Brent Spiner And Patrick Stewart: Saying Goodbye To Data On ‘Star Trek: Picard’—And Forever

[STAR TREK: PICARD SPOILERS BELOW]

The season one finale of Star Trek: Picard featured Brent Spiner in two roles: One was Alton Soong, yet another member of the Soong family. But Spiner also reprised the role of Data, as he had for the series premiere. This time Picard visited with the copy of Data downloaded to B-4. And by his request, Picard deactivated the quantum real simulation where he has been “living.” In a pair of interviews, actors Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart talked about saying goodbye to the character one last time.

Spiner says saying goodbye to Data is the right thing to do

Brent Spiner talked to TV Guide about returning to the role for the Star Trek: Picard season one finale.

I thought it was pretty great. It was an unbelievably beautifully written scene — [showrunner] Michael Chabon at his finest. Both Patrick and I were both like, “This is fantastic,” and we were both really moved by it. It was just wonderfully written, and I think the intent was to soften the blow of Nemesis and give Data a gentler exit than he had in that film.

However, Spiner also explains he expects the Picard finale was his final time playing the role:

I mean, there was just a finite amount of time that I can actually play Data, no matter what anyone says. So many people were like, “Oh, you can do it. You’re not too old,” and then I do it and they go, “You’re too old. Why’d you do it?” I think we did it in such brief sequences that it was fine to do it, and I felt good about it. But I wouldn’t really entertain the idea of doing it again because I just don’t think it would be realistic. So it seemed right to me to give him this more gentle sendoff, and it seemed right to me in the context of the entire season of Picard and what Picard himself had been experiencing because of the loss of Data. I think it allows him to feel okay about it too. So it seemed like the right thing to do.

But the actor made it clear he is open to returning to Star Trek: Picard in the role of Alton Soong.

Stewart says final scene with Data was intense

Patrick Stewart spoke to The Hollywood Reporter  about what it was like shooting the final scenes between Picard and Data.

I was looking forward to shooting it so very much, because I adore working with Brent. But the content of this scene was so serious, and so important to the characters — and the affection and mutual respect — was so clear and so strong. Picard knew that this would probably be the last time that he was ever with [Data] and we — we had to address that. The guilt Picard felt over Data’s loss at the beginning of the season, that the two characters never had a proper goodbye, or resolution, in [Nemesis] … We took almost the entire day, not quite, as I recall, [to shoot the scene], but it was a very, very intense experience.

Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; Brent Spiner as Data in “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”

EPs talk about killing off Picard and Data

In a brand new video from CBS, Star Trek: Picard executive producers talk about the reasoning behind killing off the character of Picard (before he was resurrected in a synth body) and the final death of Data.

 

The season finale of Star Trek: Picard is available now on CBS All Access. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can get a free month: CLICK HERE to try CBS All Access FREE for 1 month. Use code ALL to redeem. 


Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.

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Cmd.Bremmon

Data wanting to commit suicide makes no sense to me (and I was never a fan of the character given his super capabilities resulting in a negation of conflict and less ability of the viewer to relate). TNG was bad in that it made you think everyone knew everything but seriously?? Even V’ger knew better (did not even figure out you could just engineer yourself all that imagination as opposed to merging with Decker). And if you are suicidal why not go down helping someone? Are AI’s programmed to want to commit suicide as a safety feature?
I like the poster that said that Data was an artifact of organo-Picard seeking closure. That is a much happier less dehumanizing outcome.

i'mpaul

Eh. That’s one way of looking at it.

Muse

Data was already dead. That was just a reconstruction of his memory engrams or whatever, like an echo or ghost in the machine. It was kind of a purgatory he was in, and he decided to end it. I don’t think a lot of people got the nuance of the scene. I repeat, Data was already dead.

Tiger2

Yes, the guy died 20 years ago lol. How is he ‘committing suicide’ when he’s not physically living? As you said this was more of an ‘after life’ kind of thing and it was beautifully done IMO.

Bamasi

I agree with this 100%

Zoso1701

It was sort of like the finale of “The Good Place” to me. This show about the afterlife, about reaching Heaven and eternal awesomeness. Well… consciousness and eternity – you can only win so many Super Bowls, solve so many philosophical problems, become an expert in so many things before time and existence have lost their meaning. Without an end, without it’s innate nature of being temporary, where does the preciousness of a moment lie?

Adama

I find pretty unbelievable that Dr. Song, having the engrams of Data and with all the advances he has realized at synth technology, at no point restored Data to a functional body. Is pretty stupid. Data is a machine, independently of how much we care for him or what he aspires to be. And has taken advantage of being a machine so many times… so just because his body is not longer functioning we can’t declare him dead. Even Nemesis considered the chance of having B4 as a backup of Data.

All this nosense about Data wanting to die is just bad writing for the purpose of making whatever thematic point they were trying to make.

bassmaster22

Yep – five feet from the Data simulation is a body waiting for a brain. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either.

