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Data's Day (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Data's Day"
TNG, Episode 4x11
Production number: 40274-185
First aired: 7 January 1991
84th of 176 produced in TNG
84th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
191st of 728 released in all
Teleplay By
Harold Apter and Ronald D. Moore

Story By
Harold Apter

Directed By
Robert Wiemer
44390.1 (2367)
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Data records a day in his life for Commander Bruce Maddox, including observations on Chief O'Brien's wedding, and the mystery of a Vulcan ambassador who apparently dies in a transporter accident.



"Second Officer's Personal Log, Stardate 44390.1. Record entry for transmission to Commander Bruce Maddox, Cybernetics Division, Daystrom Institute."

The day begins with the handover of the bridge from night watch to day watch, with Data ceding command to Commander Riker. He relates his not-quite-emotional anticipation regarding his participation in the O'Brien wedding, then gives an update which essentially sums up the action to come: Lieutenant Juarez is going into labor, and the ship is at station awaiting the USS Zhukov, bearing Ambassador T'Pel.

Data's narration continues as he departs the bridge and travels to his first off-watch destination. He describes in voiceover his difficulty in maintaining friendships, and detailing how he has developed programs to handle these relationships. He then drops in on Keiko Ishikawa to inform her that the wedding rehearsal is to begin. Keiko informs Data that she's unhappy, and that she would like to call off the wedding to Miles O'Brien, and that this decision would make her happy. In the mistaken belief that making Keiko happy by canceling the wedding will make Chief O'Brien happy, Data allows himself to be talked into taking the "bad" news to O'Brien, who reacts entirely opposite to Data's prediction. "I have good news," he informs the chief. After O'Brien storms out, Geordi La Forge advises Data that he should let La Forge deliver any further "good news" of this type.

Act One Edit

Data's log continues as he walks down a corridor, with statistics regarding the service of the Enterprise. This is the 1,550th day since its commissioning. There will be four birthdays, two transfers, a celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights, two chess tournaments, one secondary school play, and four promotions.

Overall it is an ordinary day. Data arrives at the transporter room and gives the order to bring Ambassador T'Pel aboard. She coldly informs Data that she wishes to meet with his captain. He then compares his emotional state to that of Vulcans, noting that he finds their stark philosophy to be limiting.

TPel meets Riker

T'Pel introduced to Riker

Upon bringing T'Pel to the captain in his ready room, Data and Commander Riker are asked to leave. Data returns to the bridge, where Riker notes that T'Pel is a "charming woman," and Data's narration notes Riker's sarcasm, a form of expression he has failed to master.

Data's narration continues in the ship's barbershop, where Geordi La Forge and V'Sal are exchanging friendly insults and banter regarding La Forge's haircut and V'Sal's skill at it. Data tries out a friendly jibe: "My hair does not require trimming, you lunkhead." La Forge advises him not to try it on the captain.

Data then attempts to understand the interplay of Keiko and Chief O'Brien earlier in the day, and explores the terms "cold feet" and "jitters" with La Forge's help. La Forge ends the exchange with his firm belief that the wedding will in fact proceed and tells Data he'd better get a gift. Resuming the voiceover, Data describes his relationship with Lieutenant Worf as the two of them sit in front of the replicator seeking wedding gifts. He notes their similarity as outsiders who have been raised by Humans and joined Starfleet as a result. Worf notes his discomfort with the overall sentimentality of the wedding ritual and notes that though he would be honored to participate in one, he is not sure about all of the "talking, dancing, and crying" that would be involved. Data pauses at the notion of dancing.

The narrative continues in sickbay as Dr. Crusher examines the expectant Lieutenant Juarez. Data explains that he rarely requires the services of Dr. Crusher, but that he often learns a great deal about Human interaction from her practice of medicine. He then asks her in passing if she would teach him to dance. Crusher pulls him quickly into the privacy of her office and informs Data that she will help him, but he is not to speak of her dancing abilities to anyone, as she does not wish to be known as the "Dancing Doctor" again. Data is then paged to the bridge by Captain Picard, who asks him to research Romulan deployments along the Neutral Zone. The captain then orders the ship to set a course for 130.246 at warp 7, which takes the ship very close to the Neutral Zone.

Data finishes by voicing over that he is fortunate to not have emotional distractions in his duties, as a sudden course correction towards the Neutral Zone would otherwise make him nervous. In the meantime his right hand is seen tapping the console apparently of its own accord.

Act Two Edit

Data enters the ready room and gives his analysis of the Romulan strategy, deployed to support a policy of confrontation, with 90% probability that they will continue that policy. Ambassador T'Pel rejects the notion of an escort for "the mission" but the purpose of said mission is not revealed.

