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Inheritance (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Inheritance"
TNG, Episode 7x10
Production number: 40277-262
First aired: 22 November 1993
161st of 176 produced in TNG
161st of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
297th of 728 released in all
Juliana Tainer
Teleplay By
Dan Koeppel and René Echevarria

Story By
Dan Koeppel

Directed By
Robert Scheerer
47410.2 (2370)
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Data meets Juliana Tainer, former wife of Dr. Noonian Soong and Data's "mother," but she holds a shocking secret that even she doesn't know she carries.

Summary

Teaser

When the Atreans discover that the magma on their homeworld, Atrea IV, is cooling, posing a significant threat to the continued habitability of the planet, the USS Enterprise-D is dispatched to find a solution. Dr. Pran Tainer, an Atrean geologist, and his wife, Dr. Juliana Tainer, come on board to assist the Enterprise crew in this task.

After briefing the senior officers on the nature of the problem, Pran and most of the other officers leave the room, leaving Data alone with Juliana Tainer. Juliana asks Data if he remembers her, and when he says he does not, she reveals she was Dr. Noonian Soong's wife, and involved in Data's construction, making her Data's mother.

Act One

In Ten Forward, Data and Juliana sit down to talk. Juliana reveals details of Data's early days, which she considers to be his childhood. Data had trouble with his motor skills and sensory processing at first, and Dr. Soong tinkered with his programming until he'd corrected the problems. At this point, the Soongs deactivated Data, wiped his memory, and gave him the experiences and logs of the Omicron Theta colonists in an effort to develop Data's Humanity without the aid of emotions. It was during this time that the Crystalline Entity attacked the colony, and the Soongs were forced to flee. Juliana explains that the life pod in which she and Dr. Soong escaped only had room for two, and they had to leave Data behind.

Data is curious as to why, when he met Dr. Soong on Terlina III, Soong did not mention Juliana, and why there was no record in the colonists' logs of Soong's marriage to Juliana. Juliana tells Data the story of how she and Soong eloped on Mavala IV because Juliana's mother disapproved of Soong's occupation. Then Juliana tells Data that she eventually left Soong because he was more focused on his work than her, and their solitary life in the jungle of Terlina III was "no life at all." Keen to get to know him better, Juliana suggests they spend more time together, but Data brusquely tells her that he wants to corroborate her story first.

Data joins Geordi La Forge in engineering, and proceeds with verifying what Juliana told him. He finds records that show Soong and Juliana spent four days on Mavala IV, but there is no accompanying proof of marriage. La Forge suggests that Data is looking for a lie, but Data protests that he merely can't figure out why Soong would never have mentioned his wife. Aware of the fact that Juliana left Dr. Soong, La Forge wonders if maybe Soong had his heart broken and wasn't eager to discuss the experience. Together, he and Data surmise that there may be hidden memories inside Data's emotion chip about his mother, which Soong intended Data to access when he was ready.

Data is still clearly confused by the situation, and La Forge notes that it's because it doesn't fit in Data's logical processors – there's no rational explanation. This, La Forge says, is life, and Data needs to get used to life not conforming to his preconceptions. Disturbed by a past he cannot remember, Data nevertheless says he's curious to know more about his mother.

Act Two

As Juliana and Data walk through the halls, Juliana mentions that she had wanted a daughter while Soong had wanted a son. The dispute was settled when Soong created Data's head in his own image. When Juliana and Data reach Counselor Troi's quarters, Juliana remarks that Soong would be relieved to see that Data's sexuality program was fully-functional. As Data attempts to correct her, Juliana walks away smiling.

In Data's quarters, Data plays a Handel violin piece for his mother, telling her that he will play the piece at a recital the next evening. Juliana says that Data's performance was beautiful, causing Data to wonder if she is exaggerating his abilities as most parents do of their children. Juliana also reveals that she was responsible for Data's creative aspect, a part of his programming which Dr. Soong considered irrelevant in the absence of emotion. Data confides in his mother that it is during his creative endeavors that he comes closest to Humanity. After saying that she's quite familiar with the Handel piece, Juliana offers to accompany Data on the viola at the recital next evening.