Zinc Saucier

Right? And they could’ve made the body grow old and die like a regular human just like they did with Picard, which would both fulfill Data’s lifelong dream to become human and also explain why Data would now look older like Brent Spiner. Huge missed opportunity.

Traveler Wil

THAT was the most unnerving part about Episode 10. Why couldn’t Data have been downloaded into a golem? Why did he need to die?

Some throwaway line about “Data’s neural net won’t transfer; it’s intended for a biological brain” (which is still lame, even for a sci-fi show) — something to qualify why that Data backup couldn’t be restored, thus adding to Data’s request to ‘die’.

At times, Star Trek respects the audience who is capable of critical thinking, deeper thoughts. Other times, it fails miserably. Or perhaps relies too heavily on the viewer to make-believe the explanations, such as we’re doing here.

Timothy A Goldich

Data must die because Brent Spiner must grow old. An elderly, but still capable, Brent Spiner seized this last opportunity to say goodbye to Data. Let’s accept the gift.

Kiān Hāfezi

Pretty cringe take to be honest

Palizia

I don’t believe for one moment that we’ve seen the last of Data.

ML31

If you really think he was on those props Picard pulled out of the machine then yes. His OS is still there on those chips ready to be reinstalled in any device at any time. So either Data truly died on the Scimitar or his ‘essence’ for lack of a better word, is still sitting on chips waiting to be installed in something else.

Cmd.Bremmon

Isn’t the whole theme of Picard that no one has any “essence” that we are all just programmed organic robots tricking ourselves into thinking we have “essence” (regardless of TOS/TMP)?
You have to wonder if that applies to the organians and Q.

J_Randomuser

I thought the whole thing was beautifully written. I also agree with Chabon and Spiner, in that the final scene between Picard and Data does really soften the blow of Nemesis, while also making an interesting point about our mortality as essential in the human experience. Data finally got what he always wanted and I was moved to tears.

ML31

Well, the decision to “kill” Picard and then revive him to me suggests a bit of creative bankruptcy. Not only has this been done to death but the timing was terrible. In order for the death to have any weight we need to think there is a chance this is not final. Doing this in the very first season of a show we were told would have at least 3 is just weak story telling. The time to “kill” Picard would be in season 3, DUH!!!!! The concept did not work. It was a fail on Chabon’s part. Further still what they are saying about the synths just doesn’t pass the smell test. I do understand that there was no poignant “dying” scene for Data like what Spock got with Kirk in WOK. But still it was a noble and heroic death. Why they felt they had to do what they did with Data is a huge head scratcher. The one and only one way it makes sense is if the scene happened entirely in Picard’s head. Which is how the scene was set up to be. Then we get them saying, “no this was ‘real’ and he was talking with the B4 download”. WTF??? How does THAT work? The B4 download did not take. They said so in the beginning of the show. And if you believe that it was still intact then it doesn’t make any sense the B4 download would know about anything after the download. There are a lot of ridiculous issues and obvious questions with how they ended the show. My guess is they were hoping the emotion of it would override the plot holes but that only works when there is genuine emotion coming across. Which there really wasn’t.

I’m actually sorry to hear these comments because when I saw it without their “explanation” I saw it as all in Picard’s head and he got his closure. It kinda worked in that context. But with them saying, no, it was really Data now it just doesn’t work at all and it just made everything worse. Sometimes it is better for creators to just be quiet and let the show speak for itself.

AllenWrench

I think the Data simulation existed in the machine we see Picard disconnecting. Perhaps this machine had some awareness of what was happening on the outside, or Soong was communicating with it.

ML31

It didn’t seem like Picard was disconnecting anything. And if Data was in there and not the chips he pulled out then Data’s OS will still be there when it gets turned on again. All this talk of mortality is laughable given what they have done in the show. If one believes data was really in there then Data is everlasting unless someone actively erases the program. And there was no evidence that happened. That’s why I think it was obvious it was in Picard’s head and data was never really there. It just makes more sense that way and the scene works so much better. It was all about Picard. It has been since the opening episode.

AllenWrench

Well, whatever he was doing to the machine it was treated dramatically like he was ‘pulling the plug.’

ML31

Which supports the concept that it was all in Picard’s head. It was cathartic for him to finally to this to symbolically “let go” of Data. Picard got the closure his subconscious needed.

AllenWrench

Didn’t Altan Soong make some allusion that he was dying? So maybe they could’ve combined Data and Soong in some way where Spiner wouldn’t have to wear the makeup any more. Just a thought.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful scene, but I’m not sure why Data would want to end his life at this point. Canonically, he’s only about 60 years old, and the humans he emulated regularly live to be over 100 in the future. Plus he was a scientist and an explorer. Was the curiosity that compels them to ‘boldly go’ no longer there?

Legate Damar

He was curious about death.

AllenWrench

Uh huh. I would suggest that study be conducted by observation instead. :)

Cmd.Bremmon

Which makes no sense if you believe life = programmed constructs just pretending they are alive then death is just nothingness then and thinking otherwise is irrational.

