10 May 2010

StarTrek TNG: In Theory

StarTrek TNG: In Theory.
A very late commentary by Joran.
Episode: 4x25.
Directed by: Patrick Stewart.

Jenna D'Sora recently broke up with her boyfriend.  Data, in his role as a friend, came across to her as being kind and caring.  She initiated the first step in a relationship with him.  Data reminded her that, as an android, he is incapable of emotions but that did not deter her.  She said that he had shown her more kindness and care than any of her previous boyfriends.

Tempted by this chance to experience a new form of human interaction and yet concerned about hurting Jenna, Data seeked out the advice of his friends.  Then, reassured by the blessings and warnings, he started a relationship with her.

Things started out awkward as Data adjusted his behaviour towards JennaData had written a new program for this relationship.  Jenna was very accommodating towards his lapses, noting that Data was trying hard.

Data started adopting accents and behaviours, as he drew heavily on historical sources for role models.  This started to put Jenna off as she liked Data for who he was.  When Data started a lovers' quarrel for the sake of having one, she began to have second thoughts.
Finally, Jenna told Data that she realised that no matter what she says or does, she will not be able to make Data happy or sad; She ended a relationship with an unemotional man, only to fall in love with someone who is incapable of emotions.  As she leaves the room, Data asked if they are no longer a couple.  She replied yes; and Data replied that he shall delete the special program.  A pause, and she left the room.

Data and Worf have always been ripe targets for reflecting on human nature.  In this story, we are posed with questions: "Is giving enough?"; "Is it vital that someone's happiness or sadness can be affected by you?"; "Can one-sided love work?".
Perhaps the act that touched me the most was the immediate deletion of the program by Data.  Ouch.


  1. rendditor11/5/10 14:59

    Proves the stupidity of women. He already told her he can't do love. And when he tries to she gets upset.

    Deleting the program is the logical thing to do. It is apparent that the program is ineffective at maintaining relationships. Though he should keep it around so he can use it to be an asshole to the next girl who falls for him.

  2. Hi rendditor,
    I guess that what makes a relationship so challenging. Guys may not be androids, but they are less capable of emotions. Taken to extremes, that's what we might be.

    We know Data keep mementos. Yet, he deleted the program in a blink of an eye. That means she really does not matter.