Juliana also notices Data's paintings, including one of his late daughter, Lal. When Data supplies the story of her inception and subsequent deactivation, Juliana looks slightly shaken. Data is unperturbed and replicates a viola for her with which they can practice for the recital. After practicing in Ten Forward, Juliana asks Data if he would consider creating another child. Data still wishes to procreate, but Juliana begins recounting the difficulties she and Dr. Soong encountered. She relates to Data that she and Dr. Soong had created and lost three prototypes prior to Lore, and that Lore's cruel and evil nature had almost convinced them to stop trying. In fact, Juliana had cautioned against creating Data.

This causes Juliana to reveal the reason that she had avoided contact with Data after realizing he'd survived the attack on Omicron Theta: guilt. She had deliberately left Data behind when she could have taken him with her and Dr. Soong in the life pod. She feared at the time that Data would eventually become like Lore, and forced Soong to abandon him when the Crystalline Entity came. Before Data can react, Juliana rushes out of the room in tears.

Act Three

Mining continues on the surface of the planet. Dr. Tainer seems to have a little bit of luck in finding the right frequency while drilling. Later, as they are in the mine pocket, Pran Tainer admits to Data that Dr. Tainer told him what she told Data. He begins to say that he understands if Data was angry with his wife, however Data explains that he has no emotions. Dr. Tainer confirms Data's question that had Data been a biological child, she would not have left him behind. However, when Data asks if that meant that she values biological life over artifical life, she adds, in an emotionaly stung tone that it did not make it any easier. It had hurt every time she and Dr. Soong lost one of Lore's predecessors, and even shutting down Lore, although necessary, had taken a severe emotional toll on her. She was just afraid of how Data would turn out; if he had become another Lore, they would have had to shut him down too, and losing Data was something she was certain that she wouldn't be able to take yet again. Now knowing the truth, Data tells her that he understands and forgives her. They get back to work, and Data notices that Dr. Tainer seems to be perfectly comfortable in what seems to be a very hot mine shaft.

Later that day, Data and Dr. Tainer perform the recital in Ten Forward. The performance goes perfectly, a fact that Data seems to keenly observe.

Data later consults Dr. Crusher, wishing to see Dr. Tainer's medical records, for reasons he says that he does not want to specify. Dr. Crusher is initially reticent, but finally relents. She replies, after looking at Dr. Tainer's records, that Juliana only seems to have a mild case of hypertension, a normal occurrence for her age. When she asks Data once more, he only says that he believes that Dr. Tainer may not be who she claims to be. Commander Riker calls Data at this point.

Noonian Soong hologram

A hologram of Dr. Soong talks to Data about his "mother" on the holodeck.

Data is informed that the mine shaft they had created has become unstable, and that Pran has sustained some injuries trying to re-stabilize it. Dr. Tainer and Data proceed to be transported into the shaft. After Data rearranges the pattern enhancers they make their way through the now treacherous shaft to get to their machine. Riker soon checks with them, informing them that the shaft has reached a dangerous level of instability. Data promises to expedite their work, and quickly wrap up, saving the integrity of the shaft. As they proceed to the transport point, however, they realize that it has sunk far below their current level due to the seismic activity. Data determines that since there is no way to climb down, they will have to jump. Dr. Tainer protests, fearing that it is too high, but there is not enough time. Data takes her down with him. But while he easily lands on his feet, he sees that Dr. Tainer's arm has been separated from her collapsed body – and circuitry flashes within it.

Act Four

In sickbay, La Forge examines the circuitry present in Dr. Tainer's head. It becomes apparent that Juliana Tainer is an android, one more advanced than Data. Her internal machinery was designed to give off Human life signs. Data admits that he had begun to suspect she might be an android, picking up on a few cues that were too subtle to be noticed by anyone other than him. He is, however, puzzled as to why she deactivated upon sustaining her injuries. Upon examining her further, La Forge finds an information chip built with a holographic interface.

Data activates the chip in the holodeck, and a hologram of his father, a graying Noonian Soong, appears, explaining that he would answer any questions as to the nature of the Juliana android. When he realizes that it is Data who has activated him, he becomes happy to see his son again, and states that he hoped Data to be the one to activate the hologram, and wrote a special response program for him. Dr. Soong then explains that Juliana was severely injured in the Crystalline Entity's attack on Omicron Theta, and later fell into a coma. Knowing she would never come out of it, he strove to perfect the technology to encode a person's memories into a positronic matrix, so that he could somehow salvage her consciousness. He soon succeeded, and a few days after the real Juliana Soong died, he activated the Juliana android, complete with experiences and memory. They were happy, but Dr. Soong's failure to adequately express his love for Juliana prompted her to leave him, something, he notes, that the original would have done too. In the end, Dr. Soong sternly admonishes Data not to tell her that she is an android, so that until her body automatically shuts down after a long life, she can live out the rest of her life as a Human.

