Brothers (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 3
Directed by Rob Bowman
Written by Rick Berman
Featured music Ron Jones
Cinematography by Marvin Rush
Production code 177
Original air date October 8, 1990 (1990-10-08)[1]
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Suddenly Human"

"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 an 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 the command 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 about the planet of 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 any parts of the ship's control, 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 bestow an "emotion chip" to him. 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, such 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 have 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 lead to this planet, but Soong is able to reveal where Data can find that information and 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 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]

This was the final episode to be directed by Rob Bowman, who had been the show's lead director during the first two seasons.

The final draft of the script was dated July 13, 1990, and revisions were made as late as August 6.

Brent Spiner plays three of the main characters in this episode: Data, Lore, and Dr. Noonian Soong. He received billing for the latter two in the end credits.

At one point it appeared having Spiner in three distinct roles would not be feasible and several older Asian male actors (including Keye Luke) were considered for the role of Dr. Soong.[citation needed]

Bowman, Spiner and Robert Legato spent three days rehearsing on the Stage 16 set. Producer David Livingston recalled, "They worked out some of the motion control shots and did a lot of preparation in terms of figuring out what to do, because that kind of preparatory time on the stage when everybody is standing around is not a good idea. What we did was we taped out the floor like in a stageplay or a multicamera show, and then actually blocked it out and staged it. I'm glad we did, because it saved us a lot of time. If we hadn't, it would have been really dicey."[citation needed]

During filming in Soong's lab, Spiner shot one day as Lore and Data, and the next as Dr. Soong. Spiner recalled, "It was difficult because I had to hear dialogue that I hadn't read yet coming out of somebody else's mouth before I would get to it. [I had] to remember where I was when I was Data, and so on." To help Spiner, the set was closed during the two and a half days in which the actor performed solo.[citation needed]

The song which Lore sings to Dr. Soong comes from the poem Abdul Abulbul Amir, written by William Percy French in 1877. That poem has been frequently misquoted and parodied, and the excerpts in this episode are also not accurate to the original text.[original research?]

In April 2007, the Pakled costume worn by Spiner as Lore in this episode was auctioned off in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction and sold for $2,155.00.[citation needed]

Comic book artists Jerome K. Moore and Arne Starr met Spiner on set during the filming of this episode. Starr presented Spiner with a caricature of Spiner as Superman, titled "The Man of Shlameel". Written on it was the phrase "It's a bird, it's a plane, no... It's Spinerman!" Spiner reportedly kept the picture on his desk in his office for many years, so Starr was told.[citation needed]

Rehearsal shots with Brent Spiner's photo doubles Brian Tomlinson, Guy Vardaman, and Dana Vitatoe were filmed on Thursday, July 26, 1990.[citation needed]

The dinosaur skeleton head seen in Dr. Soong's laboratory was rented from the Museum of Natural History.[citation needed]

First UK airdate: April 20, 1994[citation needed]

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. 

External links[edit]