Data then goes to his quarters and orders feline supplement 74 for Spot, a long-haired orange cat. Data is shortly joined by Chief O'Brien, who comes to apologize for his outburst in Ten Forward. Data makes multiple and finally overly-friendly attempts to make the chief more comfortable, offering pillows, music, and drink. O'Brien gets to the point by appealing to Data to talk to Keiko to try and get the wedding back on. Data concludes by noting that Keiko may not have fully analyzed her position. He resumes his personal log as he walks down the corridor, noting to Commander Maddox that Keiko was calm and reserved when she made her decision, and concludes that reviewing the available facts should help, and that emotional considerations do not seem to have clouded her judgment.

Data meets Keiko in the arboretum and logically and aggressively points out Keiko's "errors", to which Keiko responds with an emotional appeal to leave her alone. Data continues the voiceover as he describes his relationship with Counselor Troi. Data then describes his research to Counselor Troi regarding various wedding customs. Troi advises him that the best way to help is to stay out of the process.

They then move onto the concept of Data getting married and his reservation that he cannot grow old with someone. They are interrupted when Ambassador T'Pel summons Data to her quarters. T'Pel attempts to make use of Data's Priority 3 clearance on the ship to gain information about the deflector shields' field strength at maximum output, using her access code of Kappa Alpha 4601704. Data informs her that he must report any inquiry regarding restricted information to the captain. T'Pel lamely backs out of the request by telling Data she was merely interested in his security safeguards, and that they appear to be adequate. Data continues the narrative, telling Commander Maddox that he wishes for a gut feeling regarding T'Pel, as he does not believe that she could have lied about her request.

Act Three Edit


Data learns how to dance

Data arrives at the holodeck, where Dr. Crusher gives him one beginning lesson in dancing. Data informs her after this lesson that she should simply teach him the final lesson. Data then perfectly mimics Dr. Crusher's tap-dancing routine, which becomes increasingly elaborate. Crusher as is typical has to interrupt Data's exploration of a routine with the refrain of "Stop, Data!"

After mastering tap-dancing, Data informs the doctor that he is prepared to dance at the wedding. Dr. Crusher then tells Data that wedding dancing will be much easier, but contrary to her expectations Data finds the act of dancing with a partner extremely difficult as he is unable to look at her feet, or understand the variables and nuances. Crusher finally leaves him dancing with a holographic partner and orders to smile, which Data does with a mannequin-like enthusiasm. In the meantime she is called to look in on the laboring Lt. Juarez.

Data next arrives on the bridge as Commander Riker is telling a gruesomely funny story to the ensign monitoring the security console, and narrates his speculation that humor and sex appear to have a correlation. The fun comes to an end as a Romulan Warbird, the Devoras, is detected and sends them a message telling them to proceed on a heading of 037.005 to the agreed-upon coordinates which end in the Neutral Zone.

T'Pel informs Data to hold position at a specified set of coordinates. Admiral Mendak appears on the viewscreen and agrees to allow the ambassador to be beamed aboard. T'Pel refuses any attempt to have an escort, or to have the conference held aboard the Enterprise, and departs to the transporter room by herself. Over the intercom the bridge crew monitors the transport as the transporter pattern breaks down and the ambassador is apparently killed.

Act Four Edit

Data continues with a supplemental entry to his personal log, describing how he misses out on Human emotion at a time like this when the rest of the crew is suffering from the loss of a comrade aboard a starship. Chief O'Brien begins as the narrative ends to describe the accident and Data supplies that it is unlike any transporter malfunction ever recorded. La Forge establishes that the transporter is in perfect working order, and O'Brien follows up with the statement that the transition coil was replaced only last week, and that there was no interference from the Romulans' shields. Dr. Crusher then reports that there isn't enough left of T'Pel to do an autopsy, only some molecular compounds left on the transporter pad.

Worf calls Picard over the intercom that Admiral Mendak is hailing. Picard returns to the bridge and reports the apparent death of T'Pel. Mendak compliments him for a well-played maneuver, accusing him of arranging for T'Pel's death, and recommending that both ships leave the Neutral Zone. Picard gives Data the task of investigating the accident. Data's voiceover continues with his relation of the methods of Sherlock Holmes and how he applies the adage of "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Data then arrives at sickbay and asks for a comparison of the ambassador's last transporter trace with the remains, with the caveat that he may be chasing an untamed ornithoid without cause. The genetic code is examined and found to be identical, except that there are single-bit errors in the base-pair sequence as if it were replicated material. Dr. Crusher postulates that the DNA was mutated by the accident, or that the remains are not those of the ambassador.