ML31

Wait… I’m watching this video and if it is true that it is indeed mortality that defines humanity (humanity meaning all the organic life) then the synths cannot be considered a life. Life ends. They don’t. They go on and on. The show’s producers are first class hypocrites! Further, Data’s ‘life’ already ended when he blew up the Scimitar. So there was his own mortality. So again, they are really trying to act deeper here than what is really here.

Ugh… I was kinda OK with what I saw but the more I hear about what they intended and the more I hear about behind the scenes thoughts the more I see this as a gigantic ‘fail’ on their part.

Duffy Johnson

Synths can die, too. That was the whole point of Data finally dying in “Picard”.

Cmd.Bremmon

But didn’t he die in Nemesis?? Or not really?
And are there really no particles of Data left, because they isn’t he “alive” still according to Picard??

odradek

Obviousley YES
=>

Kein Wesen kann zu Nichts zerfallen!
Das Ew’ge regt sich fort in allen,
Am Sein erhalte dich beglückt!
Das Sein ist ewig, denn Gesetze
Bewahren die lebendgen Schätze,
Aus welchen sich das All geschmückt

Goethe

ML31

Not really. If what the writers are saying is what went down then a synth can live forever. They have super bodies made to live eons. And if they crap out they can just create a new one and download themselves into it. They live forever.

Disinvited

If ending is the key obstacle to the synths being life then they are. Whether the universe expands to infinity or contracts back, the conditions which allow the synths to exist will eventually end, and so will they.

Even as the universe is, at the moment, the actuarial tables for humans have been calculated for infinite health, and they say the odds are a maximum of 500 years life before some cataclysmic event obliterates such a long-lived being.

Arathorn

Where is Brannon Braga when you need him? Say what you will about Berman-era Trek, but Braga knew how to write (and pace) a story.

Cmd.Bremmon

LOL I prefer Picard to any Berman Trek and that is NOT saying much.

Tiger2

I will never get the hate for Brannon Braga. He wrote some of the most beautiful and iconic stories in Star Trek,. But yes, he also gave us Threshold and TATV lol.

PEWDIEPICARD

Can’t argue with that. This NuTrek is just ridiculous. I would say that it is more style than substance but even it’s style is pathetic. SORRY.

Brannon Braga is on The Orville making something more like Trek than current “real” Trek.

Cmd.Bremmon

I’ll agree with you that Orville basically is TNG.
It ain’t no “Star Trek” or DS9 (you know, the good Trek). LOL

Disinvited

By himself, Braga is a bit of ok. But you team him up with Berman, and you have a BBgun capable of filling any story treatment or script full of holes.

kograf

They could have easly bring Data back in the new android body and age him.

Why did he had to die again ?

This does not make any sense.

Picard didn’t even try to change Datas mind, he was like “sure, why not, I’ll pull the plug myself”

Baxter

Agreed!

JSM-73

x2! Very un-Picard-like. And it really didn’t seem much like Data to be honest either, give up like that (though of course, real Data is already dead etc). Just seemed like an excuse for closure on the whole Nemesis thing, and it was admittedly beautifully acted and filmed.

Cmd.Bremmon

Well some justice, everyone is like “hey, the plug is pulled on organic Picard but hey, we’ve got an electronic photocopy here so all is cool, no funeral for that being! I don’t even miss him!”

ML31

He didn’t try to change his mind because Picard needed Data to symbolically “die”. It was how he got his closure.

CJA

Don’t forget… These actors are proponents of socialized medicine. A little euthanism here and there is ethical, just read Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia.”

It’s been said here a thousand times, Data longed to be more human. Some believe that his death underscored that. I understand this viewpoint, however, the golem was sitting just a meter away from that machine… why not live on and age a bit longer? The irumodic syndrome seemed to come on rather strong. So, we ended the suspense of the death of the main character by giving him a reboot, and we revisited the tragedy of Data’s death yet again. While a well-crafted scene (in some senses), it seemed to go the wrong direction – much like time travel in First Contact.

I really enjoyed season 1. Episode 6 was the crown of it all, in my mind. Hugh was the embodiment of Trek’s vision of hope, exploration, and bettering humanity (ha – oh by the way, what “race” is Hugh? I wish they’d explored that!) 7 and 8 were great, but 9 and 10 felt like a Marvel movie… Sure we can all make the comparison that seasons 1 and 2 of TNG were rough, but this is far removed from that writing process. The whole “victimization of different people” has been done ad nauseum – to the point of X-Men – and it could have been a bit smoother. Too much happening, they didn’t wrap up the XBs or Narek, and does everyone really need to drink and swear? Those parts seemed written by a teenager to try to appeal to a “real” base or appear older, but were not needed. Everyone talked down to Picard until the last episode, with the exception of Rios and Hugh. I know I have some points of contention here, but I share them with quite a few people. I hope season 2 shakes off some of this, and it appears to be doing so with Chabon “moving on” somewhat.

It also seemed a wasted motif that the Romulans – who in this series were written as victims to parallel the current refugee crisis, Trump, and Brexit (to quote PatStew), ended up being the bad guys after all – what a waste of a message. Though the Tal Shiar seems to be doing quite well, given all those warbirds!

