The Enterprise receives a distress call from the assistant of brilliant cyberneticist Dr. Ira Graves, asking for a doctor. While en route, another distress call comes in from the USS Constantinople. Data and the Vulcan Dr. Selar lead an away team to tend to Dr. Graves while the ship heads to the Constantinople and then immediately heads back after settling the matter completely without incident. Meanwhile, back at the plot, Dr. Selar diagnoses Dr. Graves with terminal Soap Opera Disease and gives him a week to live. As he copes with his imminent mortality, Graves chats with Data, whom he asks to call him grandpa, as he was a mentor to Datas creator Dr. Soong. He shares with Data his plan to cheat death by copying his mind into a computer. Moments later Data emerges and informs the away team that Graves is dead. No points for guessing what the plot twist is.
Back aboard the Enterprise, Picard notices that Data is acting strangely, going on at some length about how awesome Dr. Graves was and whining like a little brat whenever someone else spends time with Graves assistant Kareen. Picard orders him to Engineering to have a diagnostic run on him, but Geordi cant find anything wrong with him. Having nothing else to try, he has Counselor Troi run a psychological exam on him. Sure enough, she comes back announcing that there is an outside personality inside Datas head.
Data approaches Kareen and tells her that he is indeed Ira Graves. He declares his love for her, and what better way to prove it than to tell her his plans for turning her into an android too? When she refuses, he retreats to Engineering to sulk like a little brat some more. Picard finds him there and demands he leave Datas body. Graves responds by punching Picard, accidentally knocking him out. Then, feeling remorse over hurting people with Datas body, Graves transfers his mind into the ships computer instead. And thus, without anybody really doing anything, the day is saved and Data is returned to normal.
This episode provides examples of:
- Attending Your Own Funeral: Graves gives his own eulogy. It is remarkably fawning and grandiose, giving Picard and Troi their first hints that Data is Not Himself.
- Big "NO!": "Data" yells this as he hits Picard in Engineering, when Picard is asking Dr. Graves inside "Data" to bring his friend back.
- Brain Uploading: Graves' plan is to transfer his consciousness into a computer. Data gives him opportunity to have a proper body instead. He does it as planned in the end, but all that ends up in the computer is raw information and he effectively dies.
- Burial in Space: Graves' casket is beamed into space, per his wishes.
- ...But He Sounds Handsome: "Data" whenever he's discussing Dr. Graves.
- Call-Back: When Graves asks if a dying man feeling sorry for an immortal robot is "funny", Data mentions that he's had difficulty figuring out what funny is.
- Characterization Marches On: Then-Ghost Noonian Soong is pretty important for Data and Ira Graves' common background, so his ulterior development has some consequences.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Graves, in Data's body. His Heel Realization comes after he accidentally injures four people, including Captain Picard and the woman he's in love with.
- Grand Theft Me: Graves abandons his body and steals Data's. Some of his personality while playing Data may remind one of Lore.
- Insufferable Genius: Graves.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Graves strikes Picard in a moment of anger and knocks him unconscious due to his enhanced strength in Data's body. He watches him fall, and then murmurs to himself Picard's Armor-Piercing Question from earlier ("How many more 'accidents' are there going to be?"). When Data is next seen, Graves has left his body and inserted what remains of his consciousness into a nearby computer.
- Not Himself: Data, possessed by Graves' disembodied consciousness, acts like Graves.
- The episode's title is from The Prisoner (and, for that matter, it's episode number six, natch). Appropriate, as that episode also deals somewhat with the theme of transference of consciousness.
- Dr. Graves at one point whistles "If I Only Had a Heart" from The Wizard of Oz and compares Data's quest to be human to the Tin Man's quest for a heart.
- Stroke the Beard: In an early scene, Data experiments with his appearance, donning what he believes to be a Badass Beard similar to Riker's. Geordi and Troi find it so ridiculous that they can barely hold themselves together long enough to leave his quarters before laughing.Data: When I stroke the beard thusly, do I not appear more intellectual?
- Take That!: When Graves talks to Kareen about Romulans and Klingons in front of Worf.Graves: Klingons and Romulans don't look much alike, Kareen, even though they act much alike.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Kareen is scared by the concept of having her brain uploaded after Graves-in-Data offers her the idea of uploading her own mind into an android.
- Wife Husbandry: Graves is desperately in love with and incredibly possessive of Kareen, who has lived with him on his isolated planet ever since she lost her parents while still "very young", essentially being raised by him. Initially subverted in that even the creeptastic Graves is too ashamed to make a move on her, but he goes on to proposition her after he takes over Data's body.