Act Five Edit

Data, La Forge, and Riker are in the ready room as Data explains to Captain Picard that the only explanation of the evidence is that a second transporter signal appears to have been operating during the accident, and that the ambassador was beamed off the Enterprise pad while fake remains were beamed onto the pad in her place. Picard queries Lt. Worf on the bridge as to the whereabouts of the Devoras. Worf replies that it is on heading 079, 125 at warp 2, on its way home. Data voices over his prediction of the 17% chance that Captain Picard will call for advice from Starfleet, and is rewarded with Picard's call to red alert and an order to intercept the Devoras. The Romulan ship drops out of warp and the Enterprise confronts her, ready for battle.

Admiral Mendak hails and begins to complain about Picard, who interrupts with an accusation that Ambassador T'Pel has been kidnapped. At that moment a second Warbird decloaks to starboard, and Mendak suggests that Picard leave. Picard states flatly that he will take any action necessary to rescue the ambassador. Data muses in voiceover his analogy of this event to a game of poker, and suggests that the captain is calling Mendak's bluff.

Mendak relents stating he is not ready to start a war today, and signals to his right, revealing Ambassador T'Pel, now dressed in a Romulan uniform with the traditional "square" haircut. She identifies herself as Subcommander Selok, a spy, and thanks Picard for his help in getting home. Mendak informs Picard that the game is over, and Worf reports three more Warbirds on long-range sensors. Picard orders a reverse of course back into Federation territory.

Keiko is in the arboretum as Data approaches with an apology for interfering in her plans. She informs him that it would be best if he got dressed for the wedding, leaving Data confused as she hands him a carnation for the "father of the bride."

The wedding takes place in Ten Forward. Traditional Japanese-sounding flute and string music plays, and Captain Picard states comments regarding the privilege of ship captains to perform weddings. Data voices over in his personal log how he still does not comprehend most of the emotions of violence or anger, but that he does understand the desire to be loved and the need for friendship. The wedding commences with a now-skillful Data leading the bride in a dance.

In the nursery Lt. Juarez' baby boy lies cooing softly. Picard notes that the boy was born at the same time they were facing destruction, and welcomes him aboard.

Finally, Data leads his night watch team onto the bridge. Worf reports that all systems are normal, they are on course for Adelphous IV, engineering is realigning the main deflector dish, sickbay reports that Lt. Umbato broke two ribs on the holodeck, and sensors continue to gather long-range information on the Murasaki quasar. Data's final voiceover expresses his belief that being Human is a way of thinking, acting, and feeling, and that he may one day discover his own Humanity. The lights dim as the bridge's night watch commences.

Memorable Quotes Edit

"I could be chasing an untamed ornithoid without cause."

- Data, referring to a "wild goose chase"

"My hair does not require trimming, you lunkhead."

- Data, experimenting with "friendly insults and jibes"

"Have you ever been an actual participant in a Human wedding?"
"You would not consider it an honor?"
"An honor perhaps, but Human bonding rituals often involve a great deal of talking, and dancing and... crying."

- Data and Worf, discussing weddings

"Am I dancing, doctor?"

- Data, upon learning basic tap dance moves from Dr. Crusher

"They don't do a lot of tap-dancing at weddings."
"Well, Data, because... I don't really know why, Data."

- Dr. Crusher and Data

"Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you."

- Commander Riker to Captain Picard on their unfortunate situation

"There are still many human emotions I do not comprehend; anger, hatred, revenge, but I am not mystified by the desire to be loved or the need for friendship. These are things I do understand."

- Data, in Voice Memo

"Welcome aboard."

- Picard, to the newborn Juarez child

Background information Edit

Story and production Edit

  • The idea of doing a "day in the life" plot was first pitched by Harold Apter during the third season. Various viewpoints were considered, including Picard's and that of the ship itself. According to Ronald D. Moore, Data's viewpoint was finally chosen, "because he's the only one who's up 24 hours a day". However, Michael Piller and Rick Berman insisted that at least one plot arc should run through the story, and the Romulan spy intrigue was created. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • The writing staff had considered a shipboard marriage for some time before the development of this episode. Michael Piller had at one point suggested marrying Picard. Another idea was to marry O'Brien to the female conn officer intended to replace Wesley. Regarding the latter, Piller explained, "I was against that because I felt that O'Brien was too good a character and potential benefit to the show to make him another star's supporting character. I felt he would always sort of be a sounding board for someone else to talk to and I didn't want to waste him on that. So we never did get around to replacing Wesley and O'Brien emerged on his own." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Gates McFadden and Brent Spiner did their own dancing in this episode, except for one overhead shot where Spiner requested a double, as he did not feel confident enough to pull it off. McFadden did the choreography, as she was a well-known Hollywood choreographer long before Next Generation. According to director Robert Wiemer, McFadden and Spiner also developed the lines in the scene, which were later accepted by the scriptwriters. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • Second Unit and insert shots for this episode were filmed on Friday, 7 December 1990 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9 including the scenes of William Glover.
  • First UK airdate: 15 June 1994