Bring back Hugh!

Vice Admiral Nakamura

Let’s see, they wanted to “soften the blow” of Data dying a heroic, self-sacrificing death in Nemesis and give him a suicidal death. Because suicide is softer than heroism, do I have this right? Data wouldn’t even be a senior citizen in human terms. When someone who is not elderly or terminally ill or suffering from grave mental illness commits suicide, the general term for that is… tragedy. Data, who had so much to offer both synths and organos, chose to deprive the Soongians of his guidance, and we are supposed to be “moved.” Think what an essential asset Data would be in emerging organo-synth relations. If he wants to kill himself after a few decades of this urgent work, then go ahead, then we can be “moved.” (Of course we’re ignoring why Data wasn’t given a new body in Soongville in the first place.)

But let’s acknowledge what is truly going on. The writers wanted to have a scene between Data and Picard, and not in a REM dream. So they had to resurrect Data. But Spiner is too old to play Data beyond that, so they had to kill Data (merely leaving him in the simulation would lack closure). Now, they couldn’t have Data be murdered, or be killed by accident, so the only tangible option was suicide. And they talked themselves into the notion that Data finally achieving humanity through mortality would be achingly beautiful, especially if they played Blue Skies. But of course that’s nonsense, for the reasons I mentioned. (Data hasn’t even been alive for a full 61 years, as he originally died at 41 and had his consciousness resurrected some time after that.) A 61 year-old with uniquely important knowledge and skills to offer civilization… the suicide of such an individual is universally understood as a tragedy by honest persons.

(BTW, Data was already given a memorial service in Nemesis- closure was already attained, regardless of what one thinks of Nemesis.)

And for those who say Data was just in Picard’s imagination- this is contrary to the series as written and explained by the writer-producers.

This suicide harms the character and was wholly unnecessary, as there was no good reason to resurrect Data in the first bloody place.

ML31

Exactly. And if one believes that dream data was real data then it wasn’t even suicide. It was Picard murdering him. And even still, he wasn’t really killing him. All he did was cut power. But even my phone doesn’t lose its operating system when I shut it down. Turn it back on and everything starts up again. If you believe it was real data the the fact is Data is still there either in the mainframe or on whatever storage device it was Picard pulled out.

PEWDIEPICARD

All they had to bloody do was tell Picard, look bro, your brain is screwed. But guess what, here’s a new one. We just gotta copy your current brain and upload it to the server. Then…PICARD MEETS DATA WOOHOO. While they chat, JL (I hate that), gets a new noggin and then they upload his katra into the new iPhone brain. BOOM! Problem solved. Also, Picard wakes up and says hey stupid if you can give me a brain can’t you give Data a body? DUH of course we can. *BUT BRENT SPINER IS TOO OLD* Listen stupid I’ll make you a deal. How about we make you look like a bloody human. Heck you know what. We’ll make you look like your brother Nissan Altona Soong. AND YOU KNOW WHAT, we’ll also throw in a homeostasis upgrade package so you can get old and die like everyone else.

Like was that so hard? I literally wrote this while sitting on my toilet. YEEESH!

Sully

“Its our mortality that defines us Soran” – Picard 2371

It seems that Data felt the same way. I will be fascinated to see if synth-Picard suffers any crisis of identity. I feel there’s a lot of meat on those bones, which is well worth exploring.

I must admit, I am still extremely troubled by how the loss of real Picard will not now be grieved in a way he deserved. It really doesn’t sit well with me. I’d love to have seen synth-Picard attend real Picard’s funeral. The meta physical implications of this story’s legacy have real potential.

ML31

“It seems that Data felt the same way.”

And it seems Picard changed his mind on that philosophy.

Sully

Indeed you are correct.

Legate Damar

The synth-Picard is the real Picard.

Sully

Picard 2.0 possesses the essence of his experiences and is an identical copy, but essentially this new Picard is just a clone with installed ‘files’. Biological Picard WAS Picard. If you died, but someone transferred your essence into another vessel, YOU would still be gone forever. I am hoping Picard wrestles with this crisis of the id.

Legate Damar

How is that any different than what happened to Spock or Culber? What is a person if not their experiences and personality?

Sully

This is the discussion that I hope Picard 2.0 grapples with. You do indeed raise a very Star Trek appropriate discussion as to what makes us us. I am just saying that from an objective perspective, Picard’s brain and body died and are decomposing. What we have now is a perfect, embodied simulation of what he would think, feel and do next, had he not succumbed to his brain disorder. Nevertheless it is a simulation.

Culber and Spock were at least recomposed from their original matter. Their original pieces ‘reassembled’ if you like. Picard 2.0 is literally made from a whole new collection of atoms and subatomic particles. In terms of the physics of matter, he is not the same Picard in the same way that the sheep cloned in the mid 1990s was not one with its original template.

