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Hero Worship (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Hero Worship"
TNG, Episode 5x11
Production number: 40275-211
First aired: 27 January 1992
110th of 176 produced in TNG
110th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
218th of 728 released in all
Data comforting Timothy
Teleplay By
Joe Menosky

Story By
Hilary J. Bader

Directed By
Patrick Stewart
45397.3 (2368)
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Data helps the only survivor of a wrecked ship, a child, cope with the loss of his parents. Meanwhile, the crew investigates the cause of the wreck.

Summary

Teaser

"Captain's log, stardate 45397.3. Two days ago, Starbase 514 lost contact with the research vessel Vico, which was sent to explore the interior of a black cluster. We are en route to investigate."

The USS Enterprise-D arrives at the designated coordinates of the black cluster, scanning for the Vico within the cluster. The vessel appears to be adrift and the sensors detect no life signs. The Vico has experienced multiple hull breaches, but it is determined that it is barely safe enough for an away team to beam over. Riker, La Forge, and Data beam on board the vessel. While on board, they find a young boy caught under the wreckage of the damaged ship.

Act One

"Captain's Log, supplemental. A young boy shielded from our initial sensor scans has been discovered pinned beneath a fallen beam. The degree of damage to the Vico is making our rescue attempt difficult."

Because the area where the boy is trapped is protected by several layers of shielding, he cannot be beamed out from under the wreckage. Data says he can lift it away, but he may quicken the imminent hull breach, so he advises Riker and La Forge to beam back ahead of him. When the boy wonders how Data can lift the heavy wreckage, Data tells him he is an android, not a normal man. Working together, Data frees the boy and they run to an unshielded corridor, allowing them to be beamed away moments before the hull collapses.

The boy, Timothy, turns out to be the only survivor of the ship. Geordi reports that the away team found his mother's body underneath some wreckage in another part of the ship, while his father was likely sucked out into space when the bridge was exposed. Seriously traumatized, Timothy initially only trusts Data. Counselor Troi advises Data that "his world is gone," and the crew must help him to make a new one.

Act Two

He has trouble blending in and appears to be suppressing his traumatic experience on board the Vico. Counselor Troi advises Data to spend time with him, given that the boy only seems to feel comfortable around Data. While teaching Timothy how to build a model, Data is called by La Forge to Engineering and has to leave. Before leaving, Data decides to quickly build the model with his super speed. Timothy is amazed by Data and asks how he does that. Data responds by saying that he is an android and was designed to exceed Human capacity, both mentally and physically. He further states that he does not possess the ability to experience emotions like Humans do. Timothy seems intrigued by the notion of not feeling happiness or sadness. He begins to emulate Data and claims to be an android too. Although strange, Counselor Troi says it is just part of the healing process and that Timothy will eventually snap out of it. Captain Picard suggests Data help make Timothy the best android possible. Data then begins teaching him how to be an android. While doing so, Timothy seems to finally open up, admitting that he has indeed been having nightmares.

Meanwhile, the crew continues with its investigations of the fate of the Vico. It appears that Timothy has been lying about what happened. He said that there was a boarding party when in fact there was none. Picard performs an experiment by firing phasers into the cluster. They are refracted, even when fired at full intensity. Picard asks Data whether a disruptor-style weapon would also be ineffective, and Data says yes; likewise, a ship's cloaking device would be impossible to maintain. The evidence before them is clear: Vico could not have been attacked inside the nebula.

They call Counselor Troi to bring Timothy to the ready room. There they once again ask Timothy what happened to his ship. He insists that they were attacked. Data then tells Timothy "androids do not lie." Breaking down, Timothy tells them that it was him, that he "killed them all."

Act Three

Timothy explains that while the ship was being impacted, he lost his balance and his arm hit a computer panel in engineering, just before the ship was destroyed. Timothy believes he must have caused the ship's destruction, but they tell him that it was impossible for him to have done so just by hitting a computer panel, as there were safety protocols. They are all left with wondering what really caused the Vico's destruction.

The Enterprise shakes and Timothy says that is just like it started on the Vico. The wave front intensity increases and Commander Riker orders shields to 75%. The ship is then shaken again harder than before. Picard comes out of his ready room and orders full about and warp 2, but the ship's engines have been disabled by the cluster. They continue to increase shield strength. Timothy remembers hearing the same demand for increased shield strength aboard the Vico before it was destroyed. Developing a theory, Data leads Timothy to the science station at the aft section of the bridge and begins running a rapid analysis.

Despite the increased shield strength, the Enterprise is hit even harder, and Picard orders warp power transferred to the shields, something which Timothy also remembers hearing. The transfer is made, and an enormously powerful wave front is fifteen seconds from impact when Data tells the captain to drop the shields. Riker objects that that is suicide, but Data, deathly serious, repeats the order. Picard obeys, and the wave front barely rocks the ship. Data then explains that their own shields caused the increases in the wave front. If they had maintained the shield strength with warp power, they would have been torn apart. Data says that this was also the cause of the Vico's destruction. Thanks to Timothy's memory and Data's own speedy analysis, the same disaster has been averted on the Enterprise.

Outside the schoolroom, Data and Troi talk about Timothy. Troi says he still has a lot of pain but he is a boy again. Data talks to Timothy. Timothy says he misses his parents but that he is all right. He also says that Data must have thought it was pretty funny when he was imitating him. But Data responds by saying that he has often heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Timothy asks if they can still do things together and Data says he would be happy to count Timothy among his friends.

Memorable Quotes

"Timothy, your head movements are counter-productive. Can you be still?"
"But you do it."
"The servo mechanisms in my neck are designed to approximate human movements. I did not realize the effect was so distracting."

- Data and Timothy


"I would gladly risk feeling bad at times, if it also meant that I could taste my dessert."

- Data, discussing advantages of being Human


"We were attacked! We were attacked!"

- Timothy


"Impact in 15 seconds."
"Sir, drop the shields."
"That's suicide, Data!"
"Captain. Drop the shields."

- Worf, Data and Riker

Background information

Story and production

Patrick Stewart painting

Stewart painting on the set.

Sets and props

Continuity

Reception

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt double

Stand-ins & photo doubles

References

black cluster; Breen; carbon dioxide; cloaking device; Dara; Dokkaran; disruptor; EM pulse; Elamos the Magnificent; enantiodromia; fusion reactor; g unit; graviton wave; harmonic amplification effect; Klingon; La Forge, Edward; La Forge, Silva; mythology; neck; phaser rifle; polysaccharide; protostar; red alert; Romulan; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; second officer; Sector 97; servo-mechanism; shield modulator; Starbase 514; systems engineer; Tagas; Tamarin frost; Temple of Kural-Hanesh; Vico, SS; victurium; VISOR


Previous episode:
"New Ground"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5
Next episode:
"Violations"

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