to let him admit that he has emotions. What upset him about Lore getting the chip was that it was broadcasting “it’s okay to have emotions” to someone who already expressed emotion, and he had no idea what would happen.
    On a side note, exactly how can anyone thing that “Family” was better than “Brothers”?

    • interesting viewpoint! I think Data already has subroutines that mimic emotions and that should be enough. The expressions, voice inflection, concern for crewmates…he has enough emotions….

  • Library Computer Access Retrieval System – “LCARS”

  • Library Computer Access Retrieval System “LCARS”

    • Durakken

      The LCARS OS is sooooo impractical. There is a program you can get somewhere that converts your system to have an LCARS GUI… It just doesn’t work well… not the program, but the design.

  • Blimpboy

    I’m sure to be in the minority in my opinion, but this is where I started to loose interest in TNG. This is where the show started looking back far too often for story threads from the past to build character arcs. I just find this type of story telling lazy and to me, boring. I’ll paraphrase writer Herbert J Wright in an interview he gave in Cinefantastique in the 90’s. I don’t care if Worf is a good single father, I just want cool stuff to happen on the Enterprise. The Data/Lore story line would even drag into a dull two part episode that help ruin the Borg as well. Family worked as an episode because, at the time, it was unique and well told. This was too soon after that story and with similar ideas. Say what you will about the early years of the show, they at least tried to be different and not play it safe.

  • Lou Dalmaso

    I was never a big fan of this episode. It always struck me as a vanity piece for Brent Spiner. I would much rather another actor had played Soong (someone who didn’t need a metric ton of makeup) and coming right after Family, – with a similar “brothers forgive” theme – it was too much soap opera. had it come later in the sason it would have stood on its own better.

    Let’s talk about what crap father Soong is for a minute. He likes building the robots.. raising them, not so much. Somebody should have told him that just like pets, robots are forever.

    You can feel pity fore Lore for literally being “born that way” but that doesn’t mean you also don’t lock him up and throw away the key. And let’s check to see if we can outfit Data with some sort of shielding against this kind of takeover again.

    the less said about the orphan trouble brothers, the better.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Agreed, Soong really messed up with Lore and then abandoned him. No wonder Lore is a bit messed up.

  • Spencer K

    Shocked that no has asked Ken and John for a definition of “The Full Riker”.

    • Well, we figured people could connect all the dots… 🙂

      • isn’t that a phaser setting? poor Yuta…lol

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      I think we all know what that is 😉

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    A fun episode where Brent Spiner got to play three parts.

    Just a question. If an actor plays multiple roles, do they get paid more?

    1- I enjoy it when Brent Spiner get to break out of the data role.

    2- I did not buy Dr. Soong. The old man makeup was not very convincing. The whole time I was just thinking, its Brent.

    3- Now Dr. Soong as a character. A man obsessed with his work, who made horrible mistakes with Lore, who then tried to fix them with Data. No wonder Lore went a bit crazy.

    4- The side plot of the two boys, (totally forgot their names as they were completely irrelevant), was completely unnecessary.

    • x. I don’t think they would get paid more, but I have no idea
      1. I personally always felt TNG was heavy on Data..neglected Crusher, LaForge and Troi in terms of development
      2. Yeah, at the time I bought into it…thinking, yeah made sense to use your own face, but now I think it would be creepy.
      3. I think they should have really shown a severe injury by Lore, would seem darker and for crying out loud, show the death!
      4. Yes, the kids/families on starships seems like such a horrible plot device. From “Encounter at Farpoint” Vulcan kid looking annoyed at separating saucer section, to “The Last Outpost” kids w finger puzzles and throughout, it seems inconceivable that humans would risk their children in this environment. Fighting the Borg, Romulans etc…just seems like we’d be hitting the escape pods darn near every other week to save the kids…just in case… lol

  • Kristian Marie Kbot McKee

    After this episode, I keep hearing subliminal starfleet advertising from beverly. It started for me with the way she says that the boy is ok but we need to get him to a ~ Starfleet Medical Facility ~ (maybe not verbatim but close enough) ….just a thought.

  • Low Mileage Pit Woofie

    I’m rapidly catching up with the podcasts, gentlemen – best watch out!
    Can I assume that at some point you will address how this season of NextGen is pretty much about family? I mean, the previous episode, this one with fathers and brothers, the subsequent ones with parents and sons and probably fourth cousins twice removed…