ML31

It’s silly but Spock’s body was regenerated without his “katra”. His ‘essence’ had a place to go. Culber is another matter. To this day I refuse to believe it’s the real Culber. His resurrection made no sense whatsoever and everyone on that ship should has been suspicious of this new thing that showed up.

I don’t really consider this to be genuine Picard myself. Call it a lack of imagination on my part but I just don’t see how it could be him.

JSM-73

Because I guess Spock was transferred, not copied. Though admittedly same issues as Picard, as the real Spock is still functioning, thinking etc, AFTER doing the Katra thing with McCoy. Perhaps the ‘remember’ moment merely opens/prepares McCoy’s mind to take his spirit, and it gets in there at the precise moment Spock died (as opposed to there being the real Spock dying, and a copy transferred into McCoy during the ‘remember’ scene).

But as for Picard, I’d say it’s very clear the real one died, no matter how accurate the new one is. You can’t replace the original. And (not sure if this will be explored in S2) but if people do have a soul, and it’s not just memory engrams etc, then Picard’s soul must have ‘crossed over’. So what of Picard2, does he have a soul too, or is he just an exact ‘material world’ copy of the original? If so one presumes when he dies that’s truly it. Do hope this gets explored in S2 and now swept under the carpet. You can’t get more Final Frontier than ‘death’.

Sully

I couldn’t agree more with you. The potential to explore this is immense. It would be to the detriment of Star Trek’s famous thought-provocative reputation to sweep it under the carpet.

German Trekkie

Actually I prepared my self to bring up the “Spock” argument right after STPs finale. And frankly, there is no easy answer to this. We have no way of knowing how real the “new” Spock was scientifically speaking, and for me It the same with Picard.
I never gave it a second thought until STPs Finale – because I accepted the notion of Spocks Katra (= Soul) to be still there; to be the “original”. But this was merely an emotional notion.
From a scientific point of view – if you really, really back off from metaphysics – the “new” Spock IS a copy. His body is technically a clone. Same genetic material, but regrown. And his memory engrams are a BACKUP.

All talk of an essence/Katra/Sul is borderline religious or at least food for philosophical debate. And thus, Picards “Resurrection” may technically be very similar to Spocks “Resurrection”.

ML31

If you think of Picar’s ‘essence’ as some sort of human version of a Vulcan katra then I seen the similarities. But to me the difference is Spock got placed back into his own original body. Picard was placed into an artificial one. But I think it warrants saying this again… Even though I really liked the Spock character and Trek VI was pretty darn good… I still feel like it would have been better to keep Spock dead. And was not a fan of the ‘genesis effect’ on Spock’s irradiated body. That said I also feel that that resurrection as silly as it was was the most reasonable of the three major Trek resurrections thus far.

German Trekkie

Frankly Spocks ressurection made the least sense. He packed his whole consciousness (or a copy of it) into a human brain (McCoy). That is the least scientific thing they could have done.

ML31

It made the most “sense” (such as it is) to me. Culber appears out of thin air from nothing. He just walks out of the mycelial network while is dead body lies in the ship’s morgue. Sorry… No.

Picard’s brain is “scanned” and that copy gets placed in fake body while his real body lies dead. Along with his real brain. This may “look” like Picard but it isn’t.

Spock transfers his Katra (we are told it is everything that made him him) and then gets put back into his same body that got rejuvenated through some sciency process. Silly but… It makes more sense than the others. But I will give you that a head holding an entire other person is a bit of a stretch but then resurrection is a much larger one so I think we can let that slide.

ML31

It’s also not without precedent. Chapel held Spock’s consciousness in her head in Return to Tomorrow.

Adama

One would assume that after having his mind and body violated by a race of sentient machines Picard would be more wary of having his mind transfered to a machine.

Cmd.Bremmon

I don’t necessarily see this as an issue, it seemed to be that Picard had a bit of Stockholm syndrome and missed the order of being Locutus. You can see on Mars as Admiral of the fleet he had a real blind spot in the pursuit of AI life allowing the use of robots almost sadistically programmed with emotions in an effort to recreate data. Then when they destroyed his fleet and left billions of Romulans to die he then alienated himself from his friends not even spending time with Beverly Crusher. He doesn’t lament the loss of Tasha Yar, the thousands of Starfleet officers he helped kill as Locutus – no he misses the “perfection” of Data. Seems like the guy really missed the order the Borg represented vs the kids and complexities of human relationships. Picard committing suicide to be replaced by an AI life form makes total sense to me. Part of me thinks he was a Borg double agent trying to develop AI to help the Borg Queen either consciously or sub-consciously (remember in First Contact he seemed to know exactly where to target a Borg cube without telling Starfleet Command previously).
What doesn’t make sense is his “friends” just thinking oh-well organo-Picard with all that hurt is gone but who cares because we have a photocopy to the point we don’t have a funeral.
Also doesn’t make sense why Data would be suicidal though as many posters have postulated Data wasn’t alive but a figment either of Picard’s imagination or some electronic echo.

ML31

That is my concern as well, Adama. It goes against everything Picard has stood for over the years. I’m dismayed that his earlier convictions I guess evaporated when it came time for HIM to bite the dust.

