Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 16

The Offspring

Aired Unknown Mar 12, 1990 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
249 votes
  • One of the best episodes in the entire series. Funny, touching and ultimately heartbreaking.

    "The Offspring" is, appropriately enough, the offspring of two season 2 episodes – "The Measure of a Man" (in which Data's rights as individual were questions and established) and "Pen Pals" (in which Data befriended a young girl).

    Data was a fan favorite, and this kind of episode shows why. The character meshed really well with child actors, probably due to the fact that Data himself possessed a certain wide-eyed, childish innocence. There's a sequence in this episode where the android informs Dr. Crusher he is unable to feel love or any other emotion, and the good doctor replies that she has a hard time believing him. So do we, because Spiner's performance here, while understated, is incredibly emotional.

    However, this episode is at least as much about Data's offspring Lal. It's hard to come up with enough superlatives to describe Hailie Todd's performance; she matches her "father" in giving an extremely poignant performance. It's hard to believe that the same actress is playing the robotic Lal of the beginning and the all-too-human Lal of the conclusion. The moments featuring father and daughter alone are among the most intimate of the entire series.

    There are also nice supporting performances by Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and Marina Sirtis.

    In addition, both the writers and the director should be acknowledged. This episode covers an enormous range of emotional ground – while much of it is lighthearted, it is also often thought-provoking (particularly in Data and Picard's conversations) and eventually tragic. And Jonathan Frakes does a superb job in his directorial debut – it's amazing how many subtleties he manages to sneak in, particularly with the Lal character.

    Highly recommended viewing, even for non-Star Trek fans.
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