Data discovers that he still has family in the episode that originally aired on November 22, 1993. This is Inheritance.
Stardate 47410.2 Inheritance
While assisting Atrea IV with problems involving their molten core, Data encounters a woman who claims to have once been married to Doctor Noonian Soong and may also be Data’s Mother. However, things become more complicated when a deeper secret is revealed.
While working on the core of Atrea IV in an attempt to save the Atreans, Doctor Juliana Tainer introduces herself to Data as Data’s Mother. She begins to reveal things about his past that he was unaware of including much of his past prior to the attack of the Crystalline Entity. She reveals that, sadly, Data was left behind due to not having room on the transport when the colonists left. He soon reveals that Doctor Soong has passed and Dr Tainer is heart broken as she and Soong never had a chance to reconcile their differences. After researching her claims, Data discovers that there are inconsistencies with her story and, after talking with Geordi about the situation, he accepts that she is indeed telling the truth.
As they get to know one another she gives reveals more about his past. She discusses his proclivities with clothing and other issues they encountered. As they discuss the matter, they work on a solution for the planet below and begin the operation. The initial test is a success and they soon have down time to get to know one another better.
During the downtime, Data learns that his artistic side is because of Tainer herself. According to her, Soong had no interest in giving Data an artistic side to express himself as Data had no emotions. Juliana volunteers to play alongside Data during the next recital and he is happy to oblige. As they discuss his past, Dr. Tainer learns about Lal and is saddened by her loss. She soon reveals that, in addition to Lore, there were three other prototypes that they lost before Data. She then reveals that she deliberately left Data behind in fear that he would become like Lore. Since then she has regretted leaving him behind and could not face him until now. Later, as they continue their work, Data asks if she would have left him behind if he had been a biological child instead of an android. She admits that, had he been human, she would have taken him with them.
Later that night, at the recital, Data notices something odd. Immediately after, he asks Dr Crusher to check Doctor Tainers transporter scans for any anomalies. Although they find nothing, he tells Crusher that he believes Dr Tainer may not be who she claims to be. Before he can explain, Data is called to the transporter room to assist with returning scientists. It appears that there has been a cave-in at one of the sites and he and Tainer must beam down to finish their mission. While in the caves Tainer and Data are forced to leap from a small cliff. Upon landing Data notices that Tainer has been hurt. It appears that Tainer is an android as well.
Upon returning to the ship, Crusher and LaForge begin to investigate Tainer. While investigating, they find a small chip left by Soong that explains Tainers situation. Data takes the chip to the holodeck and gets a chance to meet with his maker once again. He learns that Soong created this version of Juliana after the Crystalline entity was responsible for his wife’s death. Before she passed, Soong was able to transfer much of Juliana’s memories into the new android. He never revealed to her that she was an android and, in case it was ever revealed, he made an arrangement to keep her from learning the truth. Before long, Juliana left Soong as she had fallen out of love with the scientist.
Data now has the conundrum of revealing the truth to Juliana. Although Soong wishes that she not know, Data is concerned that it would destroy the woman who thinks that she has been human all of these years. Picard leaves the decision up to Data and ultimately Data decides to leave well enough alone. Data reactivates Juliana and lets her remain as she has been her whole life. As they part, Data tells Juliana that Soong once told him that the scientist had only one great love in his life and was sad to see her go. They part ways, promising to visit one another again in the future.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While the mission story is just a backdrop for Data’s own tale, this is an excellent episode that finally gives Data some actual family. Although the other android will never know this, Data now knows that he is not the only one of his kind in the universe.
I have always loved the reveals about Data and his father Noonian Soong. Even though we have learned a lot, I always get the feeling that there is so much more about Soong and his experiments that we will never know.
The big conundrum in this one is whether to tell Juliana that she is actually an android. Although Data did decide to let her live her life as is, was it fair to either her or her husband to keep this quiet? Imagine what would happen if her husband discovered the truth by accident, how would he respond to the revelation? Knowing how heavy androids are, at least as far as Data is concerned, how do they explain her insane weigh, or is this another one of Soong’s upgrades? Given all of her upgrades, I sure hope that Data made a complete scan of her for his future research. Lots of unanswered questions here but, overall, this was a solid entry into the final season of STNG.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We learn that, as an infant, Data did not like to wear clothes, in fact he liked to run around the colony naked although he was anatomically correct. The colonists didn’t care for a naked android running around and so Soong had to install a modesty program for Data.
We get our last reference to Lal in this episode, it appears that Data is still mourning the loss of his only child.
Unfortunately we never see nor hear from Juliana again, even after the events of Star Trek Nemesis, you would think we’d at least get a reference.
Despite promises to visit one another, we never see nor hear from Juliana Tainer again.
So, in the Timeline of Soong Androids we have the following: Prototype 1, Prototype 2, Prototype 3, Lore, Data, Juliana, Lal. We later learn that one of the Prototypes was named B4 but lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
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: Parallels
If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!
Late To The Game 9/5/2020 (Originally published 1/09/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made production intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”