Disinvited

For STAR TREK, because of its civilization’s heavy reliance on transporter technology, which destroys the original so it can copy it remotely at a distant location, there can be no claiming copies are not beings equivalent in every essence to the original. It’s a basic tenet of Federation law that they are. The Federation couldn’t function otherwise, i.e., as if only “originals” are “real”.

Michael K

I think we’re losing some perspective on how remarkable it is to see these characters on the screen again 20 years later. With many of these actors in their 70s and soon 80s, this opportunity won’t come again. I hope to find closure with all of these characters by the end of the show’s run, something I never expected to happen. I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting salute and farewell to Data, far better than what the movies could have done. I was hoping to save Picard’s final farewell for the end of the series, I’m not sure you can do that now with any poignancy however.

Tiger2

I was not really happy about giving Picard a synth body but I have to admit after listening to them explain it a bit more here, it does sound better and symbolic. In many ways this is what makes Star Trek Star Trek and that is evolution and achieving to our highest potential.

When Q was hinting to Picard at the end of All Good Things something profound and life changing was going to happen to him, maybe this was it after all. ;)

Still not completely on board with it but I guess it will be interesting to see how its handled going forward.

ML31

Funny, my reaction was the opposite. i was OK but not thrilled with how they gave him his closure with Data. But after hearing what they were actually intending to do my admiration for the episode dropped considerably. Listening to and reading them tells me they failed miserably. I really think they should have stayed quiet and let people interpret things the way they wanted.

Tiger2

Well, people see things differently.

alphantrion

I am on the middle about this too. On one side it makes think that Picard is basically a cylon now, on the other hand I am kind of happy that a new, better, bigger, stronger (6 million dollar man) version is out there.

German Trekkie

It really comes down to how people WANT to see it. No-one ever wanted “reborn” Spock to be a clone of Spock (reminds me of the people who clone their pets LOL). On the other hand, everyone is ok with Thomas Riker to be NOT William Riker. Harry Kim died, but was replaced by his temporal double in Season 2 of VOY…. there is not much of a (in universe) technical difference between all those “doppelgangers”. But people choose to see them differently from an emotional point of view.

But now that the Fandom is really on the fence most of the time, some people will just decide for themselves / will not accept for themselves that this is not real Picard – on an emotional level.

David Moss

First of all, while I was not a fan of a lot of things they did in Picard, I absolutely loved the Picard and Data final scene. I sat and watched it over and over again (teary-eyed each time).

In saying that however, there are two very distinct things that come to my mind. First, I really don’t understand why Data would want to or have to die. This version of Data is pre-sacrificing himself. If his consciousness could be resident in the computer, it could just as easily have been put directly into another android host. Since this version of Data is prior to his sacrifice, he wouldn’t have likely wanted to die at that time in Nemesis.

The bigger issue I see is something that has not been discussed and is the fact that Picard assisted with Data’s suicide. Clearly the way it is written Data wanted to die (reference point 1 above) and couldn’t do it himself. Therefore Picard is the instrument of his death as a person who took place in an assisted suicide.

David

The only thing I can think is if he really had been in a digital purgatory for 20 years in complete isolation, he would consider it a fate worse than death. The whole assisted suicide of it all came to mind as well. While still a very controversial topic, I think it is more accepted than it once was.

But I think it would have been more powerful for Data to be given new life to take over the golum as a very human looking Data. With synths, he could also have a ‘civilization’ and not be ‘alone in the universe’.He would have finally attained the closest thing to what he sought all his life.

Given the magical tech that the synths seem to have, I don’t know why they couldn’t have just imagined Picard’s brain abnormality fixed as well. If an android can do a mind meld, why couldn’t they do that.

As an aside, I actually expected Alton to be killed by Sutra.

ML31

“Therefore Picard is the instrument of his death”

And since, if you buy that this is really data, there was nothing wrong with Data’s OS whatsoever I would say what Picard did ought to be classified as MURDER. That is, if Data is considered to be a sentient being with all the rights everyone else has. Or do synths get a break on that front too?

Jay

Very confusing. Thinking about this all weekend….This Data is not our Data. Data died in Nemesis. This Data is like Tom Riker, a copy. In some way is like Harry Kim, the one we have now is from the parallel universe. Same with Picard. Picard is dead, he died and now we will have a copy for Season 2.

Also, it reminds me someone saying that every time they are teleported, they kill the body in point A and make a copy when it reaches Point B. So anyway, we are not viewing the same person.

Oh God! I don’t like this technology to exist. Live Long and Prosper! (^_^)v

Vulcan Soul

I’m reposting my (slightly updated) thoughts on exactly this from the review article since it is a much better fit here and I didn’t know a dedicated interview on this was coming, which addresses many of the points I was talking about.

To my mind the finale did not provide real closure over Data’s death (to the audience, not the Picard character), because (while beautifully portrayed, if you can say such thing about death) if anything it proved further why the reasons stated for “Data has to die” are ever more nonsensical.

