Thursday, February 10, 2011

Star Trek: The Next Generation - ''The Schizoid Man''

Spoiler Level: High

Another fun character episode.  I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of W. Morgan Sheppard thanks to his portrayal of Blank Reg on Max Headroom, and Ira Graves is one of his better characters.  Ira Graves was one of the teachers of Data's creator, Noonian Soong.  I say "one of" becuase  Star Trek: Enterprise established that Noonian Soong's ancestor Arik Soong developed an interest in artificial life, and presumably his notes were handed down to his great-grandson Noonian.

I also find it very amusing that Sheppard's previous show Max Headroom was all about a guy whose brain was downloaded into a computer, and here Sheppard plays a character who plans to do the same thing!  Ira Graves has been working on a system to download his brain, and therefore cheat death.  Then of course Data happens to arrive at just the right moment, so he decides that downloading himself into Data would be much better.

So in effect this is another "possessed" episode, which makes at least one a season so far. However in this case it didn't bug me, for several reasons.  Firstly, just as with "Lonely Among Us" this is an early one, and it's been 25 episodes since the previous one, so the concept hasn't been overdone yet.  And secondly, we know exactly who has taken over Data and why he did it, so the story doesn't hinge on "Gee, why is Data acting this way?!?"  We know why, we realize what the threat to Data is, and Ira Graves is a complex enough character that we can even relate to his desire to cheat death, and hope that there can be a solution that works for both of them.

Speaking of which, I always like in stories like this where the actors take on parts of the other actor's speech patterns, but I guess if Data walked out saying, "Oi, that Graves fella... 'e's dead,"  it would have been a bit obvious.  So instead of taking on his accent, he takes on his mannerisms, as in when calling Wesley "boy" when he lectures to him.  It's interesting that he still can't use contractions; apparently, that's a limitation of Data's cybertronic brain that Graves is stuck inside of.  It's interesting that his feelings could be brought across with him, but his speech patterns can't.

And lastly, it's no secret that this episode introduced Dr. Selar with the intention of her becoming a love interest for Worf.  Sadly, The Powers That Be nixed the idea, and Selar was changed to the Klingon woman K'Ehleyr, still played by Suzie Plakson.  I for one would have loved to have seen how a romance between a Klingon and a Vulcan would have played out!

Star Trek's Forbidden Love

1 comment:

greatplaidmoose said...

I always liked Dr. Selar. Suzie Plakson did a great job with her. as much as I liked K'Ehleyr, I wish they could have gone this route. Imagine the fun of a mixture of Klingon mating and Pon Farr with Selar and Worf beating each other across the Enterprise. And just think how conflicted Alexander would have been!