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Star Trek TNG - Season 5 - Episode 04

Star Trek TNG - 5x04 - Silicon Avatar

Originally Aired: 1991-10-14

The crew risks all to communicate with an alien entity. [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 3.9

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 64 18 5 17 5 16 23 16 23 12 9


- Picard seems to have a new overcoat version.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker seducing the colonist woman in the opening scene.
- The crystalline entity devouring Carmen.
- Dr. Marr's dismay that Picard will not outright kill the crystalline entity.
- Data indulging Marr's curiosity about her son.
- Dr. Marr murdering the entity.
- Dr. Marr: "It will never hurt anyone again..."

My Review
More Data hate at the beginning, which I was glad to see promptly disappear. While this episode is strong in its convictions and Dr. Marr's tragic character is acted nicely by Ellen Geer, I found this episode a bit distasteful. Just murdering the crystalline entity like that outright was just a sad waste of life. While I found the actions of everyone but Dr. Marr appropriate, it changes none of the consequences. To me this episode seemed short sighted, and I shared Picard's disgust in Dr. Marr in the end.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-09-05 at 6:36am:
    - When Dr. Marr comes on board, Riker escorts her to a turbolift. When they reach it, Riker touches a control panel on the exterior doors and they wait for the turbolift to arrive. I believe this is the first time this happens in this series. For four years, no one has had to wait for a turbolift to arrive.
    - In this episode, the Enterprise must use a pulsed graviton beam to investigate the "possibility of communication" with the crystal entity. In "Datalore," Yar opened a communications channel, and Lore simply spoke to the entity and it responded.
    - At one point, Data and Dr. Marr head for a turbolift. Once in the turbolift, Dr. Marr asks for the bridge. When they reach their destination, the doors pop open and they walk out. The shot shows a section of hallway through the open doors of the turbolift. Didn't Dr. Marr say "bridge"? None of the turbolift entrances on the bridge has a section of hallway like the one shown.
    - When Dr. Marr locks the graviton stream into a continuous mode, both Data and Geordi claim they can't stop her program. Why not just cut the power to the graviton emitters?
  • From djb on 2008-03-23 at 8:54pm:
    - The episode opens with Riker hitting on a woman-- by now hardly a rare sight. But what I like about this one was the twist that the woman gets killed within moments. This is sad, but it kind of makes Riker's seduction attempts seem childish and trivial in retrospect. I like, though, how Riker wants to include a personal message to her her parents.

    - In response to our trusty resident fault-finder DSOmo, we definitely have seen people wait for the turbolift before, BUT, never have I seen someone have to push a button to summon it. Also, while they seem to exit the turbolift in a hallway, the next scene shows them on the bridge.

    - I liked this episode's continuity with other episodes, but I was slightly disappointed that we didn't see Lore. I kind of assumed that if we see the Crystalline Entity, we'd see Lore too, but I suppose that's a foolish assumption.

    - I love Dr. Marr's spectrum of emotion, especially her 180-degree attitude towards Data. First she distrusts him, then accepts him, then starts treating him as if he were her son! The progression from fascinated scientist to bereaved mother is also quite well done.

    -"Avatar" comes from the Sanskrit "Avatara", meaning literally "descent of a deity in incarnate form". It has come to mean embodiment, incarnation, or personification. Here, clearly, the title refers to Marr's son being "incarnated," so to speak, in Data, who is composed of, among other things, silicon. Interesting title...
  • From JRPoole on 2008-07-06 at 6:03am:
    This one is a real stinker for me. While I share the disgust with just killing the thing, I also buy Marr's and Riker's justification. The news Data gives Dr. Marr at the end of the episode seems overly cruel and pointless as well.
  • From KStrock on 2009-07-22 at 1:54pm:
    I really love Picard in this episode. It's great consistency with the character's respect for all forms of life.
  • From Tallifer on 2011-02-21 at 10:46pm:
    I could not fathom the reaction of Picard et alia to Mar's destruction of the Crystalline Entity: yes, it would have been nicer to learn more and even communicate, but it had murdered thousands of human beings: its death was deserved and necessary in the end.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-02 at 6:56pm:
    Sorry to be disagreeable, but I found Ellen Geer's performance terrible. It left me cringing at times.
  • From Will on 2011-10-29 at 1:08am:
    Nothing about the review suggests a rating of 3. Could you explain that part further?
  • From Kethinov on 2011-10-30 at 1:53am:

    In the review I mention finding the episode distasteful due to the plot's callous treatment of the crystalline entity. I felt like its murder was unnecessary and cheap storytelling. However, I do understand your desire for a more substantive analysis. Longer, more detailed reviews are coming. Revamped reviews are slowly trickling in, starting with TOS. Have a look at TOS seasons 1 and 2 to see what the new review format will be.
  • From Jason on 2014-05-18 at 5:38am:
    Problem: while in the cave conversing with data Dr. Marr's tricorder is upside down.
  • From QuasiGiani on 2018-04-26 at 12:13pm:
    Murder. Vengful, spiteful murder. Marr murdered the being just as channels of hope for co-existence began.

    The crystal cannot be said to have murdered a single thing; but Marr surely murdered it.

    Marr certainly needed it _pointed_ out to her that what _she_ had done was entirely _pointless_. It was not cruel to try and give her the understanding that understanding is the way and vengeance is not.

    Excellent episode. Message conveyed.
  • From Obampresidentialine entity on 2021-08-06 at 12:01pm:
    Hmm not sure about this one, this is not a whale eating plankton, let us not forget that this lifeform conspired with Lore to consume sentient beings.

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