Data is confronted with a difficult choice, and consults with Counselor Troi, Dr. Crusher, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard. After some discussion, Captain Picard reassures Data that they will support whatever decision he comes up with.

Data replaces the information chip in Dr. Tainer's head, and she comes to. Data tells her she lost consciousness and broke her arm from the fall but that all is well now. While factually accurate, Data's description is also entirely consistent with human injuries.

As Juliana Tainer prepares to be transported off the ship, Data reminds her of the love that Dr. Soong had for her. Juliana replies that she is consequently not surprised that Data developed and turned out so well – he is the product of two parents who loved him and each other. Juliana bids her son farewell, biding him to take care of himself, and Data tells her goodbye, calling her Mother as he does so.

Memorable quotes

"I helped create you and now... look at you."
"You were a colleague of Dr. Soong?"
"I most certainly was... and I was also his wife. In a way, I suppose you could say I am your mother."

- Juliana Tainer meets her "son" Data for the first time in years


"Data?"
"I would like to get to know you better... mother."

- Juliana Tainer and Data


"I wanted to make you female but your father insisted on a son. Oh, we argued about it endlessly right up until we were ready to assemble you."

- Juliana Tainer, to Data


"Some of the colonists objected to having an anatomically correct android running around without any clothes on."

- Juliana Tainer on Data's early days on Omicron Theta


"The positronic matrix I designed for her was unstable. She only lived a short time."
"I see."
"In a sense, you were her grandmother."

- Data tells Juliana of his "daughter" Lal


"I didn't want to bring you with us. I was afraid if we reactivated you, you'd turn out like Lore. I made Noonian leave you behind."

- Juliana reveals her guilt over leaving Data behind


"How are you, boy?"

- A hologram of Noonian Soong to Data


"I programmed her to terminate after a long life. Let her live out her days and die believing she was Human. Don't rob her of that, son... please."

- Noonian Soong hologram, to Data about Juliana


"Take care of yourself, son."
"Goodbye... mother."

- Juliana Tainer and Data parting ways (last lines)

Background information

Production

  • First UK airdate: 13 March 1996

Cast and characters

Sets, props and costumes

Continuity

Lal painting

Painting of Lal

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles

Stand-ins

References

2328, 2370; Android; Atrea IV; B-4; Corvallen; Crystalline Entity; earthquake; emotion chip; feedback pulse; ferroplasmic infusion; Fourier series, holo-programs; hypertension; Lal; logic; Lore; magma; magnesite; Mavala IV; A Midsummer Night's Dream; modesty subroutine; Omicron Theta; painting; Passacaglia for Violin and Viola; pattern enhancer; plasma induction coil; positronic matrix; Soong, Noonian; Soong-type android; Spot; Ten Forward; Terlina III; Terlina system; tricorder; viola; violin; Woman Holding a Balance, A

Okudagram references

Alpha Drapanas; Alpha Echevarria IV; Alpha Fernandes III; Alpha Roller II; Alpha Rossi; Alpha Zayra II; Augyn, SS; Balder's Planet; Beta Magdaleno II; Beta Wiltz III; Brownfield, Dick; Chronister II; commercial transport database; Coopersworld; Deep Space 7; Delta Charnock IX; Epsilon West IV; Fleck, Jerry; Fukai, Arlene; Gamma Towles II; Gausche, Steve; Genovese, Cosmo; Goldfarb, Dave; Gravett, Jacques; Johnson Station; Knox, Ronnie; Krosskove, Kris; Lauritson's Planet; Lehman's Planet; Manila, SS; McCrystal's Planet; McKnight, Scott; Neskoromny II; Omicron Alpha; Omicron Beta; Perez's Planet; Purser's Planet; Silvestri, Steph; Simmons, Adele; Smutko, Al; Starbase 47; Starbase Allen; Stimson, Mark; Theta Gluckstern III; Thomsworld Spaceport; Trotti, David

External link


Previous episode:
"Force of Nature"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 7
Next episode:
"Parallels"

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