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Star Trek TNG - Season 4 - Episode 14

Star Trek TNG - 4x14 - Clues

Originally Aired: 1991-2-11

Synopsis:
Data lies to the crew. [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 6.85

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 19 9 5 5 14 13 12 31 57 54 36

Problems
- The premise, see my comments. Not necessarily unbelievable, but a bit absurd.

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Guinan on the holodeck, trying to play along.
- Data using "less obtrusive" methods of contacting Picard.
- Data carefully persuading everyone to leave the star system.
- Beverly suspecting Data a liar.
- Picard getting rid of Data in the briefing room so they can speculate about him.
- Beverly digging up more evidence against Data using the transporter.
- Data's "I cannot confirm nor deny that" attitude.
- Worf: "There are very few people on board who could have broken my wrist. Commander Data is one of those individuals."
- Troi being possessed and speaking in an eerily flanged bass augmented register.
- Possessed Troi breaking Worf's wrist.

My Review
This episode's premise doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Wouldn't it have been easier to just claim the wormhole knocked everyone unconscious for a day instead of trying to rig the ship to make it appear as only 30 seconds had passed? That way all the "clues" that were left behind would seem to be nothing but a normal consequence of a wormhole knocking you into bio chemical stasis for a day. Of course, then we wouldn't have an episode now would we...

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-08-24 at 2:44am:
    - The computer apparently doesn't know that dead people don't move their eyes. When Picard and Guinan are in the holodeck at the very start of the episode, a holodeck character gets machine-gunned down. When Picard turns the man's head to face them, his eyes move around.
    - At the end of the episode, Data narrates a flashback to the first encounter with the Paxans. During his narration, the episode shows Data waking everyone while the Paxans attempt to override the shields. The Paxans penetrate the shields and take control of Troi. After she breaks Worf'd wrist, Picard asks, "Who are you?" The Paxans, speaking through Troi, do not answer. They simply maintain that they must destroy the ship. The dialogue continues until Picard and the Paxans reach a compromise. Then Picard turns to Data and orders him never to reveal what has happened, to conceal his knowledge of the Paxans for as long as he exists. How did Picard know they were called the Paxans? The Paxans never mentioned their name.
  • From JRPoole on 2008-05-08 at 10:46am:
    I agree with the general absurdity of the premise of this episode. How was Data supposed to cover up a whole day? If it was, say, Tuesday, and they woke up on Wednesday, how is that concealable? Even if the crew goes on thinking that only 30 have passed, won't there still be an unaccountable lag when they get back to a star base and it isn't the day they thought it was?

    Also, the direction and staging is poor in this episode. For instance, Geordi comes to the bridge, asks Troi to give him a moment with the captain in private, and they proceed to stroll around the bridge chatting about Data's deception. It seems like something they should discuss in the ready room.

    Still, there are some things to like about this episode, mainly Data's refusal to reveal the truth to the crew, so this one is a 2.
  • From JRPoole on 2008-05-08 at 7:35pm:
    I'm bewildered by the fan rating on this one. This one is more significantly higher than the host's rating than virtually any other episode. Is this one usually considered a fan favorite, or is this an anomaly?
  • From Bernard on 2008-05-14 at 7:23pm:
    Just to add to the above in the general berating of this episode...

    Take Picards preposterous reaction to Data's evident deceipt. He threatens poor Data with the suggestion that starfleet will dissect him to find out what has gone wrong with him! Considering the events of the episode 'measure of a man' this is not a possible course of action... Data could be court martialled etc. but not taken apart (without his consent anyway)

    Some really fundamental flaws with this episode that I agree with low marks as there is nothing else redeeming to save it
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-10-20 at 12:31pm:
    I always look forward to watching this episode again. Seeing Data lie and lose credibility among the crew is facinating to watch. Also, the revelation that the crew has lost a whole day's worth of memory always amazes me, even though I have seen it many times.

    I love the ending where Picard ALMOST turns the ship back to the planet again. If they had come back a third time, then aliens would have destroyed the Enterprise.
  • From trekstar on 2011-01-03 at 10:02am:
    I've always liked this episode. I was always under the impression that the aliens didn't just wipe out their memory for a day, but also placed them back in time. Which means although they had "clues" of life going on a whole day, in the time frame outside the ship, only 30 seconds had passed. That makes more sense...I think:)
  • From level@level.net on 2011-08-22 at 2:39am:
    I think the negative reviews are a little unfair. The holodeck sequence sucks, and the premise is kind of outlandish, but I think it falls short of being absurd. In fact, it's got some redeeming qualities. The sheer uncertainty in the first 3/4 of the episode is quite exquisite. Data is protecting the crew by concealing the events of the past 24 hours... Wtf? This was downright creepy at times. I was trying to picture what kind of horrible, traumatizing, life-altering things might've transpired...

    The real problem with this episode is not the premise, it's that the revelation is rushed to the point of ridiculousness. It runs like a Charlie Chaplin film, just a few steps too fast. (I like the episode but I'll be the first to admit it has some serious flaws) Here's a small one: what is up with Wharf getting all trigger happy on counselor Troi? All she did was get up kind of sudden, and he's ready to shoot/physically apprehend her? And then Picard says, "Who are you?" (Maybe it's Starfleet protocol to assume that anyone who gets up and quietly approaches you has been possessed by another lifeform?)