“An aging actor can’t portray an aging android” never made much narrative sense given the possibilities of the Trek universe (emotion chip, aging chip, Julianna Tanner), but it makes even less sense by what we see in Picard now: two aging androids that look fully human, Soji and Picard. Explaining how perfectly they replicated human aging for the latter feels bitter in that it wasn’t allowed for Data, just because the actor says so and has been caught up in this dead-end thought since the early TNG movies (AFAIK he pushed for killing off his character even before Nemesis, a most curious process for an actor who loves the role and surely also the financial security that comes with it).

Data’s death was a bad choice because he was such a pivotal Star Trek character (in terms of non humans, only second to Spock, who was granted rebirth) yet the reasons for it entirely behind the scenes limitations. They feel especially hollow now because the finale proved it is no longer true: an aging actor CAN portray a non-aging android, if must, due to the availability of the necessary de-aging technology.

The retconned narrative reason for the necessity of his death rings equally hollow. Yes, to understand the human condition means to understand mortality. But we already been there in “Time’s Arrow”. You don’t become MORE human by actually BEING dead, because then you cease to be human, or anything living. It’s a non sequitur. And an ironcial one at that as Picard facing his own morality – and then cheating death – in the very same episode proves that reaching the (dead) end is not necessary to teach the lesson or have the human experience. And how about the human experience an (upgraded) android can learn from experiencing AGING that Data is missing out on now?

So there you have it. To me, Data’s death felt, back in Nemesis and now, like a stunt where the narrative losses outweigh the benefits by far. Robo-Picard or Soji can never be the replacement for Data’s quest what it means to be human, for they essentially FEEL fully human – cogito ergo sum. And beyond all the self-referential, in-universe claptrap, this is a real loss in relevance to the viewer. This viewer, at least.

DaytonTrekFan72

*sigh* load data into one a golum like they did Picard and Brent can play Data with emotions in a human body for the first time. If Chabon was half the writer everyone think he is, he would have used this as a way to bring back one of the most beloved characters in a way that made him almost totally new.

odradek

Except that Spiner doesn’t want to play this character anymore. I think Data in that in-between death existence is a metaphor for Spiner’s purgatory to go to conventions and tell the same stories and get asked the same questions again and again and again. You can’t blame Chabon for Spiner being finished with Data. I think that scene was the most redeeming aspect of an otherwise very disappointing first season.

ML31

The way out of that is obvious. Just don’t tell everyone it was the B4 download. Leave it as it was shown. It was all in Picard’s head so he could get closure. There was no way to download Data into a new body because there was no Data to begin with. He was blown to smithereens 20 years ago. Then there is no reason why Spiner cannot play Data again. He’s gone. Everyone is satisfied

odradek

That is no closure. That is just Picard lying to himself. The man who said truth is the first duty now living in denial with an unresolved conflict. Then you have left him more broken than in the beginning. Like Adorno said: Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im Falschen. Maybe the whole series should be in someone’s head. Season three should end with the boy from “When the Bough Breaks” holding a snow globe with Enterprise D in it.

ML31

As opposed to Picard suddenly going back on his ethics about humanity and mortality by accepting a robot body? Sorry. But it being in Picard’s head would be less a lie and more coming to terms with things. It’s a very common story telling device in visual mediums. A character talking to a dead parent or comrade or lover to help them get past something.

Bird of Prey

Makes me wonder if they created the character of Altan Inigo Soong so that Brent Spiner can continue to guest star – but in a role where they don’t always have to go through the whole hassle of aging him down…

Zinc Saucier

Seems like it. Although if they had given Data the golem body they wouldn’t have to age him down anymore either.

I was constantly distracted by Data’s hairline. How did they mess that up so bad.

Bryan

I would have much preferred if the Golum body was given to Data. Let him live out his final years in a completely organic body – finally reaching what he aspired to be his entire life. It would have been much more fulfilling that way than a cheap killing of Picard and suddenly back in a new body (that screams X-Men 3 by the way).

Jay

Totally. An organic Data will be his dream come true. Data became Tom Hanks in the Cast Away movie. Lockdown alone for 20 years. The first person he sees is Picard and instead of being glad to find a way to survive, he is like “go ahead and unplug me”!? Jurati and Soong working together not even got a chance to try to get Data out of the simulation. Oh men. I know one way or the other we the fans are never satisfied. (^_^)

odradek

Right, Data would also be Tom Hanks in Big. Look Data we made you 40 years older for no reason. Nobody wants to be in his 30’s everybody wants to be in his 70’s.

Cmd.Bremmon

Apparently Data just wanted to die?!?! Makes no sense, but isn’t that what the writers are saying???

Sully

You are so right.

Odoakris

I think they really missed an opportunity to do something much more exciting with Data. With all his experience with organic life and wanting to become more human, it seems obvious that he would be able to teach the AI synthetic life from beyond something important. Couldn’t they have uploaded his consciousness into the borg cube somehow and send it into the rift? That could have had so many future story opportunities, even if only in our imagination.

