Commander Data is unique, one of a kind. This fact alone makes him special but also makes him vulnerable in a way. When someone gets an idea that he may be valuable too, we see another side of Data that even he didnt know he had. Originally Airing on May 7, 1990 this is The Most Toys.
Stardate 13872.2 The Most Toys
While the Enterprise is collecting a highly volatile substance, Commander Data is kidnapped and his death is faked by a collector. The crew of the Enterprise are devastated by his death but LaForge believes that something is amiss.
There are two stories going on in this episode, one dealing with LaForge (the B Story) and one with Data (the A Story), we will start with the B story.
The B story: LaForge Investigates
After contacting the trader Kivas Fajo on the station Data was returning from, the Enterprise realizes that Data is indeed dead and continues on their way despite the loss. LaForge and Wesley begin to clean out Data’s room, reminiscing as they go through Data’s rather sparse living quarters. As they do so, LaForge can not let Data’s apparent death go unchecked.
The only cause that can be determined is ‘User Error’ and this is unacceptable to the Chief Engineer. Picard authorizes his investigation and selects Worf to take over Data’s duties at the Helm. LaForge continues his investigation and realizes that something is indeed wrong. He discovers that Data, on his fateful third trip Data failed to follow protocol which was unlike him. This leads LaForge to realize that this is unlike Data and can only mean that he was in trouble at the time of his supposed departure. They soon discover that the volatile substance that killed Data is useless as the location they needed it for is no longer in danger. This makes them realize that they have been duped and they immediately return to the last location Fajo was in. They are now on the hunt as they also discover that Fajo is a collector of rare items and what is rarer than Data?
The ‘A’ Story: Data Collection
Data wakes up in a room filled with rare treasures and soon Fajo arrives and lets Data know that Data is now part of Fajo’s collection. As Data is the last of his kind, this ‘collector’ needed to find a way to obtain him. Preparing for every attempt Data may make to escape, Fajo has set up the ultimate jail for the android. Data continues to defy Fajo, even rejecting clothing he has supplied. Fajo informs Data that this is not acceptable and splashes acid on him to destroy Data’s uniform. Data has no choice but to comply. Fajo informs him that a guest will be coming soon and Data should prepare. When his guests arrive, Data feigns inactivity and embarrasses Fajo. This upsets him and he tells Fajo that the man can expect Data to resist even more as Data has no intention to stay.
After being threatened by Fajo, Fajo’s ‘assistant’ Varria tries to help Data escape. They are assaulted and in the process Fajo kills Varria. He tells Data it is Data’s fault and Data picks up a weapon threatening Fajo. Fajo doesnt belive that Data will harm him as Data has a ‘fundamental respect for all living beings’. Fajo tells Data that Data has no feelings and begins taunting him. The commander decides that he must end this but as he pulls the trigger he is beamed aboard the Enterprise. O’Brien detects that a weapon was being discharged and deactivates it during the beaming sequence. Data requests Riker arrest Fajo and visits the collector in the brig where he informs Fajo that the collection has been confiscated and redistributed to the rightful owners. Fajo has nothing left.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
The episode is well made and tells a fine story, on the surface it is a good story. However when you dig, there seems to be something…missing.
The ‘B’ story follows LaForge as he tries to figure out the mystery surrounding Data’s untimely demise. This story progresses well until it is Picard and Riker, not LaForge, who discover that Fajo is indeed a con artist and a collector of rare items. Due to this, all of LaForge’s investigation into Data’s Death is for nothing. He literally wasted his time and I don’t believe this was the writers intentions. The story mad a VERY big deal about this investigation only for it to not be solved by the one person who believed Data’s death felt cheap and was honestly a missed opportunity for some additional character development for LaForge. It makes me wonder if there wasnt some story cut from the original script.
Data’s story was very good. It really established more of Data’s character and really made people think in the end. Data might have actually killed someone had Riker not chosen that very moment to beam the Commander up. So, the question is, was Data going to kill Fajo for his crimes or was the shot going to be just a warning? This question will never be answered but, in my book, we were about to see a no-nonsense Data. In his quest to become more human, he discovers that he may be able to do something that is very human indeed…kill.
Overall it was a passable story that needed a little more work to make it a ‘good’ one. Still, better than most of season 2…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
The Shuttlecraft in which Data dies in is called the Pike in honor of Christopher Pike, Captain of the Enterprise prior to Kirk.
There is a really good moment where Worf, having been assigned to Conn to replace Commander Data, is called ‘Commander Data’ by Picard. It is a solemn moment that was seriously missing from the episodes following Tasha Yar’s death. We really get to see the crew dealing with the tragedy of a crew member and not just having a ceremony and moving on.
In Data’s belongings we see many of the same items that were featured in the Season Two episode Measure of A Man. Once again Tasha Yar’s hologram is seen on screen. It’s a touching moment that reminds both Geordi and Wesley of their previous loss but also of Data’s compassion for Tasha.
Fajo has a baseball card from Earth, the Mona Lisa, Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory and more. It is clear that he is a fan of Earth Rarities.
Originally actor David Rappaport had been cast as Kivas Fajo but due to an attempted suicide, the production team replaced and refilmed his scenes with actor Saul Rubinek.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Sarek
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Late To The Game 6/11/2018
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