Continuity Edit

  • The running narration of this episode is a log entry recorded by Data for Commander Bruce Maddox, who wished to disassemble Data in a risky procedure to experiment on him in TNG: "The Measure Of A Man". After the trial on his right to choose, Data remained open to future collaboration, told Maddox to continue his work and said that he found some of what he proposed "intriguing." His reference to Maddox's "most recent letter" suggests that he and Data have had a continuing correspondence.
  • This was the first appearance of Rosalind Chao as Keiko O'Brien. She makes several more appearances in TNG, before becoming a regular recurring character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This episode also depicts her marriage to Miles. It is also revealed that it was Data who introduced the two.
  • Picard's actions in this episode would be mentioned ten episodes later in "The Drumhead", twisted into near-treason by witch-hunting Admiral Norah Satie.
  • This was also the first appearance of Data's cat, Spot.
  • This was the first appearance of several locations aboard the Enterprise-D including the arboretum, the barbershop, the nursery and the replicating center.
  • V'Sal, the barber, first appeared in this episode.
  • The device used by V'Sal's Human colleague to dye the alien officer's elaborate hair is usually seen as an engineering tool.
  • The replicating center is a partial redress of the bridge of the USS Enterprise as seen in the first three movies.
  • Data mentions that this episode takes place during "a celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights." This would suggest (but not confirm) a date of October 24th, since the festival would fall on that date in 2367. Also, according to Data, the Enterprise was commissioned exactly 1,550 days (about four years three months) prior. Taking the October date into account, this would suggest the Enterprise was commissioned July 27th, 2363. However, this is contradictory with the commissioning date of "4 October 2363" in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.
  • As an homage, Picard's wedding remarks are almost the same as those which Kirk uses in the teaser for TOS: "Balance of Terror", an episode also involving the Romulans. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • In turn, Picard's comments would be used as the basis for the wedding in the Deep Space Nine episode "'Til Death Do Us Part". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Picard mentions, as Kirk had, that ship captains "since the days of wooden sailing ships" as having the ability to legally marry couples. This authority, however, was limited in many Terran navies. The captain also had to be a notary public or other recognized source. Some countries included a notary public license with the Ship's masters certificates which would allow captains to marry people on board.
  • The appearance of the pads on the transporter platform is inconsistent throughout this episode. In some scenes, the border lines around each pad are more pronounced than they are during others. This is because the set was being redressed for use in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The thicker black border lines seen in that film were kept in for the rest of the series.
  • This episode marks the first night watch seen on screen; although it does explain the difference in bridge lighting in several previous episodes.
  • A passing shot of the Enterprise immeadiately prior to the wedding scene appears to use the same passes of the ship as Encounter At Farpoint, though with the Excelsior elements removed.

Reception Edit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

Adelphous IV; Andorian; arboretum; Aurelia; bear; autosequencer; barbershop; Bolian; Brahms, Johannes; carnation; carrier wave; chess; Crusher 4; cybernetics; D'deridex-class; dance; day shift; Daystrom Institute; Devoras, IRW; Doyle, Arthur Conan; dress uniform; Enterprise-D, USS; Federation; feline supplement 74; Festival of Lights; fluidic sensor diagnostic; Galvin V; Galvin system; goose; Hinduism; Holmes, Sherlock; Isn't It Romantic?; Japanese; jazz; Maddox, Bruce; mitochondria; Murasaki quasar; night shift; Patriotism; phase transition coil; poker; rabbit; red alert; rib; Romulan; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan Star Empire; Rozhenko, Sergey; Rozhenko, Helena; security clearance; sickbay; St. Louis; tap dance; tricorder; turbolift; Umbato; Vulcans; wedding; yellow alert; Zhukov, USS

Previous episode:
"The Loss"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4
Next episode:
"The Wounded"

de:Datas Tag es:Data's Day fr:Data's Day it:Una giornata di Data (episodio) ja:TNG:ヒューマン・アンドロイド・データ nl:Data's Day pl:Data's Day sv:Data's Day

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