    Not very believable.

    Speaking of which, it just seems unrealistic how quickly everyone arrives at the "stalemate" position/solution. Captain Picard seems to lose all nerve whatsoever - it is expected that he would be diplomatic and conciliatory, especially when facing superior technology, but here he comes off as just downright spineless or something. It's not unreasonable that he would come to this kind of decision and suggest they all just "forget" the whole thing, literally, but I would imagine it would take some kind of process, dialogue, consultation, etc. Not quite, "Wait! Don't kill us! Just make us forget and we'll be on our way."

    Since that part of the story is revealed as a flashback, narrated by Data, we are perhaps meant to infer that there were other events that took place off screen... but this hardly changes the viewer's experience. The real problem, as I mentioned, is that the producers simply didn't have the space to do what they needed and make it seem believable. They just couldn't cram it in the 45 minutes, it seems, or made the wrong decisions about how to manage that space.

    So, interesting episode - not an outright disaster or absolutely absurd, just with a rushed, abbreviated, unconvincing conclusion, like a few other episodes. I'd give it maybe a 5/6.
  • From level@level.net on 2011-08-22 at 3:13am:
    (For a special treat, watch this episode right before or right after watching "TOS: The Menagerie." There are some great parallels between Spock's deception and Data's obfuscation, and their respective captains' reactions. One interesting observation - it seems a starfleet crew is much more likely to trust an oddly behaving Vulcan (even a half-Vulcan) than an android under suspicious circumstances.

    There's probably some kind an innate distrust of technology at work, which isn't entirely misplaced. "TNG: Brothers" comes to mind, specifically the scene when Data became completely subservient to his creator's homing beacon. And of course Data's brother became more or less insane, so there is some precedent for that as well...
  • From Rick on 2013-02-10 at 10:46pm:
    Reviewer:

    How is Data supposed to convince Picard that it took him a full day to revive them but in actuality it only took Data a few seconds? Wouldnt that be a big "Clue" that Picard may investigate further......

    Of course you could come up with a response to this but the point is that Picard may not believe whatever excuse Data would give.
  • From Daniel on 2014-05-24 at 3:03am:
    I like this episode, though I agree it is a flawed premise. I just want to point out one other odd detail I noticed. The oddity occurs at the moment when the Enterprise is once again facing the Paxans (the second time), and the green energy stream takes over Troi, causing her to become a zombie and act as a Paxan. According to the timeline of the story, Troi is possessed by the Paxans (the second time) immediately before confronting Data. Yet, at the moment of her possession, Troi is in bed in a nightgown. But, a moment later, she confronts Data in full uniform. Now, why would the Paxan that possesses her need her to get dressed, or would they have any need to dress her while possessing her? Just wondering.
  • From Axel on 2015-02-21 at 12:18am:
    Maybe I'm missing something here. Those of you suggesting that Data could've claimed the crew was out for a full day, thus avoiding the problems of a 30-second deception: how do you then explain the male crew's lack of beard growth? That was a major factor in the crew second-guessing whether they really were out a full day, until they learned they'd been placed in stasis. The lack of outward physical change, like beard growth, could only be passed off if the crew believed they were out for a very short time.

    Perhaps the Paxans are highly skilled as both barbers and mind erasers?
  • From Rick on 2015-10-15 at 1:59pm:
    To the people questioning the premise of the episode, and more specifically the time difference problem (i.e. how would they explain the difference in their chronometer with the next star base they encounter), you are forgetting that they think they passed through a wormhole. I believe it is reasonable to surmise that time passes differently inside a wormhole. Hence Data saying after they wake up that he will reset the chronometer with the nearest star base signal.

    This episode is difficult to understand but I think they did a pretty darn good job of covering all the bases.
  • From tigertooth on 2017-05-29 at 11:50pm:
    I liked the episode overall. But to add to the problems:

    *It seems hard for me to imagine that Picard would blithely be okay with an alien race erasing memories of his entire crew.

    *I get why they put the Dixon Hill holodeck sequence in there to underscore the theme, but if you're going to introduce Guinan at the beginning of an episode that involves weird time anomalies, it's disappointing that she never reappears.

    *While I can see how the chronometers on the ship might be screwed up by the wormhole, how would you explain the lack of any official, personal, or data logs during the missing days?

    So while I wish they had found ways to plug some of these holes, I still found the positives of the plot arc and characterizations to be enjoyable enough to give it a 7.

    Data's struggle to fill in the gaps was great, and resonates nicely with his efforts to become a better actor. I kind of wish there had been a Data/Picard scene where he asked about the flaws in his performance, but it wouldn't have really made sense given that it would have had to have taken place after the second Paxan reveal -- it would have gummed up the momentum right near the end of the episode.

    But a great Data/Picard scene -- presumably while Picard was still in the dark -- would have really pushed this to the next level. Maybe Picard knows they could pull the information from Data's memory files, but feels that's too invasive to be a morally acceptable choice? Anyway, they didn't figure out how to make that happen, and that's a missed opportunity.

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