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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S4E25 "In Theory"

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"You do not tell me how to behave. You are not my mother."
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Data enters a romantic relationship with security officer Jenna D'Sora in an attempt to understand humanity. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is exploring a nebula and experiencing strange events.


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Call-Back: While waiting for O'Brien to get the transporter working and beam him out of danger, Picard says, "Now would be a good time." Chekov uses the same line in Star Trek IV while waiting for Scotty to get the transporter working and beam him out of danger.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: "Now would be a good time, Mr. O'Brien..."
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Data and Jenna discontinue their relations at the episode's end, when Jenna realizes that Data doesn't feel anything from their relationship—she can't make him happy (or sad, or anything).
  • Our Dark Matter Is Mysterious: The episode features the Enterprise exploring a dark matter nebula which causes bits of the ship to randomly vanish. This causes activity from Spot (Data's cat) exiting Data's room without using the doors to a crew member falling through the floor after it vanishes and then getting killed when it comes back.
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  • Papa Wolf: Worf reveals himself to be this towards the security officers under his command, giving Data an implied If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... when he seeks advice.
  • Reality Ensues: According to Word of God, Jenna D'Sora was inspired by the female fans of TOS that expressed romantic feelings for Spock. This episode was written to explore what would happen if such a woman got her wish and found herself in a relationship with a man with no emotions.
  • Stock Footage: The nebula is obviously a re-colored version of the Mutara Nebula from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting / Trapped by Mountain Lions: The B-story of the Enterprise experiencing anomalies while exploring a nebula is entirely disjoint from the main plot, and was written just to add some action to the episode.
  • Telefrag: A crew member is lost when part of the hallway she is walking down briefly disappears during one of the anomalies and reappears as she is halfway through it, resulting in this happening to her.
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