John

This is my first time commenting here in literally years.

I didn’t like most of the show but found this final scene incredibly moving. Brent Spiner has always been open about not wanting to reprise the role due to age so this was really a lot more than we could have expected or asked for; I knew from the series’ onset that he was not going to be restored to life ala Spock… which would’ve been a great story, but meta reasons just couldn’t allow it. I respect Spiner’s decision, and it’s certainly better than where “Nemesis” left the character.

For me though, Data’s desire to move on from computer simulation purgatory and die is summarized when he described his feeling that it was reassuring that his life was finite. This may have shocked me if I felt it had come from nowhere, but his use of ‘finite’ immediately sent my mind back to “Time’s Arrow” and how Data responded then:

“It provides a sense of completion to my future. In a way, I am not that different from anyone else. I can now look forward to death.”

I don’t know if some people may remember or contextualized this sequence differently, and many of you have probably watched more “Star Trek” than I have, but the connection to me was immediate — it has been organic to the character since the original TNG run, well before the feature films or “Picard” began. The character has always looked to life as finite and welcomed the possibility of death. I sympathize with viewers who see it as a choice of suicide, and it would upset me if I saw it that way, but between this, the implication that he only exists in the simulation, and finally, knowing Spiner would not reprise the role further, make me feel the decision was as organic as realistically possible.

It also fits well with Picard’s established narrative in the season – it allows him to overcome his demons and guilt, as best exemplified when Data compares Picard’s sacrifice to his own. Picard’s willingness to give his life for Data’s “children” isn’t fully comparable to Data giving his life for only Picard, in my personal opinion, but for the thematic purposes of the story, I think they provided an interesting mirror for him to see Data’s side of things. They both chose to make sacrifices. It’s not perfect, but it’s honestly light years above what I was expecting.

I agree that the golem issue complicates the situation surrounding Data, and yes, I did catch myself wondering why Soong never went to the trouble of trying to create a new body for his “brother” and similarly why the program wasn’t shut down sooner. It’s an interesting canon question and one I would hope is visited in some spin-off material.

It was a wild road of a show, with stuff I absolutely loved (the Borg Reclamation Project, the legacy characters, Riker, Picard and Data) and hated (Narek, Dr. Jurati killing Maddox, Commodore Oh, Narek’s sister) but I think when the chips came down for the final episode, they wrapped up everything that mattered in a good way, even if some of the story decisions in previous episodes baffled me. At the very least, I went from starting to resent it in e9 to wondering if it evened out post-finale. We’ll see.

Joe Turnes

After watching Star Ship Exeter: the Tressaurian Intersection(IMO a lost TV!!!! spinoff of TOS with a fantastic fantastic fantastic CLOSING THEME!) on youtube, i wish DATA was INSTEAD on ANOTHER TOS S P I N O F F show JUST LIKE SS Exeter – airing in 1987 – & with nobody ELSE from TNG – to avoid all the TECHNOBABBLE, showing off, & obnoxiousness that would again drive me inSANE, as well as waaaaay too much talking “in the lounge”, poker, trombones, etc. to put me to sleep! lol
& think of this –> what if the USS Defiant in the alternate universe of NX-01 came back to its original(our) universe & the crew of NX-01(whose counterparts just LOVED the Defiant!!!!), continued for another 5 years with THAT ship!!!
Again, after seeing The Tressaurian Intersection, I did not even miss any of TOS cast!!!, including Spock! I realized all that i wanted was a constitution class ship that looked like the original ncc1701, & its sets, weapons, commuicators, uniforms(especially female!! lol), all the SO MANY DIFFERENT UNIQUE “POPPING” sound effects – missing from all “trek” since 1969!! – VERY VERY IMPORTANT TO HOLD YOUR ATTENTION, IMO!
I am still very very angry that TNG stole its “theme” from the terribly sleepy TMP(lol) – both with terrible uniforms. & that TNG ran so long, & the gall it had to “reappear” & ruin the last episode of NX-01! arrgh.
As for not progressing in time – who cares? – each of those TOS SPINOFFS only would need to state the stardate is approx the same as in the early episodes of TOS & refer to & maybe talk to TOS enterprise crew on rare occasion(audio only), so that we viewers would realize the spinoffs are indeed occuring during the TOS’s timeframe! & with no need to redesign ANYTHING, just like on SS Exter, think of all the money that could have been saved! & i really dont like ANY OTHER enterprise or props or uniforms anywhere near the way i like the TOS ones.
I cringe everytime i see the FRONT of TNG Enterprise in its opening credits, looking like a misshapen toy – totally unreal to me. The side & back views look ok, but not the front, in the opening credits.
& after seeing SS Exter, i now realize TOS should have went the full 5 years with a closing epsisde & an earlier 2 parter with Khan, instead. & no movies!!
BTW, DON’T THE PHASERS & TRANSPORTER BEAMING UP & DOWN SOUND so much BETTER on TOS & the Tressaurain Intersection?!!! than in ANY movie or Trek variation since?