I sit here studying (reviewing) episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in preparation for taking (or re-taking) the first part of the Command Test. As I do, I was reflecting some on the episode I just finished watching: The Schizoid Man. I thought I should do a review, especially when I reflect on the last episodes of Picard, available on the Paramount Plus streaming network. If you haven’t watched all of Picard season 1 yet, I suggest you do that before reading my review as I will incorporate my thoughts on that in this review.
The episode introduces us to Ira Graves, the genius who claimed to have taught Dr. Noonien Soong everything he knows. The enterprise is called to Gravesworld, Dr. Graves home planet, because he is ill. It turns out he is ill with a terminal disease.
Spending a lot of time with Data, they discuss things like Dr. Graves work on cybernetics, how Data will never know death, and how Dr. Graves intends to cheat death by transferring his consciousness into a computer. This is especially ironic as we discover during Picard season 1 that what was left of Data’s consciousness has been transferred to a computer where it was able to grow into Data’s full consciousness again. (In fact, that tidbit is central to the whole plot of season 1).
Eventually, Data comes out alone saying that Dr. Ira Graves is dead. The away team, along with Dr. Graves’s body and his young assistant, beam back aboard the Enterprise. Soon, the crew realize that the Data that beamed back with them is not the Data they know. Dr. Graves consciousness is suppressing the Data we know, in part because Counselor Troi can sense intense jealousy coming from Data, plus his personality is arrogant and seems completely unlike Data’s… and let’s not mention the funeral. (I mean, “To know him is to love him and to love him was to know him”? Talk about arrogance!)
Eventually ‘Data’ ends up in Engineering, after knocking out Geordi LaForge. He claims it was an accident. Picard, calling to Sickbay, asks about Dr. Graves’s assistant’s hand – it turns out that he’d crushed it, because he is not aware of how much of Data’s strength he uses. This conversation between Picard and Ira-Graves-in-Data’s-body gives probably my favorite quote of the episode.
“No being is so important that he can usurp the rights of another.”Captain Picard to Ira Graves (in Data’s body), The Schizoid Man
Ira ends up knocking Picard out accidentally, realizes that he’s doing wrong, and eventually transfers his consciousness to the Enterprise computer. This saves his knowledge, but the human factor is gone.
TNG Season Two tends to be more… cerebral… than other seasons. There are some great gems in the season, and this is one of those.
Thanks for reading my review! Live Long and Prosper.
(P.S. See you at Fleet Day this weekend!)