This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Directed by||Cliff Bole|
|Story by||Lawrence V. Conley|
|Teleplay by||Jeri Taylor|
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Original air date||October 14, 1991|
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, after the Crystalline Entity—which years earlier killed the colonists of Omicron Theta—attacks another colony, Picard joins forces with scientist Kila Marr to hunt it down. Marr has been searching for the entity for years, ever since it killed her son. But Picard's determination to find a peaceful way to stop the creature's onslaught of humanity is at odds with Marr's obsession with revenge.
Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commander Data, and Doctor Crusher are visiting the Melona IV colony, when the Crystalline Entity appears and begins tearing up the planetary surface. Although the rapid evacuation into the caves is mostly successful, two of the colonists (including one in whom Riker expressed a possible romantic interest) die in the onslaught. The Enterprise comes to the survivors' aid and free them after the Entity leaves.
The Enterprise sets out in pursuit of the Entity, with the help of Kila Marr, who is a xenobiologist and expert on the creature. Marr does not trust Data, as she is aware that Data's brother Lore has assisted the Entity in the past. Captain Picard hopes to challenge this perception by having Data work closely with Doctor Marr, in spite of Counselor Deanna Troi's worry that his suggestion will not suffice Doctor Marr's feelings of animosity.
While working around the caves of Melona IV, Marr continues to show animosity towards Data. Slightly confused, Data tries to convince that he is nothing like Lore and has no affiliation with the Entity whatsoever. When he asks her what makes her think he had anything to do with the Entity, Marr reveals the source of her prejudice: her 16-year-old son was killed by the Entity at Omicron Theta, which was also Data's homeworld. She proves Data her sense of revenge and justice good by threatening that if she finds out that he is involved with the Entity as she suspects him to be, she will have him "disassembled piece by piece." Picard tells Marr that he does not intend to kill the Entity without first attempting to communicate with it. Marr is skeptical of this approach, but she and Data work out a method for talking to the Entity. As Dr. Marr works with Data, she comes to understand that Data and Lore are quite different androids, recognizing Data's stoic yet virtuous personality and high intellect. During their research, Marr discovers Data is programmed with the memories and experiences of the Omicron Theta colony, including those of her dead son, Raymond "Renny". Data tells her about how much her son admired her work as a scientist. At Marr's request, Data reads extracts from her son's journals, in the teenager's voice, causing the emotionally moved woman to cry over hearing the sound of her dead son's voice.
The Enterprise locates the Entity and begins sending a series of graviton pulses toward it. The creature responds, and emits a signal pattern which is a clear sign of intelligence. Picard is elated at a potential first contact, but Marr, in a sudden lapse of sanity, due to the long-held desire to avenge the death of her son alters the pulse to emit gravitons with a rapidly increasing amplitude, and locks the program so it cannot be stopped. The amplitude reaches a level of resonance where the Entity is shattered. Marr addresses Data as though he is her son, telling him that she destroyed the entity for him.
Having finally taken her long-awaited revenge, but sacrificing her career in the process, Marr is near collapse. A disgusted Picard has Data escort Marr back to her quarters. In her quarters, Marr asks Data how long will he function, and he replies that he was programed to function for an eternity. Relieved, Marr tells Data that as long as he functions, her son is alive. Speaking to him as if he were her son, Dr. Marr pleads to Data that let "Renny" know that she destroyed the Entity for him, in the hopes that her deed will give her son's spirit a sense of peace. However, Data informs her that her son would not have approved of her destroying the Entity, stating that he loved her work as a scientist but that in her grief over his death, she destroyed the very reason why her work is so important and that he cannot help her. Reality sets in for a horrified Dr. Marr, as she silently reflects on what she has done.
- Star Trek The Next Generation DVD set, volume 5, disc 1, selection 4.