Brothers (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 3
Directed byRob Bowman
Written byRick Berman
Featured musicRon Jones
Cinematography byMarvin Rush
Production code177
Original air dateOctober 8, 1990 (1990-10-08)[1]
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Suddenly Human"
Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 4)
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"Brothers" is the 77th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the third episode of the fourth season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Starfleet starship USS Enterprise-D. In this episode, Commander Data (Brent Spiner) aborts an emergency mission and hijacks the Enterprise in response to a homing command from his "father".


A misguided prank between two young brothers exposes one of them to a toxic parasite that cannot be treated aboard the USS Enterprise, but Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) is able to stabilize his condition in a controlled environment in Sickbay while the ship sets out for a facility that can cure the boy. As Commander Data (Brent Spiner) escorts the older brother to visit his sibling, he suddenly stops and returns to the bridge where, unseen by the crew, he triggers a life support alarm causing the evacuation of the bridge to be ordered. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) orders Data to transfer the controls to Engineering, but Data instead mimics Picard's voice and locks down the commands of the ship to the bridge, directing the starship to an unknown planet. The crew discover Data's lock-down and disable the transporter's site-to-site function to prevent Data from easily moving about the ship. Once the Enterprise is in orbit of the planet Terlina III, he creates a programmed sequence of force fields to allow him to move from the bridge to the nearest transporter room without being stopped by security, and then beams down to the planet, leaving the Enterprise still under his lock-down. Picard orders his crew to attempt to override Data's lock-down of the ship, while Dr. Crusher attempts to keep the infected boy stabilized.

Data finds himself in the home of his creator, Dr. Noonien Soong (Brent Spiner). Soong states he called Data to him using a form of automatic recall and makes a manual adjustment on Data to return him to normal. Soong tells Data that he is dying and wishes to give him an "emotion chip". As they talk, they are joined by Lore (Brent Spiner), also drawn by the same recall that Data received. Soong is shocked to learn Lore was reassembled, and when Lore attempts to claim the emotion chip as his own, Soong acknowledges that the androids are identical apart from minor variations in programming, but that the emotion chip is still meant for Data alone. With Lore's revelation, Soong decides to rest before implanting the chip, leaving Data and Lore to talk. When he returns, he proceeds to implant the chip but discovers too late that Lore had managed to deactivate Data and switch clothing with him, so that he now possesses the emotion chip. Soong tries to warn Lore the chip is not meant for him, but Lore instead strikes Soong and transports off the planet.

The crew of the Enterprise has found a way to beam down to the planet and find the dying Soong and the deactivated Data. After Data is reactivated, he cannot recall any of what he did on the Enterprise to arrive at this planet, but Soong is able to reveal where Data can find that information and how to unlock the ship's controls. Data apologizes to Soong that he will not be able to grieve for his loss, but Soong knows that Data will find a way. After Soong dies, the Enterprise returns on its course to the medical facility. Data observes the brothers at play after forgiving each other for the accident, contemplating his own relationship with Lore.


Rick Berman's initial story did not involve Lore. The character was added at Michael Piller's suggestion, who believed the story needed an additional jeopardy element. Piller recalled:

We were standing around going through Rick's story and my feeling was that after reading his first draft that the idea of Data going back to see Dr. Soong and the story of the child who was hurt in the practical joke were not enough elements to hold up the episode. Once Data goes back to see Dr. Soong, it's basically a chat and without some jeopardy or another event to go on I was afraid it was going to be flat. We talked about what we could do and, ultimately, the obvious thing was that we bring Lore back. ..I knew from the moment we came up with it that Brent Spiner in three roles was going to make for an unforgettable episode and I think it was.[2]


Hollywood Reporter ranked "Brothers" as 21st of 25 of the top episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 2016.[3] Empire ranked "Brothers" 19th in the 50 top episodes of all Star Trek in 2016.[4]

In 2016, Hollywood Reporter rated "Brothers" the 76th best television episode of all Star Trek franchise television shows prior to Star Trek: Discovery including live-action and animated series but not counting the movies.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brothers". CBS studios. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  2. ^ Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (October 1995). Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages. Little Brown & Co.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ ""Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" - 'Star Trek': 100 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 24, 2019.

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